Some 113 desperate Malawians have taken up refuge in temporary shelters after fleeing xenophobic attacks from their homes in Ekurhuleni, a city outside Johannesburg, Malawi diplomatic official confirmed in Lilongwe on Wednesday.
According to Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Rejoice Shumba, the 68 men, 30 women and 13 children have joined nationals of other African countries at a temporary shelter the country’s Ministry of Disasters organised for them in Ekurhuleni.
Shumba said her office, while keeping a close eye on the situation in South Africa, has contacted the UN International Organisation for Migration to assist with the repatriation of the displaced Malawians should they seek such aid to return home.
South Africa’s main economic capital of Johannesburg and its surrounding areas erupted into violence on 1 September, in what appears to be well-organised attacks of the foreign nationals.
The attackers, who have directed their anger at businesses and home of the foreigners, claim the newcomers have taken jobs away from them.
While the country’s law enforcers have beefed up their security of the neighbourhoods under attacks, widespread fear has led to panicking among the victims of the violence — which has seen the death of two foreigners and 10 South Africans, with hundreds of people being displaced, the police have said.
Foreigners living in South Africa experienced similar violence in May 2008, which left 61 people dead. Seven years later, some 11 foreigners lost their lives in February 2015 following similar mayhem.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned the violence, telling his compatriots that the there was no justification for these attacks against fellow Africans in his country.