A number of Mozambican civil society organisations insist the government should demand compensation from the South African authorities for the damage suffered by Mozambican victims of the recent pogroms.
The organisations said that apologising was not enough, but that the victims, who lost all their property, the result of many years of work in South Africa , should be compensated.
Luis Bitone of the Mozambican Human Rights League (LDH), said the South African government should compensate the Mozambicans affected by violence against African migrants, because every government had the duty to guarantee peace and security to everyone, regardless of their nationality, and the South African government failed in this basic task.
“The South African government did not fulfill its duty to guarantee peace and security to foreigners, so the Mozambican government should demand compensation, otherwise the Mozambican government will be denying protection to its own citizens,” he said.
Bitone reiterated that if the government would not demand compensation for the victims, the civil society should take up the issue, because what happened in South Africa was an assault on fundamental human rights.
He claimed that “civil society is prepared to take this case right to the end, if the government does not demand compensation. There is the tribunal of SADC (Southern African Development Community) and the African Commission of Human Rights, that defend SADC and African citizens’ rights.”
For his part, Biche Abudo, field officer for integration of the victims of trafficking and sexual abuse with the NGO CAME, argued the government should act immediately because many people left the country and their families to work in South A frica, with due authorisation, and it was unfair that people should work for many years creating wealth for their families and for other people, only to lose everything overnight.
“The government should demand compensation because many Mozambicans left legally to work in South Africa, and when violence broke out they were not protected,” he insisted.
Amino Ismael, a member of the muslim community, said in a situation where people suffer moral and material damages, it was fair that one government worked to restore order.
Ismael reiterated that the violence would help worsen the situation of poverty a mong the Mozambican people and wondered “who will take care of these people’s families?” he questioned.
Teresinha da Silva, executive director and national coordinator of the Mozambican chapter of “Women and Law in Southern Africa”, argued that such situations should not be allowed in a region that was striving for unity.
The wave of violence against African migrants in South Africa caused 62 deaths, 27 of whom are Mozambicans, with over 36,000 of them running for their lives, back to Mozambique, most of them empty handed.