SHELTER SHOCK FOR FOREIGNERS

Pretoria News, 1 April 2008

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Displaced foreigners from Atteridgeville are upset about the condition of their temporary shelter in Marabastad. The foreigners - forced to flee their homes after fighting broke out in the Brazzaville informal settlement recently - were yesterday moved to the old Malas warehouse, which has no electricity, water or sanitation facilities. The foreigners were temporarily housed at two local schools in Atteridgeville where they were looked after by the local police, ANC councillors and other stakeholders. Tshwane Metro Council spokesperson Console Tleane said the move was a temporary arrangement prompted by security concerns in Atteridgeville. "Our first concern was these people's safety. We are working around the clock to find them better accommodation as we are also not pleased at the conditions of the place," he said. Tleane could not confirm what the council had planned in terms of providing food at the temporary shelter, saying the council still had to consult with other stakeholders. Tshwane Metro Police spokesperson William Baloyi said they would provide 24-hour security at Malas to ensure the foreigners' safety. "Our first task will be to make sure that only people who have been moved from Atteridgeville are at the new shelter. "The lack of lights at the place may be problematic, but we will be there to keep an eye on the situation," said Baloyi. Most of the people had declined to be reintegrated into the Brazzaville community, fearing more attacks by locals. Atteridgeville police, community policing forum members and officials of the Department of Home Affairs and the Gauteng department of community safety held an anti-xenophobia roadshow in Atteridgeville at the weekend. Atteridgeville police station commissioner Assistant Commissioner Mpho Mmutle said they wanted immigrants to be able to live in the area without fear. Meanwhile, many Zimbabwean immigrants at the shelter were anxious about election results back home. A mother, who refused to be identified, said: "It all went wrong when President Robert Mugabe chased away people who were creating jobs and gave farms to his friends." Leony Gumbo said: "I can't wait for the results because I couldn't go and be part of the change that is about to happen in my country."