STATEMENT OF THE GAUTENG PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT ON THE REINTEGRATION OF DISPLACED FOREIGN NATIONALS

Issued by the Gauteng Provincial Government, 31 July 2008


The Gauteng Inter Ministerial Committee, tasked with managing the situation following attacks on foreign nationals, met yesterday to assess progress on the reintegration of displaced persons.

The Committee is satisfied that enough work has been done to create conditions throughout Gauteng for the reintegration of displaced foreign nationals. Favourable conditions now exist throughout the province, particularly in the areas that were severely affected by violence, for the displaced people to safely return to their homes in their respective communities.
Reintegration has already successfully transpired in many places including among others, Diepsloot, Tembisa, Thokoza, Alexandra, Bophelong, Mohlakeng and Gugulethu. In all the areas where reintegration has happened, communities have warmly welcomed back the foreign nationals.

Government would like to thank all the people of Gauteng in the various communities who have worked hard to assist in creating conditions for the reintegration of foreign nationals into society. Some have offered various forms of assistance to the displaced people including shelter, food and care for children.

Our intervention as government following the attacks was in three key areas, namely:
* ending the violence and stabilising the situation in the affected areas;
* attending to the humanitarian relief and providing for the basic needs of the displaced persons; and
* creating the necessary conditions for the reintegration of displaced persons into their communities.

It is evident that the security situation throughout the province, especially the areas that were affected by the violent attacks, has been stabilised.

The security and stability was achieved through increased deployment of police assisted by communities. The South African Police Service and other law enforcement agencies continue to monitor the situation very closely and are prepared to take steps to prevent any further attacks in the province.

Temporary shelters were created in Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni, three in each area, to provide humanitarian relief to the displaced persons.

When the shelters were established it was made very clear that these were temporary shelters to provide urgent humanitarian relief to the displaced persons, while conditions were being created for them to safely return to their homes in their respective communities. The period for the temporary shelters was set for two months starting from June 2008.

All six shelters will be closing on 15 August 2008. Based on the good progress made so far in the reintegration process, we are convinced that the remaining 3 000 people who are still accommodated at the shelters will use the two weeks between now and 15 August 2008 to make arrangements to either return to their homes in their respective communities or find alternative accommodation.

It was never the intention of government to create permanent separate settlements for foreign nationals. Foreign nationals have lived in South Africa for many years and throughout their stay here they have lived side by side with locals. Many of them have families and friends and their children have grown and attend school in the communities where they lived.
It is only correct that everything must be done to create conditions for the foreign nationals who are still displaced to reintegrate themselves into society. They deserve to lead a normal life as they have done for many years in our country. We appeal to the people of Gauteng to once again open their hearts and assist the foreign nationals who are still displaced to be reintegrated into our society.