Dept to fight to close refugee centre
Pretoria - The home affairs department intends fighting a recent court ruling that overturned its decision to close down its Port Elizabeth refugee reception office.
"Having had the benefit of the reasons of the judgment, Minister Dlamini-Zuma is of the view that an appeal be lodged against the judgment," said director general Mkuseli Apleni on Thursday.
The department announced in October last year that it would close the office.
Those refugees already registered were told they would have to transfer to other reception offices to be re-registered.
The Eastern Cape branch of the Somali Association of SA (Sasa) and other groups challenged the move and the matter was taken to court.
The High Court in Port Elizabeth ordered the department to re-open the office and continue helping asylum seekers and refugees, as well as new applicants for asylum.
Sasa vowed on Friday to continue the fight.
"If the offices are closed, it would be very difficult for refugees to go outside of the Eastern Cape to get registered," said Sasa spokesperson Abdirahman Nuur Jilley.
"We really need those offices to remain open; we can't travel to Johannesburg and other offices because it’s too far, and we don't have money to cover those travel costs."