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South Africa warned of possible xenophobic violence

07-14-2010 10:38 BJT

JOHANNESBURG, July 13 (Xinhua) -- While South African police remained on the alert for rumored outbreak of post-World Cup xenophobic violence, the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) warned on Tuesday that there has been little change in the environment that gave rise to the xenophobia attacks of 2008.

SAIRR spokeswoman Catherine Schulze told the South African Press Association (SAPA)that the institute was not predicting an outbreak of violence, as there was not enough information to do so.

However, the SAIRR was cautioning that the environment in South Africa that gave rise to the attacks of 2008 was "largely unchanged."

It said that poverty, unemployment, and incomes indicators in South Africa have not shifted significantly since 2008. At the same time high levels of crime and violence are an everyday reality in many poor South African communities.

Schulze said that reports of increased threats, "some disguised as jokes and idle banter, created an enabling environment for a renewed series of attacks."

SAPA reported Schulze as saying the institute urged the South African government and the ruling African National Congress to use their leadership positions to change perceptions that many black South Africans harbored towards foreign African immigrants.

She said senior South African government figures should make "concerted public statements" condemning xenophobia.

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