For Immediate Release
10 May 2021
LRC, on behalf of the Scalabrini Centre and the Somali Association for South Africa, seeks appointment of a Special Master to oversee the reopening of the Cape Town Refugee Reception Office
CAPE TOWN — The Legal Resources Centre will represent the Scalabrini Centre and the Somali Association for South Africa (SASA) in the Western Cape High Court on 12 and 13 May to request the appointment of a Special Master to oversee the reopening of the Cape Town Refugee Reception Office, and to ensure the Department of Home Affairs’ compliance with court-issued orders. In 2014, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) closed the Cape Town Refugee Reception Office (CTRRO), a decision that was set aside in 2017 by the Supreme Court of Appeal, which ordered the DHA to reopen a fully functional CTRRO by 31 March 2018. To date the DHA has not complied with this order and the CTRRO remains closed.
Thousands of refugees and asylum seekers in the Western Cape are affected by the DHA’s non-compliance with the SCA order and remain unable to access basic documentation services within the Western Cape. The Scalabrini Centre and SASA, firstly, seek declaratory orders confirming the DHA’s non-compliance with lawful court orders, and that the practice of issuing administrative fines to asylum seekers and refugees before their permits can be renewed, is unlawful. Secondly, to provide relief to asylum seekers and refugees, our clients seek the appointment of a Special Master to oversee the reopening of the CTRRO. We believe the Appointment of a Special Master is the most suitable manner to ensure compliance with the court orders by the DHA, and prevent further violation of the rights of asylum seekers and refugees in South Africa.
Sonke Gender Justice has joined the case as amicus curiae and will place evidence before the court on the adverse impact the continued closure of the CTRRO has on asylum seeker women, LGBTQI+ persons and children.
The LRC is grateful for the generosity of Legal Aid South Africa for funding this litigation.
Issued by the Legal Resources Centre
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