Readers of the Financial Mail will be familiar with entrepreneur Dan Brotman’s writing about his experience in dealing with the Department of Home Affairs, including the familiar tales of indifference and lost applications. That article was narrow in its focus, concerned mainly with the plight of relatively wealthy and skilled individuals, who in most cases, one presumes, can afford to pay for the legal expertise needed to get through their bureaucratic nightmares. That is if they don’t give up and find somewhere else where their skills and jobs they create are appreciated. But this is by no means a problem for the elite. For every Brotman who can make himself heard, there are probably hundreds of refugees who are in a state of limbo, confronted by xenophobia and incompetence at every step, and are completely voiceless. In a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa to mark World Refugee Day in June, Lawyers for Human Rights described the department as having "very many harmful, unlawful ...

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