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Klerksoord refugee camp closed

By unknown | Mar 03, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

The City of Tshwane has closed down the Klerksoord refugee camp in Akasia, north of Pretoria.

The City of Tshwane has closed down the Klerksoord refugee camp in Akasia, north of Pretoria.

"A decision was taken in August last year to close the camp," city council spokesperson Console Tleane said yesterday.

The city conducted an audit late last month and found that 382 people were still staying at the camp.

Tleane said 282 of those would be relocated to a shelter in Rosettenville, Johannesburg, where they would be taken care of by the UN. The remaining 100 would be given a stipend of R2000 an individual and R4000 a family to find alternative accommodation.

The money was from the UN High Commission for Refugees.

Tleane said city officials burnt the shacks after moving the people out from the camps as nobody would be allowed there again.

Black smoke could be seen rising from the camp. A light aircraft hovered above while policemen, firefighters and paramedics waited nearby.

Metro police had closed the entrance to the camp and threatened to arrest journalists who entered the camps without permission.

Tleane said during an operation such as this, police had the right to deny the media access to the scene, but said he would see if journalists could be allowed access later.

An Ethiopian national Melese Ashonoti said he learnt in the morning that his brothers who lived at the camp would be moved out.

"I used to stay at the camp, I know how it is to live in the camp. They don't have blankets, that's why I brought them some," he said.

There was a heated exchange of words between Ashonoti and metro police when he wanted to enter the camp. After explaining to them that he had brought blankets to his brothers, they allowed him in. - Sapa


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