Rev Storey left with mixed emotions after refugees removed from Methodist Church
On Thursday, Cape Town's law enforcement officers had to break down the church's doors to evict the refugees and relocate them to a temporary site for the duration of the Covid-19 lockdown.
The reverend took in hundreds of refugees after they were forcibly removed from outside the United Nations (UN) buildings in October last year.
After months of tensions, court proceedings, high-level talks and law enforcement operations, many foreign nationals living in the church still refused to leave, despite the Covid-19 health risk.
Reverend Storey says the refugees barricaded themselves in the church on Thursday before the doors were broken down by law enforcement officials.
He says the group of foreign nationals has displayed senseless behaviour over the past five months.
The clergyman believes that the relocation sites that the refugees have been taken to are far safer than the conditions inside the church.
He maintains that the church was no longer "fit for human habitat" with blocked toilets and flooded bathrooms.
We are very relieved that yesterday, there were no fatalities, that the children are safe and that they can see blue sky for the first time since the 29th of December.Rev Alan Storey, Methodist minister at the Central Methodist Mission
It's been a hard and trying time. Yesterday, in particular, was sad.Rev Alan Storey, Methodist minister at the Central Methodist Mission
It was sad to witness the doors having to be broken down. It's almost a symbol of the whole event.Rev Alan Storey, Methodist minister at the Central Methodist Mission
Asked whether he regrets opening his doors to the refugees in October last year, the reverend says:
If we did not open the doors of our church on the 30th of October, we could not call ourselves a church. We might as well have packed up.Rev Alan Storey, Methodist minister at the Central Methodist Mission
Has it been difficult? Has it been filled with tremendously painful lessons? Absolutely.Rev Alan Storey, Methodist minister at the Central Methodist Mission
Many people have suffered, not just the refugees; but the business and traders around us.Rev Alan Storey, Methodist minister at the Central Methodist Mission
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