Community leaders played a role in the xenophobic violence in May 2008, a study by the International Organisation for Migration released today showed.
"The idea that it was caused by a faceless crowd doesn't hold water," a researcher at the Forced Migration Studies Programme at Wits University, Jeanne Pierre Misago said. "Community leaders were involved," Masigo added.
He said local leaders organised xenophobic attacks to improve their credibility within the community. "They can then say they are the one true leader of the community," the researcher said.
Misago was speaking about the findings at a conference at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. He said these local leaders had some co-ordination in organising xenophobic violence in neighbouring townships.
Media reports also played a role by showing successful looting by mobs and the inability of police to handle the situation. – Sapa