POLOKWANE, SOUTH AFRICA, April 30– Xenophobic attacks which have been reported in recent weeks mainly in the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, have spread to Limpopo Province where shops owned by Somalis and Ethiopians at a township in Thabazimbi, about 300 kilometres southwest of this provincial capital, have been set alight and looted.
Eight locals have been arrested and there is no sign of foreign nationals. About 50 of the foreigners, including women and children, are now temporarily housed in town at a community hall at a place called Tala Park.
They have indicated that they have lost all their belongings and they have to rely on the government and some humanitarian organizations to provide basic necessities such as food.
Thabazimbi Mayor Patricia Mosito has condemned the incident. “One way or another this thing was organized because people cannot just wake up and start engaging in these criminal acts. It is criminal to attack foreign nationals …. it’s not something that we can condone.”
Police are being deployed at the township.
Meanwhile, a member in the North West Province legislature, Jeanette Dibetso-Nyathi, has called on all South Africans to support the efforts by national government in dealing with the sporadic attacks on foreign nationals.
Nyathi was speaking during a debate on xenophobic attacks at the provincial legislature in Mahikeng. “We should condemn xenophobia in its strongest terms and its perpetrators should be brought to book. We should further support the efforts of the President Jacob Zuma and the national government in attending to this outcry.”