d-day for zim refugees
THE Limpopo department of safety, security and liaison yesterday said Zimbabwean nationals housed in a temporary shelter in Polokwane had until Sunday to leave because the place is being closed down.
More than 100 Zimbabweans have been sheltering at the old Peter Mokaba Stadium after last week's suspected xenophobic attacks by residents of Westernburg township.
The residents had accused the Zimbabweans of engaging in criminal activities in the area over the past few weeks.
The latest incident happened when a local man was stabbed to death on December 6.
Members of the community say they are convinced the murder was carried out by Zimbabwean nationals.
The temporary shelter at the old Peter Mokaba Stadium will be closed on Sunday and the Zimbabweans remaining there are expected to leave.
Department spokesperson Joe Maila said yesterday that the majority of Zimbabweans had opted to return to their country to avoid further attacks.
Maila said only a few of the Zimbabweans were still left at the shelter. Those remaining had two options: to allow the department to complete the paperwork for them to return home, or to return to Westernburg, where they used to live.
"I should also mention that other Zimbabwean nationals, who had since returned to where they stayed in Westernburg after realising that the situation was now calm.
"Zimbabweans remaining at the shelter had approached the International Organisation for Migration for assistance to go back to Zimbabwe.
"We think by tomorrow the process will have been finalised and the Zimbabweans transported back home," Maila said.
Asked what would happen to those who chose to remain at the shelter and not return to Zimbabwe, Maila said each case would be assessed on its merits "because the shelter will close down".