Cape Town foreign nationals’ leader back in court for assault

Leaders of the foreign nationals living in the Central Methodist Church in Cape Town addressing a crowd.

One of the leaders of the foreign nationals living in the Central Methodist Church in Cape Town is expected to appear in the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

JP Balous was arrested on New Year’s day on eight charges of assault and was granted R2 000, 10 days later.

The assault allegedly happened during a discord between opposing groups of foreign nationals who had been staying at the church since October 2019.

Balous has been at the forefront of a bid by around 600 men, women and children to get the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to relocate them to another country.

They cited risks to their personal safety in South Africa as the reason for their demand.

Meanwhile, the United Democratic Movement (UDM) says the current refugee crisis is not only a South African problem, but a continental one which requires the intervention of the African Union (AU).

UDM Chief Whip Nqabayomzi Kwankwa has called on the government to pressurise the continental body to help resolve the crisis in Cape Town.

“It’s an African problem, because people are afraid to go back to their countries, because the AU keeps on shielding despotic regimes in Africa without dealing with them or holding them to account.”

“And because people are afraid of going back to their own countries, then that is made a problem of South Africa instead of it being debated and the resolutions being found at an AU level. South Africa must continue to pressure the AU to do something about this problem, which continues to embarrass us internationally and to portray our country in a negative light.”