A Foot in the Door: Access to Asylum in South Africa


  • Darshan Vigneswaran University of Witwatersrand




South Africa, Department of Home Affairs, refugee status determination, protectionism, asylum seekers, access barriers, reception


Asylum seekers in South Africa experience extreme difficulties lodging their claims at the Department of Home Affairs. This paper utilizes new survey data to measure the extent of the Department’s failures to provide access to the status determination process. The principal finding is that South African officials often go out of their way to prevent asylum seekers from entering the system. This provides support for the argument the Department is beholden to an institutional culture of immigration protectionism. This assessment differs from conventional analyses of poor African performance of status determination which emphasize issues of corruption and institutional capacity.


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How to Cite

Vigneswaran, D. (2008). A Foot in the Door: Access to Asylum in South Africa. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 25(2), 41–52. https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.26030

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