Mbeki was right on xenophobia

THE so-called xenophobia simmering and dominating our public discourse at present is a result of a populist government that lacks prudence.

THE so-called xenophobia simmering and dominating our public discourse at present is a result of a populist government that lacks prudence.

In May 2008 opposition political parties lambasted former president Thabo Mbeki for not addressing the nation and condemning the xenophobic violence.

It is now 2010 and the same problem is coming up and nobody is demanding that President Jacob Zuma address the nation and show leadership as was demanded of Mbeki.

In response to the 2008 violence Mbeki appointed a task team to investigate and analyse the tensions that were the root cause of the violence.

The task team found that it was the scarcity of resources in the affected, mainly poor communities that created tensions and criminal elements were using that to fuel violence so that they could rob and loot from mainly foreign businesses.

As a result of the anti-Mbeki forces that were in overdrive at the time, Mbeki's detractors booed and dismissed the report as a figment of his imagination.

Taxpayers funded the task team in the hope that it would solve their problems, but it was used as a political football.

That is why we find our selves back to square one with regard to the so-called xenophobia problem.

Mbeki's report is now being vindicated by the security agencies and police posted in the xenophobia hot spots now openly accept that it is mainly criminals who are responsible for the mayhem.

Don Shongwe, Randburg

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