The situation at the Department of Home Affairs is chaotic, says parliamentary portfolio committee chairperson Paul Chauke -- from failure to properly implement years-old Supreme Court of Appeal rulings on refugee centres to lax security at departmental offices.
Delays and deliberations by the Department of Home Affairs over instructions issued by the parliamentary portfolio committee on Home Affairs raises questions about Parliament's ability to conduct oversight of the executive when it comes to managing immigration.
Committee chairperson Paul Chauke expressed frustration at the continued absence of the minister and deputy minster at the committee's meetings and also wanted know why the Minister of Public Works was not present.
The meeting was mostly about the draft Immigration Bill, but the committee had also called for a report-back from the department on its progress in reopening refugee centres in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, where it had shut down or cut back on services for immigrants.
This follows rulings by the Supreme Court of Appeal, in cases brought by the Legal Resources Centre, on behalf of the Scalabrini Centre, the Somali Association for South Africa and other civil society groups, that these offices be reopened.