More 500 Zimbabweans displaced by the xenophobic attacks will leave Durban in South Africa today following successful documentation by embassy officials yesterday, while more are expected to trickle into the country throughout the week, Ngiyesabanews reveal.
In a telephone interview, Zimbabwean Ambassador to South Africa Mr Isaac Moyo, who was at a camp in Chatsworth, Durban, said all documentation was complete for about 500 to 700 Zimbabweans who will leave in seven buses.
“We have finished processing all documentation for our people in this particular camp and what is left is for the immigration processes from the South African side, otherwise these people should have left today but basically they are leaving tomorrow,” he said. Ambassador Moyo said there were over 1 000 Zimbabweans that were at the Durban camp and more were still coming in for documentation.
“Numbers are huge, I can confirm. There is quite a sizable number of Zimbabweans here in Durban and we have not closed our doors, we are accepting those that are still coming in but generally they are many,” he said.
“We have seven buses that will take the first lot straight to Zimbabwe and we trust all will be well with this first lot.”
The ambassador also said he was with South African President Jacob Zuma at the Chatsworth camp where he addressed foreigners and said Zimbabweans told him they wanted to leave.
Ambassador Moyo said among the group coming back to Zimbabwe were 110 children that are returning with their parents and one woman was said to have given birth at the camp.
“I can confirm that one woman delivered a healthy baby at the camp today (yesterday) and she was later taken to the hospital for further care.
He also said he was only going to leave Durban when all Zimbabweans had been safely repatriated and he said it would take about a week.
“I will return to Pretoria when all Zimbabweans that want to go have been sent home and this may take a week or so but as for now, I will be here with the people to ensure all is well then I can leave,” he promised.
President Zuma cancelled his State visit to Indonesia to meet the displaced immigrants where he promised to ensure that they would have their issues dealt with peacefully.
He said foreigners that wanted to remain in South Africa were free to do so, adding that the xenophobic attacks should not soil relations with them. He also said those that wanted to return to South Africa at a later date were free to return, much to the disgruntlement of the foreigners who said they wanted to return home and wanted nothing to do with South Africa.
Meanwhile, more than 30 people were said to have been arrested yesterday in Thokoza informal settlement in the East Rand and Cleveland, east of Johannesburg, for public violence, malicious damage to property, house breaking and theft after a fresh outbreak.
Violence against immigrants in South Africa has killed at least six people since last week in one of the worst outbreaks of violence against foreigners in years.
Thousands sought refuge in temporary shelters after mobs with machetes attacked immigrants in Durban, where the attacks began. South African police fired rubber bullets on Friday to disperse crowds setting immigrant businesses ablaze as attacks against foreigners spread to Johannesburg.
Violence flared after Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini said in remarks widely reported by South African media in March that foreigners should leave the country.
He has since said his comments were misinterpreted and on Saturday attempted to defuse tensions.