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Asylum seekers slam Pretoria refugee centre

Asylum seekers

One of the asylum seekers‚ who spoke to TimesLIVE through a fence at the facility‚ said they even fall victim to thievery. “We were waiting outside and somebody came and took everything from us‚” he said.

Asylum seekers at the Desmond Tutu refugee reception centre in Marabastad‚ Pretoria‚ say it is a living hell to come to the facility as they are subjected to ill-treatment and demands for bribes.

Asylum seekers

Inside the centre‚ they face pressure to hand over cash to rude officials.

“They treat us like dogs. They have disrespect for us. If you don’t have money then you don’t get asylum. You have to pay every day (you come here). If you don’t give money‚ you don’t get asylum. It is five weeks I’m coming here and no asylum‚” said the man‚ originally from Bangladesh.

The man‚ who runs a shop in Bloemfontein‚ has had to sacrifice time from his business to come and renew his asylum papers as they expire on Tuesday.

Many refugees were queuing behind a fence at the facility. They said they were not allowed to leave. Some came from as far as Kimberly to request an extension on their asylum status in South Africa.

Source: Times Live