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RESEARCH UNPACKS CHALLENGES FOREIGN NATIONALS FACED IN SA DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Jun 15, 2022

By Neelam Rahim

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country’s vaccination plan would make COVID-19 vaccines available to all living in South Africa, regardless of whether they were citizens or not. A new study by a researcher at the Centre for Social Change and a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at the

The University of Johannesburg points out that foreign nationals had terrible experiences at public health institutions during the health crisis.

Radio Islam discusses with the researcher, Paddington Mutekwe.

Mutekwe says, “The research focused on describing incidents of foreign nationals during the pandemic and it also wanted to capture whether their relationships with communities were positive or negative.

In the end, it documented their challenges and how they have coped with it during the pandemic.”

“The study divided key findings into three crisis. The first one was the health care, socio-economic, and protection crisis. Found in the health care crisis the study shows that foreign nationals actually faced these crises before the pandemic. The coming in of the pandemic just reconditioned or worsened these experiences,” says Mutekwe.

Mutekwe also shares that more findings documented in the health care crisis discovered that foreigners had difficulty accessing health care facilities.

“During the pandemic, some issues were that of documentation as some of them could not have documents renewed, which affected their access to health care. They were turned away from some institutions irrespective if their documents have expired during the pandemic.”

Civil society organisations have come to the assistance of foreign nationals.

“From the finding of my study, I would say the situation would have been worse if it was not for civil society organisations. Touching on the a few instances would be the issue of hunger and starvation. This challenge that we have always had even been in our poor local communities had increased since people could not work. Hunger and starvation was a major challenge that the foreign nationals faced in which civil organisations had assisted,” says Mutekwe.

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