Archive from August, 2014

South Africa: Sentencing of Home Affairs Official Welcomed

SAnews.gov.za (Tshwane) allafrica.com

19 August 2014

Pretoria — The Department of Home Affairs has welcomed the conviction and sentence handed to Sanele Zungu, a former senior admin officer at the Melmoth Local Office in KwaZulu-Natal.

Zungu, who was arrested following a joint sting operation by the SA Police Service and Home Affairs investigators, was subsequently found guilty of selling birth certificates.

On 14 August 2014, the Melmoth Magistrate’s Court sentenced her to six years imprisonment.

The department said the conviction and sentence of Zungu sends an important message that corruption and fraud will not be tolerated.

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said that any official who is found to be involved in acts of fraud and corruption, which undermine the security of the country, will face the full might of the law.

Minister Gigaba said the department will see to it that such individuals are subjected to both internal disciplinary process, as well as criminal prosecution.

“The department appreciates the support and involvement of the SAPS Anti-Corruption Unit of KwaZulu-Natal in our endeavour to curb corrupt practices in our work environment.

“To this end, we extend a call to members of the public to continue to report fraud and corruption relating to the services provided by Home Affairs,” the minister said.

Incidents of fraud and corruption can be reported to the National Anti-Corruption Hotline on 0800 701 701 (toll-free) or send an email to report.corruption@dha.gov.za. – SAnews.gov.za

 

Crucial information for Zimbabweans in South Africa

by Butholezwe Nyathi – Bulawayo News24

16 August 2014

 

We want people to be independent and to be able to get their applications through within the given 3 months period from the 1st of October to the 31st of December 2014. One way of doing so will be to continuously provide the RELEVANT information. As soon as the process starts, we will provide the STEP-BY-STEP information so that those with limited computer/internet skills can also try to apply on their own. However, we are aware and we are getting ready to assist those who will need our assistance throughout South Africa. This we will do as a service for the people because as an organisation, we also believe that people will join us and become members once they have seen that we mean good and we are prepared to use our own resources to serve them, which is what we have been doing. We continue to encourage people to join and become full members because we are not only about permits but about migrant workers’ rights promotion and protection.

PLEASE CHECK WITH THIS VFS GLOBAL SITE AS WE MOVE TOWARDS OCTOBER 1. We believe their Call Centre number will also be able to answer questions as we move towards that date as the Home Affairs might be still briefing them for now.

The site that you will use to apply on line from the 1st of October to the 31st of December 2014 and also get the Administration fee that will be charged to process your application: http://www.vfsglobal.com/dha/southafrica/

Helpline: +27124253000 Emails:info.dhasa@vfshelpline.com and feedback.dhasa@vfshelpline.com

Please note that at the moment there is this information on the site but this will change: Renewal of DZP(Special Dispensation for Zimbabweans Project) for Zimbabwe nationals are handled directly by the Department of Home Affairs.

FOR PASSPORTS INQUIRIES: Zimbabwean Consulate
Zimbabwean Consulate General in Johannesburg, South Africa
13A Boeing Road West,Bedfordview. P. O. Box 61736, Marshaltown, 2107
Johannesburg,South Africa. Tel: 0116151117 Telefax: 0116151016, Email: admin@zimbabweconsulate.co.za, Website: www.zimbabweconsulate.co.za.

Migrant Workers’ Association – SA (MWA-SA) contacts: Office 301, 3rd Floor, Budget House, 130 Main Street, Cnr Kruis and Main Street, Johannesburg, (Near Carlton Centre and Gandhi Square) Tel: 0110748022, Administrator’s Cell number, including whatsapp: 0788535353, Email specifically for permits issues: info.mwasa@gmail.com……Note: Mr Maplanka attended the meeting at the Consulate and knows the package of services offered there. He also attended the Stakeholders briefing by the Minister of Home Affairs. He and Dr V. Sibanda, MWA-SA Secretary General will represent us in the Stakeholders Forum set by Home Affairs

Mohadi wants SA to keep 2 million Zimbabwean immigrants

by Staff reporter

14 August 2014 Bulawayo News 24

 
Government has made an impassioned plea to South African authorities to regularise the stay of over two million Zimbabweans illegally living in the neighbouring country by giving them special permits.

This follows a decision by the South African government on Tuesday to issue 250 000 permits to Zimbabweans in a bid to document illegal settlers who crossed the border as a result of the political and socio-economic situation in Zimbabwe since 2000.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Defence Forces Day celebrations on Harare on Tuesday, Kembo Mohadi, the Home Affairs minister, said while government was happy with the decision by South Africa, he would want to see those who had entered South Africa using undesignated entry points being regularised as well.

“We are obviously happy with the development but we would also want them to account for the other 2,7 million Zimbabweans who are there illegally,” Mohadi said.

“We want to know where they are and it would be proper if they were also to have their documents regularised.”

Mohadi expressed concern at the manner in which the illegal immigrants were deported back to Zimbabwe by South African authorities, with some complaining that they were not given time to collect their belongings.

“Last week, I engaged my South African counterpart over the issue and we are working on the modalities to correct the situation. We will keep engaging to see how it can be done,” Mohadi said.

Malusi Gigaba, the South African Home Affairs minister, on Tuesday announced that the SA Cabinet had approved the renewal of 250 000 Zimbabwean permits.

Permits for Zimbabweans who are legally resident in South Africa were due to expire in December.

Prior to the decision, the majority of the immigrants were concerned that they would be required to come back home.

They had been issued with special permits in 2009 as part of South Africa’s efforts to help Zimbabwe resolve its socio-political and economic problems.

Unofficial figures put the number of Zimbabweans settled in South Africa – both legally and illegally – at over 3 million.

Passport scam at Zim’s borders with South Africa and Botswana

by Hangoyapalala Wa Tjibundule

01 August 2014 | Bulawayo News

 

Corruption at the Zimbabwe’s borders with South Africa and Botswana continues unabated with unscrupulous immigration officers from either country allegedly making a killing out of illegally stamping passports of Zimbabwean nationals who would have overstayed in the two neighbouring countries.

Bulawayo24 has it on good authority that Zimbabwean immigrants who overstay in South Africa and Botswana fork out between 500 and 700 rand/pula to have their travel documents stamped forged convenient dates of entry and exit that conceal their illegal stay in those countries.

Immigration officers on either side of the borders are reportedly conniving with omalayitsha and bus operators in the scam in which most of the passports are illicitly stamped in the absence of their holders.

While the number of Zimbabwean immigrants with passports has increased, most of them do not have working permits to regularise their lengthy stay in the neighbouring countries.

In 2010, the South African government embarked on a documentation programme for Zimbabweans living in that country but the exercise was suspended last year after the South African immigration had processed approximately 250 000 work permits leaving several Zimbabweans without proper documentation.

While the South-African government has made some efforts to regularize the stay of Zimbabweans living in that country, the Botswana government on the other hand has often been accused of tightening screws on foreigners especially Zimbabweans with reports indicating that only a few  lucky Zimbabweans have work permits in that country.

The plight of Zimbabweans in the two neighboring countries has forced many to devise survival strategies that flout immigration laws of their country and those of neighbouring countries.

A probe by Bulawayo24 indicates that most immigrants with passports only use them to gain entry into the two neighbouring countries where most of them work.

Silibaziso Ncube who works in South Africa confessed that she overstays with her passport, and gives it omalayitsha to have it stamped.

“As you know that most of us do not have workers permits, we have no option to overstay in South Africa.

“But that is not a problem because we pay omalayitsha between 500 and 700 rands or bus drivers to have our passports stamped before we return to Zimbabwe,” she said innocently.

Ncube also confided to this reporter that when returning home they pay about 200 rands at the border post so that they are not detained for crossing the borders without passports.

Mncedisi Ndlovu who works in the neighbouring Botswana echoed similar sentiments.

“I acquired a Zimbabwean passport last year but I only use it twice a year because I have no permit to work in Botswana.

“It depends with umalayitsha but I pay between 400 and 600 pula to have my passport stamped at the border every month,” he said.

But immigration officer-in-charge of the Western region, Nqobile Ncube professed ignorance about the scam. He however warned perpetrators that they risked being prosecuted for contravening immigration laws.

“I am totally unaware of the scam but what I can say is that the scheme is criminal and those who are involved risk being prosecuted.”

“If there is anything untoward happening at our borders it is illegal and we are keen to investigate anything of that nature.

The new special dispensation permit and what it means for Zimbabweans in SA

by Sintha Chiumia and Anim van Wyk

13 August 2014 | Bulawayo24.com

 

When tougher  new immigration rules were first announced by the South African government earlier this year they sparked panic and uncertainty among many Zimbabwean expats living and working in the country. Some feared losing their jobs, others believed that it was nothing more than a ploy to force them out.

“It’s like they’re chasing us out, they’re killing us,” a Zimbabwean immigrant told one newspaper.

Today, South Africa’s Home Affairs minister, Malusi Gigaba belatedly tried to ease those fears, announcing that a new permit had been created to re-register Zimbabwean nationals. Perhaps most significantly, they will not have to return to Zimbabwe to apply for it.

Holders of the new Zimbabwean Special Dispensation permit will be eligible to remain in South Africa until the end of 2017.

What is the Zimbabwean Special Dispensation permit (ZSP)?

The Zimbabwean Special Dispensation permit (ZSP) is the successor to a permit issued as part of the Home Affairs department’s rather clumsily named Dispensation of Zimbabweans Project (DZP) which was implemented in April 2009.

The aim of the DZP was to create a record of Zimbabweans who had, until then, been living illegally in South Africa. It was also intended to provide an amnesty to Zimbabweans who had been using fraudulent South African identity documents.  Many of the Zimbabweans living in South Africa had fled the political violence, instability and economic crises that had dogged their home country for more than a decade.

As part of the DZP, the Home Affairs department waived some permit requirements and application fees. Zimbabweans were also allowed to submit their applications without all the usual supporting documents, such as passports, to speed up the process. (In many instances those documents had been lost in the scramble to safety in South Africa.)

Applications for the original DZP permits could be submitted from 1 September 2010 to 31 December 2010. During that window “approximately 295,000″ people applied for DZP permits to work, study or conduct business in South Africa, Gigaba said today. These were valid for four years from the date of issue.

“Just over 245,000 [DZP] permits were issued, with the balance being denied due to lack of passports or non-fulfillment of other requirements,” he explained.

All DZP permits will be considered null and void from 31 December this year.

What happens when the current DZP permits expire?

DZP permit holders that would like to remain in South Africa have two choices. If they meet the requirements for a regular study, work or business visas they can apply for them, but they need to do so in Zimbabwe.

The second option is to apply for the newly introduced Zimbabwe Special Dispensation Permit (ZSP). The ZSP will only be issued to Zimbabweans who currently have a DZP permit.

No new applications will be considered and applicants must possess a valid Zimbabwean passport, evidence of employment, business or accredited study and a clearance certificate from the South African Police Service.

The ZSP will be valid for three years. Once that time is up, all Zimbabweans with ZSP permits will be required to apply for standard study, work or business visas in order to remain and will have to return to Zimbabwe to do so.

Applying for a ZSP permit

Applications for the ZSP will open on 1 October 2014 for a period of three months. Applicants will have to apply online through VFS Global, an international company that the government has contracted to process the applications. Applicants will be vetted and will have to undergo interviews with VFS consultants.

Four new VFS offices will be opened in Gauteng, the Western Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga to cope with the large numbers of applicants expected. There are currently eleven VFS offices around the country.The cost of the permit process has yet to be determined.

You can stay! SA extends permits for 250,000 Zimbabweans until 2017

August 13, 2014 :  http://www.chronicle.co.zw

Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
ZIMBABWEANS working in South Africa have received a reprieve after the South African government announced a new three-year work permit dispensation yesterday.
South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said the new Zimbabwe Special Dispensation Permit (ZSP) would allow permit-holders to live, work, conduct business and study in South Africa until December 31, 2017.

He said the ZSP was a temporary bridge which would eventually allow all Zimbabweans to re-enter the mainstream immigration process in South Africa.

He said applications under the new dispensation would open on October 1, 2014, and close on 31 December.

Zimbabweans in South Africa have been facing an uncertain future after the government there announced that it would not automatically renew permits given under the Dispensation for Zimbabweans Project (DZP) in 2009. Permits granted under that facility expire in December and Zimbabweans were supposed to return home to apply for new work permits.

The anxiety caused by expiry of the permits saw Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi going to meet his South African counterpart to discuss the way forward.

During the DZP, a total of 295,000 Zimbabweans applied for the permits and over 245, 000 permits were issued, while the remainder were rejected due to lack of passports or non-fulfillment of other requirements.

Gigaba said the South African cabinet approved the new permit on August 6 following his engagement with Minister Mohadi.

“The approaching expiry date has caused anxiety for many permit-holders, particularly those who are not ready to return to Zimbabwe as they contemplate their next steps.

“The Department of Home Affairs has been considering this matter for some time.

“I recently met with my Zimbabwean counterpart, Minister Kembo Mohadi, to discuss matters of mutual concern, including the imminent expiry of the DZP,” he said.

“While we note the ongoing political and economic recovery in Zimbabwe, consistently supported by the South African government, we are aware that it will take time for her to fully stabilise.”

Gigaba said to qualify for the new permit, applicants needed a valid Zimbabwean passport, evidence of employment, business or accredited study and a clean criminal record.

He said applications would be processed by Visa Facilitation Services which would open four new offices in provinces where they anticipated large numbers of applicants, namely Gauteng, Western Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

“These are in addition to the 11 offices already open, all of which will deal with ZSP applications.

“In line with the new, improved process for all visa and permit applications, applications will begin online, with appointments given for in-person finalisation at a visa facilitation centre.

“Therefore there will be no queues as experienced in the past, and we trust applicants will enjoy a pleasant and efficient application experience.

“An administration fee will apply, which we will communicate once it has been decided, after the completion of discussions between the department and VFS,” said Gigaba.

But, he said, Zimbabweans granted the new ZSP permit who wished to stay in South Africa after its expiry, would need to return to Zimbabwe to apply for mainstream visas and permits under the Immigration Act.

Airlines cry foul over visa rules

August 13 2014 at 06:49am

Michelle Jones

TWENTY international airlines, including the major players, are calling on Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba to delay enforcing new immigration rules to avert a “disaster” that would affect travellers and harm the economy.

An open letter to Gigaba and the Home Affairs deputy director-general of immigration services, Jackie McKay, follows a call by the travel and tourism industry two months ago to delay for 12 months the new rule requiring children to have an unabridged birth certificate before they may leave or enter the country.

From October 1, airlines will be compelled not to allow on board children for whom unabridged birth certificates cannot be presented.

The industry fully supported measures to protect children and improve border security, the airlines wrote.

However, the department was not ready or equipped to implement its new rules, it was failing to make them adequately known in other parts of the world, and it was ignoring the risk of unintended harm to the economy.

“The Department of Home Affairs is clearly confused and trying to address the right problems with the wrong solutions or the right solutions at the wrong time.”

The airlines are Lufthansa, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways, China Southern, Qatar Airways, Air France, Swiss International, Air New Zealand, Air Madagascar, Air Mauritius, Condor, Egypt Air, Ethiopian, fastjet, FlyAfrica, Jet Airways, KLM, Korongo Airlines, Malawian Airlines, and Rwandair.

Noting that tourism was one of the country’s largest sources of employment, they said a study had estimated that 21 000 jobs and R10 billion in tourism income could be lost as unintended consequences of the regulations.

“The Department of Home Affairs is ignoring the potential economic risk to South Africa.

“More than that, it has admitted there is inadequate infrastructure to facilitate in-person visa applications across the world. It has made false assertions that most other countries require children to travel with unabridged birth certificates and it has a non-existent global communication strategy.”

The airlines appealed to the department to “stop ignoring the numerous organisations” that could help it achieve its goals without threatening South African jobs and disrupting the travel of law-abiding families.

“The global travel community wants to help South Africa avoid a tourism, public relations, economic and political disaster, but the department seems intent on that course.”

Home Affairs spokesman Mayihlome Tshwete said Gigaba was aware of the letter.

It was in “no way constructive”, Tshwete said.

If the airlines were serious about their concerns, they would have contacted Gigaba directly rather than through the media.

“Our door is open for people who want to have serious discussions.”

Gigaba has said the new regulations are intended to protect the country’s economic interests and regulate the influx of “economic migrants” who pose as asylum-seekers.

British Airways spokesman Stephen Forbes said: “While the government has explained the reasons for the regulations our concern is that the consequences may be a decline in particularly leisure travel as holidaymakers switch to destinations where the immigration requirements are less onerous.”

Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde has slammed the new regulations as “ludicrous”.

“These regulations turn away investors, job creation and are not in line with the National Development Plan.”

They would have massive consequences for the economy, he said.

The regulations would have a “significantly detrimental impact on the economy of the Western Cape”, particularly the tourism, film and call centre industries.

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