Home Affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni. Picture: Fati Moalusi
A planned cabinet review on the rights of asylum seekers has raised concern that their rights, including that of being able to study and work, may be revoked.
Cape Town-based Refugee rights NGO Passop has raised the alarm following yesterday’s announcement by cabinet spokesperson Jimmy Manyi of a planned review of immigrants’ rights following a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
Department of Home Affairs communications officer Manusha Pillai said the review was part of an immigration management project managed through the government’s justice and crime prevention cluster.
She said the Home Affairs director-general, Mkuseli Apleni, would brief the media on the matter on Friday.
“The cabinet spokesperson has announced that government will be reviewing the minimum rights of immigrants, including the right to work and study, currently granted under section 22 of the Refugees Act, 1998. This is therefore currently work in progress. A report will be presented to cabinet as soon as the review has been completed,” she said.
Passop programme coordinator David von Burgsdorff said the organisation was “disappointed” and “shocked” at the cabinet’s decision to review immigrant rights, as revoking these rights would have a “disastrous” impact on the more than 450 000 asylum seekers in the country.
“The current asylum process is backlogged and inefficient and it often takes over five years for a decision to be made.
“How are asylum seekers supposed to support themselves all this time while the Department of Home Affairs is trying to reach its decision?” – WCN