Researchers say a grade 10 Cape Town girl from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) narrowly survived one such attack.
They say Nathalie (not her real name) was beaten so severely on August 27 2019, shortly after she was elected a class monitor, that she was hospitalised for nine days.
“She was severely beaten by fellow pupils who thought a non-national was undeserving of being elected to such a position.
“Education authorities took no action because, according to them, the offending pupils expressed remorse and taking further action would, in their view, inflame tensions.
“When this report was finalised in August 2020, Nathalie had still not returned to school out of fear. Her attackers are still attending the school, but have faced no consequences.”
The report highlights how public servants often deny the existence of xenophobia or, in some cases, tacitly approve of it.
“Based on interviews with people in Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, this report [also] documents xenophobic harassment and attacks by South Africans, including government and law-enforcement officials.”