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Motsoaledi seeks probe into legality of CoCT moving foreign nationals

Hundreds of foreigners were taken to a makeshift site in Bellville last week. Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato said this was done without the municipality's agreement.

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 - Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi will ask police to investigate whether the City of Cape Town acted unlawfully when a group of foreigners was moved.

It's led to a bust-up with Mayor Dan Plato, who claimed the relocation of the group was premature.

Hundreds of foreigners were taken to a makeshift site in Bellville last week. Plato said this was done without the municipality's agreement.

Motsoaledi said on 1 April a plan was drawn up with the involvement of city bosses.

But a day before the operation, the mayor wrote to the provincial police commissioner explaining the municipality was pulling out of the plan.

The city said a site earmarked for the foreigners in Bellville was to be used as a makeshift homeless shelter.

The minister now wants police to probe the matter: “I’m going to refer that letter to the police to investigate if any law has been broken because I want to believe they did break the law. I will also send all this information to the command structure chaired by the president.”

The city hit back on Monday, insisting it never condemned police for moving the foreign nationals. It said it only pointed out there was no agreement on where to take them adding the site wasn't yet ready.

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