Court rules Lindela detention unlawful

Johannesburg - The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg has ruled that the detention of migrants at the Lindela Repatriation Centre is unlawful and unconstitutional, the SA Human Rights Commission said on Thursday.

"The SAHRC welcomes the judgment handed over by the South Gauteng High Court in a matter relating to the illegal detention of immigrants against the department of home affairs," said spokesperson Isaac Mangena.

He said the court declared judgment in favour of the commission, People Against Suffering, Suppression, Oppression and Poverty (Passop), and 39 individuals who were detained at Lindela.

The SAHRC and other applicant organisations argued that Lindela's practices regarding detention at the facility were unconstitutional and in contravention of the Immigration Act 13 of 2002.

Lindela in Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg, is the only facility of its kind in South Africa where illegal migrants are detained while awaiting deportation.

Mangena said the individuals in this matter had been subject to inhumane treatment, including being detained for longer than 30 days without the necessary warrant of a magistrate permitting extended detention, experiencing a miscalculation by the department of home affairs of the start of the 30-day period of detention, the failure of Lindela officials to follow fair procedure, and keeping the migrants in detention for longer than 120 days.

"The court ordered Lindela Repatriation Centre to, without delay, cease all practices that result in non-compliance with the Immigration Act, such as those experienced by the individuals in this matter.

"It further ordered that Lindela allow the SAHRC access to the facility on a regular basis and that regular reports on the number and status of detainees at Lindela be issued."

In particular the court ordered that the department of home affairs ensure that no person was detained for a period exceeding 30 days from the date on which that person was first arrested.

"The SAHRC sees this as a victory for migrants in South Africa. This re-affirms our commitment to protecting the rights of vulnerable members of our communities, including those coming from outside, and serves as a stern warning to the department of home affairs to consistently comply with the rights of detainees," he said.

Read more on: sahrc johannesburg
Isambulo Sombuso Wezulu 2014/08/28 08:16:23 PM
Isambulo Sombuso Wezulu 2014/08/28 08:17:08 PM
Isambulo Sombuso Wezulu 2014/08/28 08:18:26 PM
Henning Venter 2014/08/28 08:27:35 PM
So basicly, Department of home affairs have 30Days to send them home. Good as we now only have to feed them for less than 30 days. So they don't want us to do an investigation but send them back ASAP. That will save a bit of money. Court case the day after you are detained, no prosponment. Supply bus once per week back to Zim.
Lala Elizabeth Mokganya 2014/09/18 04:41:35 PM
I hope there will be order instead of treating illegal immigrants like puppets, one thing that irritates me about that facility is that there is no contact that works where one can enquire and that brought something very scary to my attention. Do they bother to get a next of kin contact no for the detainees? what happens if someone is ill and they die who will know? Our government needs to really start looking at issues like this as it is not fair and it is dangerous.