Crises in Darfur, Somalia and Zimbabwe have resulted in millions of people flocking to South Africa in search of jobs and security at a time when there are millions of South Africans seeking work. Many Somali refugees were subjected to outbreaks of violence on the part of xenophobic mobs who rampaged through their areas burning, looting and physically attacking people. The result was the establishment by the South African government of camps to house and protect the refugees. On Monday, the city of Tshwane burnt shacks belonging to Somalis which meant they had no place to live. Ironically, many refugees are angry at the United Nations for seeking to integrate them into South African society. Somalis believe the UN is “misleading the government and everyone about our requests and demands.” The refugees want to be repatriated home to Somalia because they fear remaining in South Africa.
The real problem is chaos in Somalia which is currently trying to sort out who is in charge after Ethiopian troops have left and the weak Somalia government has collapsed. It is unclear if any single faction can create stability in Somalia. This raises the question of can Somalia refugees ever return to their homeland, and, if not, do they have a future in South Africa.