The Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg has issued a clarification, stating that the detention of undocumented individuals while awaiting good cause interviews and the asylum application process is not deemed unlawful.
This verdict comes in response to a group of asylum seekers who had entered the country illegally.
Six Ethiopian nationals, including Messrs Degefa Sugebo Lembore, took their case to the High Court, seeking an urgent interdict to prevent the Department of Home Affairs and related government entities from detaining, prosecuting, or deporting them until their Refugee Status is conclusively determined.
Additionally, they argued for their release, contending that their detention during the asylum application process was unlawful.
The central issue examined by the court was whether they were entitled to be released once they had expressed an intention to apply for asylum.
The High Court’s judgment clarified that such a right is not automatic, proposing a differentiated approach for asylum seekers who entered the country illegally.
Advocate Sinethemba Vobi, representing the applicants, stated that they intend to pursue the matter further by approaching the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).
Spotlight on the rights of asylum seekers in South Africa