TAC has its foundations in human rights. As part of the campaign to provide access to treatment for HIV to all South Africans, TAC has always been aware of other social issues affecting South Africa. Gender violence, hate crimes and social inequality are inextricably linked to HIV in society. In recent years, foreign nationals, especially from other parts of Africa, have been amongst members of society vulnerable to exploitation and violence.
In May, 2008, systematic violence against foreign nationals broke out. People were targeted in communities and chased from their homes and businesses. At least 50 people were murdered by mobs, looting was widespread, and rape was reported.
Tens of thousands of displaced people flocked to police stations, community halls and other places of safety. Many immediately returned to their home countries. Without shelter, food and other resources, they were trapped. Refugees, asylum seekers, migrant workers and those without legal papers were unable to return to their communities, and in need of large-scale humanitarian relief.
TAC, together with other civil society organisations in the Western Cape, immediately responded by forming a task team to cope with the relief efforts. Besides the relief, TAC provided a voice for the dispossessed: Memorandums were sent listing demands to the UNHCR and government at all levels. Legal support and other forms of advocacy put pressure on those agencies to fulfill their respective mandates.
It has been a disturbing process. This crisis has exposed the failure of government, both to work as a co-ordinated agency, and to provide a strategy for dealing with this crisis.
At the same time, amazing stories of resilience and selflessness have emerged, from the displaced people and the hundreds of volunteers who have responded by giving time and resources to seeing this crisis to its’ conclusion. TAC, together with all the people of the African continent have presented a united force against xenophobia. This website will serve as an account of TAC involvement, documenting all that has happened, and the continuing struggle to give all people living in South Africa the protection of basic human rights.
History of Involvement
(Education, General Requests, Health, Home Affairs, Transport, UNHCR)