Displaced foreigners successfully reintegrated into KwaZulu-Natal communities

Durban xenophobia march article

The people of Durban march to protest xenophobia and express solidarity with their fellow Africans, in the city centre on Thursday 16 April. (Image: KZN Online)

The KwaZulu-Natal government and eThekwini Metro are satisfied that great progress is being made in reintegrating displaced foreign nationals in a number of areas affected in greater Durban and greater Pietermaritzburg.

Chairperson of the joint KwaZulu-Natal government and eThekwini Metro task team charged with addressing issues around the reintegration, Willies Mchunu, today received positive reports indicating that some displaced foreign nations are being welcomed back in their communities.

A task team, charged with mobilising affected communities to receive back the displaced, is working flat out to ensure that those displaced were accepted into communities where they were previously. This process is followed by intensive dialogues involving the leadership and the communities on the need for peaceful co-existence with their foreign counterparts.

This morning the task team, made out to Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, eThekwini Mayor Cllr James Nxumalo, Social Development MEC Weziwe Thusi and eThekwini Deputy Mayor Nomvuzo Shabalala, attended a meeting at the eThekwini Disaster Management Centre to assess the progress report on the overall issue of reintegration and efforts to stop attacks on foreign nationals.

Reports tabled to the chairperson of the task team, who is also the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, indicated that some previously displaced nationals spent Friday night at their homes and locals were on hand to ensure that their safety was guaranteed.

A total of 1100 Malawian nationals were successfully reintegrated in ward 13 in Mariannhill and they spent the night at home without any incident.

Also in ward 91 in Mpumalanga a number of previously displaced foreign nationals were successfully reintegrated. Further on, locals in Mpumalanga held a prayer meeting against the attacks on foreign nationals at the local Magaba Community Hall.

This prayer meeting, was among others attended by local Councillors, KwaZulu-Natal Legislator Deputy Speaker, Dr Meshack Radebe, religious leaders, Nigerian and Pakistan national representatives from Pietermaritzburg.

More meetings are taking place to facilitate the reintegration of displaced foreign nationals.

Consultations to facilitate the peaceful return of displaced nationals with communities in all affected areas are currently underway.

Reports received from Zululand District Municipality (Ophongolo, Abaqulusi in Vryheid, Ulundi and Nongoma) indicate that there were no attacks. Similar reports of no violence were received from Ugu District (Greater Port Shepstone) were received.

“We are satisfied that great progress is being made to stabilise the province and for communities to welcome back previously displaced foreign nationals. These are indeed good news and we therefore urge all communities and their leaders to shift the focus to the peaceful reintegration of those that were previously displaced. We wish to thank and encourage those communities that have already welcomed back those who were displaced and ensure that there is peaceful co-existence with foreign nationals,” said Mchunu.

Nxumalo echoed Mchunu’s sentiments, saying all efforts were now being directed to ensuring that displaced communities were being successfully reintegrated.

“Our first priority now is the return of peace and stability in eThekwini metro and in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. We are working flat out towards ensuring a peaceful reintegration and co-existence of our communities with their brothers and sisters from other African countries. In this regard we appeal for calm, tolerance and harmony in our interactions with foreign nationals,” said Nxumalo.

We appeal to residents to refrain from posting unverified images on social media as these are perpetuating the false perception that foreign nationals are still being attacked and that the country is in turmoil.

Government also thanks the community, non-government organisations, religious leaders and civic society groups who have donated food and clothes to the displaced.

The government has expressed concerns at the role of criminal elements in the attacks and looting of the property belonging to foreign nationals.

“We see these as pure acts of criminality. We warn those behind these that police will deal with them accordingly,” said Mchunu.

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