Last Migrant Shelter in South Africa Shut Down


Diaku Dianzenza
ASONET Chairperson

Chatsworth camp shutting down of the camp on Wednesday 30 July revealing its first victims this Friday 3rd July 2015

The official shutting down of the Chatsworth camp, which until the 30 July was the last settlement place that was authorised by the government to remain hosting migrants has been evacuated this 3rd July with the arrest of those who refused to vacate.

In the early morning of Friday 3rd July, Police in KwaZulu Natal arrested migrants who were camping illegally at the Chatsworth temporary shelter in Durban reported Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker.

This morning the different bodies including members of the Provincial Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Joints) held an operation at the camp after finding that there were still numbers of people camping on the grounds after being informed by the city not to do so.

The South African Police Service (SAPS), Durban Metropolitan Police, the Department of Social Development and other role players arrived at the sports grounds and arrested all people found gathering illegally. It is reported that they will be charged for contravening the bylaws of the city as well as in terms of the Child Care Act.

All people found on the grounds were arrested and transported to the Chatsworth Police station. All their belongings were removed from the camp and all minors handed over to the Department of Social Development to be accommodated at a home in the area.

Unfortunately, these group of migrants has refused to agree on all alternatives offered by the government and NGOs involved in the resolution of the problem. Authorities have suggested that they cannot turn a blind eye to illegal activities posing a threat to peace and stability in the country, reckoned Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni.

Asonet lodged a legal action with Legal Resources centre (LRC) to file a court interdict for the Chatsworth shelter shutting down on 30 July, but could not get help because the application was turned down.

Some legal bodies have confirmed to assist those who have been arrested. While assistance will help these migrants, they are all reminded that the laws must be respected if they need help in the future. The South African government can only work with bodies that help resettle migrants in terms of durable solution on the basis of the requirement of the laws, which could not be applied when they are in a shelter. Besides, such procedures take four or five years but only on individual basis and not as a group.

Let’s wait and see!!!

Diaku Dianzenza
Asonet Chairperson and Peace Activist
Cell: +27 73 745 05 26
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