Refugees office 'killing trade'
Business owners around the Department of Home Affairs' Tswane Interim Reception for Refugees Office are fuming as it drags its heels in processing asylum applications.
The strong smell of urine and faeces around the offices near the Pretoria Showground in Pretoria West has driven customers away, businesses claim.
Some businesses are planning to relocate while property owners plan to take legal action to force the government to either find an alternative place or better ways to control asylum-seekers.
Since Home Affairs opened the office about three years ago, hundreds of asylum-seekers regularly sleep in queues outside the premises in Souter Street - with their impatience often leading to violent protests.
Due to the lack of water and toilets, some people allegedly just cross the street and urinate or defecate in front of businesses facing the centre.
Irene van der Nest of Kigima Auto Electrical Training Centre said: "Businesses are severely affected."
She suggested that Home Affairs close the Souter Street entrance and use the Church Street one, which has ample parking space and ablution facilities.
Vimla Padiachy of NSA Stationers said: "Our business has definitely dropped because customers cannot reach us ... I do not have a problem against anyone coming here for a better life, but they should not impose on others."
Hundreds of asylum-seekers from Ethiopia, Somalia and other East African countries rioted outside the facility on Wednesday, stoning security guards and vehicles, and accusing officials of extorting money from them.