A ZIMBABWEAN woman has died following the xenophobic attacks that have rocked neighbouring South Africa with several being injured and displaced during the unrest.
Zimbabwean Ambassador in South Africa David Hamadziripi told Sunday News by telephone that the woman died last Monday while many other Zimbabweans were also displaced.
“There are some Zimbabweans that were displaced in the Katlehong area (near Johannesburg) and we do have one Zimbabwean woman who was a security guard who was killed. The police have been talking of seven people who were killed during the violence and among those seven is that Zimbabwean woman,” he said.
Amb Hamadziripi said he was not yet furnished with full details about the circumstances that led to the death.
“I do not have much detail as yet about her death but it was attributed to the violent incidents that took place here. I will get more details and update you,” he said.
South African media also reported the death of the Zimbabwean woman in Hilbrow saying she was shot dead. Amb Hamadziripi said Zimbabweans in the affected areas must be vigilant during this time.
“Our message to Zimbabweans living in South Africa in affected areas is that they must take all necessary precautions and keep away from the places where we have heard or witnessed these violent incidents. Where they find themselves in difficulties they must go and seek shelter at the nearest police station.
“They must take extra precaution and be careful because the situation still remains tense and there are a lot of messages circulating on social media with groups threatening all sorts of violence and threatening foreigners and telling them to return to their countries, so you may never know when and where the next incident may erupt,”.
He said generally Zimbabweans must be careful and take necessary measures to ensure they are safe. A statement from the Municipality of Ekurhuleni which was shared by the Ambassador noted that 107, of which 64 were children, were affected during the attacks.
According to the statement, at least 57 people indicated to the municipality that they wanted to return to Zimbabwe while 50 needed assistance with alternative shelter, food, clothing and blankets. About 422 Mozambican adults and 122 children were also affected with 397 opting to return home. One victim from Lesotho was affected and was in need of shelter and food.
One Ghanaian was affected and expressed his will to return to his country of birth while 52 Malawian adults and 32 children were displaced. Thirty-two said they wanted to go back to Malawi while 20 needed food and shelter.
The affected people are accommodated at Tsolo Hall and D.M Williams in Katlehong. Seven people have been killed and several others injured since a spate of violent attacks broke out in Johannesburg last week before spreading to some parts of Pretoria.
More than 50 foreign-owned shops were vandalised, looted or burnt while several cars were torched. World leaders and international organisations have condemned the xenophobic attacks. The Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) has called for a lasting solution to end the violence.
President Mnangagwa also condemned the attacks, saying he was closely monitoring the situation and communicating with his counterpart, President Cyril Ramaphosa, in South Africa.
“We strongly condemn all forms of hate- driven violence and applaud the South African authorities for the swift way they have responded. We’re closely following the situation and I’m in regular contact with my South African counterpart, President Cyril Ramaphosa,” said President Mnangagwa in an interview last week.
Some countries such as Zambia and Nigeria have however, retaliated by ransacking stores operated in their countries by South African companies such as Shoprite, and MTN. Media reports from the two countries say the demonstrators looted the shops and vandalised them in Lusaka, Zambia and in a number of Nigerian cities. The demonstrators reportedly said they were avenging the death of their citizens in South Africa.