In June this year the Home Affairs Department decided to close the Maitland refugee reception centre in Cape Town, another close-down following refugee reception centres in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth. Effectively, the only three offices left in the country would have been in Pretoria, Musina and Durban.
However, the decision to close the centre was taken to the Cape High Court by the international human rights organization, Scalabrini. On 26 July 2012 Judge Denis Davis concluded that the Cape Town offices’ closure was irrational as the department of Home Affairs did not provide enough evidence that it closed the Maitland refugee reception office after adequate consultation. In addition, he explained that this decision does not reflect the hospitality towards fellow Africans required by incumbent. In fact, the judge decided that the decision of Home Affairs was not valid. Therefore, refugee applications shall be processed in future.
The further procedure announced by the Home Affairs Department will be as following: First the department waits for the written judgement of Cape High court, then the judgement will be studied and appropriate actions discussed. However, until the written judgement is received no processing of asylum seeker applications is allowed in Maitland refugee reception centre. Until then, Home Affairs insists on processing of applications in Pretoria, Musina and Durban.