By Mabvuto Banda
About seven Malawians have been killed in a wave of xenophobic attacks in South Africa, a government spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Kondwani Nakhumwa, who is also minister of information, told journalists during a news conference that the death toll has risen to seven and the number of Malawians left destitute is now at 3,526.
Nakhumwa said that the cost of evacuating Malawians in South Africa has risen from budgeted K190 million to K339 million.
“ Twenty-two buses have left South Africa and another 22 will leave on Thursday to bring back the affected and offer them help,” the minister said.
Meanwhile in a related development, police on Tuesday detained a bus travelling from Malawi to South Africa with seventy people on board. According to police, these are some of the people that were just a week ago repatriated from south Africa
“An angry mob almost beat them up after we arrested them because people couldn’t understand why they decided to go back to South Africa a week after being rescued,” said police officer in charge Jimmy Gama.
Last Monday civil society groups in the capital Lilongwe took to the streets and presented a petition to South African envoy Cassandra Mbuyane – Mokone.
“Xenophobia is the new apartheid and it threaten to undo the gains thats South Africa has made …We the people of Malawi stand in solidarity with all Africans to condemn in the strongest terms the current resurgence of xenophobia…” read the petition to South African government.
The South Africans have been targeting Malawians, Somalians, Nigerians, Mozambicans and Ethiopians among many other foreigners.