Gift of Givers considers resuming aid to Cape Town refugees

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Humanitarian aid organisation Gift of the Givers says a decision on whether it will resume aid to foreign nationals living in the Cape Town CBD will be made on Monday.

Previously, the organisation provided food, toiletries and medical services to refugees who have taken shelter at the Methodist Church.

Gift of the Givers had stepped in after the group was removed from the offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) in October.

It suspended its aid after the leaders of the group ordered the organisation to leave.

They were angry over Gift of the Givers Director Badr Kazi’s remarks that their demands for resettlement were unrealistic.

Kazi says they have now been asked to lift the suspension and help the foreign nationals.

“What we have done, we have taken the matter under advisement. We feel that it’s a larger humanitarian issue at stake in the sense that the health, the place where they are living, the central Methodist church is not ideal place where they should be housed.  We will take the matter under advisement of the South African Humans Rights Commission and other faith based organisations tomorrow (Monday),” says Kazi.

Divisions at camp are some of the challenges that are facing the refugees as their bid to be flown out of South Africa, over safety fears, continues.

On December 30, police had to use stun grenades to restore order after tensions boiled over between those camping on the pavement and the ones who live inside the church premises.

One of the leaders of the two factions Jean-Pierre Balous will return to court on January 22 after appearing briefly on January 3.

Balous was arrested on New Year’s Day on eight charges of assault.