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S. African Officials Promise Rapid Response to Post-Cup Xenophobic Violence


Alfred Baloyi, wearing a makarapa decorated with the image of South African football legend, Lucas Radebe, inside his factory in Johannesburg

Alfred Baloyi, wearing a makarapa decorated with the image of South African football legend, Lucas Radebe, inside his factory in Johannesburg

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said the inter-ministerial committee on xenophobia is not taking ongoing rumors of impending anti-foreigner attacks lightly and has put all government security agencies on high alert

The South African inter-ministerial committee assigned to deal with threats of violence against foreign nationals in the country told reporters on Thursday that all security agencies are on high alert and ready to deal with any outbreak of xenophobic violence such as occurred in 2008 on a large scale, claiming scores of lives.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa told journalists that the inter-ministerial committee is not taking the current rumors of impending xenophobic attacks lightly and has put all government security agencies on high alert.

There have been persistent rumors in the Zimbabwean emigré community that with the end of the World Cup, during which authorities were attentive to any threat to public safety and order, anti-immigrant violence would surge.

Zimbabweans in South Africa told VOA that they had been warned by their neighbors in the Western Cape to get out of town, and that some landlords were not accepting July rent from foreigners for fear of damage to premises.

But officials said Thursday there was no evidence to back up reports that Zimbabweans and other foreign nationals were fleeing areas such as the Western Cape where tensions between locals and immigrants have run high.

Police said they could not confirm reports a Zimbabwean man was thrown off a train near Cape Town.

VOA Studio 7 correspondent Benedict Nhlapho reported from Pretoria.

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