Home Affairs’ ineffectiveness fuels illegal immigration
20 June 2018
Today, to mark World Refugee Day, the DA engaged with the Somali refugee community in Durban in Kwa Zulu Natal where we had an opportunity to speak with asylum-seekers, refugees and the Durban-based Somali Association.
While the Director-General of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), Mkhuseni Apleni, has desperately attempted to paint a rosy picture of the state of affairs in the department, our engagements today revealed a vastly different side of the story from the people who have interacted with the department.
The ANC government cannot claim that all is well at the DHA. The Department is riddled with inefficiencies and is directly contributing to illegal immigration. Too many refugees and asylum seekers have been victimised in the process of trying to present themselves to Home Affairs in order to be properly documented, and to have their cases fairly, lawfully and timeously adjudicated.
The DA has been conducting oversight visits to Refugee Reception Offices (RRO) around the country in order to see first-hand the effects of the closures of the Cape Town and Port Elizabeth Reception Offices. Both RRO’s remain closed despite court orders instructing that they be re-opened. The tardiness of the department in complying with these orders has caused immense hardship to asylum seekers, often constraining their ability to renew their documentation in time.
The DA congratulates South Africa’s vibrant civil society sector for their tireless efforts in holding the DHA to account for the RRO closures, and for the department’s failure to comply with the hard won court orders to re-open the RRO’s.
To cut down on illegal immigration, the DHA must become efficient at both processing asylum applications, and at documenting all entrants, departures and applications to stay in the country. It is also vital that the department work with border control management to secure our porous borders. This is crucial for the foreign nationals in the country, as well as for the security of South Africans.
The need for order in the country cannot be overstated. If DHA fails at ensuring that those who enter the country do so legally and are documented, it creates chaos which can be directly traced back to their door-step.
The DA will continue to expose DHA inefficiencies where they directly contribute to the problem of illegal immigration. A DA government would ensure that DHA prioritises the application and documentation of all those entering the country both for the sake of foreign nationals and the people of South Africa.
Issued by Haniff Hoosen, DA Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, 20 June 2018