No Basotho nationals have so far been affected by the ensuing wave of xenophobia in Kwazulu Natal in South Africa, ’Mamotsie Motsie, Lesotho Consular General in Durban told Metro newspaper over the weekend.
Metro made a follow-up on this story following shocking images of people who were violently attacked to find out if Basotho living in the area had been affected.
Last week harrowing images were trending on social media causing fear to relatives of Basotho living in Durban but Motsie said claims Basotho were caught up in the violence were unfounded, misleading and are intended to cause confusion to Basotho.
A source privy to information indicated that last Monday garments factory workers in Mandeni, Durban went on strike demanding a R20 per hour salary increase from their Chinese employers which forced the Chinese employers to close the factories and soon after xenophobic attacks erupted against foreigners living around in Durban.
It turned out a corrupt municipal worker had sold RDP houses to foreigners instead of allocating them to poor people around that place.
According to Motsie, who assumed her duty as Lesotho Consular General in Durban from October 28 last year, her office is serving Basotho living in Durban very well.
“The Lesotho government has given me the mandate to network with Basotho living around Durban and to ensure their safety,” Motsie said.
Motsie further explained that last Monday she received a call from Basotho working in the factories in some of the areas in Durban informing her that they were unable to go to work due to violence caused by local people who said they don’t want to see foreigners around their workplace.
She said after having received xenophobic threats tip offs, she immediately approached Sundumbili area Police Chief seeking protection of the Basotho community around the area.
On her way to Mandeni in the company of some Basotho, they came across locals picketing on the streets and Motsie advised Basotho to distance themselves from the xenophobic attacks and stick to their work.
On arrival at Mandeni, they saw some local men forcefully entering one Mosotho man’s rented house. “Fortunately, South African Police were nearby, and they intervened on that matter and finally managed to remove the assailants from that house,” Motsie explained.
Motsie was quick to mention that the perpetrators then threatened to torch all Basotho houses at night to revenge because they had called police to arrest them.
The envoy explained that Kwazulu Natal Police were working with her office to monitor the situation on the ground to ensure Basotho are safe.
“Basotho have been advised to stay within their compounds in order to avoid being targets of xenophobia,” Motsie said.
Motsie cautioned about false information on social media that Basotho are affected in the xenophobic attacks adding that those allegations are unfounded and misleading and intended to confuse Basotho at large.
Kekeletso Sello, a co-ordinator for Basotho Nationals staying at Mandeni confirmed that no Basotho had so far been affected by xenophobic violence, adding that he was in constant communication with the Consulate should anything happen.
Colonel Van Der Westhuizen in charge of Sundumbili Police Station nearby Mandeni indicated that police under his supervision are working very hard to ensure everybody is safe.