state to house victims of xenophobic attacks
The government has at last heeded calls that it establish a refugee camp or camps for foreigners who have been displaced by the ongoing xenophobic violence that has swept Gauteng and other parts of the country.
Mayors from throughout Gauteng have been instructed to identify land on which temporary shelters will be erected to house displaced people. About 25000 people, mainly foreigners, have been displaced.
Of those, 10 000 had taken refuge in police stations in the affected areas. This emerged during a media briefing in Midrand by a task team comprising cabinet ministers and MECs from Gauteng.
The team, whose main task is to establish the root causes of the violence, on Wednesday met mayors from throughout Gauteng to discuss their plan of action. Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula said all affected people will be moved to the shelters. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Red Cross will also be involved.
Nqakula said various civil society organisations and individuals have come forward indicating their readiness to help. The organisations include the Jewish Board of Deputies, Business Unity South Africa, and the Gift of the Givers.
"We want to take this opportunity to thank all the various organisations and individuals who have already assisted us and those that have offered to assist," Nqakula said.
He also announced that a cordon-and-search operation involving some special police units and members of the SANDF conducted early yesterday at various hostels around Gauteng resulted in the arrest of 28 people within six hours of the operation.
Those arrested will be charged with various offences including illegal possession of firearms and stolen goods.
"Ten illegal firearms were among the items that were confiscated and will be subjected to ballistic testing to determine if they were used in the current violence," Nqakula said.
He confirmed that since the eruption of the violence, about 11 days ago, police had arrested 519 suspects. There were 466 incidents of public violence, and a total of 42 people were murdered while 550 were injured.