Xenophobic violence continues to grow in South Africa

posted in: Africa

Photo: REUTERS/Mark Wessels


Cape Town, South Africa – There are growing concerns that South Africa is on the brink of another outbreak of xenophobia which has wreaked havoc in the past, after a series of violent clashes across the country between South Africans and citizens of other African countries over the past few days.

PANA reported Friday that tension remains high in Duduza and surrounding townships in Gauteng, one of South Africa’s nine provinces, which have experienced a wave of attacks since August.

The South Gauteng High Court has now ordered the Ekurhuleni municipality to address the plight of victims of xenophobic violence after Somali, Bangladeshi and Ethiopian communities in the area were targeted.

Acting Judge Sheila Mphahlele said the incidents occurring in the Duduza and surrounding townships “are hereby classified as acts of xenophobia and a national disaster”.

In another alarming development, a councillor with South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has appeared in the Nigel Magistrate’s Court for allegedly plundering shops belonging to several foreign nationals in that township on Sunday.

Tefu Motaung faces charges of malicious damage to property.

And in Cape Town, hundreds of protesters this week rioted in the city centre, with many of them targeting foreign stall owners.

Meanwhile, shopkeepers are taking their battle to run businesses freely in townships to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

The application to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria was brought by the Somali Association of South Africa and the Ethiopian Community of South Africa.

Since 1994, the incidence of xenophobia increased dramatically in South Africa.

Between 2000 and March 2008, at least 67 have people died in what were identified as xenophobic attacks.

In May 2008, a series of riots left 62 people dead, although 21 of those killed were South African citizens.

PANA recalls that critics of President Jacob Zuma’s recent statement casting aspersion on the rest of Africa expressed concerns that such action could further instigate xenophobic attacks against other Africans resident in South Africa.

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