PRETORIA, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- South African President Jacob Zuma officially opened a refugee reception center in Pretoria on Friday in honor of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
The Department of Home Affairs' refuge center, previously known as Marabastad offices, is expected to work professionally with humanity inspired by iconic Tutu, a South African social rights activist who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid.
Last year, the Home Affairs offices at the center was inundated with complaints mostly from non-South Africans who accused the officials of being unprofessional.
The center, which deals with refugees and asylum issues, had been in dispute for a long time. Many non-South Africans had complained about corruption and criminal syndicates at the center.
"The center was also marred by allegations of corruption, long queues, overcrowding and the presence of criminal syndicates. Today is a happy occasion as we have come to open the revamped center, we welcome improvements that have been made on this center," Zuma said.
The president encouraged local people to tolerate non-South Africans, saying: "Not all foreign nationals are in the country illegally which is sometimes the view of some frustrated South Africans."
"Many foreign nationals are most welcomed in the country. They add to the cosmopolitan nature of our country, they bring many needed skills that contribute to our economy," Zuma said.
Zuma said foreigners must put their papers in order before coming into the country, or risk being deported for lack of proper documents.
The new center, which got a facelift, has been digitized with new machines that are expected to eradicate the long lines witnessed at the center.
The opening of the center was a follow-up of Zuma's State of the Nation Address in parliament last week.
The president followed through with his promise and has since upgraded the center.