26 scientists among 150 Indians returning home from S Africa this week

JOHANNESBURG, May 20: Twenty-six Indian scientists stranded in South Africa’s Cape Town due to the coronavirus lockdown will be heading back home this week.
They had been on a mission to Antarctica and stuck in South Africa three months ago after the imposition of the lockdown.
The scientists are among around 150 Indian nationals who will be returning home on a South African Airways (SAA) flight that will leave Johannesburg on Friday for Mumbai and Delhi.
Indian Consul General in Johannesburg, Anju Ranjan, said over 1,000 Indian nationals had registered for the flight.
Passengers had to be vetted by the Indian mission based on a criteria set by the South African Department of Home Affairs.
“We had to select priority passengers depending on their need,” Ranjan said in a Facebook broadcast.
The diplomat said those left out are likely to be repatriated on an Air India flight under the Indian government’s Vande Bharat mission.
“People who are going back on this flight include 26 scientists from India who were stuck in Cape Town after they returned from a mission to Antarctica,” Ranjan said.
“They were here for the past three months, so this was a priority for us to send them back to India,” the official said.
Ranjan said 93 members of the ISE Cruise who were stuck in the coastal city of Durban were also a priority for them.
Others approved for the flight are those who are ill or on a temporary tourist visa.
Ranjan said the ticket price for the one-way flight was 15,000 rands, which was fixed by the SAA and the Indian government had nothing to do with it.
The fare, which is almost thrice the normal ticket price, has to be paid by the passengers themselves.
An Air India flight can be expected in phase 3 of the Vande Bharat mission in June as there is no fixed date for it yet, Ranjan said.
Currently, the mission in phase 2, the official added.
“Many people who could not pay could not be accommodated on the flight. I feel very sorry for them, but we can have some say and discounts when we get our own flights, so I just want them to wait patiently and not feel disheartened,” Ranjan said. (PTI)
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Some South Africans repatriated from Wuhan now want to go back

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has revealed that some of the South African citizens repatriated from Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak began, have requested assistance to return to the Chinese province.
The group of 112 citizens, which included students, was the first successfully returned to South Africa as the globe grappled with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor told journalists during a virtual media briefing that Dirco had spent far less than it had anticipated on the project.
She said while Dirco was continuing to repatriate South Africans stranded across the globe, it was not willing to help those it had brought back home, who now wished to return to countries they had been repatriated from during the lockdown.
“In that first group from Wuhan, some wish to return, and we said to them it cannot be at the cost of government,” Pandor said.
“Some of them are government-sponsored students. We have said their sponsors must address it, this is something Dirco can’t help with,” she added.
She said government had no means to facilitate those who wanted to return to the country for a short while.
“We are not assisting you to come back for a short period then return to the country where we repatriated you from,” said Pandor.
Not more than R10m spent on repatriating citizens
Pandor said her department had estimated it would require R90 million. However, no more than R10 million had been spent, which she credited mostly on companies who reached out to assist government.
“We have had very good support from the private sector, with provision of jet fuel from Sasol, which has helped with a number of a million of litres,” Pandor said.
She added many of those repatriated had been able to cover their own travel costs, as most already had flight tickets but were left stranded.
“Most were ticket holders, and we were able to transfer their tickets to airlines available to provide transportation.”
Pandor said in some cases citizens were able to hitch rides at a reduced cost from cargo planes either coming to collect or drop off goods in South Africa.
Can’t compel Saudi Arabia to open borders
The minister also said the country was aware of the plight of South Africans who were in the country when the lockdown was implemented in March, who need to return to their jobs and families in other countries.
Pandor said her department was in discussion with numerous governments, as well as the departments of home affairs and transport, to facilitate the safe return of those South Africans to those countries.
When asked if there were countries not willing to discuss allowing non-citizens to return, Pandor said Saudi Arabia was not willing to open its borders.
She also said there had been some challenges with the United Arab Emirates.
“You can’t compel countries to take back persons. They will not open borders because they are compelled to do so by the South African government,” Pandor said.
“If a government says it’s in a deep lockdown, we cannot compel it,” she continued.
The minister said offenders who were recently released from Brazilian prisons for drug trafficking, were not part of the category of citizens being focused on at the moment, referring their case to the South African mission in that country.
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Unmarried dads should be allowed to register children’s births, court rules

In a victory for “invisible, undocumented children”, unwed fathers will soon be able to register the birth of their children without the mother being present or giving consent, GroundUp reported.
In a ruling this week, three judges of the Eastern Cape High Court deemed the relevant provision of the Births and Deaths Registration Act to be unconstitutional. It still has to be confirmed by the Constitutional Court.
The matter was initially raised by the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), with the support of the Centre for Child Law, in a “public interest” application against the minister and director general of Home Affairs.
They were acting on behalf of a South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldier who met, and fell in love with, a Congolese woman while posted on a peacekeeping mission in her country. They married according to customary law in the DRC.
She, along with their two children, came to South Africa on a visitor’s permit in 2015, where she gave birth to their third child.
Refused to register birth
Despite the fact that the child was born in South Africa and the father was South African, Home Affairs refused to register the birth because the mother was “undocumented”.
In the High Court in 2018, acting judge Apla Bodlani declined to declare the sections of the act unconstitutional. Instead, he ordered amendments to the wording of some of the regulations.
The LRC was happy with Bodlani’s ruling. In a statement at the time, it said it was a victory for single fathers trying to register births when the mother is foreign and undocumented or absent or had abandoned the children.
But the Centre for Child Law was intent on overturning Section 10, which does not make provision for a child to receive their father’s surname or details of their father on their birth certificate without the mother’s involvement.
Home Affairs did not oppose the appeal.
Judge Sunil Rugunanan, who penned the appeal judgment, said the case affected vulnerable members of society and “a multitude of child cases” born to unmarried fathers.
He said children without birth certificates were “invisible” and were effectively denied support and assistance necessary for their positive growth and development, including education and access to social grants.
“The numerous cases in the (centre’s) papers evoke empathy if one comprehends the extent to which lack of birth registration exacerbates marginalisation,” said the judge.
‘Discriminatory’
Section 10 posed a bar that was discriminatory not only to the fathers of children born out of wedlock, but to the children themselves on the grounds that were arbitrary.
“A law that engenders discrimination with the potential for consequences of the enormity shown, cannot be said to be in the best interests of the child, which is paramount.”
He said the “reading in”, as ordered by Bodlani, had only a limited effect and did not address the fundamental problem that Section 10 in its entirety did not provide a mechanism for a child born out of wedlock to be registered in the surname of his or her father where the mother was absent.
He declared the section unconstitutional, giving the legislature two years to amend it to ensure it is “constitutionally compliant” and referred the order to the Constitutional Court for confirmation.
The centre said: “The judgment affirms the fact that every child has the constitutionally enshrined right to a name and nationality from birth and their best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child.”
www.samigration.com

Unmarried dads should be allowed to register children’s births, court rules

In a victory for “invisible, undocumented children”, unwed fathers will soon be able to register the birth of their children without the mother being present or giving consent, GroundUp reported.
In a ruling this week, three judges of the Eastern Cape High Court deemed the relevant provision of the Births and Deaths Registration Act to be unconstitutional. It still has to be confirmed by the Constitutional Court.
The matter was initially raised by the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), with the support of the Centre for Child Law, in a “public interest” application against the minister and director general of Home Affairs.
They were acting on behalf of a South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldier who met, and fell in love with, a Congolese woman while posted on a peacekeeping mission in her country. They married according to customary law in the DRC.
She, along with their two children, came to South Africa on a visitor’s permit in 2015, where she gave birth to their third child.
Refused to register birth
Despite the fact that the child was born in South Africa and the father was South African, Home Affairs refused to register the birth because the mother was “undocumented”.
In the High Court in 2018, acting judge Apla Bodlani declined to declare the sections of the act unconstitutional. Instead, he ordered amendments to the wording of some of the regulations.
The LRC was happy with Bodlani’s ruling. In a statement at the time, it said it was a victory for single fathers trying to register births when the mother is foreign and undocumented or absent or had abandoned the children.
But the Centre for Child Law was intent on overturning Section 10, which does not make provision for a child to receive their father’s surname or details of their father on their birth certificate without the mother’s involvement.
Home Affairs did not oppose the appeal.
Judge Sunil Rugunanan, who penned the appeal judgment, said the case affected vulnerable members of society and “a multitude of child cases” born to unmarried fathers.
He said children without birth certificates were “invisible” and were effectively denied support and assistance necessary for their positive growth and development, including education and access to social grants.
“The numerous cases in the (centre’s) papers evoke empathy if one comprehends the extent to which lack of birth registration exacerbates marginalisation,” said the judge.
‘Discriminatory’
Section 10 posed a bar that was discriminatory not only to the fathers of children born out of wedlock, but to the children themselves on the grounds that were arbitrary.
“A law that engenders discrimination with the potential for consequences of the enormity shown, cannot be said to be in the best interests of the child, which is paramount.”
He said the “reading in”, as ordered by Bodlani, had only a limited effect and did not address the fundamental problem that Section 10 in its entirety did not provide a mechanism for a child born out of wedlock to be registered in the surname of his or her father where the mother was absent.
He declared the section unconstitutional, giving the legislature two years to amend it to ensure it is “constitutionally compliant” and referred the order to the Constitutional Court for confirmation.
The centre said: “The judgment affirms the fact that every child has the constitutionally enshrined right to a name and nationality from birth and their best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child.”
www.samigration.com

Woman, dying sister reunite after Australia exempts travel

Associated Press -21 May 2020
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A woman has tearfully embraced her dying sister in Australia after weeks of bureaucracy wrangling over pandemic travel restrictions.
Australia had rejected Christine Archer’s request for permission to fly from New Zealand four times before her story attracted media attention.
Her only sister Gail Baker was diagnosed with incurable ovarian cancer in late March after both countries stopped international travel. Baker has perhaps weeks to live.
Archer was eventually allowed to fly to Sydney and spent only a week in hotel quarantine before testing negative for the coronavirus. International travelers are usually quarantined for two weeks.
Family friends drove the retired nurse 490 kilometers (300 miles) from Sydney to the New South Wales state coastal town of Bowraville.
Archer finally hugged her younger sibling in the front yard of Baker’s home on Wednesday. It was their first reunion in six years.
“Words can’t explain how I feel, to be honest.” Archer told Australian Broadcasting Corp. in an interview aired on Thursday.
“I’m just so happy that I finally got to be here and be with her. The last two weeks have been the hardest or the longest two weeks of my life,” Archer said.
Archer was surprised that her persistence paid off. But she is adamant that Australia made the right decision in allowing her to remain with her sister in her final days.
“I wondered whether the Australian government had any compassion at all with their rejections,” Archer said.
“I honestly don’t know what they were thinking. I know it’s an awful time at the moment with the virus … but, I mean, there are some things you’ve got to be a bit lenient on and I felt this was one of them,” she said.
“I didn’t think I was ever going to see Gail again. That would’ve been the worst thing in the world if that had happened,” she added.
Australia’s Department of Home Affairs relented on Archer’s travel application after it allowed the New Zealand Warriors rugby league team to relocate from Auckland in preparation for the Australian football competition restarting next week.
The department declined to explain its change of heart on the sisters’ reunion, saying in a statement it did not comment on individual cases.
New Zealand has largely succeeded in its goal of eliminating the virus. It has reported no new infections over the past four days and most of the people who contracted the virus have recovered. About 1,500 people have been reported as having the virus including 21 who died.
Australia has had similar success in slowing the virus spread although New South Wales remains the worst-affected state. Australia expects New Zealand will become the first international destination with which regular passenger travel will resume because of the low risk of infection.
Australia has recorded 7,079 virus cases and 100 deaths. Australia’s population is five times larger than New Zealand’s.
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International travel ban exceptions: whether you qualify and how to apply

Patients with medical emergencies, repatriates and international officials may apply for permission to travel internationally.
May 13, 2020

Although international travel has been banned since South Africa was placed under lockdown on March 25, Department of Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has recently issued updated directions that allow for exceptions. Caxton Local Media unpacks it.
Patients:
In terms of the most recent amendments, entry into the country for emergency medical attention may be allowed if the patient suffers from a life-threatening condition. Anyone who wants to cross South African borders for this reason, must apply to an immigration officer at any port of entry. A comprehensive list of all South Africa’s ports of entry and contact details appears at the bottom of this article.
The application must be supported by:
– Documentary proof of the applicant’s life-threatening condition
– A copy of the applicant’s valid passport.
The immigration officer will inform the Minister of Home Affairs of the application. The intended travel may only be embarked on once the minister’s approval has been obtained.
In the event that a patient with a life-threatening condition requires assistance with physical movement or care, the provider of such assistance must be screened and may be subjected to mandatory quarantine.
Repatriation to South Africa:
South Africans who want to enter the country must apply 72 hours in advance. They must apply to the South African mission in the country where they find themselves. Where there is no South African mission, applicants must approach the Consular Services at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO). The entity that receives the application must notify the Minister of Home Affairs, who may pre-approve the said entry.
Applicants must submit the following documentation:
– A copy of the applicant’s passport, identity card or identifying document
– A copy of the applicant’s permanent residence permit, if applicable
– Details regarding the applicant’s travel itinerary in the last two months.
South Africans who have received permission and entered the country will be quarantined.
Repatriation from South Africa into other countries:
Foreigners who wish to exit South Africa have to apply for permission to do so. (Repatriation means “to send or bring someone, or sometimes money or other property, back to the country that he, she, or it came from.” South African citizens who are who are currently in South Africa, but reside overseas, do not qualify as “foreigners” that may be repatriated. This is in terms of the lockdown regulations read with the Immigration Act.)
The application is submitted to the relevant diplomatic or consular mission in South Africa, 72 hours prior to departure.
Applicants must submit the following documentation:
– A copy of the applicant’s passport
– A copy of the applicant’s temporary residence visa or permanent residence permit
– Proof of the applicant’s means of travel.
The diplomatic or consular mission must notify the Minister of Home Affairs or a person designated by him in writing, of the application, whereafter approval may be given.
Officials of international organisations:
Subject to regulations issued by the Department of Health, diplomats and officials of international organisations accredited in South Africa* will be allowed to travel into and out of the country. They will be subjected to physical examinations. Where these persons need visas prior to entering, they may apply for these visas. DIRCO may also issue regulations in this regard.
Once you have arrived…
Movement between provinces:
Those who need to cross provincial boundaries to move homes, must have the following with them:
– A lease agreement or property transfer documents indicating why they have to move
– A police-issued permit.

Note: You will have to go to the police and request the station commander, or the person duly authorised, to grant the moving permit after you have filled out all requested details.

*International Organisations:
African Union [ AU ]
Arab States League
Department for International Development (DFID)
European Investment Bank
European Union [ The Office of ]
French Development Agency/ Agence Franciase de Developpement (AFD)
Goethe-Instituut/ German Cultural and Information Centre
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
International Finance Corporation (IFC)
International Labour Organisation (ILO)
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
International Organisation for Migration (IOM)
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Pan-African Parliament
South African National Commission for UNESCO
Southern African Development Community (SADC)
UN Women
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO)
United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) – Branch Office of South Africa
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
United Nations Information Centre (UNIC)
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
United Nations Population Fund Africa Division (UNFPA)
United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
World Bank: Resident Mission in South Africa
World Health Organisation (WHO)

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International travel approved for South Africans working, studying abroad

Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi said certain categories of South Africans may travel to the countries where they are based.
Aaron Motsoaledi reveals festive season safety plan for South Africa’s borders after security breaches. Kopano Tlape GCIS
Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has approved essential travel for South Africans who want to return to countries where they are based.
This follows consultations with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) and the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC).
Wait a minute though, before you pack your bags, there are certain conditions that must be met.
SOUTH AFRICANS PERMITTED TO TRAVEL FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS
South Africans who wish to leave the Republic are permitted to depart for the following reasons only:
• 1. Work;
• 2. Study;
• 3. Family reunion;
• 4. Take up permanent residency; and
• 5. Receive medical attention.
South Africa, like many countries in the world, has implemented travel restrictions as part of the measures put in place to fight the spread of COVID-19. Travel between countries is, however, allowed under special circumstances.
HERE’S WHAT YOU WILL NEED ACCORDING TO HOME AFFAIRS
South Africans wishing to return to the countries where they reside should have the following:
1. A copy of their valid South African passport;
2. A letter confirming their admissibility under the current circumstances from the embassy or other diplomatic/consular representative of the country they want to travel to. If returning by road or connecting via flights, the proof submitted needs to include permission from each transiting country; and
3. Proof of means of travel such as air or bus tickets and the intended date of departure.
South Africans who fall in these categories and satisfy the criteria can send an email to Covid19travel@dha.gov.za.
An email will be sent to travellers who meet the criteria to enable them to proceed with their travel arrangements. Those applying as a group can send one email with the supporting documents for each member of the group.
REPATRIATED CITIZENS ASK DIRCO IF THEY CAN LEAVE SA
Just after returning home, a few South Africans have requested to go back to their previous residences in other countries.
On Thursday 21 May, Dirco Minister Naledi Pandor, put her foot down saying:
“We cannot compel countries to take back persons, and they cannot open their borders because South Africa asks them to do so… No, we will not be assisting those who wish to return to the countries they were repatriated from after the lockdown.”
Pandor said DIRCO has repatriated over 5 000 South Africans and are still to assist more.
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