S.Africa migrant refugees given 2-month deadline

An estimated 30,000 Zimbabweans, Mozambicans and other African migrants have been living in refugee camps and shelters since mobs went on the rampage, killing at least 62 people in impoverished shantytowns around Johannesburg and other cities.

S.Africa migrant refugees given 2-month deadline

Migrants who fled the deadly xenophobic attacks in South Africa last month will return to their communities or be repatriated within two months, a government official said on Wednesday.

An estimated 30,000 Zimbabweans, Mozambicans and other African migrants have been living in refugee camps and shelters since mobs went on the rampage, killing at least 62 people in impoverished shantytowns around Johannesburg and other cities.

Facing criticism from relief agencies and the United Nations over poor conditions in the shelters, President Thabo Mbeki's government has started relocating the refugees to tented camps in Gauteng province and elsewhere around the country.

Gauteng encompasses Johannesburg, which was the flashpoint for more than two weeks of murder, rape and looting.

"By end of July we shouldn't have tents in Gauteng," Dorothy Mahlangu, a minister in the Gauteng government, said during a briefing in Cape Town by members of a task force investigating the xenophobic outbreak.

Mahlangu said those who did not want to be reintegrated into the community would be sent home to their respective countries and that the government was working with its African neighbours on arrangements to smooth repatriation.

Zimbabwe is arranging for about 2,500 of its citizens to be repatriated, its state media said on Wednesday.

About 50,000 migrants have left South Africa, with the bulk crossing into neighbouring Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Some refused to go back to their communities in South Africa out of fear, they told officials, that the armed mobs would return.

Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula said there had been no fresh attacks since shortly after soldiers were sent into the townships, though he added that Mbeki might extend the army's deployment when it expires this weekend.

Nqakula added that 1,436 people had been charged with murder, arson, assault and other crimes in connection with the violence, the worst to occur in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Haziran 2008, 16:04
YORUM EKLE