On 30 January 2019, the Gauteng Division of the High Court of South Africa in Pretoria (“the High Court”) will hand down judgment on the matter between Somali Association & 8 Others v The Refugee Appeal Board & 6 Others in an application to review and set aside eight decisions of the Refugee Appeal Board (“RAB”) in which it dismissed the applicants’ asylum appeals.

The Somali Association of South Africa (“SASA”) is a registered non-profit organization and its interest in this matter flows from its objectives to organise and defend the rights and welfare of the Somali refugee community in South Africa. SASA along with a number of refugees brought an application to the High Court seeking to address systemic errors that exist within the status determination process for refugees, specifically at the RAB. On 20 June 2017, the matter was heard in the High Court where Lawyers for Human Rights (“LHR”), legal representatives for the applicants, argued that the RAB decisions taken on the applicants’ appeals reflected a repeated pattern of unlawful and inadequate decision-making. In this regard, specific reference was made to the misinterpretation and misapplication of the test for refugee status, and applying the wrong burden of proof for assessing asylum claims.

The inadequate decisions that had been repeatedly made in the adjudication process by the RAB left individuals fleeing persecution in their countries of origin vulnerable to refoulment, and defeated the purpose of the Refugees Act and International Refugee Conventions. Judgment will be handed down at 10:00.

This case has the potential to ensure the fair, procedurally correct, and quality functioning of the RAB through which lawful decisions on asylum application appeals will be produced.


For more information, please contact

Wayne Ncube or Sharon Ekambaram at (011) 339-1960