Cape Town – The Department of Home Affairs has announced on Tuesday that they will reopen a Refugee Reception Office in Cape Town.
“The department will continue (to) uphold its constitutional obligation to those in need of protection from any form of persecution,” said Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni in a media statement.
In July 2012, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) closed its Refugee Reception Office (RRO) in Cape Town. The Western Cape High Court favoured the DHA to close the office. However, the Scaralbini centre appealed the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal, which ruled in their favour.
The DHA then appealed the matter to the Constitutional Court, which dismissed and directed the department to comply with the 2017 Supreme Court order on 6th of December 2017.
“We have thus begun to comply with the court order,” Apleni said.
“Let me put it on record that the Department of Home Affairs has no intention to disregard the judicial directive and we will duly respect the judgement. In this regard, we have commenced with plans to comply with the order.”
The department added that they have allocated a budget within the ambits of the current base line and have prioritised the funding and filing of key posts to get the centre operational.
The department explained that they were dependent on Public Works to provide suitable office accommodation.
“To this end, we have engaged the Department of Public Works who, in turn, have issued a procurement instruction to their regional office in Cape Town. Public Works have provided a project execution plan on 06 April 2018,” Apleni said.
He added that the Department would continue to provide existing clients with the services at the current office accommodation, as the South African government is a signatory to various U.N Conventions and has committed themselves to assisting those who have come to South Africa for assistance.
This means that asylum seekers would have had to register at one of three RROs located in Durban, Musina and Pretoria.
In June 2016 the UNHCR published a report on global trends in forced displacement, based on 2015 data. According to the report, by the end of 2015, the number of asylum claims in South Africa was 1,096,063.