SHELTER CLOSES DOOR
Hundreds of foreigners could be left homeless as the Riet Family Guidance Centre in Randfontein today closes its doors to about 300 women and children who have been housed at the shelter for the past three weeks.
Founder Ivan Kortje said the families had until yesterday to leave the shelter, but only one family had left.
He said the shelter had to "resume its normal operations" of providing refuge to abused women and children.
Kortje said 62 people, including 30 women at the shelter, their children and husbands, would leave for their home countries today.
However, five children whose mother was one of 16 arrested last month at the Glenanda temporary shelter, south of Johannesburg, refused to be repatriated without her.
"We would rather wait for our mom. We came to South Africa with her, we can't leave her here," said 11-year-old Chanel Kaburungu.
Chanel said she and her siblings were told by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that they would be returned to Burundi with their uncle, who is one of 204 men at the Lindela repatriation centre.
Clarice Ndaya, who has looked after the children since their mother's arrest, said they had nowhere else to go.
Abel Mbilinyi of UNHCR said the children would not be forced to leave, but would be kept at a place of safety.
Home Affairs spokesman Siobhan McCarthy said 66 men at Lindela would be repatriated.