In the 2017 Human Sciences Research Council’s Social Attitudes Survey, 71% of the South African public identified the threat posed by immigrants as the main explanation for anti-immigrant violence. Of the nationally representative sample, most respondents answered that xenophobia is a response to the criminal activities of foreigners (33.1%) or the economic activities of foreigners (39.8%). Within the latter group, 30.3% answered that ‘immigrants increase or cause unemployment’ and 4.7% answered that ‘immigrants use up scarce resources’. These sentiments are reinforced by the sense that a large percentage of immigrants in South Africa are illegal and unfairly benefitting off the back of the nation.
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