SA judge condemns church raid

JOHANNESBURG - South African High Court judge, Roland Southerland, last week likened the treatment of hundreds of Zimbabwean asylum seekers and refugees detained in a recent police raid at the Central Methodist Church House to grotesque apartheid-era abuses and ordered their immediate release.

He said such state-sponsored raids had no room in a democratic country such as South Africa and ordered a thorough investigation into the incident.

The Zimbabwean asylum seekers and refugees were represented by the Legal Resources Centre, who mounted the challenge against the justice authorities of South Africa over the illegal invasion into the church.

After the judge’s statements, eight applicants still detained were immediately released from the Johannesburg cells during Thursday night, and another was released on Saturday morning.

Judge Southerland said Nelson Mandela had told the nation that “Africans would never again have to deal with the obscenities of the apartheid regime.” It was ironic to witness in the courts such brutal, indifferent and cruel treatment of people a decade later, he said. The judge apologised to each and every applicant for the manner in which they were treated.

Zimbabwean refugees, asylum seekers and hundreds of thousands of professionals in South Africa routinely suffer xenophobic abuse, both physically and emotionally whilst others have been killed for running successful businesses. – CAJ News

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