This statement from the Western Cape Anti-Eviction campaign links the regular evictions of it’s members with those of refugees who have been “evicted by violence” form their homes over the past few weeks. The link is important in understanding the role of the government in fueling the flames of xenophobia by police attacks against immigrant communities; the refusal of the government to recognise the status of Zimbabweans as refugees and according them the protection and support required by international law; the failure of the government to respond to the violence thereby implicitly supporting the violence by facilitating an environment where the poor not only fight amongst themselves for the crumbs of the earth, but feel justified in carrying out violent acts of hatred against foreigners.

That the only long-term solution to afrophobia (xenophobia) and other forms of violence is to end the oppression of all poor people living in South Africa. If the poor had houses, if the poor had jobs, if the poor had decent health-care, reasonably priced food staples, and meaningful redistribution of land, they would not be blaming and fighting their neighbors for the little scraps they do have. It has been well documented that most of the actual violence in Cape Town had very little to do with hatred for foreign Africans and everything to do with it being an excuse to snatch a bag of mealies. When people are hungry, they’ll do almost anything to feed their family.