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The Department of Home Affairs on Thursday condemned the destruction of property at the Marabastad Refugee Reception Office in Pretoria.

The department said there had been reports of damage to property at the centre, allegedly by “unruly asylum seekers”.

Home Affairs spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete said Minister Malusi Gigaba had recently announced measures to modernise the provision of services at the centre, including the introduction of a paperless system, as well as an appointment model for purposes of crowd control and efficient service delivery to the clients.

“These changes have been communicated adequately to both the clients and representatives of the asylum seekers community,” he said. “In this regard, it is regrettable that some asylum seekers refuse to accept these changes and resort to disruptive and criminal actions which seek to destabilise progress made thus far.”

The department said asylum seekers had a responsibility to abide by the laws of the Republic. It further said “anyone found to be in contravention of these laws will be dealt with accordingly by the law enforcement agencies”.

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