Police can use e-system to run checks on foreign nationals without detaining them - Aaron Motsoaledi

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Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.
Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.
Photo: GCIS
  • Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said police don't need to arrest immigrants or use discriminatory methods to ascertain their status in the country. 
  • Motsoaledi said officers can run checks using the online national register.
  • He was addressing Parliament on the backlog in permit appeals for asylum seekers and refugees.

Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi says police don't need to arrest foreign nationals or use discriminatory methods to ascertain their status in the country. 

Motsoaledi said this while addressing Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, on the backlog in permit appeals for asylum seekers and refugees earlier this week.

The minister said police have the right to ask immigrants for documentation.

He said this does not mean that foreign nationals must carry documents, because police can access the 24-hour national register. 

"We believe that all law enforcement officers must know that this is something they can do on the spot. It's a pity if anyone is arrested and for home affairs officials to come and verify the documents manually. It should not happen that way," he said.

READ | 'Foreign nationals are not a problem. It's South Africans' - Cele's reality check on crime in SA

Motsoaledi said the backlog of appeal applications by foreign nationals rejected for refugee or asylum permits put the system under pressure. 

He said the department would clear the backlog in four years.

Motsoaledi said the government needed to scrap the "bureaucratic ladder of never-ending appeals", which he complained was being exploited, at times, by ringleaders who do not qualify for international protection.

"The whole immigration system needs to be overhauled... our bureaucratic ladder doesn't help anybody, it just complicates our lives, and that is why we are going to change it," said the minister. 


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