Question NW3898 to the Minister of Home Affairs

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21 December 2023 - NW3898

Profile picture: Khanyile, Ms AT

Khanyile, Ms AT to ask the Minister of Home Affairs

Considering that in 2019 the Refugee Appeals Authority South Africa (RAASA) entered into an agreement with the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) for a backlog project, what total number of (a) RAASA members (i) were hired and (ii) remain employed and (b) appeal hearings have been (i) heard and (ii) decided after a hearing by the specified members?


The Four-Year Partnership Agreement is between the Department of Home Affairs and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The Agreement was signed on 8 March 2021 paving the way for the implementation of Plan 2019: Backlog Project.

A (i) At the heart of Plan 2019, was the recruitment of 36 legally qualified Refugee Appeals Authority of South Africa (RAASA) members to assist with the adjudication and finalisation of Backlog Appeal cases. A total of thirty (30) Members were recruited at different times of the project in 2021. The Project was never fully capacitated with 36 Members due to UNHCR’s financial constraints.

(ii) During the recruitment process, we preferred lawyers who actually practised on arguing cases in court. However, the number has decreased to twenty-two (22) because many lawyers who abandoned their practices during the Covid lockdown have now resigned to go back to their practices since the lockdown is over

The UNHCR has first informed that they no longer have money, however, the EU (European Union) has agreed to help but can only fund ten (10) members. The result is that 12 members’ contracts will have to be terminated.

B (i) A total number of hearings conducted: 3 439.

(ii) A total number of finalised decisions: 3 626. (This figure includes paper determinations, “No Show” decisions, and family joining)

The total number of finalised appeal cases including cancellations/withdrawals of asylum claims: 8 380.


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