Foreign nationals who had fled from a farm in KwaZulu Natal last week started to return after the South Africa Police Service assured them that they would get round the clock protection.
Zimbabweans who are employed at Emerald Dale Farms and Patula Sawmill owned by Charles Anderson went into hiding after a group of locals mostly made up of former workers allegedly butchered 17 cows owned by the farmer. They accused the farmer of employing Zimbabweans in favour of locals.
A Zimbabwean who is a manager at the farm revealed that they have started to troop back after they were given assurances by the police. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the qualified harvest manager, who has a diploma from the College of Forestry said:
We are back on the farm after some assurance from the police to give us protection. A private armed guard vehicle has also been on patrol during the day while at night, a guard patrols our residences. We are on 24-hour protection. I am less worried about safety at the moment.
The police confirmed that they arrested six people in connection with last week’s xenophobic attacks but were later released.
Speaking on Wednesday, provincial police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala had this to say:
Police are still investigating malicious damage to property.
A community leader, Silwanaziphi Jama said that the situation has normalised on the farm. He said:
We are happy that there is calm after two weeks of uncertainty and turmoil.
But we wish the police could step up its investigation and arrest the perpetrators who are tarnishing both the image of the village community and traditional leadership.