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Refugees Amendment Act Signed

September 30, 2015

The Presidency

The Refugees Amendment Bill has been signed into law by president Zuma.

The bill was passed by parliament and sent for assent earlier in September 2015.

It was tabled in parliament at the beginning of August 2015.

The Refugees Amendment Act, drawn up by the homes affairs committee, aims to allow the public and the media access to Refugee Appeal Authority (RAA) proceedings.

Previously, members of the public and the media were not allowed to attend any hearings.

The RAA now has the discretion to decide whether access should be granted or not in particular cases.

The act stipulates that the envisaged discretion must be applied with due regard to certain factors such as whether the asylum seeker agrees to the presence of the public and media or whether it is in the public interest to open up the hearing.

The act also provides that any reference to the RAA should be construed as reference to the Refugee Appeal Board as the Refugees Amendment Act of 2008, which dissolved the board, has not yet come into force.

The act came into effect on 27 September 2015.