Zim tycoon foots bill for xenophobia victims

2015-04-27 18:04

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Ordinary people are now helping foreign nationals, who were displaced during the recent xenophobic attacks, to return to their home countries.

City Press has learnt that apart from several foreign governments’ initiatives to evacuate their citizens, several business people are lending a helping hand.

Zimbabwean property tycoon, Frank Buyanga, last week wrote to aid organisation Gift of the Givers pledging to provide 10 buses to transport foreign nationals to Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo and Malawi.

In his letter, which City Press has seen, Buyanga through his non-profit organisation, Hamilton Foundation, wrote: “We were saddened to learn of attacks on foreign nationals and the atrocities committed by our fellow African brothers.”

Buyanga said the carnage came about without warning, however his foundation offered to assist individuals wishing to return to their home countries “with transport as well as food parcels and many other needs”.

Buyanga said he was touched about the attacks.

“I know how it feels like to be ill treated in a foreign country. I know there are people who want to go home but may not afford to do so,” he said.

Although Buyanga said he would not be leaving South Africa himself, he said logistical processes were under way to assist those who want to return to their home countries.

In the latest turn of events, the Nigerian government recalled their high commissioner to South Africa in protest against the attacks which have seen seven people killed.

The attacks started a few weeks ago allegedly after King Goodwill Zwelithini accused foreign nationals of being responsible for violent crime and said they should return to their home countries.

The attacks started in KwaZulu-Natal and spread to Gauteng and North West.

The South African government has launched several initiatives aimed at addressing the problem.

The latest wave of xenophobic attacks is not the first time South African turned on their brothers and sisters from the continent. In 2008, many foreigners were attacked, robbed and some murdered.

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