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Breaking the Law, Breaking the Bank

The Cost of Home Affairs’ Illegal Detention Practices, ACMS Research Report

Author : Roni Amit, Costing by Raul Zelada-Aprili

Publication Date : 2012-09-03 00:00:00

Category : Papers and Submissions


Breaking the Law, Breaking the Bank

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This report shines a light on the Department of Home Affairs’ (DHA) law-breaking activities in the area of immigration detention and assesses the financial costs of these illegal activities. These costs, totalling R4.7 million, are not only borne directly by the South African taxpayer but also divert resources away from important development services for South Africas, such as RDP housing, health care, education and water provision.

The report examines 90 legal challenges to immigration detentions brought over a 23- month period between 2009 and 2010. These cases reveal a government department that routinely violates its constitutional duties and its legislative obligations under both the Refugees and Immigration Acts. DHA’s actions also display a general contempt for the legal process: the Department fails to implement court orders, continues to act in direct contravention of judicial rulings, and openly states that its actions are not bound by the law in cases in which particular legal provisions would prevent it from undertaking actions it deems necessary, such as arbitrary and indefinite detentions.