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Home Affairs: Tshwane UNHCR protesters can live legally in SA

The Department of Home Affairs on Thursday said it’s checked their status and was now trying to get them to return to their places of residence in South Africa.

FILE: Protesters pictured on 16 October 2019 outside the offices of the UNHCR in Pretoria against xenophobic attacks in South Africa. Picture: Jean-Jacques Cornish/EWN

PRETORIA - Protesters who had camped outside the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Pretoria last month are legally entitled to be in South Africa.

The Department of Home Affairs on Thursday said it checked their status and was trying to get them to return to their homes in the country.

The statement from the Department of Home Affairs said the process of verifying the status of protesters was completed while they were being held at the Lindela Repatriation Centre.

They were taken there after police removed them from the parking lot and grounds of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

Officials said protesters are in South Africa legally, with some documented as refugees while others as documented as asylum seekers.

Some have returned voluntarily to their places of residence in South Africa, despite fears of xenophobic attacks which caused the protest.