Passop Watch

In Masiphumelele, a township in Cape Town located near Fish Hoek, tensions ran high this week as issues around a housing development divided the local Xhosa population.

This was the last area to be affected by xenophobic violence, and while two Xhosa groups may be fighting among themselves, they may find a easy victim in the immigrant population.

We are monitoring the situation very carefully, and have been given an undertaking by the local community political leaders and religious leaders that they are committed to ensuring the safety of foreign nationals.

We also continue to engage the police from the highest level and the Commissioner of the Western Cape to assist in the prevention of future xenophobic violence in the area.  

The largest population of victims of xenophobic violence are the Somalians, who undercut the local spazas’ (small shops), followed by the Congolese community, who are often accused of drug-related crimes (often confused and victimised because of the unfortunate stereotype faced by Nigerians). The Zimbabweans remain much safer, as here the frustration of communities around the threat associated with their taking jobs is mainly expressed in Gauteng.   

The closure of the remaining camp and the re-integration of communities has been largely compromised by the inevitable difficulties faced by the population, as they are largely unemployed (partially as a result of the xenophobic violence).  

The UNHCR has been assisting immigrants financially, and has been faced with many difficulties in doing so. One of the biggest concerns has been the suspicion among the immigrant population that the UNHCR has been attempting to bribe them to re-integrate, a rumour which we strongly condemn.

We believe that it is in the best interest of immigrants to take the assistance offered, however those eligible and wishing to repatriate to their home countries must follow the processes offered by the camp facilitators. 

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