The apex court has reversed amendments to the act that made it difficult for refugees to apply for asylum while making it easy for Home Affairs officials to unjustly detain and deport them.
The Constitutional Court brought much needed clarity to the application of the new amendments to the Refugees Act in relation to asylum applications. The apex court ruled that refugees and asylum seekers can now apply for permits locally, and that they can stay in the country pending the status of their application for asylum.
It is a decision that rescued Desta Abore, an Ethiopian national, from an unlawful detention that lasted for almost a year.
It is uncertain when exactly Abore entered the country. The high court held that he entered on 5 January 2017, while the Constitutional Court preferred mid-December 2019. What is not disputed, however, is that he entered illegally through Zimbabwe. He said he came to South Africa to escape persecution in his home country given his involvement in opposition politics.