Solve the Refugee Crisis on Greenmarket Square, Cape Town

Solve the Refugee Crisis on Greenmarket Square, Cape Town

1 January 2020
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Signatures: 1,352Next Goal: 1,500
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Why this petition matters

Started by Greenmarket Coalition of Stakeholders

The Refugee Crisis on Greenmarket Square has been ongoing since October 2019. Failure by authorities - notably the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), The City of Cape Town and the South African Department of Home Affairs - to act in a united manner to solve the problem, has resulted in a Health, Safety and Economic issue affecting Refugees, Citizens and Visitors.

There has already been an outbreak of contagious diarrhoea among children inside the Methodist Church where many of the 600 refugees are housed. About 200 sleep on the street. Refugees are forced to urinate in public and the area carries the pervasive stench of human waste and tragedy. Other infectious diseases will follow on the gastric outbreak, potentially Dysentry, Cholera and worse.

The livelihood of legal traders, retailers and businesses on Greenmarket Square has been severely impacted as tourists and visitors stay away from the area due to fears of unrest, potential violence and the rapidly deteriorating Heath and Sanitation issue. Stakeholders report dramatic loss of income over peak tourist season, caused solely by the current situation on the Square.

There is now a Safety Risk to the general public, associated with factionalism within the Refugee group, with fights on the Square involving the use of machetes and sticks being documented.

We call on the relevant Authorities to urgently and immediately resolve this Health and Humanitarian crisis. Failure to act will be a breach and dereliction of their duties and obligations to Refugees, Retailers, Traders, Residents, Visitors and the broader Cape Town population.


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Signatures: 1,352Next Goal: 1,500
Support now


  • City Cape Town
  • South Africa Department Home Affairs
  • SA Human Rights Commission
  • Methodist church