n Journal of Public Administration - Theoretical perspective on refugee movements and service delivery in South Africa

Volume 49, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The world is facing a daunting challenge of receiving refugees who flee their countries because of, inter alia, persecution meted against them by being associated with social groups that are perceived to be against the ruling governments. As the number of refugees grows worldwide each year, South Africa has become one of the countries that receive refugees from neighbouring countries, Africa and around the world in large numbers. In an attempt to control the movement of refugees into South Africa the government has put in place laws such as the Refugees Act 103 of 1998 that would facilitate the registration of refugees and provide for a stricter immigration policy. The point of argument in this paper is that despite such attempts made by the South African government, the government seems unable to cope with the number of refugees coming into the country due to a lack of capacity in the registration of asylum seekers, which has created a backlog in asylum applications. The paper further states that because there are no refugee camps and proper refugee integration strategy by government, refugees find themselves looking for places to stay, with some ending up in townships and informal settlements where unemployment is rife, causing xenophobic attacks as they all scramble for same basic services. The local sphere of government cannot deal with the influx of refugees when it comes to service delivery because of its limited resources. The paper concludes by providing possible solutions to address the refugee challenges South Africa is currently facing.

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