Friday, May 23, 2008

South African Violence

The anti-immigrant violence sweeping through South Africa has seen at least 42 people killed and more than 25,000 driven from their homes in 12 days of attacks.

The mobs causing the violence are accusing African migrants of taking jobs and fuelling crime.

Today, Danny Jordaan, the chief executive of the 2010 World Cup Local Organizing Committee, condemned anti-immigrant violence in South Africa. But he also insisted it would end before the tournament takes place. It better.

Jordaan said the level of scrutiny of South Africa after the recent violence was an inevitable result of hosting the World Cup.

"We can see the focus of attention on our country, for completely different reasons, both of them tragic," he said.

"Our standpoint is that this World Cup must be a celebration of Africa's humanity. Africa has too often been a continent of division, of wars, of humiliation. And certainly we condemn any situation that continues to inflict on African people humiliation, suffering, war, disease.

"So our position is crystal clear and we ask that every action must be taken to stop inflicting on displaced people further displacement. It's something that will pass ... South Africans are not xenophobic."

Jordaan reiterated his view that all the stadiums would be ready in time for the tournament.

However he conceded that finishing a new stadium in Port Elizabeth in time for the Confederations Cup in July next year was "a challenge."

MY POV: Jordaan must be given kudos for keeping his eye on the positive ahead of the World Cup. But South Africa is doing itself no favors by showing this side of itself to the world.

With rising fuel prices and the world economy teetering on recession, how many people will want to spend their hard-earned money to travel all the way to a country where they might be hurt, mugged or worse yet, killed?

South Africa needs to get tough about the violence that occurs there ... and fast. Two years will come around much faster than we all think ...

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