A new deadline has been set for refugees in Cape Town to either accept reintegration into their host communities or face eviction.
Home affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Tuesday that the refugees had until May 15 to make a decision, reports said.
The refugees, who are currently accommodated in Bellville and Wingfield, near Goodwood, had initially settled in and around Green Market Square after they were forcibly moved from outside the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) offices in Waldorf Square in October 2019 where they were conducting a sit-in protest.
They were removed to Paint City and Wingfield camps during the hard lockdown last year.
Status of refugees
Last month Motsoaledi gave them until May 30 to either voluntarily repatriate to their countries of origin or reintegrate into local communities.
However, when the day arrived, his department issued a statement saying the refugees could stay while officials continued processing their documents.
Reports indicated that the department had given immigration and UNHCR officials time to verify the status of the refugees.
A report by SABC said a new deadline had since been set to evict those who did not want to accept voluntary repatriation or reintegration into their former host communities.
JP Smith from the City of Cape Town said they could no longer afford to fund the exercise.
“To date, tents have cost R6 million that doesn’t include all costs. If we had to do a complete calculation, it would come to much more than that,” Smith was quoted as saying.
EWN reported on Wednesday that Parliament’s portfolio committee on home affairs had welcomed the reintegration and voluntary repatriation of the over 700 foreign nationals.
“The committee is happy about the progress made and we are all focused on completing the final stages to the challenge we are faced with,” the report quoted Acting chairperson of the committee Mosa Chabane as saying.
Meawhile, eNCA said authorities had told Parliament the offer could not be an open-ended one and will end this Saturday.
The UN Refugee Agency said camps created a false beacon of hope and must be dismantled, said the report.