This review challenged the first respondent's decision denying the applicant refugee status, alleging an error of law and disregard for relevant factors. The applicant contended that her destitute status and dependency on her sister, Ms K, qualified her for asylum, relying on sections 3 and 1 of the Refugees Act. The review also criticized the first respondent for neglecting administrative problems that hindered the foster application. Respondents opposed but didn't proceed further, arguing the applicant failed to meet refugee status and wasn't destitute. Their non-appearance and lack of Heads of Argument were noted by the court, expressing dissatisfaction as the respondents could have provided information on Ms K's application and her acknowledgment of the applicant as a dependent. The court postponed the application to February 9, 2023, expecting additional submissions from the applicant's counsel. However, no further information was presented on the scheduled date, despite the counsel's efforts.

Date of judgment

Asylum Seeker – Refugee Status – Dependent 

Case citations
[2023] ZAKZDHC 6
Nationality of refugee/asylum seeker

The applicant, an orphan from the Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in South Africa after fleeing political violence at the age of sixteen. She came under the guardianship of Ms K, a refugee, but attempts to formalize the foster care process were unsuccessful. Upon reaching adulthood, the applicant applied for asylum, alleging persecution. However, her application was rejected, with authorities claiming she sought better prospects rather than fleeing political violence. Facing detention and deportation, her lawyers launched an urgent application, securing an interim release order on May 3, 2019. The applicant has since remained in South Africa, pending the outcome of the application to review the rejection of her asylum request.

Decision/ Judgment

The court dismissed the application, stating that the first respondent's rejection of the applicant's asylum claim was legitimate and reasonable, lacking grounds for review. Consequently, the interim order allowing the applicant to remain in the Republic was lifted. The court held that the applicant failed to demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution as required by section 3 of the Act and did not meet the procedural requirements outlined in section 21, along with the definition of 'dependent' in section 1. Despite the applicant's temporary asylum permit allowing her to apply for asylum by September 2, no evidence supported her application or the extension of her temporary permit. The court underscored that obtaining refugee status would have acted as a gateway for the applicant to secure the same status for her dependent.


Basis of the decision

Applicant failed to meet the requirements of sections 1 and 3 of the Refugees Act to be granted refugee status as a dependent of Ms K.

Reported by
Supported by the UNHCR