Archive from November, 2016
Nov 21, 2016 - Business Permit    No Comments

R700 000 for couple barred from re-entering SA

R700 000 for couple barred from re-entering SA
17 November 2016, _ Pretoria News
Pretoria – South African couple Mukhrar and Tasleem Ahmed went on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, but when they wanted to return, they were barred from entering South Africa.
The couple were held in Dubai after authorities indicated their names appeared on the V list (undesirable persons) of Home Affairs.
They had to settle in Pakistan for six months, separated from family and their children who had remained at home in Durban with their uncle.
The couple initially claimed R3.6 million in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, for the trauma they said they and their children suffered.
The court ordered Home Affairs to pay R700 000 in damages to the couple and R50 000 to each of their two children, aged 2 and 7 in 2012.
The parents, both Pakistani, were married in terms of Islamic law. However, Ahmed acquired South African citizenship while his wife received asylum when she first entered the country.
The couple left the country on August 5, 2012, for a two-week trip to Saudi Arabia. On their return, they were informed at Dubai airport that they could not enter South Africa.
Ahmed said after being refused permission to board the flight in Dubai, they went to Pakistan, where they remained for six months.
The separation from his children caused him sleepless nights and when they were eventually reunited, the children were terrified that they would be separated again.
He said he had no idea why his name was on the V list. But in February 2013, Ahmed successfully launched an urgent application that their names be removed from the list and they be allowed to return home.
But Home Affairs only removed his name from the unwanted person’s list weeks later.
Sam Langa, an immigration officer, testified that during 2008 he investigated cases of foreign nationals being in the country illegally.
While in KwaZulu-Natal on patrol, he stopped a vehicle occupied by a man and a woman. The man’s ID indicated he was a permanent resident and married to a South African. The man happened to be Ahmed.
He questioned him about his status in the country and Ahmed told him he was separated from his first wife, a South African, but now married to Tasleem.
According to Langa, the man was in contravention of his permit conditions which allowed him to be in South Africa, as he did not live with his South African spouse.
Langa then interviewed the first wife, Natalie, and she told him she and Ahmed had entered into a contract marriage to enable Ahmed to stay in the country. He said Ahmed was declared an illegal immigrant and due to be deported. However, he secured his release from Lindela Repatriation Centre by launching an urgent application. Home Affairs was interdicted from deporting him.
Langa told the court he was not aware why Ahmed’s name was placed on the list in the fist place or why it remained there after a judge ordered it to be removed.
Judge Nomonde Mngqibisa-Thusi found that the couple’s constitutional rights were violated when Home Affairs did not adhere to a court order to immediately remove their names from the list.
Pretoria News

Nov 18, 2016 - Business Permit    No Comments

The first casualty in the war on undocumented immigrants — the truth

The first casualty in the war on undocumented immigrants — the truth
16 November 2016 – Los Angeles Times

Chief Charlie Beck of the Los Angeles Police Department, shown here in October, told the Los Angeles Times on Monday that President-elect Trump’s vows to deport millions after taking office will not affect the LAPD’s longstanding policy of staying out of immigration issues. (Nick Ut / Associated Press)
The Times Editorial Board
The first casualty in the war on the undocumented, as in any war, is the truth. In this case, President-elect Donald Trump appears to have bought into a series of falsehoods and sweeping generalizations about the roles that cities and municipal law enforcement play in supposedly shielding residents from federal immigration enforcement. Los Angeles is fortunate to have, in Charlie Beck, a police chief who distinguishes between fact and fiction and recognizes the role his officers play in protecting public safety.
As Trump aides hammered out their plans to pressure local police and jail officials to assist in finding and deporting residents who crossed the border illegally or otherwise flouted immigration laws, Beck on Monday said the LAPD would not change its current practices. It would not begin questioning people on their immigration status or turning over low-level crime suspects who are undocumented to federal authorities.
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The LAPD is not a branch of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and police do not allow themselves to be deputized as immigration agents. Nor should they.
Since the 1970s, the LAPD has wisely recognized that it can best protect public safety by cultivating good relationships with the communities it serves and giving all residents the assurance that they can speak to police without fear of being deported. Besides, police here have plenty of their own work to do without adding immigration enforcement.
This policy outrages some critics who falsely believe that crossing the border and residing in the United States without authorization are crimes. They are not. Violators may have no legal right to be here and are subject to deportation — but under U.S. law their actions are not crimes and they are not criminals.
Beck’s sound approach, which has been the policy of every L.A. police chief since Daryl F. Gates, is sometimes used to brand Los Angeles a “sanctuary city.” It is not — at least, not if that term is to have any actual meaning. L.A. does not actively shield anyone from deportation nor does it impede efforts by federal officials to do their work. Besides, most of the interaction with ICE necessarily is not with the city but the county — which grants federal agents full access to its jails and inmate databases and follows protocols for transferring inmates to federal custody.
But some immigration hawks, including Trump, have indulged in a kind of definition creep under which they brand any municipality a “sanctuary city” if it fails to do the federal government’s immigration work for it. That would be merely dishonest were it not for the possibility that the Trump administration might punish “sanctuary” cities by withholding federal police funding for supposedly flouting immigration law. Having campaigned on anti-immigration “facts” that are mainstays of conservative blogs and talk radio, Trump now has a lot to learn before turning his pronouncements into policies that enhance, rather than undermine, public safety.

Nov 18, 2016 - Business Permit    No Comments

Immigration hardliner says Trump team preparing plans for wall, mulling Muslim registry

Immigration hardliner says Trump team preparing plans for wall, mulling Muslim registry
16 Nov 2016 – CNBC
An architect of anti-immigration efforts who says he is advising President-elect Donald Trump said the new administration could push ahead rapidly on construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall without seeking immediate congressional approval.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who helped write tough immigration laws in Arizona and elsewhere, said in an interview that Trump’s policy advisers had also discussed drafting a proposal for his consideration to reinstate a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries.
Kobach, who media reports say is a key member of Trump’s transition team, said he had participated in regular conference calls with about a dozen Trump immigration advisers for the past two to three months.
Trump’s transition team did not respond to requests for confirmation of Kobach’s role. The president-elect has not committed to following any specific recommendations from advisory groups.
Trump, who scored an upset victory last week over Democrat Hillary Clinton, made building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border a central issue of his campaign and has pledged to step up immigration enforcement against the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants. He has also said he supports “extreme vetting” of Muslims entering the United States as a national security measure.
Kobach told Reuters last Friday that the immigration group had discussed drafting executive orders for the president-elect’s review “so that Trump and the Department of Homeland Security hit the ground running.”
To implement Trump’s call for “extreme vetting” of some Muslim immigrants, Kobach said the immigration policy group could recommend the reinstatement of a national registry of immigrants and visitors who enter the United States on visas from countries where extremist organizations are active.
Kobach helped design the program, known as the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, while serving in Republican President George W. Bush’s Department of Justice after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States by al Qaeda militants.
Under NSEERS, people from countries deemed “higher risk” were required to undergo interrogations and fingerprinting on entering the United States. Some non-citizen male U.S. residents over the age of 16 from countries with active militant threats were required to register in person at government offices and periodically check in.
NSEERS was abandoned in 2011 after it was deemed redundant by the Department of Homeland Security and criticized by civil rights groups for unfairly targeting immigrants from Muslim- majority nations.
Kobach said the immigration advisers were also looking at how the Homeland Security Department could move rapidly on border wall construction without approval from Congress by reappropriating existing funds in the current budget. He acknowledged “that future fiscal years will require additional appropriations.”
Congress, which is controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans, could object to redirecting DHS funds designated for other purposes.
Helped draft tough Arizona law
Kobach has worked with allies across the United States on drafting laws and pursuing legal actions to crack down on illegal immigration.
In 2010, he helped draft an Arizona law that required state and local officials to check the immigration status of individuals stopped by police. Parts of the law, which was fiercely opposed by Hispanic and civil rights groups, were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011.
Kobach was also the architect of a 2013 Kansas law requiring voters to provide proof-of-citizenship documents, such as birth certificates or U.S. passports, when registering for the first time. A U.S. appeals court blocked that law after challenges from civil rights groups.
Kobach said in the interview he believed that illegal immigrants in some cases should be deported before a conviction if they have been charged with a violent crime. Trump said in an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday that once he took office, he would remove immigrants with criminal records who are in the country illegally.
Kobach said the immigration group had also discussed ways of overturning President Barack Obama’s 2012 executive action that has granted temporary deportation relief and work permits to more than 700,000 undocumented people or “dreamers” who came to the United States as children of illegal immigrants.

Nov 18, 2016 - Business Permit    No Comments

TBCSA fights airport delays

TBCSA fights airport delays
15 December 2016 – Tourism Update
The TBCSA has presented a contingency plan to alleviate the lengthy delays caused by the Department of Home Affairs staff shortages at major airports across the country. The implementation now relies on Home Affairs.
TBCSA CEO, Mmatšatši Ramawela, says multiple interim solutions are required to address the immediate problem.
The TBCSA put forward a multi-action proposal during a meeting on November 4 between the Minister of Tourism, captains of the tourism industry and National Treasury. DHA wasn’t present. Ramawela says The Department of Tourism is meeting with the DHA and other government departments on an unknown date to see that initiatives contained in the proposal are taken forward.
In its short- to medium-term proposal the TBCSA has suggested that all immigration counters remain staffed by bringing in SAPS officials to man the stations on the departures side of the airports. “This was done in 2010 and there were no issues of congestion despite the fact that we were welcoming a lot of people in one go,” says Ramawela.
She says the biggest requirement for officials on the departures side is security clearance, which SAPS officials already have, so all they would need would be a one or two-day course in order to qualify for the task.
Ramawela says ushers are also needed to direct travellers entering arrivals. “At the moment all they see is three queues: one for South Africans, one for travellers who require visas and one for those that don’t.” She says this is a problem for non-English speakers who may join the wrong queue.
Ramawela says the TBCSA and SA Tourism are willing to finance this through the Welcome Campaign (an initiative that aims to create and sustain engagement with industry stakeholders).
The third measure is to improve the experience of travellers standing in queues by providing them with water and things to nibble on.
However, she says these measures are subject to the approval of the DHA, NDT and other parties within and outside of government.
Spokesperson for the DHA, Mayihlome Tshwete, was unable to confirm whether it would be introducing any of these measures and says only that the Department is working with stakeholders to ensure more efficient facilitation of travellers at ports of entry.
For the long term the parties will have to find a solution to the ‘austerity’ employment procedures in government, which mean that the DHA cannot replace someone without a procedure verifying the job needs to be filled, says Ramawela.

Nov 18, 2016 - Business Permit    No Comments

EU unveils new security check system for travellers

EU unveils new security check system for travellers
2016-11-16 – Traveller 24
Brussels — The European Union on Wednesday unveiled plans for a new system of security checks on travelers permitted to enter Europe without visas in an effort to crack down on extremists.
People from 60 visa waiver countries, including the US, will have to pay 5 euros ($5.36) and fill out an online form to obtain clearance to travel within Europe’s 26-nation ID check-free area.
The EU’s security commissioner, Julian King, said that “by spotting problem individuals and stopping them from coming, we’ll enhance Europe’s internal security.”
The automated system would cross-check travellers against visa, criminal and stolen document databases. The European Commission says filling out the form should take less than 10 minutes. It will be valid for five years and multiple trips. Most people should get immediate approval, although some requests could take 72 hours to come through.
The EU’s top migration official, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said the system will help identify people who “may pose security threats, also irregular migration, or health risks, before they arrive at our borders. It will bridge somehow the existing information gap by gathering information that could be vital to national authorities.”
The United States introduced a similar travel authorization system after the Sept 11 attacks. In the past, EU officials routinely complained that it was tantamount to re-introducing visas.
But the deadly attacks on Paris and Brussels last year, in which a total of 162 people were killed, have spurred Europe’s own security clampdown.
Plans are also in the pipeline for an entry and exit scheme that would check all travelers, including European citizens, entering or leaving the passport-free area known as Schengen. That system is aimed at catching so-called foreign terrorist fighters who train or wage war in Syria and Iraq.
The Commission hopes that both this system and the new travel clearance will be up and running in 2020.

Nov 18, 2016 - Business Permit    No Comments

Battling with poor service from home affairs, join the club?

Battling with poor service from home affairs, join the club?
November 15, 2016 – The South African
The Department of Home Affairs wastes millions of Rands of Tax Payers’ money due to numerous court battles, abject inefficiency and laziness, staff knocking off early, and more.
The cost to the Tax Payer for court action against the department came to about R100 million in 2015 and, as the DA noted:
“An efficient and effective department should not be spending this amount of money on legal costs resulting from their own administrative failures.”
More and more people are desperately turning to the courts in order to get vital documents that they need to for visa applications, work opportunities and other economically-driven needs.
Thus the cost to the Tax Payer is indeed far greater, and it is not hard to estimate that the loss to South Africa in terms of tourism and business and other activities is indeed enormous. Often the turnaround time after a court order has been granted is expeditious – which indicates doing the job is not that hard, but clearly, it is laziness and ineptitude mixed with nepotism and cronyism that is at the heart of the problem.
You might even wonder if Minister Gigaba has been ‘captured’ as it appears every State-run service is severely compromised on delivery where the Guptas may have been involved.
I am aware at the time of writing that a Non-Profit Foundation in South Africa is considering mass court action against the Department of Home affairs, specifically with the intent of representing those without recourse to legal representation.
Such mass action would in effect ask the Courts for an order requiring the expedient processing of all outstanding applications submitted to the Court. Towards this end, we would like to ask you to share your story so that we can gather as many applicable cases as possible for future submission.
It is not right that we the taxpayer should shoulder the burden of a department that is failing at its basic duties. They are not doing us favours, they are servants of the people, our taxes fund their lavish lifestyles, it is time for us to say enough is enough and force this ineffective, corrupt government to show up for work!
A gatvol citizen.

Nov 18, 2016 - Business Permit    No Comments

Zimbabweans sleep outside banks as cash crisis worsens

Zimbabweans sleep outside banks as cash crisis worsens
2016-11-12 – News24
Harare – A large line snakes its way down the dimly-lit street, as a group of bleary-eyed men wait patiently outside a bank in Zimbabwe’s capital.
Zimbabwean War veterans have reportedly told President Robert Mugabe to ditch the Generation 40, which is largely believed to be allied to his wife Grace, if he wants to work with them again.
Some of them have been coming here for days, spending their nights lying on uncomfortable cardboard boxes in the hope that when morning comes they will be able to withdraw some money amid worsening cash shortages.
“It’s painful,” a young man told Al Jazeera. “We leave our families at home. Sleep put here in the dark, in the cold. We don’t even remember what our beds feel like anymore. It is disgraceful.”
Zimbabwe’s economic crisis is going from bad to worse, forcing hundreds of people to sleep outside their banks to be able to get money. The country adopted the US dollar and South African rand in 2009 after massive inflation wreaked havoc to the economy and rendered the local currency worthless. But banks are now running out of US dollar reserves, and that is leading to massive queues.
Some banks have already limited withdrawals to just $50 a day per person.
“It’s become a way of life,” said Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from Harare. “Sleeping outside the bank is the only way some Zimbabweans can make sure they get cash.”
The government has announced plans to introduce a local currency called bond notes. It hopes that the cash injection will boost exports, benefit local businesses and ease the suffering of Zimbabwe’s poor population.
But some economists warn the never ending bank queues may not disappear anytime soon.
“Definitely they will persist unless or until there is an inflow of capital into the country, which is unlikely,” Prosper Chitambara, an economist, told Al Jazeera.
“Without that, the queues will persist.”
Right now, all most people can do is wait and try to get as much money out of their bank as possible once they manage to reach the cashier.
“More people are planning to spend another uncomfortable night in front of a bank,” said Al Jazeera’s Mutasa.
“They hope tomorrow will be easier; they hope they can withdraw $100, instead of 50. “Then they won’t have to do this again … at least until next month.”