Xenophobia: Last six buses arrive

Innocent Ruwende in Beitbridge
The last group of 300 Zimbabweans fleeing xenophobic attacks in South Africa arrived here yesterday afternoon and was expected to leave for their respective homes last night in six buses hired by Government.

Government also provided trucks to carry the victims’ belongings from the International Organisation for Migration Reception and Support Centre in Beitbridge.

Public Services, Labour and Social Welfare permanent secretary Mr Ngoni Masoka, who is leading a committee comprising several stakeholders including police, immigration department, Ministry of Health and Child Care and Zimra, among others, tasked with receiving the immigrants, said they have no instructions to wait for another group.

“This is the second group which I reckon is the last. We hope to finish clearing them here by the end of the day so that they will be able to go to their homes.

“Like the first group, we will provide starter packs and blankets to the victims while Red Cross and some UN agencies are also providing more packs,” he said.

One bus came from Johannesburg while five others were from Durban.

Victims who spoke to The Herald said the situation in South Africa was tense hence they had to return home.

Mr Elfas Moyo, who was staying in Germiston area, said he witnessed the butchering of a Somali national in his shop.

“A group of Zulu-speaking South Africans went to his shop and asked for money and he told them he did not have any since another group had collected money the previous day and they started attacking him.

“One of them drew a knife from his pocket and stabbed him on the head and killed him in his shop before looting,” he said.

He said police arrived at the scene and they did not arrest anyone and an ambulance arrived three hours later. “After seeing this, I knew they would come after us next so I decided to come back home,” he said.

Mr Phios Chinoona, who was staying in the Chatsworth area in Durban and uses crutches, said when he was coming from work he was confronted by a group of Zulus who shoved him to the ground and demanded money.

“They took all my property and R4 600, which I had hidden under the mattress which I intended to send to Zimbabwe for my children’s fees. They were targeting us because they know Zimbabweans buy valuable things. They also took my laptop.

“I was forced to leave behind my car — a Toyota Hilux 2,4D — to people in Durban. I do not know what they will decide to do with it since I left that country my wish is to return and get the car,” he said.

He said some landlords who wanted Zimbabweans to continue paying rent were going to the camp where Zimbabweans were being kept telling them that they were safe to return but once they return they were killed.

“We had a man called Madzibaba Mhofu in the camp, he went to collect his property after we dissuaded him from doing so and he was killed when he got there,” he said.

Mr Jenias Chiromo of Chiredzi said he witnessed many people being killed and fled.

“I just took my family to the camp and I failed to collect my property. I don’t have anything now I am here because of Government and I don’t know where to start from,” he said.