/ 7 December 2011

Court orders release of asylum seekers

The department of home affairs in Cape Town has been issued with a high court order to release asylum seekers who have been detained illegally.

According to ProBono.org, home affairs in Durban and Cape Town have been involved in a scheme where asylum seekers are lured to department offices under the pretence that they should collect documents. They are then arrested and detained before facing deportation.

The Cape High Court on Monday issued a ruling that arrested asylum seekers be immediately released.

The department’s procedure is usually to give those who fail to qualify for asylum in South Africa a 30-day period during which they should leave of their own accord. Only when this is not done would deportation procedures begin.

The department in Durban was given the relevant documents by lawyers acting for the asylum seekers but authorities allegedly failed to bring them to court and have refused to release the group currently housed at Westville Prison.