Archive from November, 2012
Nov 19, 2012 - Business Permit    No Comments

Case against home affairs withdrawn

 

Pretoria – An application to prevent the home affairs department from violating the rights of foreigners has been withdrawn, director general Mkuseli Apleni said on Thursday.

“The withdrawal arose from the fact that by the time the case was brought against the department the 39 inmates… had already been released or deported,” he told reporters in Pretoria.

The matter was withdrawn on Tuesday.

On 3 November, the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) along with Passop [People Against Suffering, Suppression, Oppression and Poverty] and 39 immigrants, launched an urgent court application with the High Court in Johannesburg.

The application was to prevent the department from violating foreigner’s rights at the Lindela Repatriation Centre in the West Rand.

The department received court papers last Friday, but the matter was withdrawn before it came to court.

SAHRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena on Thursday confirmed this. He said the department satisfied the SAHRC’s demand in the application to immediately release the immigrants.

“The department moved fast to avoid going to court by releasing them in batches, for a period of a week prior to the court seating.”

Apleni said Minister Naledi Pandor established mechanisms to monitor the number of days each inmate spent at the centre, to ensure they would not exceed the 120-day maximum period for detention.

He did not elaborate on the mechanisms but said the media would be allowed to view the facility on a ministerial visit soon.

“The challenges that had previously led to inmates overstaying the stipulated 120 days arises from, among others, a deliberate attempt to subvert the law by refusing to supply officers at the transit centre with details of their origin and/or nationality.”

He said another problem was with embassies and high commissions not assisting the department in identifying their nationals.

Therefore they were delaying the process of deportation, but Apleni would not be drawn on who specifically was causing the delays.

“This is something we want to work on as a department.”

– SAPA

Nov 14, 2012 - Business Permit    No Comments

Home Affairs needs work – DA

November 6 2012 at 09:00am

The Star

Political Bureau

THE DA has called for disciplinary steps to be taken against Home Affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni after the department revealed it had spent R46,3 million on legal costs in the 2011/12 fin- ancial year.

While the number of cases has shown a significant decline since 2009/10, when 2 970 cases were instituted against the department, falling to 1 099 for the past financial year, the costs have soared, more than doubling from the R22,8m of 2009/10. Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor explained in reply to a written parliamentary question from the DA’s home affairs spokesman, Manny de Freitas, that legal costs are paid only once a case has been finalised and costs awarded, usually to successful litigants. This took a long time from the date the action was instituted, she said. “Legal fees of matters arising in one year are thus normally paid in another financial year,” Pandor said. This would explain the rise in costs at the same time as the number of cases has been more than halved. But De Freitas said the soaring costs were “likely attributable to the fact that the department’s immigration services are a complete disaster and they continuously fail to comply with court orders”. It was Apleni’s job to ensure the immigration service ran smoothly, yet there were still huge backlogs in applications, as well as three contempt of court suits against the department. Apleni, as the accounting officer, had presided over R800m in irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure in three years and had “continuously violated the Public Finance Management Act [PFMA]”, De Freitas said. He said he had written to Pandor asking her to institute disciplinary proceedings against Apleni for his failure to comply with the PFMA. “The minister should, however, also consider Mr Apleni’s role in immigration applications and the bloating legal costs of the department.” Pandor’s reply comes after the department turned in a qualified audit for the past financial year, having achieved its first unqualified audit the previous year. Under immigration services, cases included judicial reviews of the department’s decision to reject asylum applications and temporary and permanent residence permits, and applications for the release of “illegal foreigners” detained at the Lindela Repatriation Centre. There were also cases relating to permits where the department had failed to make a decision within the prescribed period. A number of class actions had been brought in which “hundreds of applicants” were represented in a single court application seeking orders to compel the department to make a decision. There were also cases falling under civic services in which the department had been taken to court after failing to issue IDs, passports and birth certificates correctly or on time. It was sometimes also dragged into disputes over customary marriages, often between spouses of people who had died and their families. Pandor said training of officials had been stepped up on processes and standard operating procedures, as well as on the legislation administered by the department in a bid to reduce the number of claims against it and reduce money spent. More funding had been set aside for staff, especially at a hub at head office dedicated to the adjudication of temporary and permanent residence permits. The Refugees and Immigration Acts had also been amended, which would result in a more streamlined process, Pandor said.

 

 

Nov 13, 2012 - Business Permit    No Comments

Immigration to South Africa is a messy (home) affair

By Jess Green

Thursday, November 8, 2012

News 24 voices

Home Affairs is still creating hassles for immigrants into South Africa.

Over the past few years, Home Affairs has really stayed put in the place South African citizens has placed them: the dog box. ID booklets took years to receive, passports were another story altogether, and that was only if you managed to get to the front of the queue with the right documents filled in.

To be frank, this is the story most South Africans would have heard, but many do not know how Home Affairs is for a foreigner coming into our country. Many, many people come into South Africa every single day. Most are on holiday visas of some sort – temporary visas and permits, some of which are issued as they enter. Some unfortunately have entered illegally and are causing great problems for SA in general.

But an increasing number of people are immigrating to South Africa for the right reasons: accompanying their SA spouse/partner, starting a job here on a work permit, coming to SA to study, and so on. These people have no idea what it is like to interact with Home Affairs. A long decade of inefficiencies has made the task of coming to stay in our country that much harder. However, in the last year or so, permit application adjudication times have shortened, in some cases to under 2 weeks. And just when we thought things were improving, we get this article on Home Affairs bungling up immigration to South Africa again.

In the article, Home Affairs has been quoted as stating their legal costs for the last fiscal year, which doubled. Why? Because so  many people have taken them to court over poor service delivery. Almost R50 million of taxpayers money has been spent on defending an ineffective government department in court. Why can the Department of Home Affairs not get it right? What do we have to put in place so that it can simply administrate South Africa’s immigration affairs?

Some people say we are being too harsh on Home Affairs. Some people state that only South Africans should get the local jobs. We’ve had xenophobic attacks displayed in the news, and they still continue.

But while many efforts have been made to protect jobs for South Africans (almost every country does this), sometimes a foreigner has the best skills and must be immigrated. Also, if you are married to a foreigner, there simply cannot be a law prohibiting that person from entering the country and having a job as well.

What do you think about immigrants to South Africa? What about Home Affairs? Have you had any experiences with them as a foreigner or as a South African?

 

Nov 4, 2012 - Permanent Residence    No Comments

Home Affairs permanent residence finalisations is in a shambles

Home Affairs permanent residence finalisations is in a shambles , article see Cape Times

November 2 2012 at 12:55pm

By Leila Samodien

Cape Times – They won a court order against Home Affairs, but immigration lawyer Gary Eisenberg claims it became “meaningless in the face of the department’s incompetence”.

Eisenberg submitted this in an affidavit that is part of a court application in which his firm and three other applicants want the department declared in contempt of court.

This is the latest development in a court wrangle to get Home Affairs to adjudicate a handful of outstanding applications for permanent residence permits.

The group’s main application was lodged in the Western Cape High Court in May, asking that the court issue an order for 110 applications to be processed. They secured a court order on May 18, by which time 75 applications remained.

The parties agreed that 51 would be finalised by July 18, while the others – those that were incomplete, on appeal or in need of corrections – would be done by August 20.

The department missed all these deadlines.

Eisenberg said that of the 75 applications, the department finalised only 28 by the deadline. This left 47.

The group now seek several orders – relating to the alleged contempt of court, to compliance with the original high court order, and to the “hurried rejection” of some of the applications.

In an answering affidavit, Home Affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni contended that the department had not willfully failed to comply with a court order.

He argued he was not in contempt of court just because the outstanding applications hadn’t been finalised by the cut-off dates. These dates were not cast in stone. The department had only nine full-time permanent residence adjudicators. end of article

If they cannot do a simple job like 75 applications which was a court order , what about the applications in the pipeline ??

When one looks at the article and in a recent meeting on 24 October 2012 with the Chief Director we learned that they dont have an idea as to how many permanent residence backlog and appeals they have ? Scary and what is more scary they cannot give a timeline as to how long they will take to clear the backlog