South Africa’s reputation in the rest of the continent has been tarnished by years of sporadic violence and xenophobic attacks directed at foreign nationals. After the last violent spasm earlier this year ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe, suggested that one solution would be to set up “refugee camps so that we can document people”.
For years now NGOs working with refugees and asylum seekers to South Africa have reported on the endemic corruption in the system. In 2004 the public protector published a report on unlawful conduct at the Braamfontein refugee reception office.
Reports from the US state department between 2009 and 2013 have also consistently flagged corruption in annual country reports stating, “although the department of home affairs (DHA) had anti-corruption programmes in place and punished officials or contracted security officers found to be accepting bribes, NGOs and asylum applicants continued to report that immigration authorities sought bribes from those seeking permits to remain in the country, particularly in cases where applicants allowed their documents to expire”.