WESTERN CAPE – On Thursday, 02 April 2020, various SAPS units under the command of Major General Andre Lincoln with the Department of Home Affairs (Dr Y Simmons) and the Department of Public Works executed an operation to remove a group of approximately 500 refugees and asylum seekers who had been occupying the Central Methodist Church at the Green Market Square in Cape Town in line with the National Disaster Management Act regulations (COVID-19).
The operation started with a meeting that saw Dr Y Simmons (Home Affairs) and Major General Lincoln addressing the group inside the church advising them to take up the offer to move to an identified location in Bellville in line with COVID-19 restrictions.
At midday, the SAPS forces entered the church, smoothly removed the occupants and loaded them on to buses destined for the identified site in Bellville.
A number of buses carrying the refugees and asylum seekers arrived at the Paint City location after 17:00 escorted by SAPS members and moved into a marquee erected by the department of Public Works.
Officials from the department of Social Development and NGOs were on hand into the evening assisting the group, the majority of whom are women and children.
SAPS will continue to keep an eye on the site.