Zim refugees face expulsion

JOHANNESBURG - More than 500 Zimbabwe asylum seekers face imminent expulsion from the Central Methodist Chu

rch after church members and leaders accused them of destroying church property and engaging in violence, prostitution and hunger.

Things came to head when two Zimbabweans were killed recently in tribal clashes at the church.

Zimbabwe asylum seekers allege that the church has been infiltrated by criminal gangsters and prostitutes who are causing mayhem. Projects established at the church to assist asylum seekers were constantly abandoned after criminals stole and vandalized materials meant for the projects.

At a tense meeting last Tuesday the congregation called for Bishop Paul Verryn’s head and demanded the asylum seekers to be evicted from the building.

“I was nearly raped in the lift by these people and they are molesting small girls in the church. Our church has now turned into a haven for criminals as some of them are hiding the church after committing crimes. Church members are now afraid of coming to church because of intimidation,” said one lady.

“There is no war in Zimbabwe and these people should go back to their country immediately. When we were in exile we used to stay in camp but these people are enjoying our hospitality and them no longer looking for jobs. The corrupt leadership should go now,” declared one church member who did not hide his hatred for Zimbabweans.

Bishop Verryn had a torrid time the whole afternoon defending the refugees and he tried to convince the uncompromising church members without success. The church members wanted the Presiding Bishop Ivans Ibrahams to come to resolve the issue.

Saul Zvobgo of Methodist Human Rights apologized for the misbehavior of refugees.

“We are going to deal with the miscreants and we have started vetting the people. We are sorry about what happened and we promise that it will never take place again,” said Zvobgo.

Some pregnant women and some with small children were at loss as they had nowhere to go. Bishop Verryn said it was ungodly to turn the refugees out onto the streets. At the end it was agreed to form a committee to resolve the issue and to look for a building to accommodate people.

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