ZAMANI works as a security guard at the airport.
One day while on duty, a passenger came to the airport and asked for asylum.
Airport staff took care of the passenger, but Zamani was curious.
And being a member of Scorpion Legal Protection, he decided to find out what the difference was between an asylum-seeker and a refugee.
What does the law say?
Section 9.1 of the South African Constitution states that all foreign nationals living in South Africa have all the human rights, except to vote.
The Republic of South Africa is obligated to grant asylum-seekers protection.
This is dictated by many UN Conventions like the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
They can only apply for asylum once they have faced the risk to life or cruel and unusual treatment, and can no longer live in their country.
Asylum-seeker vs Refugee
Section 24 of the Refugee Act No 130 of 1998, defines an asylum-seeker as a person who has fled from their country of origin and asks for protection and recognition in another country by applying to become a refugee.
You are considered an asylum-seeker once you’ve applied for refugee status with the Department of Home Affairs pending decision.
A refugee is a person who is forced to flee their country due to a well-founded fear of persecution or disasters of human origin like armed conflicts, whose application has been approved and has a written recognition of refugee status.
They are issued with a renewable section 24 permit, which allows them to remain in South Africa for a specified time.
How do you apply for asylum in SA?
- Once you enter the country you should report to the refugee reception officer who’ll help you complete the application form and get a Section 22 Permit.
- You should then provide proof of identification, travel documents (if any), fingerprints, completed BI-1590 form after visiting the refugee reception office, personal data, and a photo to reviece a Section 22 permit.
An asylum seeker permit holder can work and study in South Africa.
Zamani now understands what it means to seek asylum.
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