Tanzania’s High Commission in South Africa now says it does have plans in place to evacuate its citizens if they are in real danger of xenophobic attacks.
Earlier this week, Acting High Commissioner Elibahati Lowassa stated there were no plans to evacuate anyone as no Tanzanians had died in the attacks.
On Friday, Lowassa confirmed that consular officials were visiting KwaZulu Natal to assess the situation of Tanzanian citizens who fled their homes and are living in makeshift camps.
“We have learned that 15 Tanzanians have called for help and our team will establish the magnitude of the planned evacuation,” says Lowassa.
“If we establish that they are in real danger, we will evacuate them without delay,” says Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Bernard Membe.
Membe says that Tanzania’s history with South Africa against apartheid has provided some protection.
“When they ask you where you are from and you tell them you are a Tanzanian, they do not touch you,” says Membe.
So far, one Tanzanian-owned shop has been destroyed. Two Tanzanians died in South Africa recently, though officially their deaths are not linked to xenophobic attacks.
Some Tanzanians, including businessman Bonka Kuseleka disagree, saying he believes deaths were targeted attacks and Tanzanians are living in fear.
“The situation is very worrying and we’re appealing to the High Commission to come to our rescue,” says Kuseleka.
Tanzania is also currently evacuating its citizens from war-ravaged Yemen.
Read more: No evacuations from SA for Tanzanians