NEW court to try attackers

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The KwaZulu-Natal government is to establish a special court to oversee the prosecution of the South Africans involved in the recent xenophobic violence that has displaced thousands of foreign nationals.

The details of how the courts will operate will be announced by the national government in due course.

Meanwhile, the provincial government is embarking on a massive repatriation exercise after some of the displaced foreigners told a refugee technical task team that they "wanted to go home".

The request resulted in the government's technical team meeting with the officials of embassies and consulates which represented the displaced people, Mike Mabuyakhulu, the local government, housing and traditional affairs MEC, said yesterday.

Mabuyakhulu said he had led the team in talks with African embassies to expedite the return of foreign nationals to their countries of birth.

He said that so far there were 219 Zimbabweans willing to go home, 108 Malawians, 172 Mozambicans, five people from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, four from Burundi and 17 from Tanzania.

But, Mabuyakhulu stressed that the government was not going to force anyone to leave South Africa .

"We have taken a decision that we want to reintegrate the displaced foreign nationals back into the communities. We want to do that as soon as possible.

"We are therefore going to embark on a programme called 'People in Dialogue' to facilitate their re-integration into the communities."

The technical team visited various police stations and churches around the city last Thursday where displaced foreigners were being sheltered.

They discussed the facilitation of their re-integration into South African communities and embassy representatives were provided with the data of those who wanted to go home.

The provincial government is to help cover the transport costs of the repatriation exercise.

"The foreign nationals indicated that they would appreciate government assistance," Mabuyakhulu said.

"As the government we are working around the clock to ensure that by Friday all the necessary logistical work should have been finalised."