The report released by Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) and the African Centre of Migration amp; Society (ACMS) on institutionalised corruption within the asylum application processes at Home Affairs offices countrywide must be tabled in Parliament and must be addressed.
The report contains shocking statistics and findings and produces evidence of human rights abuses and rampant corruption at refugee reception centres.
The findings in the report include:
- Rampant corruption is evident in every step of the asylum seeker process;
- Asylum seekers are forced to pay large amounts of money just to get a place in the queue;
- The refugee reception office in Marabastad in Pretoria has the highest number of corrupt practises;
- Home Affairs officials and security guards are demanding money for access to services; and
- Vulnerable applicants who have no place to turn are forced to pay large amounts of money for preferential treatment.
Of greater concern, this is not the first report to be produced on corruption. Since 2003, the department has received several reports and studies conducted by Non-Governmental Organisations indicating high levels of corruption within Home Affairs.
The Counter Corruption Unit established in Home Affairs has adopted a reactive approach rather than a proactive policy to eradicate corruption in its entirety.
I have therefore today written to the Portfolio Committee Chairperson on Home Affairs, Buoang Mashile, to request that he urgently table the report and call on the Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, to ramp up the eradication of irregularities within the asylum system and report back to Parliament the failures or success of the remedial action taken by his department.
The DA believes that every asylum seeker should be actively safeguarded against corruption and maladministration, and should be afforded a fair chance to gain refugee status in South Africa.
Haniff Hoosen Shadow Minister of Home Affairs.