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South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Announces Plans to Toughen Asylum and Immigration Laws

Dr Aaron Motsoaledi ‘s proposals are contained in a document, known as a White Paper, which has been released for public discussion as the first step towards adopting legislation that will mark a decisive break with the more embracing policy that the government – led by the African National Congress (ANC) – championed after it took power at the end of the racist system of apartheid in 1994. In a sign of the extent to which he envisages changes, Dr Motsoaledi said the government had made a “serious mistake” about two years later when it signed up to international agreements – such as the UN’s refugee convention – without seeking exemptions from certain clauses. This was unlike many other countries, which opted out of clauses giving asylum-seekers and refugees the same rights as their citizens – including the right to employment and education for their children, he said.