Court: Home Affairs disregarded rights

2014-09-23 12:56
The North Gauteng High Court. (File, Sapa)

The North Gauteng High Court. (File, Sapa)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories


Home Affairs functions like a badly trained bureaucracy - expert

2014-09-08 16:17

Most South Africans have had a frustrating experience with Home Affairs. Foreign nationals hoping to obtain a South African visa are dealing with similar frustrations. We speak to an immigration expert who highlights some of the department's inefficiencies.WATCH

Pretoria - Home Affairs officials acted with flagrant disregard for the human rights of Botswana national Edwin Samotse when they deported him, the North Gauteng High Court ruled on Tuesday.

"It is obvious that the three Polokwane officials are prima facie guilty of having infringed the applicant's fundamental rights to life, dignity and a murder trial to which a shadow of the gallows does not fall," Judge Eberhard Bertelsmann said.

He ruled the deportation was illegal and unconstitutional.

"They may in fact have to, prima facie, face a charge of attempted murder for the unlawful exposure of the applicant to the death penalty."

Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid SA approached the court in a bid to compel home affairs to find Samotse in Botswana and seek assurance that he would not face the death penalty if convicted.

Samotse, a wanted murder-accused in his home country, was deported despite a South African court order barring the extradition. He faces the death penalty in his country.

Home Affairs ‘should have known’

Bertelsmann said Samotse was denied the opportunity to consult his lawyers and hastily deported.

"The [home affairs] officials should be fully aware of the duty to engage the legal representatives, quite apart from the fact that the failure to deal with messages left by the lawyers creates the impression that the department is at best inefficient or at worst unconcerned," Bertelsmann said.

He said when home affairs became aware that Legal Aid SA was seeking an interdict, it must have known the extradition would be deemed illegal.

"To hasten the deportation under these circumstances might, prima facie, be regarded as an unlawful perversion of the course of justice, saying nothing of the contempt of court," said Bertelsmann.

He ordered home affairs to ensure vulnerable deportees were allowed to consult lawyers before being thrown out of the country.

There had been a number of recent decisions by home affairs that involved alleged violations of human rights in deportation and asylum matters, he said.

The department undertook to speak to its Botswana counterparts about Samotse and report back to the court by 15 October.

Read more on:    home affairs  |  botswana  |  human rights  |  southern africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.