Makhura: Xenophobia can’t represent who we are

The Gauteng premier has called on all sectors to stand up & fight xenophobia in SA.

Thousands of foreign nationals have been housed at Greenwood Park refugee camp following violent attacks on their shops in Durban. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Premier David Makhura says South Africans can't sit back and let xenophobia represent who they are as a country.

The premier was speaking at a refugee camp in Mayfair at the weekend, where he was assessing the living conditions of foreigners who fled their homes out of fear of the violence.

Makhura has called for all sectors of society to stand together against xenophobia.

"Let's stand up and show that South Africans are disgusted with this type of thing. We have suffered under apartheid; we know what it is to suffer. We also know what it is to be displaced."

He also says foreigners should not feel like they must leave the country.

"We want to normalise the situation. We want to make it possible for those who want to be in our country, to be in our country."

WATCH: Foreign nationals fear more attacks might occur


A Mozambican woman living in the Mayfair refugee camp yesterday told Eyewitness News that despite being chased out of Alexandra by locals, she must return to the township for her survival and that of her young child.

Xenophobic tensions, which started in KwaZulu-Natal last month spilled over into various areas in Gauteng including Alexandra.

WATCH: Xenophobic Attacks: Running battles continue

The latest reported incident there saw Mozambican national Emmanuel Sithole stabbed to death at the weekend.

With her arms wrapped about her six-year-old daughter, the Mozambican woman who wished to remain anonymous said she doesn't understand where the anger behind the xenophobic attacks is coming from.

"I see love in these people from here in South Africa. I don't know why these people hit people."

She said while her life and that of her daughters is in danger, she can't return to her home country.

"Even here there's no job but it is better because if you have R10 you can find the small meat to cook and eat."

She plans to return to her room, which she rents in the township, later today.


And as xenophobic tensions continue throughout the country, some foreigners living in Alexandra say their necessity to earn a living out-weighs the threat on their lives.

An Ethiopian shop owner in the township says he's resorted to selling from behind a locked gate after losing two shops he co-owns, to looters.

"I don't have money, even for transport. Even the government can't do anything. You know sometimes life is hard, you have to save your life."