Hundreds of Zimbabwean families who last week fled their homes in Makurung Village, South Africa, are still in hiding following the resurgence of xenophobic attacks in the Lebowakgomo district. The families were attacked by South Africans who accused them of stealing from their houses at night.
Zimbabwe’s consul-general to South Africa Mr Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro yesterday said the situation was still tense for the affected families to return to their work places.
He said he engaged the Lebowakgomo authorities after Makurung headman took long to respond to the attacks and the displacements.
“Hundreds of the affected families are seeking refuge from other Zimbabwean families living in other villages in Lebowakgomo district because the situation is still tense,” said Mr Mukonoweshuro.
“I engaged the Lebowakgomo Queen after realising that Makurung village headman and the police had failed to respond swiftly to the threatening situation. The Queen then summoned the headman to meet with us and we agreed that the issue must be resolved and a dozen people have been arrested now in connection with the attacks.”
Mr Mukonoweshuro said he met with the affected families, whose businesses and homes had been ransacked.
He said four people were injured during the attacks.
“I met with the affected families who were accused of using “juju” against the South African residents,” he said. “They are now in hiding, but four people who were injured during the attacks are in hospital.”
The attacks also come in the wake of protests by South African students over the increase of tuition fees and coincidentally several Zimbabwean students are studying there.
Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa Mr Isaac Moyo yesterday said the Zimbabwean students were safe from the demonstrations.
“Our good bilateral relations allow us to mutually deal with challenges affecting both our mutual interests as and when they arise,” he said.
Mr Moyo said just like other students in South Africa, the Zimbabwean student community was also affected in terms of learning, but there were no casualties.
The last xenophobic attacks in South Africa erupted in April this year and displaced at least 800 Zimbabweans.
The attacks led several African governments to repatriate their displaced citizens and a wider condemnation of the South African government and its people for failure to respect fellow Africans.