THE KILLING FIELD:
53 of the 62 deaths occurred in Gauteng.
At least 21 of the 62 people who died in the recent xenophobic violence were South African citizens, according to official data.
Government communications head Themba Maseko said this was reported to Cabinet by the inter-ministerial task team appointed to investigate the violence.
The task team’s report indicated that 62 people lost their lives.
Of these, 21 were South Africans, and indications were that 11 were Mozambican, 5 were Zimbabwean, and 3 were Somali. About 22 bodies have yet to be identified.
Maseko said 53 of the 62 deaths occurred in Gauteng.
Government is considering the possibility of declaring a "national day of healing" to enable the nation to pay its respects to those who died.
Maseko said this would not be a public holiday, however.
Further details would be announced at a later date.
On the future, he said Government’s view was that "there will be an end state, and that end state will be the removal of the shelters" currently housing the refugees after a two-month period.
Maseko dispelled any possibility of the refugees being moved to a third country.
"The option of an alternative country is out of the question at this stage ... the United Nations High Commission for Refugees itself has said they will not consider that option."
Government was aware that there were a number of Somalis who were refusing reintegration and who wanted to be evacuated to Europe.
"We are in consultation with the UNHCR, who have indicated that they have no plans to evacuate anybody from South Africa.
"Therefore, reintegration is supported by the international agencies.
"So the Somalis are going to have to be part of the process of reintegration because these shelters are not going to be a permanent feature of South African society. So they’re going to have to agree to reintegration," he said.
Maseko explained that a substantial number of those displaced during the violence had already left SA to return to their countries of origin.
The reintegration process of those wanting to remain in South Africa was quite advanced in the Western Cape, involving professional mediators and conflict resolution specialists.
"Ultimately, we believe that with enough work being put into this, and especially looking at the model implemented in the Western Cape ... we think that in fact an environment will be created for communities to say ’we want to welcome the foreign nationals back to our communities’," Maseko said.
Government was aware that the process of reintegration should not be "romanticised".
"It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to require a lot of hard work, a lot of dialogue between the [parties concerned] ... and the issue of security will be one of the major issues," he said.