32% of respondents maintained that 'Gauteng was for South Africans only!' *
It is of concern that respondents working in the public sector and in community and social services held such strong and exclusionary opinions.
Attitudes of respondents varied by employment status, employment sector, type of housing and housing tenure. There were differences in attitudes by employment sector, with those working in the manufacturing (36%), construction (34%), the public/government (34%) and community, social and personal services (32%) sectors being most likely to say that Gauteng is for South Africans only and that foreigners should be sent home. Those working in community, social and personal services were least likely to say foreigners should be allowed to stay (16%).
Conversely, those working in sectors where migrants have historically worked and are most likely to work were least likely to say that foreigners should be sent home and more likely to say they should be allowed to stay. This applied to 27% of people working in mining and quarrying, 26% of those working in transport and storage and 25% of people working in private households who said foreigners should be allowed to stay.
The type of housing people lived in seemed to make little difference to respondents’ opinions, although people living in government subsidised housing (owned or rented) were most likely to want to send all foreigners home. People in informal housing, where cross border migrants are often found living, were more likely to hold inclusive attitudes.
Although it might be thought that it would be people who are most economically and socially vulnerable that would hold the most hostile attitudes to foreigners, this does not appear to be true in Gauteng. In QoL 2011 white people, people living in formal housing, living in government subsidised housing, working in the public sector or other formal sector jobs were generally as likely or more likely to say that Gauteng is for South Africans only and all foreigners should be sent back to their countries. Conversely, people living in informal settlements, working in the informal sector or employment sectors where migrants predominate were more likely to hold inclusive attitudes. Although apparently not true of people working in the construction sector, this data suggests that in some cases sharing work, conditions of service, living conditions and other life experiences with migrants may lead to more inclusive attitudes towards cross border migrants and migration.
Although the QoL 2011 survey data relating to attitudes to migrants and migration policy is of concern on many levels, not all residents are hostile to foreigners, and during the violence of May 2008 and subsequently many residents stood up at potential cost to their own lives and livelihoods to protect foreigners in their midst.