Remainder of evicted refugees accommodated in Bronkhorstspruit

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The remainder of the refugees who were evicted from outside the United Nations offices in Pretoria on Friday have been accommodated at a farm in Bronkhorstspruit. NGOs have been assisting some of the families who refused to go to the Lindela repatriation centre on Friday to find temporary shelter.

Over 100 refugees were evicted from the area outside the UNHCR offices on Friday which they had been occupying since 2019. This after fleeing from xenophobic attacks in the country.

The group which refused to go to the Lindela repatriation centre fled to the nearby Muckleneuk Park, where they spent the night under heavy police guard.

On Saturday, metro police were poised to evict them from the park as well. But some Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) nationals say they would rather live on the streets than go back to what they call inhumane conditions at Lindela.

“I ran away. You didn’t know I was there in Lindela for four years. And there is one other who passed away and until today where are the kids because she left the kids. Where are those kids?”

“Life inside Lindela, they give us bad food, they give us expired things. They can take us anywhere but not Lindela. They bring us back again.”

Relocation of refugees to Lindela Repatriation Centre continues:

Accomodate everyone

NGOs and human rights lawyers have been assisting the group since their eviction. While some decided to go their own way, others opted for the temporary option of being housed at a farm at Bronkhorstspruit, 50 kilometers outside the capital.

The Tshwane Leadership Foundation’s Buli Ndandani says the farm will be able to accommodate everyone.

“It is one that they are saying they have a farm that can accommodate everyone. We are waiting for the owner to come and for the police to verify. The second place we got is in East Lynne but that place was only taking children and then there was an issue with children that they would be separated from their children.”

Pearl Nicolic, a resident in the area has been assisting with aid for the group which comprises children as young as a month old.

“Yesterday since 3 am when they were evicted, they have not had any means of eating. We have kids as young as one month. We had to buy food and formula. At the end of the day, they have to eat, whatever source of nutrition.”

Meanwhile, clean-up operations continued outside the UN offices. Local councillor, Jarad Remmil says diplomatic police have been roped in to monitor the situation.

The lawyers for human rights have meanwhile indicated they continue to monitor developments.