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WC High Court Set To Rule Over Foreign Nationals Living In Cape Town City Center

WC High Court Set To Rule Over Foreign Nationals Living In Cape Town City Center

The City of Cape Town can not yet enforce a by-law that will determine what action is taken against foreign nationals occupying a church in the CBD.

The municipality approached the Western Cape High Court about the matter and presented arguments on Tuesday.

Judgment will be delivered in two weeks and that could determine the fate of hundreds of men, women, and children who were living in and outside the Methodist Chapel off Greenmarket Square since October.

Foreign nationals, who are living at the church in the heart of Cape Town, packed the courtroom to hear whether the city would be allowed to exercise a by-law and remove them from Greenmarket Square.

The city argued that businesses, traders and hotels had raised concerns over the situation, which could have had a negative impact on the hospitality industry and tourism.

Officials said health and safety by-laws were transgressed with those living at the church sleeping, cooking, and urinating on the streets.

The city reiterated that it could not provide alternative accommodation and proposed that the foreign nationals use the Salt River Hall for five days to allow the Department of Home Affairs to assist them with verification processes.

When acting Judge Daniel Thulare asked exactly where the foreign nationals would go if they were removed, the city’s Advocate Con Joubert stated they should go back to where they came from prior to the sit-in at the United Nations Refugee Agency offices.

Refugee leader JP Balous told the court no agreement was reached following a number of meetings. He was of the view that those living at the church had not intimidated and harassed people or government officials.