Archive from November, 2017

New refugee documents welcomed

New refugee documents welcomed
16 November 2017 – Cape Argus
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Fatima Chohan says machine-readable travel documents are more secure. Picture: Brenton Geach
Cape Town – The government has introduced a new way to better manage its refugee and asylum seekers with an improved refugee travel document.
The new machine-readable travel document for refugees has been designed and developed using the latest passport production technology and security standards.
It is similar to the new smart ID cards and includes a pure polycarbonate datapage for personalisation by laser engraving. The department says the new technology is fully compliant with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and International Civil Aviation Authority guidelines.
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Fatima Chohan said machine-readable travel documents were more secure.
“Because security considerations play an ever-increasing role due to the risks of document and identity fraud, they not only increase security and trust among states, but also enhance the level of confidence in the users, in this case, refugees.
“They facilitate the safe and regular movement of refugees and thereby reduce the risk of exploitation, abuse, violence and human trafficking.
“This development is also another step in our efforts to improve services in the country, mainly to our citizens, but also to migrants who find themselves in difficulties in their home countries,” she said.
Sharon Cooper, regional representative of the UNHCR, said: “Travel documents have concrete benefits for refugees. Having a legal identity, including through the issuance of travel documents, is a critical component of international protection.
“Travel documents can enable access to basic services and rights, allowing refugees to pursue education or work abroad.
“They also allow refugees to seek possibilities for family unity as well as their ability to lead independent and stable lives.”

UK and France Home ministers emphasize security and law enforcement cooperation

UK and France Home ministers emphasize security and law enforcement cooperation
18 November 2017 – Mercopress
UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd and the Minister of the Interior of France, Gerard Collomb, met in London on Friday and discussed a range of home affairs matters including joint efforts to fight terrorism, illegal migration, border security and efforts to tackle serious and organized crime.
The ministers emphasized the need to maintain and strengthen bilateral cooperation on security and law enforcement co-operation. On counter-terrorism they reinforced their commitment to the British-French action plan to ensure the internet is not used as a safe space for terrorists. The ministers recognized that the internet companies are making progress, but committed to push them to go further and faster in taking down terrorist material online – in particular to ensure it is removed within one to two hours of upload – and to continue to develop technical solutions to tackle the issue.
On migration, the ministers discussed the situation in Northern France and the challenges linked to illegal migration. The ministers acknowledged the importance of UK support in reinforcing the security arrangements in coastal cities of Northern France and the need for continued efforts to manage jointly the shared border between the UK and France. The UK and France will also explore ways of improving cooperating on efforts in countries of origin and transit in Africa and Asia.
Minister Collomb also visited Brixton Police Station to see the work of the Metropolitan Police. Home Secretary Amber Rudd and the Minister of Interior Gérard Collomb are committed to continued close and constructive cooperation between the UK and France on these issues and to preparing together for the Franco-British Summit to be held in January 2018.

Evil 8 member David Volmer to be kicked out of Australia after prison release

Evil 8 member David Volmer to be kicked out of Australia after prison release
November 18, 2017 . PerthNow

FORMER Christian pastor and Evil 8 paedophile ring member David Volmer will be turfed out of the country as soon as he is released from jail in WA.
Volmer is one of dozens of WA child sex predators who have had their visas cancelled under the Turnbull Government’s hardline stance on deporting criminals on character grounds.
It’s understood Volmer will be sent back to his native South Africa after serving his 10-and a-half-year jail term for raping and drugging a young girl “offered” to him by her own father after the men met through a Craigslist advertisement. If he is granted parole, Volmer will be kicked out of Australia in 2024.
Of the 3000 visas cancelled on character grounds nationally since 2014, 436 — or 14.5 per cent — have been from WA.
Across Australia, 212 of those decisions have involved child sex offenders — and 21 per cent, or 45, were from WA. In the west, three others have had their visas torn up because of child pornography crimes.
Another WA rapist, Robin Gerald Dyers, will be booted as soon as his jail term is over. The Federal Government has cancelled the South African-born prisoner’s Australian citizenship.
Dyers, a one-time semi-professional soccer player, is serving an 11-year jail term for raping a 16-year-old girl and a young woman in Perth’s southern suburbs in the late 1990s as well as another sex attack in 2011.
Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton, soon to assume the super ministry of home affairs, defended the en masse visa and citizenship cancellations, saying these criminals and predators had no right to live here, let alone to call Australia home.
He said under the new home affairs portfolio he would bring together the expertise of Australia’s key spy, security and law enforcement agencies to track paedophiles and their networks, including targeting their digital footprints.
“I will do whatever I can within the law to crush these paedophile networks here in Australia or online,” Mr Dutton said.
“The home affairs portfolio will be using every resource available to it to continue the great work the Australian Border Force and Australian Federal Police are already undertaking in this space.”
All members of the Evil 8 ring have been convicted. One person, Mark Wesley Liggins, has been granted parole.
Liggins did not abuse the girl at the centre of the ring but had been in contact with her father through online ads, while police discovered he had been having sexually explicit conversations with young girls online and requesting naked photographs.
He was sentenced to just over two years in jail.
Liggins was granted parole last month under a number of conditions, including having no unsupervised contact with girls under 16.

President Jacob Zuma on Saturday opened a one stop shop in Durban as part of attempts to simplify doing business in SA.

Zuma launches “one stop shop” to facilitate foreign investment
18 November 2017 – Times live

President Jacob Zuma on Saturday opened a one stop shop in Durban as part of attempts to simplify doing business in SA.

President Jacob Zuma realised one of his presidential prerogatives on Saturday when he launched a one stop shop to encourage more foreign and local investment in KwaZulu-Natal.
The InvestSA one stop shop is geared towards providing investors with services to fast-track projects and reduce government red tape when establishing a business.
One stop shops – which house government entities like SARS‚ Home Affairs‚ Environmental Affairs‚ Eskom and the Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission under one roof – have already been rolled out in Gauteng and the Western Cape.
KZN MEC for Economic‚ Development‚ Tourism and Environmental Affairs Sihle Zikalala said government was doing away with red tape and “rolling out the red carpet for investors to ensure economic development”.
Zuma told the Durban business community attending the launch at the International Convention Centre that investment promotion was critical for South Africa’s economy.
“For us to be able to draw in new investments we need to create a conducive environment. It is for that we have InvestSA.”
He said that he believed the one stop shops would further enhance South Africa’s attractiveness for foreign investment.
“We are doing this not only for investors but also for our people because they deserve good governance and effective service delivery.”

Mashaba urges Dlodlo to act on migrant influx

Mashaba urges Dlodlo to act on migrant influx
16 November 2017 – 13:26 Claudi Mailovich
Dlodlo and her department have just over a week to detail their plan to deal with illegal immigrants in Joburg or face court action
The City of Johannesburg said on Thursday that the Department of Home Affairs’s inaction on illegal immigration had led to “overwhelming prejudice and hardship” for the city.
The city has given Home Affairs Minister Ayanda Dlodlo until Friday next week to tell it what it will do to regulate migration in the metro.
Since Herman Mashaba took office as mayor in 2016, the issue of illegal migration has been of crucial importance to his administration. Poor migration policy affected financial planning and budgeting, housing, safety and security and social security, the city said.
A letter written by the city’s lawyers to the department said the metro was hampered in its governance and planning responsibilities by the unknown number of illegal immigrants.
The city said it was groping in the dark and did not know what budgetary provisions were needed to cater to them.
Space that would ordinarily be occupied by ratepayers was now being occupied by illegal immigrants. This had worsened the housing shortage. The city also claimed that crime allegedly committed by undocumented immigrants was increasing steeply.
The heightened potential for renewed outbreaks of “xenophobic violence” was increasing the strain placed on the city’s law-enforcement resources.
If the department did not respond to the letter, the city would take whatever legal steps were necessary, which could include initiating proceedings in the high court, the letter said.
Mashaba argued that it was common cause that immigration controls did not reside within the local government sphere, but in the national sphere, “more specifically with the mandate of your ministry and department”.
The ministry is accused of treating the repeated requests of the city to the three ministers who have served in the portfolio so far in 2017 “with nothing but disdain and disregard”.
Mava Scott, the minister’s spokesman, told Business Day on Thursday afternoon that Dlodlo’s office had not yet received the letter, but that they would look at the contents and respond once the office had received it.

Ordinary Zimbabweans tell us why they want to emigrate

Ordinary Zimbabweans tell us why they want to emigrate
15 November 2017 – Sowetan Live

Emigration from Zimbabwe is soaring as ordinary residents despair at the imploding economy and political instability‚ even before the current political turmoil. A month ago‚ the publication’s Harare correspondent Nhlalo Ndaba filed this report‚ which we republish today to bring perspective to the unfolding situation:
Ahead of Zimbabwe’s general elections‚ scheduled to be held around August 2018‚ the economy is imploding and some professionals as well as ordinary Zimbabweans have lost faith in a political solution and are now looking for greener pastures.
Sithembiso Ncube‚ a teaching assistant at one of Zimbabwe’s tertiary institutions‚ has set her eyes on Australia. Despite academics earning more than average government workers‚ their salaries are behind by almost two months.
“Things are bad. I am surviving on bank overdrafts and the bank only takes its money as and when government pays us. What hurts me most is that they add interest‚” she said.
Her husband‚ Brian‚ owns a small construction company. But business is hard to come by since people don’t have money to build. Some of his machinery was attached by the messenger of court for failing to pay workers.
Construction is a critical skill and the couple found it worthwhile to choose a country where they will both have jobs.
“We passed visa interviews last month. He will go first and then I will automatically get a spousal visa‚” said Sithembiso.
The Ncube’s are selling their movable property to raise a one-way ticket for Brian.“When he arrives‚ the Australian government will refund his airfare and that will be used to buy my ticket‚” she added.
According to Australian laws‚ the couple will have to work two years for the government. Thereafter‚ get an option of taking up residence or extend their visas.
In their circle of friends‚ a lawyer husband and computer engineer wife left in December for Italy.
Another Zimbabwean who refused to be named returned back home in 2011 during the Government of National Unity (GNU) that brought stability as President Robert Mugabe shared power with his erstwhile rival Morgan Tsvangirai. But now‚ she is also on her way out.
“My standard of living has gone down and signs are that things will only get worse‚” she said‚ as she sets her eyes on the United Arab Emirates.
Doctors and nurses are also leaving in droves. Last year sizable numbers relocated to Swaziland‚ Namibia and the United Kingdom. A basic starting salary for a nurse in the UK before added benefits and overtime is 21‚000 pound sterling per year — a far cry from the $4‚000 per year in Zimbabwe.
There is a lack of up-to-date statistics on the number of Zimbabweans in the diaspora but the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) put the figure of those who left during the economic meltdown of 2008 at between 500‚000 and three million based on various sources like government and non-governmental organisations.
For most ordinary Zimbabweans‚ South Africa is the destination of choice. Statistics from the South African embassy in Harare indicate that visa applications have doubled since 2014. The embassy now processes an average of 6‚000 permits per month against 3‚000 three years ago.
However‚ those in South Africa under the Zimbabwe Dispensation Permits are racing against time to extend their stay.
“There is panic because by December everyone should have extended their permits but the online system is not working properly‚ hence some don’t have interview dates. It’s complete chaos‚” said Tendai Bhiza from People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty (Passop) in Cape Town.
The SA Department of Home Affairs opened applications for the new Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) in September. It replaced the Zimbabwe Special Permit‚ which was awarded to about 200‚000 working Zimbabweans in SA. On Friday‚ SA Home Affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni released a statement announcing that the cut-off date for ZEP applicants to have their in-person appointments had been extended from end-November to January 31 next year. This was a response to long queues and a lack of time to complete the process.
Most Zimbabweans in South Africa are not documented and more are on their way into the country.
“I charge R2‚000 to get a person into South Africa. I have roughly six people every fortnight. Lately we have been transporting children who are being reunited with their parents because life has become tough back home‚” said a cross border transporter also known as Umalayisha.
Inside Zimbabwe‚ many Zimbabweans now treat cash as a commodity instead of a store of value. Before spending it‚ they inquire about the day’s rate.
“When I have cash I don’t use it to pay for bills. I check its rate against the bond note or telegraphic transfer‚” said Sharon Murewa. For example‚ the rate between the American dollar and telegraphic transfer recently was 1=1‚5 — thus a US$100 would give one a value of $150 in transfer money.
This week‚ Zimbabwe announced it has relaxed regulations barring the import of basic commodities to avert a shortage of goods ahead of the festive season.
Statutory Instrument 64 was put in place by the government to prevent items such as groceries‚ building material and furniture from entering the country‚ in an attempt to stimulate domestic production.
Now‚ anyone with foreign currency can approach the government for an import permit.
However‚ the decision came a bit late‚ because retailers have been accessing South African products such as milk‚ cooking oil‚ cereal‚ detergents‚ biscuits‚ razor blades – to name but a few – from the runners and smugglers‚ popularly known as “Omalayitsha”.
With the disappearance of hard currencies on the streets‚ retailers are forced to hike their prices‚ because buying rands using the local bond notes is expensive.
“The rand trades on an average of R100-$7‚ but against the local bond notes – which officially have the same value as the rand – it is R100-$11. Therefore‚ I need more bond notes to get my hands on the rand. To operate at a profit‚ I have to hike my prices every time the bond notes lose value‚” said a supermarket owner.
Other notable price increases have been on items such as sanitary pads‚ hair products‚ milk‚ whisky and even locally produced products such as bricks.
Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Mike Bimha told journalists that to avert spiralling prices‚ he would approach parliament to introduce price controls.
But that may not help. Economist Stevenson Dhlamini said: “Price controls will make goods only accessible on the black market at more expensive prices‚ because traders will factor in the risk allowance‚ since they will be prone to police raids.”

8 things you need to know about the Zimbabwean exemption permit

8 things you need to know about the Zimbabwean exemption permit
15 September 2017 – TimesLIVE

Zimbabweans whose seven-year special dispensation visas will run out in December‚ have been given a reprieve.
Many had feared they would have to return to Zimbabwe‚ leaving their jobs and homes behind.
However, the South Africa government announced that Zimbabweans on special dispensation visas‚ which were issued in 2010 and expire in December‚ can apply for new visas called Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEP).
Here’s what you need to know
1. What is the special dispensation visa?
The special dispensation visa was introduced in 2010 allowed Zimbabweans working in South Africa to gain legal status here. Almost 200,000 people were granted three-year visas‚ which were extended for a further four years until the end of 2017.
2. Who is eligible for the ZEP?
The ZEP is only open for those already in possession of a valid Zimbabwe Special Permit.
3. How much will the new visa cost?
Minister of Home Affairs Hlengiwe Mkhize announced the new visa will cost R1,090.
4. How long will it be valid for?
ZEP permits will be issued for a maximum period of four years, effective from 1 January 2018 and expiring on 31 December 2021.
5. What do you need?
• A valid Zimbabwean passport.
• Evidence of employment, such as a letter from your employer, in the case of an application for work rights.
• Evidence of business, in the case of an application for business rights.
• Admission letter from a recognised learning institution, in the case of an application for study rights.
6. How do I apply?
Zimbabweans can apply for the exemption permits between September 15 and November 30 at Visa Facilitation Services offices. Prospective applicants are urged to submit applications online
Thereafter applicants will be allocated appointments for the required submission of fingerprints and supporting documents from 1 October 2017.
7. When is the cut off period?
Cut-off date for submission of applications is 30 November 2017.
8. Does the visa allow me to get permanent residency?
No. The new visa still denies Zimbabwean permanent residency in South Africa.