[Press Release] Judgment Imminent in Immigration Detention Case

28 June 2017  


Judgment will be handed down tomorrow morning by the Constitutional Court in the matter of Lawyers for Human Rights v. Minister of Home Affairs and others. In the case, which was heard in March, Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) charged that section 34 of the Immigration Act does not sufficiently protect the right of those detained for immigration irregularities to present their cases in court and, as such, violates the Constitution. As it stands, the court is only mandated to review a detention in instances where individuals are held for more than 30 days.

LHR believes that every detainment under the Immigration Act should trigger an automatic and prompt court review. Section 35 of the Constitution guarantees the right to all to present their cases in court within 48 hours of arrest to challenge the lawfulness of detention. At present, these judicial reviews are solely conducted on paper; in court, LHR charged that this paper review does not allow indigent detainees to properly explain their circumstances. In addition to the alleged section 35 violation, LHR argued that current immigration procedure denies individuals the constitutionally-guaranteed section 12 right to be protected against arbitrary detention without trial.

We thank our civil service partners in this case (PASSOP and Legal Aid South Africa) for, respectively, an excellent submission as Amicus Curiae (friend of the court) and invaluable financial support. 


Judgment is expected at 10 AM tomorrow morning at the Constitutional Court (Constitution Hill, 1 Hospital Street, Johannesburg)


For more information contact, Carol Mohlala, Media and Communications Manager, 079 238 9826