Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Glenanda refugees kicked out of country

Loggi did a post on this crowd south of Joburg who, despite being illegally in the country, had the audacity to demand, threaten and riot.

Now it is payback time. They are being shipped out of the country.

Finally, the gubbermunt is doing the sensible thing. Bye bye, and let the door hit you on the way out.

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Hundreds of foreigners displaced by xenophobic attacks will be kicked out of their Glenanda temporary shelter and deported to their home countries.

After refusing to be finger-printed and to register for temporary identity cards, the mostly Congolese and Burundian nationals, who have been accommodated at the camp south of Johannesburg for more than a month, failed to meet yesterday’s deadline for registration.

The ID cards would have given them immunity from deportation for at least six months. Cleo Mosana, spokesman for Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Nqakula, said: “We have no choice — we can’t have people who are not documented in the country.”

Refugees at the other five camps have registered, but in Glenanda less than half of the 1800 foreigners applied and were issued with the temporary cards , Mosana said.

Last week, refugees stoned the police.

Thabo Masebe, spokesman for the Gauteng provincial government, said : “We’ve brought the UN, translators and even the minister to tell the people to register, but many still refuse. They say they don’t want anything to do with the government and claim that the new documents will strip them of their refugee status.

“Others are misinforming people that, if they hold on long enough without registering, the UN will be compelled to take them to Canada,” he said.

Home Affairs spokesman Siobhan McCarthy said the ID cards would also ensure that only those affected by the xenophobic attacks, which claimed more than 50 lives, had access to the shelter .

Yesterday, people tried to gain entrance to the shelter but were prevented from doing so. Scores who refused to register remained inside the camp.

# In Cape Town, a group of volunteers have joined forces to ensure “rapid mobilisation to prevent refugee evictions occurring again”. Tracey Saunders, a Treatment Action Campaign volunteer, said: “We will have peaceful protests at short notice when we are informed of a forced eviction.

We will also go to communities where refugees are being attacked.” In Alexandra, north of Johannesburg, where the xenophobic attacks started in May, South African Women in Dialogue convened a three-day gathering yesterday to discuss xenophobia in the township.

The chairman of the group, Brigalia Bam, said: “Alexandra was the first place where I was exposed to different cultures and languages. It has always had a history of multi-culturalism and people used to live peacefully with each other. We need to revive that culture.” All we will do is sit at the place where there is an eviction threat. Our presence will be meant to provide both physical and moral support.”

Saunders said that refugees who have returned to informal settlements have faced violence. “We know of a guy who was killed on the weekend. He was staying at Bluewaters (refugee camp). He went to a township and was stabbed.

I also saw a Somali guy yesterday from the Soetwater (camp) who was attacked. His eyes are beaten black and blue. He is covered in bruises. He went to Ocean View where he used to live and that’s what happened,” said Saunders.

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