Congolese families want to be repatriated

2019-02-27 06:00

MORE than 200 Democratic Republic of Congo refugees that are in South Africa have come forward and approached KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) for help to be repatriated to their original country. The majority of these refugees reside in Pietermaritzburg and Durban.

KZNCC held a meeting with different stakeholders and government departments last Wednesday where they discussed how they can help the refugees. The meeting was also attended by other refugees who want to go back to their original countries, who also shared their experience and the reasons why they want to go back home so badly.

Pastor Nkosinathi Mnyaka, who is the deputy chairperson at the KZNCC, said this is one of their initiatives that they have started to help the community.

He said they first found out about these refugees who seek to go back to their country while they were conducting other initiatives.

He said the desperate refugees approached them for help.

“We spoke to them and told them that we will help them. They arranged themselves and became like one family and gave us a list and the names of the people who want to repatriate voluntarily. They told us that the reason why they approached us is because they do not know how are they going to get home in terms of transport and that they are also having problems getting all the travelling documents that will allow them to leave the country legally.

“We have engaged with the different NPOs and the Department of Social Development and Home Affairs and it was agreed that we need to submit a register of all the refugees with all the relevant information to Home Affairs.

‘But before we do that we must have a plan in the hand as to how we are going to transport them back home when their documentation has been finalised because once that is done they will be given days before they leave the country,” he said.

Pastor Mnyaka said they have also contacted the DRC government and they have agreed that they will welcome their people with warm hands and assist them until they get back to their feet and become independent.

“We will do everything in our power together with the other stakeholders with the help of DRC government to repatriate these people,” he said.

Naleen Balgobind, who was representing Home Affairs in this meeting, said they are committed to being part of this initiative and helping these families.

However, she said it is not going to be an easy process.

“We need to have an updated list of the people who want to be repatriated so that we can know what is their status in the country at the moment. That will make our job much better on our side because we need to work as fast as possible. I believe that we can make this initiative a success there are a lot of other people who will come out and say they want to be repatriated,” she said.

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