On the morning of Tuesday, February 21st, Clayson Monyela, the head of public diplomacy of South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation, tweeted about a group of 22 Afghans seeking asylum in South Africa after arriving at the Beitbridge border post. Monyela complained that the Afghans applying for asylum was an example of South Africa’s immigration laws being taken advantage of.
Monyela Expresses Unhappiness
“There’s 22 Afghans who rocked up at Beitbridge with tourist visas issued by Zambia & asking to enter South Africa as asylum seekers. We refused & now an American based NGO has taken Gov to court. Surely Zambia & America are options. Why South Africa? Our asylum system is being abused! NO!” Monyela tweeted.
He continued, “The Ministry of Home Affairs just gave me more details. These 22 Afghans were in Zim for a month as tourists. They tried entering as asylum seekers. We refused & they went to Zambia which also granted them tourists visas. The NGO wants the court to force us to accept them. No!”
After the group of Afghans were denied entry and the chance to apply for asylum in South Africa, an American based non-governmental organization, The Lifeline Foundation, launched an urgent application in the Pretoria High Court. The court made their judgment, ruling that the asylum seeking Afghans could gain access and entry to South Africa.
The South African Department of Home Affairs announced its intention to appeal the decision by the Pretoria High Court. Aaron Motsoaledi, South Africa’s Minister of Home Affairs, expressed his disappointment with the development of events. Motsoaledi said The Lifeline Foundation was trying to “undermine and ambush South Africa’s sovereignty.”
“There is a belief generally, across the whole world, that in South Africa, everything goes. You can do whatever you want at any time. We hear quite a lot that in South Africa, the laws allows everything, and it is better to go there. Even though this is not written anywhere, basically, it is what we hear,” Motsoaledi said.
The Taliban Looking for Asylum Seekers
According to Motsoaledi, the group of asylum seekers was sought after by the Taliban. He said, “In court, the lawyers produced a letter written in Arabic and they say it’s a death warrant or warrant of arrest and that it comes from the Taliban. It shows these people are in trouble.”
Motsoaledi continued, “In court, they told the judge these people were in Pakistan and the Taliban went to Pakistan to attack them, that’s why they had to leave. My question is, does it mean let them come to South Africa and when the Taliban attacks, they must attack South Africa.”
Minister Motsoaledi said that the U.S. was better placed to protect the asylum seekers.