The Archbishop of Cape Town, Rev Thabo Makgoba and South Africa’s Human Rights Commissioner Chris Nissen, alongside others have sustained minor injuries from a scuffle in a church that housed hundreds of migrants.
The scuffle was brought about as the church attempted to relocate migrants who had taken refuge at Cape Town’s Methodist Church.
Rev Thabo Makgoba and other church leaders asked some of the migrants to leave Cape Town’s Methodist Church on Friday due to overcrowding.
The migrants, mostly from other African countries, were staging a sit-in in the church after being forced to leave the offices of the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) in Cape Town two weeks prior.
The crowd demanded that they be resettled in another country and be given refugee status as they don’t feel safe in South Africa due to a recent spike in xenophobic violence that has left scores of blacks in dead with millions lost in property damage.
“We are human beings; we came here to seek refuge… The human rights commission is actually the human rights abuse in South Africa,” said JP Balous, a refugee angered by the state of affairs and treatment of black foreigners.
Witnesses said the fight started after a church leader had the microphone snatched out of his hand and was beaten up by an angry crowd.
“They started throwing papers at me when I was trying to calm them down,” the Perlite told eNCA.
“One doesn’t expect violence to break out at a sanctuary,” the archbishop told TimesLive. “We are dealing with a human issue here, a desperate situation.