African National Congress president Jacob Zuma has termed the recent anti-immigrant violence in South Africa as "unfortunate", and has attributed it to a recent rise in criminal activities in the country.
Speaking on the sidelines of a dinner hosted for him in the Capital on Sunday, Zuma chose not to link the rise in criminality with the economic disparity that is reportedly high in South Africa. "The targets of the violence have been Black people, including South African Blacks. This is unfortunate in a country known for its non-violence. We have been able to stop the violence and investigations are on. There are many possible causes for it, but the central one is a rise in criminality that is being investigated," he told Hindustan Times.
Zuma, who beat Thabo Mbeki to become president of the ANC in December 2007, is being seen as the next President of South Africa. The reason is that Mbeki is constitutionally unable to stand for the post again and ANC is by far the largest party of the country. The only thing that may stand between Zuma and the post is his impending trial on corruption charges, where a conviction can deprive him of the post.
South Africa was in news for all the wrong reasons in May when large-scale xenophobic violence broke out against Black African immigrants from countries like Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Immigrants from other African countries flock to South Africa for better opportunities, and the country’s poor — a large part of South Africa’s population — see the immigrants as cheap labour that can deprive them of their jobs.