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Maitland refugee centre to shut down

Cape High Court has postponed a court application to prevent the Maitland refugee centre from closing.

"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 - Human rights group People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty (Passop) said it won't allow asylum seekers without proper documentation to be deported.

The Maitland refugee centre will shut its doors this afternoon, after the Western Cape High Court postponed Thursday's court application aiming to prevent its closure.

This means new asylum seekers cannot submit applications there, but will have to travel to other provinces to do so.

Braam Hanekom said they won't allow any foreigners to be deported.

"We can certainly promise the department that if any asylum seeker who is undocumented at this time is arrested for deportation and it comes to our knowledge, we will certainly challenge them on that."

Hanekom said refugees cannot be punished if other centres' refuse new applications.

"The asylum seekers who have not been able to apply yet in the Western Cape, will now have to either go to Mussina or Johannesburg. We don't think they will be able to be serviced at any of the other centres, because these centres are refusing to see new comers."