Cape Town was on a knife-edge Friday after anti-immigrant violence reached the port city where angry mobs mobs attacked Somalians and Zimbabweans and looted their homes and shops.
The violence broke out in the De Noon informal settlement where thousands of foreigners live. Polce confirmed that a large number of shops were looted and burnt. At least 42 people have been killed and more than 23,000 driven from their homes over the past two weeks.
South Africans accuse foreigners of taking available jobs and fuelling crime. The situation is reported to be “tense but calm” in Johannesburg where the viole nce first broke out.
Earlier this week, South African President Thabo Mbeki approved army intervention to help contain the disorder.
The official opposition Democratic Alliance Friday said it was now clear that South Africa stood on the brink of a systemic breakdown in respect of border control, asylum seekers and law and order in affected areas. “President Mbeki as usual is conspicuous by his absence, not even feigning to visit the affected areas to see for himself what is driving the violence.
“The refugee crisis is a reflection of an additional key failure: The government ‘s policy of quiet diplomacy in Zimbabwe. This policy has been driven by the imperative of solidarity between former liberation movement leaders, rather than the interests of the people of Zimbabwe,” the opposition said.
The total economic and political problem in that country must, at least in part, be attributed to South Africa’s failed foreign policy. This has been the push factor propelling many Zimbabweans and citizens of other sub-Saharan states to seek sanctuary in South Africa,” said DA leader Helen Zille. Panapress.