Ricochet News

'Continued closure of PE, Durban and Cape Town refugee centres fueling illegal immigration'

Jun 11, 2018
'Continued closure of PE, Durban and Cape Town refugee centres fueling illegal immigration'

On Monday, the Democratic Alliance (DA) conducted an oversight inspection at the Durban Refugee Reception Office (RRO), which is one of the offices worst affected by the illegal closure of the Cape Town and Port Elizabeth Reception Offices.

"The DA received reports that the Durban RRO is currently fully booked and therefore unable to schedule appointments for new applications until August.

"This means that any new asylum seekers needing and wanting to declare their presence and regularise their stay in South Africa, by reporting to this office will remain undocumented if they cannot afford to travel to Musina or Pretoria," said Haniff Hoosen MP - DA Shadow Minister of Home Affairs.

"Their undocumented presence in the country is often a direct result of the incapacity of the Department of Home Affairs, which has been made worse by the Cape Town and Port Elizabeth closures. The Department’s ineffectiveness at processing asylum applications could contribute to an increase in illegal immigration."

He said that the DA also received concerning reports of bribes being openly and routinely demanded from applicants to be issued their documentation.

"The DA has written to Minister Malusi Gigaba to ask him about the steps his department is taking to re-open both offices. In September 2017, the Supreme Court of Appeal found that the decision to close the Cape Town Refugee Reception Office was irrational and therefore ought to be reviewed and set aside. The Department’s appeal to the Constitutional Court was dismissed in December 2017 and was ordered to re-open the Cape Town Office by 31 March 2018," Hoosen said.

"Not only has the Department failed to comply with this order but it has also failed to comply with another 2015 order to re-open the Port Elizabeth Refugee Reception Office.

He added that the DA has submitted parliamentary questions and brought the matter to the attention of the Portfolio Committee.

"If Minister Gigaba fails to respond to comply with the court orders, President Cyril Ramaphosa must ensure Minister Gigaba is held to account for being in contempt of court account for the lawlessness of his Executive.

"The DA is determined to ensure that the many and varied issues plaguing currently plaguing the system are resolved so that the department fully functional, well-resourced and able to process all applications efficiently.

"The DA will pursue this issue tirelessly for the sake of all the people within in our borders, citizens as well as foreign nationals, consistent with our goal of a better and safer South Africa for all."