Social support to continue as foreign nationals are reintegrated into communities

Foreign nationals who have been accommodated at a temporary settlement next to the Primrose Police Station in Germiston, East Rand, after they fled fearing attacks, will continue receiving social support services from social workers as they are reintegrated into their communities in Makawusi and Marathon informal settlements on April 23.

Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini – who visited the settlement during the relocation – said work had been done by various stakeholders to prepare both the communities and foreign nationals for a smooth reintegration.

“Our social workers will now be deployed in the communities to work with individual households to ensure their well-being, as well as conduct community facilitation to promote social cohesion between the locals and foreign nationals,” said Minister Dlamini.

She warned that successful reintegration is a long term process that will demand persevering attention. The Minister also said that community practitioners would be trained on conflict resolution and deployed to communities to ensure no further flare up of violence.

The temporary settlement has been home to three hundred and sixty six (366) foreign nationals since April 16, including one hundred and ninety six (196) men, one hundred and fourteen (114) women, twenty five (25) children and fifty six (56) infants.

During their stay at the temporary settlement the Department has, through social workers, provided a number of social support services to them to help them cope with the ordeal.

These include psychosocial assessments to detect the need for psychosocial interventions, trauma counselling, and the referral of pregnant women, children and people with disabilities to relevant health facilities for health interventions, including a mobile clinic that has been stationed at the temporary settlement.

A mobile early childhood development (ECD) centre had also been brought onto the settlement, run by a qualified practitioner and equipped with stimulating toys to bridge the gap while children were not able to attend their usual ECD centres.

There were mixed feelings from the foreign nationals as they were getting ready to be reintegrated into their communities.

Lucas Dube (20), a Zimbabwean from the Marathon informal settlement said he was glad to be going back to his home. “I’m glad we can go back home now to resume our lives. We have been given assurances by authorities that we will be okay when we go back, so I’m happy,” said Dube.

Safari Dube (28), a Mozambican national, has adopted a wait-and-see attitude. “When the violence began I sent my two children (13 and 16) to my sister in Rustenburg. I will fetch them only when I am sure that the violence will not happen again,” she said.

Social workers will continue working with the community in all the areas across the country where foreign nationals are being reintegrated to ensure a smooth transition. They will form part of the broader government campaign to educate local communities about foreign nationals and ensure they are fully integrated as equal members of society.

Issued by the National Department of Social Development

Media inquiries may be directed to Lumka Oliphant on 083 484 8067 or lumkao@dsd.gov.za