Author

 
Surika Van Schalkwyk

Surika Van Schalkwyk

    Increase in abandoned babies

    Welfare workers are picking up an alarming increase in the number of abandoned babies, seeing in it the effects of growing economic distress -- and particularly rocketing food prices. Johannesburg Child Welfare Services, an NGO, says at least 19 babies were abandoned in Johannesburg in May alone.

    Cold comfort for displaced foreigners

    It's freezing cold under a grey sky. Discarded pictures from a child's colouring book swirl in the wind. A whistle blows and hundreds of people camping at the Jeppe police station scramble to form an unruly queue in front of huge, silver cooking pots. Supper is served; today it's soup.

    'Shelters', not camps, for foreigners

    The Department of Home Affairs said on Wednesday it planned to establish shelters for foreigners who have fled xenophobic attacks over the last two weeks. The BBC reported on Wednesday that seven "refugee camps" would be set up. By Monday night there were an estimated 17 000 displaced foreigners left in Johannesburg.

    'I saw my friend being killed in front of me'

    "Regina Chinyandi (21), of Zimbabwe, arrived at the Alexandra police station on Monday with her one-day-old baby, Prince, wrapped in a napkin. Upon her return home from the hospital after giving birth, she had found her shack in ruins and all her friends from the township missing." Surika van Schalkwyk speaks to refugees at Gauteng police stations.

    Out of the field

    Alarming figures from the Department of Labour show a shortage of 220 000 farm workers on South Africa's farms. Traditionally, agriculture has been a huge employer of people in rural areas, but research by several land activist groups shows that more and more workers are being evicted from farms.