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Plato: Foreign nationals may have been moved from CT church prematurely

Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato said that the foreign nationals were taken to the Bellville site without the municipality's agreement and the site wasn't ready for them when they were moved.

Foreign nationals who were living in a church in Cape Town’s CBD on 2 April 2020 were bussed to a new temporary location in Bellville for the duration of the COVID-19 national lockdown. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Cape Town mayor believes the removal of a group of refugees from a city centre church might have been premature.

Dan Plato said that the operation last week did not conform to what officials had agreed to.

Hundreds of refugees have now settled in at Paint City in Bellville.

They had been living inside the Methodist Church on Greenmarket Square.

Plato said that they were taken to the Bellville site without the municipality's agreement and the site wasn't ready for them when they were moved.

The mayor said that more than 600 refugees were now at a site that's not compliant with the applicable COVID-19 regulations.

"The refugees were very, very upset about the conditions - there only one or two toilets available for about 700 people, there were no washing facilities for the men or women and so the site was definitely not conducive [for them to be moved there]."

That means the refugees might have to be moved again.

Plato said that in the meantime, they were continuing to prepare a temporary site at Wingfield military base in order to house the remaining refugees who're still camping out outside Cape Town's Central Police Station.

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