Government said yesterday initial estimates indicate that K30 million will be required to repatriate over 400 Malawians rendered destitute in South Africa following a fresh wave of xenophobic attacks.
Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture Kondwani Nankhumwa said in an interview last evening a preliminary meeting conducted by the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma), which is the focal point of the repatriation exercise, established the cost.
But Nankhumwa, who is also the official government spokesperson, said the amount was only enough to hire buses from South Africa to transport the trapped Malawians home.
According to Nankhumwa, the Malawians have lost all their property, including travel documents for some, and government was working with the South African authorities to process temporary travel documents for them.
He said upon arrival the people will be dropped in Blantyre for those from Southern and Eastern regions, Lilongwe for those from Central Region and Mzuzu for those coming from the Northern Region.
Said the minister: “The number of displaced Malawians keeps increasing and our officers from the Embassy in South Africa are now doing physical registration.”
Currently, the affected Malawians are seeking refuge at three camps set up by the South African government on South Africa’s Indian Ocean coast city of Durban.
The anti-immigrants attacks, which are now spreading to other parts of South Africa, started three weeks ago in the city following alleged remarks by King Goodwill Zwelithini asking the South African government to deport all foreign nationals to give economic power, including jobs, to natives.