ONE FOR THE ASYLUM SEEKER Bula v Minister of Home Affairs (589/11)  ZASCA 209
Keywords:refugee population, asylum destination, laws governing asylum
South Africa has a large refugee population. In its 2010 report the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees stated that South Africa received more than 222,000 new asylum requests. This made South Africa the number-one asylum destination in the world, ahead of the United States, Sweden, France, and Germany. People across the African continent go to South Africa to escape
violence and poverty because it is a beacon of stability and economic growth on the continent. They arrive by bus and by foot after journeys that last for weeks from countries such as Ethiopia, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Sudan, Somalia and Tanzania. When
they get close to the border, those without legal papers walk through the bush and swim across rivers to avoid being sent back. In a strongly-worded judgment, the Supreme Court of Appeal has affirmed the principles governing legal protection for asylum seekers in South Africa (SA) and censured a High Court acting judge for flouting the “fundamental rules of litigation”. Navsa JA went on to set out the approach that ought to have been followed. He said the laws governing asylum specifically required that a person who wanted to apply for asylum status should be allowed to apply, even if he had been arrested prior.
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