Reverend Alan Storey has spoken up about the refugees inside the church, saying he hopes the judgement will result in them vacating the Central Methodist Church sanctuary, while the City had already started processes to get the group outside verified.
Last week, judge Daniel Thulare granted an interim order for the City to enforce its by-laws (“Relief order granted”, CapeTowner, February 20).
However, the City had seven days to avail a venue to have the refugees verified by the Department of home Affairs officials, and for the City to help refugees in distress. The judgement referred to the streets and Greenmarket Square, but no order was sought for the refugees living inside the church.
In a statement, Reverend Storey said they witnessed all attempts at negotiations with the refugees failing, including the times they had agreed to, but failed to vacate the church sanctuary. “My hope is that this judgement will draw all those involved in this protest closer to the truth of their own situation and move them to vacate the area and the church as soon as possible. Furthermore, I hope that everyone, including those inside the church will use the opportunity afforded to them by the judgement to seek assistance should they need, as the order by Judge Thulare.”
After the judgement, City officials and public order policing gathered on the Greenmarket Square to give effect to the order.
While some of the refugees packed up their bags to leave the Greenmarket Square, others put up new posters, saying that they will not leave the square, and are calling on the United Nations High Commission of Refugees to take charge.
As the CapeTowner went to print, the court order came into effect, and law enforcement officers could start removing people from the square, with anticipation of resistance.