The City of Cape Town says it is finalising arrangements to relocate foreign nationals living in the CBD and homeless people to new temporary sites.
The foreigners are currently living on the streets near the police station and the District Six Museum after being removed from around the Central Methodist Church more than a month ago.
The City said earlier that the group will be relocated to a temporary site in Maitland, while the homeless will be moved to the Strandfontein Sports Grounds.
“Mayor Plato says in this time of crisis we all need to work together to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Mayor Plato says we have observed and carried out our services 100% in line with the COVID-19 regulations and regularly monitor the changes provided by the national government an update our approach accordingly,” says Mayoral spokesperson Greg Wagner.
Some of the African foreign nationals have been pleading with the authorities to take them to a safe and humane space during the lockdown. They are currently sheltering in makeshift plastic tents.
“Where is Ubuntu to leave children like this in a virus everything like this. Where is Ubuntu?”
“President Ramaphosa said the lockdown is for everyone. It’s not just for people in the House and us refugees outside. We don’t have food; we don’t have anything and there are children also. Can you imagine those children are yours, will you be happy about that? No,” some foreign nationals say.
One foreign national says promises were made that they would be relocated, but these were not kept.
“They keep saying today, tomorrow. The Human Rights says they will come to take us out of here, like three days ago. We are still waiting until now, but people are. I think they really need to do something to put us somewhere where we can be hidden because we are also scared of the sickness, the same way you are scared.”
While the refugees are still living in the precinct, social distancing remains a challenge where some families are covering themselves with makeshift tents, which accommodate as many as five people.
Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee Chairperson Bongani Bongo is, on the other hand, calling on the National Home Affairs Department and the City of Cape Town to resolve the issue around the relocation of the group of refugees who have been relocated to Bellville.
Bongo explains his concerns, “The judges in the Western Cape,- they have given judgments and made quite very clearly how Home Affairs and all other stakeholders that are involved must dispense this thing. So, we are calling upon the City and the Department to resolve the impasse before even Parliament comes because the judges have already made important judgments that we must follow in resolving this matter going forward.”