Refugees camping outside the UN High Commission office in Brooklyn. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Pretoria - The hundreds of foreign nationals who have been camping out in front of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees office in Brooklyn have been given three days to vacate the area. 

This is in terms of an order issued by the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria. 

It is not sure exactly when they will have to move, as Judge Natvarlil Ranchod ordered that the three days start once his order was served on them. 

The sheriff of the court is ordered to serve the order by affixing copies at regular intervals on the fences and lampposts on Waterkloof Road, as well as at the entrance to the UN office. 

The police and the metro police were meanwhile ordered to accompany the sheriff to serve the order. 

This is done due to safety concerns. 

The order must also be read to the refugees via a loudspeaker at the UN office. 

Judge Ranchod further ordered that the organs of state - the City of Tshwane, home affairs and the police - have to engage with the refugees to ascertain their identities and to establish who is legally in the country and who is not. 

If any of the refugees  transgress the law, the court authorised home affairs and the police to arrest them. 

Home affairs was ordered to deal with those refugees who are illegally in the country, in accordance with the applicable legislation, which includes the Immigration Act. 

The refugees were also interdicted from contravening the City’s bylaws as well as the laws of the country. 

They may not camp or erect shelters, cook food, litter in and around the sidewalks, parks, public roads or any other area in Waterkloof Road, Pienaar, Fehrsen, Giovanetti, Veale, Buite, Crown and Main Streets. 

They may also not cause a nuisance to the residents of Brooklyn, Nieuw Muckleneuk  and Waterkloof suburbs. 

The City as well as home affairs were ordered to report back to the court next Thursday (November 21) regarding their operation in identifying the refugees and establishing their legal status in the country. 

They must also report back on the presence of the refugees in the area. 

The up to now mostly faceless refugees were also given a lifeline, as the judge ordered that they can meanwhile within three days give notice whether they wanted to oppose the order.

Pretoria News