Somalia, Malawi concerned about attacks on nationals

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Premier Senzo Mchunu are to meet diplomats from African States in Durban Tuesday morning to discuss the wave of attacks on foreign nationals in the province.

King Goodwill Zwelithini met with the security cluster ministers in Durban Monday night to discuss the situation and the state of the country’s borders, including cross-border crime.

So far Malawi and Somalia are among the countries that have expressed concern about the plight of their nationals in KZN, but Zimbabwe has already indicated that the matter would carry no weight.

The Somali embassy said it was trying to trace its citizens and help them escape the violence. It has demanded urgent assistance from the Department of International Relations and Co-operation.

The Malawian government said it would be helping citizens living in South Africa to return to their homeland following the violence.

Both Gigaba and Mchunu are expected to assure the diplomats that the government is dealing with the situation of attacks on foreign nationals, which seems to continue in the province, threatening lives and stability.

Thus far, at least five people have been killed since the violence started. Thousands others have been displaced from their places of residence in various areas in the eThekwini municipality.

Businesses owned by foreign nationals have been destroyed and looted.

Meanwhile, more looting of shops has been reported overnight from KwaMashu and other townships in the Durban area. Thousands of foreigners displaced by earlier violence are being housed in three special camps in the area.

Some observers are blaming criminality rather than xenophobia for the looting. But political analyst, Protas Madlala, says economic hardships are a major contributing factor to attacks on foreign nationals.

Madlala says such incidents normally happen international in situations where the economy is very bad. He adds: “And the in-group, which in this case will be South Africans, attribute all their sufferings especially economic suffering and social suffering because there’s housing issues as well, they always attribute that kind of suffering to the outside group.”