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Home Affairs challenges court order allowing 22 Afghan asylum seekers in the country

Minister of Home Affair, Aaron Motsoaledi. File Photo: Jacques Naude

Minister of Home Affair, Aaron Motsoaledi. File Photo: Jacques Naude

Published Feb 21, 2023


Pretoria-The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday reserved judgement in an urgent application brought by the department of home affairs opposing an order which allowed 22 Afghan nationals seeking asylum in South Africa to enter the country.

Last week Friday, an interim order was issued allowing the Afghan nationals to enter the country.

This is after a US-based NGO, The Lifeline Foundation, through its lawyers, took home affairs to court asking for the Afghans to be allowed entry to the country.

Home Affairs minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, accused the NGO of using the legal system to undermine and ambush South Africa’s sovereignty.

Speaking to the SABC Motsoaledi said: “On the 14th our officials in Beitbridge received a letter written by a firm of lawyers saying that they have clients that are coming, 22 of them. We are warning them that you must be given a transit visa to enter South Africa and apply for asylum, they never named the clients, they didn’t even mention where they came from. While the people there were still surprised, 22 people arrived and said they’re from Afghanistan and they want to enter the country, their lawyers have given us prior notice and they were carrying visa from Zimbabwe.”

Motsoaledi added that the initial order allowing the asylum seekers was granted in their absence

“We were not in court because they manipulated the law and processes because they know that we are in Pretoria but they served a junior person in Beitbridge through an email and the person was in the field, and only saw the email after 4 hours and after 4 hours they had already been in court and got the order but the judge realised that we were not there and allowed us that we can do something within 24 hours,’’ the minister told the broadcaster.

Eye Witness News cited Motsoaledi saying that allowing the Afghan nationals to enter the country could pose a risk as they left Afghanistan due to disputes with the Taliban.

"If there are people that are in danger in Afghanistan and they rush to South Africa, and the Taliban decides to follow them here, isn't the US the most powerful country to defend them and protect them?

“As they are the ones who went to Afghanistan to take over from the Taliban, not us, because you see, we don't have any military power," Motsoaledi was quoted as saying.