XENOPHOBIA: CONDITIONS APPALLING, SAYS SACC

IOL/Sapa, 24 June 2008

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The SA Council of Churches (SACC) expressed alarm on Tuesday over the conditions it found in some of the camps set up to house people uprooted by recent attacks on foreigners. "At Rosettenville, we found that several thousand people from fourteen countries had been dumped on recently cleared, uneven land with little more than tents," said Bishop Peter Lee, the Anglican Bishop of Christ the King Diocese in Johannesburg. "It is a potential humanitarian disaster," he added. Further aggravating the problem was that many of the people who were displaced faced uncertain futures. "It is unclear if government intends to deport them, reintegrate them into the communities where they lived previously, or identify new, more secure places for them to live," the council said in a statement. It encouraged provincial councils and local churches to consider holding special services of prayer, repentance and reconciliation in conjunction with the reintegration process. Any action taken must involve consultation with the people affected, the SACC said.