Although South Africa has come a long way since the end of Apartheid, the country still suffers immensely from domestic issues. However, it has also been burdened with the unfortunate responsibility of being the mediator of southern Africa, resolving conflict and hosting refugees. The influences of the country’s struggling neighbors have taken a serious toll on the South African people and government.
One of the areas in which the disruption is most defined is in the Nyanga Refugee Centre in the Cape. The refugee center has been grappling with a variety of problems since last year. Home Affairs security guards have been forced to deal with aggression and violence as refugees, desperate to find a place to stay, stormed the gates of the center last April. The violence escalated rapidly from there, forcing the police to open fire and drive vans directly into a crowd of people in order to get them to disperse. Many people have complained as well that on top of crime and violence, corruption is spreading like wildfire. Refugees have resorted to bribery in order to skip past the required processes and long waiting lists.
The Nyanga Refugee Center is reportedly far under-capacitated for the task they are obligated to fulfill. Officials working at the center have complained that there are just too many persons seeking asylum, and that applications and documentation is far too overwhelming to deal with at this point. The center also lacks sufficient amenities like sanitation facilities.
Shockingly there is even further trouble that has arisen from this chaotic situation. Businesses around the area are furious with the center for the disruption that has been created. Several employees of neighboring businesses have quit due to fear of safety. Many of the businesses have joined together and petitioned to the Cape high court for the Nyanga Refugee Center to be shut down.
This week, the Democratic Alliance has taken a stand and called on the Minister of Home Affairs to see to it that this turmoil is silenced once and for all. Unfortunately, a representative from Home Affairs has muffled the situation, accusing the DA of “playing politics.”
Leave it to the South African government to denounce helping people as “playing politics.”