Tshwane Metro closes refugee camp

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Pretoria - The Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality has confirmed that it has closed down the Klerksoord site situated north of Pretoria, where victims of xenophobic violence were placed last year.

According to the municipality, the men, women and children were moved on Monday to shelters in Johannesburg, while others were moved to the Lindela Repatriation Centre.

"The last group left the site at approximately 8:45pm last night. This after a day-long operation carried mainly by the Tshwane Metro Police, with the assistance of the SAPS and other divisions within the municipality," the municipality said.

The city provided transport for the people and their goods, in the form of busses, Metro Police mini-busses and trucks.

According to the municipality, no incidences of violence were reported, nor did the foreign nationals at any stage resist the move to be taken to different sites where they will be housed.

In August 2008 the city withdrew its services, but people remained on the property.

A decision was taken that the site would have to be closed, after an audit of the refugees living at the site was undertaken and completed on 26 February 2009. It was found that 382 people lived on the site.

According to the municipality, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was approached to provide alternative shelter for the people.

The organisation offered to arrange accommodation and assistance for 282 people in two shelters in Johannesburg namely, Lilly Pul and The Reit and it offered the remaining 100 refugees amounts of R2 000 per individual and R4 000 per family for reintegration.

Pamphlets were distributed by the municipality last week, notifying the people that they would have to vacate the site by Sunday.

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