In response to media queries regarding the court action brought against the Department of Home Affairs by the Human Rights Commission (HRC) and the PASSOP, the department can now confirm receipt of legal papers from legal representatives of the two organisations.
In this regard, the Department is currently in a process of consulting with legal counsel with a view to defending itself against accusations levelled by the HRC and PASSOP in the South Gauteng High Court next week.
Nonetheless, the Department wishes to put it on record that it is neither its policy nor deliberate action by its officials to keep illegal immigrants at its transit facility in Lindela, Johannesburg for more than 120 days. The department will continue to implement its mandate in this regard, within the framework of our domestic laws, our Immigration Act and indeed in line with our international obligations.
The challenge in most instances which gives rise to illegal foreigners staying over 120 days at this transit facility, is largely among others, due to their refusal to co-operate with either officers at the facility or diplomatic representatives of their country of origin by withholding information on their nationalities and/or origins and thus frustrating efforts to deport them. It is unlawful, it is unacceptable.
This matter continues to receive attention of the high echelons of the department working in conjunction with the affected embassies and high commissions
As a department and part of the justice and crime prevention cluster, we are obliged to enforce provisions of our immigration act without fear or favour to ensure all South Africans are and feel safe. This we will do within the framework of our constitution and international protocols and as humanely as possible.