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13. May. 2020 All Africa

South Africa: Migrants Excluded From Government Food Aid

When she travelled to South Africa from Zimbabwe at the behest of
her father-in-law in May last year, the 25-year-old thought she
would be able to build a better life. But she`s struggled to find
work in Johannesburg because of a visual impairment.
Munyanyiwa rents a room in a derelict building in Doornfontein.
There she found a community of other migrants, many of them also
living with disabilities. Residents share one tap and the only
toilets they have access to are public ones across the street that
are locked at night. Recently, the electricity has been cut off at
the building.
The residents relied on the little money they earned while begging
on the streets of Johannesburg. But for the past seven weeks this
community has seen the little income they earned dry up, making it
nearly impossible to buy food. As the three-week hard lockdown
turned into five weeks, Munyanyiwa and the other migrants were
confined to their small, dark rooms.
Even as the lockdown eased into level four, opportunities to earn
money through begging in Johannesburg did not return.
`We are struggling with food and clothes. Winter is coming, and we
don`t have any clothes,` she says. `We are just going hungry and
struggling. I still have some mielie meal, but we don`t get any
nutritious food like fruit or veggies.`
John Zindandi, 38, is blind and has been living in the building
since 2010. He moved there after living in the Central Methodist
Church in the Johannesburg CBD after the 2008 xenophobic attacks.
`I normally survive through begging. These days are tough, man.
We`re not allowed to move around. It`s very tough. We don`t have
anything, and we don`t have anybody helping us,` he says. `We are
very hungry. In this building, we have over 50 people who are
blind. We have nobody caring for us. We are just hearing that
people are getting help in other places like Yeoville.`
Like Munyanyiwa, Zindandi says he has mostly been eating once a
day.
Excluding migrants
Munyanyiwa and Zindandi are just two of the millions of people in
South Africa who have seen their incomes all but disappear during
the lockdown, making it harder to buy food. But, as migrants, they
have been excluded from the government`s food relief programmes.
Munyanyiwa says she has no idea where to even apply for any relief
and has been relying on the generosity of a few strangers who have
helped her.
In a joint statement, the Centre for Human Rights at the
University of Pretoria and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at
Wits University expressed their concerns about the exclusion of
migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the government`s
coronavirus relief schemes.
The legal centres said they were worried about the government`s
insistence that applicants for food aid need ID numbers and that
citizens are prioritised. `We reaffirm that this is not a time to
exclude certain populations within society, neither is it a time
to reinforce negative attitudes against non-nationals,` the
statement says.
Tshepo Madlingozi, director of the Centre for Applied Legal
Studies, says: `It is important that the government understands
that this is not a time to encourage or perpetuate any form of
intolerance. Neither will there ever be a time to do so. As such,
the government, through the Department of Home Affairs, should
explicitly give directions for the protection of asylum seekers in
this period.`
In a letter to the presidency and a number of government
departments, Thifulufheli Sinthumule, the director of the
Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (Cormsa),
says the pandemic and the lockdown has exposed historic inequality
and levels of poverty in South Africa.
`Without doubt, the lockdown has impacted and disadvantaged all
people living in South Africa, irrespective of one`s nationality
or current documentation status in the country. One thing we know
is that Covid-19 does not discriminate and neither should the
government`s response to alleviate and address its social and
economic consequences,` Sinthumule writes.
The Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town warns that excluding documented
and undocumented migrants from food relief may open them up to
further exploitation and place them at risk of attempting to
unlawfully cross the border to return to their countries of
origin.
There have been reports of migrant communities nearing starvation
elsewhere in South Africa. Health-E News reported that about 600
Zimbabweans living near Louis Trichardt in Limpopo had run out of
food because they were unable to earn a living.
Joseph Maposa, a representative of the Zimbabwean community, told
Health-E News: `We are so many [Zimbabweans] here and most of us
were surviving through part-time jobs such as being house maids,
selling various items on the streets, running salons and barber
shops, and construction work but due to the lockdown, which we
also support, everything has stopped and most of us have run out
of food.`
In Zeerust in the North West, Congolese Solidarity Campaign
representative Shauri Jonathan Mwenemwitu says Congolese migrants
and refugees in the small town are helpless as hunger sets in. `It
is very hard. We have no income and no food. It is very hard. Now
we are facing hunger, and we don`t have any help.`
Acting MEC for Social Development in Gauteng Panyaza Lesufi says
the department is not discriminating against migrants, refugees
and asylum seekers when it insists on people needing to be
documented.
`Our approach is simple. Whoever is appropriately documented to be
inside the country will get support, and if people are not
documented to be in the country, it`s unfortunate. We will request
them to deal with that aspect so that they can be in a queue. We
are not discriminating,` he says.
In a speech on 29 April 2020, Minister of Social Development
Lindiwe Zulu clarified the department`s stance, saying it would be
`intensifying` its `hunger-targeting food and nutrition
distribution programmes` but there was no mention of migrants in
these programmes.
Zulu reiterated that refugees qualified for the special Covid-19
social relief distress grant, but would be required to be
registered with home affairs.
Alana Potter, the director of research and advocacy at the Socio-
Economic Rights Institute (Seri), says it is unlawful,
discriminatory and inhumane to exclude migrants and undocumented
migrants from food relief according to Section 27 (1) (b) of the
Constitution.
`South Africa has a long history of using narrow qualifying
criteria and onerous registration processes (eg housing lists and
indigent registration) as a way to target social benefits,` she
says.
`Now that we`re in a crisis, these well-worn methods are the very
fault lines used to distribute food and other forms of relief.
Indigent registration processes required for people to access free
basic services and social grants are onerous, exclusionary and
come at high social, financial and economic cost to the poor.`
Hunger and evictions
Malawians Christoph Kenneth, 38, and his wife, Joyce, 29, have
both seen their incomes disappear as they have been unable to go
to work for nearly two months. Joyce, who usually works as a
domestic worker, has been selling tomatoes in the corridor outside
the room they rent in a building in Hillbrow.
She says it`s become increasingly difficult for the family to buy
food and other essentials including nappies for their six-month-
old son, Vincent.
`It`s not been easy. It`s been very hard. There are many people
selling tomatoes or other vegetables in the building so I`m not
making a lot of money,` she says.
Kenneth adds: `Life now is very hard. If I get R5, I will try and
buy two nappies. We are just trying to manage.`
He says the family went from having three meals every day that
included tea, sugar and fresh vegetables, to mostly surviving on
one meal of mainly pap. `It`s very stressful. I`m lying at night
thinking how I`m going to feed my baby, what I`m going to eat. It
is very stressful. You can`t guarantee anything. We are just
hoping this disease can come under control. We are hoping to do
some work soon because I don`t know how I`m going to survive,` he
says.
Kenneth says they used to send money back home to family in
Malawi, but that`s mostly stopped. They have already spent the
little savings the family had on food. `They are saying everyone,
even those who are undocumented [can register for food aid]. I
want to register but I don`t know where to go or how to do it. If
someone can just tell us,` he says.
While Kenneth and his wife have been lucky to negotiate rent
payments with their landlord, other migrants have been forced out
of their homes despite a nationwide moratorium on evictions.
Last week, Mohammed Foster, 26, and his wife, Jane Afia, 19, who
is eight-months pregnant, were evicted from their apartment in the
Johannesburg CBD along with the other people in the apartment.
`There is nowhere for us to go. We can`t find a new place now in
lockdown. Where are we going to sleep? My wife is pregnant. I
don`t know what to do,` Foster says. `We can`t sleep outside.
Maybe we will go to the police station and find a place to sleep
there. This is a big problem. I am very stressed. I don`t know
what I`m going to do.`
The young family eventually found a place to sleep with friends in
Germiston, east of Johannesburg, while the other people who shared
the apartment had to make their own arrangements.
The caretaker of the building, who didn`t want to give his name,
says the owners of the building told him to evict Foster and the
other people in the apartment after they failed to pay rent. He
concedes it `wasn`t fair or right` but insists that Foster and the
other people who shared that apartment were warned.
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Amid speculations surrounding offshore visa processing, the Department of Home Affairs has clarified that visa applications continue to be processed during the coronavirus pandemic, but decision delays cannot be ruled out. V.5123

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04. Jun. 2020 SA People

PLEAS for DIRCO to Help Repatriate South Africans, and Urgent Court Application Issued

Pleas for DIRCO to help South Africans stranded abroad, or stuck in SA with jobs abroad, have increased as many run out of money, medicine and hope. The DA today issued a call for Dirco to liaise better with embassies in helping get citizens home; and AfriForum this morning issued urgent court papers in an effort to find solutions to the many problems facing South African citizens needing repatriation, including the fact that they are still required to spend a minimum of 14 days in quarantine in a state facility, while most have the ability and would prefer to isolate themselves. V.5116

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04. Jun. 2020 News24

Mango to restart flights

Mango Airlines will resume flights on Monday, June 15, between Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Travellers must present a travel permit and letter from their employer authorising business travel. This will be checked at the entrance to airports and again at check-in and boarding, says CEO, Nico Bezuidenhout. “Important enough to say it twice: if a traveller does not have a relevant permit for essential or business travel with the appropriate sign-off, the traveller will not be granted access to the airport and may subsequently forfeit the purchased ticket.” V.5117

Click here for full article
04. Jun. 2020 News 24

PLEAS for DIRCO to Help Repatriate South Africans, and Urgent Court Application Issued

Pleas for DIRCO to help South Africans stranded abroad, or stuck in SA with jobs abroad, have increased as many run out of money, medicine and hope. The DA today issued a call for Dirco to liaise better with embassies in helping get citizens home; and AfriForum this morning issued urgent court papers in an effort to find solutions to the many problems facing South African citizens needing repatriation, including the fact that they are still required to spend a minimum of 14 days in quarantine in a state facility, while most have the ability and would prefer to isolate themselves. V.5118

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04. Jun. 2020 News 24

Here is what the High Court said about the various lockdown regulations

Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (GCIS) • High Court Judge Norman Davis has given Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma 14 days to amend lockdown regulations, however, the national state of disaster is set to lapse before that deadline. • Davis has slammed some of the regulations, saying there are millions of South Africans who operate in the informal sector, who have lost their livelihoods. • Davis says in the case of hairdressers, a single mother and sole provider for her family is stripped of her rights of dignity, equality, to earn a living and to provide for the best interest of her children. V.5119

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04. Jun. 2020 News 24

Covid-19 in SA: Death toll now at 848 as number of cases surge past 40 000

The Covid-19 death toll has hit 848, after 56 more people died - 54 of whom were from the epicentre Western Cape. The number of cases rose by 3 267 to 40 792. The number of recoveries is 21 311. The government is set to appeal a court judgment handed down this week which declared the lockdown regulations for Levels 3 and 4 unconstitutional. This came as the government also announced that a state of disaster will be extended until 15 July. Here is what the courts found in the ruling. V.5120

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04. Jun. 2020 News 24

Mango to restart flights

Mango Airlines will resume flights on Monday, June 15, between Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Travellers must present a travel permit and letter from their employer authorising business travel. This will be checked at the entrance to airports and again at check-in and boarding, says CEO, Nico Bezuidenhout. “Important enough to say it twice: if a traveller does not have a relevant permit for essential or business travel with the appropriate sign-off, the traveller will not be granted access to the airport and may subsequently forfeit the purchased ticket.” V.5121

Click here for full article
03. Jun. 2020

South Africa: COVID-19 - Bank Accused of Freezing Asylum Seekers` Accounts During Lockdown

First National Bank has been accused of freezing the accounts of asylum seekers whose permits have expired during lockdown. Refugees can`t renew permits because offices are closed A Zimbabwean asylum seeker says First National Bank (FNB) froze his account when his asylum papers expired during lockdown in spite of explanations from the Department of Home Affairs that refugee offices are closed. According to People Against Suffering and Oppression (PASSOP), his is one of at least ten accounts which have been frozen in the same way. V.5115

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02. Jun. 2020 Business Day

Home affairs seeks extension of VFS Global visa contract The department wants to extend the contract until it is ready to launch a public-private partnership

The department of home affairs has recommended the extension of the contract of its front-end visa handling operator until it is ready to launch a public-private partnership with a new service provider to undertake the work. The contract with VFS Global expires at the end of December but home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi told parliament’s home affairs committee on Tuesday that this was not enough time to finalise the public-private partnership, especially given the constraints imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown. V.5114

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30. May. 2020 IOL

Over 300 illegal foreigners arrested for trying to enter SA during lockdown

Cape Town - Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has revealed that his department has found an increase of more than 300 foreigners trying to enter the country during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown amid the questions in the Beitbridge border post fencing. V.5113

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30. May. 2020 IOL

Over 300 illegal foreigners arrested for trying to enter SA during lockdown

Cape Town - Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has revealed that his department has found an increase of more than 300 foreigners trying to enter the country during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown amid the questions in the Beitbridge border post fencing. V.5122

Click here for full article
27. May. 2020 Travel Reporter

What South Africans leaving the country for essential travel should know

South Africans who are considering to travel to countries of work or study will need to show the relevant documents before it is approved. This follows Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi`s announcement over the weekend that South Africans who work and study abroad can return to the countries where they are based from June 1, 2020. Motsoaledi, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the National Coronavirus Command Council, approved essential travel for South Africans who want to return to countries where they are based. Home Affairs said South Africans can only depart for work, study, family reunion, take up permanent residency or receive medical attention. No leisure travel will be permitted. V.5108

Click here for full article
27. May. 2020 BBC

Zambia probes Chinese clothes factory murders

Police in Zambia have arrested three people suspected of murdering three Chinese nationals, dragging the bodies into a factory and setting it alight. Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo has promised a full investigation into Sunday`s `barbaric` crime. It took place at the Chinese-owned Blue Star clothing factory. The attack comes amid a controversial crackdown in the capital, Lusaka, on Chinese businesses accused of discriminating against Zambians. There has also been tension over reports that Chinese factory managers have been forcing employees to sleep at work to stop the spread of coronavirus, the BBC`s Kennedy Gondwe reports from Lusaka. V.5109

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27. May. 2020 The Hindu

Coronavirus | States to clear operation of international flights

Stranded passengers told to register with Indian missions, download Aarogya Setu App The Ministry of Civil Aviation has issued a Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) for private aircraft and charter operations on international sectors in view of COVID-19 pandemic. However, the flights would be allowed subject to the clearance from the respective State/Union Territory Governments. The new guidelines follow the instructions of the Ministry of Home Affairs permitting private aircrafts and international charter operations to bring back many Indians who had travelled to different countries before the lockdown on various purposes - employment, tourism, business studies etc - and were stranded there. V.5110

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27. May. 2020 News 24

It takes most foreign-trained doctors months to register in SA. How did Cuban health workers do it in 3 days?

Most foreign-trained doctors spend months trying to register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), but visiting Cuban healthcare workers waited just three days - and the HPCSA may have the power to make this possible for more foreign- trained doctors sitting on the sidelines of the Covid-19 response. On Monday, Gauteng welcomed 28 Cuban doctors to assist in the province`s response to the Covid-19 outbreak. The group is part of the 187 healthcare workers who arrived from the Caribbean nation on 27 April and are being deployed around the country. Cuba is known for its strong primary healthcare systems that helped it achieve one of the world`s highest life expectancies, according to World Bank data, despite spending less per person on health than many other nations. It also has a long-standing partnership with South Africa when it comes to health care. But the arrival of Cuban healthcare workers came as many foreign- trained doctors in South Africa said they were s V.5112

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23. May. 2020 Channel 4 Music

29 South African artists repatriated from Turkey

In a statement released on Saturday, the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation announced the repatriation of 29 musicians and artists who were stranded in Turkey. According to the statement, `the group was meant to fly home, when flights were grounded due to the coronavirus pandemic.` V.5111

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19. May. 2020 News24

Home Affairs considers marriage registrations during Level 3

While it is clearing the backlog in birth registrations created by Level 5, the Department of Home Affairs is considering allowing the registration of marriages when the country moves to Level 3. This after the department addressed a portfolio committee on Tuesday. V.5102

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18. May. 2020 Africacheck

How to talk about migration in South Africa

The words used to describe migration can be confusing, but definitions are important when we discuss the movements of people. We look at the most common terms. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought many countries, and the movement of people, to a near standstill. As the world looks to restart, migration will again be at the fore, with South Africa likely to be a key part of this. V.5103

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13. May. 2020 All Africa

South Africa: Migrants Excluded From Government Food Aid

All around South Africa, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers who have mostly been left out of the government`s official response to the food crisis are going hungry. For Alice Munyanyiwa, a cup of tea has become a luxury she can barely afford. V.5098

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12. May. 2020 KCTV5

Australia faces `sobering` future economy due to coronavirus

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) ` Australia`s treasurer said Tuesday the country faces a “sobering” economic outlook due to the effects of the coronavirus and will have its largest-ever deficit when a revised budget is released in October. The 2020-21 federal budget was due to be released Tuesday. But the government was forced to delay it until it assesses the full economic cost of the coronavirus. V.5100

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Articles

10. Jun. 2020 SBS

COVID-19 impact on visa processing times: ‘Visas continue to be processed, though some applications may take longer’

Amid speculations surrounding offshore visa processing, the Department of Home Affairs has clarified that visa applications continue to be processed during the coronavirus pandemic, but decision delays cannot be ruled out. V.5123

Click here for full article

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