South Africa: Officials Take Bribes to Marry Refugees As Home Affairs Stalls On Implementing Court Order

analysis

Almost four months after the Department of Home Affairs was ordered by the Supreme Court of Appeal to allow asylum seekers to be married, the court order still hasn't been implemented - but reports are surfacing that home affairs officials in East London are solemnising marriages for asylum seekers for a 'cash fee' of R2,000.

Department of Home Affairs (DHA) spokesperson David Hlabane said the fact that they have not implemented the Supreme Court of Appeal order, compelling them to marry asylum seekers, doesn't mean they are not respecting the court order.

"Communications have been prepared in light of the judgement to guide the implementation of the court order. Home affairs provincial managers are also on board to assist offices in this regard. We stand by our duty to respect the law," he said. He added that they need to "get the staff ready", to ensure proper implementation and full compliance with the court order. He could not provide a date by when this would be completed.

In 2016, the DHA banned asylum seekers from marrying in South Africa in what was described, at the time, as a way to root out marriages of convenience.

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