Foreigners continue to leave in fear of attacks

DESPITE assurances by government officials that everything was being done to avert tragic xenophobic attacks similar to those of two years ago, nervous foreigners continued to leave yesterday.

DESPITE assurances by government officials that everything was being done to avert tragic xenophobic attacks similar to those of two years ago, nervous foreigners continued to leave yesterday.

In Cape Town hundreds of Zimbabweans made their way to the Paarl tunnel on the N1 highway, about 80km outside of Cape Town.

They have been leaving since Monday.

When Sowetan arrived about 40 Zimbabweans had managed to get a ride on an empty bus, which had just dropped off World Cup fans in Cape Town.

The driver of the bus, headed for Durban, said he would drop the Zimbabweans off in Bloemfontein, where they would look for transport to Johannesburg.

In Gugulethu more than 10 Somali shopkeepers have fled the area. Their shops have already been vandalised, Mncedisi Twalo of the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign said.

"We are expecting the government to communicate with the community instead of using the rumours as a scapegoat. When elections come it is the only time we become important," Twalo said.

In Alexandra, Johannesburg, a police source said they would begin intense round the clock patrols from next week.

"The problem seems to be at the RDP houses section, where locals are complaining that foreigners have houses, while they are on a long waiting list. We foresee problems there.

"We will be patrolling those areas and the rest of Alexandra to make sure that no xenophobic attacks erupt like they did in 2008," the police official told Sowetan.

At a new RDP section people were seen moving into the new houses allocated to them.

Residents of the Ramaphosa informal settlement in Ekurhuleni confirmed that soldiers had patrolled the area on Wednesday.

Reiger Park police station communication officer Toni Perifort said the patrols by the soldiers were meant to send a message that law enforcement agencies were on high alert and to encourage residents to abide by he law.

X