Outcry over Mbeki absence as death toll in South Africa reaches 50
The outcry over South Africa President
Thabo Mbeki's reticence about two weeks of xenophobic attacks on African
migrants continued Sunday as the death toll in two weeks of attacks rose to
"Mr President, it is clear you have lost interest in governing the Republic. We appeal to you: Stand down in the interests of your country," the Sunday Times urged in a front-page editorial.
During the week, the daily Star newspaper had also wondered in a front-page headline "Where are our leaders?"
Since the outbreak of the violence in a township north-east of Johannesburg two weeks ago, Mbeki has condemned the violence on several occasions but has yet to visit any of the affected areas or meet with any victims.
He was set to end his silence Sunday evening with an address on national television.
His arch-rival, ruling African National Congress (ANC) leader Jacob Zuma, was meanwhile scheduled Sunday to visit one of the informal settlements east of Johannesburg where residents have turned on migrants, accusing them of taking their jobs and housing.
Sunday's visits by Zuma and a bevy of ANC officials comes as the death toll in the fortnight of violence climbed to 50 in Gauteng province, where Johannesburg is located, SAPA news agency reported, quoting police. A Mozambican man was also shot dead in Mpumalanga province during the week.
Seven out of nine provinces have experienced violence by now. In Cape Town, over 10,000 migrants have been driven from their homes in attacks on foreign- and South African-owned township shops in recent days.
Nationwide, the crisis has displaced over 44,000 and led to over 600 arrests, the Sunday Times reported.
Many terrified migrants have taken the road home to Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi and other countries of origin. Mozambique has declared a national emergency as 15,000 people, mostly its nationals, pour back across its border with South Africa.
A chartered train took a further 2,000 home on Saturday night, the Times reported.