South Africa's Emerging Department of Homeland Security

Refugees and police in Cape Town (file photo).
opinion

Every sensible person should be horrified at the racist, ethno-nationalist developments over citizenship around the world, notably in the US, Europe, Brazil, India and Israel. We need to ask ourselves, do we really want to join the growing list of nasty little countries that have defined themselves recently according to who they can exclude, repress and marginalise?

"A border is an idea decided by the lucky" - Al-Masih, from the Netflix series 'Messiah'

The Department of Home Affairs' refugee regulations, released on 27 December 2019, are a shocker. According to the regulations, South Africa will wash its hands of a refugee if s/he "... participates in any political campaign or activity related to his or her country of origin or nationality while in the Republic without the permission of the Minister".

The regulations go on to say, "... no refugee or asylum seeker may participate in any political activity or campaign in furtherance of any political party or political interests in the Republic [of South Africa]".

So, with the stroke of a pen, the home affairs minister has removed basic political rights from one of the most vulnerable groups in the country. The regulations deny the automatic right to political...

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