Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister called for stricter immigration laws at a New Age/SABC business briefing held on the 6th of July 2012. The call for the tightening of regulations comes at a time where noticeable loopholes in South African immigration law have resulted in abuse of the system.
The minister suggested a revised Refugee Act to strengthen the country’s security. She revealed that in 2007 South Africa had more asylum seekers than all 27 European Union members combined, however, only 5% of these asylum seekers qualified under the South African immigration law.
The minister also acknowledged that the department of immigration is facing numerous challenges, specifically pertaining to; capacity – with officials being overwhelmed by the number of applicants who apply for various kinds of documents and permits, and co-ordination – challenges with Home affairs units not operating in-sync with each other and leaving them vulnerable to abuse. “We just do not speak to each other and then you find out that people are taking advantage of these loopholes,” she said. “For instance, you find that someone comes into South Africa and a week later he or she is getting married and a month later they register as late registration of birth and we are unable to pick that up because our systems don’t talk to each other, so we want to change that.” Addressing these problems would bolster immigration laws and system.
The minister also hinted at the idea of opening new offices closer to the border.