Refugees protesting in CT given 2 weeks to reintegrate or repatriate

On Monday, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced that 41 people including the so-called ring leaders Aline Bukuru and Papy Sukami were deported two weeks ago.

FILE: The foreign nationals, among them refugees, had been staging a sit-in at the Methodist Church in the Cape Town CBD and demanding they be helped to leave South Africa. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - After staging a protest against xenophobia in Cape Town for nearly two years, refugees now have less than two weeks to either resettle or repatriate.

On Monday, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced that 41 people including the so-called ring leaders Aline Bukuru and Papy Sukami were deported two weeks ago.

A third person, JP Balous is still in jail and will be deported.

Protests started back in October 2019 outside the UN High Commissioner for Refugees office and then moved to the Methodist church and then moved again to Bellville.

WATCH: No third country of resettlement for refugees in Cape Town

Motsoaledi said the foreign nationals living in Bellville and Wingfield had two choices; either reintegrate into communities or repatriate.

He said United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had offered protesters three months of rental and food if they chose to reintegrate locally.

And, the International Organisation on Migration has also offered a plane ticket to protesters who want to return to their country of origin.

Motsoaledi said this offer was only until the end of this month: “The tents will be removed, the ablution and shower facilities will be no more and whoever is left on the streets will be dealt with by the law enforcement agencies.”

He said so far, 390 people had accepted a local settlement and 121 have accepted the offer of voluntary repatriation.

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