Refugee centre battle

Refugee rights groups successfully appealed to the Port Elizabeth High Court to force the government to re-open a local refugee reception centre, but there is a long road ahead.

Mkuseli Apleni
Mkuseli Apleni

Home Affairs Department Director-general, Mkuseli Apleni, late last week said that there would be a fight to see the centre re-opened.

“The Minister, (Nkosazana) Dlamini Zuma has decided to lodge an appeal against the recent Port Elizabeth High Court judgment ordering the department to immediately re-open the Port Elizabeth Refugee Reception Centre,” said Apleni, during a routine media briefing.

The court legal bid, led by the Somali Association of South Africa, sought an order against the Minister and the Director-General to open a Refugee Reception Centre, shut down in November.

The Somali Association won a court ruling compelling the government to open the office and ensure it is fully functional, either at the existing premises or at some suitable alternative premises. The Department opposed this application, but lost the case. The Court ordered Home Affairs to re-open a Refugee Reception Centre in the city.

The only refugee reception centre in the Eastern Cape was closed last year when there were changes made to South Africa’s migration laws.Most of the refugees affected by the closure were Zimbabweans.

Post published in: Africa News

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