Random xenophobic attacks on foreign African migrants and ethnic minorities occurred and sometimes resulted in death, injury, and displacement. Citizens who blamed immigrants for job and housing losses and increasing levels of crime generally perpetrated such attacks. The government sometimes responded quickly and decisively to xenophobic incidents, sending police and soldiers into affected communities to quell violence and restore order. However, civil society organizations criticized the government for failing to address the root causes of the violence, for not facilitating opportunities for conflict resolution in affected communities, and for failing to deter such attacks by vigorous investigation and prosecution of participants.
For example, in July 2010 citizens attacked foreign-owned spaza shops (small retail enterprises) and looted homes in Mbekweni, Paarl East, Wellington, and Nyanga in Western Cape Province. Approximately 70 foreign nationals sought refuge at the Mbekweni police station in Paarl, 22 at the Wellington police station, and about 100 at a campsite outside Wellington. In response, the government deployed police and SANDF troops to townships in Western Cape Province with instructions to take harsh action to stamp out xenophobic threats. Police Minister Nathia Mthethwa and Defense Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, who flew to the province to survey the situation, determined that criminals using xenophobia to destabilize communities had orchestrated the attacks. All those who had fled their homes had returned to their communities or moved elsewhere by year's end. Police arrested seven men in the Nyanga area and charged them with public violence; there were no further developments.
In February 2010 the SAHRC released its report on the 2008 xenophobic attacks against foreign African migrants and ethnic minorities, which resulted in 62 deaths, injuries to 670 persons, and the displacement of 80,000 migrants, most of whom had reintegrated into their communities by the end of 2009 in Western Cape, Gauteng, and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. The report made more than 100 recommendations, including the development of an early warning system, better protection of foreign nationals, and prosecution of perpetrators. Field studies by the Institute for Security Studies and the Forced Migration Studies Program (FMSP) implicated local ward politicians in orchestrating attacks to gain political influence with residents, although no related arrests were made. According to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, more than 1,000 suspects were identified, resulting in the referral of 597 cases to court; 109 suspects were charged and the conviction rate was 16 percent. NGOs claimed none of the arrests or prosecutions was for murder, but the FMSP reported one suspect was convicted of murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The continued killings of mostly white farm owners by black assailants sustained concern among white farmers that they were being targeted for racial and political reasons. There also were reports that white employers abused and killed black farm laborers and complaints that white employers received preferential treatment from the authorities. The Agricultural Union of South Africa called for the minister of police to keep closer track of "farm violence" statistics and issued its own report on April 1, alleging there had been 16 attacks resulting in eight deaths during the period from January 1 to March 31.
On February 2, Deon van Staden, 51 , and Babs Strecker, 73, were found murdered in their home in Bethanie, North West Province. They had been stabbed multiple times and beaten with a shovel. The perpetrators fled with van Staden's truck.
In April 2010 Eugene Terre'Blanche, leader of the extremist white right-wing Afrikaner Resistance Movement, was bludgeoned to death at his farm near Ventersdorp, North West Province. Two of Terre'Blanche's farm workers, Chris Mahlangu and a 15-year-old boy, later contacted police and claimed to have committed the crime. In April 2010 the two were charged with murder and the trial was ongoing at year's end.
The law requires employers with 50 or more employees to ensure that previously disadvantaged groups, legally defined as "Blacks" (including '"Africans," "Coloured," and "Asians" and collectively constituting more than 90 percent of the population) are represented adequately at all levels of the workforce. Notwithstanding antidiscrimination legislation, however, the DOL's 2010-11 Employment Equity Analysis reported that Blacks remained underrepresented, particularly at the professional and managerial levels. According to the report, Blacks held only 13.4 percent of top management positions, 17.6 percent of senior management positions and approximately 31 percent of all professional positions. However, the report also indicated that Black representation in the skilled labor sector had increased to 51 percent from 39.2 percent in 2006. Black women remained by far the most disadvantaged group in number and quality of management or skilled jobs.