Business forces SA govt to close centre

refugees_outside_methodist_churchJOHANNESBURG The Crown Mines Refugee Centre closed this week following a High Court injunction obtained by businesses in the area.

They told the court that the centre was an extreme nuisance and irritation factor caused by the large presence of refugees and/or asylum seekers in the area. The businesses complained that the refugees and asylum seekers misbehave, litter, defecate in public, create a traffic hazard and render conditions intolerable for business.

The department has decided to relocate and transfer the operations of the Crown Mines Refugee Centre to the Refugee Reception Centre, located at the Pretoria Show-Grounds, Soutter Street in Pretoria West, said Mkhuseli Apleni, Home affairs director general.

The department is of the view that the long term solution to these public complaints lies in the possible establishment of asylum/refugee reception centres along the border areas, he added.

A non-governmental organization campaigning for the rights of refugees and immigrants in South Africa condemned the imminent closure of the Crown Mines Refugee Reception Centre.

In the absence of an appropriate and swift contingency plans, the effect of the closure will be far-reaching as asylum seekers and refugees would experience difficulties renewing their permits and face the risk of detention and deportation as a result. Asylum seekers and refugees are also likely to face fines, and significant transportation costs, as well as bureaucratic difficulties, if access to this Refugee Reception Office is not resolved or a temporary solution is not found soon, said the Consortium of Refugees and Migrants in South Africa.

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