Lawyers for Human Rights applauds SIU’s raid at Tutu Refugee Centre

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Lawyers for Human Rights has welcomed the Special Investigating Unit’s search and seizure operation conducted at the Desmond Tutu Refugee Centre in Pretoria on Friday.

The operation follows a tip-off to the Department of Home Affairs about unlawful activities occurring at the centre where officials were allegedly being bribed to issue fraudulent documents to unregistered foreign nationals.

Search warrant

The department in partnership with the SIU and the Hawks acquired a warrant to search the premises of five refugee centres, including those in Cape Town, Durban, Musina and Gqeberha.

National Director at LHR Wayne Ncube says there is no systemic drive towards addressing the issue of corruption within asylum offices.

“There are multiple documents that have surveyed asylum seekers and refugees. We released one in 2015 and 2020, a follow-up survey where we made recommendations to the state saying the incidents are nearly 30% of respondents would have encountered corruption. Would have reported being asked for money by a border official, would have been asked for money to access the office to make your first application, a lot of them just to get your papers renewed and then the status determination process which has completely collapsed will create vulnerabilities where people are then asked for money to get a positive decision.”