Locals, foreign nationals set up a talk shop to address issues

2017-09-28 06:00
Resident Khuzekile Ngcuka speaks during the launch of the Association for Refugee Communities and Organisations in South Africa (ARCOSA), on Thursday, at Blue Hall, in Site C, Khayelitsha.                                                PHOTO: Mbongiseni MASEKO

Resident Khuzekile Ngcuka speaks during the launch of the Association for Refugee Communities and Organisations in South Africa (ARCOSA), on Thursday, at Blue Hall, in Site C, Khayelitsha. PHOTO: Mbongiseni MASEKO

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Residents and foreign nationals commemorated the International Day of Peace by launching an organisation that aims to promote harmony between them.

The Association for Refugee Communities and Organisations in South Africa (ARCOSA) was launched last Thursday at the Blue Hall, in Site C, Khayelitsha.

The launch was done in partnership with Cape Town Refugee Centre (CTRC) and Peace Builders Team.

Albert Mpazayabo, of ARCOSA, said they chose the area because it is known as a “hot sport for xenophobia” in the city.

“There are no camps in South Africa for refugees. So refugees have freedom of movement. They have rights to start businesses in the areas where they live. We expect communities to be welcoming, but the integration has failed ... We are aware of the issues that foreigners sell drugs, which might be true, but who is buying them?

We as the organisation want to mobilise and educate residents about the rights of refugees. We will then talk about social cohesion. We all need to be part of the solution,” Mpazayabo said.

Khuzekile Ngcuka, a resident, said dialogue between refugees and locals is important to address burning issues concerning the two parties.

“We want to teach our youth to protect foreign nationals. Such sessions will help us to learn business from them. Communities should be educated about their presence and to welcome them,” Ngcuka said.

Thembisile Ndyavane, residents applauded Somali nationals for not being involved in the selling of drugs.

“Somali nationals are gentlemen. They are only focusing on shops and nothing else. Other foreign nationals sell drugs in communities. We have drugs now, because of other refugees who come into the country,” Ndyavane said.

Another resident said foreign national also demonstrated animosity towards locals.

Nombulelo Stofile said: “Foreign nationals do not like us ... its not the other way. When we approach them for assistance as neighbourhood watch they call us names ...,” Stofile added.

Resident Nowethu Mbekeni, said foreign nationals are not the only ones who become victims of crime and that they fail to pitch for community dialogue where some of the burning issues are meant to be addressed for the benefit of the community.

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