The self-congratulatory tone of the Department of Home Affairs on the unveiling of a new building to house the Port Elizabeth Refugee Reception Office (RRO) is unbefitting a department which is still in breach of a court order to re-open the Cape Town RRO.
It has taken seven years for the department to comply with a court order to reopen the Port Elizabeth RRO. The reopening of the vital RRO only came about as a result of a lengthy legal battle fought all the way to the Constitutional Court.
The re-opening of the Port Elizabeth Office was ordered in 2015 and it is shocking that it has taken this long for the department to comply.
The DA will continue to put pressure on the department using all means at our disposal to ensure that the Cape Town Office is re-opened urgently.
Even as we speak, legal action has been instituted by NGOs to find the department in breach of a court order. It is an indictment on Minister Malusi Gigaba’s leadership that the applicants seek the appointment of a Special Master, a court appointed official, to oversee the compliance of Minister Gigaba with the court order.
The inefficiency of Home Affairs negatively affects asylum seekers who seek to regularise their stay in South Africa. The Department’s inability to process asylum applications could fuel illegal immigration as it will leave many refugees undocumented.
We will be visiting the Musina Refugee Reception Office on Tuesday, 19 June 2018, to conduct an oversight of that facility, and to speak with the clients at that Office about their experiences as we know that the mere presence of an open facility does not guarantee service delivery.
The DA will continue to fight for the efficient running of the Department of Home Affairs so that they assist applicants and do not continue to contribute to illegal immigration.
African news agency