With South Africa facing severe economic problems and major job losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, residents have started a new movement called #PutSouthAfricansFirst, which is currently the third highest trending topic on Twitter in the country. 

South Africans are calling for foreigners without proper papers to be expelled from the country, with Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema being targeted for his drive to create an inclusive South Africa that is more tolerant to foreign nationals. He said in his Freedom Day speech that interventions implemented by the government must not segregate based on nationality, calling for South Africa’s solidarity to go beyond the country’s borders. 

Former Johannesburg Mayor and member of opposition party Democratic Alliance Herman Mashaba wrote on Twitter: “Never stop raising this issue, despite the names they will call you. It is not xenophobic to say #PutSouthAfricansfirst, it is necessary. We must not be gagged from discussing important issues in our country that are central to turnaround.”