PE Refugee Office opening: Home Affairs not satisfied with verdict

BY CHARL BOSCH - MAY 6, 2015

The Department of Home Affairs has indicated that certain facts submitted by the Supreme Court of Appeal into the re-opening of the Port Elizabeth refugee reception office, were incorrect.

According to The Times, a court order brought by the Somali Association of South Africa in the Grahamstown High Court in 2013, found the closing of the office in 2012 by then Department of Home Affairs Director-General, Mkuseli Apleni, to be unlawful despite Port Elizabeth accounting for a small percentage of asylum seekers.

In his response to the court, Apleni stated that the office was usually located at points of entry but that the Port Elizabeth branch, one of only six in the country before its closing, was not such a point as none of the city’s Chinese, Pakistani, Somali, Bangladeshi or Ethiopian refugees used it as a way to enter the country.

Delivering his judgement, Appeals Judge Visvanathan Ponnan said that Apleni’s decision had “dis-establish” the workings of the office which had been operating since 2000, while department attorney, Leonie Hart, said that the Refugees Act was ensure the availability of as many refugee offices as possible and that the court’s ruling to have the Director-General open a fully functioning office by October 1 2013, was not permitted.

 

IMAGE sourced from www.scat.org.za