Government has said 300 Malawians have been displaced from their Durban homes in South Africa by the xenophobic attacks and that about 105 have opted to return home.
Minister of Information and Communication Technology Henry Mussa said in a statement made available to Nyasa Times on Monday that no Malawian has died arising from the attacks that have been taking place mainly in Durban since March 25 2019.
“So far, 2 Malawians have been confirmed injured while some 300 are displaced,” Mussa said.
The minister added: “Our Mission is also consulting on voluntary return of 105 Malawians who will be sponsored by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).’’
South Africa’s minister of international relations and cooperation minister Lindiwe Sisulu pleaded with acting Malawi high commissioner to South Africa Gloria Bamusi to tell Malawians to stay.
“We don’t want to see them leave,” Landers said. “Whilst we understand that what happened is regrettable, it would be much better for all of us if they remained [in South Africa].”
Malawi government is assuring that it is doing “everything that is possible” to secure the safety and welfare of all its citizens.
“We will continue to update the nation on this matter,” Mussa said.
Durban mayor Zandile Gumede, however, said attacks on Malawians started after a Malawian was allegedly found in possession of stolen goods belonging to a South African.
“This unfortunate situation was then hijacked by a group of locals who started kicking out other Malawians in the name of getting rid of ‘criminal elements’,” said Gumede in a statement.
As a sign of extending an olive branch, the Malawians wrote a letter apologising for those who had committed crime and this gesture was overwhelmingly welcomed by the locals who indicated that they were ready to welcome the Malawians back into the community.
“We will work with the municipality to integrate our people back to the communities and make necessary arrangements for those who want to go back home to Malawi,” said Bamusi.
Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned the violence against foreign nationals and called on law enforcement agencies and law-abiding citizens to identify perpetrators and help bring them to book.
“As South Africans, we owe our freedom to the solidarity and support given to our liberation struggle by people across our continent and around the world. Today, our economy and society benefits from our extensive trade and investment relations with partners on our continent and many of our continental compatriots live in South Africa where they are making important contributions to the development of our country,” said Ramaphosa.
“African development depends on the increased movement of people, goods and services between different countries for all of us to benefit. We will not allow criminals to set back these processes.”