News / South Africa

Andile Maxopani
2 minute read
4 Jul 2018
9:22 am

Thousands of refugees without documents as Home Affairs accused of corruption

Andile Maxopani

The main concern is the number of refugee officers that are on duty and who are supposed to work with refugees

DA MP Tsepo Mhlongo, left, and shadow MEC of Home Affairs, Haniff Hoosen, 4 July 2018.

A week after celebrating National Refugee Day, shadow MEC of Home Affairs Haniff Hoosen conducted an oversight visit to the Orlando West Home Affairs offices.

This oversight visit was fueled by the ongoing allegations of corruption, especially in the newly launched refugee offices, reports Soweto Urban.

READ MORE: DA wants complete overhaul of refugee system

Hoosen said thousands of refugees were walking around the country with no documents.

He said he is not surprised by what they found in Home Affairs because that they have visited before. He said people who visit the department describe it as a “horror area”.

Hoosen said it is sad how most people have to wait for many days or weeks to get documents that should take minutes to acquire. According to Hoosen, Home Affairs have been proposing a system where people can apply for a Smart ID Card online.

His main concern was with the number of refugee officers that were on duty and who are supposed to work with refugees. He explained different reasons why refugees come to the country.

“The increase of xenophobia is coursed by the number of undocumented people that course the community to lose hope in Home Affairs,” said Hoosen.

During the visit, we came across a Matlakala Matli who has been struggling to apply for her identity document since 2013 because she was declared married to someone she doesn’t know or has never seen.

A source that refused to be mentioned said he is a refugee and has been living in the country since 1973. His problem started when he had to renew his smart card.

He alleged they requested that he must pay R1 450, but because he didn’t have the money he could not get it.

He has been a loyal voter in the country and has opened a construction company with the ID, and now he was told that he had to bring his passport in order to renew his ID.

The manager of the branch Pearl Poto checked the ID of the unknown source, and found the source’s ID was illegal and he was claiming he was legalised in the country.

She also found Matli’s case was resolved. Poto said the branch could do better with more workers as they always have many people to serve.

Hoosen explained that people who visit the branch are confused by the tellers because they cannot give advises.

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