Archive from May, 2017
May 26, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Woman with no fingerprints battles to get ID

Woman with no fingerprints battles to get ID
Daily Voice – 25 May 2017
Cape Town – This Cape Flats woman has been battling to get a new identity document from the Department of Home Affairs because she has no fingerprints.
On Friday, Sandra Horne, 38, from Athlone hopes to write her matric exams but is afraid she will be booted out without a new valid identity document.
Sandra suffers from a rare skin disease, which has robbed her of her fingerprints, her hair and now possibly her education.
ShSandra Horne, 38, is struggling to get a new ID as she doesn’t have fingerprints.
She was only two weeks old when doctors diagnosed her with Epidermolysis bullosa dystrophica – an extremely rare skin disease which leaves the skin fragile and blistering easily.
In severe cases, like Sandra’s, the patient has no epidermis, resulting in non-existent fingerprints and baldness.
Kids with this disease are referred to as “butterfly children” because their skin is delicate like that of a butterfly.
Sandra receives treatment at Groote Schuur Hospital.
“It is a rare skin condition; we all have three layers of skin, but I only have two layers, I don’t have an epidermis,” she explains.
Sandra Horne is unable to get a new ID from the department. Picture: Jack Lestrade
“This takes over my whole body and I am left with blisters. I don’t have fingerprints and I don’t have hair.”
In March, she visited Home Affairs in Wynberg and paid R140 for a Smart ID card.
She has an old ID book which she got as a child.
But now, two months later, she claims authorities have been giving her the run-around, questioning why she has no fingerprints.
“They told me there is a problem because they cannot find my fingerprints on the system.”
“I even sent them emails saying I would obtain a police affidavit as I do not have fingerprints and they said they would overwrite the system,” she says.
Instead, she was told not to worry about getting a Smart ID Card, but to use her old green one.
“I cannot understand it when this is the way of the future, having a card instead of the book, and I have to write my Senior Certificate [tomorrow]. I hope my old identity document is still valid,” she says.
Thabo Mogola of the Department of Home Affairs says Sandra’s case is receiving special attention.
“The matter has been referred to the provincial manager for Home Affairs in the Western Cape for investigation with a view to resolving the issue,” he says.
“An official will contact the client to attain all the necessary information that may assist in this regard.”
Sandra says by Wednesday she had not received any feedback.
Daily Voice

May 26, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Massive strike looming at Home Affairs

Massive strike looming at Home Affairs
May 25, 2017, 9:46 a.m. | By JacarandaFM News
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) and the Public Servants Association (PSA) are threatening to down tools at Home Affairs over working conditions.
According to Fedusa’s Frank Nxumalo says they will shed more light on the industrial action at a press conference this morning.
“Collectively Fedusa and the PSA represent almost 700 000 members that will join in on the strike as a result of working conditions and corruption within government departments,” he says.
He says public servants are being blamed for mismanagement and corruption in government departments, while they are “simply following instructions”.
“Those disobeying instructions are slapped with disciplinary charges and the effectiveness of the Protected Disclosures Act (whistle blowing legislation) is placed in doubt,” PSA General Manager, Ivan Fredericks says.
Fedusa is also demanding that the pensions and investments of public servants be protected at all cost.
“National Treasury should consider including the PIC (Public Investment Corporation), the custodian of the Government Employees Pension Fund, as a possible partner to recapitalise SAA,” the union says.

May 24, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Three generations kept from school due to not having ID’s

Three generations kept from school due to not having ID’s
Vryheid News – 23 May 2017
Three generations, stuck at home, unable to apply for anything, not even a basic education.
The Speaker of eDumbe, Cllr ST Hlatshwayo, with Siphiwe Ndwandwe, Home Affairs’ supervisor DB Kubheka and Mr M Mbatha from the eDumbe Head Office. (Photo submitted)
THE importance of having an ID cannot be stressed enough, as the failure to have one can have an impact on more than one’s life.
This is the lesson that was learned by 65 year old, Siphiwe Cynthia Ndwandwe, from the Eskhaleni area, in Paulpietersburg.
Miss Ndwandwe was identified by the Sukuma Sakhe group in eDumbe, as a member of the public who had never been in possession a birth certificate, let alone an ID.
“This matter went on to have an impact on the lives of her four daughters and six grandchildren as none of them could not obtain birth certificates. None of her four daughters have been able to get jobs nor were they able to apply for social grants because they had no IDs,” said Bheki Kubheka, who is the supervisor at the local Home Affairs office.
Three generations, stuck at home, unable to apply for anything, not even a basic education.
Three months ago Siphiwe obtained her first ever birth certificate through the help of Home Affairs.
Although the late birth registration process is an extremely difficult one, members of Sukuma Sakhe worked tirelessly to ensure that they helped this woman and her family.
On Wednesday, April 26, she was given her very first ID book.
With this having been done, Sukuma Sakhe will set to work getting IDs for Siphiwe’s children and, thereafter, her grand-children.

May 24, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

‘I’m not dead’

‘I’m not dead’
Germiston City – 24 May 2017
Primrose’s Hendrick van Niekerk has been battling to prove he is not dead for several years.
Hendrick van Niekerk has been battling for years to prove that he is still alive.
It sounds like something out of the movies, but for Hendrick van Niekerk, of Primrose, it is very much a reality.
In 2012, when Hennie, as he is known, went to open an account at a local bank, the teller informed him that there was something very wrong, “She turned her screen so that I could see it and there, in black and white, it stated I was deceased.
“I asked her: ‘Do I look dead to you?’” said Hennie.
After some digging, he discovered that 18 months after receiving his new identity document (ID) in 2004, another man, from Paarl, had received the same ID, same name and same ID number. All that was different was the photo.
“I have no idea how he got my ID book,” Hennie, now a pensioner, said.
The Paarl man had died and a death certificate was issued to the ID number, which meant, according to home affairs, Hennie was dead.
“I began writing to everyone I could think of, from ministers of home affairs to presidents, including former president Nelson Mandela.
“Though I did not receive a reply to all the letters, I received a letter from Mandela asking me to forgive him, and to assure me that he was trying his best to help.
“It seemed he was hitting as many brick walls as I was trying to sort the problem out,” he said.
Hennie further claimed that no matter how many times he goes into the home affairs offices in Benoni, where he was told to go to handle the issue, no one can give him answers.
“They keep telling me that they are still investigating.
“But how can it take this long to investigate?” he said desperately.
Though Hennie and his family try to stay positive and handle the situation as best they can, making light of the situation through jokes, it is no laughing matter.
“I don’t believe in being a negative person, it will not do me any good to sit at home and be depressed about the situation,” he said.
However, despite his best efforts, some situations still upset him.
One such situation came when he suddenly stopped getting his pension from his former employer.
“I worked at the company for 23 years and when I retired I began to receive a pension.
“One month, however, my pension was late.
“I waited a few days and realised that it wasn’t coming so I called the woman who had always handled my pension to ask what was happening,” he explained.
When he said “hello” there was no reply so unsure if she had heard him or not he greeted her again.
“When she did answer she questioned why I was playing a bad joke.
“When I asked why, she explained that she had received all the paperwork claiming that I was dead and that she was currently working out a pay-out for my family,” he said while fighting back tears.
He told her to stop everything and explained the situation.
Hennie deals with daily struggles, related to the death notice that hangs over his head, and cannot open accounts of any kind.
And though he tries not to let these worry him, he does worry about his family’s future.
“What if I do die?
“How will my family claim any of the pay-outs on my policy or move the house out of my name?
“They will be left with nothing,” he said emotionally.
The GCN sent a query to home affairs in an attempt to get some clarity on the situation, however, despite receiving confirmation that they received the email, no comment was received.
The GCN continues to seek comment on the matter.

May 24, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Home affairs on course to digitise records

Home affairs on course to digitise records
ITWeb – 23 May 2017

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will step up the digitisation of records using the earmarked R10 million per annum received from National Treasury. This is the word from minister Hlengiwe Mkhize, during a presentation of the DHA’s budget vote in Parliament.
According to Mkhize, among the factors impacting proficient provision of public services has been a lack of efficient records management, which is why the department has prioritised digitisation of records.
Last year, the DHA introduced its digitisation project through a partnership with Statistic SA. At the time, the department said it planned to digitise 286 million records, of which 90% were still in paper format.
Most of these are records of births, marriages, deaths, ID applications, naturalisation and permitting, and date back to the late 1800s, as pointed out by the department.
The aim of the project is to make records more easily accessible, and modernise the department using the most modern, innovative technology and management approaches to fulfil its mandate.
The department said as part of this digitisation process, it will prioritise birth certificates, of which there are 110 million records, by digitising 5.8 million birth records a year.
It stated records will be indexed by ID number for easy retrieval and will be able to be accessed immediately, irrespective of office location. Electronic records can be viewed and accessed by more than one person simultaneously, eliminating the reliance on individuals for knowledge as the document is accessible by multiple staff.
Commenting on the department’s digitisation project, Mkhize stated SA has the capacity to modernise.
“Using technology as an enabler, we transformed our office in Marabastad, which was notorious for being overcrowded, into the world-class Desmond Tutu Refugee Reception Centre, launched by president JG Zuma early this year. It is fitting that we named the centre after an icon of human rights.
“The centre is now conducive for DHA officials to improve services as a result of cutting-edge technologies installed. Overcrowding has drastically decreased and efficiency improved.”

May 24, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

I’m not dead

Primrose’s Hendrick van Niekerk has been battling to prove he is not
dead for several years.
Hendrick van Niekerk has been battling for years to prove that he is
still alive.
It sounds like something out of the movies, but for Hendrick van
Niekerk of Primrose it is very much a reality.
In 2012 when Hennie as he is known went to open an account at a local
bank the teller informed him that there was something very wrong She
turned her screen so that I could see it and there in black and white
it stated I was deceased.
I asked her: ‘Do I look dead to you? said Hennie.
After some digging he discovered that 18 months after receiving his
new identity document (ID) in 2004 another man from Paarl had received
the same ID same name and same ID number. All that was different was
the photo.
I have no idea how he got my ID book Hennie now a pensioner said.
The Paarl man had died and a death certificate was issued to the ID
number which meant according to home affairs Hennie was dead.
I began writing to everyone I could think of from ministers of home
affairs to presidents including former president Nelson Mandela.
Though I did not receive a reply to all the letters assure me that he
was trying his best to help.
It seemed he was hitting as many brick walls as I was trying to sort
the problem out he said.
Hennie further claimed that no matter how many times he goes into the
home affairs offices in Benoni where he was told to go to handle the
issue no one can give him answers.
They keep telling me that they are still investigating.
But how can it take this long to investigate? he said desperately.
Though Hennie and his family try to stay positive and handle the
situation as best they can making light of the situation through jokes
it is no laughing matter.
I don not believe in being a negative person it will not do me any
good to sit at home and be depressed about the situation he said.
However despite his best efforts some situations still upset him.
One such situation came when he suddenly stopped getting his pension
from his former employer.
I worked at the company for 23 years and when I retired I began to
receive a pension.
One month however my pension was late.
I waited a few days and realized that it was not coming so I called
the woman who had always handled my pension to ask what was happening
he explained.
When he said hello there was no reply so unsure if she had heard him
or not he greeted her again.
“When she did answer she questioned why I was playing a bad joke.
“When I asked why she explained that she had received all the
paperwork claiming that I was dead and that she was currently working
out a pay-out for my family he said while fighting back tears.
He told her to stop everything and explained the situation.
Hennie deals with daily struggles related to the death notice that
hangs over his head and cannot open accounts of any kind.
And though he tries not to let these worry him he does worry about his
familys future.
what if I do die?
How will my family claim any of the pay-outs on my policy or move the
house out of my name?
“They will be left with nothing he said emotionally.
The GCN sent a query to home affairs in an attempt to get some clarity
on the situation however despite receiving confirmation that they
received the email no comment was received.
The GCN continues to seek comment on the matter.

May 24, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Rough welcome: Could South Africas new border detention centres turn deadly?

Experts warn that the countrys overburdened asylum system could leave
people trapped at processing centres for years
South Africa is to begin building massive border camps that could
eventually house the more than 70 000 people who apply for refugee
status annually. But civil society organisations warn that these
centres could put migrants rights and health at risk.

It was announced that cabinet had greenlighted the creation of what
the department of home affairs is calling asylum seeker processing
centres on May 17 after it approved the departments white paper on
international migration.

The centres the first of which may be at Komatipoort near the
Mozambican border will accommodate asylum seekers until the home
affairs department decides whether they qualify for refugee status.
Asylum seekers already undergo a lengthy process to prove that they
cannot return to their home countries for fear of war persecution or
violence.

Although the white paper does say that some asylum seekers may be able
to leave the centres before their applications have been adjudicated
it is unclear who might qualify for early release.
Currently those seeking asylum wait about three years to hear whether
their application has been successful according to a 2015 study by the
African Centre for Migration and Society (ACMS) and legal advocacy
group Lawyers for Human Rights. The longest reported time spent in
the system was just under 19 years.

Roshan Dadoo is the regional advocacy officer at the Consortium for
Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (Cormsa). She says
administrative bungling has led to a huge backlog in appeals that
could leave people stuck at centres for years.

Continued alleged abuses at Lindela could be a warning
Meanwhile some experts fear South Africas track record with detention
centres for migrants does not bode well for the shift to large-scale
camps.

The Lindela Repatriation Centre in Krugersdorp for undocumented
migrants has a long history of human rights abuses. In 1999, a South
African Human Rights Commission investigation into Lindela found poor
nutrition and medical care were common.

A year later the body cited concerns over living conditions assault
and the centres treatment of children who it is not authorised to
house. The commission noted that people who had been transferred to
Lindela from prisons often reported that correctional facilities
offered better living conditions.

The government has largely ignored reports of abuses at Lindela said
Sharon Ekambaram the head of the refugee and migrant rights programme
at Lawyers for Human Rights.

Ekambaram alleges that access to medical care for detainees had
declined since a previous 2014 investigation by the international
humanitarian organisation MSF and the commission.

She says there is evidence of gross medical negligence at Lindela
including shortages of treatment for HIV tuberculosis (TB) and
sexually transmitted infections (STIs). When medication was available
people were often forced to pay for it.

There are indications that conditions in the centre were rife for the
spread of HIV because of the lack of condoms. She explains there is
also evidence that the centre suffers from poor ventilation which has
been known to increase the risk of TB transmission in detention
settings.

Currently the national health department provides free HIV and TB
treatment to people regardless of their immigration status including
prisoners.

She also alleges there is evidence of seven suspicious deaths. In five
of the seven deaths people had allegedly consulted the clinic multiple
times only to be given headache tablets or vitamins as their
conditions deteriorated.

Ekambaram alleges that Lindela detainees were beaten with pipes and
shot at close range with rubber bullets in April after scuffles broke
out between prisoners.

Private security company Bosasa is in charge of the centre. Bosasa
Executive director Papa Leshabane says the company’s contract with
home affairs precludes it from commenting on conditions at Lindela.

Home affairs spokesperson Thabo Mokgola has denied the
allegations.

He says detainees were instead peacefully removed after they attempted
to assault officials. Mokgola says they had the “intention to
riot”.

Ekambaram explains: “The extent of human rights violations were seeing
at Lindela is worrying. We are concerned that the border centres will
be run in a similarly undemocratic way.

Mokgola maintains that Lindelas healthcare services meet United
Nations standards and are “constantly improving”.

Calls to stop the creation of centres have gone unheard
Civil society organisations have repeatedly called for the planned
border camps to be axed in submissions on both the green and white
papers.

ACMS research chair on migration Loren Landau has accused home affairs
of failing to hold broad consultations on proposed changes to refugee
policies.

The discussions are often announced a few days in advance and only a
few people are informed.

Landau and others say changes to refugee policies put forward in home
affairs green and white papers were implemented long before the white
papers approval last week.

Recent amendments to the Refugee Act have for instance already
curtailed refugees right to work and granted home affairs increased
power to open and close inland refugee receptions.

Reception offices in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town are already closed
although a court judgment may force home affairs to reopen the Eastern
Cape centre. Ekambaram says this has contributed to overcrowding at
Lindela.

People do not get the opportunity to declare their situation. By the
time they cross the borders they are arrested and sent to Lindela she
explains.

Dadoo says that improving existing refugee reception offices would be
less expensive than building border camps — and could create
jobs.

Mokgola disagrees saying that processing failed asylum seekers at the
border will be cheaper and could help curb abuse of the system by
economic migrants posing as asylum seekers.

But new rules are unlikely to stem immigration says Landau: “The
number of people coming into the country will not change but more
people will be pushed underground without documents.

Whos watching who?

Changes to refugee regulations could also put South Africa in
violation of the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status
of Refugees under which South Africa committed to a policy of
nonencampment Dadoo warns.

Mokgola argues there is a distinction between the temporary centres
the department will implement and permanent detention camps.

He says government and civil society organisations will also be
allowed to monitor processing centres. We will allow all relevant
stakeholders and partners such as the United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees [UNHCR] the South African Human Rights Commission and
nongovernment organisations to ensure there is proper monitoring and
compliance.

Meanwhile the spokesperson for the UNHCRs Southern Africa office
Markku Aikomus says it may not have the budget to support
centres.

The national health department has also confirmed that clinics in
border centres will be monitored just as public clinics and hospitals
are says spokesperson Popo Maja. HIV TB and STI services will be in
line with national policies.

Meanwhile Home affairs has already approached some organisations such
as international organisation the Jesuit Refugee Service to possibly
provide healthcare in centres. South Africa director Johan Viljoen
says the Jesuit Refugee Services involvement will depend on whether
the UNHCR agrees to sign on to the system.

According to Mokgola South Africs roll-out of detention centres will
learn not only from experiences in Lindela but also in countries such
as Australia and Canada which have established processing
centres.

These are contexts Landau says that have little in common with South
Africa. The general ethos here is not about protection of human
rights. It is about ensuring that very few people come into South Africa.

Pages:123456»