deadline for xeno victims

Namhla Tshisela

Namhla Tshisela

The Gauteng government has set August 15 as the deadline for the remaining 3000 displaced foreign nationals to vacate the temporary shelters they have occupyied for the past two months.

This means they have exactly two weeks to return to their communities or seek alternative accommodation, Gauteng government spokesman Thabo Masebe said yesterday.

Masebe said the government was not anticipating any resistance from the immigrants because favourable conditions had been created to allow them to return to their communities.

"This does not mean that the government no longer cares for them. It is not sustainable to keep foreign nationals in separate shelters. They should be able to resume normal lives with their friends and families," said Masebe.

Teams would be sent to all the camps to inform the displaced people of the deadline and to offer help with their reintegration, he said.

The six tent shelters in Boksburg, Springs, Midrand, Corlett Gardens, Glenanda and Rand Airport accommodated victims of xenophobic attacks that erupted in May.

The violence, which had been simmering in other parts of Gauteng, exploded in Alexandra and spread to areas in Ekurhuleni, Pretoria and other provinces.

Masebe said the fact that the number of refugees had dropped from 6000 to 3000 was evidence that reintegration had occurred successfully.

He said police would be "keeping an eye" on communities to prevent future attacks.

Foreign nationals were successfully reintegrated in Diepsloot, Tembisa, Thokoza, Alexandra, Bophelong, Mohlakeng and Gugulethu in Western Cape.

Though there were reports to the contrary, Masebe said: "In all the areas where reintegration has happened, communities have warmly welcomed back the foreign nationals."