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Reintegrate into SA society or return home - Motsoaledi on foreign nationals

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi was referring to the foreign nationals in Pretoria and Cape Town who want to be resettled in a third country because of fears of xenophobic attacks.

Foreign nationals plead not to be moved by the City of Cape Town officials on 2 March 2020. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Reintegrate into South African society or move back to your country of origin.

That's the stern message from Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to groups of disgruntled foreign nationals and refugees.

Motsoaledi was referring to the foreign nationals in Pretoria and Cape Town who want to be resettled in a third country because of fears of xenophobic attacks.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi was briefing Parliament's Home Affairs committee on the latest in the impasse between the department and hundreds of foreign nationals.

The foreigners had camped on the streets of Pretoria and Cape Town calling on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to resettle them in countries like Namibia and Canada.

But Motsoaledi said that third-country resettlement was out of the question.

"We are ready to welcome refugees. We are prepared to integrate them into communities. The countries that they want to go to are not ready to welcome them - Namibia has put it in writing."

He said that the groups would leave the government no choice but to send them back to their countries of origin.

"I think, if this option is not taken, I don't think the country has any option but to insist then that we must take people back to their countries of origin."