City responds to Western Cape High Court ruling on refugee matter
18 February 2020
The City of Cape Town welcomes the interim relief order granted in the Western Cape High Court today in respect of the refugees occupying the Central Methodist Church and surrounds in Cape Town’s CBD.
During today’s proceedings, the judge indicated that the City should provide a venue where the Department of Home Affairs can conduct a verification exercise of all the individuals who have been living in the church and the surrounding public areas for the past few months. This was a proposal by the City that was accepted by the other organs of state.
Depending on the venue identified, the City will also provide transport for the group.
The judge further ruled that the City can start enforcing its by-laws within seven days (once the verification logistics have been set up). Should there be non–compliance with the provisions of the order, the City can approach the Court on papers duly supplemented for a contempt order or other relief.
We are relieved that the court has recognised the need for municipalities to be able to enforce its by-laws to ensure its proper functioning.
The City will now set about liaising with the Department of Home Affairs and other interested and affected government agencies to get the verification process underway as soon as possible.
We have, prior to today’s ruling, indicated our willingness to assist in this regard.
The City understands that the situation in the CBD has become untenable, and action has been delayed as a result of the very complex nature of the situation.
We now have a clearer mandate on the way forward, and appeal to businesses, informal traders and the general public to bear with us while we act in terms of the court order.
Issued by Greg Wagner, Spokesperson to the Executive Mayor, 18 February 2020