Refugees in Cape Town in limbo

Refugee here cries for help. Photo by Esa Alexander, The Sunday Times

Refugee here cries for help. Photo by Esa Alexander, The Sunday Times

from DION HENRICK in Cape Town
CAPE TOWN, (CAJ News) THE refugees currently displaced in the city of Cape Town are in a dilemma after it emerged the countries where they wish to be relocated to were unwilling to assist.

Advocate Bongani Bongo, the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on South Africa’s Home Affairs, disclosed this on Tuesday as there seemed to be no solution to the crisis.

Earlier, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had confirmed it was unable to assist relocate hundreds of the refugees to countries of their choice.

“Furthermore, the Minister of Home Affairs (Aaron Motsoaledi) informed the committee that he had held numerous interactions with the countries the refugees say they are willing to relocate to, but that these countries are unwilling to assist,” the committee stated.

Bongo said it was untenable that the situation continued to persist despite numerous attempted interventions that had not yielded desirable results.

“We would like to urge refugees to comply with the laws of the country (South Africa) and with the by-laws of the City of Cape Town,” Adv Bongo said.

He called for the full implementation of the City of Cape Town by-laws and the recently attained court order to ensure that the matter was brought to an end.

About 200 refugees have been occupying a piece of land in the city after they were forcibly removed on Sunday outside the Central Methodist Church in Greenmarket Square.

The city had obtained a court order that prevents them from occupying land anywhere in the city.

“South Africa welcomes refugees and asylum seekers, especially in the context of our history, but the pre-condition of any country accepting refugees is that the laws of the receiving country will be respected at all times,” Adv Bongo said.

– CAJ News

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