Maitland Refugee Reception Office to close its doors

Pretoria - The Maitland Refugee Reception Office in Cape Town will close at the end of the month, the Department of Home Affairs has announced.

"Services currently rendered to asylum seekers and refugees from the Maitland Refugee Reception Office in the Western Cape will, effective 30 June 2012, be rendered from Customs House on the Foreshore in Cape Town," the department said.

The Refugee Reception Office initially moved from Nyanga to Maitland after a court order was brought against the department by the business community in the area on the grounds that the office constituted a nuisance factor, it explained.

In addition, the landlord of the premises currently housing the Refugee Reception Office in Maitland, earlier this year informed the department of his intention to bring the lease agreement to an end on 30 June 2012.

"As a consequence of the court order and the ending of the lease agreement, the department has decided that effective 30 June 2012, the Maitland Refugee Reception Office will be closed," the department said.

Contingency measures will be implemented following consultations with the relevant stakeholders.

This includes Customs House on the Foreshore in Cape Town being identified as a temporary facility from which to finalise all outstanding applications for asylum in South Africa.

Apart from the processing of new applications and applications for refugee IDs and travel documents, all other services will also be offered at Customs House.

The department said refugees holding section 24 permits could submit their applications for refugee ID and travel documents at the Cape Town Regional office to facilitate faster processing of these documents.

New applicants will be directed to other Refugee Reception Offices to submit their applications.