Feburary 18 2017 – SA President Jacob Zuma officially opened a refugee reception center in Pretoria on (yesterday) Friday in honor of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, amid reports of increased random deportations of asylum seekers.
Zuma also called upon South Africans to be tolerate non-South Africans.
“Not all foreign nationals are in the country illegally which is sometimes the view of some frustrated South Africans.
“Many foreign nationals are most welcomed in the country. They add to the cosmopolitan nature of our country, they bring many needed skills that contribute to our economy,” said Zuma who also warned illegal immigrants of imminent deportation.
“Foreigners must put their papers in order before coming into the country, or risk being deported for lack of proper documents,” he said.
Zuma’s remarks also come at a time when there is great anxiexty by about 250 000 Zimbabweans in SA who have ZSP permits, which will expire at the end of this year.
But Home Affairs minister, Malusi Gigaba, who was also present at the launch has so far kept his cards to his chest, saying that he is still applying his mind, on how to deal with the issue.
The center, which deals with refugees and asylum issues, had been in dispute for a long time, with many non-South African complaining of corruption and criminal syndicates and unprofessional officials.
“The center was also marred by allegations of corruption, long queues, overcrowding and the presence of criminal syndicates. Today is a happy occasion as we have come to open the revamped center, we welcome improvements that have been made on this center,” Zuma said.
The Department of Home Affairs’ refuge center, previously known as Marabastad offices, is expected to work professionally with humanity inspired by iconic Tutu, a South African social rights activist who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid.
The new center, which got a facelift, has been digitized with new machines that are expected to eradicate the long lines witnessed at the center.
Zimbabwe Exiles Forum chairperson Gabriel Shumba, welcomed the revamp saying: “We hope that the new system will protect new and renewing applicants, some who have been arrested while in queues.” – Enditem/ZimsInSA.com reporter