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.