Archive from January, 2017
Jan 30, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Home Affairs ‘needs R1bn’ to do its job

‘When you have R10 million to digitise documents, you really don’t
have money.’
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba yesterday openly acknowledged that
his department needs resources and much more money to be able to
function efficiently and to serve South African and foreign nationals.
Gigaba said the resourcing of the department has a severe impact on
the economy, security and service delivery and on the “happiness of
our clients we are servicing” and said they would need at least R1
billion just for digitisation, excluding the funds to fill positions.
“Unfortunately, this is one department which serves every single South
African more than once in their lifetime, as well as foreign nationals.
“So if you apply for permanent residence, the fact that there is a
delay in the return of your permanent residence permit, is not because
our officers are just loitering doing nothing, sipping coffee and are
on Twitter and Facebook.
It is because we are understaffed,” Gigaba defended his department.
“If you go to our front offices, go to the counters that are lying
idle and there is nobody because we have no people to occupy these
counters.”
Gigaba explained that smart card ID officers, who by regulation are
supposed to be at least five on duty at any given time, are now only
about three or two on duty and that frustrates clients, because they
do not understand the pressures and difficulties Gigaba’s team are under.
He said they need least R100 million or R1 billion just to help with
the digitisation of 5.5 million documents that are currently in
various of their buildings dating back to the 1800s. “We started a
digitisation process for only 5.5 million of those and said we would
prioritise the digitisation of records that are required for
unabridged birth certificates so that in the near future we are able
to do away with that difficulty.
“But the documents that are most in demand are unabridged birth
certificates, unabridged marriage certificates and unabridged death
certificates �” and we need to digitise them.
“But when you have R10 million to do that you really don’t have money.
What we need is at least R100 million or R1 billion,” Gigaba said.

Jan 30, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

SA will not mimic Trump in Lesotho deportations, assures Malusi Gigaba

SA will not mimic Trump in Lesotho deportations, assures Malusi Gigaba
30 January 2017 — TMG Digital

SA will soon begin deporting undocumented Lesotho nationals but will
not mimic US President Donald Trump’s attitude towards migrants from
neighbouring Mexico in doing so.
Department of Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba on Sunday gave an
update on the Lesotho special permit application process‚ which closed
in December.
The special permits were introduced to regularise the stay of Basotho
people in SA for work‚ study or business.
For the duration of the application process‚ Basotho in SA unlawfully
were protected by amnesty but this will come to an end on March 31‚
the deadline for applicants to submit outstanding documents to the
department.
From April, deportations of those who failed to apply for their
special permits would begin‚ Gigaba said.
Gigaba said‚ however‚ that the department was not seeking the “Trump
solution” for dealing with any people in the country illegally.
“The Trump approach‚ we will never support it. We think it’s going to
compound [strained] relations between the US and Mexico. We think the
US is going to suffer.”
During his election campaign last year‚ Trump created a storm of
controversy when he vowed to build a wall along the US-Mexico border
to keep Mexicans from entering the US illegally.
Trump has also ordered a travel ban to the US for refugees and other
travellers from seven Muslim countries since taking office.
“In the mind of a narrow-minded person such measures may seem
credible. But someone who has a long-term view will realise that this
is going to be very costly in terms of human life [and] in terms of
economic resources‚” Gigaba said.
He said that the Lesotho government had co-operated well with the
special permit application process.
A total of 127‚048 online special permit applications have been
submitted. By the end of December‚ 88‚563 Basotho nationals had
completed the application process‚ while the rest still have
outstanding documents due.
The department will now focus on adjudicating the applications and
issuing permits. To date‚ 31‚019 permits have been collected.
Gigaba said the permits aimed to relieve pressure from the asylum
seeker management process‚ provide amnesty to Basotho who obtained
South African documents fraudulently and regularise Basotho residing
in SA undocumented.
No applications have been rejected thus far.
Gigaba also tackled anti-immigrant sentiments doing the rounds on
social media‚ alleging the department has called for the immediate
deportation of undocumented migrants from African countries.
“We will not incite citizens to take the law into their hands when we
have the legal means ourselves lawfully to control illegal migration
and effect deportations as necessary.”
He said the government ultimately wanted to accommodate free movement
for the citizens of all African countries‚ but that this needed to be
managed gradually.
TMG Digital

Jan 26, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

No deportation of undocumented migrants

No deportation of undocumented migrants
26 Jan 2017 — Biz community

The Department of Home Affairs has dismissed reports that it has
ordered the immediate deportation of undocumented migrants in the country.

The message, which has been circulating via social media networks and
SMS, alleges that the deportation of undocumented migrants began on
Monday, 23 January 2017.

In a statement, the department said no such statement was made or
issued by the department or any official.

“Home Affairs acts consistently within the confines of the
Constitution of the Republic and seeks at all times to uphold the rule
of law. It would run contrary to the laws of our country to instruct
citizens, as purported in the malicious messages, to take the law into
their hands and to close companies down without due process.”

The department said it is through Immigration Services and its
inspectorate that the department enforces immigration legislation,
manages the immigration system and effects deportations, in terms of
the Immigration Act 13 of 2002 and regulations.

The inspectorate has a duty to ensure that persons in South Africa are
correctly documented, reside in the country on a lawful basis and
acquire documents and status lawfully.

“It has standardised systems relating to the detection, detention and
deportation of illegal foreign nationals in South Africa,” the
department said.

It urged citizens and all other persons in the country to ignore this
false alarm that is seemingly seeking to fuel tensions in the country.

“It is in the best interest of the country for government and citizens
to do all in their power together to work for stability and peace,
while combating illegal migration and other crimes through lawful means.”

Jan 20, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Malusi Gigaba yet to make a decision over Zim special permit

JOHANNESBURG – The Home Affairs Department says it is in the process
of deciding what should happen to the holders of a Zimbabwean special
permit once it expires this year.

Nearly 200,000 Zimbabweans in possession of such permits are currently
working in the country.

In 2014 Zimbabwean nationals living in South Africa who had previously
been granted permits were allowed to re-register for the next three
years.

Speaking at a press conference this week, Home Affairs Minister Malusi
Gigaba said Zimbabweans who are in possession of a special permit
should apply for visas made available by the department.

“We advise those who are on the ZSP to regularise their stay in the
country by taking advantage of the various visas that are provided for
in the Immigration Act.”

He says a decision has not been made on what would happen to those who
do not regularise their stay with the department.

“I would not want at this stage to jump the gun and pre-empt a
decision which I’d have to make after consultation with my cabinet
colleagues.”

Gigaba says while the country will consider the contributions
Zimbabwean nationals have made to the economy, other legal matters
need to be discussed by the cabinet.

Jan 18, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

R25 million boost for airport immigration capacity

The South African Department of Home Affairs will increase the number
of immigration officials employed at OR Tambo International Airport
for the 2017/2018 financial year.

Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, told media at a briefing on
Wednesday that the department had allocated R25 million (€1.7m) for
the 2017/2018 financial year and should be able to appoint an
additional 58 immigration officials as well as fully capacitate its
management team.

This comes after the Department of Home
Affairs deployed 92 additional staff at OR Tambo International Airport
from December 9 to January 14 this year.

A second increase in staff capacity is planned for the 2018/2019
financial year, with an additional budget allocation of R17 million
(€1.2m) made available by National Treasury.

Arrivals recorded during this period by the Department of Home Affairs
were 2 054 118 foreign arrivals compared with the 1 997 532 for the
same period between December 9, 2015 and January 14, 2016. This is a
2.83% increase.

Gigaba attributed the numbers to an increase in tourism. “Once we
start projecting the country as a tourism destination and highlight
the various tourist attractions that are available in South Africa, it
tends to have a positive impact on the number of people who are
travelling to our country.” He added that the perception of South
Africa as a ‘safe’ destination had also contributed to the increase in
tourism numbers during the festive season and travel to South Africa
throughout the year.

A total of 208 833 arrivals were from Europe, 47 933 from North
America, 43 690 from Asia, 35 166 from South America, 19 190 from
Australia, and 6 321 from the Middle East. Arrivals from Africa
accounted for 1 660 020 of the total arrivals.

Jan 16, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Zimbabwe-SA special permit holders edgy

Zimbabwe-SA special permit holders edgy
12 Jan 2017 – Bulawayo News

BULAWAYO – Zimbabwe Special Permit (ZSP) holders are nervous about their future in South Africa as it remains unclear whether Pretoria would renew their documents, which expired at the end of December this year.

The South African government is yet to indicate the course of action it will pursue over the expired ZSPs, causing jitters among their holders who constitute a larger percentage of Zimbabweans in the Rainbow Nation.

An estimated three million Zimbabweans are said to be in South Africa, most of them illegally.

In 2012, Pretoria issued ZSPs to allow thousands of Zimbabweans illegally working in Africa’s most industrialised economy to regularise their stay there.

The permits first expired on December 31, 2014 and were renewed the following year for three years.

Out of the 200 000 applications received back then, slightly over 185 000 were approved while the rest were rejected.

All Zimbabweans with a crime-free record were eligible to apply for the special permits. The South African Department of Home Affairs had to waive all the stringent requirements that are normally associated with acquiring a work permit in the neighbouring country.

During the time, the South African government also invited Zimbabweans, who had fraudulently acquired national identity cards and passports of that country, to surrender them and apply for the special permits without any retribution.

Ngqabutho Mabhena, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa, recently circulated a notice assuring members of his association not to panic, saying in their engagements with the Department of Home Affairs they had been told not to worry about what would happen beyond December 31.

The notice indicated that Pretoria was planning a new arrangement that would see holders of the ZSP legally staying in South Africa beyond 2017.

But Migrant Workers Union of South Africa general-secretary, Mandla Masuku, said while some ZSP holders had hoped that the host country would come up with a win-win solution for both parties, many are already disturbed.

“People are beginning to panic and this can be attested to by the number of those contacting our organisation seeking clarity on the way forward,” Masuku told the Financial Gazette.

“People are not yet ready to return to Zimbabwe because they see no opportunities there.”

Masuku said chances of the South African government renewing the permits were very slim with the documents clearly written “non-renewable” as part of their conditions.

Masuku, however, said the permits could be extended to 2018 after which ZSP holders could be subjected to the normal visa regime like everybody else.

With the country’s potentially explosive elections due next year, many fear that South Africa may engage in mass deportations of Zimbabweans who are illegally staying in that country to influence the vote across the Limpopo River.

South Africans accuse migrants of putting a strain on the southern neighbour’s economy, leading to, at one stage, xenophobic attacks on foreigners.

Masuku advised the ZSP holders to behave themselves, stay away from crime and not to engage themselves in the political affairs of that country while awaiting their fate.

He also urged the affected Zimbabwean nationals to stay calm while waiting official communication from the South African government.

Bhekinkosi Mkhwebu, a special permit holder working in Johannesburg, said he and others in the same situation were now restive over the matter.

“We are now fretting because the South African government is just silent over our fate and we do not know what is going to happen at the end of it all,” said Mkhwebu.

Pretoria-based George Mkhwananzi said only a few ZSP holders were despondent.

“The skilled professionals feel trapped in this permit regime that seems to have wasted time they could have used to apply for permanent residence under normal permit regimes,” said Mkhwananzi who is also the deputy spokesperson of the People’s Democratic Party.

“The majority — the unskilled ones — find security in numbers. Remember these are people who would not have qualified for any work permit in South Africa. They do not believe South Africa can be so heartless as to deport a quarter of a million people in ‘one swoop’,” Mkhwananzi noted while further indicating that a more stringent process could result in many ZSP holders failing to qualify.

“If the permits do not get renewed by 31 December 2017, the people will stay illegally in the country and I do not see the authorities successfully managing to sniff them out. It will be better for the South African government to renew those permits than to spend money deporting people who will return to the country afterwards. South Africa is, after all, benefiting from their presence in the country; it is a symbiotic relationship, despite protestations to the contrary”.

Mkhwananzi said it was disturbing that some migrants had joined the bandwagon of criticising the African National Congress-led government as if their stay in South Africa depended on their sympathy for the opposition.

“They must just work for their families,” he retorted

Jan 16, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

EU travel directive inches closer

EU travel directive inches closer
9 Jan 2017 – Tourism Update
A hearing on a new directive that threatens to entrench the power of Germany’s dominant tour operators, will take place later this month
A hearing on the revised EU Package Travel Directive (PTD), which prevents independent travel agents from compiling customised travel arrangements with products sourced from different suppliers, takes place in Germany on January 23.
For more on the directive, see our previous story here. The directive will apply to all countries in the European Union.
The controversial directive has the potential to entrench the power of Germany’s dominant tour operators, reintroduce exclusive agreements that have been banned in the country since 1994, and force retailers to take on the liabilities of tour operators.
But eleventh-hour lobbying may yield some tempering of the imminent legislation. Commented Reinhart Mecklenburg, Director of AfroSales Tourism Marketing Services in Germany: “Despite the rather unco-ordinated pressure exercised on the German government as well as on EU representatives in Brussels, it seems to me that our disunited travel and hospitality trade will eventually be successful in removing and amending some of the most detrimental regulations.”
Once finalised, the terms of the new directive are expected to become national law in March, a development that could coincide with Germany’s influential travel trade fair, ITB.
All EU member states are obliged to transpose the directive into law by January 1, 2018, for application from July 1 next year.

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