Some of the more than 400 foreign nationals who have been camping outside the UN building in Brooklyn since last month. File photo: African News Agency (ANA).

The DA has urged the Home Affairs Department to strengthen its systems to deal with immigrants who were in the country.

This comes as residents of Brooklyn and Waterkloof in Pretoria are legally pushing for the eviction of some of the foreign nationals who are currently camping outside the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ office.

Last week, the residents, represented by the Brooklyn and Eastern Areas Citizens Association and Waterkloof Homeowners Association, headed to the North Gauteng High Court on an urgent basis to have the refugees removed as they accused them of being illegal and of urinating and defecating in the area.

In its response, the department said it was not responsible to enforce the alleged violations of laws by the refugees as this was the responsibility of the SA Police Service and the City of Tshwane.

“The DHA has neither legal capacity nor resources to embark on a process of identification of the unknown persons and ‘enforce the immigration laws of SA’,” the department said in court papers.

The DA MP Adrian Roos, who sits on the portfolio committee on Home Affairs, said the department was admitting that it did not have proper systems to do its job.

In Cape Town, other immigrants clashed with police as they also camped outside the offices of the United Nations, requesting to be deported to other countries, including Canada and the US.

“The incapacity of the DHA to deal with this issue has resulted in the UNHCR and relevant metropolitan municipalities being expected to do Home Affairs’ job. The DHA cannot do this alone but have the responsibility to lead the process,”Roos said.

He added: “The DA, therefore, calls on the DHA to immediately strengthen their capacity by implementing a far more efficient asylum seeker system that works to ensure that refugees are able to live in South Africa legally and deal with corruption in the immigration system decisively”.

Political Bureau