Immigrants merely surviving

immigrants_zimbabweanJOHANNESBURG - Mere survival is a continued struggle for millions of immigrants, while many are still largely undocumented. (Pictured: Zimbabwean immigrants in South Africa face a daily struggle for survival)

New legislation like the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (Rica),which is aimed at ensuing accountability of cell phone users, in an attempt to curb crime, has a major impact on the lives the most vulnerable. This new legislation requires people to supply their IDs and proof of residence in order to buy SIM cards and all current cell phone users to show their IDs to the keep their lines.

This comes as a huge blow for people who have no documents and who have no permanent address. Many people have depended on cell phones as their only means of communication and their cell phone numbers as their only identity. It is so unfortunate that an issue as simple as documentation can turn day today lives of immigrants living in South Africa upside down.

It is not just the inability of the Department of Home Affairs to receive applications of asylum seekers but also the high number of Asylum seekers who are in need of extensions every three months- that cause huge backlogs and queues at the Refugee Reception Centres. It is completely unnecessary to have such a short validity time, it forces people to waste large sums of money off transport and spend hours in queues so often. The solution to some of the problems-like extending the validity of the Asylum Seeker Documents to nine months- could easily help relieve some of the immense pressure the Refugee Centres find themselves under.

It is the responsibility of organisations and activists alike to apply pressure and bring attention to issues, like RICA, that impact on immigrants and through our combined efforts hopefully we can bring some sense out if this nonsense.

Post published in: Politics

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