LABOUR Minister Membathisi Mdladlana's imbizo this week in the rural Western Cape town hit by xenophobia last year has been met with mixed feelings.
As Mdladlana wrapped his trip to De Doorns yesterday, local people told Sowetan: Zimbabwean farmworkers must stay away, for their own safety.
Mdladlana went to see if he would solve problems related to a xenophobic attack on 3000 Zimbabwean farmworkers last year. The attack was reportedly sparked by dozens of labour brokers competing for turf and underpaying Zimbabweans.
Sources at De Doorns said the town's ANC mayor Charles Msomi told Mdladlana it was not safe for the Zimbabweans to return to the informal settlements from which they were driven out.
And a local from the Ekuphumuleni informal settlement in the town told Sowetan that "a lot of people ... simply hate the Zimbabweans and don't want them back".
"It has gone beyond the point of fighting for jobs. I feel that people are happy without the Zimbabweans here ... we can meet them in town, there is no problem, but returning here would be a bad idea," she said.
Camp life is taking its toll on the displaced people, who have been living in United Nations tents on a field for the past three months.
A one-year-old baby, Aisha Zvipore, died in the camp on Tuesday after an ambulance allegedly took four hours to arrive.
The baby's mother Lindiwe Zvipore told Sowetan she blamed her daughter's death on being forced to share a tent with seven other adults and their children, some suffering from tuberculosis.
She said life in a shack in the informal settlement had been much better.
The camp's clinic was shut down a few months ago. And displaced people's representative Washington Munofa told Sowetan that the municipality-appointed camp manager, who controls entry to the camp, did not answer his phone while baby Aisha lay dying.
Desperate camp residents told Sowetan they just wanted to be compensated for their losses.
Meanwhile, Mdladlana has yet to deal with the man fingered in affidavits by the displaced people as a ringleader in the attack.
Sowetan reported last year that ANC ward councillor Mpumelelo Lubisi first allegedly incited a meeting to "destroy the houses of Zimbabweans".
Before accompanying the attackers, Lubisi also allegedly told Zimbabweans: "You haven't seen xenophobia yet, you are going to see xenophobia."