Xenophobia 4.6.2015 09:00 am

IFP lambasts govt for xeno inaction

KZN Premier Willies Mchunu established the commission in October last year to investigate political killings from 2011 to 2016. Picture: Phumlani Thabethe

KZN Premier Willies Mchunu established the commission in October last year to investigate political killings from 2011 to 2016. Picture: Phumlani Thabethe

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) yesterday lambasted the KwaZulu-Natal government for bungling the xenophobic violence refugee reintegration programme, saying it was unacceptable that several hundreds of foreign nationals were still languishing in camps several weeks after the initiatives was announced.

“We ask ourselves for how long they will stay in camps –this begs the question of how government is serious about eradicating xenophobia in our communities if foreigners are afraid to go back where they lived,” IFP community safety spokesperson, Blessed Gwala, said.

“We have not seen much from the government in terms of finding long – term solutions”.

This after KZN community safety MEC, Willies Mchunu’s admission that the government was struggling to reintegrate foreign nationals currently living in the Chatsworth refugee camp south of Durban.

Mchunu indicated that the numbers at the facility had recently spiked to more than 500 after dropping to around 300 at the beginning of May.

“We believe some of the foreign nationals are guilty of abusing the system – they go back to communities for a few days and then come back again – just to benefit from donations that are being made to the facility,” he said.

Recent announcement that refugees living in the camp will get a monthly allowance, Mchunu said, was also contributing to the problem.

“You then see people coming back, not because their being attacked where they live but just to access these benefits,”‘ he said.

On Tuesday a group of township business owners affiliated to the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) KwaZulu-Natal splinter organisation – Revolutionary Cooperative Movement (RCM) held a protest gathering in the Durban Central Business District, complaining about the government’s failure to consult them on reintegration process.

However, Mchunu, maintained that the provincial government had extensively held talks with both township dwellers as well as foreign nationals.

“They are going there {foreign nationals) after dialogues have been done,” he said.

Mchunu said the provincial government was concerned that some refugees, particularly those from countries such as Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were resisting moves to reintegrate them.

“Our concern is that what was meant to be a temporary shelter is now being turned into something permanent,” he said.

“However, no matter how difficult the situation might be, as government we will not be pushed to using force to remove people,” he said.

 

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