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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

WATCH: Giving Afghan nationals asylum in SA could pose a risk – Motsoaledi

The Afghan nationals were  initially denied access into South Africa but an NGO took the home affairs department to court.

The Department of Home Affairs said it will be challenging a court ruling allowing 22 Afghan nationals to seek asylum in South Africa.

This comes after the Pretoria High Court on Tuesday reserved judgment in an urgent application in which the Afghan nationals were attempting to force the South African government to grant them asylum because the Taliban poses a danger to them.

The Afghan nationals were initially denied access into South Africa, but the NGO The Lifeline Foundation took the home affairs department to court, asking for them to be allowed entry to the country.

Watch the interview with Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi:

Tourist visas

In a series of tweets, the Department of International Relations and Co-operation’s head of public diplomacy Clayson Monyela said there are other countries the Afghan asylum seekers could have gone to.

“There are 22 Afghans who rocked up at Beitbridge with tourist visas issued by Zambia and asking to enter South Africa as asylum seekers. We refused and now an America-based NGO has taken government to court. Surely Zambia and America are options. Why South Africa? Our asylum system is being abused!”

“The Ministry of Home Affairs just gave me more details. These 22 Afghans were in Zimbabwe for a month as tourists. They tried entering South Africa as asylum seekers. We refused and they went to Zambia which also granted them tourists visas. The NGO wants the court to force us to accept them. No!” Monyela tweeted.

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Undermining SA’s sovereignty

Speaking to eNCA, Motsoaledi claimed the NGO is behind what he called  “an attempt to undermine and ambush South Africa’s sovereignty”.

“It is difficult to know the motive, but what I can tell you is I think we are being undermined.

“There’s a belief that everything in South Africa obtains, you can go there and do whatever you want at any time you want. The Constitution and the legal system of the country will allow you to do so,” Motsoaledi said.

The Home Affairs Minister said allowing the Afghan nationals to enter the country could pose a risk, citing that they left Afghanistan due to disputes with the Taliban.

“In court, the lawyers produced a letter written in Arabic and they say its a death warrant or warrant of arrest and that it comes from the Taliban. It show these people are in trouble.

“In court, they told the judge these people were in Pakistan and the Taliban went to Pakistan to attack them, that’s why they had to leave. My question is, does it mean let them come to South Africa and when the Taliban attacks, they must attack South Africa,” Motsoaledi said.

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