Pretoria: Government, through the Mkhambathini Local Municipality, will ensure that the Cato Ridge farmer who has turned his dwelling into a refugee camp, adheres to the municipal by-laws or face the might of the law.
The dwelling is housing hundreds of foreign nationals without it being rezoned into a residential area.
The foreign nationals where displaced from their homes in Durban during attacks in March.
They are said to have refused to return to their communities, fearing victimisation.
In a statement, acting Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said as much as government welcomes good deeds by communities to assist displaced communities, it is important for those assisting not to transgress the laws and municipal by-laws.
“Through Operation Fiela, we have managed to reintegrate displaced foreign nationals back to communities and we welcome any assistance to accommodate people. However, we cannot allow people to break the law in the process.
“This is a contravention of the municipal by-laws as the farm is primarily for agricultural purposes and therefore, not a residential area,” Williams said.
She said government was committed to ensuring peaceful co-existence between South African citizens and foreign nationals.
This was clearly demonstrated by the government interventions that were made during and after the attacks on foreign nationals that included continuous dialogues with faith-based leaders, community organisations, business, taxi organisations and groups representing foreign nationals and other stakeholders.
“Any unlawful act and contravening the municipal by-laws will not be tolerated and law will take its cause. We expect every law abiding citizen to adhere to the country’s laws. It cannot be correct that the farmer can by force convert an agricultural area into a residential area,” said Williams.