SA has 3rd highest number of asylum seekers worldwide

According to the UNHCR, about 70,000 refugees applied for asylum in South Africa in 2013 alone.

FILE. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), about 70,000 refugees applied for asylum in SA in 2013 alone. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says South Africa has the third highest number of asylum seekers in the world.

The UNHCR's Southern African representative, Clementine Nkweta-Salami, told Parliament's portfolio committee on Home Affairs that South Africa has a commendable asylum policy.

But she added that issues like poverty and unemployment often fuel hostility towards foreigners in some communities.

The UNHCR says about 70,000 refugees applied for asylum in South Africa last year alone.

Nkweta-Salami told Parliamentarians it was the third highest in the world in 2013.

Germany ranked first, with the United States coming in second place.

Nkweta-Salami says refugees come to South Africa because the Constitution and laws provide them with some protection, although there are often problems with host communities and system backlogs.

"The legal framework is still of the best."

Somalia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Eritrea have been revealed in the report as four of the top 10 refugee producing countries in the world.