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Passop condemns SA xenophobia


A South Africa-based refugee rights group, People Against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty (Passop), has called on South Africa to urgently curb the recurrence of xenophobic attacks on foreigners by locals.

The call comes hard on the heels of the murder of a Zimbabwean man, Godfrey Sibanda in a xenophobia-related attack in Polokwane by a suspected group of South Africans last week.

Thousands of Zimbabweans living in the same township in Polokwane have since fled the area after their homes were reportedly ransacked and burnt down.

“We have written to the South African government to immediately look into the situation before it gets out of hand,” said Passop director Braam Hanekom.

In 2009, thousands of Zimbabweans were forced to flee their homes in De Doorns in the Western Cape, after a flare-up of xenophobic tension, which saw hundreds of homes belonging to Zimbabweans destroyed.

Between 2000 and 2008, at least 67 people died in xenophobic attacks, while in May 2008, a series of attacks claimed the lives of 62 people.

Undocumented Zimbabweans living across the Limpopo River have reportedly been gripped by fear of looming mass deportations, which could result in increased harassment and victimisation by South African nationals.

The deadline for the registration of Zimbabweans in the neighbouring country is July 31, and according to the South African government, those who will remain undocumented after the dead line would face imminent arrest and deportation.

The refugee rights group said there was a possibility that even documented migrants, including asylum seekers, would be unlawfully arrested or detained.

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