Community leaders support reintegration

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Germiston – Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini says community leaders in Makause have committed to support the reintegration process of displaced foreign nationals.

Over 300 foreign nationals, including 66 babies and 25 children, have been staying in tents erected next to Primrose Police Station following attacks on foreign nationals.

Thirty-six tents were erected to accommodate them but the tents have since been dismantled as the foreign nationals agreed to go back to their homes in Makause. Only six tents were left standing as some foreign nationals have decided to go back to their countries.

Minister Dlamini visited the temporary camp on Thursday to interact with the community. She said after talks with the community and its leaders, she is confident that the displaced foreign nationals will be well received.

She said the community leadership has done its work and says foreign nationals will be safe on their return back to communities.

“The leadership from various areas took up the matter and said they wanted to stay with our brothers and sisters. As far as the commitment of government, we are all ready to do our work,” Minister Dlamini said.

She acknowledged that reintegration is never easy and that communities will be prepared and guided through the process. The Department of Social Development has engaged the Nelson Mandela Foundation to train people in local government on conflict resolution.

Ekurhuleni Mayor Mondli Gungubele said it was important to note that minor criminal groups drove foreign nationals out, an act not endorsed by the entire community.

“… Communities … have a duty to protect [foreign nationals] and we’ve brought the leadership of various communities here to tell them that they are welcomed home... Police will be visible until the situation is stabilised,” said Mayor Gungubele.

Officials from Home Affairs were present at the camp to help the displaced who lost their documentation while fleeing the violence.

Some of the foreign nationals, who have decided to go back to Makause, said the situation in their home countries were simply not conducive for them to go back.

“I’m afraid but … if I go back home, there’s nothing for me there. I’d rather stay in South Africa as the economic environment is far better than where I came from,” said Viola Chauke from Zimbabwe.

However, others such as Zimbabwean national Promise Marisa, who has been in the country since 2004, has chosen to go back to their countries.

“… I know it’s going to be difficult back home because of the economy but I will see how I will survive. Maybe I will come back to South Africa when the situation is calm,” said Marisa. – SAnews.gov.za

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