Refugees march to Parliament

Asylum seekers are demanding Home Affairs reopen refugee reception offices in SA's big metros.

Refugees marched to Parliament and handed over a memorandum listing their demands to a representative of the speaker on 20 June 2012. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Asylum seekers have called on the Home Affairs Department to reopen refugee reception offices in the country's big metros.

On Wednesday, a group of refugees marched to Parliament to hand over a memorandum to a representative from the speaker's office.

Next week, the Maitland Refugee Reception Centre will close its doors.

Wednesday marks World Refugee Day, but many asylum seekers say it is not a day of celebration as their rights are being violated by the Home Affairs Department.

Demonstrators say if offices are moved to the border, they will have to travel far distances to apply for legal status in South Africa.

Protestors called on officials to halt their plans.

Meanwhile, foreign-owned businesses have been targeted during violent service delivery protests across the country.

Last week, police were brought in after Zandspruit protesters tried looting shops belonging to foreign nationals.

In February, striking mine workers looted around 32 foreign-owned shops in the North West Province.

Last year, foreigners went on the rampage at the Lindela Repatriation Centre damaging property.