'Foreshore Home Affairs officials are bullies'

The entrance to the Maitland Refugee Reception Centre in Cape Town. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN
CAPE TOWN - Some asylum seekers attempting to get their paperwork in order have complained that officials at the Department of Home Affairs treat them with disdain and contempt.

Eyewitness News spoke to several refugees at Customs House on the Foreshore about their experiences while attempting to remain in the country legally.

Asylum seekers are processing their documents at the temporary Foreshore office, following last year's closure of the Maitland Refugee Centre.

Kayambi from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) said Home affairs officials are rude and abrupt.

“We are not welcome here and that’s a big problem.”

Kayambi said the government should close the borders if it doesn't want foreigners in South Africa.

“It’s like they have a problem with welcoming strangers or foreigners.”

Meanwhile a refugee man said life is tough back in Burundi and Home Affairs officials are making his life dismal as they bristle with hostility. 

He said senior officials are particularly rude.

“There was a manager who was very rude. She speaks to people as though they are dogs!”

The provincial Home Affairs chief agreed to address the issue and said one official has already been disciplined.

(Edited by Tamsin Wort)