Following the spate of xenophobic attacks in April on foreigners in South Africa, the South African government has decided to return 5,645 foreigners, the government said on Sunday.
Spokesperson for the South African Government, Jeff Radebe, revealed this in a statement that foreigners chose to leave South Africa voluntarily.
The Malawians, dominated the list with 3,506, followed by Zimbabweans (1,440) Mozambicans (682), while Tanzanians had (17).
Mr. Radebe said the repatriation process started soon after the latest spate of xenophobic violence ended in April.
“The Department of Social Development continues to work closely with other relevant departments, as well as civil society organisations to provide support to displaced foreign nationals,” Mr. Radebe said.
Radebe’s statement, also disclosed that 10 women with children under 12 months of which three had just given birth were flown to their respective countries on their insistence. Radebe also said those receiving trauma counseling numbered over 1,000
Mr. Radebe further said the department would continue to do its work to ensure that the underlying socio-economic issues that gave rise to tensions between South Africans and foreign nationals were dealt with.
He also defended the current Operation Fiela (meaning “sweep’’ in Sesotho language) launched after the end of the xenophobia attacks, adding that the operation was meant to address the security challenges in a structured and coordinated manner.