Refugees demand reopening of closed centres

2012-06-19 14:44

About 200 refugees marched to the Marabastad Refugee Reception offices in Pretoria, demanding that closed refugee centres be reopened.

They submitted a memorandum to home affairs department officials, said Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in SA (CoRMSA) spokesperson Gwada Mirai.

She said they wanted the government to reopen closed refugee centres, and to fully operate those which were still open.

The Crown Mines refugee centre in Johannesburg has been shut down, and the refugee centre in Cape Town is to close on June 30.

Mirai said the refugee centre in Port Elizabeth was reopened after a high court ruling, but was not fully operational.

“We want it to function normally, as it now only accept renewal of asylum seekers’ applications, but is not taking new ones,” she said.

However, the department denied this and said the court had ruled that the refugee centre be closed.

“The business community brought their case to us saying the centre is a nuisance ... and we have moved the operations to the customs offices in PE. The centre is operating normally,” spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said.

CoRMSA has given the government 10 days to respond to its demands.

Mamoepa said Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma would respond in due course.

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