News24 Wire
Wire Service
3 minute read
13 Sep 2019
9:59 pm

Displaced foreign nationals say they are ready to return to Katlehong

News24 Wire

Xenophobia victims have been staying at the Tsolo Community Hall, but say they want to go back to the suburb, rather than going back to their countries of birth.

Foreign nationals try to save their belongings after their shacks were set alight by alleged looters at Marabastad, near the Pretoria Central Business District (CBD) in Pretoria, South Africa on September 2, 2019, during widespread attacks on foreign nationals and looting of their shops. (Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP)

A few displaced foreign nationals have told News24 they are ready to return to Katlehong despite last week’s violent unrest in the area.

They said they would like to leave the Tsolo Community Hall in Katlehong, where they have been temporarily housed since the attacks, and return to the suburb rather than going back to their countries of birth.

Last week, scores of foreign nationals and their children took refuge at the community hall after they were forced to flee the violence.

Charles Khoma from Malawi said the grass was much greener in South Africa than back home.

He has found a new place to rent close to the community hall, which he will occupy next week.

“What am I going to eat in Malawi? I came here to make a living for my family back home,” said Khoma, adding his pregnant wife was heading home to Malawi next week.

“I am not going anywhere. I have found a permanent job in Wadeville and I’m starting next week. Who is going to feed my wife and parents back home if I don’t work?

“The attacks have taught me something that I must save extra money in case they resume the attacks. Should xenophobia start again, I am going back home for good. I won’t mind hitch-hiking to Malawi to save my life,” he said.

Zimbabwean Blessing Chira said he had also found a new place to rent in the area.

“There are no jobs and money in Zimbabwe. What am I going to eat there? I have parents who are dependent on me and I am here to fend for them.”

Chira said his wife had relocated to her workplace in Kensington and they would reunite as soon as the dust had settled.

“I am retuning to work on Monday. My boss has asked me to come back and work. I am not going anywhere. I think the attacks have stopped and it is safe for us to go back to the suburb,” he added.

Malawian Kenneos Banda said he was going back home next week to renew his driver’s licence and other documents.

“From there, I will think if I am coming back or not. So far, I am undecided whether to come to South Africa again or not. But, my heart tells me to come back here and work as a truck driver,” he added.

Gift Kabasule and Thokozani Marinda, both from Malawi, said they have lost everything, including their passports, when their shack was looted last week.

The two men added they would start job hunting from Monday because they have found a place to rent in Katlehong.

“We lost everything. We are left only with the clothes we are wearing now. What are we going to show back home? Everything we worked for was taken by thugs. We are looking for jobs and will start new lives and continue sending money back home,” said Kabasule.

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