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Xenophobia News & Analysis Archive Volume 2 (2010) Xenophobia News & Analysis Archive Volume 2. various : -.

RW Johnson shames himself, disgraces London Review of Books
Kevin Bloom 22 July 2010

If South African author RW Johnson has ever written two consecutive
paragraphs more ill-considered than these, we’d like to read them.
Because the Rhodes Scholar and former director of the Helen Suzman
Foundation has just been labelled a racist by 73 prominent writers and
academics, and he’s got no-one but himself to blame.

On Tuesday 20 July a letter arrived in the inbox of the LRB’s editor,
Mary-Kay Wilmers. It was signed by 73 prominent authors and academics –
some of the more recognisable names included those of Professor Elleke
Boehmer, Professor Patrick Bond, Dr Sean Jacobs, Kwame Kwei-Armah and
Professor Achille Mbembe – and it stated, amongst other things, the
following: “We find it baffling therefore that you continue to publish
work by RW Johnson that, in our opinion, is often stacked with the
superficial and the racist.”

While the complainants were referring to Johnson’s work in general,
their specific objection was to an article posted on the LRB website
under the title “After the World Cup”. The article appeared on 6 July
and had finally been taken down after 13 days, but the URL of the
vanished post suggested, ominously, that its original title had been
“The Coming of the Baboons”. The New Left Project, under whose aegis the
letter had been sent, kept the offending passages on file.

“We are being besieged by baboons again,” Johnson wrote. “This happens
quite often here on the Constantiaberg mountains (an extension of the
Table Mountain range). Baboons are common in the Cape and they are a
great deal larger than the vervet monkeys I was used to dealing with in
KwaZulu-Natal. They jump onto roofs, overturn dustbins and generally
make a nuisance of themselves; since their teeth are very dirty, their
bite can be poisonous. They seem to have lots of baby baboons – it’s
been a very mild winter and so spring is coming early – and they’re
looking for food. The local dogs don’t like them but appear to have
learned their lesson from the last baboon visit: then, a large
rottweiler attacked the apes, who calmly tore it limb from limb.

“Meanwhile in the squatter camps, there is rising tension as the threat
mounts of murderous violence against foreign migrants once the World Cup
finishes on 11 July. These migrants – Zimbabweans, Malawians, Congolese,
Angolans, Somalis and others – are often refugees and they too are here
essentially searching for food. The Somalis are the most enterprising
and have set up successful little shops in the townships and squatter
camps, but several dozen Somali shopkeepers have already been murdered,
clearly at the instigation of local black shopkeepers who don’t
appreciate the competition. The ANC is embarrassed by it all and has
roundly declared that there will be no such violence. The truth is that
no one knows. The place worst hit by violence in the last xenophobic
riots here was De Doorns and the army moved into that settlement last
week, clearly anticipating trouble. The tension is ominous and makes for
a rather schizoid atmosphere as the Cup itself mounts towards its climax.”

The parallels, according to the New Left Project and the 73 signatories,
were obvious: African migrants were the “baboons”; black shopkeepers
were the “rottweilers”. Local literary website BookSA appeared to be
first in South Africa with the story, and included in their coverage a
link to an article in the Guardian newspaper published on 21 July, where
Johnson professed his innocence. “I’ve only just arrived back from a
trip in a game reserve and have no knowledge of this,” he wrote in an
email. “I would be astonished at any allegations of racism.”

The LRB, after vacillating for a few days, issued this apology late on
the afternoon of Wednesday 21 July: “We have had a number of complaints
about a post on the LRB blog on 6 July on the grounds that it was
racist. The LRB does not condone racism, nor does the author of the
post, RW Johnson. We recognise that the post was susceptible of that
interpretation and that it was therefore an error of judgment on our
part to publish it. We’re sorry. We have since taken the post down.”

The question readers of the LRB, and all other interested parties, will
now be asking is simple: does the phrase “susceptible of that
interpretation” cut it?

The fact of the matter is that good writers – as Johnson sometimes is,
irrespective of what you make of his politics – deal in analogy. Norman
Mailer once said that the best way to evaluate a piece of prose is to
look at the maturity of the metaphors, and it’s difficult to disagree.
Was Johnson unaware that by writing about baboons and rottweilers in one
paragraph and African migrants and black shopkeepers in the next he was
drawing a comparison? Not likely. Is this a mature or even an acceptable
metaphor? No way in hell.

A failure of policing and immigration control
Many Zimbabweans, frightened of xenophobia, are fleeing SA. Should the
state do more to protect immigrants ? And if so, what?

Businessday 28 July 2010


Things have to begin with a properly administered immigration system. At
present, most South Africans believe immigration controls have simply
collapsed, with the result that an uncontrolled horde of immigrants is
pouring in.

This frightens people who already feel insecure about their job and
housing situation, and they try to take the law into their own hands to
staunch the flow. It is an exact analogy of lynchings in townships
because of a loss of confidence in the justice system.

So we have to start with a situation where everyone can assume that any
immigrant here is the result of a rational policy decision that takes
into account the interests of locals.

Second, our leaders have to stop pretending that the masses share their
pan-Africanism, in terms of which all Africans are our brothers who are
welcome in SA. In practice, people take a far more restrictive view.

And finally, the government has to enforce the law far more rigorously.
People who attack foreigners are common criminals. But, in fact, people
have also lost confidence in the government’s willingness to do this.
After all, the fences of Ndumo game reserve were torn down months ago
and animals have been hunted and poached and even crops planted in the
reserve but the government does not enforce the law.

Everyone can see that the government is too weak, corrupt and
incompetent to do its job. Xenophobic riots should simply be seen as a
generalised protest against that situation.



Xenophobia should be opposed vigorously and stamped out. Together with
its twin evil, racism, it should not be tolerated. Anyone attacking
another for reasons related to the latter’s nationality should be stuck
in jail.

The biggest problem, however, is this: the fount of the refugee chaos is
the government, which has poorly defined immigration laws and has
allowed them to be abused by people who, in essence, are bogus refugees
and scroungers. The vast majority of so-called refugees in SA are
individuals who do not want to put themselves in harm’s way in securing
democracy in their own countries. They are happy for others to do it for
them; this is wrong and should be rejected.

In SA they found a government willing to tolerate the egregious abuse of
laws. Even as the tally of infringements of the law by refugees rises,
the government remains uninterested in acting against people with a
scant respect for the country’s laws.



It would help enormously if the government were serious about trying to
reduce unemployment. If they were, they would drop black economic
empowerment, relax affirmative action, and repeal the Minerals
Development Act and the labour laws. Job creation would then really take

Second , the government and many nongovernmental organisations believe
in preaching against xenophobia whereas in a democracy they might start
by asking the public for its views on immigration and be prepared to
find they may want no immigration at all — at least until unemployment
is lower.

Third, the Congress of South African Trade Unions is quite right that
the rand should be 50% lower, though it would then also be right to hold
down wages so that job creation would get the full benefit of devaluation.

What is truly ridiculous is to carry out measures that have the effect
of greatly increasing unemployment, allow unlimited immigration and then
criticise a desperate and unemployed local population, which takes
matters into its own hands because the government can’t or won’t govern.



Undoubtedly, some of the country’s problems are self-inflicted. In the
face of threats to derail the Fifa World Cup, the state capitulated to
quasi-public-sector unions, which forced increases double the rate of
inflation without offering improved productivity. Emboldened by their
counterparts and the speed with which their alliance partner in
government caved in, core public-sector unions demand similarly high
increases. These unions are unprepared to submit to negotiations their
utter failure to perform their jobs. How rich it is for the South
African Democratic Teachers Union , a union with no known record of any
positive contribution to education, to demand obscene salary increases.

Clearly, citizens reject uncontrolled immigration but the government is
unresponsive and behaviour harmful to all is left to ensue. Everyone
knows that our own brittle ethnic and racial tensions can be ignited
easily. Violence directed at foreigners can easily and without warning
morph into a nasty problem among South Africans. Already in some
localities the balance between groups which have maintained cordial
relations for a while are sorely tested by a sudden influx of
immigrants, who have perturbed what has always been a fine balance. To
get the government to heed calls to control immigration is like trying
to draw water from a rock.



The question is, of course, why the more alert policing seen during the
World Cup can’t be used against xenophobic criminals now. The country
has been so busy congratulating itself about the World Cup that no one
has asked exactly how things worked. A friend in the security industry
who worked on World Cup security told me that the local organising
committee and the South African Football Association were utterly
hopeless and that much of the real work was done by Fifa and Interpol.
It may also be the case in other areas that an infusion of foreign
energy and expertise was important. Similarly, no one has laid bare how
much of the stadium and infrastructure costs were due to trade union

Meanwhile, we are back where we were. It is almost comical to read
Presidency-inspired reports that Jacob Zuma will “crack the whip” at
ministers and make them sign performance contracts. Why is it that other
cabinets in the world do not rely on written promises by ministers that
they will do their jobs? Meanwhile, the same ministers who have just
been partying at our expense now have the chutzpah to want to be able to
censor newspapers from revealing their spending habits. It comes to a
choice between the constitution and free speech on the one hand and
ministerial self- entitlement on the other. All South Africans know
which way the ministers will jump.



The exploding numbers of refugees and immigrants — there are 3-million
from Mozambique alone — is principally a reflection of the dysfunction
into which African countries have been plunged. They must realise that
SA is not exempt yet from sliding into the same hole into which their
countries have fallen. An enduring solution to their plight and for
improving prospects for democracy in SA is to work even harder at
securing democracy in their own countries. However long they remain in
SA, the contribution they can make to consolidate democracy here is
limited; it is not so in their own countries.

What is the point of perishing in xenophobic violence in a squatter camp
in SA instead of risking harm fighting for democracy in Zimbabwe? For
reasons of balanced regional development, the flood of immigration to
one country in the region must be reversed. The sheer numbers of
immigrants also distract from policy priorities in SA.

There is a critical job of policing that must still be mustered.
Refugees, many of whom have broken the law to be here, set this effort
back by constantly interposing their issues, resulting in less than
desirable policing standards, which will eventually pose a threat to
all. A disturbing development that must be stopped forcefully is the
importation of quarrels that often result in violence in SA.


Create jobs to stop xenophobia: Prof
SAPA 28 July 2010

Durban - The government should create more jobs, build more houses and
change its foreign policy to end xenophobia, a KwaZulu-Natal academic
said on Wednesday.

“There are three things that the government needs to focus on if they
want to end xenophobia. It would be building houses for people, creating
jobs and changing their foreign policy,” said Professor Patrick Bond of
the Centre for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

The government had managed to build stadiums for the 2010 World Cup and
it could do the same with job creation.

“More and more refugees from Zimbabwe, Somalia and other parts of Africa
are pouring into South Africa and are creating havoc in the country,” he
said in a telephonic interview after the centre released a 500-page
study on xenophobia over the past decade in the country.

Bond said it was difficult to say whether the xenophobic attacks that
happened in 2008 would recur.

“We simply cannot say, because the sparks that create these infernos of
anger are unpredictable. We do know, however, that the underlying causes
have not changed since 2008, namely unemployment, housing shortages.”

Bond said there were now a million fewer jobs, many more refugees and a
much higher rate of social protest in recent months.

Fight xenophobia, learn from World Cup success, urges Zuma
Politicial Bureau (The Saturday Star) 24 July 2010

President Jacob Zuma has called on ANC leaders to fight xenophobic
tendencies, while asking them to draw lessons from the successful World
Cup to improve service delivery.

Zuma was speaking at the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC)
meeting in Kempton Park. The NEC meeting ends today.

ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said that, in his political report, Zuma
had raised the issue of the attacks on foreigners.

“It’s unimaginable that a few days after the World Cup there would be
some people who are turning against their brothers and sisters,” said

He said service delivery was also uppermost in the discussions now that
the World Cup was over.

“An instruction from the president is that let’s use the experience
we’ve gathered from the World Cup to do things better and smarter, but
also to be the pride that South Africa has been over this World Cup in
terms of service delivery,” said Mthembu.

Zuma made a similar statement when he addressed the media following the
two-day cabinet lekgotla this week. The lekgotla is an expanded meeting
attended by ministers, their deputies, directors-general, premiers and

Zuma told reporters at the Union Buildings that the government had drawn
lessons from the World Cup and would focus on 12 crucial areas of
delivery, including education, crime, healthcare, infrastructure
development and housing.

Zuma and his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, would closely monitor the
performance of ministers.

Zuma also announced that an anti-corruption task team would be set up to
co-ordinate and streamline the work of law enforcement agencies and
watchdog bodies such as the police and the Hawks with that of the
Treasury’s investigating unit, the Public Protector and the Public
Service Commission.

The World Cup, said Zuma, had offered valuable experience through the
success of the criminal justice system during the tournament.

As a result, he had mandated the justice, crime prevention and security
cluster to create the anti-corruption task team.

Zuma said his ministers were given clear instructions about tasks and
outcomes, and on how to deliver faster on their promises.

Meanwhile, the NEC meeting is also expected to discuss the explosive
issue of divisions within the ANC Youth League.

The youth league battles mirror the polarisation within the ANC’s
leadership as factions fight for control of the party.

The meeting will also finalise the discussion documents for the upcoming
ANC national general council (NGC) meeting in September.

The NGC is a mid-term policy review meeting of the ANC.

The youth league is already pushing for its document on the
nationalisation of mines to be discussed at the NGC.

ANC: Xenophobic attack threats exaggerated
Times LIVE 25 July 2010

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the African National Congress
(ANC) says the possibility of xenophobic attacks were nothing but
“exaggeration and sensationalism”

Metro police frisk people at the Kya Sand informal settlement, in
northern Johannesburg. Security forces patrolled the area throughout the
night on Wednesday to prevent xenophobic attacks

In a statement released after it’s two-day meeting, the NEC says it
commends the security forces for their intervention in containing the
threat. “The ANC branches were directed to be part of all the efforts to
fight xenophobia,” it says.

The NEC also slammed articles written by Reverend Frank Chikane that
appeared in the Independent Newspapers recently, saying they “purport to
report in a distorted fashion NEC meetings when Chikane was not even

It is in the character of the ANC to promote freedom of speech and free
circulation of ideas and information within the ANC and broader society.
However, the publication of the Chikane files, especially aspects that
purport to report in a distorted fashion NEC meetings when Reverend
Chikane was not even present, is viewed in a very serious light. We,
therefore, call on our members and our people to be cautious in reading
the Chikane files as they are not a gospel truth of the events that have
unfolded in the recent past,” it says.

We’ve been failed by those bodies meant to serve our republic
On Fire
Pinky Khoabane (Sunday Times) 25 July 2010

Pinky Khoabane: Who will hold government accountable if the institutions
that have been set up under the constitution to provide the necessary
checks and balances are such lame ducks?

Yet another institution created to uphold democracy was in parliament blaming the government for impeding its work

Whether it’s the Public Protector, the Human Rights Commission, the
Commission for Gender Equality or the Equality Court - all these
institutions that have been created to promote democracy, a culture of
human rights, gender equality and to hold government accountable, have

This week yet another institution created to uphold democracy and human
rights was in parliament blaming the government for impeding it.

The SA Human Rights Commission was venting its frustration at the
government’s refusal to implement recommendations contained in a report
it had compiled on xenophobia. The report contains recommendations to
various government departments of actions they ought to take in
preventing xenophobic attacks similar to those in 2008. Among these
recommendations is an early warning system.

As early as March, the telltale signs that the commission’s
recommendations would not be taken seriously by the government were
there. The commission had to subpoena the National Intelligence Agency
after it had failed to develop the early warning system.

“We compile some of the reports. We make recommendations. We bring them
here. We write. But no one answers,” the commission’s chairman, Lawrence
Mushwana, said this week.

By “here”, he was referring to the portfolio committee on justice. And
neither body has the power to bite.

But what is interesting is the confidence with which Mushwana had
declared the commission’s readiness to deal with xenophobic attacks this
time around.

On what basis, then, was the commission ready, if his recommendations
had not been implemented?

Mushwana’s frustrations come on the heels of those of the Public
Protector, Thuli Madonsela, who recently bemoaned the government’s
refusal to implement recommendations from her office.

She is reportedly pushing for the establishment of a parliamentary body
which has the teeth to enforce the recommendations her office makes and
to push for legislation which will hold government departments accountable.

Her unhappiness is, once again, levelled at the portfolio committee of
justice, which doesn’t have the authority to enforce her
recommendations. If her proposals are not implemented, there will be a
negative impact on service delivery - which can constitute a violation
of human rights.

After all, it is to her department that the public is supposed to
complain to about public officials who don’t do their work. But what
good does it do if her organisation’s role is to listen, make
suggestions, monitor and fold its arms and wait for the next
presentation to parliament that simply says: “We heard, we saw,
suggested and nothing was done”?

Madonsela recently found that President Jacob Zuma had violated the
executive ethics code by failing to disclose his financial interests on
time. What has not been widely reported is the fact that she had found
there was merit in the president’s concern regarding the lack of clarity
in the act.

While I accept that at the heart of the problem is the absence of
legislation enabling these institutions to enforce their
recommendations, these organisations must take responsibility for
failing to raise public awareness and for ensuring that ordinary
citizens access their services.

With the exception of a few - and here I’m referring to the Democratic
Alliance, Afriforum and a few white people - how many of us mere mortals
know how the office of the Public Protector or the Human Rights
Commission operate? How many of us know where the offices are, what
cases they take on and how we reach them?

Apart from high-profile cases - such as the ones against Zuma and the
plethora of cases against Julius Malema lodged in the Equality Court and
Human Rights Commission - we have no idea how to access these bodies,
whose role is to investigate alleged improper conduct by state agencies
or officials and uphold human rights and equality.

When last did you hear of the Commission for Gender Equality? Who in
government or any political parties have you heard complain about the
disappearance of this body? If the Human Rights Commission and the
Equality Court were effective, would they not be swamped with cases of
racial discrimination in a country that remains as racist as ours?

These institutions need teeth and the will to serve all of South
Africa’s communities if they are to truly uphold democracy.

After all, democracy is not for a chosen few. It is for all.

Police to remain in Kya Sand
Eyewitness News 25 july 2010

Gauteng police said on Friday they will continue to maintain a presence
in Kya Sand this weekend.

The area has been the scene of violence against foreigners earlier in
the week. The army was called in to quell tensions in the area and
restore calm.

Several immigrants were attacked in their shacks. Twelve people were
subsequently arrested.

The police’s Govindsamy Mariemuthoo said officers will stay in the area.

“We have deployed police personnel to patrol the area and maintain law
and order. We have done this the whole week and continue to have a
police presence until stability returns to the area,” he said.

(Edited by Deshnee Subramany)

Call for xeno symposium
Voice of the Cape 24 July 2010

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is planning to look at
the various issues fuelling xenophobia in the country. The announcement
was made by the chairperson of the SAHRC, Advocate Lawrence Mushwana,
during a briefing by the body to the Portfolio Committee on Justice and
Constitutional Development this week. The commission was briefing the
committee on its report into the 2008 xenophobic attacks which took
place during May.

“Already we are planning to continue with symposiums to deal with issues
of xenophobia, discrimination and associated intolerance. We will
intensify these plans with the emergence of the xenophobic attacks as we
have seen flare up in recent weeks. We are trying to accelerate it in
particular to make sure that in the symposium you have different views
that which will look at what the root causes of the xenophobic attacks
are and to find out what it is that we need to do to stop these
attacks,” said Mushwana.

He added that it may be appropriate for the country to have a function
to honour those countries who gave refuge to anti-apartheid activist. “I
indicated during my presentation to the committee that during
deliberations with various stakeholders last week it emerged that we as
a country after our independence in 1994 never had a formal function to
thank those neighboring countries in helping us gain independence. The
function does not have to be big,” he said.

Concerns were raised by the Chairperson of the Committee, Abel
Ramathlohodi as well committee members that the report by the SAHRC did
not reflect the root causes of the xenophobic violence. However,
Mushwana said they were unable to determine what exactly the motivation
behind the 2008 attacks and the rumours of xenophobic violence which is
currently doing the rounds.

“We as a commission were mainly investigating the impunity of the
xenophobic violence. In others word people who were committing crime
without any form of punishment or arrests. There are other NGO’s and
Universities looking into the causes in addition to the HSRC,” said

He added that criminality is playing a role in the looting of various
shops owned by foreign nationals in the townships. Mushwana said they
also need to look at why only foreign nationals are being targeted
especially since it is becoming evident that there are various
socio-economic factors which have an impact on the violence against
foreign nationals. Furthermore, one does not hear about acts of
xenophobia taking place in leafy suburbs like Sandton. He said it is
mainly found in informal settlements and townships.

When asked if he thought the media had played a role in fuelling
xenophobic violence Mushwana replied that it would not be fair to say
that the media had played that role. “I don’t think it would be fair to
say that the media played a role. One has to realize that the media has
a responsibility to inform the public about what has happening. The
media cannot keep quiet about what is happening.

“But during a meeting with our stakeholders particularly when we met
with the ambassadors and high commissioners from the different African
countries they did express the view that it would appear that the media
fuelled this violence, because they went on as if they were inciting
people to act on these rumours. But it cannot be said that it is the
media that caused this. However the unfortunate thing is that whether it
is the media or the people fueling the violence, no one is able to tell
you exactly who is behind it,” said Mushwana. VOC (Dorianne Arendse)

Foreigners want army to stay:South Africans also feel safer since soldiers arrived
SIPHO MASONDO 22 July 2010

Foreigners living in a northern Johannesburg informal settlement are
pleading with the army to stay for at least a month so that they can
continue "sleeping peacefully".

TAKING NO PRISONERS: Metro police frisk people at the Kya Sand informal
settlement, in northern Johannesburg. Security forces patrolled the area
throughout the night on Wednesday to prevent xenophobic attacks Picture:

The army moved into the Kya Sands settlement on Tuesday after attacks on
both foreigners and South Africans. Tuck shops and shacks were plundered
on Sunday and Monday.

The Times spent a night in the township this week, and found Zimbabwean
Tshepo Sithole too frightened to contemplate living in the area without
the army to protect him.

"The minute they leave, we will be attacked. We are scared, but we feel
a bit safe in the presence of the army. The police are useless. People
attack in their presence," he said.

Sithole was repairing the door and window of his shack after attackers
smashed them with an axe on Sunday night.

Earlier that day, he and his brother, Melusi, heard that attacks were
being planned.

"We rushed my brother's pregnant girlfriend into safety. We were gone
for 10 minutes and when we came back we found our shacks had been broken
into," he said.

But police disturbed the looters, who fled empty-handed.

On Wednesday night, more than 30 army, police, and Johannesburg metro
police vehicles, including armoured personnel carriers and ambulances,
parked on the only stretch of tarred road outside the settlement.

Teams of heavily armed soldiers, SAPS and metro police officers
patrolled the area and searched anyone who aroused their suspicions.

The sprawling shanty town of Kya Sands is home to thousands of
Zimbabweans and Mozambicans. They share communal taps and toilets, and
there is no electricity. The lack of tarred roads means police and
soldiers have difficulty getting to trouble spots.

On Wednesday night, the acrid stench of stale water, excrement, alcohol,
and smoke from coal stoves filled the air.

Residents peeped through windows and doors as police and soldiers
carried out searches.

After 10pm, officers ordered everyone to extinguish their outdoor fires
and move indoors.

"You mustn't plan mischief there! Go indoors, it's late, it's our time
now!" yelled a police officer to a group of young men.

South African shack dweller Kabelo Molejane said more than 60% of Kya
Sands residents are foreigners who came to the country in search of a
better life.

"Do you not find it strange that, in South Africa, you find communities
whose residents outnumber South Africans? We do not hate foreigners, but
Home Affairs must just make sure that they are well documented so that
we know where they are and what they are doing," he said.

Before dawn, nervous Zimbabwean Alex Mthembu said all they were asking
for was protection.

"We have children here and back home, and we are only trying to make a
living," he said.

Few Mozambicans fear xenophobia

MAPUTO - His car parked just across the Mozambican border, Pedro
Matsinhe rested a while before continuing his journey to Maputo.

“I am not afraid of the attacks,” he said, while sipping a beer. His
wife and two sons nodded in agreement.

The 45-year-old has lived in Soweto, Johannesburg with his family for
the past 10 years. Unconcerned with reports of imminent xenophobic
violence, the mechanic had simply returned to Mozambique for a short
family visit.

Just a few days before, some shops in Cape Town’s townships had been
burned and looted on July 11, the day of the Soccer World Cup final.
Hundreds fled to police stations. Last weekend 16 people were injured in
attacks in the Kya Sands township outside Johannesburg. A Mozambican
woman was also raped, according to reports.

The attacks seemed to confirm rumours earlier this year that there would
be a flare-up of xenophobic violence in South Africa after the World Cup.

In May 2008, 62 people were killed and 150,000 displaced in attacks
which targeted mainly foreign migrants workers. Thousands of people lost
their possessions either through looting or having to leave them behind.

The “Burning Man”, as Mozambican national Ernesto Nhamuave became known,
became the symbol of the attacks when he burnt to death after being
doused with petrol and set alight.

At the time the inaction of former president Thabo Mbeki’s government
came under much criticism.

This time, however, the South African National Defence force is
patrolling sensitive areas. President Jacob Zuma also set up an
interministerial committee to investigate the attacks.

Yet South African authorities’ response had a “split personality”,
according to Dr Loren Landau, head of Wits University’s Forced
Migrations Studies Programme.

“On the one side they are serious. The military was called in. On the
other they say it’s criminal, an active plot to steal South Africa’s
glory after the ŠWorldÆ Cup.”

Hundreds of the estimated three million Zimbabweans in South Africa have
streamed across the border since last week. The country’s Movement for
Democratic Change party claimed hundreds of distressed Zimbabweans had
called it. Shelters were also put up at the Beit Bridge border post,
South Africa’s main crossing with Zimbabwe.

Mozambique’s foreign affairs minister branded the attacks “a serious
threat”. Media reports carried headlines about the xenophobic threats
that “have become a reality”.

However, Mozambican migrant workers are staying put, with movement
through the border even lower than usual.

“There is little movement,” Mozambique’s Komatipoort border post head
Orlando Cossa told Sapa.

“I don’t know why, but it’s lower.”

An estimated 60,000 Mozambicans work in South Africa’s mines and on
farms. Around 1270 Mozambican nationals returned home through
Komatipoort a day in the first half of July. This figure stayed the same
even after Mozambicans were attacked at Kya Sands, said Cossa. During
the 2008 violence, up to 4000 Mozambicans crossed the border in one day.
Among those who did return, it was hard to find someone who were afraid
of renewed violence.

“The Mozambicans aren’t anxious,” said Aida Margarida Moneres, 23, who
had visited her husband in Witbank. “My husband is very calm. Even now
he won’t come.”

Many Mozambicans expressed their faith in the South African authorities’
handling of the issue.

“The South African government took steps to prevent the attacks,” said
Pedro Matsinhe.

“I believe things have changed... In 2008 Mbeki was surprised. Now there
is a lot of info.”

Landau disagrees. Since 2008 authorities have not addressed the root
problems that caused the attacks in the first place.

“Government has not been successful in addressing xenophobia. They seem
unwilling to realise that it is rooted in the local population.

“The South African identity has an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ aspect,” he
continued, something authorities have been avoiding since the end of the
Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1998.

Yet Landau does not think violence will escalate as it did two years ago.

“There will be some violence to keep the threat credible. But the threat
will just be there. It will always be there.”

- Sapa

Govt slack in tackling xenophobia: Mushwana
INet Bridge, Sapa, 22 July 2010

A slack response from state departments on tackling xenophobic violence
is 'frustrating' the SA Human Rights Commission, says Lawrence Mushwana.

Govt slack in tackling xenophobia: Mushwana

A slack response from government departments on tackling xenophobic
violence is "frustrating" the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), its
chairman Lawrence Mushwana told MPs on Wednesday.

Mushwana told Parliament's portfolio committee on justice that
government departments had simply not responded to the recommendations
contained in a xenophobia report released by the SAHRC in March.

"When the report was launched all various departments were there," he said.

"They made an undertaking that in a month's time they were going respond.

"They were going to tell us what steps they were taking to implement
some of the recommendations so that come another outbreak of xenophobia,
we would be ready.

"But we had to write every time. It was only in my last attempt during
June, that was when we started receiving the first response.

"This makes things difficult for us." Mushwana said the commission's
task was to check whether the government had "put systems in place" to
prevent an outbreak of xenophobic violence similar to 2008, but that the
responses had been apathetic.

"We compile some of the reports. We make recommendations. We bring them
here. We write. But no one answers."

Mushwana said he had asked one director general to provide feedback on
the SAHRC's recommendations, but he was still waiting.

"When I briefed the security cluster last week, I raised the same issue.

"One minister complained that some of the recommendations don't relate
to her department.

"I said your DG who attended the launch of the report raised the same
issue. We called upon the person to write to us, but up to today nothing
has come.

"It is frustrating on our part. We can only monitor. We check what
government has done."

Mushwana, who was in Parliament to present the SAHRC's xenophobia report
to the committee, said the largest problem the government faced was in
determining the causes of violence against foreigners.

"Until we know what is causing, we will not be able to solve it," he said.

Xenophobia downplayed, but government quietly taking it seriously
THE government may have chosen to deny the existence of xenophobic
violence but was better prepared for it than in 2008.
WILSON JOHWA Business Day 22 July 2010

THE government may have chosen to deny the existence of xenophobic
violence but was better prepared for it than in 2008, says Gerald Kraak,
South African head of the US foundation Atlantic Philanthropies.

After the 2008 attacks it commissioned a study whose authors ascribed
xenophobic tension in SA to the lack of social and economic transformation .

Yesterday, Mr Kraak said that despite blaming criminals for the attacks
on foreigners, the authorities were better prepared than they were two
years ago, when 62 people were killed in attacks on foreigners.

“This time, even though they publicly play down xenophobia, they take it
seriously,” he said yesterday.

His comments came after reports that Doctors Without Borders — better
known by its French name Medecins San Frontieres (MSF) — had moved into
Kya Sands township in Johannesburg, the scene of clashes between
foreigners and locals on Monday night.

MSF had been working in central Johannesburg and in Musina, providing
Zimbabweans seeking refuge in SA with medical care and mental- health

At least 16 people, mostly foreigners, have been attacked during the
past two days and about 12 people were arrested in connection with
xenophobic skirmishes.

The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in SA welcomed the arrests but
said there was a need to assess the situation so that violence did not
erupt again as soon as the law enforcement authorities left .

In Parliament, Lawrence Mushwana, of the South African Human Rights
Commission, spoke of the difficulties the commission faced in trying to
get responses from the government on a report it had compiled on the
2008 attacks, and how to prevent them from happening again.

He said some government departments had responded by saying it had
nothing to do with them. “We compile some of the reports. We make
recommendations. We bring them here. We write. But no one answers,” said
Mr Mushwana.

“Until we know what is causing (this), we will not be able to solve it…
Is it crime? Is it xenophobia? What is the thinking behind it? They are
here to take our jobs? Is it socio-economic?” he asked.

Meanwhile, the satirical website lampooned the government’s
approach to the attacks.

Quoting fictional Zimbabwean car guard “Scapegoat Mawhiri”, it wrote:
“Now that I know that they were just criminals and not xenophobes, my
ruptured eyeball feels much better.

“When they come for me again on Friday night I will greet them with a
cheery ‘Hello Africa, tell me how you doin’!’ and then reflect on the
wonders of ubuntu while they stand on my head and carry off my chest-
freezer.” With Sapa

HSRC: Statement by Udesh Pillay, Human Sciences Research Council
spokesperson, on xenophobia, service delivery and the social legacy of
the 2010 World Cup (22/07/2010)

Creamer Media Reporter Statements 22 July 2010

Recent allegations of xenophobic attacks on foreigners have the
potential to undermine South Africa's constitutional democracy and the
social legacy of the 2010 World Cup. If government does not act swiftly
and decisively - after sound diagnostic analysis - this unique moment
could potentially be lost, says Dr Udesh Pillay, who heads up the
Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery research programme at the
Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), in the following statement:

The recent World Cup provided South Africa with a unique opportunity to
deliver on its development mandate a united and more reconciled nation.
The sense of pride and patriotism that the event engendered, and the
opportunity that was seemingly maximised for nation-building,
constituted a sound platform to address our development challenges in a
spirit of goodwill and common intent. President Zuma has affirmed this
on numerous occasions.

However, service delivery unrest a day after the event, followed by a
wave of alleged xenophobic attacks, have somewhat undermined this
impetus. If government does not act swiftly and decisively - after sound
diagnostic analysis - this unique moment could potentially be lost.

Equally, challenges around job creation, poverty mitigation, crime and
corruption - likely to again prominently feature on the national agenda
now that the World Cup is over - will require government to act with
resolve and determination. Bold and unambiguous leadership will be required.

While the reasons for the alleged xenophobic attacks are many and
complex, they are in essence about a competition over scarce resources
like basic services, jobs, livelihoods and houses. If in our townships
and informal settlements impoverished and destitute local residents
co-exist geographically with foreigners who have access to jobs,
services and entrepreneurial opportunities, the potential for violent
attacks on foreigners increases.

This is compounded by the fact that South Africans - because of our
political history perhaps - often practice a form of exclusionary
(rather than super-ordinate) African nationalism. It is often the case
that South Africans feel superior to our African counterparts,
engendering a process of psychological categorisation along the way.

Whether the alleged attacks are xenophobic in nature, or random criminal
incidents, in order to protect our young constitutional democracy and
sustain the World Cup momentum, the government needs to put in place
immediate strategies for intervention and/or mitigation. At the same
time the government should fast-tracks the roll-out of basic services,
accelerate job creation, put more effective measures in place to
mitigate poverty, upgrades informal settlements and creates livelihood

Relative deprivation is at the root of the problem and 15 years later,
we have yet to make sufficient inroads in addressing these challenges.
For residents who continue at each election to give government a
resounding mandate to deliver this must be very frustrating and a source
of much anger. Foreigners then become a soft target.

Analysis: Xenophobia, a sign of our own deep failure
Daily Maverick 22 July 2010

It’s easy to claim that xenophobia, that any attacks or attitudes
against people who are foreign-born, is due to events beyond our
control. The fact is, the attitudes and events we’re seeing now are
caused very much by events we can control. In short, xenophobic
attitudes only exist because we’re stuffing up.

Xenophobia often has its roots in pseudo-facts, in things people claim
to be true, but often are not. An example, many Britons think
immigration should be limited because their country is becoming too
crowded - too many people are arriving on their little island. In fact,
while Britain does gain a few more people every year, it’s a very
negligible number. It sounds contrary to popular opinion, but when you
take into account how many Brits there are in Australia, the US, Spain
and New Zealand, it starts to make sense. In South Africa it’s often
claimed that “millions” of Zimbabweans are living here illegally. We
simply don’t know how many.

There’s another corollary to all of this. In the UK attitudes against
immigrants began to harden in the late 1990s for two reasons. The
immigrants were Muslim and thus publicly identifiable, that is they
looked different and were easy to identify as “they”, and because of a
huge IT disaster at the British home office. When the administration
decided to computerise a paper-based process for deciding asylum claims,
thousands of people were left outside the system. Because EU human
rights law forbade Britain from just throwing them out, a public
perception grew that there were hundreds of thousands of people
illegally in the country. That simply wasn’t true.

In South Africa, a very similar thing has happened. Because our home
affairs department has been so incompetent for so long, it’s difficult
to know who’s here legally and who’s not. While that really shouldn’t
matter when it comes to plotting violence (in that all violence is
wrong), in the minds of those of an anti-foreigner state of mind, it
strengthens their case.

At the same time, because of government policies, because our elected
officials haven’t thought this through properly, foreigners have been
treated as, well, foreigners. Not as people, not as people like us who
just look and speak differently. This sort of thing starts with legal
definitions. Like the Race Registration Act, once you start saying that
legally this person is different to that person, you lay the basis for
discrimination, legal and otherwise. You would have thought this
government would have learnt that lesson from history.

Around the world, when the going gets tough it’s those with get up and
go, with education and resources, who are the first to leave a place.
And that’s definitely happened in Zimbabwe, which has lost its educated
middle classes. Some have gone to the UK, but many have come here. And
yes, it’s true that when they move into Alexandra and are able to make
more money than South Africans, resentment builds. As deputy president
Kgalema Motlanthe observed during the first “outbreak” of xenophobia in
2008, Alex was always the place where this would happen “because you
have so many people living so close together, from so many different
places”. He should know, he grew up there.

But there’s another aspect to this. These people move to Alex first
because it’s cheap and close to work. But they’re forced to stay there
because they cannot do the kind of work for which they’re qualified.

South Africa has copied some of the worst mistakes of European
countries. Asylum seekers are allowed in, but not allowed to work. And
in a country with a skills crisis, that’s just stupid. Think about how
it is that so many job applicants will be expected to provide proof of
South African citizenship. Or how no one even blushes when top jobs like
that of national rugby coach or the head of the SABC are advertised with
the proviso that “only South Africans need apply”. What you are left
with are waiters who can diagnose that your spectacles are too weak, or
a gardener who should be doing your company’s books. A lack of skills is
a handbrake on the economy. Instead of allowing skills to move into our
country, we’ve only allowed people in. Sorta stupid, don't you think?

The fact is that, if we’re honest, we have tolerated a culture that
holds that “from here good, not from here bad”. It runs very, very deep.
From the fact that illegal immigrants are called ATMs by our police
officers, because of the ease with which they can shake them down for a
bribe or they’ll “lose” their papers, to the way we all know the people
we pass with stitches in their eyes at robots are foreign. We all know,
that to paraphrase that well-known foreign-born Cape prime minister,
Cecil John Rhodes: To be born South African is to win first prize in
life. Even the phrase “illegal immigrants” is an indication of how deep
this rubbish runs.

And yet if you stop for a moment, is there any logical reason, any
rational grounds to say that someone who was born in a different
geographic space to someone else should have fewer rights? Aren’t they
called human rights for a reason? There really is no basis to say that
some people qualify for this or that because they have a certain piece
of paper. Anyone arguing otherwise is simply a chauvinist, and yes, we
are saying that means they’re prejudiced.

Xenophobia is a headache for everyone. It shows up the huge problems in
our society. It demonstrates the very real anger there is on our
streets. Like “service delivery” protests, it’s really about something
else. It’s about a population which has run out of patience, a
population which has lost hope. It’s about the lack of real change to
their lives. It’s about how there is no other way to draw attention to
their own suffering.

Xenophobia in South Africa is a sign that our politics, our very
democracy itself, is failing.

By Stephen Grootes

(Grootes is an Eyewitness News reporter)
Thursday 22 July, 2010

Call for special courts in xenophobia cases
Natasha Prince (Staff Reporter) 22 July 2010

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has recommended that
the government set up special courts to deal with xenophobia-related cases.

The commission made this recommendation to Parliament's portfolio
committee on justice and constitutional development yesterday when it
presented its findings on research into the aftermath of the 2008
xenophobic attacks.

It recommended ways of dealing with similar incidents in the future.

The national report is titled "Report on the rule of law, justice and
impunity: institutional responses to the 2008 violence against

It was based on information gathered in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the
Western Cape, and focused on how "impunity undermines the rule of law".

In the Western Cape, the research was conducted in Masiphumelele.

Among the critical issues listed by the SAHRC's Joyce Tlou was the need
for special dedicated courts, "like the ones we had for the World Cup".
Tlou told the Cape Argus that it was merely a recommendation which could
assist in the event of another violent xenophobic outbreak similar to
the attacks of May 2008.

A hotline, including a widely publicised central number people could
call, was recommended to assist as an early warning system.

The report found that victims of xenophobia had not received proper
justice because there were so few convictions related to the attacks.

The report said cases related to the 2008 attacks were hindered by
delays brought on by case flow management, a shortage of investigators,
reduced forensic and court capacity, as well as a lack of available

It also found that there was a poor relationship between the affected
communities, police and the judicial system.

Confidence in the system was undermined because the police were seen as
unresponsive, with some of them being labelled corrupt and co-operative
with local criminals.

Tlou said that the accusations levelled against police were "dangerous"
because they diminished confidence in the police.

The report also noted that foreigners raised incidences of misconduct
among police.

"Although individuals raised it, when we followed it up no cases were
opened (with the Independent Complaints Directorate)."

The report also found that:

# Reintegration of those displaced did "not occur consistently, or
sustainably", and was not adequately monitored.

# Some progress was made in light of possible future attacks, but effort
needed to be made to maintain the progress.

# Security forces were not able to stop the attacks from spreading
before people were displaced and property destroyed.

The commission recommended that the police and the SA Defence Force
develop guidelines for future co-operative service.

They said there was a need for police to "boost deployment of back-up
units in social conflict situations".

* This article was originally published on page 9 of Cape Argus on
July 22, 2010

OTHER WAYS of writing and reading our times
Thoughtleader Tinyiko Sam Maluleke 22 July 2010

I could die soon…

There is no strange car with tinted windows tailing my red Toyota. No
tall and burly mafioso tracking my movements. My telephone has not been
bugged (I hope). None of my three dogs have been slain and hung by my
gate. No one, save my few friends and small family, know who I am and
where I live. Like most people, I am famous among my friends. I have not
arranged with anyone for assistance with my own death. To the best of my
knowledge, nothing of significance stands to be gained or inherited from
my premature death. My last physical fight — in which I was so
thoroughly panel beaten I had to withdraw from society for a week — was
when I was at primary school. Since then, the organs most useful for the
fights I have been drawn into have all been located above my shoulders.
A few times, I have, owing to my very argumentative nature, been
threatened with physical harm by people who would be so upset with me
they would not care to listen to any more of my explanations. At such
times I have always chosen the tried and tested survival strategy of the
weak, which is to run. You should see me sprint! Caster would be proud
of me.

And yet in recent times I have had more reason to be worried about
physical harm to the point of fearing for my life. I read a newspaper
column on xenophobia recently by Jacob Dlamini whose fame includes the
book Native Nostalgia. His newspaper article “ANC fiddles while
xenophobic sentiment swirls” made me realise, once again, how vulnerable
I and my offspring are to death by any of the killing methods used to
eliminate non-South African Africans. Before you suspect me of strange
job-stealing habits, mysterious muti-inspired entrepreneurship abilities
or unpalatable bodily odours, let me hasten to say that I am as South
African as anyone born in Soweto of parents and great grandparents whose
parents hail from no country other than the beloved South Africa.

And yet I have a serious handicap, a grave disadvantage and a “dark
secret”. I am Mutsonga — a so-called “Shangaan”. I speak Xitsonga also
called “Shangaan” — “Shangaan” having become a dangerous, pejorative
term of stigma. Dlamini tells of how he recently witnessed two South
Africans verbally abusing a Mozambican and telling him to go back home.
Dlamini then warned that these South Africans could face arrest. But his
interlocutors assured him not to worry since the police were themselves
— and I quote him — “just as fed up with the Shangaans which is an
omnibus term for a foreigner in Katlehong regardless of whether a
foreigner speaks Shangaan or not” — end of quote.

For obvious reasons, I have been trying hard to understand the logic of
South African anti-Shangaanism in particular and South African
xenophobia in general. The warped and dangerous logic works like this.
If you are “Shangaan” it is assumed that you are a Mozambican. If you
are originally from Mozambique, it is assumed that you are “Shangaan”.
And yet not all Mozambicans are “Shangaans” and not all “Shangaans” are
Mozambican. Yet, if you are “Shangaan” you join the swelling lower ranks
of humanity — the ugly, the bad, the dull, the dirty and the suspect —
alongside “your like” are the Nigerians, Zimbabweans, Congolese, Somalis
and others. For these “lower-ranked humans” there are several collective
terms. Sometimes they are all called “Shangaans” collectively. At other
times they are called “Makwerekwere” or “Grigambas” — terms probably
meant to depict the “noises” these people make instead of speaking
“normal” languages.

But how has it come about that being a so-called “Shangaan”, a person of
Mozambican, Zimbabwean or Malawian origin (whether you are a naturalised
South African or not) is rendered one less than human? As a youngster
growing up in Soweto I suffered grave verbal and physical abuse for no
other reason than being “Shangaan”. I have suffered even from some of my
best and presumably enlightened friends!

To see these sentiments returning with deadly consequences after 1994
has been one of the most depressing and frightful things for me. Of the
more than 60 recorded deaths in the 2008 xenophobic attacks, up to a
third were South Africans and many of those were so-called “Shangaans”.
Clearly this phenomenon is one of the legacies of apartheid’s racial and
ethnic classification. For this reason the “Shangaans” and the
“Kwerekweres” are identifiable not only by their inability to “speak”
but by their “looks” as well — very dark, “primitive” and most unkempt.
These sentiments are of course a load of nonsense. But these have become
more than nonsensical sentiments. They are dangerous. And the police —
as Dlamini warns in his article — are not always helpful. How many times
have we heard of police turning a blind eye when a “Grigamba” is
attacked? How many times have we heard of the police arresting South
Africans and sending them back to Zimbabwe or Mozambique just because
they looked too black to be South African?

And so having escaped death in the Soweto unrest of 1976; having
survived a particularly bad and brutal beating by apartheid police;
having worked long and hard with the banned, the wanted and the
“terrorists” of yesteryear — at grave personal risk in Namakgale
(Phalaborwa) — and having led and survived the rough ungovernability of
Tembisa (in the East Rand) in the 1980s, I could finally meet my death soon.

I will be walking down a street in Zone 4 Meadowlands, Soweto — place of
my birth and youth. Or will it be in Ivory Park where my brother lives?
It could be in Tembisa where I have many friends and family. It will
start with a small group of youngsters standing on a street corner. When
they see me coming, they will start chanting. “Shangaan! Shangaan!
Shangaan!” That code word will be enough to summon other xenophobes to
emerge. And how will they know that I am “Shangaan”? Because of the way
I walk? The way I run? The way I smell? The shape of my nose and the
tone of my skin? My inability to speak Zulu and Afrikaans properly? But
I speak all eleven of South Africa’s languages, I will shout. I will
tell them of my wonderful contributions to academia, to the communities.
The kids I have put through school, schools I have helped found and
school-governing bodies I have chaired. Who will listen to me?

I see the growing crowd encircling me, baying for my blood, buoyed by
the chilling soundtrack of “Shangaan” chants in the background. Will I
kneel before my killers? Will I plead for my life like the necklace
victims of the 1980s? Will I feel the thud of the first brick bumping
off my thick “Shangaan” skull? Will I sneeze when the smell of petrol
rises up my “Shangaan” nostrils as they pour it over me in preparation
for the inevitable? Will I make a last-ditch effort to escape — dashing
through the crowd like a mad bull — only to invite a rain of kicks,
stabs and beatings? Eventually, engulfed in a vibrant, flaming fire, I
will do the Ernesto dance — the death dance of the Mozambican man who
was burnt to death in May 2008.

Xenophobia is not a threat against foreigners. It is a threat against
me, and you. It threatens the very foundations of our country and our
shared humanity.

Xenophobia: Yet another threat to the power of myths
Jazmin Acuna and Kindiza Ngubeni (Thoughtleader) 22 July 2010

Violence in society is like a crack in a mirror. The crack distorts the
image of us, and we become ambiguous. Un-unified. Like the mirror’s
crack, violence destroys the fabric that unites people, thus eliminating
the possibility of togetherness. South African history speaks at length
of the harm that divisions cause, and when sustained with violence, the
damage is often irreversible. Yet, when one thinks that the lesson
should have been learned, we find ourselves surrounded by fear and
suspicion of threats of attacks against the newest enemy on the menu:
foreigners. Puzzled, we wonder what turns ordinary people into killers.
Again we overhear people bringing up the “culture of violence” argument,
which, if not outright misleading, is only partially true at best.
Beyond this type of justification for any outburst of violence in this
country, there lies an unexplored driving force that allows people to
commit the most heinous acts against equals: myths. “Before we make war
or weapons, we make an idea of the enemy”, suggests Sam Keen, the
narrator of the film Faces of the Enemy. Indeed, Sam. Indeed.

Myths serve multiple purposes. They can rally some people behind ideas
of a common identity as much as they can trigger others to engage in
violence to avenge their sense of disentitlement. As of today, myths
about foreigners and the attacks themselves have (mis)informed people in
South Africa and marred a better picture of reality. For instance, when
the media frames the attacks as solely xenophobic, the violent targeting
of South Africans is misrecognised. Arbitrarily, certain stories are
chosen to make generalisations of the situation of thousands of migrants
in this country. South Africans, who, day in and day out, fought in the
struggle for liberation from apartheid, find themselves scrapping for
work in the volatile neoliberal market. In the middle of the evening
dark, frustrated and angry that another empty day will come to dash any
hope of a better future, South Africans wonder: Why? While enduring the
Johannesburg cold of mid-July, without electricity and running water,
they envisage a scope of possibilities that look anything but promising.
More questions. No answers. The intoxicating euphoria of 1994 has been
replaced by an emasculating sense of betrayal. And in this rough scheme
of circumstances, the strange foreigner comes to steal jobs, wives,
houses, dignities. The success of one Ethiopian is the reason for the
failure of all unemployed South Africans, so the myth goes. It spreads.
Like fire, it spreads and it kills.

Amid passersby’ whispers commenting on the-have-you-heard-of story of
the day, the news headlines foretelling the doomed future and the
impromptu talks of talks about talks among stakeholders and
over-empowered officials, little has been said about some key issues at
stake that can demystify the mystified. The linkages among people
involved in the attacks transgress the very national boundaries that are
accused as the main cause of violence. Reality check: South Africans
that engage in violent attacks against foreigners have more in common
with those they attack than with those that they choose in the ballots.
South Africans, Zimbabweans or Mozambicans in squatter camps and
townships are equally the victims of a negligent system that denies them
basic rights. When listening to the concerns and demands of the sides
involved in the 2008 attacks, one can see that their worries have common
ground: the pressing desire to live a better life, a desire that cannot
be taken away from anybody on accounts of race, gender or nationality.

Some would argue that the South African state is unable to provide for
all. However, asking the question of why migrants come to this country
in the first place can unpack a whole new set of issues that must be
addressed. While South Africans enjoy their well-deserved political
freedoms, many also choose to remain blissfully ignorant of the
situation in neighbouring Zimbabwe, forgetting that only decades ago
Zimbabwe had an important role in bringing down the minority government
in South Africa. While Robert Mugabe stubbornly holds on to his seat of
power, it should come as no surprise that hundreds decide to cross the
borders every day to escape a (mis)rule that should have expired years
ago. Whether South Africa has a role in the political situation of
Zimbabwe is open to endless discussion, but the political affairs of a
country affect the social, and social issues defy imagined national
boundaries. The Zimbabwean that reaches the streets of Johannesburg or
Cape Town has a story to tell that resonates with the same feelings of
disempowered South Africans whose dream of the rainbow nation has not
been fulfilled. Perhaps the time has come to start speaking the human
rights’ language that permeates the 1996 Constitution for what it is:
human. Given its history and as the most powerful country on the
continent, South Africa has the responsibility to protect what is human
through all means available. The problems of Zimbabweans are the
problems of South Africans, and this is no myth.

Once we challenge the myths that fuel the violence, we realise that
foreigners and nationals who are victims of attacks are only scapegoats.
In a way, it is in the best interests of those in power that the “poor
peoples’ conflict” on the streets remains. The sensationalist momentum
of xenophobia takes the spotlight away from officials’ utter inability
to deliver their promises. It is about time we change the lenses through
which we view the violence that takes place in this country. It is the
myths that are killing us and taking us further way from fighting the
right fight — a fight, nonetheless, that will no longer be resolved with
violence. For when it comes to violence, no space should be allowed for
ambiguity, contextualisation or hesitance. This fight requires we uplift
South Africa’s democracy, which will only occur with appropriate
grassroots participation of those today lost in a myopic, myth-driven

# Jazmin Acuna and Kindiza Ngubeni are with the peacebulding programme
at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in Johannesburg

Call xenophobia by its right name: When is a xenophobic attack not a xenophobic attack?
When it happens in SA.

DENZIL TAYLOR Business Day 22 July 2010

When is a xenophobic attack not a xenophobic attack? When it happens in SA.

Mozambique is calling the recent attacks on foreigners in SA by its name
— so too is Zimbabwe, Malawi and a few other African countries. They are
calling it xenophobia. Those at the heart of the recent and present
violence are calling it xenophobia.

The flow of Zimbabweans into SA has, probably for the first time in
years, been turned around and people are now moving in greater numbers
north across the border.

Mozambique says it is preparing for the return from SA of some of its
citizens who are fleeing the violence targeted against them. In various
provinces — the Western Cape and now Gauteng — immediately after the
last World Cup game foreigners started packing their belongings and
either headed for places of safety or made arrangements to head back home.

Xenophobic violence is the worst kind of publicity for SA. It is no
wonder that authorities are calling it everything but xenophobia. The
new word is thuggery.

More worrying is that our media have fallen prey to “managing” the
facts. The SABC news departments have virtually dropped the word from
their news bulletins.

In all the early morning bulletins on Morning Live on Wednesday the word
xenophobia was not used once while describing the attacks.

And so now the events leading to the “uneasy calm” in Kya Sands is being
referred to as thuggery …. And what exactly is an “uneasy calm”?

It is an injustice to the people affected. It is an injustice to South
Africans who are not being told the truth about these attacks. It is an
injustice to our neighbours when we call the violence against them by
any other name but xenophobia.

We owe it to the world to deal with these issues — no matter how
difficult, violent and damaging to our image as a country. Was it
that interviewed a South African who said he would be engaged in the
violence because foreign nationals were enjoying the benefits of a free
SA while he was not? And that is it, right there!

One does not need analysts to inform us about this — it is the economy,
related unemployment and our historic past all thrown together into one
large pot, which over time is boiling over. It is entrenched poverty,
disillusionment with local government representatives and service
delivery that never materialises.

So let’s not call it thuggery, for that is an insult to those who are
facing the brunt of this violence. It is an insult to our neighbours and
their nationals.

Let’s stand up as a nation, own up to it, and say how we are going to
deal with it.

Denzil Taylor

Limpopo Youth Commission (LYC) comments Musina as a leading example of
"non-violence against foreign nationals"

Issued by: National Youth Development Agency 22 July 2010

As we continue to celebrate the Moral Regeneration Month, the Limpopo
Youth Commission would like to show appreciation to all young people in
the province who continue to be able to live hand in hand with other
foreign nationals.

The youth of Limpopo have refused to behave unlawfully; instead they
continue to portray the true African spirit of Ubuntu. They have done so
by refusing to engage themselves in unlawful xenophobic activities
against foreign nationals.

We want to commend and applaud young people of Musina; a town which lies
12 kilometres South of Beit Bridge for the manner in which they have
been able to accommodate our brothers and sisters from other African

The Beit Bridge border post which lies between Zimbabwe and South Africa
continues to experience a high influx of foreign nationals on daily
basis yet young people in the area have been able to tolerate each other
amidst fears and reports of xenophobia in other parts of the country.

As the LYC, we believe that criminals who are masquerading as jobless
South Africans are taking advantage of the fears that are being reported
in the media to carry out their illicit acts.

The continuous generosity and willingness of young people to help
misplaced kids, offering them various services through non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) and civic movements should be applauded as good
initiatives in nation building and curbing crime.

As the commission, we would like to urge young people in the province to
continue living in harmony with nationals from other countries. We also
want to dismiss the notion of xenophobia as these are just simple acts
of criminals against our brothers and sisters.

The youth of Limpopo should continue to learn from the youth of Musina
who have been welcoming to foreign nationals in their town. The spirit
of tolerance should prevail amongst us all.

For more information contact:
Thembi Siweya
Tel: 015 287 6658 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 015 287
6658 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Fax: 015 295 7667
Cell: 072 879 1418 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 072 879
1418 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Issued by: National Youth Development Agency
22 Jul 2010

Magazine sorry for 'baboon' blog post
Mercury reporter 23 July 2010

South African author RW Johnson is at the centre of a racism row in
which one of the world's leading literary magazines has apologised on
its website for publishing his blog post comparing African migrants to
baboons and black shopkeepers to rottweilers, according to The Guardian

This follows a letter signed by more than 70 academics and writers from
around the world, including the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Patrick Bond.

The newspaper said the apology represented a climbdown for the London
Review of Books, which had originally dismissed the complaint and
refused to publish the letter.

Its editor, Mary-Kay Wilmers, had argued that the signatories had
imagined an "explicit connection" between baboons and migrants that did
not exist in the piece, titled "After The World Cup".

Johnson had written: "We are being besieged by baboons again," before
describing how the apes scavenged for food and had seen off a local
rottweiler that attacked them. In the next paragraph he referred to
African migrants, writing, "they too are here essentially searching for

He went on to relate how dozens of migrants had been murdered at the
instigation of "local black shopkeepers".

Under fire, Wilmers climbed down, saying: "We didn't read it carefully
enough, we didn't see it, we didn't imagine it."

However, she defended Johnson.

"He's not a racist, but he's not always aware of how he comes across. He
went back to South Africa and has done a lot of brave work in Zimbabwe
with the MDC," The Guardian quoted her as saying.

Johnson told the newspaper he had no knowledge of the row. "I would be
astonished at any allegations of racism."

* This article was originally published on page 4 of The Mercury on
July 23, 2010

Premier Zille’s “illegal immigration” statements — A response
Posted by Zackie Achmat in Uncategorized 21 July 2010

Premier Helen Zille has a duty to uphold the Constitution

The country must have a discussion on state-sponsored xenophobia towards
SADC immigrants, refugees and stateless people from all other African
countries. Institutions such as Home Affairs historically have promoted
xenophobia with its failed “deportation” strategy and the reactionary
attitudes of many officials. Similarly, the South African Police Force
have a history of targeting people from other African countries
irrespective of their immigration status. Similarly, the words and
actions of our political leaders count when addressing xenophobia and
migration because their words and deeds feed into our communities. This
post carries a letter by civil society organisations to Premier Zille.
We look forward to her response.

Premier Zille and Mayor Plato often make statements on land invasions
and immigration into the Western Cape that contradicts the right to
freedom of movement and equality. Apartheid laws against migration
(Western Cape Coloured Labour Preference) have long ceased. Time to
catch up.

Zackie Achmat

Helen Zille
Western Cape

Dear Premier Zille

RE: Causes of Xenophobic Violence

Thank you for the ongoing work of the Provincial government in relation
to xenophobic violence.

We are writing in connection with a concern raised by local partners
regarding the minutes of the Premier’s Coordination Forum of 17th and
18th March 2010 – which was posted on the Western Cape Government
website (CapeGateway). In these minutes, point 10.4 records that the
Premier will engage with national government regarding “the urgent need
for a national plan to address the legal control and management of
illegal migration to South Africa which is the underlying cause of

While we are not sure if this is a point that was correctly minuted, or
if it is a view or action that your office would endorse, we are
sufficiently concerned by the sentiment to draw your attention to this
issue. There is no evidence, nor any research findings, to suggest that
illegal migration is the underlying cause, or indeed, a significant
cause of xenophobia or xenophobic intimidation or violence. In fact, it
is clear that perpetrators of xenophobic violence do not usually
distinguish between those legally in the country and those not. As a
result, it cannot be argued that ‘illegal immigration’ is the primary
cause of the xenophobic violence.

Perceptions of ‘illegal migration’ are indeed a source of popular
discontent but this largely relates to incorrect understanding partly
related to the way immigration policy is communicated rather than the
actual immigration policy itself. ‘Illegal’ or irregular immigration is
something that does need to be addressed but the solution to this is not
to try and ‘seal the border’. It is clear that one of the appropriate
solutions to provide more opportunities for people to enter through
legal channels and to legalise their status in South Africa. The
experience of many countries has shown that irregular migration cannot
be entirely stopped despite various extensive efforts at border control.
Instead, it is clear that one of the solutions is to better manage the
flow of migrants using additional legal channels to ensure that fewer
people remain undocumented and unprotected and therefore enable migrants
to more easily make their valuable contribution to local and regional

Returning to the causes of xenophobic violence, research conducted by
the Forced Migration Studies Programme (FMSP) at Wits University has
shown that the trigger for violence against foreign nationals or other
‘outsiders’ is primarily about competition for both formal and informal
political power as well as economic power. Xenophobic violence in most
cases has thus been the result of local leaders mobilising people to
attack foreign nationals or other ‘outsiders’ as a means of
strengthening their power in the local area. I have attached a recent
Policy Brief on the subject which can help inform intervention plans.

The same research noted that violence occurred in areas where there were
high levels of economic deprivation, high levels of language diversity
(including South African languages), high levels of informal housing and
an above average percentage of male residents. The areas where violence
occurred were not the areas with the highest rates of absolute poverty,
the highest unemployment rate or the highest number of foreign nationals.

Whilst migration poses many challenges for government structures in
terms of the numbers of people requiring access to services, it must be
noted that most of South Africa’s migration is by South Africans moving
within the country. This poses the same challenges in terms of access to
resources as well as mobilisation by local leaders against those
perceived to be ‘outsiders’ to the area.

In summary, therefore, whilst it is widely acknowledged that immigration
reform is needed to improve South Africa’s management of migration in
order to better utilise migration as a development tool, we need to be
extremely cautious in suggesting that illegal or irregular migration is
the primary cause of xenophobic violence – as these action minutes
referred to seem to indicate. Tackling xenophobic violence and violence
against other ‘outsiders’ is more about strengthening structures of
governance and rule of law than tackling irregular migration.

As a means of providing suggestions of concrete action, we have attached
a list of recommendations CoRMSA sent to the Inter-Ministerial Committee
regarding proposed actions required to tackle xenophobic threats and
violence. Point 3 notes the valuable role the Office of the Premier has
played in developing some capacity for conflict resolution.

Thank you for your attention in noting these concerns and
recommendations. We hope the content of this letter as well as the two
attached documents is useful in your efforts to address threats and
outbreaks of xenophobic violence.

Yours sincerely
Duncan Breen
Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA)
Endorsed by:
· Africa Unite
· African Disabled Refugee Organisation
· Agency for Refugee Education, Skills Training and Advocacy (ARESTA)
· Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention
· Ikwa Kuthi Research and Advocacy
· Legal Resources Centre
· Mamelani Projects
· National Welfare Centre
· People Against Xenophobia
· Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town
· Social Justice Coalition
· Sonke Gender Justice
· Southern African Media and Gender Institute
· SynergyWORKS
· The Black Sash Trust
· The Trauma Centre

‘There is nothing before my eyes’: Informal settlements and ‘land invasions’
Zackie Achmat blog, Writing Rights

Premier Helen Zille’s argument about Black people “invading land” in the
Western Cape is chilling. This argument reminds me of the way that the
apartheid government looked at Black people and conducted forced removals.

The Constitutional Court said this of the DA Cape Metro government in
the Grootboom case. “18 May 1999, at the beginning of the cold, windy
and rainy Cape winter, the respondents were forcibly evicted at the
municipality’s expense. This was done prematurely and inhumanely:
reminiscent of apartheid-style evictions. The respondents’ homes were
bulldozed and burnt and their possessions destroyed. Many of the
residents who were not there could not even salvage their personal

This inhumanity that the Constitutional Court addressed in Grootboom
characterises the ethos of the DA administrations. Dustin Kramer traces
the argument of “land invasions” back to colonial dispossession.

Zackie Achmat

‘There is nothing before my eyes’: Informal settlements and ‘land invasions’
By Dustin Kramer

There is a story about a king who – on being told that the accepted
doctrine of the earth being flat was to be challenged by science –
proclaimed, “do you really expect me to believe what I see with my own
eyes?!” Recently, leader of the DA and Premier of the Western Cape,
Helen Zille, published a response to what has been dubbed ‘the toilet
wars’ – the controversy over the installation of open-air toilets in
Makhaza, Khayelitsha. Yet, her response actually speaks beyond the
‘wars’ to the broader framework that characterises the City of Cape
Town’s approach to the reality of informal settlements.

Rhodes, Komani and Rikhotso

According to Zille’s response, the majority of “these settlements are
the consequence of land invasions”, and a “lack of planning” means that
these invasions have to be “retrofitted” in terms of services. To
understand the meaning of ‘land invasions’, it is imperative to take a
historical perspective – for the invasions of which Zille speaks are
part of a long history of the struggle for social justice in South
Africa. Indeed, the attempts to control African urbanisation and the
fights against it have been one of the pre-eminent dimensions of those

It was Cecil Rhodes, who as prime minister of the Cape Colony, pushed
through what would become possibly the most serious precursor to
Apartheid legislation in terms of dealing with Black urbanisation – the
infamous 1894 Glen Grey Act. Everything that came after such as the 1913
Native Land Act, and the array of subsequent ‘high Apartheid’
legislation in terms of Verwoerd’s ‘separate development’ and influx
control, built on what had been established through Rhodes’s Glen Grey.
That one piece of legislation, relating to a small area of the Eastern
Cape, made full ownership of land for Black Africans almost impossible,
centralised all control over that land within the White authority, and
introduced labour taxation that would further force people into labour
and off the productive land that was remained in Black hands. In other
words, this was the formal beginning of attempts to control Black
urbanisation, and it is not far-fetched to imagine Rhodes claiming that
migration into urban areas by Black Africans amounted to invasion of
land – in fact, it would be no surprise to find that Rhodes did say
something along these lines.

Yet, on the other side of this relationship, the fact of urbanisation
and migration in Cape Town and elsewhere has been the foremost area of
struggle for social justice. In 1975 and 1981, the Komani, and Rikhotso
cases for instance were milestones in terms of challenging the National
Party government in this regard. Mr Komani’s battle was simply for the
right for his wife to live with him in the city. Mr Rikhotso was to
challenge the contradictory law that required black South Africans to
work for an employer continuously for 10 years in order to gain
residential rights, but at the same time, forced them to take annual
leave, thereby preventing them from ever gaining those residential rights.

What was at stake then, were not just political rights to freedom, but
also salvaging what was left of family life that had been destroyed
through migrant labour, and visions of a better life beyond the small
patches of land that Verwoerd had envisioned would contain an entire
population. Ultimately, these were not just legal cases, but like the
many millions who took similar steps, the act itself of taking the
journey and settling in Cape Town was a political one.

Figments of our imagination

Do informal settlements exist? According to both the DA and former ANC
local government’s approach, the answer is a resounding ‘no’. Firstly,
there is a severe deficit in dealing with the settlements as they exist
before our eyes, as opposed to how the City would like them to exist.
Recently, a project by the community of one informal settlement was
thwarted by the City for this very reason. Seeing the damage being done
to children in the settlement on a daily basis through the lack of
after-school care, community members decided to open a non-profit
day-care centre.

Funding was acquired, yet halfway through the process the City sent
notice that the structure being erected would be ‘demolished’ as the
community members had illegally ‘invaded’ the land – a piece of land
that was part of the informal settlement, and that they purchased as per
how land in informal settlements is in reality transferred. Just like
the situation where Mr Rikhotso could not reconcile the requirements for
residential rights with the materiality of those requirements, so in
this case, the day-care centre is now trying to overcome being forced to
go through processes such as rezoning on a piece of land where this is
most likely not possible legally.

By declaring a non-profit day-care centre for marginalised children a
“land invasion”, the City has effectively criminalised an internal
community initiative to protect its own children. The reasons given
mainly relate to the City wanting to ‘formalise’ the informal. Yet, this
does not actually address the problem in a substantive way. It rather
deals with the informal settlement in a loosely defined, ad-hoc manner
that ultimately infringes on people’s safety and security, and rights to
dignity and freedom. Consequently, whilst Zille talks about community
‘self-empowerment’, the local government that her party controls thwarts
legitimate attempts at this by the community in the name of a false

Secondly, the approach is entirely ahistorical with regards to the
existence of informal settlements. The largest migration to Khayelitsha
was actually before 1994. Many of the informal settlements that Zille
refers to as “land invasions” have actually existed for close on thirty
years, and realistically they will continue to exist for the foreseeable
future. Is it possible to call a settlement established thirty years
ago, at the height of resistance against Apartheid, a land invasion that
because of bad planning needs to be retrofitted? This is far from the
reality on the ground, and is in and of itself disingenuous. It amounts
to saying that these people simply had nothing better to do, and so
decided to invade a patch of land without proper planning – an absurd
notion when seen in relation to the broader historical struggle.

Finally, where planning has been lacking, is from the local government’s
side. There has continually been a severe lack of both vision and
consultation in dealing with informal settlements in this regard. In
effect, the rights of those that inhabit informal settlements are ‘put
on hold’; as if they can only be addressed once the informal settlements
are gone.

Dealing with materiality

It is impossible to divorce the current struggle of informal settlements
from the previous political struggles for rights and social justice. We
need to move beyond the current situation of playing pretence.

First, local and national government need to accept that informal
settlements do exist, have done so for decades, and in the foreseeable
future will continue to do so. During this time, the rights of people
living there should not be seen as inconsequential, or ‘on hold’ until
such time as formal housing is developed. The South African Constitution
does not provide exceptions to these rights in the case of informal
settlements. On the contrary, that Constitution is there to protect the
most vulnerable in our society.

Second, local and national government need to start developing
appropriate planning mechanisms that are consultative – involving
communities at the local level rather than ‘delivering’ a purely
technocratic, top-down governance. The Makhaza incident is indicative of
both the DA and ANC administrations at different times in Cape Town, and
it provides a stark example of what ensues when consultation is not
affected properly.

Thirdly, citizens must move beyond seeing informal settlements as just
unpleasant sights on the way from the airport, as if they result simply
from people coming and invading ‘our’ Cape Town land. This is
ahistorical, and cannot be reconciled with the reality on the ground.
Ultimately, any development that would be meaningful in terms of
progressing in dealing with informal settlements will result from
partnerships between civil society, government and citizens in general.
This partnership should be built in relation to what we do see before
our eyes – for from Cape Town, the earth does in fact look quite round.

Dustin Kramer is the Treasurer of the Social Justice Coalition. He
writes in his personal capacity.

Somalis targeted, police stoned as mob attacks shops
Khanyi Ndabeni and Gareth Wilson Herald 21 July 2010

A LARGE police contingent was called in to deal with an unruly,
stone-throwing mob of about 400 who attacked a Somali-owned shop in Port
Elizabeth last night.

Residents had earlier threatened to kill a Somali owner before stoning
his spaza shop.

Another Somali shopkeeper, Ibraham Ali Hasson, was slain on Monday night.

He was shot by an unknown number of assailants in the Kuyga, Greenbushes
shop at 10pm. Nothing was stolen.

Last night, police arrived in 15 vans and were deployed in Kuyga after
residents looted a spaza shop owned by Somalis.

Despite only foreigners being targeted, police maintain the incident was
not xenophobic but had “criminal motives”.

Ahmed Abdulahi Braham, owner of Bafana Bafana spaza, was hit in the
mouth by a stone. A violent mob tried to force open his shop by ramming
the door with his bakkie.

“We don’t know why these people attack us,” said another Somali, Mustafa

“I was coming from a funeral of one of the Somalis who was shot
yesterday when I was told to close down the shop because members of the
community are coming to attack us.

“We are now going to take all of our things and go. It is not safe here.
We do not know when they will come back again to kill us,” he said.

Police spokesman Captain Sandra van Rensburg said: “We do not suspect
these attacks to be related to xenophobia at all. We have investigated
the motive and it is alleged that the one Somali fraternity in the area
is using the community to attack other Somali-owned shops in what
appears to be a fight over prices of items.

“We know of one shop owner who has thus far packed up shop and moved all
his goods to a place in Korsten as he feared being looted.”

When The Herald arrived last night, a crowd was stoning Braham’s bakkie
while a group of Somalis guarded the shop.

Police arrived shortly afterwards and asked all foreign shop-owners to
close and leave, but some refused.

Less than an hour later, hundreds of chanting residents began stoning
the police and several vehicles were damaged.

Braham said: “We were scared to lock ourselves in the shop because we
thought they might burn us inside. All we know at this moment is one of
the Somali shop owners influenced people to come and loot our shop. We
don’t know why.”

Police arrested a man after he approached the shops with a gun. “There
were five rounds in the 9mm pistol the guy had on him,” said one
officer. Cases of theft and intimidation have been opened by shop owners.

Meanwhile, troops joined police last night at Kya Sands north of
Johannesburg after 11 people from Zimbabwe and Mozambique were injured
in assaults and clashes on Monday night. Soldiers and police, who held
12 people, camped overnight to maintain order.

A soccer match between Jomo Cosmos and Zimbabwe’s Highlanders, the
“Ubuntu Derby”, takes place in Johannesburg on Sunday to unite Africans
against xenophobia, Action Support Centre said.

Additional reporting by Sapa, Reuters

I just lay there quietly, holding my breath'
Lebogang Seale 21 July 2010

"This is xenophobic water," a woman among a group of residents quipped
as Gauteng Community Safety MEC Khabisi Mosunkutu stepped over the murky
waters gushing through the narrow alleys of the Kya Sand informal
settlement, north-west of Joburg, which has been racked by violence.

But for a Mozambican, Fabian Ngobeni, this was not the time for jokes.
Or to play.

As the MEC and his entourage moved deeper into the settlement,
reassuring residents that the outbreak of violence that left many people
wounded and several spaza shops looted would not recur, Ngobeni escorted
his wife out of the area, heading back to Mozambique.

"My wife is scared, so she's going back home. She has only been here for
four months and she insisted that she wanted to leave," said Ngobeni.

On Monday night, the young couple were forced to take cover underneath
their bed as a rowdy mob tore down their neighbour's shack and hacked
the occupants with weapons.

Unconfirmed reports that a woman had been gang-raped during Monday's
attacks had also reached the couple. The presence of the police did not
reassure them.

"I don't want this to happen to my wife. I was here in 2008 (during the
previous xenophobic violence) and I don't want my wife to die," Ngobeni

Mosunkutu tried to calm the residents, still jittery from Monday night's
violence. Most residents said the relative peace in the settlement was
only temporary, with fears of more attacks mounting.

Most called on the government to deploy the army, claiming the police
were "too soft and friendly".

Among them was Marcia Mocheku, from Marble Hall, Limpopo, who said she
narrowly escaped death while a marauding mob broke into shacks belonging
to her neighbours and attacked them.

To avoid the attacks, Mocheku said she had to pretend there was nobody
inside her shack by removing the padlock outside the door and leaving
the chain dangling.

"I just lay there quietly, holding my breath and making sure I didn't
cough," she said.

The narrow path along her shack was splattered with blood - a stark
reminder of Monday night's vicious attacks.

The police commander for Honeydew, Major-General Oswald Reddy, said that
of the 11 attacks reported, five involved South Africans, four
Zimbabweans and two Mozambicans.

As darkness fell on Tuesday, about 15 vehicles from the army drove into
the area.

Mosunkutu and his Housing and Local Government counterpart, Kgaogelo
Lekgoro, were quick to dismiss xenophobia as the reason behind the attacks.

"This is pure criminal activities. Our assessment of the situation is
clear, and no such thing (as xenophobia) exists here. Not a trace,"
Mosunkutu said.

He added the government would consider the delivery of services such as
electricity in the area as part of a plan to counter the outbreak of

"What I've seen here is thugs robbing residents. They are doing it
against the backdrop of xenophobia, but it's pure thuggery. It's totally
coincidental that the victims happened to be foreigners," Lekgoro said.

At least 10 suspects were arrested on Tuesday after tip-offs from residents.

* This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star on
July 21, 2010

Kya Sands “quiet” after alleged xenophobia
Police were still monitoring a “quiet” Kya Sands today afternoon
following a number of attacks they said were “just crime”, but others
feared were specifically aimed at foreigners
SAPA 21 July 2010

Police were still monitoring a “quiet” Kya Sands today afternoon
following a number of attacks they said were “just crime”, but others
feared were specifically aimed at foreigners.

The army and police were still at the northern Johannesburg settlement,
which bordered an industrial area, but there had been no more violence
or arrests, spokeswoman Captain Katlego Mogale said.

At least 16 people, mostly foreigners had been attacked over the past
two days and about 12 people were arrested in connection with these crimes.

The police are loathe to describe the incidents as xenophobic, but the
robbery and looting of shops owned by foreigners have galvanised NGOs to
raise awareness of xenophobia to avoid a repeat of an outbreak of
violence in 2008.

Gauteng’s community safety MEC Khabisi Mosunkutu was quoted on Tuesday
as saying that xenophobia was not an issue in the attacks.

In Parliament on Wednesday, SA Human Rights Commissioner Lawrence
Mushwana spoke of the difficulties the commission faced in trying to get
responses from government on a report they had compiled on the 2008
attacks, and how to prevent them from happening again.

He said some government departments had responded by saying it had
nothing to do with them.

“We compile some of the reports. We make recommendations. We bring them
here. We write. But no one answers,” said Mushwana.

He continued: “Until we know what is causing [this], we will not be able
to solve it... Is it crime? Is it xenophobia? What is the thinking
behind it? They are here to take our jobs? Is it socio-economic?” he asked.

Xenophobia:Uniting to protect foreigners
Andrew Suderman 21 July 2010

Zimbabweans carry their belongings to community hall (pic by Shelley

Zimbabweans carry their belongings to the community hall (pic by Shelley
A national campaign to combat xenophobia was launched yesterday in a
troubled Cape Town township known for attacks on foreigners. A wide
coalition of church and civil society leaders gathered in Du Noon, near
the city, to sign a pledge of unity against xenophobic violence.

A national campaign to combat xenophobia was launched yesterday in a
troubled Cape Town township known for attacks on foreigners.

A wide coalition of church and civil society leaders gathered in Du
Noon, near the city, to sign a pledge of unity against xenophobic violence.

Organisers hope to collect more than 1million signatures countrywide
within three months.

They plan to host community events in hot spot areas such as Du Noon,
where foreigners have been routinely targeted since the first wave of
xenophobic violence in 2008.

Community shuns anti-xenophobia drive
Hillel Aron Staff Reporter 21 July 2010

An anti-xenophobia initiative got off to a rocky start when residents in
Dunoon, where the programme was launched, refused to sign a pledge
condemning attacks on foreigners.

Unite As One, a collaboration between four NGOs - the Black Sash, the
Scalibrini Centre, People Against Suffering, Suppression, Oppression and
Poverty (Passop) and Sonke - aims to collect one million signatures in
time for African Human Rights Day on October 17. The pledge is not only
to be tolerant of all Africans, but also to "prevent any acts of
xenophobia - intolerance, intimidation or violence; and to report to the
police if any person violates the rights or safety of another".

Dunoon was chosen as the site of the campaign's launch because of its
role as the epicentre of xenophobic violence in 2008. The press were
initially told that volunteers would gather signatures in Dunoon after
the press conference. But it soon became clear that locals had not been
informed, and were not receptive to the programme's goals.

"The people are calm now," said Sarah Gwele, a volunteer for the
community organisation South African National Civic Organisation
(Sanco). "If you get them started, if you mention the name xenophobia,
it's gonna go boom," she said.

Gwele lives in Dunoon with her two children and her husband, who is from

"That's why I'm scared," she said.

Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cape Town Stephen Breslin and Deputy Police
Commissioner Nathi Dladla were among the first to sign the petition,
which volunteers will distribute to schools and churches throughout the
country. People can also sign it online.

Even though he signed the petition, Dladla dismissed recent reports of
xenophobic attacks as "just rumours".

"We haven't received any cases reported to police that are xenophobic
per se," he said.

But a crowd of women standing across the street from where the press
conference was held were not interested in signing anything protecting
them. "They never signed anything to come into this country," said one

Passop's Braam Hanekom was rebuffed when he tried to talk to the women.

"At the end of the day, we're not expecting everyone to sign," he said,
"but they haven't been engaged yet."

The SA National Civics Organisation's (Sanco) Sam Ndzunga agreed,
pointing to the widespread support of Ghana during the World Cup as
evidence that Africans could unite.

Black Sash programme manager Nyembezi Nkosikhulule said Unite As One was
not just about signing a piece of paper, but about committing to action.

"We must dispel intolerance and ignorance," he said.

* This article was originally published on page 6 of Cape Argus on
July 21, 2010

SAHRC: Government slack in tackling xenophobia
Sapa 21 July 2010

A poor response from government departments on tackling xenophobic
violence is "frustrating", the SA Human Rights Commission's chairman
Lawrence Mushwana told MPs on Wednesday.

Government departments had simply not responded to recommendations
contained in a xenophobia report released by the SAHRC in March,
Mushwana told Parliament's portfolio committee on justice.

"When the report was launched all various departments were there.

They made an undertaking that in a month's time they were going respond.

They were going to tell us what steps they were taking to implement some
of the recommendations so that come another outbreak of xenophobia, we
would be ready.

"But we had to write every time. It was only in my last attempt during
June, that was when we started receiving the first response.

This makes things difficult for us."

Mushwana said the commission's task was to see whether the government
had "put systems in place" to prevent an outbreak of xenophobic violence
similar to 2008, but that the responses had been apathetic.

"We compile some of the reports. We make recommendations. We bring them
here. We write. But no one answers."

Mushwana said he had asked one director general to provide feedback on
the SAHRC's recommendations, but he was still waiting.

"When I briefed the security cluster last week, I raised the same issue.
One minister complained that some of the recommendations don't relate to
her department.

"I said your DG who attended the launch of the report raised the same
issue. We called upon the person to write to us, but up to today nothing
has come.

"It is frustrating on our part. We can only monitor. We check what
government has done."

Mushwana, who was in Parliament to present the SAHRC's xenophobia report
to the committee, said the largest problem the government faced was in
determining the causes of violence against foreigners.

"Until we know what is causing [this], we will not be able to solve it,"
he said.

During a recent meeting, high commissioners and ambassadors were "very
critical" of the government for denying xenophobia.

"Their argument was that if it is pure crime, why is it targeting
foreign nationals?" Mushwana said.

It was strange, he said, that vast areas in Limpopo were completely
"Mozambican and Zimbabwean", but were completely peaceful.

"You don't find this in the rural areas. It is isolated. You don't find
it in areas with traditional leaders either."

National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele, who had sent individuals "at a
low level" to try find out what was causing the violence, told Mushwana
it had been found that "unfair competition" among businesses was one of
the major factors.

Mushwana however, was not convinced by this.

"There are areas where you will say this is crime, but the ultimate
question is, why is it targeted to foreign nationals?

"Is it crime? Is it xenophobia? What is the thinking behind it?

They are here to take our jobs? Is it socio-economic?"

Mushwana said there was "a strong feeling" that somewhere there was "a
hand driving these forces".

"When the soccer tournament ended, the question in the media was when is
it starting? And it started. There is a programme somewhere that needs
crime intelligence."

He said the SAHRC was glad however, by the action taken by police and
military to quell the violence, which had convinced people the
government was serious about the issue.

HRC releases xenophobia report
Regan Thaw 21 July 2010

The SA Human Rights Commission on Wednesday said it is difficult to
determine the exact cause of xenophobic violence in the country.

The commission presented a report in Parliament on its investigation
into the 2008 violence, which gripped many parts of the country and
during which thousands of people were forced to flee their homes. At
least 60 people, mostly foreigner, were killed.

There have again been sporadic incidents of attacks on foreigners in the
Cape and in Gauteng.

Human Rights Commission chairperson Lawrence Mushwana said it does not
seem to be any one cause of xenophobia.

The Justice Portfolio Committee’s Ngoako Ramatlhodi said the struggle
for limited resources is just one cause.

Mushwana defended his position by pointing out the 2008 outbreak and the
recent unrest was almost contained to urban areas, where there is
constant competition for jobs and housing.

The HRC’s report has called for the definition of xenophobia to be
re-evaluated. The report said authorities were completely unprepared two
years ago and the situation has not improved much.

Why xenophobia?
Günther Simmermacher (Southern Cross, national Catholic weekly) 21 July 2010

It is encouraging that the South African Police Services and government
are taking appropriate action on violence against foreign nationals,
even deploying the military to trouble hotspots. While no amount of
engagement will preclude isolated attacks, the threat of violence
spreading countrywide as it did in May 2008 seems to be containable.

Likewise, the response of many South Africans in protecting foreigners
from attacks, even at the risk of sustaining personal harm themselves,
must be highlighted and commended.

We must expect the threat to remain ever-present. Indeed, violence
against foreigners—what we commonly label “xenophobia”—has been a
feature of South African life since the 1990s. It will not disappear
until living conditions in areas where such attacks occur are markedly

It serves no purpose for politicians to downplay threats of violence
with references to rumours, never mind making paranoid statements about
these being spread to “discredit” the government. Attacks against
foreigners did not dissipate with the end of the 2008 pogroms; indeed,
isolated incidents were being perpetrated even during the World Cup.

The attacks are rooted in poverty, not invariably hatred of foreigners.
Seen this way, the terminology of xenophobia—the fear or hatred of
foreigners—is deceptive. Foreign nationals are targeted because they are
the weakest link in a contest for scarce resources, such as jobs,
housing and services.

It also seems evident that criminal elements are leeching off that
discontent, fuelling and exploiting the fires of discontent directed at

Yet, when random strangers of foreign extraction are being abused at
taxi ranks or are thrown off moving trains, it is difficult to exclude
prejudice and bigotry as motivating factors.

We may debate to what extent the manifestation of violence against
foreigners is attributable to poverty or genuine xenophobia—but whatever
the reasons, there can be no justification. There is no legitimate cause
for breaking the law. Nothing can excuse murdering or injuring others,
violating their dignity and dispossessing them of home and livelihood.
Indeed, most impoverished South Africans do not participate in mob violence.

Still, the causes for the violence must be studied, examined and
understood if we want to address them. How do the competition for jobs
and housing, inadequate access to services, lack of transformation and
the prejudiced demagogy interrelate? Who or what is providing the terms
of reference for bigotry and targeted violence? We need a better
analysis than the convenient but imprecise shorthand of “xenophobia”.

Moreover, the excess of violence in the displacement of foreign
nationals (and in the commission of other crimes, including vigilantism)
needs to be better understood and addressed.

In the meantime, government and civil society must be forthright in
their condemnation of mob violence against foreigners, and proactive in
preventing them. The Catholic Church has done admirable work in that field.

Aside from appealing to the maintenance of the law and Gospel values,
those inclined to target foreign nationals must be persuaded that their
pretexts for doing so are invalid.

Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg has rightly pointed out:
“Current evidence suggests that the foreign-born are no more likely to
be involved in crime as any other part of the population, and that they
are generally more likely to create employment opportunities rather than
take away employment.”

There can be no justification or tolerance for mob violence, whatever
the context. Our solidarity must be with the victims of xenophobic
violence and those who stand with them.

We may be spared a reprise of the 2008 pogroms, but every individual
attack on a foreigner represents an indelible stain on our nation.

Civil society worried about xenophobia fears
Themba Boyi 21 July 2010

Several civil society groups on Tuesday said government’s handling of
attacks on foreigners has not done enough to dispel fears of xenophobia.

The groups have joined hands to try and ease tensions. The organisations
have launched a national unity campaign aimed at collecting a million
signatures in a petition against xenophobia.

The initiative follows a recent spate of incidents in the Western Cape
and Gauteng, which some believe target foreign nationals.

Black Sash’s Nkosikhulule Nyembezi said government should lead from the

“We, however, require that government takes action against those who
intimidate people and those who perpetrate violence against foreigners,”
said Nyembezi.

Miranda Madikane from the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town said President
Jacob Zuma’s dismissal of the renewed xenophobic element has been
somewhat contradictory.

“In fact his actions and his government’s actions talk exactly against
that because government is on high alert, police are on high alert and
civil society has been put on high alert by government,” said Madikane.

At least 16 people, mostly Zimbabweans and Mozambicans, have been
attacked in Kya Sand, north of Johannesburg, since Sunday night.

Soccer against xenophobia
21 Jul 2010

A soccer match between Jomo Cosmos and the Highlanders of Zimbabwe will
take place on Sunday in Johannesburg in a bid to unite Africans against
xenophobia, Action Support Centre said on Tuesday.

The match called "Ubuntu Derby" will be played at Johannesburg Stadium
from 1pm, said spokesman Philani Ndebele.

He said the initiative, which will also include other forms of
entertainment, was expected to bring together all Africans in South Africa.

"People from all walks of life are invited to celebrate their cultural
richness and diversity, but most importantly to embrace their
differences through soccer, drama, poetry, music and traditional
dances," he said.

The match has been organised by the Southern Africa Women's Institute
for Migration Affairs in partnership with the Central Methodist Church,
Action Support Centre, Population Council, the Brazilian Embassy,
Bridges of Hope and Econet South Africa.

Tickets to the match are available for R20 and R50 at Computicket and
Shoprite-Checkers stores.

Ndebele said funds raised through ticket sales will be channelled
towards vulnerable children, skills development, repatriation programmes
and the continuation of the anti-xenophobia campaign.

Xenophobia not over: ACDP
Sapa 21 July 2010

The ACDP warns that xenophobic attacks will continue until the
government found a solution to poverty and unemployment.

quote Xenophobia will continue to re-surface in our province unless
and until government finds long-term solutions to this very serious
problem which seems to be a result of some of the poor, the desperate
and the unemployed taking matters of government into their own hands. quote

"The ACDP condemns the xenophobic violence and intimidation that has
occurred in Kya Sands since Sunday night, but welcomes the strong police
presence there," said African Christian Democratic Party Gauteng leader
Lydia Meshoe in a statement.

"Nevertheless, xenophobia will continue to re-surface in our province
unless and until government finds long-term solutions to this very
serious problem which seems to be a result of some of the poor, the
desperate and the unemployed taking matters of government into their own

She said it appeared that protesters had "given up burning tyres and
toyi-toyiing for better service delivery and have instead decided to
drive out foreigners so that they can take their houses, the contents of
their shops and their jobs".

Sixteen people, mostly foreign nationals, were attacked at Kya Sands
informal settlement north of Johannesburg in the past few days.

The police and army were deployed in the area to quell the violence,
which seemed to have quietened down by Wednesday.

The Zimbabwean government said on Monday it had been forced to set up
temporary shelters for Zimbabweans leaving South Africa following
threats of attacks on foreign nationals.

A wave of xenophobic mob attacks hit South Africa two years ago.

More than 60 people were killed and thousands displaced.

Xenophobia all in the minds of delusional hysterical pathetic foreigners

DIEPSLOOT. President Jacob Zuma says crime, not xenophobia, is behind
any attacks on foreigners. Relieved foreigners say they are delighted
with the discovery, adding that being set on fire by thieves is “much
nicer” than being set on fire by xenophobes. Meanwhile the Presidency
has warned against xenophobic rumour-mongering, saying that “foreigners
are dirty liars”.

Hundreds of Zimbabweans were recently seen queueing at the Limpopo
border-crossing trying to return to their country of origin, while many
Somali shopkeepers have locked up their stores in anticipation of more
xenophobic attacks.

However, this morning President Zuma urged foreigners to stop being
“hysterical girls” and overreacting whenever someone tried to set them
on fire.

He added that all alleged attacks were still rumours, and that if anyone
had been set on fire, it had been “imaginary fire” started with
“fictional matches” and kept aflame with “a rumour of petrol”.

“South Africans do not hate foreigners,” said Presidency spokesman
Herenvolk Mpshe. “We love them. We love their lounge suites, their cars,
the titles deeds to their spaza jobs…”

However, he added, the public need to realise that foreigners are
genetically inclined towards being “dirty liars” prone to “hysterical
outbursts of delusional paranoia”.

“We respect them as human beings, obviously, but let’s just be clear
that there are human beings and then there are human beings.”

The news came as a tremendous relief to Zimbabwean car-guard Scapegoat
Mawhiri, who was beaten up by a mob on the weekend.

“Now that I know that they were just criminals and not xenophobes my
ruptured eye-ball feels much better,” he said.

“When they come for me again on Friday night I will greet them with a
cheery ‘Hello Africa, tell me how you doin’!’ and then reflect on the
wonders of ubuntu while they stand on my head and carry off my

Meanwhile the South African Students Congress (SASCO) has reiterated its
claim that alleged xenophobic violence is a capitalist plot.

According to SASCO deputy commissar Lobotomi Phosa, his three years in
Grade 11 and seven years in Second Year Politics had given him time to
sniff out various capitalist plots, including a diabolical plan to cut
off his student funding if he failed to complete his Social Science
degree in under 25 years.

Asked why capitalists would want almost free African labour to flee the
country while simultaneously frightening off foreign direct investment,
Phosa warned journalists not to confuse him with facts.

“As SASCO we might not know what the inside of a classroom looks like,”
he said, “but we do know the inner workings of the capitalist mind.”

He said that a sixth-year medical student on the SASCO Politburo had
confirmed that the human brain was situated just left of the pancreas,
and that the brains of capitalists were “green and shriveled, like the
skin of demon-goblins,” which he studied in undergraduate Microbiology.

The Editors 21 July 2010

We have had a number of complaints about a post on the LRB blog on 6
July on the grounds that it was racist. The LRB does not condone racism,
nor does the author of the post, R.W. Johnson. We recognise that the
post was susceptible of that interpretation and that it was therefore an
error of judgment on our part to publish it. We’re sorry. We have since
taken the post down.

Writers and academics protest over 'racist' LRB blogpost

Seventy-three leading cultural figures have written to the London Review
of Books alleging that an article by RW Johnson contained 'highly
offensive, age-old racist stereotypes'

The London Review of Books has rebuffed some of Britain's most
distinguished writers, academics and arts figures who accused the
magazine of posting a racist blogpost comparing African migrants to
baboons and black shopkeepers to rottweilers.

Seventy-three cultural figures including award-winning writer, Caryl
Phillips, poet Michael Rosen, playwright and broadcaster Kwame
Kwei-Armah and London School of Economics professor Paul Gilroy, signed
a letter expressing their astonishment that the magazine's blog had
published an "egregious" post by RW Johnson on July 6.

The piece, "After the World Cup", started with the line: "We are being
besieged by baboons again," before going on to describe how the apes
scavenge for food and had seen off a local rottweiler that attacked
them. In the next paragraph Johnson referred to African migrants,
writing: "they too are here essentially searching for food". He went on
to relate how several dozen of the migrants had been murdered at the
instigation of "local black shopkeepers".

Editor Mary Kay-Wilmers refused to publish the letter, claiming the
signatories had imagined an "explicit connection" between baboons and
migrants that did not exist. LRB insiders say several staff had tried to
persuade Wilmers to remove the posting in the previous week to little
avail. In a brief reply she explained that to publish the letter would
be effectively introducing a racial slur and she was not "willing to be
the cause of its appearing in print".

By the time she had received the letter she had, however, already
removed Johnson's post from the site after it had been up for 13 days,
arguing: "We should have realised in the first place that it was
possible to read the post in the way that you read it. Had we done so,
we would certainly not have published it."

The letter argued: "Whilst it might be unfair to pick on a man for his
inability to be funny, we believe that it would be wholly wrong to stay
silent when he resorts to peddling highly offensive, age-old racist
stereotypes that the LRB editorial team deems fit to publish". It was
also deeply critical of the magazine's continued use of Johnson, whose
work they claim is "often stacked with the superficial and the racist".

Last night, many of the signatories expressed their disappointment in
Wilmers's response, describing it as "disingenuous" and "in denial".
"There's nothing subtle about the piece," said Phillips, who is a
professor at Yale University. "And this was the version that had been
edited. The idea that there's a reading of it that the LRB just missed
is preposterous. If you put that in front of undergraduate students
every single one of them would understand what it meant."

Poet and blogger Katy Evans-Bush mocked the idea that an organ renowned
for its complex appreciation of erudite work could claim to have missed
the connection: "She's being extremely literal for someone who edits on
of the most sophisticated literary publications in the world."

Michael Rosen described her letter as "classic low cunning". "She's a
very sophisticated literary woman. She understands the power of
juxtaposition so she must be in denial."

The former director of literature at the Arts Council and current
principal at Cumberland Lodge, Alastair Niven, said the LRB "should have
the bigness to admit it's made a mistake" and that if it fails to do so
the Arts Council should rethink its funding.

This morning Wilmers softened her position, accepting that an explicit
connection could be made: "We didn't read it carefully enough, we didn't
see it, we didn't imagine it." She did, however, mount a staunch defence
of Johnson, saying, "The LRB is not racist. He's not a racist but he's
not always aware of how he comes across. He went back to South Africa
and has done a lot of brave work in Zimbabwe with the MDC." Asked if her
reply was her last word to the signatories she said: "I'm quite sure we
haven't discussed it enough."

Mr Johnson was not available for comment.

Patrick Bond wrote:
> (In reference to the terrible choice of words by Bill Johnson, and
all that it represents in his writing and worldview, a letter was sent
to the London Review of Books. They declined to publish it.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Johannesburg Workshop on Theory and Criticism

Open letter to the London Review of Books

Posted by Professor Achille Mbembe
19th July 2010

To the Editor,

With its stress on its own 'depth and scholarship and good writing' and
its 'unmatched international reputation', the LRB has a responsibility
to maintain high standards if it is to retain its enviable position of
having the 'largest circulation of any literary magazine in Europe'.

We find it baffling therefore that you continue to publish work by RW
Johnson that, in our opinion, is often stacked with the superficial and
the racist. In a particularly egregious recent post on the LRB blog,
'After the World Cup', 6 July 2010, Johnson, astonishingly, makes a
comparison between African migrants and invading baboons. He follows
this with another between 'local black shopkeepers' and rottweilers. He
concludes with what he presumably thinks is a joke about throwing
bananas to the baboons.

Whilst it might be unfair to pick on a man for his inability to be
funny, we believe that it would be wholly wrong to stay silent when he
resorts to peddling highly offensive, age-old racist stereotypes that
the LRB editorial team deems fit to publish. (Indeed, we note from the
comments that at some point the post was edited – and yet, in our
opinion, it still remains an appalling and racist piece of writing.)

In the particular arena of football, some fans do not need to be
encouraged to produce racist abuse. Across Europe for many years, black
players have been spat at, subjected to racist chants often including
references to monkeys or apes, and have been the focus of monkey
chanting noises during matches. Neo-Nazi groups have also been known to
use football matches as target areas for recruiting new members and
promoting their racist practice. (How ironic that when Johnson does
decide to write about ‘Football and Fascism’, 11 July 2010, he produces
a piece about Italy that reveals the dearth of his knowledge.)

While South Africa has made great strides, overturning the racist
politics of the National Party, it still has a long way to go in
combating the racism that thrives among certain communities and
individuals. Elsewhere, in the UK for example, this is no time for
complacency about attitudes to race. Although British National Party
leader, Nick Griffin, may have been humiliated at the recent General
Elections, his party now has two MEPs. Let’s not forget that young black
men in this country are seven times more likely to be stopped and
searched than young white men, and they comprise a disproportionate
number of the prison population.

We are deeply concerned that the LRB could be so impressed by RW Johnson
that his racist and reactionary opinion continues to be published in the
magazine and now, in the blog too. And there we all were thinking the
LRB was progressive.

Yours sincerely,
Diran Adebayo, writer & academic, Lancaster University
Patience Agbabi, poet
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, journalist & writer
Candace Allen, writer, journalist & broadcaster
Cristel Amiss, coordinator, Black Women’s Rape Action Project
Baffour Ankomah, editor, New African
Nana Ayebia Clarke, publisher, Ayebia
Pete Ayrton, publisher, Serpent’s Tail
Sharmilla Beezmohun, deputy editor, Wasafiri
Benedict Birnberg
Professor Elleke Boehmer, University of Oxford
Professor Patrick Bond, University of Kwazulu-Natal
Victoria Brittain, writer & journalist
Dr Margaret Busby OBE, publisher & writer
Teju Cole, writer
Eleanor Crook, sculptor & academic, University of the Arts
Fred D’Aguiar, writer
Dr David Dibosa, academic
Kodwo Eshun, The Otolith Group
Gareth Evans, writer, editor, curator
Katy Evans-Bush, poet
Bernardine Evaristo MBE, writer
Nuruddin Farah, writer
Professor Maureen Freely, writer & academic, University of Warwick
Kadija George, publisher, Sable LitMag
Professor Paul Gilroy, London School of Economics
Professor Peter Hallward, Kingston University London
M John Harrison, writer
Stewart Home, writer
Michael Horovitz, poet
Professor Aamer Hussein, writer & academic, University of Southampton
Professor John Hutnyk, Goldsmiths
Dr Sean Jacobs, The New School
Selma James, coordinator, Global Women’s Strike
Gus John, associate professor, Institute of Education, University of
Anthony Joseph, poet & novelist
Kwame Kwei-Armah, playwright & broadcaster
Candida Lacey, publisher, Myriad Editions
Alexis Lykiard, writer
Firoze Manji, editor in chief, Pambazuka News
Shula Marks, emeritus professor, School of Oriental & African Studies
Professor Achille Mbembe, University of the Witwatersrand & Duke
Dr China Miéville, writer & academic,
Professor David Morley, University of Warwick
Professor Susheila Nasta, editor, Wasafiri
Courttia Newland, writer
Dr Alastair Niven OBE, principal, Cumberland Lodge
Dr Zoe Norridge, University of Oxford
Dr Deirdre Osborne, Goldsmiths
Lara Pawson, journalist & writer
Pascale Petit, poet
Caryl Phillips, writer
Dr Nina Power, Roehampton University
Jeremy Poynting, managing editor, Peepal Tree Press
Gary Pulsifer, publisher, Arcadia Books
Michael Rosen, poet
Anjalika Sagar, The Otolith Group
Richard Seymour, writer & activist
Dr George Shire, reviews editor, Soundings
Professor David Simon, Royal Holloway
Keith Somerville, Brunel University
Colin Stoneman, editorial coordinator, Journal of Southern African
George Szirtes, poet & translator
Dr Alberto Toscano, Goldsmiths
Professor Megan Vaughan, University of Cambridge
Patrick Vernon, chief executive, The Afiya Trust
Professor Dennis Walder, Open University
Verna Wilkins, writer & publisher, Tamarind Books
Dr Patrick Wilmot, writer & journalist
Adele Winston
Professor Brian Winston, University of Lincoln
Dr Leo Zeilig, University of the Witwatersrand
PLEASE NOTE: Institutions are named for identification purposes only

Patrick Bond wrote:

London Review of Books

After the World Cup
R.W. Johnson

We are being besieged by baboons again. This happens quite often
here on the Constantiaberg mountains (an extension of the Table Mountain
range). Baboons are common in the Cape and they are a great deal larger
than the vervet monkeys I was used to dealing with in KwaZulu-Natal.
They jump onto roofs, overturn dustbins and generally make a nuisance of
themselves; since their teeth are very dirty, their bite can be
poisonous. They seem to have lots of baby baboons – it’s been a very
mild winter and so spring is coming early – and they’re looking for
food. The local dogs don’t like them but appear to have learned their
lesson from the last baboon visit: then, a large rottweiler attacked the
apes, who calmly tore it limb from limb.

Meanwhile in the squatter camps, there is rising tension as the
threat mounts of murderous violence against foreign migrants once the
World Cup finishes on 11 July. These migrants – Zimbabweans, Malawians,
Congolese, Angolans, Somalis and others – are often refugees and they
too are here essentially searching for food...


Our Aim is to create a South African society in which people
notwithstanding their language or country of origin, respect each other
and live together peacefully.

Our Goal is to collect one million signed pledges supported by specific
actions and events to express support for the campaign which will run
from Mandela Day on 18 July until African Human Rights Day on 17 October

How do we do it? The campaign uses a common pledge as a tool to transmit
a positive message of unity as widely as possible amongst South African
society and to encourage individuals and groups to take action.

How can I get involved?

* Use your personal networks,existing projects,community
organisations, etc. to gather support for the campaign!
* Postcards and petition forms with a common pledge for unity will
be distributed as widely as possible through public transport, churches,
mosques, libraries, internet cafes, etc. The postcards have a space for
comments and a call for action. Recipients will be asked to send the
postcards back to the campaign organisers who will put together an
* Organise and take part in Unity marches, ambush theatre on the
street, street soccer tournaments, painted murals, photovoice project!
Attend Documentary screenings, facilitated discussions,performing arts
* Become fans of our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter
* Send us petition forms, pledge postcards, reports and photographs
of your activities!

Who can get involved?

Everyone! By signing the pledge, individuals and groups become part of
the campaign and commit to taking concrete actions through which they
contribute to a united South Africa.

Contact us if you have an idea, need campaign materials or want more
information on what you can do!

Contact Us: UNITE AS ONE Campaign, Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town

Address: 47 Commercial Street, Cape Town, 8001 or PO BOX 3345, Cape
Town, 8000

Phone: +27 21 465 64 33 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +27
21 465 64 33 end_of_the_skype_highlighting / Fax: +27 21 465 63 17

Anti-xenophobia campaign launched
Sapa 20 July 2010

Cape Town - NGOs on Tuesday launched what they described as a "national
unity campaign" aimed at collecting a million signed pledges against

In a statement, organisations including the Black Sash and refugee
rights organisation Passop said the campaign was called "Unite as One".

They urged leaders in all spheres of society, and individual South
Africans, to intensify efforts to build a country in which people lived
together peacefully.

People could sign online at and at, or print pledges for signing.

The initiative follows a spate of incidents in the Western Cape and
other parts of the country in recent weeks which some believe target


Kya Sands wants army deployed
News 24 20 July 2010

Johannesburg - Residents of Kya Sands informal settlement on Tuesday
demanded that the army be deployed to protect them, saying police were
not doing enough following overnight attacks.

Marcia Mocheka, a resident of the settlement north of Johannesburg, said
they feared for their lives and did not think police were doing enough
to protect them.

"These people are armed with axes and pangas and they can see the police
patrolling. The minute they pass your shack, then the attackers come to
kick your door," she said.

There were drops of blood around Mocheka's shack.

Gauteng MEC for local government and housing Kgaogelo Lekgoro visited
the area on Tuesday.

He said the attacks, which led to five people being hospitalised, four
of them foreigners, were caused by thuggery and not xenophobic violence.

"The attackers are using xenophobic attacks as an excuse because some of
the victims say they were told to leave South Africa and go back home.

"It's just a group of people who I can call 'thugs' because at night
they break into people's houses and grab whatever they can get."

Lekgoro said seven people had been arrested in connection with the attacks.


Soldiers join police patrols in Kya Sands
Reuters 20 July 2010

The military joined police on Tuesday to patrol an impoverished
Johannesburg township after assaults on foreign migrants injured at
least 11 and increased concerns of a fresh wave of xenophobic attacks.

Police said the injured at the Kya Sands township included migrants from
Zimbabwe and Mozambique as well as South Africans. At least 10 people
have been arrested on suspicion of assault.

A series of attacks on foreign workers in 2008 killed 62 people and
damaged investors' confidence. Another wave could wreck the positive
image that Africa's biggest economy was able to portray when it hosted
the soccer World Cup.

"We are keeping a close eye on the situation," a police official said.

The military have joined about 100 security personnel deployed in the
township and about 50 police were on standby, Talk Radio 702 reported
from the area. Police and military officials would not confirm the reports.

Tensions have long been growing between South Africans and millions of
foreign migrants they accuse of taking jobs and homes. But open
animosity appeared to be put on hold during the World Cup as South
Africa showed its best face to the world.

Many migrants feared a rapid dissipation of feelings of African unity
generated by the first World Cup held on the continent. Many have fled
to homes in neighbouring states since the tournament ended earlier this

Government officials have mostly dismissed the fears of a fresh wave of
attacks on foreign migrants as being fuelled by rumours and not by
actual violence. - Reuters

Kya Sands attacks 'not xenophobia-related'

Gauteng minister for community safety Khabisi Mosunkutu on Tuesday said
he was confident the police would handle attacks at the Kya Sands
informal settlement, north of Johannesburg, insisting crime, and not
xenophobia, was the cause.

"We have assessed the situation thoroughly and the police are able to
handle it well. There is no need for the army to be deployed," Mosunkutu
said after he went through the squatter camp following Monday night's
attacks, apparently directed at foreigners.

Earlier, residents demanded that the army be deployed to protect them,
saying police were not doing enough.

Marcia Mocheka, a resident of the settlement, said they feared for their
lives and did not think police were doing enough to protect them.

"These people are armed with axes and pangas and they can see the police
patrolling. The minute they pass your shack, then the attackers come to
kick your door," she said.

Mosunkutu said the attacks were purely criminal activities, and were not

"It's just a group of people carrying out criminal activities; they are
failing because we have arrested most of them.

"We will not tolerate crime of any nature, all the perpetrators will be
brought to book. Crime will be defeated," Mosunkutu said.

Honeydew police cluster Commander Major General Oswald Reddy said 11
violent incidents were reported. Five of the victims were South African,
four Zimbabwean and two were from Mozambique.

Reddy said the crimes included assault, house-breaking and theft. A
total of 10 people had been arrested by Tuesday afternoon and police
were expecting to make more arrests at night, he said.

Earlier, five people -- four of whom were foreign nationals -- were
taken to hospital after they were attacked in their shacks between
Monday night and early Tuesday morning.

One of the victims, Simon Mnthise (26) from Mozambique, whose spaza shop
was looted on Monday night, said he heard people chanting, "We don't
want foreigners here, they must all go back home."

"It was around 9.30 pm. I closed the shop and ran to my friend's house
in another section. While I was there my neighbours called to tell me
that they had broken into the shop looting, and destroying what they did
not need."

Mnthise said when he came back on Tuesday morning only a bag of potatoes
was left in the shop.

"I feel sad. I am left with nothing. I have no job, the spaza shop was
my only source of income. I want to go back home because I'm fearing for
my life, but I have no money," he said.

Mnthise had been living in South Africa for the past two years.

Resident Isaac Mashiroane (37) said he heard screams at about 10pm on
Monday night.

"It became quiet for about two hours and there was noise again around
midnight. When we went outside to investigate we realised that people
were being assaulted."

Mashiroane said the attackers were kicking doors open and demanding
money and identity documents, as well as looting spaza shops.

"We don't know who they are because they covered their faces, but they
are targeting mostly foreigners because I also own a spaza shop and
nobody came to my shop," he said.

He said his neighbour, a Zimbabwean, was among those taken to hospital.

Mashiroane said people did not like foreigners because they accused them
of taking their jobs.

More police officers
Reddy said they would deploy more police officers at the informal
settlement on Tuesday night and others would be on standby in case more
violence occurred.

"We will have policemen in this area until calm in restored."

More than 15 police vehicles were parked outside the area with more than
50 heavily armed officers patrolling.

Meanwhile, the South African Broadcasting Corporation reported that a
Somali national was shot and killed at his shop in the Kuyga informal
settlement outside Port Elizabeth. Police said Ibraham Ali Hasson was
alone in the shop at the time of the incident. He stumbled to his
business partner's house where he collapsed and died.

No arrests had been made and police were investigating a murder.

Last week, violence apparently targeting foreign nationals broke out in
the Western Cape, forcing scores of Zimbabweans to flee. -- Sapa

Somali shop owner shot in PE
Algoa FM 20 July 2010

A Somali national has been killed in his shop in the Kuyga informal
settlement in Greenbushes, Port Elizabeth.

Police spokesperson, captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg, says 27-year-old
Ibrahaim Ali Hasson was allegedly warned on Sunday by other Somali
nationals that something would happen to him if he opened his shop.

Janse van Rensburg says Hasson was in his shop on Monday night when a
friend who was inside the adjoining house heard a shot.

She says Hasson was wounded in the body and died at the scene.

No arrests have yet been made and anyone who may have information on the
shooting should contact the Kabega Park police.

Foreign nationals killed in township attack
Gareth Wilson ( 21 July 2010

TWO Ethiopians were gunned down in Nelson Mandela Bay’s Walmer township
at the weekend, a day after all provincial police heads were ordered to
establish task teams to deal with possible attacks against foreigners.

The two were shot dead in their spaza shop shortly after 7pm on Saturday.

Police first thought the double murder was a botched robbery, but no
goods or cash were taken.

One man was shot four times in the chest and the other twice.

Police spokesman Alwin Labans said a 32-year-old Ethiopian man had died
in hospital. His 28-year-old compatriot was found dead behind the shop

“We are investigating and cannot speculate at this stage as to the
reason for the murder,” he said.

Labans would not confirm whether the attack was linked to xenophobia,
but said nothing had been stolen.

According to police sources, the two men were “warned by locals” on Friday.

“The men who shot them apparently warned them to leave Walmer or suffer
the consequences,” an officer said.

The double murder comes less than a week after foreign-owned shops in
the Western Cape were torched by angry mobs in suspected xenophobic attacks.

In confidential correspondence in the possession of The Herald, National
Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele issued a national order for all
provinces to conduct crime combating operations “immediately after the
World Cup”.

According to the letter, the nationwide operation is due to commence today.

The national notice – sent to provincial police, the departments of home
affairs and health, the SANDF and other role-players – stated the core
focus was on dealing with attacks on foreigners and apprehending wanted

The orders instruct each province to establish a Crime Combating Task
Group comprising the defence force, crime intelligence, SA Revenue
Service, traffic officials, Home Affairs officials and the Hawks.

The main objective is aimed at increased law enforcement visibility,
such as more road blocks, search operations, surveillance and air
support operations, as well as foot patrols.

The notice also stated “intelligence driven operations in hotspot areas”
must be done and “contingency plans regarding attacks on foreigners”
should be formed.

A national breakdown of each province’s suspected xenophobic risk area
is highlighted. The Bay’s areas included Kwazakhele, New Brighton,
Motherwell, Kuyga, Ikamvelihle, KwaNobuhle, Humewood, Lusaka squatter
camp on Mission Road, and Greenbushes.

In another report, Buffalo City is rated with the highest chance of
experiencing xenophobic attacks out of all the Eastern Cape’s municipal

It stood a 31.1% chance of attacks on foreigners breaking out. Of the 45
municipal wards, 14 wards were showing signs of possible xenophobic attacks.

The Bay scored the second highest threat level, with residents in 16 of
the 60 wards displaying possible signs of attacks on foreigners. It
received a 26.7% chance of a xenophobic outbreak.

Gauteng was the most likely to experience xenophobic attacks, with its
Nokeng Tsa Taemane municipality being the only one to reach the 100%
threshold of a possible outbreak. Nationally, 33 municipalities measure
a 50% or more chance of attacks on foreigners.

Earlier this month Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa presented a
“multi-faceted plan” aimed at preventing an outbreak of xenophobic
violence, vowing police were ready to deal with any violence against
foreigners. On Friday he referred to reports on xenophobic violence as
“rumours”, but Western Cape premier Helen Zille said xenophobic attacks
were a reality and needed to be dealt with.

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