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Foreign nationals in CT say they’ll walk to Botswana or Namibia next week

Refugee leader JP Balous said their plan to pack up and walk to the nearest border this week was delayed because four of their children drowned at a Sea Point Beach on Sunday.

FILE: Police removed foreign nationals who were camping outside the UN Refugee Agency on 30 October 2019. They asked the UN for help to leave South Africa. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Foreign nationals living in a church in the city centre said they would leave before the start of the festive season.

They’ve called the church home for weeks after being booted from outside United Nations offices in the CBD. They want assistance to leave South Africa due to xenophobic violence.

Refugee leader JP Balous said their plan to pack up and walk to the nearest border this week was delayed because four of their children drowned at a Sea Point Beach on Sunday.

He said they would start their journey next week.

“If it takes us a week to walk to Namibia, we’ll let it be. If it takes us three days to walk to Botswana, then we’ll choose Botswana.”

Meanwhile, traders and businesses in the vicinity have raised concerns, saying the situation is negatively affecting business.

Hotel 40 on Burg’s Tosca Korver said: “Tourism has been affected really badly. It looks like Mogadishu outside.”

Greenmarket Square committee member Seyni Diop added: “The tourists are too scared to come this way. It’s affecting our business.”

For now, scores of refugees are still camping out at the church, with mothers and children inside and many men sleeping in makeshift tents outside on the pavement.

[* [FEATURE] STATE OF NATION: Inside SA's xenophobia crisis] ](https://ewn.co.za/features/state-of-nation-inside-sa-s-xenophobia-crisis)