Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) Judge Dunstan Mlambo has ruled in favour of Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi following an application by a group of illegal immigrants that their detention at the Modderbee Correctional Services Centre in Benoni was unlawful and against the Immigration and Refugee Acts.

However, the court found no basis for this argument, saying the mere expression of intention to apply for asylum does not trigger the protections of the Refugees Act requirement to show good cause for illegal entry and to stay in the country.

The Star reports the six applicants were seeking to interdict the Minister and other respondents from detaining, prosecuting and deporting them until their status has been lawfully and finally determined in terms of the Refugees Act.

The applicants also sought declarations that their continuing detention is unlawful and that they are entitled to remain lawfully in SA until their applications for refugee status are finally determined.

In addition, they also sought orders directing the Minister and DG of Home Affairs, that upon submission of their applications for asylum to issue them with temporary asylum seeker permits within 15 days, pending finalisation of their asylum seeker applications, including the exhaustion of their right of review or appeal.

Mlambo dismissed the application by the six illegal immigrants, adds the report in The Star.

He also ordered the applicants to pay the Minister, his DG and the NDPP’s costs for the amendment application.

‘The first, second, third and fourth respondents are directed to approach the Magistrate’s Court for the extension of time should the review or appeal process not be finalised within the 60-day period. The request should be accompanied by a report directed to the Magistrate’s Court, setting out what steps have been taken and why the process has not been finalised within the 60-day period,’ Mlambo ruled.

Full report in The Star