Scores of foreigners, including Zimbabweans in the South African city of Durban, are reported to have fled their homes and sought refuge in police stations after weekend xenophobic attacks following statements by Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, that foreigners should go back to their homelands by the end of this month.
Zwelithini is reported to have made the remarks last week although he later said he had been misquoted. President Jacob Zuma’s eldest son, Edward, also echoed the same sentiments adding foreigners were being used as cheap labor at the expense of locals.
President Zuma, through his spokesman, Mac Maharaj, later issued a statement assuring foreigners that they were safe as long as they had the proper documentation.
This was also reiterated by Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba who promised that foreigners who were victimized would be assisted.
"Our constitution says that everyone who is within the borders is entitled to dignity, to shelter, etc. So unless that is amended we have no right therefore to victimise people from other parts of Africa," he told public broadcaster SABC
In 2008 62 foreigners were killed when anger against immigrants flared up with Somalians, Ethiopians and Bangladeshi bearing much of the brunt.
However, tension remained high today with foreigners in all major cities on high alert as fears of an imminent xenophobic attack continues to spread.
Chairman, Nqabutho Nicholas Mabhena of Zimbabwean Community in South Africa, says Zimbabweans are living in fear in that country.