The wave of anti-immigrant violence that is sweeping across South Africa reached Cape Town on 22 May. Mobs attacked Somalis and Zimbabweans and looted their shops and homes in DuNoon township north of the metropolis and in Knysna to the south. Hundreds of African migrants were evacuated as a result of the violence and are reportedly now sheltering in police stations.

These are the latest in a series of xenophobic attacks in South Africa that have left at least 42 immigrants dead across the country, displaced thousands more and led to hundreds of arrests. The violence erupted on 11 May in the Alexandra township north of Johannesburg before spreading to the city centre and then other parts of Gauteng state, Durban, North West and Mpumalanga. Zimbabweans and Mozambicans have borne the brunt of the hostility, although communities from Malawi, Nigeria and other African countries have also been affected.

On 22 May the army deployed to assist the struggling police force, which is ill-equipped to contain the tension partly as the result of restructuring and reorganization in 2006. This is the first time the defense force has been enlisted to perform internal policing duties since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Thousands of immigrants have already fled the country, many with assistance from their governments. On 22 May Mozambique and Zimbabwe began the