Archive from December, 2017

Hawks called on to probe Home Affairs social media scam

Hawks called on to probe Home Affairs social media scam
December 21, 2017 – AAN7
Home Affairs Minister Ayanda Dlodlo has warned of a criminal syndicate operating on social media networks.
This comes after a fake account bearing the name of the minister was created a week ago, as a platform to solicit money through a purported contract deal to the amount of R25 million.
“The minister is not involved in any deal of the nature described in this fake correspondence. In addition, the department will also never ask people to pay money through social media for any of its services and anyone who comes across such requests should report these to the authorities,” Dlodlo said.
It’s understood the criminal syndicate asked members of the public for specific information to qualify for a share of 50% in the purported transaction.
“We have detected incidents of fake social media accounts attempting to solicit money from members of the public and we have reported this matter to the Hawks for a thorough investigation. We would also like to warn those who are involved in this illegal activity that the law will come down hard on them.”
Dlodlo emphasised that social media networks were critical platforms for information flow and exchange around the globe.
She has urged members of the public who want to access online services offered by the department to always verify their sources and platforms, using the security mechanisms provided.
-TNA Reporter

‘Stateless’ man struggles for citizenship

‘Stateless’ man struggles for citizenship
Pretoria News / 23 December 2017,
However, he has no birth certificate to prove it and thus cannot get a South African ID because it is said he is not a South African citizen. Ngubane is therefore stateless and belongs to no country.
Home Affairs refuses to issue him with a South African ID because he is unable to provide documented evidence that he was born here. The department also said it was not justified to grant him permanent residence in the country under the circumstances.
Ngubane said his only evidence that he was a South African, his birth certificate, went missing when the taxi he was travelling in was hijacked.
He eventually turned to the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, with the help of Lawyers for Human Rights, to challenge the department’s refusal to assist him.
It was argued on his behalf that the department failed to properly conduct an investigation as to whether he was indeed stateless, and whether this constituted special circumstances to issue him with a permanent residence permit under the Immigration Act.
Ngubane claimed in court papers that he was born in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal in 1990. His late parents were South African citizens, he said.
His father died in 1993 when he was 3, he said, and he and his mother left to live in Nairobi, Kenya, where he went to school.
His mother was murdered in 2002 and he left Kenya with one of her friends to live in Uganda.
There, he said, he completed primary school, but the school had since closed down and his mother’s friend, with whom he lived, died in 2008.
Ngubane said he decided to return to South Africa in 2009 and went to the South African consulate in Nairobi to obtain a South African passport. This was refused and he was told to approach Home Affairs in South Africa.
He reached the Komatipoort border post where he was allowed to enter South Africa by merely producing his birth certificate.
On his way from the border post, the taxi in which he was travelling was hijacked and he and his fellow passengers were taken hostage.
They were robbed of their belongings, including the bag containing his birth certificate.
Ngubane said he managed to escape and went to the police, but they refused to investigate, as he did not have an ID document.
He then went to Home Affairs to try to obtain a copy of his birth certificate so that he could apply for an ID document. The department simply said they could not assist him.
Lawyers for Human Rights helped him to apply to Home Affairs for a permanent residence permit, which was rejected as he could not prove his South African nationality.
It was argued on behalf of Home Affairs that Ngubane was not stateless, as the Tanzanian government had linked his origin to “some or other East African country”.
This was due to smallpox vaccination marks on his body.
Adding to his problems was the denial by the Kenyan, Ugandan and Tanzanian consulates that he once resided in, and attended schools in, those countries.
Acting Judge MB Mokoena frowned on Ngubane’s account of where he actually came from, saying it did not seem as if he had been entirely frank with Home Affairs and the court.
The judge also questioned the fact that an immigration official at Komatipoort simply allowed him into the country by means of his birth certificate.
But the judge referred the matter back to Home Affairs for a proper investigation.
The judge ordered that he could in the meantime lawfully stay in South Africa, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Dec 23, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

`Stateless` man struggles for citizenship

However, he has no birth certificate to prove it and thus cannot get a
South African ID because it is said he is not a South African citizen.
Ngubane is therefore stateless and belongs to no country.
Home Affairs refuses to issue him with a South African ID because he
is unable to provide documented evidence that he was born here. The
department also said it was not justified to grant him permanent
residence in the country under the circumstances.
Ngubane said his only evidence that he was a South African, his birth
certificate, went missing when the taxi he was travelling in was hijacked.
He eventually turned to the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, with the
help of Lawyers for Human Rights, to challenge the department’s
refusal to assist him.
It was argued on his behalf that the department failed to properly
conduct an investigation as to whether he was indeed stateless, and
whether this constituted special circumstances to issue him with a
permanent residence permit under the Immigration Act.
Ngubane claimed in court papers that he was born in Newcastle,
KwaZulu-Natal in 1990. His late parents were South African citizens,
he said.
His father died in 1993 when he was 3, he said, and he and his mother
left to live in Nairobi, Kenya, where he went to school.
His mother was murdered in 2002 and he left Kenya with one of her
friends to live in Uganda.
There, he said, he completed primary school, but the school had since
closed down and his mother’s friend, with whom he lived, died in 2008.
Ngubane said he decided to return to South Africa in 2009 and went to
the South African consulate in Nairobi to obtain a South African
passport. This was refused and he was told to approach Home Affairs in
South Africa.
He reached the Komatipoort border post where he was allowed to enter
South Africa by merely producing his birth certificate.
On his way from the border post, the taxi in which he was travelling
was hijacked and he and his fellow passengers were taken hostage.
They were robbed of their belongings, including the bag containing his
birth certificate.
Ngubane said he managed to escape and went to the police, but they
refused to investigate, as he did not have an ID document.
He then went to Home Affairs to try to obtain a copy of his birth
certificate so that he could apply for an ID document. The department
simply said they could not assist him.
Lawyers for Human Rights helped him to apply to Home Affairs for a
permanent residence permit, which was rejected as he could not prove
his South African nationality.
It was argued on behalf of Home Affairs that Ngubane was not
stateless, as the Tanzanian government had linked his origin to “some
or other East African country”.
This was due to smallpox vaccination marks on his body.
Adding to his problems was the denial by the Kenyan, Ugandan and
Tanzanian consulates that he once resided in, and attended schools in,
those countries.
Acting Judge MB Mokoena frowned on Ngubane’s account of where he
actually came from, saying it did not seem as if he had been entirely
frank with Home Affairs and the court.
The judge also questioned the fact that an immigration official at
Komatipoort simply allowed him into the country by means of his birth
certificate.
But the judge referred the matter back to Home Affairs for a proper
investigation.
The judge ordered that he could in the meantime lawfully stay in South
Africa, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Cape Town refugee centre must be opened by end of March

Cape Town refugee centre must be opened by end of March
2017-12-15 – Groundup
Cape Town – On Thursday the Constitutional Court rejected an application by the Department of Home Affairs for leave to appeal, in a matter relating to the Cape Town Refugee Reception Office.
The Department was appealing a decision by Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA). The SCA ruled in September that Home Affairs must “reopen and maintain a fully functional refugee reception
Currently the Cape Town centre on the Foreshore does not accept new applications from asylum seekers. Nor does it accept applications from people who received asylum in other cities.
The Constitutional Court wrote that the Department’s application should be dismissed “as it bears no prospect of success”.
The case was brought by the Scalabrini Centre and the Somali Association of South Africa, as well as five asylum seekers.
On 29 September, SCA found the decision of the director general of the Department of Home Affairs to close the Cape Town Refugee Reception Office to be unlawful and set the decision aside; overturning a High Court decision.

The SCA ordered the Department of Home Affairs to reopen the office within six months.

Dec 15, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Border Management Authority to become operational next year

According to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) Cabinet is expected
to approve the long-awaited establishment of the Border Management
Authority (BMA) early next year.

SAnews, reporting on this week’s DHA briefing for festive season plans
at South Africa’s authorised ports of entry, names the new entity as
the Border Management Agency. This was the name given when it was
first mooted but was subsequently changed to “authority” so as to give
it more standing.

DHA maintains plans are at an advanced stage for the establishment of
the BMA to curb illegal immigration. The government publication notes
the BMA will be led by DHA under the leadership of Minister Ayanda
Dlodlo. She was moved into the post by President Jacob Zuma during his
most recent Cabinet reshuffle in October.

This single authority for border law enforcement provides the
potential for more cost-effective services as well as enhanced
security and management of the border environment SAnews stated.

“The establishment of the BMA represents a radical shift from the
colonial and apartheid systems that were informed by a desire and
mission to create and sustain racism, hostilities and hatred among the
people rather than dignified migration,” DHA said in a statement
earlier this year.

Through the authority DHA will focus on building the right set of
skills for border guard officials. They would also establish modern
and secure infrastructure and information and communication technology
platforms to meet universal standards. The BMA would not only be
beneficial to South Africa, but it will benefit destination countries
as well.

Previous Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize said in May a big
challenge at South Africa’s 72 ports of entry was the lack of
co-ordination between government departments and agencies, at times
operating on conflicting policy positions.

“The consequence of inefficient and ineffective border management
often leads to poor service rendered to traders and travellers at
ports of entry. This impacts negatively and creates a breeding ground
for corruption,” Mkhize said at the time.

Cabinet took a decision in June 2013 to establish a Border Management
Agency to improve management at ports of entry and the borderline.

It subsequently endorsed a vision for the BMA in 2014. The BMA Bill
has been through an extensive consultation process.

Over 40 million people enter and leave the country on an annual basis
for reasons including asylum, economic, educational and training
opportunities, tourism and leisure — thus the need for an effective
and efficient border management authority according to SAnews.

According to Home Affairs, the BMA will help prevent, among others,
drug-related crimes, human trafficking, illegitimate movement of goods
and unauthorised movement of persons.

SAnews said Illegal immigration has become a serious challenge for the
country because of its vast borders such as land, air and maritime.

The BMA, as envisaged, will take over all border management functions
at entry and exit points nationally. This leaves thousands of
kilometres of land border where there are no official entry and exit
controls to be patrolled by the SA National Defence Force (SANDF). The
border protection tasking is done under the aegis of Operation Corona
and currently has 15 companies deployed along the landward borders.

Dlodlo to appeal over Oppenheimers’ private international terminal

Dlodlo to appeal over Oppenheimers’ private international terminal
11 December 2017 – Business Live
Home Affairs Minister Ayanda Dlodlo will approach the Supreme Court of Appeal to challenge the Oppenheimer family’s court victory in October to run a private international terminal at OR Tambo International Airport.
On Friday the department lost the second round in a battle that has pitched the Oppenheimers against the Guptas when the High Court in Pretoria dismissed its application for leave to appeal against the October judgment.
The conduct of Dlodlo’s predecessor, finance minister Malusi Gigaba, has also come under the spotlight.
Judge Sulet Potterill found there were no prospects of success on appeal but Dlodlo disagreed, adding to delays that have already cost the project R373m.
“We have noted the judgment and still believe that a higher court could come to a different conclusion,” her spokesman Mava Scott told Business Day on Sunday. “We intend petitioning the Supreme Court of Appeal according to the uniform rules of court.”
Oppenheimer aviation company Fireblade wants home affairs to allow it to offer immigration and customs facilities at its luxury private terminal so passengers using private jets do not need to be processed at OR Tambo’s main terminals.
The court had previously accepted Fireblade’s argument that it was common practice throughout the world for private jets to use private terminal facilities called fixed-base operators (FBOs).
Potterill said several state entities had already approved the project. The decision by home affairs to withhold approval had resulted in accumulated losses of R373m because Fireblade’s business model is premised on being able to service international flights.
She cited a missed opportunity when luxury car maker Porsche chose to host a global event at Fireblade in November.
“The event generated over 1,400 international passengers which could have been processed through the FBO,” Potterill said. “All the private aircraft that came in for the event could not use the FBO because it was unable to offer the [customs and immigration] services.”
In court papers Fireblade accused Gigaba of reversing his approval in 2016 following pressure from the Guptas. He was home affairs minister at the time.
Fireblade argued Gigaba had approved its application at a meeting in January 2016 and should not be allowed to change his mind without good cause.
In her ruling in October Judge Potterill agreed, saying Gigaba’s approval “is of force and effect and may not be renounced or revoked without due cause and may be implemented and relied on by the applicant”.
The ruling was suspended pending the outcome of the appeal process.
The court heard that Gigaba reversed his approval just five days after granting it when he received a letter from Denel chairman Dan Mantsha saying it could not go ahead for security reasons. Denel, which leased the premises to Fireblade, had previously warmly endorsed the project.
Fireblade argued Denel’s “security concerns” were a ruse to disguise the Gupta family’s bid to muscle in on the airport, and that when this failed they had induced Mantsha to block approval.
Denel and Gigaba have denied the Guptas played any role in their decisions.
In its appeal application home affairs argued the court should have accepted Gigaba’s version that he hadn’t granted Fireblade final approval.
But in her judgment on Friday Potterill lashed out at Gigaba, calling his arguments “disingenuous, spurious and fundamentally flawed, laboured and meritless, bad in law, astonishing, palpably untrue, untenable and not sustained by objective evidence, uncreditworthy and nonsensical”.
“A court does not readily make findings that a minister’s version is untenable and palpably untrue,” Potterill said. “In this matter it had to be done. There are no prospects of success that another court will come to another conclusion.”
Home affairs said the court also failed to consider the argument that it was beyond the minister’s powers to designate a port of entry for exclusive private use by the family and unconstitutional to do so without a public tender.
But Potterill dismissed these arguments as meritless because the Oppenheimer terminal was located inside an airport that had already been declared an entry port.
Providing a private facility with ad-hoc customs and immigration facilities was “nothing new”, she added, citing Kruger and Lanseria airports as examples.
No public tender was needed because Fireblade was not rendering any goods or services to the state and there was no evidence of “favouritism” or “behind closed doors negotiations”.
“I cannot imagine a more transparent negotiation than the four years herein,” she said, citing “multidisciplinary meeting upon meeting, fulfilling requirements from various ministers and their departments and from many stakeholders”.
Fireblade leased the premises from Denel “with the specific purpose to run the FBO” and could not be expected to undergo a tender process afterwards, she said.
Potterill also rejected a submission by Denel to strike out sections of Fireblade’s application that accused the state arms firm of doing the bidding of the Gupta family by reversing its approval, saying she had not relied “on such evidence” to reach her conclusion.
The Gupta family have not publicly commented on the case.
Earlier in 2017 the so-called Gupta leaks exposed how Mantsha had played a key role as the Gupta family’s fixer in a R100bn arms deal they wanted to clinch with India while they wined and dined him in Dubai, Mumbai and New Delhi. He has not commented on the allegations.

Family caught up in home affairs nightmare

Family caught up in home affairs nightmare
11 December 2017 – Times Live

When Florette and Nsongoni Mulowayi renounced their Democratic Republic of Congo citizenship, it was with the promise of a new life in a country they “want to serve”.
Their eldest son had already been granted citizenship, having been born in South Africa in 2011, and they thought awarding the same status to them and their baby would be a formality.
But despite meeting all the requirements to be naturalised, the former refugees were left out in the cold when the Department of Home Affairs told them they would have to be permanent residents for 10 years – double the period stipulated in the Citizenship Act – before being considered for naturalisation,
As a result the parents are stateless but South African permanent residents. One child is a South African citizen. Another is stateless and without any status in South Africa.
The couple, who received permanent residency permits in 2011, are now seeking clarity from the High Court in Cape Town over what they believe is an incorrect application of the law by home affairs.
Their lawyer, Stefanie de Saude-Darbandi, said the Citizenship Act required only five years of “continuous” residency before a permanent resident can apply for naturalisation.
Home affairs was incorrectly applying a regulation of the act which stipulated that the period of ordinary residence referred to in the act is “10 years immediately preceding the date of application for naturalisation”.
De Saude-Darbandi’s assessment was confirmed by home affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni, who said: “There is no number of years [prescribed for being a refugee]. Once you are granted permanent refugee status you can apply for permanent residency. [Then] you must meet the five years as a permanent residence holder. Once you finish the five years you can apply for naturalisation.”
This contradicted the reasons for rejection his department gave the Mulowayis, and De Saude-Arbandi said: “Home affairs don’t stick with the law and [if] they do it’s when it suits them, even if the law is wrong.
“Incompetence, inconsistency and constant policy flip-flops by [home affairs] are causing chaos among foreigners seeking residence and citizenship in South Africa.”
Florette and Nsongoni – a biochemist and medical doctor respectively – fled to South Africa as asylum seekers in the early 2000s amid civil war and political instability. They struggle to get work, and Nsongoni is forced to take short-term contracts in neighbouring countries to provide for their family.
“The way we are treated is as if we are beggars,” said Florette. “We consider South Africa as our home and we want to use our skills to serve here.”
Lotte Manicom, advocacy officer at the Scalabrini Centre in Cape Town, said restrictive immigration and birth registration laws were creating a pool of people at risk of statelessness: “Groups of undocumented people are not conducive to a functioning state. Statelessness is therefore not only a problem for the individuals involved, but an issue the South African state has an interest in resolving.”
The Mulowayis’ case is due to be heard in March.

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