PRESS RELEASE
12/04/2015
For immediate release
TALKS TO REINTEGRATE DISPLACED FOREIGN NATIONALS BACK INTO COMMUNITIES UNDERWAY

After the gruesome attacks on foreign nationals were first reported last week, government across all levels including local councillors sprang into action and intervened to stabilise the situation in eThekwini Municipality.

Government leadership have also met with affected communities where repeated calls for unity and calm have been made.

All three spheres of government have also strongly condemned attacks on foreign nations and urged members of the community to report these violent attacks on foreign nationals so that the perpetrators will be brought to book.

During the ongoing community meetings, residents have been urged to work with government and help fast track the integration of foreign nationals back into the community.

However, foreign nationals will continue to be housed in temporary shelters until the government is certain of their safe integration, especially with schools re-opening tomorrow.

The provincial government together with the City is also planning a march to take place this week with foreign nationals, religious groups, non-government organisations and civil society in solidarity with the affected to call for an end to the violence.

The date for the march will be announced once all logistics have been finalised.

Members of Parliament including Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Police Nkosinathi Nhleko and Minister State Security David Mahlobo, recently visited eThekwini to witness the situation first-hand and have reiterated calls for calm.

Addressing displaced foreign nationals at the Westcliff Sports ground in Chatsworth on Friday, Gigaba thanked the various government departments, including Metro Police for ensuring that as soon as the first wave of attacks were reported, they responded within 12 hours by setting up urgent interim facilities to accommodate the destitute.

“We are aware that the facilities that have been provided are not enough but government responded with the speed that was necessary so that you do not remain homeless,” he said.

Gigaba added that it was not the view of the South African government or the majority of South Africans that all foreign nationals in our country are criminals and that they should be attacked.

“We have made a strong call to all political, religious, community and other leaders that they must all refrain from making statements which could be wrongfully interpreted as instigating or condoning attacks on those who were not born in South Africa and are regarded as foreign nationals,” added Gigaba.

Currently temporary shelter has been set up in Isipingo, Chatsworth and Greenwood Park to accommodate the displaced foreign nationals and additional police have been deployed to beef up security in all affected areas.

The Municipality has supplied tents, electricity, showers, ablution facilities and primary health care in the form of mobile clinics where the displaced foreign nationals have been accommodated.

Environmental Health specialists have been inspecting all food to ensure it meets required health standards and the necessary psychological support is being offered. Working with Non-Government Organisations, government has also ensured that the displaced are provided with at least three meals a day, blankets and personal hygiene items.

Government’s primary objective is to ensure that the displaced foreign nationals are safely integrated back into the community.

EThekwini Deputy Mayor Nomvuzo Shabalala yesterday, 11/04/ 2014 visited residents at Bottlebrush informal settlement in Chatsworth where she urged locals to allow displaced foreign nationals to return to the community.

Shabalala was accompanied by dignitaries who included Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo, Social Development MEC Weziwe Thusi, former Human Settlements MEC Maggie Govender and Consul-General Henry Mukonoweshuro from Zimbabwe.

Shababala reminded those attending the meeting that not long ago our neighbouring African countries were instrumental during the liberation struggle for South Africa from the shackles of the Apartheid Government.  “Attacks on foreign nationals are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Those involved in these criminal acts of violence will face the full might of the law,” said Shabalala.

The Department of Home Affairs is working on the verification process to ensure that the residential status of the displaced in known to the South African government and those with missing documentation receive urgent assistance.

ENDS

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

For more information contact Gugu Mbonambi on 031 311 4855 or email: gugu.mbonambi@durban.gov.za