SOUTH AFRICA is trying to come to terms with a series of unexplained bomb attacks.
Nine bomb explosions rocked the black township of Soweto near the commercial capital Johannesburg on Wednesday. There was one confirmed fatality, plus a bit of damage on infrastructure like railways, a temple and a mosque.
The bigger fear, though, lies in the implications of the attacks. The police suspects white right wing militants to be behind the explosions.
The fringe group mixes legitimate issues with their own narrow view of things. It is true that a number of white farmers in outlying districts have been killed and intimidated over the years since the apartheid system gave way to multi-cultural democracy, and there is, therefore, a need for them to be protected like any other community. But extremists, who, anyway, have a more sinister agenda, cannot provide this protection.
The right wing fringe is also capitalising on events in neighbouring Zimbabwe where, in an otherwise noble bid to right the historical wrongs of land distribution, the government has used brutal means of grabbing without compensating the white community. There are (unfounded) fears that the same thing could happen in South Africa.
Zimbabweâ€™s madness seems to be unchallenged. As the regional power, the government in Pretoria needs to do, and be seen to do, much more to influence a more even-handed and judicious disposal of racial and social-economic issues in Zimbabwe. This would also disarm the extremists. Otherwise given the increasing integration of the economies of eastern and southern Africa, instability in the biggest country would, inevitably, affect the rest.
Regional economies threatened