Zimbabweans caught in xenophobic attacks once again

November 18, 2009 by By Arnold Bhebhe

600 migrants were attacked and driven out of their shacks in a scene reminiscent of 2008 xenophobic attacks by a marauding mob of locals in De Doorns 90miles from Cape Town, South Africa on Tuesday.

Police fired rubber bullets to disperse the angry crowd as the foreigners, the majority of whom were Zimbabweans sought sanctuary in the local police station and government buildings.

No arrests have been made yet and no injuries have been reported.

Station commander Superintendent Desmond Van der Westhuizen told Reuters: “Police fired rubber bullets this morning because of the fact that people tried to dismantle shacks in the De Doorrns informal settlement area.”

In 2008, a wave of fatal xenophobic attacks which began in Johannesburg and spread to Cape Town, caught 15000 migrants most of whom were Zimbabweans -forcing survivors into settlement camps.

The latest outbreak according to Superintendent Westhuizen began in “Stofland” the largest camp in the area where locals were unhappy with migrants taking jobs on nearby farms.

He has described the situation as tense but under control with police officers out in full force to protect life and property.

The current global economic downturn and recession has been the worst to hit the country, Africa’s largest economy -in 20 years rendering a quarter of nearly 50 million citizens jobless.