Displaced foreigners welcomed back

Dan Fuphe

Dan Fuphe

The reintegration of foreign nationals displaced by xenophobic violence into some Ekurhuleni communities went off without a hitch on Friday.

Residents of the informal settlements of Gugulethu and Everest, near Welgedacht in Springs, fled from attacks on May 12.

The move, which involved about 19 families, was organised by the Ekurhuleni municipality and monitored by Metro police.

Council officials, among them Khosi Maluleke of the mayoral committee and councillor John Nxumalo, were also present at the move.

Maluleke said those who were moved from the temporary refugee camp near Heidelberg were mostly Mozambican nationals and a handful of Zimbabweans who fled the area after being attacked.

A least 60 people were killed in the violence, which began in Alexandra, Johannesburg.

"Shacks will be rebuilt to accommodate those who have indicated their willingness to be reintegrated," Maluleke said.

"Though this plan is working there are some people who have taken issue with reintegration. But their reluctance will not deter us from moving those who are prepared to go back to their communities."

Nxumalo said the municipality was satisfied with the progress of reintegration.

"We attribute the success to ANC president Jacob Zuma, who appealed for calm. The community is going through a healing process and taking a stand against xenophobia."

Mozambican national Tinah Mahlalela, 54, a mother of seven, said: "The prospect of going back to Gugulethu is like music to my ears and I cannot wait to be reunited with my South African sisters."