Archive from November, 2015
Nov 30, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Home Affairs Ministry tells police to watch the skies after warnings of an aerial terror attack on Delhi

29 November 2015 – Daily Mail
Intelligence inputs last week warned of an aerial attack on Delhi.
Mail Today then reported on November 28 that ISIS and other terror groups are planning a drone attack on the national capital sometime in coming days.
However, efforts to prevent an attack have been all talk and no action.
On October 27, a flying object was spotted by Air Traffic Control at the Delhi Airport
Security personnel guarding the Capital are now expected to spot low-flying objects that can be a potential terror threat. The question is: Are they trained to combat such a threat?
In the absence of a well-worked-out mechanism to counter an aerial strike threat, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) wants policemen to keep an eye on the skies.
Sources in the security establishment say the threat of an aerial strike is a real one, but preparation is far from satisfactory.
An MHA draft note, laying down standard operating procedures to counter aerial attacks, accessed by Mail Today, stated that “visual means are best suited for their detection”, leaving the onus on Delhi Police to guard against suspicious aerial objects.
The government has also roped in the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) guarding the airport and important government installations.
The note explicitly states that it has been prepared by “non-expert MHA officers”.
With the Air Force reluctant to deal with the monitoring of “sub-convention aerial platforms” that include drones, para-gliders, para-motors, hand gliders, micro-light aircrafts, the onus is on the local police and the CISF.
The ambiguity of the draft Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has already triggered a debate within the security establishment.
A top Delhi Police officer says the MHA draft, if approved, will be a big headache for Delhi Police as they are already struggling with multiple issues, including shortage of staff and limited technology.
“Practically, it is not possible to keep an on every suspicious object flying over Delhi. A cop is not trained to identify such aerial platforms,” he said.
On the other hand, the CISF has also said that primarily, it is the responsibility of the IAF to identify such aerial objects.
“On October 27, a flying object was noticed by the Air Traffic Control at the Delhi Airport and before any agency could react, it vanished. Even the IAF couldn’t get time to react on time. Whole process of identifying the object and informing Delhi police and other agencies took almost an hour,” a senior CISF official said.
In the six-page draft, prepared by the MHA, it’s stated that sightings of sub-conventional aerial platforms are on the rise in Delhi. The draft has been sent to the IAF, Delhi Police, CISF, and the Ministry of Civil aviation for their inputs and suggestions.
The ministry is planning to finalise a SOP for aerial attacks within a week. According to the MHA draft, the decision to shoot down the suspicious flying object will be taken by Delhi Police and other security agencies.
“Such attacks require an integrated approach by multiple agencies for detection and neutralisation. However, all the arrangements are to be undertaken after taking the air space clearance from the IAF. The decision to fire at suspicious aerial object rests with Delhi Police and other security agencies,” the MHA draft says.
The MHA has also prescribed a format to deal with such attacks. The ministry wants Delhi Police to take immediate measures.
“Delhi Police will be responsible to seize prohibited aerial objects. It will also register cases under the IPC,” the note says.

Nov 30, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Judge lashes out at refugee authority

Cape Argus – 29 November 2015
A FURIOUS Western Cape High Court judge has threatened to refer the refugee application debacle to the public protector after hauling the Home Affairs Department over the coals.
Ordering Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, the Home Affairs department and refugee authorities to persuade him otherwise by next month, Judge Ashley Binns-Ward hit out at what he termed “systematic dysfunctionality” in the department.
In the case, UCT’s Refugee Rights Clinic reacted after the respondents failed to file the administrative record of the case, which led to delays and to the matter eventually coming to a standstill.
The clinic accused the respondents of using strategies to frustrate and defeat their efforts to assist clients.
In the application, it emerged that the clinic’s client, Kennedy Tshiyombo, had fled from violence in the DRC nearly 10 years ago, claiming he had been kidnapped and forcibly inducted into rebel military forces. He later managed to escape and flee to South Africa.
Tshiyombo received an asylum seeker permit, which was renewed from time to time and was asked to complete a fresh application for refugee status in October 2008.
But days later his application was rejected as unfounded.
A later appeal to the Refugee Appeal Board was also dismissed.
He turned to the High Court, asking it to review and set aside the decisions of the refugee status determination officer.
Judge Binns-Ward directed the Cape Town Refugee Reception Office to issue Tshiyombo with a formal written recognition of refugee status. The Appeal Board, the refugee status determination officer and the Reception Office were ordered to show cause why they should not be held personally liable for the additional costs Tshiyombo incurred.

Nov 30, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Home affairs refutes claims of stalling visa regulations’ changes

EWN – 26 November 2015
JOHANNESBURG – The Home Affairs Department has refuted claims that it’s dragging its feet in implementing changes to its visa regulations.
Last month an interministerial committee announced changes to the laws that require biometric testing and the presentation of an unabridged birth certificate for children travelling into South Africa.
The department has been accused of stalling the implementation of changes that will see the amendment of both these requirements.
Since the new laws came into effect in June, the tourism sector has reported significant losses which experts say are worse than expected.
However, home affairs spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete says the department is working within the time frame set by the committee.
“The people who have said the department is either dragging its feet or not trying to do this, is clearly didn’t the recommendations which gave us three months. Since then it has only been a month, we are working around the clock and will have a number of the recommendations done within three months.”

Nov 30, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER MALUSI GIGABA ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF CABINET CONCESSSIONS ON IMMIGRATION REGULATIONS

25 November 2015 – Home Affairs
We have taken note of recent statements concerning actions taken regarding concessions that Cabinet had made to ease the implementation of the amended immigration legislation and regulations. Let me hasten unreservedly to express our commitment to the success of the process.
To reiterate the actions that must be taken within three months – 1 November 2015 to 31 January 2016 – as articulated by Cabinet, we are to,
• Implement the capturing of biometrics at ports of entry starting with a pilot at OR Tambo, King Shaka and Cape Town airports,
• Look at introducing an Accredited Tourism Company Programme for countries like China, India and Russia,
• Consider a long-term Multiple Entry Visa for a period exceeding 3 months and up to 3 years for frequent travellers (for business meetings), business people and academics,
• Ensure that principals issue letters confirming permission for children to travel on school tours,
• Extend the validity of the parental consent affidavit to 6 months.
As mandated by Cabinet, the department is also urgently looking at the legal instrument, to facilitate the requirement of birth certificates for non-visa requiring countries being replaced by a strong advisory. This requires a legal instrument as our current laws do not draw distinctions between children from different countries.
If we proceed carelessly without that legal instrument, we will be undermining our own legislation and placing ourselves in a constitutionally compromising situation for which we will be legally liable.
It is important to remember that the Department of Home Affairs also played a key role in the IMC, and we therefore fully support the recommendations. Contrary to some public sentiments, these recommendations are still a step forward in promoting the Children’s Act and introducing basic but critical national security measures.
Even with the envisioned birth certificate, and a strong advisory for non-visa requiring countries, our immigration officers are better empowered to act against the illicit movement of children.
The recommendations around biometrics afford better measures to keep South Africans and those within the republic safer from the evils that evidently exist globally. These are progressive interventions and we welcome them.
In the meantime, the status quo will remain until such time that the necessary actions have been taken, including the capacity at the main ports of entry to capture biometric data. These changes must unfold within the framework of what is permissible by law.
Other concessions are for implementation in a year and beyond. We are hard at work to ensure implementation of these concessions, starting with those prioritized for the first three months, ending 31 January 2016, understanding this to be is in the interest of the country and various stakeholders.
The regulations took effect in 2014 when there were already concerns about the state of tourism, not only in our country, but globally.
The child-specific travel requirements in the immigration regulations came into operation only this year, in June. We have heard the concerns of the tourism sector, and the IMC has balanced those concerns with national interests. We carry the mandate of being the first line of defence in this regard for the country and therefore must be willing to risk some measure of unpopularity to ensure national security is not forsaken.
The Department of Home Affairs has fulfilled its mandate to facilitate safe movement while extending non-visa requirements to the top tourism generating countries.
As you would know tourism issues reside specifically with our Department of Tourism, with which we will continue working closely to address those concerns that were raised by our stakeholders. That notwithstanding, I have directed the department to meet with the tourism sector. In this meeting I expect them to further share with stakeholders the timelines of concessions and also hear from them on their role in assisting government to keep South Africa safe and prosperous.
The challenge going-forward is to work with all our partners and stakeholders to make the new visa regime work for the country, ensuring child safety, national security and economic development.

Nov 30, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Lesotho special permit on track – Gigaba

2015-11-25 – News24
Cape Town – South Africa will grant a moratorium on deporting Lesotho nationals until December 2016.
This is to facilitate the smooth implementation of the Lesotho special permit dispensation, which was approved by Cabinet in October.
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Wednesday that February 2016 was the targeted date for the official start of the Lesotho special permit programme, when they expected to start receiving applications.
Once in place, the special permit will be valid for four years, from May 2016, until April 2020.
Gigaba said the moratorium on deportations for Lesotho nationals would exclude people with negative police clearances and those who had been released from prison after serving their sentences.
Applicants must also not have a criminal record. Lesotho nationals who voluntarily surrendered their fraudulent permits or SA passports and IDs would be granted amnesty.
“To be noted is that the special dispensation does not grant the holder the right to apply for permanent residence.”
Gigaba said the Lesotho special permit would advance the goals of the National Development Plan.
“It makes no business sense also to sustain funding for deportations that can clearly be avoided, with Lesotho being among the four highest countries whose nationals South Africa deports.”
On Zimbabwe special permits, Gigaba said they had had around 208 967 online applications, with 160 still under review due to technical issues.
197 790 Zimbabwe special permits had been approved and 25 rejected.
Gigaba said visa facilitation centres had closed down all of its Zimbabwe special permits and they would continue issuing uncollected permits until January 2016.

Nov 30, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Home Affairs gives man identity crisis

November 24 – The Star

Johannesburg – Is Phineas Ndlovu a South African, a Lesotho national or a Zimbabwean? Is his real name even Phineas Ndlovu?
According to the 63-year-old man and his family, he was born at the then Coronation Hospital (now Raheema Moosa Mother and Child Hospital) and lived his whole life in Soweto, where he attended Motsaneng Lower Primary School in Mapetla.
However, the Department of Home Affairs and its officials disagree. They say their records indicate that Ndlovu is a Lesotho national who committed a crime there in 1969 when he was 17 years old, while other records show that he is actually a Zimbabwean man.
It was only when he went to apply for a smart card that all this was revealed, leaving him confused because Home Affairs issued him an ID in the past without any problem. Today, however, he finds himself without any form of identity book because Home Affairs officials seized it and blocked it after telling him that he was a foreigner.
Ndlovu does not know how he landed in the situation he is in today, but traced everything back to when he was 17 and went to the Home Affairs office in Market Street in Joburg to apply for a dompas.
Instead of getting the document, he was allegedly accused of being a Lesotho national, arrested, bundled into a vehicle and driven to the Lesotho border. “However, I told the official that I’m not from Lesotho and do not know anyone from there,” Ndlovu recalled.
He did not cross into Lesotho but instead found his way back to Joburg. The following year, Ndlovu’s grandmother helped him obtain a dompas and The Star is in possession of the affidavit in which the old woman explained that her grandson was born in Joburg.
Years later, he got a job at a company where he worked for 30 years, got a green barcoded ID book, voted and even applied and received an old age pension. But when he recently went to apply for a smart card ID, he was told that records show that he was Zimbabwean and was wanted in his country for a crime he had committed there.
Confused, Ndlovu went to another Home Affairs branch. There, the official assisting him punched his ID number into the computer and sent him to the immigration section of the building. There, Ndlovu was told that he was from Lesotho, his name was Eric Mboro and he had committed crime there too.
His ID book was taken and later blocked. The Department of Home Affairs has instituted an investigation to resolve the matter. Spokesman Mayihlome Tshwete said officials from head office will contact Ndlovu with a view to attaining more information to assist with the probe.
“As a principle, we would not want to deport a genuine South African but equally, if it is found that the complainant is in the country illegally, we will have to follow due process and implement the Immigration Act,” he said.

Nov 27, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Turkish ups Johannesburg flights

25 Nov 2015 – Tourism Update

Turkish Airways is to increase its Istanbul-Johannesburg route by three flights.

Turkish Airlines will increase its weekly Istanbul-Johannesburg service from seven to 10 flights a week. The seasonal schedule, with the additional flights, will start on July 11 and run until October 28.
The schedule will see daily flights depart Johannesburg at 18h45 to arrive in Istanbul at 05h20 the following morning. The return flight departs Istanbul at 01h30 to arrive in Johannesburg at 10h20.
The three new flights will see flight number TK163 depart Johannesburg at 07h25 on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday mornings to arrive in Istanbul at 18h00 that evening. The return flight TK162 will depart Istanbul at 21h05 on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays to arrive in Johannesburg at 05h55 the following morning.
The service will be operated by an A330