Cops arrest foreign nationals at refugee camp in KZN

Those living in the temporary camp in Chatsworth were displaced by the xenophobic violence in April.

FILE: A lunch queue snakes from a tent at a temporary camp for foreign nationals displaced by xenophobic violence in Isipingo, Durban. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Police say dozens of foreign nationals who refused to leave a refugee camp in KwaZulu-Natal have been arrested in an operation carried out today.

Those living in the temporary camp in Chatsworth were displaced by the xenophobic violence earlier this year.

Police say the families were offered assistance to be relocated anywhere in South Africa but refused all help.

Police spokesperson Jay Naicker says the majority of those who lived in the camp were successfully reintegrated into communities but those who stayed placed their children at great risk.

"There was a lot of children sleeping on this open ground and exposed to unhygienic and unhealthy conditions."

He says the children who make up a big part of the 140 people left behind will be cared for by the social development department.

WATCH: Voices from the xeno camps - Dolly

Last month, members of the joint ad-hoc committee set up to investigate the recent xenophobic attacks had elected co-chairpersons.

National Assembly African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament Ruth Bhengu and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) member Tekoetsile Motlashuping also of the ANC were elected unopposed.

Bengu said their first task would be to draft a programme for the committee, which was due to report back to Parliament by the end of August.

"We have an enormous task in front of us and immediately after this meeting we will find time as co-chairpersons to draft a programme to indicate how we will be meeting to execute our task."

The multi-party committee is tasked with investigating the attacks against foreign nationals that erupted in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in April.

It must also consider the findings of a similar inquiry by MPs into the xenophobic violence of 2008.