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Home Affairs defies court order

09 October 2017 - 07:32 By Ernest Mabuza
Cape Town Refugee Centre.
Cape Town Refugee Centre.
Image: Facebook/Cape Town Refugee Centre

It has been more than two years since the Supreme Court of Appeal ordered the Department of Home Affairs to reopen the Port Elizabeth refugee reception office.

But this has not happened.

The department closed three refugee reception offices in 2011 in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg. This resulted in three cases challenging the closure.

Two weeks ago the court ordered the department to reopen the Cape Town refugee reception office. The court said it had previously ordered the department to restore services to the Port Elizabeth office by July 1 2015, but to no avail.

Lawyers for Human Rights, which represented the Somali Association of South Africa - the organisation that challenged the closure of the Port Elizabeth office - said the department had failed to reopen the office.

Wayne Mncube of Lawyers for Human Rights said after the judgment the organisation wrote to the department asking it to comply with the court order. He said the department had said it was trying to comply with the order and had taken certain steps to acquire a site for a new building.

"However, the department's deadlines it had set for itself have expired. I have sent a letter asking the department for an update. Their attorneys said they would seek instructions from the department," Mncube said.

The department did not respond to questions asking for comment.