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South Africa: Albert Street Fire Survivors Evicted From Shelter and Taken to Deportation Centre

Survivors of the fire in August at 80 Albert Street in Johannesburg were on Wednesday evicted from the Hofland Park Recreational Centre, where many had been given shelter by the City of Johannesburg. Most were sent to the Lindela Repatriation Centre, with Home Affairs claiming they were undocumented migrants.

Nosibongile Majwababa (33) was alarmed by the removal trucks and minibuses parked inside the Hofland Park Recreational Centre on Wednesday, 15 November. She asked a fellow resident, “Are they chasing us out? Why are they forcing us to leave?”

She is one of the many survivors of the devastating fire in August that killed 77 people in the Usindiso building at 80 Albert Street in Johannesburg. The City of Johannesburg provided the survivors with temporary accommodation at three sites, including the Hofland Park Recreational Centre in Bezuidenhout Valley.

On Wednesday morning, Kopanang Africa Against Xenophobia (KAAX), a coalition of civil society organisations rallying against xenophobia in SA, sounded the alarm when “a city councillor, Home Affairs officials and various authorities arrived and locked the gates. Alarmingly, residents are being informed of their impending eviction.”

When Daily Maverick arrived, the gates were locked and authorities were helping people pack their belongings on a truck. Blankets and clothes were scattered on the grass as people begrudgingly sorted through their possessions.

Most were detained and sent to the Lindela Repatriation Centre — a detention centre for undocumented migrants.

KAAX said the fire survivors, already traumatised by the blaze, were being forced to…

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