ZIMBABWEAN businessman Frank Buyanga has offered 10 buses to transport victims of xenophobia from South Africa to four regional countries.
The property tycoon, who has investments in South Africa, said he was moved to help by the “atrocities” committed by mobs moving around poor townships in Durban and Johannesburg targeting foreigners.
The charity, Gift of the Givers, received Buyanga’s pledge via a letter last week.
He is offering to repatriate nationals of Zimbabwe, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Malawi who wish to return home.
Over 500 Zimbabweans have already returned home, with the help of the government, after violence flared up.
South African officials say seven people were killed, and thousands more driven away from their homes.
Foreign-owned shops were looted in the worst anti-foreigner violence since 2008 when some 62 people were killed and an estimated 35,000 forced to abandon their homes.
Buyanga, through his non-profit organisation, Hamilton Foundation, wrote: “We were saddened to learn of attacks on foreign nationals and the atrocities committed by our fellow African brothers.”
He said the carnage came about without warning. His Foundation offered to assist individuals wishing to return to their home countries “with transport as well as food parcels and many other needs”.
“I know how it feels like to be ill-treated in a foreign country. I know there’re people who want to go home but may not afford to do so,” he said.
The charity is now acting on his pledge, which is open-ended.
A lull in the violence in recent days may have reduced the urge to flee by foreign nationals, but another flare-up is feared with South African criminal gangs now taking advantage of the anti-foreigner sentiment to commit crime in the prevailing lawlessness. – Agencies