Home affairs mulls Lindela ruling

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iol newspic Lindela Repatriation Centre INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Lindela Repatriation Centre in Krugersdorp. Picture: Adrian de Kock

Johannesburg - The home affairs department was on Friday studying the High Court in Johannesburg's ruling that detaining migrants for an extended period at the Lindela Repatriation Centre is unlawful and unconstitutional.

“The department has noted and is studying the judgment,” spokesman Mayihlome Tshwete said in a statement.

The department would comment further once it had decided on a way forward.

On Thursday, the SA Human Rights Commission said the court had ruled in favour of People Against Suffering, Suppression, Oppression, and Poverty (Passop), and 39 individuals detained at Lindela.

The SAHRC and other applicant organisations argued that Lindela's practices regarding detention at the facility were unconstitutional and in contravention of the Immigration Act.

Lindela, in Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg, is the only facility of its kind in South Africa where illegal migrants are detained while awaiting deportation.

The commission's spokesman Isaac Mangena said the individuals in this matter had been subject to inhumane treatment, including being detained for longer than 30 days without the necessary magisterial warrant permitting extended detention, experiencing a miscalculation by the home affairs department on the start of the 30-day period of detention, the failure of Lindela officials to follow fair procedure, and keeping migrants in detention for longer than 120 days.

The court ordered that the home affairs department ensure that no person was detained for a period exceeding 30 days from the date on which that person was first arrested.


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