20 February 2014

South Africa: Home Affairs to Appeal Semugoma Judgement

Photo: Peter Atchell
Protesters against Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill (file photo).

Pretoria — The Department of Home Affairs is in the process of filing and serving an application for leave to appeal the South Gauteng High Court interim order granted on Tuesday in Johannesburg.

The order was against the Minister and the Director-General of Home Affairs regarding the matter of a Ugandan national, Dr Paul Semugoma.

The essence of the interim court order was to interdict the Minister and the Director-General from refusing Semugoma entry into South Africa and directing that he be released immediately from the OR Tambo International Airport's inadmissible facility.

The order was granted without the Department of Home Affairs having had representation in court in line with the audi alterem partem (means "hear the other side too") rule.

The matter arose from refusal by immigration officers at OR Tambo International Airport to allow Semugoma to enter South Africa due to failure to comply with the provisions of the Immigration Act 13 of 2002.

Semugoma visitor's visa has expired and it is on this basis that entry into South Africa has been denied.

The department says any suggestions that it sought to ignore the interim court order are false and must be dismissed.

"In this context, we appeal to the public to avoid … communicating falsehoods regarding the reasons for refusing Dr Semugoma entry into South Africa," said the department in a statement.

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