News Articles

Bill opens asylum seekers` hearings to public

Source: Business Day, 11/08/2015

THE media and the public will now be allowed to attend asylum seekers` appeals when conducted following the adoption of the Refugee Amendment Bill. Parliament`s portfolio committee on home affairs adopted the bill last week. The bill would ease asylum seekers` appeals and refugees` applications to maintain their status in the country as it would fast-track both processes, the Department of Home Affairs said. In 2013, the Constitutional Court ruled that section 21 of the Refugee Act was unconstitutional because it restricted the media and the public`s access to refugee appeal hearings. In terms of the original act, asylum seekers` confidentiality and their information "must be ensured at all times", unless a refugee appeals authority may, on application, allow any person or the media to attend. Department of Home Affairs spokesman and deputy director-general Mayihlome Tshwete said the transparency introduced in the amendment bill protected the interests of genuine asylum seekers while filtering out those who did not have legitimate grounds to seek refugee status. "The amendments are meant to serve refugees and asylum seekers better," he said. "The system is currently being used as a loophole to enter the country. Genuine (applicants) ... suffer because they (are) viewed in the same way as those who are not genuine asylum seekers," Mr Tshwete said. But David Cote from Lawyers for Human Rights said that the organisation was concerned about the amendments to the Refugees Act, which proposed limitations to accessing the refugee system and restricting a prospective applicant`s right to work. "These limitations appear to be in direct contravention of SA`s international obligations in terms of the United Nations convention relating to refugees. "It (the bill) further introduces polygraph testing for (home affairs) officials, a wholly inadequate measure to prevent the widespread corruption within the refugee system," Mr Cote said. The amendments would have to be overhauled to ensure compliance with existing laws and obligations, he said. But Inkatha Freedom Party MP Sibongile Nkomo, who is on the committee, said: "It is important to do an assessment of who is here (in SA). If not, there will be unsavoury openings (in the country)." The amendments must now be deliberated in the National Assembly, after which they will come into effect by the end of next month.


Search

  •    Dirco urges journalists to carry correct travel documents 12 Nov 2018 ` Mail and Guardian At a press briefing on Monday, Sisulu congratulated the South African high commissioner to Tanzania, saying “he [Thami Mseleku] worked overnight” to help former Mail & Guardian editor Angela Quintal and her Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) colleague Muthoki Mumo who were detained for five hours by Tanzanian authorities.... Read more...
  •    Cape Town - A Western Cape Cape High Court judge is facing a legal conundrum after three illegal immigrants arrested during a national clampdown Operation Fiela turned to the courts to test the lawfulness of their detention... Read more...
  •    I am known for repeatedly making the call for positive leadership, to liberate our country’s incredible potential. What fascinates me is the criticism I receive ` for my naivety, in light, it is said, of the challenges we face. I am not discounting the fact that we face real challenges. We do: GDP growth is at -0.7%; 50% of those 15-35 years old are jobless; we have a bloated public sector wage bill and a hefty budget deficit to fill; and tragic inequality.... Read more...
  •    With its new initiative to offer visas on arrival to African visitors, Ethiopia hopes to spur tourism, trade and investment, as part of the African Union’s vision of creating “seamless borders” across the continent and achieving economic integration. (photo: Twitter, Ethiopian Airlines).... Read more...
  •    Durban - The Pietermaritzburg matric pupil who waited seven months for his smart ID from the Department of Home Affairs was finally issued with it on Saturday morning... Read more...
  •    On the basis of the limited information provided to the public to date, the business and risk case for privatising visa processing appears highly questionable, writes former Immigration deputy secretary Abul Rizvi. Privatisation of core government functions such as visa processing is high risk, especially when undertaken under the cloak of commercial-in-confidence secrecy.... Read more...
  •    • Caroline Nokes tells MPs firms will have to check eligibility after a no-deal Brexit �` but does not know how Caroline Nokes. Employers’ groups said they have ‘serious concerns’ that the Home Office was setting them an impossible task Photograph: Alan Davidson/AJDImages/Rex/Shutterstock Employers will be expected to check whether EU nationals have the right to work in the UK if there is a no-deal Brexit, even though it will be almost impossible to assess this, and the nature of the checks remain unknown, Caroline Nokes, the immigration minister, has told MPs.... Read more...
  •    LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Government this week fired four diplomats at Malawi High Commission in Pretoria South Africa including the head of the mission and they have been given seven days each to pack up and return home. According to Foreign Affairs Ministry, Malawian High Commissioner to South Africa Professor Chrissie Kaponda, Defence Attaché Colonel Lawrence Mambo, first secretary (protocol) Kondwani and Daniel Salimu second secretary (social services) were effectively out of work and must return home.... Read more...
  •    Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba resigned from his post following mounting pressure for President Cyril Ramaphosa to give him the boot. `The President has accepted the Minister’s resignation and expressed his appreciation for Minister’s Gigaba longstanding service to the government and people of South Africa,` the Presidency said in a statement on Tuesday.... Read more...
  •    Advocacy groups concerned Department of Home Affairs will miss deadline for opening REFUGEE advocacy groups are wary that the Refugee Reception Office in Cape Town won’t be opened as predicted by the Department of Home Affairs. Initially, the office was supposed to be opened in March this year, but the department missed that deadline.... Read more...

Get the latest Immigration News