Durban Action Against Xenophobia

About Durban Action

Durban Action Against Xenophobia is a group that was created, originally by staff and students at UKZN, to respond to the immediate refugee crisis in Durban. Following the xenophobic attacks in Gauteng in early May, reports started coming in of similar attacks in KZN and particularly in the Durban area. Within days, displaced foreign nationals began to flow into police stations and churches around the city seeking refuge. DAAX kicked off their campaign with a trolley drive in local supermarkets to help provide the Red Cross with supplies to feed these refugees. Liaising directly with the Red Cross command centre at Cato Manor, as well as with other action groups, NGOs and faith-based organisations around Durban, DAAX was able to collect a large number of donations and deliver them to Red Cross, as well as bringing in volunteers to sort the donations and deliver them to safe sites around the City. Members of DAAX have also been active in anti-xenophobia meetings, gatherings and discussions. Our current focus is to ensure that local and provincial government implement coherent medium and long-term plans to protect and provide shelter for the refugees, and to encourage their eventual reintegration into local communities wherever possible. We are also working with several groups seeking to provide education and open dialogue around the issue of xenophobia in South Africa.

Members of Durban Action are all volunteers. The group was originally started on Facebook and has grown to nearly 1,000 members. As a result, we now have many members who do not have access to the Facebook group and the information posted there, and so we have started this blog to cater for a wider membership as well as to provide information to the general public.

Durban Action can be contacted on durbancrisis (at) gmail . com

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2 Comments »

  1. I believe we need to challenge this statement from the ANC chief whip. His statement reads as follows (my comments are in brackets):

    Subject: Re: Xenophobia situation in KZN / Durban

    Two weeks ago we had 2500 refugees being held at various police stations, churches and mosques. Currently we have 800 refugees. The city together with faith based organizations, provincial government and the city departments and the local councilors has successfully avoided a larger scale problem.

    ( There are fewer people due to the fact that people were turned away from police stations. A friend of mine’s uncle was stabed in the xenophobic attacks and when he went to a police station he was told “fuck off kwerekwere”. So I don’t think the city can be proud that there are fewer people)

    The eThekwini municipality notes with grave concern the recent attacks on foreign nationals in parts of our country. The eThekwini municipality wishes to reiterate our unequivocal condemnation of such xenophobic acts. This attack goes against our human rights culture and weakens our campaigns to build a global community that is free from poverty and oppression.
    We call on people to take a firm stand against such violent acts and treat them as hate crimes. Such acts can only take society backwards and open the wounds of racism and intolerance against which so many of our people fought.
    We call on all South Africans to spare no effort in speaking out against acts of xenophobia in any form.
    The eThekwini municipality calls all civil society organizations, state institutions and security agencies work together to eradicate all forms of racism and xenophobia in our society.
    The City Council was involved from day one when the xenophobic attacks were made on the foreigners. In fact when these attacks had started in Gauteng our MEC of Safety and Security immediately called a meeting with all Heads of SAPS, the Metro Police the Mayors and all the Exco members. We were told that the police will patrol areas where large amount of foreigners lived. A plan was put into action so that we all knew who to contact and what to do, if any such attacks by the criminal elements took place.

    The City Council established the Disaster Management to organise toilets and sanitation for the foreigners who were given shelter in tents either in Police stations or at local faith based organisations. In addition water tanks were provided, waste management was organised at the sites and the Health Dept provided health care and immunisations for children. Food was provided by many of our Muslim Organisations, the Red Cross, local NGO’s and the Provincial department of Welfare. All of them did an exceptionally good job.

    (Why is the City Council not providing food. The tent that I saw at Cato Manor cannot be called a tent – it was one large taupallin without sides which exposed people to the elements)

    All of the eThekwini Councillors had meetings with Community Policing Forums and the Police Commissioners daily to keep and eye on the treatment given to foreigners. Councillors from the Cato Manor, and Cato Crest and Chesterville areas had worked tirelessly to assist with logistics.

    Our instruction from the MEC’s was to get the communities to assist the foreigners if they belongings were stolen from them and even if they were attacked by the locals. My area Chesterville, I had street committees to patrol the area if any foreigners were attacked.

    The Cities greatest challenge is to get a Refugee Camps Reception/Relief Centre within the city. At the moment the city disaster management centre is exploring, the feasibility of establishing a refugee relief centre. The city does not want to rush this because Gauteng and Cape Town has made some mistakes in establishing such Refugee Camps.

    At the moment the temporary Relief Centres have approximately 800 foreigners. We are trying to re- integrate the refugees back into the communities. However, the majority of the refugees want to leave and return to their countries of origin. Our Muslim community organisations have supported many refugees to return. Food and medical support is also provided.

    (reintegration is not an option at the moment – it is not safe for people to return to communities. If people are given the option of either leaving or reintegrating then of course they will opt to leave. This is not “voluntary deportation” but forced deportation)

    A meeting was held yesterday with the MEC of Local Government and the United Nations and other stake holders, A provincial task team to manage the entire province is now in action with a programme in place.

    Currently all the foreigners are kept in safe places, an ongoing team of early warning systems and rapid response systems are in place to avert any further incidences – the situation has stabilised.

    All our political leadership at a provincial and local level have visited most of the sites where refugees are being held. The leadership praised the role of local faith based organisations for their support encouraged the refugees not to leave and also apologised to them for the attacks by criminal elements.

    I thank you.

    Warmest wishes

    Councillor Fawzia Peer

    Comment by Alice Thomson — June 11, 2008 @ 7:29 pm | Reply

  2. I would also like to assist in any way possible to prevent any attacks in/around KZN. I agree with the above comment, I also saw the tent in Cato Manor…not impressed at all.
    It’s amazing how fellow South Africans are quick to judge and call people names yet these are the very same people who are the first to arrive when help is needed.A personal experience: last week my neighbour was in labour at the flat and was alone in her flat.She managed to get to the door and called for help, 2south african men were at the balcony explaining to everyone who cared to listen how this woman had been screaming. I asked her to open the gate for me but she seemed too week to do much, i ran down satirs to the shop(owned by a guy from Ghana) he went up with me and helped me get in through the window.Unfortunately the lady lost her baby but we managed to get her to hospital for medicall attention.Point is we are so quick to insult and humiliat others yet we cannot help each other. It makes me so sick to learn that there are still heartless people in our country.
    I hope something can be done to stop these acts or prevent them from spreading. I’m a proudly South African person yet i am very ahsamed of my felow poeple’s barbaric behavior.

    kind regards
    carol

    Comment by Carol — July 14, 2010 @ 11:45 am | Reply


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