So far over 100 Mozambicans resident in South Africa have expressed a desire to return to Mozambique following the anti-foreigner pogroms that have broken out in the port city of Durban, according to Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi.
Speaking at a Maputo press conference on Tuesday, after a meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), Baloi also announced that the Mozambican government has demanded that the South African authorities take more severe measures against those who are attacking foreign citizens, in order to discourage further violence.
The Mozambican High Commissioner in South Africa, Fernando Fazenda, had gone to Durban, and reported that the situation was not improving, said Baloi.
ldquoNow there are signs of xenophobic acts, not only in the outlying neigbourhoods, but also in the centre of the cityrdquo, he added.
ldquoWe have set up transit and accommodation centres for the victims of this violencerdquo, said Baloi. ldquoWe have experience which worked well in 2008 (the year of the worst anti-foreigner violence in South Africa), and it’s ready to work againrdquo.
An estimated 22,000 Mozambicans are living in Durban, but only 6,600 have registered at the Mozambican consulate in the city.
About 270 Mozambicans are in two accommodation centres in Durban, and of these 108 have asked to return to Mozambique.
ldquoThe situation is not good – it’s very worryingrdquo, said Baloi. ldquoWe are waiting for the work the South African police are doing to check the people interested in returning to the country, so that by tomorrow (Wednesday) at the latest they can come back to Mozambiquerdquo.
Baloi believed that when this repatriation begins, many more Mozambicans might ask to return. A provisional reception centre is being opened in Beluluane, on the outskirts of Maputo, to shelter Mozambicans fleeing from Africa.
At least two Mozambicans have died in the violence to date. The police say they have so far arrested 17 people in connection with the attacks on foreigners. The pogroms followed declarations by Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini, urging foreigners to leave the country. He later claimed his words had been mistranslated from Zulu and blamed journalists for the unrest.
The flames were then fanned by Edward Zuma, oldest son of President Jacob Zuma who claimed that foreigners were ldquotaking over the countryrdquo.
In the violence of 2008, around 60 people were murdered, including 17 Mozambicans, and over 15,000 Mozambicans fled from South Africa.
Source : Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique