Refugees in court after Cape Town scuffle
Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says he and other stakeholders in the stand-off between refugees and authorities in Cape Town have been asked to appear before the parliamentary portfolio committee.
Motsoaledi, who condemned the scuffle between the refugees and police when refugee-leader Jean-Pierre Balous, from the Congo, appeared in court on Friday, said the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee has also called the UNHCR, the SA Human rights Commission, the refugee appeals committees and the city of Cape Town to the meeting.
He said the refugees had exposed themselves to deportation if convicted of the crimes on Friday, reports TimesLIVE.
'Once a foreign national gets sentenced in SA for whatever crime, after serving the sentence the Correctional Services Department gives me a list of those who are released and then we deport them immediately.'
Balous and two other foreign nationals who were involved in the scuffle with police and court officials after a detective tried to execute a warrant of arrest for Balous, appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court yesterday.
Balous, who elected to represent himself, is facing intimidation, assault, escaping from custody and resisting arrest charges.
The TimesLIVE report says his co-accused – Congolese national, Ombemi Awuri Issa, and Burundian Issa Lion – face similar charges plus an additional charge for transgressing the Immigration Act. Both are represented by Legal Aid.
The matter was postponed to 16 March for bail information and for Balous' co-accused to consult their lawyer.
On Friday, Balous appeared for eight cases of assault, five of which were assault with intention to do grievous bodily harm.
The matter was postponed to 19 March.
SA Human Rights Commissioner Chris Nissen has also opened an intimidation case against Balous after he had been threatened with death. He said after attacks by the refugees, the commission decided they should not deal with the leaders.
'We would still continue to be of service, but we would not engage the leadership.'
He said other refugees had approached the commission and asked to be helped to return to the communities from which they had come.
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