Important Notice for Asylum Seekers


On 7 June 2016 the LRC received a let­ter from the attor­neys for the Depart­ment of Home Affairs inform­ing us that they will be appeal­ing the order granted in our favour on 3 June 2016.

That let­ter also indi­cated that the LRC should inform its clients that none of their per­mits will be extended at the Cape Town Refugee Recep­tion Office (CTRRO) and none of their files will be trans­ferred while the appeal is still pend­ing.

The order given in the Nbaya case ordered the Cape Town RRO to renew the per­mits of asy­lum seek­ers whose per­mits were first applied for at other RROs (Pre­to­ria, Musina and Dur­ban). It specif­i­cally said that the CTRRO must renew the per­mits of those asy­lum seek­ers that had approached the LRC’s offices, and whose names were on a list of over 2 500 peo­ple that had been sub­mit­ted to the court by the LRC. It also said that the CTRRO must do the same for ‘all per­sons sim­i­larly sit­u­ated’.

If this order was car­ried out, it would effec­tively mean that the CTRRO must renew the per­mit of any­one enti­tled to a renewal, even if that per­mit was not first issued in Cape Town.

The let­ter from the Depart­ment of Home Affairs attor­neys indi­cates that the CTRRO will not be doing that.

An appeal can take a num­ber of months as it will more than likely go to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloem­fontein. It first has to be granted an appeal date in Bloem­fontein, then the appeal will have to be attended and argued by both the LRC and the attor­neys for the Depart­ment. There­after, the SCA judges will have to deliver a judg­ment, which isn’t likely to be on the same day as the appeal hear­ing.

In the time that it takes for all of that to hap­pen, the fastest and only way that an asy­lum seeker with a per­mit first issued out­side of Cape Town will be able to renew his or her per­mit is for that per­son to travel back to their orig­i­nal RRO and renew their per­mit there.

In the mean­time, the LRC intends apply­ing to the Court for a spe­cific order that says that Home Affairs must imple­ment the order while their appeal is pend­ing. Once this is done, we will update accord­ingly.

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