Fidelis Munyoro Herald Reporter
United Nations High Commission for Refugees has expressed disquiet over xenophobic attacks in South Africa in the past three weeks that have left six people dead and displaced more than 5 000 foreigners.
The UN refugee agency, however, welcomed the South African government’s efforts to contain the wave of xenophobia in the South African state.
The attacks in KwaZulu-Natal province began last month following an apparent labour dispute involving South Africans and foreign workers.
“UNHCR is extremely concerned. We have welcomed the response by the government in trying to contain the situation and provide assistance,” said the agency spokesman based in Geneva, Adrian Edwards. A UNHCR team has been sent to the coastal city of Durban to assess the situation and identify where the organisation can support government and civil society partners in their response.
The displaced foreign nationals are grouped in four tented shelters for displaced people established by the local Disaster Management Centre.
In an interview with South African news television station eNCA last week, Zimbabwe Ambassador to South Africa Mr Isaac Moyo said Zimbabweans were disappointed about the xenophobic attacks but the Government would not allow them to take the law into their own hands in retaliation.
He said the two countries were now in dialogue over the barbaric attacks on Zimbabweans in that country.
“We are in dialogue with the SA government over these issues. We understand the explanations they have given us and we are also able to make our own judgments,” said Mr Moyo.
“We would wish that Zimbabweans in this country (SA) are protected but I don’t think that this . . . will affect our good relationship . . . We think we can resolve it through our governments established channels.”
Mr Moyo said Zimbabwean Government would not allow its citizens to break the law in retaliation to xenophobic attacks on Zimbabweans.
“Zimbabwe Government, of course is not about to let Zimbabwe nationals take the law into their own hands,” he said.
Mr Moyo said if there are issues to be tackled with the South African government this would be a matter between the two governments.
“We would wish that no Zimbabweans would really break the law by way of expressing their disappointment,” he said. “We understand that they are very disappointed. We sympathise with that position.”
Ambassador Moyo urged all the Zimbabweans to allow normal processes to deal with the matter.