THE BLOG

Why South Africa's Asylum Rules Should Be Reviewed

While researching visa requirements some years ago, I got to understand why many countries scrapped their visa-free policies with South Africa.

22/03/2017 03:57 SAST | Updated 22/03/2017 03:57 SAST
Ihsaan Haffejee / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images
Protesters hold banners during a rally held to protest against xenophobia at Burgers Park in Pretoria, South Africa on March 9, 2017. Protesters demanded to end violence towards foreigners as they marched to government building.

Part of the allegations levied against the Home Affairs during what many believed to be 'xenophobic attacks' recently was that asylums were given to criminals from countries like Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia etc and that they should stop granting them asylum. Looking vividly at the issue, I couldn't help it but to say the agitation was right in my mind.

Many would have asked why criminals still roam around under the refugee protection.

While in South Africa, I was able to meet a lot of people from different places and cultures. I personally believe that SA is a welcoming environment for foreign nationals and seeing this, it sends good message to the world.

Thanks to the South African government for opening up their arms. However, the reality still looms and if asylum laws are not reviewed quickly, there is an tendency that people will keep flooding in and those who are not supposed to get these status will be given. This will further pose great threat and will help harbour more so-called unscrupulous people in the society.

Home Affairs should step in and make sure that only people who are defined under the 1951 United Nations Convention, which states that '' a refugee can be a "convention refugee" who has left his home country and has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or a membership in a particular social group.

Although, not every asylum-seekers are bad but, they are obviously few bad apples.

Under the same convention, a refugee can also be a person "in need of protection", whose removal to his home country would subject him personally to a danger of torture or to a risk to his life or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment" are granted this privilege.

Although, not every asylum-seekers are bad but, they are obviously few bad apples. The whole point is that even one is enough to taint the group. The bad ones should be fished out and dealt with accordingly. I cannot but say that I support the call that these bad eggs, once caught should be stripped of citizenship, permanent residence or refugee status by the home affairs.

While researching and blogging about visa requirements for South Africans some years ago, I got to understand that many countries scrapped their visa-free policies with South Africa because they believed there was loopholes and for security reasons, they had to halt the policies. It is time the Home Affairs claim back the trust of the people!

I believe there is much more we can do than resolving into violence, I want to advise you my fellow brothers and sisters to be part of this change initiative by being patient, by reporting suspected criminals to the relevant authorities and by not taking laws into your hands. The solution to the issue on ground is better tackled, solved diplomatically and hopefully your agitations will be clearly stated, understood and not misinterpreted.

Finally, fighting foreigners on issue like this will likely yield no result. I remember some years back, when I visited South Africa, I had already learnt about xenophobia and yet it didn't stop me from coming. Truth is, lots of people will keep coming until some immigration laws are tightened and things are done in the right way.

I support a crime-free SA!!!