South Africa Fails in Duty to Offer Refuge


Over the past few months, we have watched as our country has -- yet again -- been host to vicious attacks on asylum-seekers, refugees and other migrants in our urban centres. Shops burnt, beatings administered, xenophobic slurs uttered, life-saving medical assistance denied, blame for South Africa's economic challenges squarely levied: increasingly, these incidents have come to define the experience of foreigners in South Africa, many of whom managed to escape persecution and threats to their lives in their home countries.

Over the past four days, we have watched Lindela Detention Centre being sold off to the highest bidder. And in this chaos and crisis, the Department of Home Affairs has been silent. This is consistent with the crisis in the asylum system and the related crisis of detention of the most vulnerable in our country.

But perhaps it can be no wonder that surges of popular violence against some of the continent's most vulnerable have continued to pepper our news headlines. The reception that fleeing foreign nationals receive once crossing our borders and attempting to make use of our dedicated state processes -- intended to provide mercy to desperate populations -- likewise make headlines for their inadequacies.

Anti-foreigner sentiment appears...

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