EVICTION HAS UPSET REFUGEES
Maya Rasangwa, a Somali national and mother of a one-month-old baby, was sad to leave a place she called home after she was evicted and her shack burned at a temporary site that was set up for the displaced at Klerksoord, north of Pretoria.
Tshwane metro police and municipal officials torched her shack and those of other foreigners and evicted them from the fenced site on Monday.
"I told myself that I would not leave the site but I later thought about my baby's safety during the rainy days," said Rasangwa.
"I refuse to be reintegrated into any community because my safety is not guaranteed. I do not want to live in this country anymore. I want to be resettled in a different country ."
Tshwane municipality spokesman Console Tleane said 282 foreigners would be relocated to the Riet and Lilly shelter in Johannesburg run by UN High Commission for Refugees .
"The remaining 100 will be given a stipend of R2000 an individual and R4000 a family to find alternative accommodation. The money will be paid by the UN," Tleane said.
In total 382 foreigners, mostly Somalis, watched helplessly as their shacks were dismantled and burned to the ground by city officials. Armed metro police officers stood guard at the gate as bulldozers demolished the shacks.
Four buses and two trucks lined up to take the foreigners to their new homes.
The last bus left the site at about 9pm.
The majority of the refugees opted to go to Lindela Repatriation Centre so that they could be repatriated to their countries. Though the eviction was peaceful, pain was etched on the faces of women and children.
Tleane said: "In February we conducted an audit with the view to close the site. We were given assurances that there were shelters ready to accommodate these people. Notices were served three weeks ago advising people to vacate the site."
The xenophobia violence started in Alexandra in May last year, then spread to other townships in Gauteng. More than 40 people died and thousands were displaced. Klerksoord was the only camp still opened.