The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, Adv Bongani Bongo, welcomes the removal of refugees from the Central Methodist Church by all spheres of government.
Following a meeting with the Department of Home Affairs, City of Cape Town, UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and the South African Human Rights Commission on Tuesday, 10 March 2020, the committee resolved that government should reintegrate the two groups of refugees, the group that had been staying outside the church as well as those staying in the Central Methodist Church into communities they lived in, or face the possibility of being deported back to their countries of origin.
The decision was based primarily on the view that the best endeavours by the Department of Home Affairs, Department of Social Development, the South African Human Rights Commission and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the City of Cape Town had been denied out of hand.
The committee acknowledges that government has finally implemented the resolution of the committee, especially now that the country is fighting the invincible threat of COVID-19, which requires specific precautionary measures which could not be provided for at the Central Methodist Church.
Despite this, the Chairperson highlighted his unhappiness that the refugees initially refused to vacate the church. The committee remains steadfast on its conviction that it was unacceptable that laws of this country were undermined by the refugees, who have protested since October 2019.
The committee will continue to monitor the issue until it reaches its natural conclusion.
Issued by the Parliamentary Communication Services on behalf of the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs