Mar 23, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Proposed migration policy to be brought before Parliament

Proposed migration policy to be brought before Parliament
18 March 2017 – SABC
The search for better economic opportunities has been fingered as the reason for South Africa’s influx of migrants.(SABC)
Home Affairs ministers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region have gathered in Sandton to discuss South Africa’s white paper on international migration.

The discussions looked into the impact the proposed laws will have on the region.

A heated discussion between SADC ministers and stakeholders with South Africa’s proposed international migration policy at the centre of debate.

The search for better economic opportunities has been fingered as the reason for South Africa’s influx of migrants.

But some SADC countries are saying that they are trying to move away from dependency on the country.

Those with opposing views did not hold back, they say the conservation cannot happen without addressing political reforms.

While the conversation is set to continue, the Department of Home Affairs is imploring unity among countries.

The white paper on the proposed migration policy will be brought before Parliament.

Mar 23, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Xenophobic attack: Why Nigeria will retaliate – Interior Minister, Dambazau

Xenophobic attack: Why Nigeria will retaliate – Interior Minister, Dambazau
18 March 2017 – Daily Post
The Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, rtd, has said that if South Africa keeps making things difficult for Nigeria, the only option would be to retaliate.
He said South African authorities were not doing much to quell the endless extra-judicial killings and xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in the country.
Dambazua gave the warning at a joint press briefing with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, yesterday in Abuja.
The Minister reminded South Africa of the principle of reciprocity of action in international diplomacy.
He said his ministry would collaborate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Consular Services.
“In the event that the South African authority continues to make things difficult for us, we will have no choice than to make things difficult for them too,” he said.
On the exact number of Nigerians in South African prisons, the minister said, “I have asked the Home Affairs minister about the exact number of Nigerians in South African prisons but he was not able to give me the exact figure.
“I am going to have another meeting with the minister after now to sort out all those issues.”
He added, “But from what I could gather, most of the Nigerians in South African prisons were convicted of drugs, fraud and prostitution. As at now, Nigeria has no prisoner agreement with South Africa.
“That is an issue that we are going to discuss with the Home Affairs minister but one of the things that came up as the result of this xenophobic saga is to know the number of Nigerians in South Africa.”
On the number of Nigerians living and doing business in South Africa, the Minister said, “They gave us an estimate of 800,000 while others say 600,000. The gaps we have is that, most Nigerians don’t register with the Nigerian mission in South Africa when they get there.
“We have suggested that the Nigeria Union of South Africa should carry out a kind of registration of Nigerians living in each province, since the association has a presence in almost all the provinces in the country.
“Then take all the names of those registered to the Nigeria High Commission in Pretoria, so that if anything goes wrong, the mission can be in the know.”

Mar 23, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

South Sudan’s visa fee hike a ‘threat’ to foreign aid

South Sudan’s visa fee hike a ‘threat’ to foreign aid
19 March 2017 – DW
Foreign aid groups are facing pressure in several African countries to hire more local workers. But South Sudan’s recent move to increase work permit fees to up to $10,000 could spell disaster for the war-torn country.
After South Sudan sharply raised fees for foreign workers at the beginning of the month, the UN stepped in to plead for an exemption for aid workers. The East African country is facing a devastating famine and one-third of the population depends on foreign aid for basic nourishment. Burdened with such fees, some aid organizations may not be able to continue operations.
“I’ve never heard of such a drastic increase,” Elizabeth Deng, Amnesty International’s South Sudan researcher, told DW. “The fee is clearly exorbitant, and it could violate the government’s obligation to work with aid groups.”
A ‘right’ to hike fees?
The South Sudan Ministry of Labor, which proposed the hike, has argued that it is not unusual. “Any country in the world has a right to impose work permits on foreigners,” said government spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny in a statement. “If you can’t pay $10,000, then you hire a local person instead.”
The ministry has raised “casual worker” visa fees from $100 (93 euros) to $1,000; “blue collar” visa fees from $150 to $2,000; and “professional” visa fees from $300 to $10,000.
Fee unusually high
Work permit fees are certainly a global norm. But rates around the world rarely top $1,000. In Europe, temporary work visas range from 60 euros ($65) in Germany to 230 euros in Great Britain. In the US, a temporary work permit comes with a $190 fee, comparable to the fee in China.
Many South Sudanese depend on foreign aid for survival
In some African countries where foreign aid makes up a large part of the economy, the price of a work permit can be higher. Employees of NGOs can expect to pay $1,500 for a work permit in Uganda.
Kenya is one of the most popular destinations for foreign aid workers in Africa, and it is also one of the most expensive. Employees of NGOs who are not Kenyan citizens must acquire the most expensive class of work permit, which costs $1,900 per year.
Aid groups under pressure
Kenya has put other forms of pressure on foreign aid workers to leave the country. In June 2016, Kenya’s NGOs Board, a government body, issued a memorandum that claimed there was “a growing trend of career expatriates who have made a habit out of hopping from one organization to another in exploitation of [Kenya’s regulations].” It declared that it would not issue work permits to foreign NGOs unless they could prove that the job would eventually be turned over to a Kenyan.

Mar 23, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Human rights lawyers issue directive to schools about undocumented children

Human rights lawyers issue directive to schools about undocumented children
02 March 2017 – THE TIMES
Human rights lawyers are urging the Department of Basic Education to issue a directive instructing all schools to immediately stop the practice of discriminating against foreign and undocumented children by refusing access and charging higher fees. The directive should also indicate that schools have a responsibility to help children obtain documents‚ Lawyers for Human Rights‚ the Centre for Child Law and Equal Education Law Centre said in a joint statement.
An Edenvale school governing body threatened to take immigrant pupils to the police — laywers declare ‘children are always entitled to their rights’
This comes after an Edenvale‚ Ekurhuleni‚ school governing body issued a letter last week that threatened to take immigrant pupils without valid paperwork to the police. Following outrage on social media‚ the governing body called the letter “unfortunate” and said it “unreservedly” apologised for any hurt the letter may have caused.
The human rights lawyers said that although the school has retracted the letter‚ “unfortunately the Eastleigh school incident is not an isolated event”.
“At the beginning of each school year‚ and particularly in 2017‚ we receive reports of children being denied admission to school. These include not only undocumented migrant children‚ but also documented refugee and asylum-seeker children and undocumented South African children. Whatever their status or level of documentation‚ children are always entitled to their rights.”
They spelt out the rights of children in this situation:
• Children are never to be detained for immigration purposes. This is an absolute right.
• All children in SA are equally entitled to education regardless of their status or documentation. The Schools Act prohibits discrimination of any form when it comes to admission to school.
• South African courts have found that the right to study is inherent in the right to dignity and that this right cannot be bound to one’s nationality. No child may be discriminated against based on their own status or that of their parents. The Constitution protects the right to education‚ the right to equality‚ and the right to dignity of all people in SA. This includes those without documents or citizenship. This is particularly true when it comes to children.
• The Constitution states that the best interest of the child is of paramount importance when dealing with children. The National Education Policy requires schools to assist the child in obtaining documentation where there is none. The burden to comply with documentation requirements is shared between parents and the school. Where the child is part of a child-headed household, or an unaccompanied child, this burden is shared by the school and the Department of Social Development. These responsibilities are in place to ensure that nothing prevents a child from going to school. A school cannot merely reject a child for having no papers.
The lawyers commented: “It is important to take into account the various factors which lead to children being left undocumented and to consider that these factors are always out of the child’s control. Refugee and asylum-seeker children are entitled, in terms of the Refugees Act, to obtain the same permit as their parent. Yet they often have trouble obtaining or renewing their permits‚ because of widely reported and widespread corruption the Refugee Reception Offices.”
The lawyers said they have also encountered unlawful refusals of admissions for children without birth certificates. This was despite the fact that some children cannot obtain birth certificates‚ because the Births and Deaths Registrations Act makes it impossible for certificates to be obtained by children of single fathers where the mother is missing or undocumented‚ children in child-headed households and children in the care of guardians where the parents are alive, as well as children of undocumented parents.
“It is of great concern that the Department of Home Affairs visited Eastleigh in the week prior to the school sending its letter‚ and appears to have exerted pressure with regard to undocumented learners,” the lawyers said. “It is simply not constitutionally permissible for the department to take this approach.”
“While immigration control may be a legitimate government concern and function‚ it should never be addressed through the violation of children’s rights. No reason whatsoever‚ including irregular migration‚ can ever justify harming children through unlawful arrest or the denial of education.”
The lawyers requested that the department issue a directive to all schools clarifying the correct legal principles: “These include that refugee and asylum-seeker children are entitled to be admitted to school, even while awaiting documentation, and do not need study permits to attend school; that school principals will not be arrested or fined for admitting undocumented children, as is the rumour; and that undocumented children are allowed to attend school in SA.”
It also urged the department to amend laws to eliminate unconstitutional exclusions from birth registrations where children were born in SA or to South African parents and “to stop the discriminating practice of requiring expensive DNA tests for people faced with poverty before birth registration will take place”.
The Department of Social Development was also asked to intervene in cases where children are in need of care and protection and where parents are unresponsive, in order to assist with the process of obtaining documentation for children.
TMG Digital

Mar 23, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Home Affairs to crack down on immigrant employment in hospitality sector

Home Affairs to crack down on immigrant employment in hospitality sector
31 January 2017 – The Business Day
The Department of Home Affairs is planning interventions into economic sectors where there appears to be widespread noncompliance in the employment of immigrants, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Tuesday.
This was not intended to be “antagonistic” to business, but there was a need to proactively address sectors where many businesses were failing to meet the requirement of employing at least 60% South African nationals, Gigaba said during a briefing in Pretoria
He was speaking after a meeting between the department and representatives of the hospitality sector, including restaurants and hotels, to discuss high rates of immigrant employment in the sectors.
There is alleged widespread lack of compliance with the immigration act and labour laws, and concerns were being raised by citizens, communities and government departments, Gigaba said.
The department would undertake inspections of various businesses and work with industry associations on issues of enforcement and research, the minister said.
The Immigration Act requires companies to demonstrate 60% South African citizen employment across the business when, for example, a company applies for corporate visas or individuals apply for business visas.
The issue was brought to the fore by union federation Cosatu earlier in January, after accusations that a Chinese company had been allowed to bring in illegal workers during the construction of a cement plant owned by the PPC in the North West.
Gigaba said the department would probe those allegations and others. He said there was a need to “proactively” address issues of migration, given international focus on the issue and the rise of an unsustainable “right-wing” backlash against the issue.
Migration could not be halted entirely, but had to be managed, he said. “It is our responsibility as government to respond to issues … we will be implicated in any of the tensions that worsen from a failure to act,” he said.
Following the meeting with hospitality sector representatives, Gigaba said other meetings were planned with the construction and agriculture sectors.
“Among other things, they (hospitality sector) agreed to raise awareness on the dangers and consequences of employing undocumented people, including the risk on their part to jeopardise their licenses,” Gigaba said.
© Business Day

Mar 23, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Sunday Times Business By Karl Gernetzky

Sunday Times Business By Karl Gernetzky, 2017-03-17
Home Affairs turn screws on migrants: Changes five Acts‚ border processing centres‚ citizen panel
The Department of Home Affairs will push ahead with plans to establish border processing centres for refugees‚ as part of sweeping legislative changes to SA’s immigration regime that will also redefine processes leading to citizenship.
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Friday that SA must begin strategically managing migration rather than focusing on compliance‚ Gigaba said.
He was speaking at a conference on international migration‚ which including discussions on SA’s new White Paper on International Migration. The draft paper‚ expected to be given to Cabinet by the end of March‚ includes amendments to at least five Acts‚ including the Immigration Act and Marriage Act.
The department is also pushing to establish new structures‚ such as a Border Management Authority that could manage all aspects of cross border movement of people and goods.
Home Affairs expects the new White Paper to lead to legislative changes by 2018‚ replacing the current 1999 policy document now seen as “outdated”.
The department sees the policy framework as a shift towards a more “Afro-centric” immigration regime‚ leveraging the development potential of migration‚ particularly at a regional level.
The draft White Paper seeks to increase “rules” on economic migrants‚ and the removal of an automatic progression from residency to citizenship.
The Green Paper on International Migration‚ published in June 2016‚ proposed sweeping changes to SA’s approach to economic migrants‚ refugees and naturalisation.
These included “processing camps” that would house refugees pending adjudication of their cases. It would remove the automatic right to work or study pending the finalisation of an application that would take place in 120 days. This proposal remains‚ with a naturalisation strategy‚ to be developed.
The draft White Paper also proposed the mandatory registration of South African expatriates.
It wants the introduction of a points-based system to determine eligibility criteria for long-term visas‚ which puts an end to a process of automatic citizenship for long-term residents.
This would be replaced by a proposed “Citizenship Advisory Panel” to consider applications.
Some 16 million foreigners enter and exit SA every year‚ with 1 082 669 asylum seekers being registered between 2006 and 2015. SA has also deported 369 000 people from 2012 to 2017‚ with Home Affairs estimating that 95% of asylum applications are from economic migrants as opposed to political refugees.
The department is expected to argue before Cabinet and Parliament that the cost of no investment in managing migration exceeds that of building capacity‚ but it has not quantified the cost to the fiscus of its various proposals.
“… It is not possible to prepare a complete fiscal and financial assessment of the White Paper’s implications which should be more properly assessed during the legislative process‚” an abridged version of the draft White Paper reads.
– BusinessLIVE

Feb 27, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Refugees Amendment Bill: Department responses to submissions, with Deputy Minister
21 February 2017 – Parliament
The Department of Home Affairs briefed the Committee on its responses to the submissions received on the Bill.The brief presented a summary of 19 submissions made from over a total of over 200 pages submitted by various organisations to the Bill, arranged according to clauses of the Bill and sections of the original Refugees Act. Submissions were received from the Agency for Refugee Education, Skills Training and Advocacy (ARESTA), Amnesty International (AI), the Centre for Child Law (CCL), the Centre for Constitutional Rights (CFCR), the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE), the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CORMSA), the Goodway& Buck Attorneys (GBA), the International Network of Congolese Lawyers (INCL), Joburg Child Welfare (JCW), the Jesuit Refugee Service South Africa (JRS), Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), Legal Resources Centre (LRC), Mr MJ Bauwen’s: Refugee Lawyer (MJB), Mr Kande (Lecturer/Writer) (MKL), the Refugee Legal and Advocacy Centre(RLAC), the Rwandan Refugee Community Association (RRCA), the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town (SCCT), the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA) and Stop the Attack on Refugee Rights Campaign (STAR).
Responding to comments made by the AI, SCCT, LRC, LHR, CORMSA, STAR and MJB whom had a view to amend the preamble, the Department noted that all issues that were dealt with in the Bill were challenges to the asylum process and the Department was of the view that the proposed amendments should be treated with some urgency. The DHA also noted that the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act applied in all administrative actions, regardless of whether or not its principles were incorporated into any legislation. The DHA agreed with Amnesty International that the realisation of adequate and comprehensive protection of asylum-seekers and refugees required adequate resources. Comments were made by MJB, stating that the Standing Committee for Refugee Affairs and the Refugee Appeals Board should be merged for efficiency of services to access manifestly unfounded and unfounded applications and should comprise of three members and one judge,including only one process for unfounded cases after beingfound manifestly unfounded. This was a policy matter and for as long as there was review and appeal, the provisions for theRefugee Appeals Boardandthe Standing Committee for Refugee Affairs (SCRA) were to make processes work smoothly. On the comment that there should be an improvement of refugee status determination process in order to avoid unnecessary rejection of applications on the basis of unfounded reasons, the Department responded that italways pointed to the abuse of the asylum system by economic migrants (with such applications making up about 90% of applications). In this regard, the reference made to the Musina Refugee Reception Office having granted status to only five people was an outcome of quality assurance for the Department.
The Department said that trends available pointed to most asylum-seekers avoiding making applications at the Musina Refugee Reception Office, due to its inefficiency levels, thereby choosing to lodge their applications at Marabastad Refugee Reception Office where quality assurance was constrained. The DHA always strived to ensure that Refugee Status Determination Officers (RSDOs)made good quality decisions and in this regard, the Bill proposed certain measures under clause 9C whereby the SCRA might assist with monitoring and supervision of the RSDOs.
Responding to the comment made by the LRC that apartheid rejected international standards but the country was bound by international refugee conventions which led to excellent Refugees Act, which should not be allowed to regress due to severe security measures, the Department said that the proposed amendments were aimed at providing measures to deal with the challenges experienced within the system and not intended to move away from the obligations under international instruments. The asylum system was however not meant for economic migrants. The DHA was of the view that genuine asylum-seekers and refugees would be aided by the efficiency brought about by the proposed changes. It was not meant to diminish or restrict access to Refugee Reception Offices for asylum-seekers or refugees. There was nothing in the Bill that sought to withdraw the already granted protection, neither was anything sought to restrict access to a fair and efficient asylum procedure.
The DHA further responded to comments made in relation to clause 1 (definitions), clause 2 (exclusion from refugee status), clause 3 (cessation), clause 6 (RRO and RSDOs), clause 7 (composition of Refugee Appeal Authority), clause 13 (the SCRA), cause 14 (crime prevention), clause 15 (rejection of application), clause 16 (unaccompanied child and person with mental disability), clause 17 (refugee children), clause 18 (asylum-seeker visa), clause 19 (detention of asylum-seekers), clause 20 (decision regarding asylum), clause 21 (review by SCRA), clause 22 (referral of decision back to RSDO by RRA), clause 23 (continuous residence), clause 24 (removal and detention of refugees and asylum-seekers), clauses 25 and 26 (time limit to inform of change of address) and clause 27 (withdraw of refugee status).
Members sought clarity ontransitional provisions, on the substitution of the word “in anyway” for the word “in the prescribed circumstances”, on five days period, on composition of SCRA, on refugee status determination procedure and on the capacity to implement the Bill when came into force.
The Committee considered and adopted the report on responses of the DHA, the second and third quarter 2016/17 expenditure and performance reports of the DHA, and minutes of 06 January 2017, 24 January 2017 and 31 January 2017.
Meeting report
Opening remarks
The Chairperson opened a meeting by noting that the DHA would be briefing the Committee on its responses to issues arising out of the submissions received on the Bill. The Committee was expecting to hear reasons why those recommendations in respect of certain clauses of the Bill were dismissed and thus not taken into account. He noted apologies from Ms SNkomo(IFP) and Ms NMnisi (ANC). He welcomed Ms Fatima Chohan, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and gave her an opportunity to pronounce opening remarks. The Deputy Minister responded that she would speak after briefing and this would depend on whether more clarity was needed.

Responses by the DHA on the submissions received on the Bill
Mr Dean Erasmus, Chief Director: Legal Services,DHA took the Committee through the consolidated public comments and inputs received from individuals and civil societies. The brief presented a summary of 19 submissions of over 200 pages made by various organisations to the Bill and arranged these according to clauses of the Bill and sections of the original Refugees Act. Submissions were received from:

– The Agency for Refugee Education, Skills Training and Advocacy (ARESTA)
– Amnesty International (AI)
– The Centre for Child Law (CCL)
– The Centre for Constitutional Rights (CFCR)
– Commission for Gender Equality (CGE)
– The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CORMSA)
– Goodway& Buck Attorneys (GBA)
– The International Network of Congolese Lawyers (INCL)
– Joburg Child Welfare (JCW)
– The Jesuit Refugee Service South Africa (JRSSAF)
– Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR)
– Legal Resources Centre (LRC),
– MJ Bauwen’s Refugee Law (MJB)
– Mr Kande (Lecturer/Writer) (MKL)
– The Refugee Legal and Advocacy Centre(RLAC)
– The Rwandan Refugee Community Association (RRCA)
– The Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town (SCCT)
– The Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA) and
– Stop the Attack on Refugee Rights Campaign (STAR).

Responding to comments made by the AI, SCCT, LRC, LHR, CORMSA, STAR and MJB with a view to amending the preamble, Mr Erasmus noted that all issues that were dealt with in the Bill were challenges to the asylum process and the DHA was of the view that the proposed amendments should be treated with some urgency. He noted that the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act applied in all administrative actions regardless of whether or not its principles were incorporated into any legislation. The DHA agreed with the AI that realisation of adequate and comprehensive protection of asylum-seekers and refugees required adequate resources. Accordingly the DHA should be fully resourced. On the comment made by MJB that the Standing Committee for Refugee Affairs (SCRA) and the Refugee Appeals Board (RAB) should be merged for efficiency of services to access manifestly unfounded and unfounded applications, and should comprise of three members and one judge and only process for unfounded cases after manifestly unfounded, he said that it was a policy matter and for as long as there was review and appeal, the provisions for RAB and SCRA were to make processes work smoothly.

On the comment that there should be an improvement of refugee status determination process in order to avoid unnecessary rejection of application on the basis of unfounded reasons, he responded that the DHA always appointed to an abuse of the asylum system by economic migrants (with such applications making up about 90% of applications). In this regard, the reference made to the Musina Refugee Reception Office having granted status to only five people was for the DHA was an outcome of quality assurance.

Mr Erasmus said that trends available pointed to most asylum-seekers avoiding making applications at the Musina Refugee Reception Office due to its inefficiency levels thereby choosing to lodge their applications at Marabastad Refugee Reception Office where quality assurance was constrained. The DHA always strived to ensure that RSDO’s made good quality decisions and in this regard, the Bill proposed certain measures under clause 9C whereby SCRA might assist with monitoring and supervision of the RSDOs.

Responding to the comment made by the LRC that apartheid rejected international standards but the country was bound by international refugee conventions which had led to excellent Refugees Act, which should not be allowed to regress due to severe security measures, Mr Erasmus said that the proposed amendments were aimed at providing measures to deal with the challenges experienced within the system and not intended to move away from the obligations under international instruments. The asylum system was however not meant for economic migrants. The DHA was of the view that genuine asylum-seekers and refugees would be aided by the efficiency brought about by the proposed changes. It was not meant to diminish or restrict access to RRO for asylum-seekers or refugees. There was nothing in the Bill that sought to withdraw the already granted protection, neither was anything sought to restrict access to a fair and efficient asylum procedure.

Mr Erasmus further responded to comments made in relation with clause 1 (definitions), clause 2 (exclusion from refugee status), clause 3 (cessation), clause 6 (RRO and RSDOs), clause 7 (composition of Refugee Appeal Authority), clause 13 (the SCRA), cause 14 (crime prevention), clause 15 (rejection of application), clause 16 (unaccompanied child and person with mental disability), clause 17 (refugee children), clause 18 (asylum-seeker visa), clause 19 (detention of asylum-seekers), clause 20 (decision regarding asylum), clause 21 (review by SCRA), clause 22 (referral of decision back to RSDO by RRA), clause 23 (continuous residence), clause 24 (removal and detention of refugees and asylum-seekers), clauses 25 and 26 (time limit to inform of change of address), clause 27 (withdraw of refugee status). See the attachment.

Discussion

The Chairperson said that Members should seek clarity from the Department to understand correctly what its responses contained. Referring to the response made with regard to concerns raised by the RRCA that there was a lack of transitional provisions for existing asylum-seekers, the Chairperson sought clarity on whether there were existing backlogs in appeal.

The DHA responded that there were no backlogs for RSDOs and therefore there was no need for transitional provision in that regard. However, the DHA proposed transitional provisions as new clause 31.

The Chairperson sought clarity from Mr MHoosen (DA) whether he agreed with the DHA’s contention and asked Members whether they were in consensus with responses provided with regards to definitions. Referring to the exclusion from refugee status clause, he sought clarity on the substitution of the words “in anyway” for the words “in the prescribed circumstances”.

Ms D Raphuti (ANC) sought clarity on whether refugee status was indefinite or a fixed period.

Mr Erasmus responded that a refugee was not automatically indefinite as circumstances that might have brought about the reasons for seeking asylum might change thereby bringing a change in the status of a person.

The Chairperson, referring to slide 33, sought clarity on the reference to “in any way”.

Mr Erasmus responded that, in referring to “in any way”, the DHA wished to point out that every case would be dealt with on its own merit. The DHA would base its decision on information before it.

The Chairperson referring to slide 48 and sought clarity on the composition of the SCRA and on whether the determination of refugee status should be done by one person or three persons.

Mr Erasmus responded that all functions of SCRA may be undertaken by single member as may be considered necessary. Additional members could be decided on by the Chairperson of SCRA.

Mr DGumede (ANC) sought clarity on whether the DHA had human capacity to ensure that the Bill was implemented effectively.

The Chairperson sought clarity on whether the five days period to report to the RROs was maintained or amended. He remarked that people fleeing from danger ordinarilydid not use ports of entry because they wanted to ensure that they were not stopped from entry in the Republic. They feared that they could be arrested and deported back to their home countries. Once in the country, they might not know where to report to.

Mr Mandla Madumisa, Acting Chief Director: Asylum Seeker Management, Department of Home Affairs, said that asylum-seekers were approached in different ways. Those applicants for asylum from South African Development Community (SADC) countries were treated differently. If people from neighbouring countries did not use port of entry the DHA understood that. However, it did not understand how people from further afield countries could not use ports of entry. The DHA was not saying that they should not apply; rather, they should explain why they did not use a designated port of entry whilst they travelled through various countries. These people ought to report within five days and the five days period was aligned with the Immigration Act. Five days kicked off once a person expressed his intention to seek asylum. If an asylum seeker passed through Lebombo port of entry, he or she was expected to report to the nearest RRO which was Desmond Tutu.

The Chairperson sought clarity on how all this information would be processed to ensure that asylum-seekers were not victimised by the system. How would you deal with the person who spent three months in KwaMashu and, after three months, showed up to Desmond Tutu to apply for asylum?

MrMadumisa responded that such person who spent three or six months in the country but not in possession of asylum-seeker visa would be allowed to sit for an interview after which he or she satisfied officials why she failed to report to the RRO as soon as he or she arrived in the country.

Ms Fatima Chohan, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, welcomed submissions from the public participation and said that it provided some potential inputs that would be considered to improve provisions of the Bill.

Consideration and adoption of public hearings report on the Refugees Amendment Bill
The Chairperson tabled the report. It was considered and adopted without further amendment.

Consideration and adoption of the second and third quarter 2016/17 expenditure and performance reports of the Department of Home Affairs.
The Chairperson tabled the report. It was adopted with minor amendments

Consideration and adoption of outstanding minutes
The Chairperson tabled the minutes of 6 January 2017. It was considered and adopted with a minor amendment. He tabled the minutes of 24 January 2017 and 31 January 2017. It was considered and adopted without amendments.

The meeting was adjourned.

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