Returned foreign nationals at Jika Joe must buy a cow

2014-01-22 00:00

SOME of the foreign nationals chased out of the Jika Joe settlement during last week’s xenophobic attack have now returned, but are reportedly being told to buy a cow for a cleansing ceremony to be held there.

Community leaders from Jika Joe went to the mosque on East Street this past weekend where some of the foreign nationals were hiding following the attack on Wednesday night last week and invited them back.

Not all the foreign nationals have returned to the area; some have opted to live with their friends in the city.

The xenophobic wave began after locals believed that a foreign national had murdered one of their community, but this was refuted by police who said no foul play was suspected in the man’s death.

Musa Osman, who spoke on behalf of the foreign nationals, said leaders from the settlement had come to the mosque on Saturday and invited the foreign nationals to come back to the area and resume their lives.

“I went to see some of the guys [that were chased out] yesterday and they told me that the situation seemed quiet and they were fine.”

During the height of the violence last week, some of the foreign nationals said they had lived decent lives in the settlement and would like to go back, but others said they preferred to move on.

However, Osman said they had encountered one obstacle on their return.

“Because the people still believe that foreigners had killed the local guy, they have said that the foreigners should buy a cow to cleanse the area according to their culture.

“We told them that most foreigners do not work and therefore could not buy the cow, and an agreement was reached that we would approach the rich people to try and raise the money, probably by February,” said Osman.

He said the situation had calmed down and the police were stamping their authority, and have threatened to arrest anyone who starts any violence.

A community leader, Bongani Mkhize, who went to invite the foreign nationals back, said he hoped the situation would improve.

“It’s much better than it was before … I saw that they [the foreign nationals] were sleeping uncomfortably in the church and I negotiated that they should come back. I also went to the police station to ask them to patrol the area.”

Another leader, Khumbulani Gamede, said a decision was taken that anyone who started the violence would face the law.

Both leaders said they were not aware of any demand for cattle to be slaughtered.

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