Abdulaahi and Others v The Director General of Home Affairs and Others
In July 2012, the Department of Home Affairs made a policy decision to close the Refugee Reception Offices in the southern provinces of South Africa, but specifically the Cape Town Office to newcomers. In addition, this policy requires all persons that did not originally receive their permits in Cape Town to now return to their office of first application if they wish to reside in South Africa legally and have their permits extended. The effect of this policy is to restrict the movement of asylum seekers to the northern areas of South Africa.
This policy decision was successfully challenged on the initiative of the UCT Refugee Rights Clinic and the case was led by the Clinic's very own unconventional mastermind and senior attorney, James Chapman.
On 27 February 2015, the Western Cape High Court handed down Judgment in the Case of Abdulaahi and Others v The Director General of Home Affairs and Others Case 7705/2013. The court found that all the applicants (1123 people) should have their permits extended in Cape Town for periods of no less than 6 months at a time. These extensions are to continue until their asylum claims are finalised or until any and all litigation in relation to the closure of the Cape Town Office is concluded. While the Order relates to 1123 people, there should be no reason why other individuals in the same situation should not be extended in Cape Town.
The Clinic would like to extend our congratulations to James on this substantial achievement and well-deserved victory.