(IRIN) – This week marks five years since tensions between foreigners and South Africans living in impoverished communities across the country erupted in xenophobic violence, leaving more than 60 people dead and tens of thousands displaced, their homes and businesses robbed and abandoned.
Since May 2008, various initiatives have been established to detect early warning signs of future xenophobic attacks and to improve responses. But while no further outbreaks have occurred on the scale of the violence five years ago, attacks on foreign nationals have continued. On average, one person was killed every week in 2011, according to the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA).
The looting and victimization of foreigners has also remained a feature of the frequent service delivery protests that have rocked South African townships in recent years, as has the near impunity of perpetrators.
In a statement released on 13 May, CoRMSA concluded that “much more still needs to be done to promote peaceful communities”.