Refugee SHELTERS TO STAY open UNTIL COURT RULING

The shelters for people displaced by xenophobic violence will remain open until a final ruling is received from the Constitutional Court.

The shelters for people displaced by xenophobic violence will remain open until a final ruling is received from the Constitutional Court.

Speaking yesterday after the court concluded hearing an urgent application to keep the camps open until the government produced an adequate reintegration plan, Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa said: "Closing the shelters would be in contempt of court."

The court reserved ruling on the application while the government agreed not to close the shelters until the court has ruled on the matter.

Jonathan Klaaren, a lawyer associated with the application by the displaced, said: "This gives the parties time to agree on an order."

The Gauteng government has proposed consolidating the people remaining in shelters on a site that would remain open for no more than a month, Shilowa said outside the court earlier.

"These are temporary shelters and can't remain open," he said.

But the government would consider moving the people remaining at the shelters to one place - not necessarily at one of the present camps.

The government also expected the police to be able to carry out normal policing duties at the camp and wanted residents not to recruit other people to live there.

Lawyer for the displaced, Nadine Fourie, later told the court that sticking points included their request that 10 days' notice be given before the shelters were consolidated and that residents there be allowed to apply to see if they qualified for Home Affairs documentation before being repatriated.

They would agree that resident not canvass or recruit people who do not presently reside in the shelters, and asked for a register to be kept to allow people who leave for the day to have their tents kept, instead of being pulled down. - Sapa

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