The poverty caused by Mugabe in Zimbabwe is pushing people further south into South Africa where they are being attacked, at least 22 have died in the vigilante raids.

What is surprising is that these attacks have been called xenophobic in nature. This in a country that only recently emerged from apartheid. Are these refugees the cause of the economic problems that are seen in South Africa today? This certainly doesn’t seem the country that welcomed such historic figures like Nelson Mandala into her bosom.

The front page news shows a man being burned alive. Many rapes have been reported and, what is called, opportunistic crimes – such as looting. The police so overwhelmed with the rioting have had to call in reservists from the local area as well as some from neighbouring areas. Is this the South Africa that had calmed itself with the presidency of Mandala? When you look at the pictures it seems not.

“We’re not talking about xenophobia, we’re talking about criminality,” said police spokesman Govindsamy Mariemuthoo.

He said police reservists and officers from other regions had been called in to help quell the violence, reports the AP news agency.

A country as prosperous as South Africa should be a shining beacon to the other nations on the continent; but as we see the world over where wealth is apparent migrants will follow.

The poverty in Zimbabwe is sending those who feel real fear for their lives to a country that they felt would be safe. Yet is violence on this scale justified? From what all sides of the political spectrum in South Africa say, it is not.

The leader of the governing African National Congress, Jacob Zuma, has also condemned the attacks.

“We cannot allow South Africa to be famous for xenophobia,” he told a conference in Pretoria.

It certainly can’t. That would overturn all the work of the great and good. And South Africa knows that a world is watching.

To read more of what Will Rhodes writes you can take a look at his blog. The Will Rhodes Portmanteau.

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