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Government denies neglecting refugees

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The Western Cape provincial government today shrugged off accusations that it had failed to offer adequate support to foreigners displaced by xenophobic attacks.

Head of provincial disaster management Hildegarde Fast says, the government had done everything it could to make life easier for displaced foreigners living in the more 40 camps across the city.

She says,” Government takes the basic needs of the victims seriously, bearing in mind that there are logistical challenges.”

Accusations by the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), which had taken the government to court for failure to attend to the basic needs of the displaced, in line with the United Nations standards, were misplaced.

While the government had a duty to provide shelter, food and other basic facilities to refugees, it would be unfair to expect it perform beyond what its resources allowed.

Adding that “Norms and conditions need to be adapted to local standards”. The government had provided refugees with meals, shelter and other basic facilities.

However, Fast admitted that the UN had raised concerns about aspects of the government’s response to the refugee crisis.

She concluded by saying that they are working consistently with the UN. They have been useful in pointing various gaps… and they welcome those points and are addressing them on an ongoing basis.