Archive from April, 2017
Apr 28, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Namibia: Home Affairs Encourages Child-Naming Before Birth

Namibia: Home Affairs Encourages Child-Naming Before Birth
New Era (Windhoek) – 26 April 2017
Eenyama — Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana has urged parents, particularly fathers, to name their babies before they are born to enable delivering mothers to register their children at birth.
The pre-birth naming is also necessary to ensure that absent fathers do not hinder babies from being registered at birth and subsequently deny them a chance of acquiring national documents.
“All newborn babies should be registered before birth, so they get birth certificates immediately after birth,” Iivula-Ithana said.
Speaking at the Swapo Party’s 57th celebration at Eenyama in Ohangwena Region recently, she said the ministry is aware of the difficulties some individuals encounter in acquiring national documents, but the minister encouraged them to take up the responsibility of acquiring national documents.
The minister further said the Bill on the conferment of Namibian citizenship on Angolans residing in Namibia from 1978 to 1989 is in the pipeline. Equally, the ministry is also busy with the Uniform Matrimonial Regime Bill, which aims to unify the marital regime in the country.
“Currently, marriages beyond the Red Line fall under a different marital regime, which we aim to remove so that we will only have once civil marital regime,” Iivula-Ithana said.
Further, the minister encouraged the community to desist from creating a permanent culture of dependency on drought-aid from government.
“From here, the community drought relief [dependency] must be kicked in the butt. We are a community known as hard workers and this culture must be maintained, as our inheritance from our forebears,” Iivula-Ithana said.
With the good rains this year, Iivula-Ithana noted that some farmers have worked for a bumper harvest, but was disappointed to see that some crop fields are still untilled.
Iivula-Ithana also said government is deeply concerned about patterns of gender-based violence in the country and appealed to citizenry to inculcate a culture of peace, love and respect for one another.
“That is the only way we build a strong united nation in the Land of the Brave,” she said.

Apr 26, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize intends to clear bottlenecks

Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize intends to clear bottlenecks
Home affairs aims to ease entry for skilled migrants and to tackle asylum seeker and refugee backlogs
25 April 2017
Home Affairs Minister Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize has two immediate tasks to attend to in her new portfolio: making it easier for skilled migrants and investors to get through the system, and clearing the huge backlogs in processing asylum seeker and refugee applications.
The Department of Home Affairs insists it has taken considerable strides in making it easier for business travellers and skilled migrants to enter SA. But, on the other side of the same coin, refugees and asylum seekers face an uphill battle when dealing with home affairs.
Mkhize says her department, which has released a white paper on international migration and the Refugees Amendment Bill, will not stray from the Constitution when dealing with asylum seekers.
In the bill, home affairs proposes the establishment of processing centres for asylum seekers at SA’s borders and ports of entry — a marked departure from the country’s current policy.
Migration groups have raised alarm about the controversial proposal, saying it amounts to setting up camps, which is out of step with SA’s long-standing policy on refugees and asylum seekers.
Mkhize says she will stick to the spirit and letter of predecessor Malusi Gigaba’s stance. But Gigaba’s tenure at home affairs, especially towards its end, became increasingly underscored by an inward-looking and protectionist approach in its handling of migration.
The new minister told Business Day in an interview that the department would sharpen its efforts aimed at attracting skilled migrants to help rescue the economy, which is stuck in a low-growth trap and is contending with high unemployment.
This is in line with the objectives of the National Development Plan, which identifies skilled migrants as critical to ensuring that SA shores up its struggling economy, which has a shortage of skills.
Her priority is to accelerate the rate at which applications by highly skilled migrants and investors are processed.
Critically skilled migrants are also allowed to sojourn for 12 months prior to securing employment to determine whether they will be interested in working and staying in the republic on a longer term
Malusi Gigaba
To this end, the Department of Home Affairs will train its officials at its college and use the sector education and training authorities (Setas).
“The department has a college, which was initially unable to take off. In some areas, officials [will] benefit from the Setas in upgrading their skills.
“When it comes to our college, we need to find experts who will interact with officials to develop professional standards through an accredited module,” says Mkhize. She wants to synchronise these efforts with the Department of Trade and Industry’s “one-stop shop” for investors looking to travel to the country for business and investment reasons.
Before leaving to assume his position as minister of finance, Gigaba told Parliament in a written response that home affairs had finalised 84.7% of critical skills applications in four days to a month.
“Critically skilled migrants are also allowed to sojourn for 12 months prior to securing employment to determine whether they will be interested in working and staying in the republic on a longer term,” Gigaba wrote in a response to a written question in Parliament.
When it comes to refugees and asylum seekers, Mkhize says that the proposed processing centres will not undermine refugees and asylum seekers’ rights. Instead, she says, these centres will serve to protect refugees and asylum seekers’ rights once they are allowed into SA.
“If you throw people into communities before they are sorted out, their risks are higher. Their rights are given but not protected. Their children’s rights to education are even in jeopardy. People must be given critical information and ongoing learning,” she said.
Roshan Dadoo, of the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in SA, says: “We feel the white paper and the bill imply that people will be detained, because they cannot leave until their applications have been determined.”

Apr 25, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

SARB’s new loop structure allows foreign investment for startups

SARB’s new loop structure allows foreign investment for startups
18 Apr 2017 – Bizcommunity

Local unlisted technology, media, telecommunications, exploration and other research and development companies can establish companies offshore in order to obtain foreign investment without prior Reserve Bank approval, according to a recent circular from the Financial Surveillance Department of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

The circular amends the Currency and Exchanges Manual for Authorised Dealers. Previously, the manual required companies to apply for approval from the SARB to list offshore to raise loans and capital.

It is now possible for a South African company to create a so-called “loop structure” in order to raise capital overseas, says Brendon Ambrose, associate, commercial IP, Spoor & Fisher
Four conditions

“A loop structure is one whereby a South African resident will form an offshore company which will in turn reinvest into South Africa by acquiring shares or some other interest in a South African company or asset. Up until recently this sort of structure contravened regulation 10(1)(c) of the Exchange Control Regulations, 1961.”

Establishing such an offshore company, however, is subject to four conditions, namely these companies have to register with the financial surveillance departments; the offshore company must be a tax resident in South Africa; full details of the percentage shareholding in the offshore company (including the group structure) must be provided; and an annual report must be submitted to the financial surveillance departments on the operations, including details of funds raised offshore.
Higher burden of disclosure

“This subsection, while providing that South African companies may now establish an offshore company to raise funding, places a high burden of disclosure on the offshore company,” adds Ambrose.

Disclosure of the details of the group structure and the requirement to submit an annual report creates an administrative burden on South African companies. These administrative requirements are certainly not deal breakers but must be borne in mind when considering a loop structure as a capital raising mechanism.

The second new section completes the loop, as it allows the foreign company to, in turn, hold investments and or make loans in to South Africa. The allowance of loop structure is important for South African startups looking to raise capital from foreign investors. A loop structure makes the remittance of the capital back to the South African company substantially simpler

The investor, in order to mitigate its risks, may only be willing to invest funds in a company registered in the investor’s own country.
Control by equity

The South African company can set up an offshore company (first half of the loop) where the foreign investors will purchase equity. This offshore company will, in turn, purchase shares in the South African company (second half of the loop). The key here is the control; the foreign investors are happy as they now have equity in the South African company allowing them to exercise some level of control over the South African companies’ IP.

Previously, there was no way for the foreign investors to gain this control by equity unless they were willing to purchase shares in the South African company directly.

“This is a huge step forward in opening up South Africa to foreign investment and such loop structures should be considered quite seriously by South African tech, fintech, telecom and R&D startups,” says Ambrose

Apr 24, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

SAA ‘knew’ its consultants were violating immigration laws

SAA ‘knew’ its consultants were violating immigration laws
National 22.4.2017 – The Citizen
New York-based consultants allegedly worked without the right paperwork, and Malusi Gigaba allegedly failed to respond to the issue.
A New-York-based aviation consulting firm, awarded a six-month contract for $4.5 million (R59.1 million) by South African Airways (SAA), allegedly violated the Immigration Act by allowing its team to work in the country on tourism visas.
Seabury Aviation Consulting, now part of Accenture, has since March stationed about seven staffers at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg without work permits. Yet the department of home affairs has taken no action against them.
Seabury started its work at SAA in January and the contract expires in June.
A document seen by The Citizen shows that Seabury’s vice-chairperson, Michael B Cox, executive director Michael Mason, associate consultants Christopher Jacobi and Abby Nutting, consultants Queenie Chan and Erin Jakupciak and associate Justas Gumbrevicius are among those accused by the SA Transport & Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) of working in South Africa on visitors’ permits.
An SAA internal memorandum leaked to The Citizen, titled Immigration Law Implication, dated March 3, shows that acting CEO Musa Zwane confirmed to the board that only one team member from Seabury has the requisite “short-term work permit”, which, according to Section 11 (2), allows foreign nationals to engage in substantive work.
The memorandum stated that several members of Seabury have ordinary tourism or vacation visas, which only allow for attendance of meetings or conferences and not execution of any substantive work.
“From information available and provided to SAA, it appears that the consultants have section 11 (1) permits, which does not allow any person to conduct any substantive work and in special circumstances be used to attend meetings or conferences, but is intended or issued for ordinary visitors.
“In this instance their continued work for SAA, albeit on behalf of the consultant, is in contravention of South African immigration laws,” reads the SAA internal memorandum.
The memorandum adds: “SAA is deemed an employer and bears the liability in the event of a contravention of the Immigration Act.”
The internal memorandum was circulated a few hours after Satawu accused the airline in writing of violating the Immigration Act.
Satawu addressed the letter to Zwane, general manager of human resources Mbongeni Manqele, and copied it to SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni and the then minister of home affairs, Malusi Gigaba.
Satawu said Gigaba did not respond to them or address the issue.
A Cape Town law firm specialising in immigration services says it is a criminal offence to employ anyone who does not have a work visa. Prosecution and conviction of such a criminal act could result in a fine or a prison term of no less than five years.
SAA acknowledged in its internal memorandum that it was violating immigration laws, and informed the union the matter would be investigated.
In its letter, Satawu demanded to know why Seabury workers were being allowed access to SAA premises without work permits.
Satawu national sector coordinator for aviation Matthew Ramosie said it “clearly undermines the laws of this country, which includes among others labour laws”.
“Our understanding is that before these individuals can work in this country, a work permit application is supposed to be done in our embassy in the US.
“Satawu is greatly concerned and seeks your intervention in making sure that these individuals’ employment is terminated with immediate effect until they have work permits.”
After Satawu’s intervention, SAA’s legal adviser recommended these workers return to their home country immediately.
SAA then recommended that they obtain a work permit in their home country prior to coming to South Africa to execute the contract.
SAA also said it would send a formal notification to Seabury, but the airline would “exercise and reserve its legal and contractual rights in so far as this contravention amounts to a breach of terms and conditions of its contract with the consultant”.
In response to The Citizen inquiry, SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said they were not aware of any member of the Seabury team who was deported by home affairs in 2008 or recently for non-compliance.
Asked how many Seabury workers were stationed at OR Tambo, Tlali said, “Seabury operates in accordance with its own business model on assignments it undertakes. As such, SAA neither controls the allocation nor movement of resources during the assignment.”
Tlali added: “When we became aware that a number of Seabury consultants seconded to SAA were not in full compliance with South African immigration laws in that some were not in possession of required short work authorisation permits, SAA demanded from Seabury to comply with immediate effect. The airline, however, continued with the services offered by the consultants, albeit with a smaller team whilst the outstanding compliance issues received attention. Those issues were subsequently resolved.”
The Citizen also presented SAA and Seabury with the names of the employees who are accused of working without proper documents, requesting them to confirm, but they did not.
Phoned for comment, Accenture’s executive support analyst in New York, Kisha Henry, informed The Citizen several times that she had referred the publication’s media enquiry to Accenture corporate, Stacey Jones. Several enquiries were also sent directly to Jones, instead, a South African-based Accenture employee, Jonathan Mahapa, contacted The Citizen alleging Seabury sent the response to SAA. He said SAA would respond on their behalf, but refused to be quoted.
However, Tlali said: “I don’t speak on behalf of Seabury. I am aware you have sent questions to them. We do not speak on behalf of any service providers.”
Later, Seabury told The Citizen that all their workers had valid permits or South African citizenship.
Tlali said Seabury was contracted for an all-inclusive total amount of $4.5 million and alleged the airline was not responsible for any other costs related to this project. He said the contract was from January and ended in June.
“The appointment of Seabury consultants followed a multiple source bidding process, which is provided for in our Global Supply Management Policy (GSM Policy). Out of six potential bidders, to whom the tender was issued, and a thorough evaluation process undertaken, Seabury Corporate Advisors emerged as a preferred bidder and was appointed in line with the delegated approval authority,” said Tlali.
Kruger was shocked that SAA was paying Seabury R59 million yet their employees did not have proper work permits. She said in most cases employees would employ illegal immigrants at a lower cost and not pay them lots of money.
Home affairs spokesperson Thabo Mokgola said he would ask former Gigaba whether he received a memo from Satawu and comment thereafter. The Citizen forwarded Satawu’s memo to Mokgola, but no response was received from him at the time of going to print.
In terms of Seabury’s team failure to comply, Mokgola said he could comment without The Citizen’s submission of their passport numbers to the department.
Satawu informed The Citizen that the non-compliant workers were rotated with others, who also did not have proper work permits.
“Depending on the duration of their visitors’ permits, a team that does not have work permits will be allowed to work for a week or two at SAA premises.
“The same team will go back to their home country and then be replaced by another team that does not have work permits,” said Ramosie.
South African Cabin Crew Association treasurer Gift Bilankulu and general secretary Mpho Moikangoa said Seabury’s credibility was questionable.
They alleged there had been the same scenario in 2008.
Bilankulu said: “We want to know why the department of home affairs and SAA even allowed them to come back and work in South Africa without proper documentation.
“How can home affairs allow people who were working illegally to come back again?
“Even if they now followed the proper procedures, they were guilty so they can’t be allowed to come back without penalising them.
“We want to know what happened.”

Apr 24, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Home Affairs will appeal decision to allow DRC ‘prophet’ asylum in SA

18 April 2017 – Business Day
The Department of Home Affairs is fighting to keep self-proclaimed prophet Paul Joseph Mukungubila out of SA.
Responding on Tuesday to news reports that the Congolese pastor had obtained asylum‚ Home Affairs said it was appealing against a decision by the High Court in Johannesburg to allow Mukungubila to apply for asylum.
According to reports‚ Mukungubila first arrived in SA from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in March 2014 after allegedly orchestrating a spate of attacks in December 2013 on the airport and the main army headquarters in Kinshasa‚ the capital.
In a statement‚ the department said Mukungubila had applied for asylum but his application was rejected after the justice minister issued a notification for the pastor to be extradited to stand trial in his homeland.
“The DRC had made allegations of gross human rights violations against Mukungubila and‚ as a consequence‚ requested Interpol to facilitate his extradition to the DRC‚” the statement read.
But in March, the high court ruled that the department should allow Mukungubila to apply for asylum and halt extradition proceedings “pending finalisation of his asylum application”.
The department filed for leave to appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeal.
“This application (for leave to appeal) has the effect of staying the judgment of the high court‚ pending its finalisation. In essence‚ this means that Paul Joseph Mukungubila‚ a DRC national‚ does not have status in SA.”
According to the department‚ Mukungubila claimed he was regarded by the followers of his faith as a “man of God who possesses revelatory powers about the future of the nation”.
His organisation‚ the Ministry for the Restoration from Black Africa‚ is said to consist of 1‚200 members in the DRC.
He is also is wanted for questioning “about violence that left more than 100 people dead”.
Earlier, Reuters quoted Mukungubila’s spokesperson, Charlie Mingiedi, saying the pastor had been awarded asylum in SA on March 30.
“There is no return to [the DRC] but he will continue to mobilise the Congolese people against the dictatorship ruling the country‚” his spokesman said.

Apr 21, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Cabinet reshuffle could clear the obstacles to border agency

Cabinet reshuffle could clear the obstacles to border agency
Customs and excise collection at the centre of a row between home affairs and the finance ministry
21 April 2017 – Business Day

The Border Management Agency could soon assume all functions of border control and customs and excise collection, courtesy of President Jacob Zuma’s recent cabinet reshuffle.
The issue of customs and excise collection was the subject of a dispute between the home affairs ministry and finance ministry, with the latter wanting the function to remain under the South African Revenue Service (SARS). The Treasury imposed a staff ceiling on government departments in the medium term, hampering efforts by the Department of Home Affairs to set up the agency.
When former finance minister Pravin Gordhan was at the helm of the Treasury, the department’s expenditure ceiling for employee compensation was pegged at R3.146bn in 2016-17, R3.233bn in 2017-18 and R3.328bn in 2018-19.
The cabinet reshuffle has resulted in the former home affairs minister and a key proponent of the agency, Malusi Gigaba, taking over the finance ministry. He was replaced at the Department of Home Affairs by Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize, who told Business Day on Thursday that she hoped Gigaba’s appointment would lead to a softening of the Treasury’s stance on these issues. So tense was the stand-off over the customs collection function of SARS at borders that former deputy minister of finance Mcebisi Jonas wrote a letter to Parliament’s portfolio committee on home affairs, insisting that customs and revenue-collection should remain the function of SARS after the agency was established.
Mkhize told Business Day that before her first consultation with director-general Mkuseli Apleni, she met Gigaba, who stressed the importance of finalising the alignment of all functions at ports of entry to an authority under home affairs, in line with the Border Management Authority Bill.
“We must have a clear line of authority around border management as home affairs. He seemed very committed to its establishment and said we will talk in our next meeting.
“Cabinet is clear on the vision of how to strengthen this authority,” said Mkhize.
Treasury spokesman Mayihlome Tshwete confirmed that the two departments were in talks over the agency and that an announcement would be made on the matter in due course.
Kathryn Hoeflich from migrant welfare organisation Scalabrini Centre said hiring more staff at home affairs to manage migration was a good way to spend some state resources. “Hiring qualified workers to resolve backlogs or address complex issues would be less costly and a better deterrent for illegal migrants than building detention centres or buying guns for border guards,” said Hoeflich.
Independent analyst David Peddle said the establishment of the Border Management Agency appeared to be the result of efforts as far back as 1994 “to effectively take over the border environment and order budgets of the borderline departments”.
He said the first plans to do this came from former home affairs minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi and were met with “great uproar”.

Apr 21, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Refugee Amendment Bill “restricts and excludes” says attorney William Kerfoot Panelists call for better implementation by Home Affairs

Refugee Amendment Bill “restricts and excludes” says attorney William Kerfoot
Panelists call for better implementation by Home Affairs
21 April 2017 – Groundup
The proposed changes to the Refugees Amendment Bill “restricts and excludes” those seeking to work and study, according to William Kerfoot, an attorney at the Legal Resource Centre.
Kerfoot was speaking at a panel discussion in Cape Town on Thursday on section B12-2016 of the Bill and what its implementation would mean for asylum seekers and foreign nationals in South Africa. The event was chaired by the Enhanced Civic Understanding and Engagement Project and sponsored by the European Union.
The new proposed amendments to the Bill were tabled in Parliament in September 2016 and was opened for public comment. The Bill seeks to implement amendments to the Refugees Act of 1998.
Kerfoot said that the proposed amendments to the Bill included widespread exclusions of those seeking refugee status based on criminal records in their home countries.
Panellists highlighted problematic subcategories which they say will have an effect on children’s basic education, the “problematic” definition of a dependent according to the Bill. They also said the amendment requiring asylum seekers to apply for status within five days of arrival in the country “places unreasonable burden” on people who may not have the funds to reach an asylum centre in that period.
“If refugee status determination officers were properly trained, there would not be all the problems with backlogging. These officers have the power of life and death over asylum seekers,” said Kerfoot.
He said this policy will create situations in which those waiting to receive refugee or asylum status would be unable to work, study, or send their children to school because school officials “are often afraid of being fined for enrolling undocumented children.”
Popo Mfubu from the UCT Refugee Rights Clinic said that the Refugees Act in its current form was a progressive and liberal piece of legislation, but that its implementation was challenging.
“It has broadened the scope of people who can automatically be excluded from refugee or asylum status,” he said.
In Cape Town, asylum seekers often wait all night for their asylum permits to be renewed without success.
“There is an ongoing lack of capacity in the Department of Home Affairs,” said Bea Abrahams, ECEU Project Coordinator of the Cape Town Refugee Centre and facilitator of the discussion.
Panelists also noted concerns around management at Home Affairs offices saying “finance and administrative convenience” often trumped human rights.
Participants also discussed plans to submit their to the National Assembly in Parliament.