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Page last updated at 12:36 GMT, Monday, 19 May 2008 13:36 UK

Foreign attacks concern SA press

Group of South Africans wielding sticks in Reiger Park, outside Johannesburg
Group of South Africans wielding sticks in Reiger Park, outside Johannesburg

The South African press strongly condemns the recent anti-immigrant violence in the country which has left many dead.

One paper describes a "chorus of disgust" and there are warnings that the strife could spread if left unchecked.

Two writers blame the South African government's failure to take firm action on Zimbabwe, where many of those targeted by the violence come from, but another rejects this, blaming South Africans' failure to "decolonise" their minds.

RICH MKHONDO IN PRETORIA NEWS

The indiscriminate attacks, maiming and killing of immigrants around our country is reprehensible and beyond tragic. The vicious attackers deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. But xenophobia is not going to go away until society itself confronts its history of bigotry, intolerance, and hatred against people from other countries, particularly African countries.

EDITORIAL IN PRETORIA NEWS

When authorities wash their hands of this problem and simply label it as xenophobic acts by criminals, they are acting irresponsibly and in fact fuelling the flames of hatred. Such incidents have the potential of spreading throughout South Africa, when immigrants buoyed by these sentiments start retaliating. Unless someone can find intelligent reasons why we are in this mess and develop workable solutions, the irresponsible talk must now stop.

EDITORIAL IN CAPE ARGUS

Condemnation of the xenophobic violence that erupted in Johannesburg's Alexandra township and spread elsewhere has become unanimous. There is a chorus of disgust, a consensus that it shames the country. This is only a start, however. The urgent question is how best to convert this collective revulsion into formulating a lasting South African refugee policy, and short-term responses, so that fellow Africans in our country do not have to live in terror simply because they are strangers.

THEMBA MOLEFE IN SOWETAN

Haunting images of the bloodied face of a very frightened woman in Alexandra this week keep playing themselves over and over in my mind. If that was indeed the portrait of xenophobia, then, like a two-headed monster that feeds on itself, South Africa is headed for a catastrophic embarrassment on the world stage.

EDITORIAL IN CITY PRESS

We, more than many other nations, should know better. We should know better because we have just emerged from more than three centuries of the horror of settler colonialism and apartheid... This madness has to stop. There is simply no justification for attacking people simply because they are not South African nationals.

JUSTICE MALALA IN TIMES

The South African government's refusal to even acknowledge the crisis in Zimbabwe has resulted in as many as three million Zimbabweans walking the streets of South Africa. If President Mbeki and his deputy president, Zuma, had acted decisively on Zimbabwe nine years ago these Zimbabweans would not be here today. His refusal to address the crisis in Zimbabwe - and his friendship with President Mugabe - has brought them here. His block-headedness is directly responsible for the eruption of xenophobia.

PETER FABRICIUS IN CAPE TIMES

Those who kill, rape or otherwise assault foreigners must ultimately carry the blame themselves for their actions. But this eruption of xenophobia also took place within a wider context of national and foreign policy... it does look as though the inadequate response to the refugee or illegal immigrant problem is aggravated by a foreign policy shortcoming, namely Pretoria's failure to acknowledge, fully, that there is a crisis in Zimbabwe and that it has repercussions beyond its own borders.

ANDILE MNGXITAMA IN CITY PRESS

Negrophobia, or the hatred of blacks, has reached fever pitch in South Africa with the recent attacks on black Africans in Pretoria, Alexandra and Diepsloot... The rise of negrophobia is the logical conclusion of our failure to decolonise our minds and also socioeconomic realities... The root cause of these attacks rests deep in our colonial and apartheid history.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.


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