Feb 23, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

TMPD declines application for Mamelodi anti-immigrant march

TMPD declines application for Mamelodi anti-immigrant march
EWN – 21 February 2017
JOHANNESBURG – Eyewitness News has learnt that the Tshwane Metro Police has declined at application for a march against foreigners, which was scheduled to take place on Friday.
A group calling itself “The Mamelodi Concerned Residents” planned to march to the Department of Home Affairs to protest against government allowing immigrants into the country.
Dozens of shops and properties owned by foreigners have been attacked in Atteridgeville, Mamelodi and Pretoria West in the past week, raising concerns of a flare-up in xenophobic violence.
While the Tshwane Metro Police declined to comment on the record at this stage, it’s understood the application for a march by Mamelodi residents was declined because of safety concerns.
While the group has claimed the protest would be non-violent, the authorities took into account developments in Tshwane over the last week.
The Congolese Community South Africa’s Prince Binda says immigrants are also concerned by crime.
“We love this country, and we want to make sure that we work hand in hand to make South Africa free of drugs, prostitution and every other things that are being said. Let’s not blame it on foreigners.”
A coalition of civic organisations as embarked on a campaign against xenophobia

Feb 23, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Home Affairs dealing with challenges around documentation of foreign nationals

EWN – 22 Feb 2017
JOHANNESBURG – The Home Affairs Department says it’s not fair to say there has been a lack of action from government in dealing with challenges around the documentation of foreign nationals in South Africa.
The department was responding to the allegations that police and government have been slow to respond the violence in Rosettenville and Pretoria West.
Late on Monday night, around 30 foreign-owned shops were looted in the capital by locals who claim the properties were used as drug dens and brothels.
The department says distortion in the labour markets is happening as a result of undocumented people who are given what is referred to as slave wages, which South African’s can’t compete with.
The department’s Mayihlome Tshwete says “So the documentation of various foreign nationals as a result of government doing something. And then there’s also a migration policy now that government is putting together.”
The department says one of the biggest challenges is that immigration is not thoroughly discussed when there are no xenophobic attacks.

Feb 22, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Brides-for-cash scam uncovered

Brides-for-cash scam uncovered
February 22, 2017 – Herald Live
Couple alleged to have arranged marriages for Bangladeshis
A “cash-for-citizenship” scheme, in which Port Elizabeth women accept as little as R200 to be married off to Bangladeshi men, has netted two suspects in the city who are thought to be the masterminds behind the scam.
Although similar schemes exist countrywide, the Port Elizabeth operation – which has been running for at least two years – came to light after immigration officials were tipped off.
Most of the women in the city who accept the offers do so in the hope of a better life.
But many of the arranged marriages end in a divorce once the foreign national acquires a relative’s permit or citizenship.
The suspected recruiters for Port Elizabeth’s “brides-for-cash” operation – Nomabandla Mangezi, 35, and her Bangladeshi husband, Abu Bokar, 43 – appeared in the magistrate’s court yesterday where their case was postponed to next week.
The pair, of North End, allegedly recruited young women from New Brighton, Kwazakhele and Zwide and paid them between R200 and R300 each to marry a Bangladeshi national.
Other people were unaware that they were married.
Department of Home Affairs Eastern Cape manager Gcinile Mabulu confirmed that immigration officers had acted after four women came forward late last year claiming they had discovered they were married to strangers.
Police spokeswoman Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg confirmed the arrest on Friday of Mangezi and Bokar.
She said immigration authorities, who had a search, seizure and removal warrant, had first gone to the flat the pair shared in North End, which led them to a salon in New Brighton and then a cellphone shop in North End.
“Two people [Mangezi and Bokar] were arrested and charged through the Department of Home Affairs for aiding and abetting illegal foreigners [among other charges],” she said.
An official close to the investigation, who did not want to be named, said they were aware, so far, of about 20 women from the Port Elizabeth area who had married for money and promises of a better life.
He said Bokar and Mangezi worked from a cellphone shop in Govan Mbeki Avenue near the Pier 14 shopping complex and had been fraudulently married since 2007.
Immigration officials had been alerted to the alleged syndicate after a woman who had been recruited came forward.
“A lady came forward with information which led investigators to uncover some documents found to be illegal,” the source said.
“On further investigation the officers were led to a container in New Brighton with more documents [and], following up on further information, they were led to a shop in North End near Pier 14.”
He said Mangezi was arrested in New Brighton where a lot of documents were seized.
“They [Bangladeshi nationals] want to live permanently in the country,” the source said.
Mabulu confirmed that a number of Home Affairs documents had also been found at the premises linked to the couple.
“This has been happening since around 2015,” the source said.
Janse van Rensburg said the case was still under investigation.
Two Bangladeshi men at the cellphone store in Govan Mbeki Avenue were reluctant to answer questions yesterday.
The younger of the two men, both of whom did not want to be named, said the shop had been opened about seven years ago and was owned by Bokar. They were reluctant to answer further questions about Bokar, with the older man cutting off his colleague and saying: “We don’t know anything, we just work here. You have to ask the owner.”
Magistrate Sanjani Naidoo said yesterday Bokar and Mangezi would remain in custody while profile and status determination reports were completed.
The case was postponed to Tuesday for a formal bail application.
The two face charges including contravening the Immigration Act by aiding and abetting foreign nationals while arranging unlawful marriages to South African citizens.
According to the charge sheet, Mangezi, who appeared in court wearing a Springbok rugby jersey, is also charged with contravening the Immigration Act by recruiting South Africans to enter into marriages with foreign nationals.
Bokar faces additional charges of entering into marriage fraudulently with a South African to obtain a relative’s permit and then contravening the provisions of that permit. – Additional reporting Tremaine van Aardt

Feb 20, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Marry for the right reasons

Marry for the right reasons
Krugersdorp News – 19 February 2017
Minister urges the public to marry for love and says the Department is to make getting hitched much easier.
The Minister of Home Affairs, Melusi Gigaba, announced on the evening of Valentine’s Day that the Department of Home Affairs is running a campaign to make getting married easier. This follows after the Department investigated and restricted over 4 000 fraudulent marriages last year alone.
This is good news for those who plan to tie the knot, as the Minister encouraged people to get married for love and not for citizenship as is evident in places with high numbers of foreign nationals, such as Krugersdorp, where people seem to marry for reasons other than love.
“The Department has been running a campaign to ensure that we improve our systems to make marriages accessible and more convenient for South Africans and all the people who wish to get married in our country,” said the Minister during a mass wedding on Cape Town’s Robben Island. He said the move serves to encourage people to get married for the right reasons.

Feb 20, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Revamped refugee centre brings hopes of better service

Revamped refugee centre brings hopes of better service
2017-02-17 – News24
Pretoria – Every day scores of asylum seekers camp at the doorsteps of the Marabastad refugee reception centre in Pretoria, in pursuit of bona fide documentation to remain in the country.
These foreigners throng the entrance clutching paperwork that includes identification documents from their country of origin, travel documents, non-renewable asylum transit permits (for those applying for the first time, also called section 23 permit), or section 22 permit for those who are renewing their existing documentation.
Clarah Rwenhamo, an asylum seeker from Zimbabwe, says officials put boxes near the fence for them to place their applications inside. The boxes get taken inside.
“When they come back, they come with papers with our names on them and we’d all go to the boxes in big numbers, everyone looking for their documents all mixed up in one place.”
What follows is a scrum, with shoving, bumping and smashing, to get to their papers.
Lynnette Kamudyariwa, also from Zimbabwe, says thieves take advantage of the chaos to steal cellphones, money, and documents.
“By the time you leave here, most of the time, you won’t be having all of your stuff you came with.”
On two occasions Rwenhamo was unable to get into the centre.
“We were made to stay outside, and we were told if you force your way in, you’d be caught and deported back to your country. It was very hard. There were too many tsotsis (thieves) and just people in general.”
Some foreigners never get their asylum documents because they disappear somewhere inside the building. The bureaucratic nightmare of trying to get documents forces people to put their lives on hold.
“Sometimes you spend the whole day here without food and at the end they tell you that the system is down, so you have to come back some other day,” says Kamudyariwa.
“You come back tomorrow. It’s the same thing. Then you have to come back the following week because they work only Monday and Tuesday,” she says.
High influx
She had to abandon her daily commitments because her livelihood depended on her asylum documentation.
Last year, President Jacob Zuma visited the centre and heard complaints from refugees. Problems included lack of staff, slow information technology, inadequate filling systems, and poor management, he said at the launch of a revamped centre on Friday afternoon.
There were allegations of corruption, long queues, overcrowding, and criminal syndicates.
Now public areas have been refurbished, there’s electric fencing, and an automated booking system.
“What I really want them to change is the service that we are getting here and our asylum papers as well, so we can be able to open bank accounts,” says Kamudyariwa.
South Africa is one of the top 10 countries in the world receiving asylum seekers. They are mainly from Somalia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ghana.
In 2008, the country received over 150 000 applications, a number that has now decreased to 60 000.
“This influx is still high and remains a challenge even to economic realities that South Africa faces as a developing country,” Zuma said on Friday.

Feb 20, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

FEDHASA sheds light on immigration and labour regulations

FEDHASA sheds light on immigration and labour regulations
16 Feb 2017 – Bizcommunity

A recent media briefing, after meeting between Malusi Gigaba, South Africa’s Minister of Home Affairs and industry stakeholders including the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA), has raised some concerns in the hospitality and tourism industry.

There has been reference to a requirement for all businesses in the South Africa to employ a minimum of 60% South African citizens. However, this requirement, a provision in the Immigration Act and Regulations, only applies when a foreigner makes application to the Department of Home Affairs for a business visa with the intention of starting or investing in a business in the country.

One of the conditions attached to the business visa is that the applicant undertakes to employ not less than 60% South Africans including permanent residents within a period of 12 months from the date of issue of the visa. There is currently no provision in South African labour legislation that makes reference to the employment of a minimum of 60% South Africans.

The majority of FEDHASA members employ well over 60% of South Africans in their companies many of which are 100% South African employees. We always encourage FEDHASA members to abide by labour laws, and if they are hiring foreign employees, they must follow immigration regulation in terms of the quota system, rare skills, and obtain necessary documents from the DHA. We encourage our members to be good corporate citizens.

At the meeting, the Minister expressed concerns on behalf of citizens as to the issue of non-South Africans working in the industry, and this became a topic of conversation. FEDHASA’s response was that research is required to find out if this is simply a perception or the reality. We currently have no data available as to the ratio of South African citizens to permanent residents employed in the sector.

A further concern was raised about the perception that there is illegal employment of foreigners who are working without the correct entry permits or visas in the industry, especially when it comes to restaurants. “FEDHASA’s standpoint on this is absolutely clear,” says FEDHASA CEO, Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa. “We expect that any hospitality establishment is well aware that they could face serious consequences if their employees do not have the proper authority to live and work lawfully in the country. Like all other businesses in South Africa, FEDHASA members are required to adhere to the labour laws of the country. FEDHASA welcomes the engagement with DHA and the Minister; we will work with the department to educate the hospitality industry on the immigration regulations.”

In South Africa, travel and tourism’s contribution to GDP in 2015 stood at R375.5bn (9.4%) and is forecast to rise by 3.7% pa to R555.1bn (10.6%) of GDP in 2026. FEDHASA is committed to working collaboratively with government and other stakeholders to ensure the country’s vital tourism and hospitality industry is fully compliant with South African labour laws and continues to be a key driver of economic growth.

Feb 20, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

South Africa: 600 000 Fewer Tourists Since Introduction of Visa Regulations

South Africa: 600 000 Fewer Tourists Since Introduction of Visa Regulations
Democratic Alliance – 17 February 2017
In the Portfolio Committee on Tourism today, it became clear that there have been 600 000 fewer tourists since the introduction of visa regulations.
The regulations have clearly made it harder for people to come to South Africa.
According to industry experts, 1 job is created for every 12 tourist arrivals. In a country with a 36% unemployment rate, this potential to create jobs must not be jeopardized.
There is a clear pattern of declining tourists to our country since the announcement of the introduction of visa regulations in 2013:
Year – Tourist Arrivals
2013 – 9.6 million
2014 – 9.5 million
2015 – 8.9 million
2016 – 9 million
These figures prove a decline of 600 000 visitors which equates to a 6.6% decline, revealing the negative effects of the ill-conceived visa regulations.
Despite the overall decline in tourist figures nationally, the number of tourists that flocked to the Western Cape during the month of December 2016 showing a massive 29.8% increase compared to the number of tourists during the same time in 2015.
Every day people are turned away from travelling to South Africa because of continued confusion surrounding the requirement for unabridged birth certificates for minors travelling to the country.
Electronic visas will drastically cut the turnaround time for the issuing of travel documentation, and are in fact more secure than existing permits.
The failure to implement electronic visas will ultimately cost the South African tourism sector by making it more difficult to attract visitors to South Africa.
In failing to do so, government, during its announcement of the concessions, failed to seize an opportunity to act in the best interest of South African tourism.
Despite the threat to the sector, the President has seemingly refused to take any action to prevent harm to jobs in tourism.
On numerous occasions, the DA has called on the government to act in the best interest of jobs in the sector.
The time has come for him to provide answers to Parliament.
The DA, along with the tourism industry, has long held that these regulations are disastrous for the industry and will not rest until they are abandoned.
James Vos MP= DA Shadow Minister of Tourism