ETHEKWINI NEWS FLASH
11 September 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

REPORT INTO CAUSES OF ATTACKS AGAINST AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS TO BE COMPLETED BY OCTOBER 2015

EThekwini Municipality officials have been interviewed about the recent attacks directed at African immigrants by the Special Reference Group, chaired by Judge Navi Pillay, commissioned by Premier Senzo Mchunu.

The independent team, which was set up to investigate the causes and consequences of the recent attacks on African immigrants is currently engaging in final investigations, follow-up consultations and the drafting of the report. The report is expected to be completed and handed to the Premier by 31 October 2015.

The commission has travelled to a number of different towns and communities throughout the City and Province. Over 50 engagements have been undertaken with a wide range of stakeholders, including affected individuals and communities, Chambers of Business, political parties, representatives of African immigrant communities and associations, academics, faith based organisations, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), Head of the South African Police Service Provincial Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure, the National Director of Public Prosecutions, and the Ad-hoc Joint Parliamentary Committee.

Deputy City Manager for Community and Emergency Services, Dr Musa Gumede, along with officials from the Municipality briefed the commission on Thursday, 10/09/15 about the attacks.

During the meeting, held at the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (Accord) House, Mount Edgecombe, Gumede told the commission that the City was alerted about the first disturbance at Isipingo on 29 March 2015.

A Municipal and Provincial delegation, including eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo and Safety and Community Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu immediately attended to the site to assess and calm the situation.

A meeting was subsequently convened the following day, where a relief plan was mapped out. “We wanted to ensure that we calmed the situation, while providing shelter, security, food and clothing for the displaced. We also started a process of engagements with communities where the displaced African immigrants previously lived,” said Gumede.

However, because of widespread social media messages that followed after the first incident about attacks directed at African immigrants, more frightened African immigrants abandoned their homes. The Municipality speedily set up several sites around the City, including Greenwood Park, Chatsworth and Phoenix where about 7 000 African immigrants were housed within the first week.

Several marquees were erected at stadiums in Phoenix and Chatsworth, while a small 100 capacity hall was used in Greenwood Park. “We didn’t use community halls as sites because we didn’t want to interfere with events and activities that the hall might have already been booked for by the community. Also, previous experience had taught us that if we house displaced people at halls they refuse to move out and demand houses,” said Gumede.

Gumede said the City provided shelter and security at the sites, while Non-Government Organisations assisted by providing food and clothing.

After assessing the conditions and conducting extensive social community dialogues through the Provincial Department of Community Safety and Liaison, government was pleased that the situation has normalised. This therefore, meant that interim shelters should cease to operate. By 1 July 2015, the City had closed all the interim shelters.

We would like to thank all those who worked with government, including all the Non-Profit Organisations, religious leaders, church groups, business people and residents for their unwavering support in order to create a truly united African continent and ensure that peace and harmony returns to the areas where there was violence against African immigrants.

ENDS

Issued by eThekwini Municipality’s Communications Head, Tozi Mthethwa.

For more information members of the media can contact Gugu Sisilana on 031 311 4855 or email: gugu.mbonambi@durban.gov.za or Princess Nkabane on 031 311 4818 or princess.nkabane@durban.gov.za

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