CT reverend says refugees need to vacate his church 'for their own safety'
Reverend Alan Storey says refugees living at the Central Methodist Church where he serves will hopefully leave the church next week.
I've been led to believe that they are planning to vacate from next week between Tuesday and Thursday. That is the hope.Rev Alan Storey, Methodist minister at the Central Methodist Mission
The clergyman says he is not evicting anyone. Instead, he asked them to respectfully leave after several "challenging" weeks.
Storey says he has spoken with the refugees who were involved in an altercation with a luxury hotel in Cape Town's city centre.
A group of foreign nationals has been living at the Methodist chapel for several weeks after being removed from outside of the UN Refugee Agency offices.
Women and children have been living inside the chapel off Greenmarket Square, while men have been sleeping outside in the surrounding areas.
On Tuesday, the hotel staff at 40 on Burg had an altercation with some of the men who refused to move away from the building.
The reverend says any threats of violence aimed at traders or businesses in the area are completely unacceptable.
It's completely unacceptable. I tried to address it, hopefully, today it has gone better.Rev Alan Storey, Methodist minister at the Central Methodist Mission
It continues to be a very tough and delicate situation.Rev Alan Storey, Methodist minister at the Central Methodist Mission
The reverend has asked refugees to vacate the church because of fire, health and safety risks as well as the negative impact on business and traders in the area.
He describes the situation as "tough and delicate".
I've been served with a notice to comply from the City of Cape Town fire department and health department. I am unable to comply while people are present.Rev Alan Storey, Methodist minister at the Central Methodist Mission
They need to vacate for their own safety.Rev Alan Storey, Methodist minister at the Central Methodist Mission
At the same time, the community of refugees is mourning the loss of four teenagers who drowned at Rocklands Beach in Sea Point.
It's understood that the children, from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, were a part of the refugee community living at the church.
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