MPs raise concerns over disregarding of laws, by-laws by CT refugees

Members of Parliament's home affairs committee said refugees should comply with South Africa's laws and the by-laws of the City of Cape Town or they should be deported back to their countries of origin.

FILE: Refugees living in Cape Town spent the night at the Central Methodist Mission Church after clashes with police during their removal from the UNHCR's offices on 30 October 2019. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Parliament's home affairs committee on Tuesday said it supported government's decision to try to reintegrate protesting refugees back into the communities they came from.

The committee met with Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, the City of Cape Town, and other interested parties to try to find a solution on the matter and members raised serious concerns over the disregarding of laws and by-laws by the refugees.

Hundreds of foreigners have been living in a church and on the streets of Cape Town following a demonstration demanding assistance to leave South Africa due to xenophobia; other foreign nationals have also been protesting in Pretoria.

Members of the home affairs committee said refugees should comply with South Africa's laws and the by-laws of the City of Cape Town or they should be deported back to their countries of origin.

The committee was debating the issue following a briefing by Motsoaledi.

Committee chairperson Bongani Bongo said the refugees could not be allowed to disrupt the city's activities.

“[Refugees] who can’t respect domestic laws, who will fight with police and disrupt police stations, and disrupt the economic activity of the city - I was personally of the view that these people must be sent back to their respective homes,” Bongo said.

UDM MP Nqabayomzi Kwankwa said laws should be respected and action should be taken at some point.

“Those that have been misled can be reintegrated into the country, but the criminal elements must be taken out of South Africa, it’s as simple as that. I understand that we espouse the values of Ubuntu [humanity], but there is so much that we can tolerate,” he said.