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Church appeals to govt to help assist foreign nationals in CT

Hundreds are living in a chapel off Greenmarket Square in the CBD after police forcibly removed them from outside the UN Refugee Agency offices almost a week ago.

Foreign nationals are seen at the Greenmarket Square in the Cape Town CBD on 5 November 2019. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Methodist Church is appealing to government to come up with a plan to assist foreign nationals in Cape Town.

Hundreds are living in a chapel off Greenmarket Square in the CBD after police forcibly removed them from outside the UN Refugee Agency offices almost a week ago.

They're demanding that the agency helped them to leave South Africa due to xenophobia.

Reverend Alan Storey stopped police from entering the church last week, saying the way people were treated by police was unacceptable.

He said they opened their doors to provide a safe space but added it was a temporary situation that could not last forever.

"I worry about the overcrowding. What if thee's a fire? What happens? And if people get sick, there are lots of children and it will spread."

Storey said that the refugees had real safety concerns as well as documentation issues that need to be addressed.

"This is a cry for South Africa and for Home Affairs and for government to listen, show some leadership and to intervene."

Gift of the Givers' Ali Sablay said last week that there were outbreaks of TB and diarrhea and the medical team needed to assist.

He said that they would continue to provide meals.

"We are working very close with Reverend Storey as it is taking a great toll on the church as well, so we are providing hot nutritious meals, water, sanitary towels, nappies..."

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