Hope for 189 refugees
CRIMINAL CASE: MEDIATION PROCESS MAY LEAD TO DROPPING OF CHARGES
The group is accused of trespassing, with a possible charge of public violence being investigated.
The criminal case against 189 refugees who were arrested for trespassing on the premises of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Pretoria could be dropped if a mediation process announced on Wednesday is successful.
Seventy-eight of the refugees appeared in the Pretoria Prison Court at Kgosi Mampuru correctional facility, where the state prosecutors announced that they plan to take the matter to a mediation process.
Magistrate Lydia Painter said “hopefully mediation will be successful and resolve this issue”.
“Should they not find an amicable solution then that matter is then taken to court for a trial,” said the regional spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority in Gauteng, Phindi Mjonondwane.
Aline Bukuru, one of the leaders of the wider refugee group, who was present in court on Wednesday, was positive about this development. “We believe in, and we are hoping for, a positive answer,” she said.
She added refugees’ main request is still to be resettled as a group in a new country, because they feel unwelcome and unsafe in South Africa following xenophobic violence.
The group is accused of trespassing, with a possible charge
We believe in, and we are hoping for, a positive answer