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Articles

13. Sep. 2020 SAMI

Scalabrini’s ‘abandonment’ court case challenges constitutionality of South African refugee laws

Sections of the refugee law now mean that asylum-seekers who’s documentation expires for thirty days or more face arrest and deportation, as their claims would be considered ‘abandoned’. These people ` who have sought refuge and safety in South Africa ` could be deported to danger or death in their countries of origin for no reason other than they were a month late in renewing a visa.
Our case seeks to declare pertinent sections of South Africa’s recently changed refugee law to be set aside and declared unconstitutional.
Abandonment of asylum claims
In January 2020, we expressed deep concern over the Refugee Amendment Act, which came into force on 1 January 2020. This Act came into force upon the signing and Gazetting of the Refugee Regulations. Several aspects of the new law undermine asylum seekers’ and refugees’ rights.
Of particular and urgent concern are the so-called ‘abandonment clauses’. We are challenging the constitutionality of Sections 22(12) and (13) of the Refugee Amendment Act and Regulation 9 of the Refugee Regulations. These sections of the Refugee Amendment Act and Regulations effectively mean that the claim of an asylum-seeker in South Africa ‘must’ be considered ‘abandoned’ if their asylum seeking visa expires for 30 days or more.
If there are no ‘compelling reasons’ around why an asylum seeker holds and expired permit, these persons would be treated as ‘illegal foreigners’ and risk facing arrest and deportation. The Refugee Amendment Act also prevents that person from re-applying for asylum in South Africa ` which seems to run against international refugee law.
The difficulties of ensuring a valid asylum seeker visa
In the daily work of The Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town, we consult with many asylum-seekers who, despite their best efforts to extend their asylum seeker visas, are simply unable to do so.
Remaining on a valid asylum seeker visa is no easy feat: Many asylum seekers face long journeys to Refugee Reception Offices (RRO) to apply for an extension of their permit. Depending on their nationality, they may only approach a RRO on certain days. Should they manage to arrive on the right day, under-staffed Refugee Reception Offices result in long snaking queues. Not everyone is attended to. Asylum seeker visas are extended for anything between a month and six months, meaning the process described above must be undertaken on a regular basis.
The Department of Home Affairs has itself confirmed that the asylum process is subject to colossal administrative delays: the process of considering an asylum application takes, on average, more than 5 years.
Provisions run counter to South African constitution and international law
The ‘abandonment’ provisions of the Refugee Amendment Act run counter to the fundamental legal and constitutional basis of refugee law, namely the right of non-refoulement. This is a fundamental of international and national refugee law that prevents states from forcibly returning a person to a country or place where they would face reasonable risk of harm or death.
The provisions allow for a person with a valid asylum claim to be returned to their country of origin to face persecution merely because they have failed to meet a procedural requirement.
The consequences of this system in South Africa will be devastating. Thousands of people from across the continent, and the world, would be barred from asylum for no reason other than they were a month late in renewing a visa.
Our demand
Our case requests that these Sections 22(12) and (13) of the Refugee Amendment Act and Regulation 9 of the Refugee Regulations are declared unconstitutional and invalid, and that they are set aside.

www.samigration.com V.5261

24. Sep. 2020 ENCA

CPT International Airport given green light to resume travel

International visitors will be allowed back in the country from 1 October. V.5295

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24. Sep. 2020 Reuters

UPDATE 2-South Africa to allow travel from all of Africa from Oct. 1

* Travel to and from within continent allowed * Travel restricted from high infection countries * Govt yet to say which countries on restricted list * Business travel to be allowed under certain conditions (Adds details from govt gazette) JOHANNESBURG, South Africa will allow travel from Oct. 1 to and from all countries in Africa as well as other countries where levels of COVID-19 infections are not too high, a government minister said on Friday. V.5296

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23. Sep. 2020 News24 - 23 September 2020

Former president Kgalema Motlanthe criticises SA`s treatment of undocumented immigrants

Former president Kgalema Motlanthe has bemoaned South Africa`s treatment of undocumented immigrants. Motlanthe said George Bizos had no citizenship and remained stateless for 31 years after the South African government denied him citizenship. V.5288

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23. Sep. 2020 Bizztech

The real problem with government workers in South Africa: Ramaphosa

A streamlined, efficient and well-integrated civil service is the hallmark of a capable state, but South Africa has fallen in a number of areas, says President Cyril Ramaphosa. Writing in his weekly open letter to the public, Ramaphosa said that the government’s key priority is to build a ‘capable state’. “If we are to build a more capable state we have to seriously and urgently address the shortcomings in the organisation and the capacity of the public service,” he said. V.5289

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22. Sep. 2020 SAPeople

Nightmare Facing South Africans Abroad with Passport Renewals

South Africans abroad are facing a passport renewal nightmare. SAPeople editor Jenni Baxter sat down with Adrian Roos MP (DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Home Affairs) and Justin Adams (DA Abroad UK and Europe Chairperson) to discuss the critical situation SA citizens abroad are facing in obtaining their South African passports from Home Affairs and the SA embassies.To assist South Africans abroad the DA, DA Abroad and SAPeople are petitioning the Minister of Home Affairs. Some of the points raised in the discussion include: V.5291

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22. Sep. 2020 Bizz Tech

The new tax and emigration change South Africans should know about

The draft Taxation Laws Amendment Bill (TLAB), which is open for public comment, will introduce changes for South Africans looking to take their retirement funds abroad. In an analysis of the proposed change, law firm ENSAfrica said that the changes primarily deal with formal emigration with the draft bill suggesting a much stricter process from 1 March 2021 onward. V.5292

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22. Sep. 2020 Times Live

Home Affairs suspends senior official probing allegedly dodgy citizenships

The Public Servants Association of SA has lashed out at the department of home affairs for suspending a senior bureaucrat involved in investigating foreign nationals who allegedly obtained SA citizenship fraudulently. V.5293

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21. Sep. 2020 SA Migration

ConCourt: Children Born in South Africa to Foreign Parents Can Apply For Citizenship

It has taken four years of legal battles ` but now, if you were born in South Africa to foreign parents, you can apply for citizenship. It has been an “agonizing journey” for those who consider South Africa to be their only home. V.5284

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21. Sep. 2020 News 24

Pay up and your criminal record for some offences could be `expunged`, proposes new law

The Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill seeks to expunge certain criminal records that result from an admission of guilt payment. Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola said the Covid-19 pandemic put the brakes on the introduction of the legislation.* V.5285

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21. Sep. 2020 Face2 Face

Do you know rich Nigerians are buying citizenship in Caribbean nations to beat visa rules?

For most Nigerian businessmen, holding a Nigerian passport raises a red flag and would often require extra documentation for validation. Nigeria is placed 95 on the annual Henley Passport Index which ranks the world’s passport according to the countries they can visit without a prior visa. Ranked 95, Nigerian passport holders can visit two fewer countries now than they could in 2010 without a visa. V.5287

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21. Sep. 2020 Ground up

Huge number of refugee documents set to expire soon

Concerns are growing about the number of refugees’ and asylum seekers’ documents expiring at the end of October. The Department of Home Affairs has not said how it intends dealing with the disruption caused by Covid-19, insofar as this paperwork is concerned. The Scalabrini Centre in Cape Town has written to home affairs asking for the department’s plan regarding documents held by refugees that are on the point of expiring. V.5290

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20. Sep. 2020 Brisbane Times

`Absolutely devastated`: Thousands of residents on visas locked out of Australia

Thousands of skilled migrants with valid visas to come to Australia are stranded overseas, needing government permission to travel back and reunite with their families and jobs. Under measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic since March 20, foreign nationals have required a travel exemption to enter Australia even if they already have a visa, though the Department of Home Affairs has refused to disclose the legal basis for this requirement. This includes both short-term visitors and long-term residents on visas. V.5294

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16. Sep. 2020 Times Live

Level one loading: Cyril Ramaphosa set to lift travel ban tonight

While borders and other points of entry will reopen under level one, government has decided to retain the ban on travellers from the US, UK, Spain and Italy �` which are key markets for the revival of the tourism sector V.5272

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16. Sep. 2020 News 24

Ramaphosa to announce limited international travel, Level 1

*Cabinet is expected to decide on Wednesday on the resumption of international travel. * *But there are strings attached. * *The NCCC has recommended strict visa requirements for anyone entering the country. V.5273

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16. Sep. 2020 Business Insider SA

SA’s borders open on 1 October. Here’s what we know about the rules for tourists.

• South Africa`s borders will open for tourists ` inbound and outbound ` on 1 October, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Wednesday night. • But there are caveats, including that some countries may be red-listed based on their coronavirus statistics. • Those arriving need to show a recent negative test for Sars-CoV-2, and should install a government contact-notification app. • Here`s what we know about the rules for international travel into and out of South Africa under Alert Level 1. V.5274

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15. Sep. 2020 News 24

Ramaphosa`s economic recovery plan gets the green light from business, labour

*The National Economic Development and Labour Council has agreed on an action plan for the country`s economic recovery. * *President Cyril Ramaphosa met with the council on Tuesday. * *Details of the plan will be announced once it is finalised by Cabinet. V.5267

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15. Sep. 2020

DA calls on education MEC to intervene so Zim teachers can return to SA

The DA says Zimbabwean teachers locked out of SA due to Covid-19 restriction should be allowed to return to SA. According to the provincial education department, four teachers who were locked out have since been assisted. The department says teachers who are still outside SA`s borders are on unpaid leave. V.5268

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15. Sep. 2020 Business Insider SA

Many more rich South Africans want to leave after Covid-19 ` but not as many as in the US

•Rich people in various countries seem to be reconsidering where they actually want to live after the coronavirus, says consultancy Henley & Partners. •Judging by enquiries about investment migration, that is. •South Africa is among those countries. •But Americans are suddenly way more keen to leave their country than South Africans. V.5269

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15. Sep. 2020 news24

`Gear up for easing of lockdown`: Winde to push for Ramaphosa to lift curfew and overseas travel ban

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde wants the curfew lifted and a date for international travel to resume.Premiers are meant to meet with President Ramaphosa and the NCCC to discuss the lockdown. V.5271

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13. Sep. 2020 SAMI

Scalabrini’s ‘abandonment’ court case challenges constitutionality of South African refugee laws

On 17 June 2020, the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town, represented by Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc, will be heard in the Western Cape High Court regarding certain sections of South Africa’s recently-changed, controversial refugee laws. V.5261

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24. Sep. 2020 ENCA

CPT International Airport given green light to resume travel

International visitors will be allowed back in the country from 1 October. V.5295

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