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2008-06-23: Joburg mayor visits temporary shelters

ON Monday, 23rd June 2008, Johannesburg’s Executive Mayor, Clr Amos Masondo, accompanied by the Members of the Mayoral Committee Clr Christine Walters, the City Manager and City Officials, visited the three temporary shelters accommodating foreign nationals who had been displaced following the recent violent attacks.

This visit flows from a Special Mayoral Committee held on Thursday, 19th June 2008, wherein a proposal on the City’s strategic response to the situation of those persons, foreign nationals and South African, who had been displaced by the violent attacks that occurred in May 2008 was considered.

It is the view of the City of Johannesburg that migration and urbanisation cannot be wished away, stopped or halted but needs to be effectively managed. It is in this regard that the City of Johannesburg is looking for best and practical solutions to address and manage this challenge.

The aim of the visit was to familiarise the Mayoral leadership with the situation at the shelters, which included the following:

· Physical conditions in the shelters; and
· Interact with the displaced people on this key concerns.

The camp that was visited was Klip Rivier / Riffle Range Tent (South).

The following shelters are still to be visited:

· Corlett Drive Tent (Alexandra)
· Olifantsfontein / Midrand Tent

Since the move to the temporary shelters, the City has been involved in a number of interventions, which included:

· Humanitarian assistance – food, blankets, trauma debriefing and human capital personnel;
· Emergency relief fund – a dedicated vote number has been established in the Community Development Department. A clothing bank was also established and received donations from the public and staff members;
· Registration and filtration: registration of victims in the shelters was undertaken at various stages and statistics regularly collected.
· Liaison with Embassies: Contact has been made with various Embassies on the transportation of those citizens who wished to return to their countries of origin. The Executive Mayor also hosted a briefing meeting with Consul Generals based in Johannesburg.

The Executive Mayor was briefed by shelter management on the situation at the shelter and the challenges thereof.

The Executive Mayor also met with the Safety Marshalls, who are representatives of the different nationals accommodated at the shelter. In this interaction, individuals were given an opportunity to raise concerns and express views on what they see as the way forward.

At the conclusion of these discussions, the Executive Mayor was satisfied that he now has a sense and understanding of the situation in the shelter, which would assist and inform an ongoing response to the issue of migration in the City of Johannesburg.