A group of foreign nationals, who are currently living in a temporary shelter at Wingfield, in Maitland near Cape Town, have called on the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees to urgently intervene and assist them to leave South Africa. The group says the verification of their legal status in the country has continuously failed or been delayed in recent months.
The group of foreign nationals used to live on the sidewalks outside the Methodist Church in the Cape Town CBD after they staged a sit-in at the office of the UN High Commission for Refugees in the City in October last year, demanding to leave South Africa due to xenophobic attacks.
They have also complained about their living conditions:
They were moved to the Wingfield temporary shelter in April this year. A spokesperson for the group, which now consists of around 800 foreign nationals, Daff Malambo says during today’s verification process, which was organised by the Department of Home Affairs, they only received dates for their next appointments.
He says they are still waiting for the documents needed for them to be able to leave the country.
“After the lockdown and everything that happened, we understand that Home Affairs did not open and nobody can get a paper when the department is closed. But right now they came again and we know the Home Affairs is not open yet. They come again with the same thing and people are still not getting any papers. They are giving them appointments again which we don’t understand.”
The Department of Home Affairs says it will communicate the outcome of the verification process once the operation is concluded. During the verification process, the Department of Home Affairs will be identifying and verifying the status of the foreign nationals who moved into the temporary facility on and after the second of April this year.
Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi explains the verification process: