Refugee mom, kids sleep in cold bus stop

Namhla Tshisela

Namhla Tshisela

A mother and her three children spent last night in a bus stop shelter after she was allegedly thrown out of her tent at the Glenanda refugee camp, south of Johannesburg.

Zimbabwean national Gloria Muhango, 35, said security guards kicked her out yesterday afternoon.

"They said they were instructed by their manager to evict me," she said.

When Sowetan visited the site last night, Muhango and her children were organising their belongings into bundles, preparing for a cold night.

"Do I have a choice? No sane woman would choose to spend a night in the cold," she said.

Site manager Buks Burger told Sowetan that Muhango had not been thrown out but had "received money from the Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) to get her own place".

However, Muhango said the JRS donation could not cover her rent.

Gauteng government spokesman Thabo Masebe said: "We did not throw anyone out. People leave the shelter voluntarily. She probably indicated that she had found alternative accommodation.

"If they have alternative accommodation they cannot return to the shelter and remain a burden of the state."

Muhango said she did not understand why she was singled out as residents had until Friday to leave. The JRS could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, Sapa reports that the Pretoria high court yesterday dismissed an urgent application to keep temporary refugee shelters open.

Judge Ephraim Makgoba said the government was not violating any rights of the 4000 refugees being housed in temporary shelters in Gauteng and was under no obligation to come up with a reintegration plan.

The application was launched by the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in SA and the Wits Law Clinic.