Bongo rejects new refugee regulations criticism
Publish date: 13 January 2020
Issue Number: 855
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: South Africa
Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs chairperson Bongani Bongo believes those criticising the recently gazetted Refugee Amendment Act Regulations are ‘pessimists or prophets of doom’. In a statement, Bongo welcomed the regulations, which he said would deal effectively with challenges the previous regulations could not address. ‘We believe that the regulations form part of the broader efforts that are aimed at strengthening the immigration system and ensure that the system is not manipulated for nefarious reasons,’ Bongo said, according to a News24 report. He said the regulations should achieve three basic responsibilities: ensure SA's sovereignty and security, to protect the rights of refugees and asylum seekers and uphold international obligations to which SA was a signatory. ‘We believe that these regulations will certainly deter the tide of corruption and fraud in the system and maintain on a sustainable basis the balance between the three responsibilities.’ Bongo said the prescribed requirements would strengthen the application process for entry into the country, especially the requirements that the applicant should present a valid asylum transit visa from the country through which they travelled at the port of entry and that the applicant should provide valid identification and submit the biometric data. He believed these requirements would ensure that only genuine asylum seekers and refugees applied, and the system would be protected from abuse.