Cape Town tenants threaten to withold rent as refugees camp outside UNHCR

The owner of the building in which the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees rents offices is seeking assistance from the court to remove refugees camping outside.

Refugees from Somalia, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Pakistan want the agency to help them leave South Africa.

Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security JP Smith tells Refilwe Moloto on Monday that the City of Cape Town is seeking to impose City bylaws due to potential fire hazards from fires refugees use to cook food.

Attorney for the owners of the building Waleed Saban says other tenants are threatening not to pay rent.

The United Nations is occupying my client's building as a tenant among other tenants in the building who are obstructed from getting into the building and doing their work.

Waleed Saban, Attorney

They are now threatening the landlord that they will not be paying their rent because they are not able to utilise their offices.

Waleed Saban, Attorney

Saban says there have been ongoing efforts with the sheriff of the court to carry out the court order with instructions to remove the people camping outside the building, but as yet has not been successful.

I have been informed by the sheriff that they need to meet with the SAPS to make the necessary arrangements to get the additional manpower to carry out this task.

Waleed Saban, Attorney

The longer they take the worse the situation gets for my client and the refugees that are there who are caught in the middle of this.

Waleed Saban, Attorney

RELATED: City of Cape Town preparing to impose bylaws on refugees camping outside UNRA

Community leader for the Congolese refugees Papy Sukami says they went to the United Nations Refugee Agency in Cape Town to seek safe shelter.

For more than ten years, we know that when election season comes, we as refugees, we are going to die.

Papy Sukami, Community leader for the Congolese refugees

The politicians are blaming foreigners for the way they are running the country. They are telling the South Africans that foreigners are taking our jobs, buildings and our wives.

Papy Sukami, Community leader for the Congolese refugees

Sukami says they did not come to South Africa with fortunes but rather to seek a peaceful life.

We are tired of Home Affairs, the xenophobia started there. Our babies are born here in South Africa but they are not getting birth certificates.

Papy Sukami, Community leader for the Congolese refugees

We can't force South Africans to love us.

Papy Sukami, Community leader for the Congolese refugees

Listen to both interviews here:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Cape Town tenants threaten to withold rent as refugees camp outside UNHCR


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