Hundreds of African nationals who have staged a week-long sit-in outside the United Nations Refugee Agency’s offices in Pretoria are demanding to be relocated into a camp.
They began protests in Cape Town on Wednesday after a surge in xenophobic attacks in South Africa last month, which claimed the lives of at least 12 people were killed.
The refugees, who are mostly from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Somalia, and Zimbabwe have been camping along Waterkloof Road for just over a week. Mattresses are laid on the lawns and washed clothes are hanging on the fence, Eye Witness news reports.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) pledged on Wednesday to help South Africa streamline its asylum system and improve access to documentation for refugees and asylum-seekers.
The UNHCR recognizes that, like many other countries, South Africa is confronted with the challenge of addressing increasingly complex population flows, the agency said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) commended South Africa for its welcoming asylum policies.
Ramaphosa told heads of foreign missions that the country would address the social and economic factors that led to the violence on foreign nationals.
He equally on Thursday, October 10, urged South Africans to be tolerant of migrants following recent xenophobic violence, as hundreds of refugees camped outside UN offices demanding to be removed the country, fearing for their safety.