Somali Association & 8 Others V Minister of Home Affairs & 4 Others Case no 99766/15

On World Refugee Day, 20 June 2017, the Gauteng Provincial High Court in Pretoria will hear legal arguments by the Somali Association of South Africa (SASA) through their legal representative, Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) in an attempt to address the current crisis of quality refugee ajudication at the Refugee Appeal Board (RAB). 


It is contended that the RAB judgments reflect a pattern of unlawful and inadequate decision-making. In particular on the face of the applicants’ cases, there arose a trend of four common errors consistently applied by the RAB which included: the misinterpretation and misapplication of the test for Refugee Status in particular to Section 3(b) of the Refugees Act; applying the wrong burden of proof for asylum for applicants; applying the wrong approach in assesing the credibility of each claim and failing to applying the principle of audi alterem partemand respecting procedural fairness. The results of these errors lead to vulnerable individuals fleeing war and internal displacement failing to access refugee protection despite being specifically accommodated by the Refugees Act and International Refugee Conventions. 


The RAB’s quality of decision-making relating to these Somalian asylum seekers is systematically defective. As a consequence, the applicants not only seek the court to grant them refugee protection, but also structural relief to identify and address the underlying causes of the problems in the RAB’s decision-making which might result in refugees not receiving protection under the law. The case is important as it will affect all asylum seekers that appear before the Appeal Board to ensure fair, procedurally correct and quaity decisions are produced. 


For more information, please contact: 

Sharon Ekambaram
Head: Refugee and Migrant Rights Programme Lawyers for Human Rights
083 634 8924
Wayne Ncube
Attorney: Strategic Litigation Programme Lawyers for Human Rights
071 850 3434