Home Affairs officials should be held personally responsible for the department's failure to implement court orders, Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) said.
"The court should hold home affairs officials personally responsible for court orders that are not followed," said LHR attorney Thandeka Duma.
Duma said home affairs routinely detained people improperly and fought efforts to get them released.
She said this forced LHR to appeal to the courts, where they won about 95 percent of their cases.
However, officials would sometimes even resist following court orders for the release of a detainee.
Duma said the court orders were also awarded with costs, which she said was a wasteful expense for taxpayers.
She said that because such cases were easily won, even private attorneys were now taking detainees as clients.
"We are also concerned by the continued lack of independent monitoring in immigration detention facilities."
Duma said that LHR was denied access to the Lindela repatriation centre, in Krugersdorp, and was able to meet clients only outside it.
She said the SA Human Rights Commission was the only body allowed in and that it conducted a review earlier this year.