Passop statement on De Doorns camp closure

Passop statement on De Doorns camp closure

“We are shocked and appalled that government officials have told displaced Zimbabweans they need to leave the camp by the 17th of May. This is extremely reckless in light of the evidently high frustration levels in the community. The displaced have suffered great emotional distress and much financial loss, thus many lack the confidence to reintegrate and the ability, means and resources to relocate or repatriate. It is unacceptable and an attempt by government to intimidate them into leaving.”

Cost of eviction: Even after an expensive and protracted legal battle, the City of Cape Town was only able to force eviction of the displaced in Blue Waters on condition that the City provided R1000 per person. The blue water’s camp residents were displaced in 2008 and had refused several offers of assistance to reintegrate, relocate or repatriate. The De Doorns camp has just over 1000 residents. We believe that by offering financial assistance to the displaced to leave, government will save much money. Currently the government is wasting R250000 a month on unclean and badly maintained toilets and a security company that has failed to protect people.

–Every four months costs the equivalent as offering R1000 incentive.

Unfair treatment of De Doorns displaced: In contrast the displaced in De Doorns (who were displaced in November) have been offered no assistance and are rudely told by officials that they are not refugees. (Only the Department of Home Affair’s refugee status determination officers can identify who is or is not a refugee).

Current climate: This week SANCO held protests and demanded the removal of a local councillor accused of inciting xenophobic violence. These protests clearly show the dangers against the displaced are still very real. While threats against foreigners were made as recently as last week, government has now announced that they intend on shutting the camp on the 17th of May.

Our opinion: Closing the camps without financial assistance neglects human rights and neglects the safety of the displaced. Provincial government should take responsibility to ensure the safety of the displaced and ensure that they are provided with basic assistance before any closure is considered. We further believe that only the courts can order an eviction and that any legal battle will waste government money and prolong the process of reintegration.

For comment from PASSOP: Mr Everisto Kamera 0713664660, Mrs Tendai Bhiza 0767103543.