Portable toilets, showers returned to refugee site in Cape Town

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Cape Town Refugees kicked out of marquee tent at Bellville Paint City
Cape Town Refugees kicked out of marquee tent at Bellville Paint City
Marvin Charles
  • On Monday, the showers and portable toilets at the Paint City refugee site in Bellville were removed. 
  • Since then, however, the ablution facilities have been returned.
  • The department is faced with several challenges relating to the group of refugees .

The Department of Home Affairs confirmed that all ablution facilities, which were removed from the Paint City refugee site in Bellville, had been returned.

Showers and portable toilets were removed on Monday afternoon.

The department's spokesperson, Siya Qoza, confirmed the facilities had since been returned.

"The provision of these facilities and services is a temporary measure offered on humanitarian grounds, while we are approaching the courts for an eviction order. The protesters in Paint City have rejected all offers, including reintegration or voluntary repatriation to countries of their origin."

The department has been in negotiation with the group of refugees, who occupied Greenmarket Square and the Central Methodist Mission church since October 2019.

READ MORE | Home Affairs in talks with DRC, Burundi to house stranded Cape Town refugees

The group was subsequently relocated to either the Paint City site or the Wingfield military base.

The move was due to Covid-19 regulations.

Trucks move into Bellville Paint City where a grou
Trucks move into Bellville Paint City where a group of refugees have been temporarily staying.

The department put forward two proposals: to reintegrate the refugees back into their communities or repatriation.

A spokesperson for the refugees, Hafiz Mohammed, said: 

For three days, there have been no toilets and showers and we are waiting for assistance, so that we can leave the country. We don't want any more torture from the government.

The City of Cape Town said it was not responsible for the refugees, saying it fell within the mandate of the home affairs department. However, the City said it was concerned about the environmental health crisis at the site.

Mayoral committee member for community services and health, Zahid Badroodien, told News24 the removal of the ablution facilities by the national government had posed an environmental health risk. 

"This is worsened by the inhumane and undignified living circumstances that the national government has subjected them to."

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