Democratic Alliance (DA) Gauteng leader John Moodey found himself in an altercation with security guards at the Desmond Tutu Refugee Centre in Marabastad, in Pretoria, after they allegedly spoke down to him, then pushed and barred him and Gauteng North regional chairperson Abel Tau from entering the premises.
Members of the media, who were there at the invitation of the DA, were also refused entry.
An argument broke out between Moodey and security personnel, after which Moodey and Tau forced their way in.
“I’m going in and let them stop me,” said Moodey.
The duo was there to conduct an oversight inspection after receiving numerous complaints of bribery, corruption, intimidation and assault.
“When you touch me and push me you are actually assaulting me,” Moodey said.
He said he also witnessed first-hand how some people were taking money from members of the public and then disappeared into the facility.
“But when we got to the gate, we were denied access by a security officer.
“That is arrogance. What is there to hide?” Moodey said.
It was only after he was inside that he really started to “fume” when he noticed how people were being treated.
“I was fuming, as you can imagine, because I was looking at how people were herded in like cattle and being spoken to as if they were criminals in some prison facility. These people have got rights.
“There is no friendliness; it is as if people are being intimidated to keep quiet,” Moodey told journalists after he came back out.
He was taken to the facility’s centre manager and said his experience was different there.
“She was professional and listened to the complaints. What becomes very clear is she is new; she comes from outside the facility and has been here since February and her task is not an easy one,” Moodey said.
Watch footage of an angry Moodey addressing the media: