From an article of mine published today by The Times:

Confusion reigns at the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg CBD, as there has been little progress in arrangements to move the estimated 2,840 primarily Zimbabwean migrants staying at the church.

Frustrated residents said that they were told that the move would begin last week. Once that passed without any action, they had expected to move this week.

Local government, in collaboration with the UN High Commission on Refugees, decided this week to postpone any planned move until better communication could be established with those staying at the church, said local government spokesperson Lebo Tladinyane.

Read the rest here (and watch a related video here).

The United Nations High Commission on Refugees claims that keeping Zimbabwean refugees in camps in Musina, a border town in the Limpopo province, will expose the migrants to xenophobic attacks. Many of those who already left Musina after the South African government closed down the last temporary camps there ended up seeking shelter at the Central Methodist Church in the Central Business District of Johannesburg. Last week, the church faced a suit alleging that the refugees roaming the streets around the church were driving away customers from local businesses. Gauteng province MEC Dorothy Mahlangu stated immediately that she opposed sheltering the new arrivals in the church.

So where are these people going to go? For all the electioneering going on right now, immigration is nowhere to be found on any party’s agenda.

Newspapers here have a mixed record covering the ongoing immigration crisis, which led to a surprised reaction to last year’s xenophobic riots in some South African cities. One small newspaper that has done a lot in the wake of those riots to bring more attention to the issue of immigrants and the hardship they face in many communities is the Daily Dispatch from East London. International readers may recognize the name as the former home of journalist Donald Woods who wrote a memoir about his relationship with Steve Biko. The paper is doing some of the most relevant work today on immigration, and its latest in-depth feature on the relationship between locals and new migrants from Somalia in nearby New Brighton township is definitely worth a read.