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Fingerpointing after KZN hostel attack

At least 24 people have been killed in over a week of violent attacks - Reuters

Protesters chant slogans during clashes in Reiger Park informal settlement

May 21, 2008, 08:30

KwaZulu-Natal Community Safety and Liaison MEC, Bheki Cele, has blamed Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) supporters for spearheading last night's xenophobic attacks at Dalton hostel in Durban. Cele says the group of Dalton hostel residents who attacked foreign nationals are IFP supporters who were from a meeting in the area.

He alleges that after the meeting they went on the rampage and vandalised a bar owned by a Nigerian. He says they alerted IFP officials to attend to the situation in which they also acknowledged fault. Cele has rejected claims that the sporadic xenophobic attacks have now spread to KwaZulu-Natal.

However the IFP in the province has refuted Cele's claims that its supporters were behind last night's attacks. IFP provincial chairperson, Mntomuhle Khawula, says the claims have no links with politics. He has condemned Cele's conduct on this matter. Earlier this week, both the IFP and ANC at national level agreed to work together to stop the xenophobic violence.

Zimbabweans feeling betrayed
The xenophobic attacks have left Zimbabweans in shock. About three million Zimbabweans live in South Africa and their relatives back home fear for their safety. They also feel betrayed by South Africans, whose liberation struggle they supported against apartheid.

Economists have warned that the escalating violence poses a serious threat to investor confidence and the economy in general. Yesterday the rand weakened against the major currencies, giving up its recent gains after further violence against immigrants erupted in Gauteng squatter camps.

Dealers said images of violence broadcast on international media have raised investor concerns about political stability. Thousands of foreign nationals have been attacked in xenophobic related incidents since last week.

Foreign nationals live in fear
Chinese and Pakistani nationals - whose businesses were reportedly looted in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria yesterday afternoon - have removed their goods from their shops for safekeeping. They claim they no longer feel safe, and say they fear that more of their goods may be stolen.

The Chinese and Pakistani immigrants are pleading with the South African government to intervene. They are asking for protection, and say they are legally in the country. The immigrants also say they are creating jobs for South Africans by employing locals in their shops.

Click here to send this article to a friend     Click here for a printable version of this article     IFP provincial chairperson, Mntomuhle Khawula     Chief economist at the Efficient Group, Dawie Roodt    
'Specialised units' to be deployed to hot spots (May 20, 2008, 14:00)
Xenophobic attacks continue (May 19, 2008, 05:30)
Three killed after xenophobic attacks in Thokoza (May 17, 2008, 16:00)
Police fired at by Diepsloot residents (May 16, 2008, 09:15)
Xenophobia information page
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