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Gauteng High Court Rules in Favor of Motsoaledi on Detention of Illegal Immigrants

Source: iol, 14/02/2024

The Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg has ruled in favor of Home Affairs Minister Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi in response to an application by a group of illegal immigrants. The immigrants claimed that their detention at the Modderbee Correctional Services Centre in Benoni was unlawful and violated immigration and refugee acts.

The court found no basis for the argument, stating that the expression of intention to apply for asylum does not trigger the protections in section 2 of the Refugees Act 130 of 1998 section 21(1b) requirement to show good cause for illegal entry and stay in the country.

The application was brought by Thomas Godiso, Abi Osman Yusuf, and four others on an urgent basis. They sought to interdict the minister and other respondents from detaining, prosecuting, and deporting them until their status is lawfully and finally determined under the Refugees Act 2 as amended.

The applicants also sought declarators that their continuing detention is unlawful and, in terms of section 2 of the Refugees Act, they are entitled to remain lawfully in the Republic of South Africa until their applications for refugee status are finally determined.

Additionally, the applicants sought orders directing the minister and director-general of Home Affairs to accept their applications for asylum, issue them with temporary asylum seeker permits within 15 days, pending finalization of their asylum seeker applications.

Judge Dunstan Mlambo dismissed the application, ordering the applicants to pay costs for the amendment application. He directed the respondents to afford the applicants an opportunity, within 60 days, to show good cause in terms of section 21(1b) of the Refugees Act 130 of 1998.

The applicants, some from Ethiopia and Somalia, claimed persecution in their home countries due to their political and religious beliefs. Arrested in 2023, they argued that seeking refuge in South Africa was a result of persecution by Ethiopia`s ruling party.

South Africa Immigration Company