The constitutional order established in South Africa in 1994 included administrative and judicial protections governing detentions.  These protections were meant to put an end to the apartheid era practice of indefinite detention without trial. Unfortunately, documented and undocumented foreigners, as well as South Africans mistaken for foreigners, have fallen outside of this protective structure. Detention remains the primary tool of immigration enforcement in a democratic South Africa. While the detention of “illegal foreigners” is governed by a legal framework, this framework has not been implemented by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), which oversees immigration. Instead, DHA, a department plagued by inefficiency and corruption, has frequently flouted these procedures while continuing to use unlawful detention as a method of control. 

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