DISPLACED FAMILIES SMILE AT NEW HOME

The Sowetan, 3 June 2008

PLEASE NOTE: Readers wishing to reproduce and reference this article
should contact the editors of the The Sowetan for permission


Life at the new home for displaced foreign nationals, near Rand Airport in Ekurhuleni, is better than the conditions at Primrose police station, from where they were moved. This is what most foreign nationals, who were moved from Primrose police station yesterday to new temporary shelters, said after falling victim to xenophobic attacks three weeks ago. The foreigners are among the 3000 people moved from town halls and police stations to the shelters in Gauteng at the weekend. The Gauteng government plans to move 10000 foreigners to 1000 tents in 10 camps. A total of 9734 people were sheltered at police stations after xenophobic violence broke out three weeks ago. The site at Rand Airport is near the Germiston Golf Course. It is clean and fenced off. The government expects to move about 2000 people to the site. When Sowetan visited the site yesterday many people were busy washing while others were cooking. Most of the male residents were away job hunting. The immigrants said each tent catered for two families. Mirriam Khoza, 32, lives with her boyfriend Jerry Bombi, 34, at the site. “We were moved last night,” Khoza said. “Living conditions here are far better than at the police station. The tents are very warm and we were given blankets.” The Mozambican national said she wanted to start selling oranges and open a public phone business but the authorities refused. “All I want is to make some money so that I can survive.” she said. “My boyfriend has gone to look for work. I don’t know how things will go.” Agnes Phiri, 31, a Zimbabwean, said: “We slept well. We cannot complain. I like it here. The place is clean and well situated.” Olga Chauke told Sowetan she had been in the country for more than 20 years. “My three children were all born here,” she said. “They don’t know anyone in Mozambique. If I take them back there they will not fit in.” Meanwhile, migrants at Jeppe police station have not been moved to the old shunting station in Benrose, Johannesburg, as planned because electricity still has to be laid on.