September 12, 2013
Produced by Frank Ferro

We investigate the plight of Angolan asylum seekers that fled the civil war in their country and settled in South Africa at the dawn of democracy. This follows a recent declaration by the UN refugee Agency that Angolan refugees must be repatriated as the war has ended in their country.

However our investigation has found that due to a backlog in the Home Affairs asylum process many Angolans were never classified as refugees. This means that they are now undocumented and do not qualify for Home Affairs’ relaxed conditions that allow them to apply for permits to stay in South Africa. In addition, they now find themselves to be illegal and they could be arrested and deported.

This has created a lot of anxiety in a community that has established firm roots in South Africa and do not wish to go back to Angola. We bring you the tragic story of Santos Coelho’s family who fled the Angolan war and settled in Grassy Park, 16 years ago. The family has been fighting with Home Affairs ever since they arrived in South Africa to be recognised as refugees. In their recent visit to Home Affairs their documents were confiscated and they were given only a few days to leave the country.

Special Assignment is broadcast on SABC 3, every Thursday at 9:30pm

We also travel to Luanda and meet Abrao Viera – the first of only two Angolans who have so far opted for voluntary repatriation. After 19 years in South Africa, Abrao returned to Angola when he contracted TB and became unemployed. His mother Ingracia Viera was overjoyed when her son returned home as she had lost all contact with him. In all the years that he was away, she lived with the fear that her son could be dead.

What kind of a country do these Angolans return to? And for those still in South Africa, what is their fate?

For more information contact:
The Special Assignment office: 011 714 5419/6758/6451
Executive producer: Busisiwe Ntuli 083 346 7291

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