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.

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.

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.

SA September arrivals increase ─ Brazil, France continue to perform

SA September arrivals increase ─ Brazil, France continue to perform
Tourist Update – 10 December 2017

A year-on-year comparison between 2016 and 2017 for Q3 shows that the number of overseas tourists increased by 5%.
September arrivals increased by 2,1% year-to-date, from 1 273 734 in September 2016 to 1 300 502 in September 2017. A month-to-month comparison indicates a small drop of 0,1%, from August 2017’s figure of 1 302 312.
In September this year, the distribution of overseas tourists was:
• Europe: 52%, 115 148 arrivals;
• North America: 18%, 38 535 arrivals;
• Asia: 13%, 27 083 arrivals;
• Australasia: 7%, 15 031 arrivals;
• Central and South America: 4%, 8 565 arrivals;
• Middle East: 2%, 4 358 arrivals.
The ten leading countries visiting South Africa in September 2017 accounted for 75% of all tourism:
• US: 32 551 arrivals (16%);
• UK: 28 904 arrivals (14%);
• Germany: 26 282 arrivals (13%);
• Australia: 13 296 arrivals (6%);
• France: 13 102 arrivals (6%);
• The Netherlands, 12 246 arrivals (6%);
• China: 9 142 arrivals (4%);
• India: 7 676 arrivals (4%);
• Canada: 5 984 arrivals (3%);
• Brazil: 5 493 arrivals (3%).
The year-to-date stats show that the number of tourists has increased for seven of the ten leading countries; Brazil, France, Canada, Germany, USA, Australia and the Netherlands, but decreased for China, UK and India.
Brazil had the largest increase of 60%, from 3 425 tourists in September 2016 to 5 493 in September 2017. They were closely followed by France, which increased by 51%, from 8 673 tourists in September 2016 to 13 102 in September 2017. China had the largest decrease of 10%, from 10 160 tourists in September 2016 to 9 142 in September 2017.
A year-to-date comparison for the ten leading SADC countries travelling to South Africa shows that the number of tourists increased for eight of the ten leading countries; Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana, Angola, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Zambia, and decreased for Namibia and Lesotho.
Mozambique showed the largest increase of 17%, from 94 207 tourists in September 2016 to 110 076 in September 2017, while Namibia showed the largest decrease of 2%, from 16 636 tourists in September 2016 to 16 258 in September 2017.
In September 2017, 88% (183 344) of overseas tourists arrived in the country by air, while 12% (25 293) came by road and less than 0.1% (83) arrived by sea.
Tourists from SADC countries, on the other hand, came predominantly by road, 94% (568 973), with only 6% (39 030) arriving by air.
Quarterly and annual trends
Between Q2 and Q3 of 2017 the number of overseas tourists increased by 15%, from 545 208 in Q2 to 628 751 in Q3.
A year-on-year comparison between 2016 and 2017 for Q3 shows that the number of overseas tourists increased by 5%, from 600 420 in 2016 to 628 751 in 2017.

344 547 foreign nationals overstay visitor visas in 2016 – Mike Waters

344 547 foreign nationals overstay visitor visas in 2016 – Mike Waters
03 December 2017 – Politics Web

Zimbabweans are main culprits, followed by Mozambicans and Malawians
Minister Dlodlo must immediately resolve dire inefficiencies at Home Affairs
In a reply to a DA Parliamentary question, Home Affairs Minister, Ayanda Dlodlo, revealed that at least 344 547 foreign nationals failed to leave South Africa before or on the date their visas were set to expire.
The reply also revealed that more than 15 million people entered the country during 2016. Thousands of them are seeking to find refuge in our country. However, without proper checks and controls, the government will not have an accurate picture of how many foreign nationals stay within our borders illegally.
If this is the case, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will not be able to identify undocumented immigrants, and will ultimately fail to process those individuals who are eligible for a permit.
While the DHA have an Inspectorate Unit tasked with tracing persons who remain in the country illegally, the DA is concerned that the Unit might be under-resourced.
For years the DA has consistently supported greater investment in immigration services and this Parliamentary reply is exactly what the DA has been warning for a long time.
Given the scale and potential ramp in numbers, this reply is an indictment of the DHA’s deeply rooted inefficiencies to carry out its mandate which is to ensure that immigration officers at the border post execute their directive efficiently.
The DA is seriously concerned that if this is what happens in a single year, it must mean that over time, millions of people have entered the country illegally.
The DA will submit more questions to ascertain the staffing and budget of this unit as an under-resourced unit will not be able to trace 340 000 people each year.
Minister Dlodlo must show political will and re-assure the public that she will immediately resolve this unacceptable state of affairs.
Text of reply:
3517. Mr M Waters (DA) to ask the Minister of Home Affairs:
(1) What number of foreign nationals in 2016 (a) entered South Africa on (i) visitor visas and/or (ii) holiday visas, (b) departed on or before the date on which their visas expired and (c) of each nationality (i) did not depart and (ii) applied for asylum;
(2) what (a) plans does her department have in place to find the foreign nationals who did not leave the country and (b) what steps have been taken against the specified persons;
(3) what (a) procedures and/or (b) programmes does her department have in place to ensure that visitors depart when their visas expire and (c) is the success rate of the specified procedures and/or programmes in each case? NW3944E
(1)(a)(i-ii) 15,256,170 (total recorded movements for traveller arrivals in 2016 on visitors and /or holiday visas.
(1)(b) 14,988,933 (total recorded movements for traveller departures in 2016 on visitors visas.
(1)(c)(i) The top five nationalities who’s movements indicate they have not yet departed the RSA are:
1. Zimbabwe: 210,067
2. Mozambique: 47,909
3. Malawi: 44,818
4. Lesotho: 36,244
5. Nigeria: 5,509
(1)(c)(ii) The total number of asylum applications for 2016 was: 35,377
The top five nationalities that applied for asylum during 2016 are:
1. Zimbabwe: 7,964
2. DRC: 5,293
3. Ethiopia: 4,754
4. Nigeria: 3,276
5. Bangladesh: 2 834
(2)(a) The Inspectorate Unit of the department is tasked with tracing persons who remain the country illegally. They conduct regular inspections of places of employment and other institutions. They also undertake tracing projects to locate persons who have overstayed in the country.
(2)(b) Such persons are either charged criminally or deported from South Africa.
(3)(a-b) The department does not allow such persons to apply for change of status in the country. Travellers who overstay the number of allocated days are declared undesirable for a period of 12 months or up to a maximum of a 5 year prohibition depending on the number of days overstayed in terms of s30(1)(h) of the Immigration Act. The determination of the sanction is derived from the Enhanced Movement Control System (EMCS).
In terms of the prohibition, a traveller cannot under any circumstances re-enter the country unless an appeal for upliftment of the sanction is considered and accepted by the department.
(3)(c) For the period 1 April 2016 – 31 March 2017 a total of 39,894 persons were declared undesirable. Due to the department only collating overstay data from 1 April 2016, it is not possible to provide a year-on-year trend analysis. For the period in question the most common reasons cited for overstaying are based on medical grounds or applicants awaiting temporary residence visa extensions.