It is unacceptable that the South African Police Service (SAPS) and Pretoria metro police are alleged to be contributing to problems around the Desmond Tutu Refugee Office in Pretoria, parliament’s home affairs portfolio committee said on Saturday.
The committee would “give a directive to the minister of home affairs and ministers within the security cluster” to urgently find solutions to the criminal problems that continued to manifest outside the office, committee chairman Hlomani Chauke said in a statement.
The committee raised its concerns the last time it visited and it remained concerned that criminal elements were still operating outside the office. The committee visited the centre on Friday to assess progress made since the launch of the automated asylum system in 2017.
“The committee was informed that the security situation around the precinct has not improved, with allegations of syndicates operating with impunity. It is unacceptable that the South African Police Service and metro police are alleged to be contributing to the challenges around the centre. It is also concerning that it is alleged that people are mugged in full view of police and nothing is done. We hope that the engagement at a ministerial level will assist in resolving the issue,” Chauke said.
The committee called for harsher action against officials found to be colluding with syndicates to undermine the refugee system, and called for lifestyle audits of officials within that environment.
Despite this problem, the committee welcomed the impact of the automated system on the processing of applicants.
“There seems to be a massive improvement in the process as a result of automating the system. The infusion of technology into the system should be strengthened even further to reinforce the current advances,” Chauke said.
– African News Agency (ANA)