Minister for Foreign Affairs and East Africa, regional and International Cooperation, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi told the House yesterday that his ministry has the mandate to ensure Tanzanians outside the country are safe.
He said, the government was aware of the problems foreigners living in South Africa are facing following the eruption of some sort of xenophobia but maintained that the two countries have good relationship.
“We are aware of the problems in South Africa and as government we are keenly following on the occurrences but I urge any Tanzanian faced with such fracas to report at the embassy as soon as possible,” said the minister.
The minister told the law makers that the South African government had written apology letter to all other African nations on chaos against foreigners that erupted recently in the country.
He was responding to a supplementary by the Tunduma Urban MP, Frank Mwakajoka (CHADEMA) who had wanted to know the safety of Tanzanians in South Africa and what the government is doing to help them.
“The situation in South Africa is not good at all for our brothers and sisters living there. What is the government doing to ensure their safety?” he asked.
He argued that the government is responsible for safety of Tanzanians wherever they are, calling on the minister to state that actions ought to be taken to help those affected by fracas.
The minister noted that so far no Tanzanian had been seriously involved in the xenophobia, however clarifying that the government through the embassy is ready to assist in case of anything.
The South African government does not collect data on attacks or threats against foreign nationals.
However, the African Centre for Migration and Society (ACMS) has monitored these attacks across South Africa since 1994. Its Xenowatch tracker collates media reports as well as information from activists, victims and observers.
It suggests violent attacks peaked in 2008 and again in 2015.In 2008, there was a wave of attacks across the country against refugees and migrants - more than 60 people were reported to have been killed and thousands displaced.
In 2015, there were outbreaks of violence against non-South Africans, mostly in the cities of Durban and Johannesburg, which led to the deployment of the army to deter further unrest.
In March, the government launched an initiative to raise public awareness and improve access to services for victims of discrimination.
Human rights groups welcomed it, but said that the government needed to publicly recognise attacks on foreigners as xenophobic.