The Department of Public Works says premises should have been found for a new Cape Town Refugee Reception Centre by July. But activists warn that it might take some time for the office to open.
In a ruling on 29 September last year the Supreme Court of Appeal declared unlawful the decision by the Department of Home Affairs to close the Cape Town office in 2012, and ordered the department to re-open the centre by March 2018. But as yet the office has not been re-opened and several refugee organisations have taken the department to court to enforce the order.
Thami Mchunu, spokesperson for the national Department of Public Works, told GroundUp, “The process to secure premises is currently underway and we hope to be done by July 2018.”
Mchunu said the department had received a request for accommodation from the Department of Home Affairs in February this year. “That request had to be revised and corrected and the process had to be restarted in March.”
In a speech on 15 June, Director-General Mkuseli Apleni said the department had started the process of compliance. “A budget has been allocated, and funding for the filling of key posts has been prioritised,” he said.
However, Marike Keller, Policy Development and Advocacy Specialist at Sonke Gender Justice, does not believe the new refugee reception office in Cape Town will be open by next month.
Keller said once the Department of Public Works secured premises, it would take time for Home Affairs to set up the office with