Civil society groups raise concerns over closure of CT refugee office

There are only four such facilities in the country, which means asylum seekers can only apply in Durban, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and Musina.

FILE: The entrance to the Maitland Refugee Reception Centre in Cape Town. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - The closure of the Cape Town Refugee Reception office remains a concern for civil society organisations in the city.

The Scalabrini Centre held a discussion around migration issues and challenges that foreign nationals encounter daily.

It included the African Centre for Migration and Society and the University of Cape Town (UCT) Refugee Rights Unit.

The office has been closed for almost six years, affecting thousands of immigrants.

There are only four such facilities in the country, which means that asylum seekers can only apply in Durban, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and Musina.

Immigration experts say that foreign nationals are finding it difficult to get documented and are not able to access healthcare services, education and employment.

Popo Mfubu, an attorney at the Refugee Rights Unit at the UCT, said: “We, as the country, taking into account our history, have an obligation and duty to make sure that we treat those coming to seek asylum in South Africa with a level of humanity, dignity and respect.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)