Friday, May 16, 2008

Xenophobic violence in South Africa

No one has exact figures of the number of immigrants now living in South Africa, but the Institute of Race Relations believes that there are between 3 and 5 million - equivalent to the country's entire white population. And they have become scapegoats for many of South Africa's social ills - high levels of unemployment, a shortage of housing and one of the worst crime rates in the world. There has been a spate of xenophobic attacks over the past few years. In 2005 and 2006, Somalis living in the Eastern and Western Cape were targeted. But the latest wave of anti-foreigner attacks has caused growing concern in the "rainbow nation" which still bears the scars of apartheid, and where some of the country's poor are worse off than they were before the transition to majority rule.

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