Foreign Nationals camping outside the UN High Commission for Refugees in Brooklyn. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa has put the problem of the foreigners camping outside the UN High Commission for Refugees in Brooklyn at the door of the national government.

He said demands made by the group to be evacuated from the country and relocated to other countries had nothing to do with the City.

He was reacting to an urgent court application by the Brooklyn and Eastern Areas Citizens Association and the Waterkloof Homeowners’ Association at the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria.

The legal matter, expected to be heard in court on November 5, was spurred by about 300 foreigners who have been camping outside the UN building for more than two weeks.

Mokgalapa said: “It’s unfortunate that the City is being thrust into a debacle that extends beyond our mandate, thus painting the City in a negative light.”

He said the responsibility of managing the country’s ports of entry, the registration of refugees and their relocation fell under the ambit of the Department of Home Affairs and the Department of International Relations and Co-operation.

“This is a shared responsibility with the SAPS to ensure that law and order is restored.

“As such, Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi (Home Affairs), Minister Dr Naledi Pandor (International Relations) and Minister Bheki Cele (Police) should collaborate to initiate the process of collating information about the foreigners in efforts to arrest those participating in unlawful activities and repatriate those who aren’t in possession of legal documentation to reside in the country,” Mokgalapa said.

Cele, Motsoaledi, the UN and the station commander at Brooklyn Police station were named as respondents.

Mokgalapa said he had written letters to all three ministers “to impress upon them their urgent intervention to resolve this matter”.

“Failure to do so would have a devastating effect on the City’s core mandate of accelerated service delivery to Pretoria residents.”

In court papers, residents wanted the City to enforce by-laws related to waste management and solid waste, which prevented the dumping of litter.

They alleged that the foreigners were preparing food and making fires in public amenities.

They wanted the court to intervene because it was illegal for people to engage in gatherings without prior written permission from the municipality.

According to the court papers, the legal status of foreigners in the country must be verified and subsequent action must be taken against those living in the country illegally.

Pretoria News