The office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in South Africa, the UNHCR, has appealed to refugees and asylum seekers staging sit-ins at its Pretoria and Cape Town offices to respect the laws of South Africa, and peacefully return to their local residences.
The office has described South Africa in a statement as a generous host country, with progressive asylum policies. It says it will continue to support the government in providing assistance to refugees and asylum seekers.
Regarding the removal of foreign nationals from outside its Cape Town offices, the UNHCR says it is following developments. About 300 people were evicted from the Waldorf Building in the Cape Town CBD on Wednesday, following a court order.
They’d been living outside the offices of the UN Commission for Refugees for the past three weeks, demanding to leave the country, fearing for their safety.
The UNHCR says it has received the concerns of protesters about personal safety among other things.
Meanwhile, the Brooklyn and Eastern Areas Citizen’s Association and the Waterkloof Home owners Association have launched an urgent application in the High Court in Pretoria to compel the city to enforce its bylaws and remove people.
Home Affairs Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, his Police counterpart, Bheki Cele and the UN High Commission have been named as respondents.
Executive Mayor, Stephens Mokgalapa, says Ministers Motsoaledi, Cele as well as International Relations Minister, Naledi Pandor should collate information about the foreign nationals and enforce the country’s immigration laws.
The foreign nationals have been camping outside the UN office for three weeks, demanding it relocate them to another country. The application is likely to be heard next week.
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