Lost in the Vortex: Irregularities in the Detention and Deportation of Non-Nationals in South Africa
FMSP Research Report, June 2010
76 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2018
Date Written: June 15, 2010
The Lindela Detention Centre, located approximately 40 kilometres northwest of Johannesburg in Krugersdorp, is a holding facility for the temporary detention of ‘illegal foreigners’ while they await deportation. The centre was established under the Department of Home Affairs’ (DHA) authority to detain and deport illegal foreigners, found in the Immigration Act (No. 13 of 2002). In March 2009, the Forced Migration Studies Programme (FMSP) began conducting a survey at Lindela in order to better inform DHA’s efforts to address administrative problems at the centre. Over the next ten months, FMSP researchers interviewed 734 detainees during two phases. The research team questioned detainees on their arrest, documentation, detention prior to arriving at Lindela, procedural processes at Lindela, prolonged detentions, and conditions of detention, including medical care and basic needs, as well as experiences of corruption and violence. Detainees discussed interactions with the DHA, the police, and Bosasa, the private contractor responsible for daily operations at Lindela. Most of the survey questions were quantitative and tracked adherence to the law. A small number of qualitative questions also afforded detainees the opportunity to talk about their experiences in more detail. The research findings present a comprehensive window onto the experiences of detainees — information that can assist DHA to carry out its mandate in a manner that is both legal and cost effective, while minimizing legal challenges to detention.
Keywords: Detention, Immigration, Administrative Law, Deportation
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