The city of Cape Town expresses concern about the environmental crisis at the Bellville refugee sites.

It comes just a week after Home Secretary Aaron Motsoaledi gave the shelters until Friday, April 30, either for voluntary repatriation to their home country or for reintegration into local communities.

The refugees, who are currently housed in the temporary sites of Paint City and Wingfield, had initially settled in and around Green Market Square after being forcibly moved from outside the offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) in Waldorf Square in October 2019 where they were leading a sit-in protest.

They were transferred to the Paint City and Wingfield camps during last year’s hard lockdown.

“This is a human rights issue but also an unacceptable environmental crisis in terms of basic access to resources,” said Zahid Badroodien, member of the Mayors’ Committee for Community and Health Services. Newzroom Africa on Sunday.

Earlier this month, Badroodien said Cape Town must find a solution to the crisis.

“I have to find a solution to this [environmental health crisis]. We need to be aware that we are under constant pressure from the region.

“We want a solution because we cannot let women and children sleep outside. They can’t sleep outside and have to sleep inside the tent until we have a proper plan or reintegration ”, News24 quoted Badroodien.

But talk to eNCA On Saturday, the refugees insisted they had nowhere to go, adding that a suitable solution had to be found for them before they could be evacuated.

“In fact, we were surprised to see immigration giving us this advice while we were still waiting to go through the UNHR assessment.

“He (UNHR) told us that they would come see us and confirm when it was going to start. But to our surprise, we received this notice, and now we would like the world to see the way they treat refugees in South Africa.

READ ALSO: The refugee crisis persists in Cape Town … no solution in place

“We have nowhere to go. And when they talk about evacuating, they have to find a solution for us. So we will wait for them until the date to see what will happen to everyone here in the camps, ”said one of the refugees.

Efforts have been made in the past to resolve the refugee crisis, which has lasted for almost two years.

According to News24, Motsoaledi said there were only two options left after a long standoff:

“Find another place to live and accept an offer from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to cover three months of rent and food during your resettlement, or;

“Accept a free ticket to their country of origin paid by the United Nations International Organization for Migration. “

A Daily Maverick According to the report, so far 121 refugees have agreed to be repatriated while 390 people have accepted the reintegration option and left the camps.

Faction leaders

“The International Organization for Migration is preparing to send them out of the country by plane to the DRC, Burundi and Côte d’Ivoire, but an extraordinary majority come from the DRC.

During this time, IOL quoted Motsoaledi as saying that 41 people among the refugees in Green Market Square were evicted following a “rebellion” in which they misled fellow refugees by telling them that the protest in Green Market Square would guarantee them passage in Canada.

“Those people who presented themselves as fighting for a just cause included refugee faction leaders Aline Bukuru, who was expelled two weeks ago, and Grandpa Sukami from the opposing faction, who was expelled the same day. “

Photo: Twitter

ALSO READ: WATCH | We’ve got nowhere to go, say Cape Town refugees as deadline draws near

WATCH | We’ve nowhere to go, Cape Town refugees say as deadline looms

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