During his SONA, President Zuma said he had visited the home affairs offices in Marabastad and had received complaints from foreign nationals about long queues and other problems at the centre. He promised that the refugees’ grievances would be followed up. File photo: Motshwari Mofokeng
Johannesburg - The Marabastad refugee centre in Pretoria has been renewed following complaints from foreign nationals at the centre, the Presidency said on Tuesday.

During his State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Jacob Zuma said he had visited the home affairs offices in Marabastad and had received complaints from foreign nationals about long queues and other difficulties at the centre. He promised that the refugees’ grievances would be followed up by the Department of Home Affairs.

“The challenges experienced at Marabastad included limited human resource capacity, slow information technology infrastructure, inadequate filing systems, poor management practices and a working environment not conductive for clients and staff. The centre was also marred by allegations of corruption, long queues, overcrowding and the presence of criminal syndicates,” Zuma said in a statement.

The centre was renewed and is expected to be renamed.

“The centre has been refurbished with new signage, counters, and lighting, the installation of a new security system and electrical fencing," Zuma said.

"Other key interventions include the introduction of new systems and processes such as an automated booking system and paperless processes, off-site interpretation services, an improved registry and filing system and continuous engagement with stakeholders.”

The launch of the centre will be held at Tshwane Events Centre, Pretoria, on Friday, and the president is also expected to give a keynote address during the launch.