Kudos to Mbeki and his inept gubbermunt for dragging the image of South Africa into the dirt, from the darling of the world to that of a despotic state on the level of a Zimbabwe or North Korea.
The South Africa under Mandela is being recognised as very different to that under Mbeki - finally.
The rot was evident long ago but it is only now that the world had awoken to the nightmare of the rainbow nation under the ANC-led axis of evil.
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South Africa's aspirations to lead the continent are being shredded by the xenophobic mobs who have hacked, shot and beaten to death more than 40 African migrants in the land where apartheid was defeated.
The killing of Zimbabweans, Mozambicans, Nigerians and other Africans by machete-wielding gangs of South Africans has been greeted with horror and outrage in states which once welcomed South African fugitives from racial persecution.
From Maputo to Lusaka to Luanda and further north, African populations that gave refuge to the anti-apartheid ANC are shocked to see their own people being slain and brutalised in ANC-ruled South Africa.
"If South Africa could remember what we did for them during the apartheid regime, they shouldn't be doing that to us," said Emmanuel Efuk, a resident of Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos.
The mobs accuse the immigrants of depriving South Africans of scarce jobs and fuelling crime.
Governments, civil society groups and commentators say the violence is soiling the image South Africa would like to project as a beacon of racial harmony and a continental peacemaker 14 years after apartheid ended.
"This appalling hunting of foreigners which stains the emblematic land of South Africa must be lived as an unspeakable shame, a slap against the struggle of (anti-apartheid hero and former South African President Nelson) Mandela," the Senegalese private daily Sud Quotidien said in a commentary this week.
Many see South Africa under Mbeki stumbling in its aspirations to represent Africa in world forums, such as the U.N. Security Council, where Pretoria is campaigning for a permanent seat against other contenders like Egypt and Nigeria.
Condemning the "blind violence" of the attacks, the Dakar-based Pan-African human rights organisation RADDHO said they dealt a heavy blow to Africa's leadership and image.
"It is difficult to understand how the country which amply enjoyed the support of all African peoples in its fight against apartheid and which hosted the World Conference against Racism and Xenophobia in 2001 can be the place where such events are taking place," RADDHO said in a strongly-worded statement.
The group sharply criticised Mbeki's administration, already being accused of limp leadership in efforts to resolve the political crisis in Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans fleeing turmoil at home have borne the brunt of the violence in South Africa.
"The South African government ... has been slow to take rigorous and firm measures to prevent the massacre of African migrants," the Dakar-based rights group said.
Observers said the images of migrants being hunted down and killed - some doused with petrol and set alight - harked back to the violence of the apartheid years, when opponents of South Africa's white minority government were shot and tortured by police and informers were "necklaced" with burning tyres.
Others recalled the times when "Frontline States" such as Zimbabwe and Mozambique, which sheltered the ANC in exile, became the targets of military raids by the white apartheid government. Hundreds of African civilians were killed.
Zimbabwe condemned the anti-migrant attacks in South Africa.
"The government of Zimbabwe urges those responsible for the xenophobic violence to appreciate that we in the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region share a common history, a common culture and common destiny," the Foreign Ministry said.
Some analysts said the violence raised doubts about South Africa's suitability to host the 2010 soccer World Cup.
"How can they host the world if they can't live side by side with people who are different from them?" said George Pambason, director of the Cape Town-based Alliance for Refugees.
"This violence shows total ignorance and a society which is very eager to shed blood," he added.