Stranded foreigners get their 'miracle'

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

A two-week-old baby was one of about 50 Mozambicans that got stranded owing to the ongoing xenophobic attacks engulfing certain parts of the country.

The child had been living in a Mpumalanga police station for the past two days.

The child was part of a group of immigrants travelling by bus from Rustenburg in North West.

They had escaped from xenophobic attacks there on Monday evening.

When they reached KaNyamazane township outside Nelspruit the bus driver told them that he could no longer complete the less than 200km distance left to reach the Libombo port of entry.

He told his passengers that the owner of the bus had called him from Rustenburg and instructed him to park the bus at the nearest police station.

This was after the driver was said to have failed to give the owner the amount of cash they had agreed on so that he could use the bus to transport people to the Mozambique border.

Captain Phillip Fakude of the KaNyamazane police told Sowetan that the row between the bus owner and the driver had affected passengers.

"Among the passengers was a two-week-old baby and four other young children," Fakude said.

"We had to accommodate them at the police station and a local place of safety because we are experiencing very cold weather here."

He said the passengers claimed they had no more money to proceed to Mozambique and were forced to stay at the police station until "a miracle happened".

Fakude said the bus owner arrived at the police station only at 3am yesterday to address the problem.

Constable Chicco Nkosi spoke to the bus owner and asked him to help the "poor and frustrated" individuals while he sorted out his problems with the driver.

"He ultimately accepted that he and the driver would sort out their problems," Fakude said.

The bus eventually left for the border gate yesterday at about 8am.