Refugees desperate as Home Affairs system fails

Woman describes how she cannot access her bank account and is on the brink of being fired


Refugees complained yesterday that Home Affairs’ Refugee Temporary Office on the foreshore has been turning them away since Monday. The refugees were attempting to renew their papers. The department’s computer system was down.

People described how they were told to come back next week on Monday or Tuesday. Refugees who were there to collect their passports or ID documents were being served.

Jane (not her real name) from Zimbabwe said her boss had threatened to fire her for being away from work for too long without bringing proof that she had been to Home Affairs.

She went to Home Affairs on 13 May to renew her refugee status, which was expiring on 14 May. She was told to return on Monday 16 May because the officials could not find her file. She kept on going to Home Affairs daily and was told to return the next day for the whole week. On 23 May, this past Monday, officials found her file but the system went down. She was told to return the following day.