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‘New asylum application system to relieve pressure on officials, foreign nationals’

Next month, the Marabastad refugee reception office will launch the paperless system.

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba views an Automated Asylum Seekers Booking Terminal which will be used to automate booking at the Marabastad refugee reception office in Pretoria. Picture: Dineo Bendile/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Home Affairs Department says its new automated asylum application system will relieve the pressure on officials and foreign nationals seeking assistance.

Next month, the Marabastad refugee reception office will launch the paperless system, which the department hopes will address continuing allegations of corruption and human rights violations at the centre.

The Marabastad office has been known to have stampedes due to large volumes and acts of bribery which saw 10 people arrested last year.

Minister Malusi Gigaba says both asylum seekers and home affairs officials were being disadvantaged by the old application system.

He says the new system will eradicate the challenges faced by both.

"We don't want our clients to experience the types of challenges which they've experienced previously but we also don't want our officials to experience the types of flood volumes of applications that we are experiencing in our offices."

Those who seek asylum will have to capture their fingerprints using a new automated system which will set a date of appointment for further engagement.

Gigaba says this system will decrease the chances of corruption, while regulating the amount of people who are at the centre daily.