Tag Archives: anti-foreign

Where Oh Where Is President Mbeki??

South African President Thabo Mbeki who has been attacked for his lack of leadership in dealing with the anti-foreign riots which have swept his nation, is now being forced to confront questions about present handling the crisis. Two weeks have passed during which time rioters have attacked immigrants, burned their shacks, and, in some cases, killed these innocent people, but the president of the nation apparently has other things to do than visit scenes of the violence and offer reassurance to the afflicted. According to Olmo von Meijenfeldt, of the Institute for Democracy in South Africa, “a strong appeal to the South African people from the president would be very welcome indeed.”‘ He noted Mbeki has a distant style of leadership, and he is not the sort of man “to put himself in the forefront.”

Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils admitted the government knew tensions were growing. “Of course we were aware there was something brewing. It is one thing to know there is a social probelm and another thing to know when that outburst will occur.” Of course, it was no secret there were tensions over foreigners getting jobs in a nation which has extensive poverty, but that was even more cause to take proactive measures to head off the problem.

Moesties Mbeki, the president’s own brother believes “the current government has lost its credibility.” His brother failed to exert leadership during the ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe and his comment that no crisis existed made him the laughing stock of Africa.

The African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma will most probably become the next president of South Africa. Unless he initiates vast programs to deal with poverty, there will be other riots in the coming years.

South African Blames Right Wing Elements For Riots

Soth Africa’s security chief accused rightwngers linked to the formr apartheid government of fanning anti-foreign riots over the past two weeks that have left 42 dead and thousands driven from their homes. Manala Manzini said: “We have information to the effect that elements that were involved in the pre-1994 election violence are in fact the same elements that have re-startedd contacts with people that they used in the past.” He asserted that members of the Zulu Inkatha Freedom Party(IFP) were playing a role in the anti-foreign outbreaks.

Even as he spoke, mobs attacked Somali and Zmbabwean areas whose homes and shops were looted and frequently burned down. Many critics are blaming the ineffectual behavior of President Mbeki as a contributing factor in allowing the riots to spread. He hesitated to send in the armed forces or to reinforce police at the first sign of trouble, and his continued support for President Mugabe of Zimbabwe sent a message that he doesn’t care what happens to Zimbabweans, whether in their homeland or in South Africa.

African National Congress secretary General Gwede Mantashe pointed out to his fellow South Africans that during their own fight for freedom, many African nations stood behind them, accepted South African children in their schools and gave liberally to end apartheid. He expressed his disappointment that generosity was being repaid with violence and destruction.

The security chief undoubtdly has raised an important point as to the possibility supporters of apartheid have contributed to the violence, but the evidence is clear most rioters are driven by fear their jobs are being taken away by foreigners. South Africa still has a large unemployed work force and it doesn’t take much to spark such a group into blaming outsiders for their inability to obtain jobs or decent housing.

South African Army Deployed To Halt Riots

The South African Defence Force is mobilizing and will be sent into areas where mobs have attacked thousands of foreign workers. After days of looting and burning and killing, President Mbeki finally gave the OK for members of the armed forces to enter the violent areas and support police efforts of peace. Thousands of foreign workers have been driven from their homes, their businesses burned down, and many beaten or killed. The latest casualty figures include 42 who have died in the violence. South Africans have directed their anger at foreigners from nations like Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The government of Mozambique says at least 10,000 of its nationals have left South Africa to seek refuge in their home country.

A major factor in the arrival of foreigners into South Africa is the one million who fled Zimbabwe due to the brutal regime of Robert Mugabe who transformed a prosperous nation into one in which milliions are without work or food. South African president Mbeki has stood by in silence and has refused to offer aid to Zimbabwean opposition leaders who seek to restore their nation’s economy and, in so doing, ensure the return home of Zimbabwean refugees. Mbeki even refused to lift a finger in his own nation even though mobs were running wild through the streets.

South Africa can become a successful economic power, but it needs an active government that recognizes oppression elsewhere eventually impacts their country. It will be interesting when the leftist minded Jacob Zuma assumes the presidency next year if he can expand the job market and offer hope to the poor.

Anti-Foreign Anger Continues Raging In South Africa

Thousands of refugees in and around Johannesburg faced another night of terror as mobs continued their attacks upon foreigners in their homeland. In Kagiso, west of Johannsburg, many foreigners, mostly women and children began arriving at police stations seeking safety from xenophobic mobs. Residents told the Mail & Guardian, that trouble started when residents held a meeting to discuss their fears. Within twenty-four hours, a mob assaulted the people on grounds they were foreigners who took their jobs and were planning to take action against them.

Somali and Zimbabwean immigrants were among those assaulted by mobs. Some foreigneers have lived in South Africa for years, but that didn’t offer protection against the virulent hatred of the mobs. One described being told by a group of men, “You are still here. We will get you.”

In large measure, failure on the part of President Mbeki to create a vibrant economy which would provide jobs and housing is a root cause of the current anger by poor South Africans. They feel themselves to be ignored and watch foreigners secure jobs. Some believe employers prefer hiring foreigners since they can pay lower wages.

Mobs Run Amok In Johannesburg

The continuing outburst of hate and anger toward foreign workers continued in Johannesburg townships as mobs beat and even set ablaze foreigners who were unlucky enough to get captured by the angry South Africans. A total of at least 22 pople are dead as a result of violence aimed at driving foreign workers out of South Africa. A police spokesperson said: “An update has shown 22 have been killed since th start of the violence last week and 217 arrested.” Last night two people were killed and dozens of shacks burned down in the area. In Kya Sands, north of Johannesburg, police were still working today to clear burning barricades from the road leadng into the township. A mob had set alight pieces of wood, furniture and even gas bottles to prevent police from passing.

Due to tensions, the police were refusing to escort frightened residents back into the township who wanted to collect their belongings before the mob took everything. Central Methodist Church Bishop Paul Verryn, whose church has been a place of refuge for asylum seekers, watched a mob approach the church, but police made them leave. “It’s so sad,” said Verryn. “They(refugees)need security, blankets, food and counseling. But most of all they just need to be treated as human beings.”

The Democratic Alliance(DA)said President Mbeki’s handling of the situation was intolerable. He has adopted the same attitude that he has displayed towards the situation in Zimbabwe which he insists is all peace and happiness despite the ongoing brutality displayed by his friend, President Mugabe. All he has done is set up panel, but according to Jack Bloom of the DA “we need to take action now and push for law and order. The government failed to act on the first attacks that broke out in Atteridgeville. that’s why the situation got out of control like it did.”

Perhaps, if President Mbeki had taken an active role to protect the rights of the Zimbabwean people, his country would not be dealing with a millon refugees from that nation.

Anti-Foreign Mobs Rampage In South Africa

Angry mobs swept through the streets in Gauteng in South Africa to protest the presence of foreigners in their land. Scores of Tentisa residents went on a rampage in the early hours of Saturday morning and destroyd property belonging to foreign nationals. Captain Manyadza Ralidhivha, deployed reinforcements of police officers in an attempt to protect defenceless foreigners. He reported at least fifteen attacks were carried out and that foreign residents were seeking shelter and protection at police headquarters.

Captain Louise Reed said “the residents are starting fires in the street and lighting up the garbage that has not been collected.” There are many reports of foreigners fleeing the area in order to escapte being attacked.

Meanwhile, in Johannesburg, a demonstration was held by socialists to urge workers to shift their anger away from fellow foreign workers and direct it at the capitalists who benefit from the use of low wage foreign help. It urged workers of all backgrounds to unite rather than allow themselves to be torn apart in hatred that will only benefit big business.