The court, relying on section 27A of the Refugees Act, granted asylum seekers various rights, including a written recognition of their application, permission to stay during the decision period, and protection against unlawful detention and arrest. Section 22 entitled asylum seekers to a permit for staying and employment purposes. The court, referencing Saidi v Minister of Home Affairs, emphasized the need to extend permits during pending applications.

Contrary to the Department of Home Affairs' argument, the court deemed the applications urgent, given the plaintiffs' risk of arrest and deportation and their inability to secure employment. The court dismissed concerns about potential abuse, as serving the application to the State Attorney guarded against exploitation.

Additionally, the court ruled that Rule 53 was not applicable in this case.


The court found that the decisions of the Minister of Home Affairs to refuse the applicants’ applications for asylum were unlawful and set them aside. The court also declared that the applicants were entitled to apply for asylum in South Africa.


Date of judgment

Asylum seeker, asylum, temporary permit, detention, deportation, records request, home affairs 

Case citations
D K M and Others v Minister of Home Affairs and Another (037352/2023) [2023] ZAGPPHC 592 (11 May 2023)
D K M and Others v Minister of Home Affairs and Another [2023] ZAGPPHC 592
Nationality of refugee/asylum seeker

11 asylum seekers, holding temporary permits, applied to extend them. The extension was denied, citing a lack of urgency. Consequently, with expired permits and no ability to seek employment, the plaintiffs faced the threat of arrest and deportation. Additionally, deportation posed the risk of persecution in their home country. The applicants sought relief, primarily requesting a review of the failure to provide their records, an extension of their permits, and costs.

Decision/ Judgment

The court directed the applicants to serve their judicial review applications on the State Attorney or provide evidence of previous service. Additionally, the Department of Home Affairs was instructed to extend the asylum seeker visas for compliant applicants, with these extensions remaining valid until the completion of their respective judicial review processes. The respondents were also ordered to pay the application costs jointly and severally, with one party absolved from paying the other.

Basis of the decision

The court relied on section 27A and section 22 of the Refugees Act giving asylum seekers certain rights. 

The court was also guided by the decisions of the Constitutional Court in Saidi v Minister of Home Affairs.

Reported by
Supported by the UNHCR