South Africa's anti-immigrant violence spreads to Cape Town

Police, Army begin joint operations in Johannesburg in try to quell the attacks, which have left 42 dead.

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Ongoing anti-immigrant attacks in South Africa continue to spread, as violence flared for the first time in Cape Town, sparking worries about the damage to the nation's tourist economy.

Agence France-Presse reports that immigrants and foreign-owned shops were attacked Thursday in a slum in Cape Town, a major tourist draw on the southwest coast of South Africa. Rioting had previously been confined largely to where they began 12 days ago, in the Johannesburg area in the northeast.

Since the antiimmigrant violence in South Africa began last week, at least 42 people have been killed and 25,000 have been driven from their homes. The attacks in Cape Town have officials worried about the threat to the tourist trade, Reuters reports. The violence may also damage the country's plans to host international soccer's premier tournament, the World Cup, in 2010.

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However, CNN reports that the South African police and the South African National Defense Force said in a statement that their first joint operation in response to the violence was "extremely successful." The operation targeted three hostels in the Johannesburg area, resulting in 28 arrests and the seizure of marijuana, guns, and suspected stolen property. South African President Thabo Mbeki Wednesday authorized the military's mobilization to aid the police.

But the motivations of the rioters suggest that the violence is merely a symptom of greater concerns. Al Jazeera writes that interviewed rioters say their incomes are undermined by immigrants' willingness to work cheaply.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the those economic concerns, when mixed with the political crisis in Zimbabwe, are amplifying the problems in South Africa. Zimbabwe, located on South Africa's northern border, is currently in turmoil due to President Robert Mugabe's crackdowns amid accusations of fraud in the recent presidential election.

Maina wa Mutonyaa, reporter for Kenya's Daily Nation, says that some South Africans blame President Mbeki in part for failing to condemn Mugabe's actions.

However, Mr. Mutonyaa notes that the government may also bear the blame for the crisis due to its failure to provide basic housing, water, and sanitation services to South Africans. Locals, he writes, have made foreigners into scapegoats because "through their sweat, [they] have managed to improve their conditions without waiting for government handouts."

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