For a news24.com photo presentation on the xenophobic violence raging in Gauteng at present, click on the image below.
I wish against all odds that the xenophobic madness currently under way in South Africa will abate overnight and that we can simply forget about it. But this will off-course not happen by some miracle. It will need commitment, firstly acknowledgement, and strong determined action from Government and all kinds of civic and political leaders.
The current orgy of hate and lawlessness cannot be ignored or dealt with by run of the mill press statements. Blaming it on 'criminal elements' is also ludicrous as it is as clear as daylight that these acts are being perpetrated by large sections of the particular communities - not just a few individuals. President Mbeki needs to address the nation via national TV and radio and make clear that the Government will not tolerate the evil of Xenophobia. He can gather the new ANC leadership (including Jacob Zuma) and other prominent leaders around him when making such a statement. Obviously this needs to be backed up by action. We don't have the convenience of avoiding the embarrassment of deploying the SANDF in our streets to restore order, it should have been done already. Civil society should also mobilise and reach out a hand to the foreigners at the receiving end of the violence.
Addressing the many failings that contributed to the current situation must receive urgent attention once the violence has been stemmed. But for now talk of poverty, crime, corruption and the like will not end the violence. What is needed is unqualified condemnation of this scourge at the highest level and forceful action.
BBC online video on the violence here (external link)
- news24.com - Mobs armed with petrol run amok
- news24.com - SA shocked by violence
- M&G online - Parties slam govt over xenophobic attacks
- allAfrica.com - President Mbeki condemns Xenophobic attacks
- CNN - 'Anti-foreigner' violence kills 22 in South Africa
- The Times online edition (UK) - Thabo Mbeki's critics demand action not words
- BBC online - Thousands flee S Africa attacks
- New York Times - Anti-Immigrant Violence in S Africa
- Haigh & Hussein on iol.co.za - What fuels the hatred?
- Peter Fabricius on iol.co.za - Alex mayhem aggravated by shortcoming
- Soweto - Readers' comment on the xenophobic violence
- BBC online - S African violence: Your stories (reports from 'foreigners' on the receiving end of the current xenophobic attacks)
- BBC online - Foreign attacks concern SA press (excerpts from mostly editorials)
- Mhambi - Time to call in the army?
- Constitutionally Speaking - Xenophobia excused or explained?
- thinking aloud - Xenophobia: It is us South Africans who should carry the blame
- Somewhere in Africa - South Africa's foreigner problem
- Comment is free - South Africa's hard truths