- On 15 February 2023, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) received a letter from a firm of attorneys representing unnamed Afghanistan nationals demanding that asylum transit visas be issued to those unnamed individuals at Beitbridge Port of Entry.
- While DHA was preparing a response to the letter, on 16 February 2023, a group of 22 Afghanistan nationals in the company of American citizens arrived at the Beitbridge Port of Entry and requested to be issued with asylum transit visas in order for them to enter the Republic of South Africa to apply for asylum. The immigration officer refused to do so as they were all issued with multiple entry tourist visas by the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe on 20 January 2023.
- The lawyers representing the 22 Afghanistan nationals rushed to Pretoria High Court on extremely urgent basis (in the absence of the DHA) and the Court issued an interim order allowing them to be issued with asylum transit visas. The Court however, allowed the DHA to anticipate the interim order within 24 hours. The DHA did exactly that and the Court refused to confirm the interim order to allow the DHA to file its answering papers. The matter was heard by the Court on 20 February 2023. Judgment was reserved.
- The Court issued judgment today confirming the interim order as final.
- The DHA will abide by the ruling of the Court and will take all necessary steps to give effect to the ruling. The DHA will deal with the asylum applications during the asylum process. The decision to abide shows that the DHA respects the rule of law. However, this should not be interpreted as opening floodgates for spurious asylum claims. The DHA will not hesitate to fight the cases in Court as it has done in this instance.
Bongi Gwala, 066 588 3251 (Head of Communication: Department of Home Affairs)
Siya Qoza, 082 898 1657 (Spokesperson for the Minister of Home Affairs)
David Hlabane, 071 342 4284 (Media Manager: Department of Home Affairs)
ISSUED BY DEPARTMENT OF HOME AFFAIRS