Economic insecurity, poverty, high unemployment, and inciting rhetoric by government officials, among other factors, led to xenophobic violence in 2019. On March 25, hundreds of foreign nationals in Durban were forced to seek shelter as mobs destroyed or looted their homes, trucks, and other belongings. That same day, the government issued a National Action Plan to combat xenophobia, racism, gender-based violence, and discrimination, and address the cycle of violence that plagues the country.
The Mnangagwa administration made some efforts to amend or repeal repressive laws, including with the new Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill signed into law in November. But like the law it replaced, it potentially violates international human rights norms and standards, including the right to peaceful assembly.