Motsoaledi defends Refugees Amendment Act

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Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has defended the Refugees Amendment Act which came into effect on the first of January.

The minister was speaking in the wake of heavy criticism over the changes.

Some of the amendments include preventing asylum seekers from participating in any political activity, as well as clamping down on businesses and regulations on where they can work or go to school.

Minister Motsoaledi, speaking to the SABC, says, “Let me clarify one fact, I don’t know whether it also confuses, but I’ve heard others being confused as if everybody who is from another country, who is in South Africa is going to be barred from any political activity. We’ve got lots of people who are here. Some have got permanent residence. These rules do not apply to them at all. They apply only to people who are under the protection of the state.”

Earlier, Political Analyst Steven Friedman has warned that the South African government has tried to curtail the rights of refugees from protesting against the countries from which they fled.

“So, in other words, if you’re a refugee from a country which you consider to be a human rights abuser you may not campaign against that human rights abuse in SA unless you have the permission of the Minister of Home Affairs. There are some other restrictions, but those are by far, the most serious because they do seem to very seriously restrict the rights of refugees and to prevent refugees in this country doing what refugees from this country did during the apartheid period.”

For more watch Minister Motsoaledi’s interview below: