Bredasdorp facing crisis after attacks on foreign nationals, says local leader

More than 1,000 foreign nationals are living in municipal halls and a mosque after they were targeted in xenophobic and Afrophobic violence earlier this month.

Bredasdorp Police Station

CAPE TOWN - A Bredasdorp community leader said that a crisis was looming after hundreds of foreigners were sent fleeing from their homes.

More than 1,000 foreign nationals are living in municipal halls and a mosque after they were targeted in xenophobic and Afrophobic violence earlier this month.

A protest last week - ostensibly over poor services - turned ugly when homes and shops owned by foreign nationals were attacked.

A community leader and his wife - who do not want to be named - are helping families who've had to flee their homes.

"It's not only a crisis, it is a disaster here," the community leader said.

Their homes were broken into and their belongings had been stolen, leaving them with just the clothes on their backs.

The men, women and children - many of them from Zimbabwe and Malawi - work on farms.

"They come from nothing. They can't go back to nothing. Here they've built themselves a new life and they earn something to send back to their people at home," the community leader said.

The community leader said that the Glaskasteel community hall was so full that some individuals had been forced to sleep outside the building.

More than 100 people have spent the last few nights crammed into the local mosque.