Xenophobia: Malawi repatriating its nationals from South Africa

Malawi government has said it has begun the “voluntary repatriation” of its citizens, in the wake of ongoing xenophobic violence in South Africa that authorities say has claimed dozens of lives, displaced thousands including Malawians.

Nankhumwa: Malawi nationals to be repatriated
Nankhumwa: Malawi nationals to be repatriated

Hundreds of people from Malawi, Burundi, Zimbabwe and Congo have reportedly fled their homes since xenophobic attacks and looting erupted two weeks ago.

The violence began shortly after Goodwill Zwelithini, the reigning King of the Zulu nation, publicly said that immigrants should pack their bags and leave the country. Similar comments were also made by South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma’s son, Edward.

Malawi government spokesman Kondwani Nankhumwa said the government has been working to repatriate those who had immigrated to the country.

He said Lilongwe  is mobilising resources to repatriate atleast 400 Malawians rendered destitute and some of them injured.

“We are repatriating out citizen to come back home safely,” Nankhumwa, who is Information Minister said.

“The situation is really tense as about 360 Malawians are stranded in South Africa following xenophobic attacks there,” Information Minister said.

He said the Malawians targeted had “lost everything”, including their passports.

Nankhumwa said:”Logistically our embassy (Malawi High Commission in South Africa)is in touch with the South African government to facilitate processing of temporary travel documents for our countrymen and women who have lost their passports. Wew hope this process will be done this week”

The minister said Ministry of Foreign affairs and International Cooperation officials are on the ground to bring back some people by the end of this week

He said government will also carry a civic education Malawians who are trekking to South Africa for economic migration to stop until the situation normalises.

The violence has damaged South Africa’s reputation in Malawi as a haven for foreigners in search of employment and wealth.

Malawian law university lecturer Sunduzwayo Madise said Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and African Union leaders should “demand an emergency meeting” with South Africa President Jacob Zuma to “stop these senseless and savagely attacks on foreigners.”

“If the South Africans don’t want other Africans in their country; let’s tear up the SADC Treaty for a start; and sanction their goods, services and businesses. Let us see if an implosion will not result as the fever catches the global market,” Madise wrote on his Facebook Timeline.

Nankhumwa has since promised government will assist those who needed to be evacuated back to Malawi.

Malawians are being housed in tents on a sports field waiting to be repatriated back home in buses.

Meanwhile, some  Malawians refuse to leave South Africa, as they would rather stay in  hiding than face poverty and hunger in their own country.

Violence against African immigrants in South Africa is common, with impoverished locals accusing foreigners of taking their jobs and business.

The government has condemned the violence, with President Jacob Zuma sending a team of officials to assess the situation.

“We reiterate that there can be no justification for attacking foreign nationals,” Zuma said on Sunday.

Zuma said not all foreigners in South Africa were in the country illegally and many contributed to the economy with their skills.

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Kenneth duwa
8 years ago

Wow sad news 2 all malawian who have our fellow relative they’re homeless due 2 xenophobia dat based in south africa.2me wat l see de sadc committe should pull openly Zuma and askng y he endorse his servant 2do wrong thngs like dat.as apresident of de republic hve responsibility 2 baned all dat attend voilent 4 lyf in prison.

Hixy Pota
8 years ago

South Africans r found everywhere in the world for various reasons, should we say every RSA national must not be found anywhere else but in their country alone? This is not logical let’s scrutinise the leaders. Maybe they are not psychologically sound to lead humans.

8 years ago

Wow only this year we are facing four most challenging issues! Donors retreating, low rains in other regions, floods in some districts and xenophobia in SA! Aaaa lets not cease in Praying for our national Malawi!

Blessings khonje
8 years ago

Indeed UN and SADC should intervene,sanctions should fall upon the S.A and for harasing foreign national i would even wish Zuma.s son and that stupid ngoni chief sent to ICC Hague for causing chaos that is claiming more inn.. lives.Should we also start killing ur people and close ur citizen shops like Game and Shoprite take care we are also tired of you.

8 years ago

African countries should united and ostracize South Africa and her citizens.
Every company owned by South African should be confiscated.

8 years ago

South Africa should be expelled from UN if is not dealt with soon. Also other SA abroad should be expelled too to there country.Sorry

8 years ago


Khuzwayo Sothini Jere
8 years ago

I agree with Sunduzwayo Madise SADC must intervene in this situation nevertheless Malawi Govt through immigration department as a role to play by disseminating information to illiterate Malawians who wants to immigrate to RSA about the dangers they might encounter.Just imagine illiterate Malawians leaving side by side with illiterate indigenous South Africans and its us who become vulnerable.

8 years ago

Much as I condone the indecent act of killing and torching, but i find it doesn’t make much sense for a foreigner mpaka kutsegula ma grocery mmakwalala ndi mmidzi and you expect eni ake kumakusekererani. It is out of our own stupidity that we allow Burundians kumagulitsa ufa ndi zina mmakukamu koma ambirinu zimakupwetekani and ndi mwayi chabe kuti a Malawi ndi anthu a mantha bwenzi zili chimodzimodzi ngati ku Joni. The citizen only try to show some sense of ownership and belonging. unfortunately, in a disgusting way. A malawi ambiri ali ku Joni anathawa sukulu, makamaka a chawa. Olo… Read more »

First real Citizen
First real Citizen
8 years ago

Greedy,Selfish,Cowards,ruthless,Selfcentred,Capitalistic,Nepotic,Opressing,Idotic readers of our’s are the one to blame how can they let the amwenyes and other foreign and Govt institutions to be paying someone MK20,000.00 a month,50 years of nothing but poor readers with poor thinking capacity.Fuck this country

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