Safety sites for the displaced foreigners

The TAC is wrong to suggest that Cape Town has set up "internment camps" for people displaced by xenophobic violence (Sowetan, May 28).

The city is not forcing anyone to come to the safety sites we have established, nor preventing them from leaving.

On the contrary, hundreds of people are demanding entry every day and many of the sites are now full to capacity.

We fully agree that people should be reintegrated into their communities if this is what they want. We have called for a peacekeeping force of the SANDF in order to facilitate this.

We have encouraged the churches and NGOs to continue their excellent work in facilitating this process. We cannot, however, force displaced people to return to their communities.

We would gratefully accept any venues that can be made available by the province and additional venues by the Department of Defence.

We cannot process people's needs and protect them if they are dispersed across the city. That is why we have set up a few big safety sites.

We are doing our best to assist Home Affairs in processing people's requirements, and have seconded 45 city staff for this purpose.

We have also strongly urged the UN High Commission for Refugees and the relevant embassies to become involved in assisting those who wish to return home.

Helen Zille,

Mayor of Cape Town