Report on the SAHRC Investigation into Issues of Rule of Law, Justice and Impunity arising out of the 2008 Public Violence against Non-Nationals

The scale of violence and displacement in May 2008 went far
beyond any precedent in South Africa’s democratic history.
Yet the 2008 mobilisation against non-nationals can only
properly be understood within the country’s broader history of
xenophobia and South Africa’s “culture of violence.”
Despite our formal transition to equality and democracy, violence is
often still viewed as a legitimate means of resolving issues.
Non-nationals resident in South Africa are all the more likely
to fall prey to violence, as South Africans often blame them for
crime and unemployment, and view them as responsible for
depriving “more-deserving” citizens of jobs, housing, and other
economic goods. Outsiders are, therefore, often subject to
intense discrimination and hostility from local communities.

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