Archive from October, 2018

Towards $3trn: Halal tourism by the numbers

Oct 21 2018 – Fin24
Cape Town and the Western Cape want to specialise in attracting a tourist market expected to have buying power worth $3trn by the year 2021. The city and the province held the inaugural “Africa Halal Week” in Cape Town on Monday.
The one-week summit, held in partnership with the Western Cape Investment and Trade Promotion Agency (Wesgro) sought to develop ideas on how Cape Town and the Western Cape could become specialists in providing Muslim-friendly tourism solutions.
The region wants to use its experience as the first place in Africa to certify halal products to hone in on servicing Muslim tourists with products and services including halal food, Muslim-friendly entertainment, clothing, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
Here are some quick figures to reflect how large the Muslim tourist market is poised to become, and why Cape Town wants to get into the game ahead of time.
• 1.6bn
The estimated global Muslim population currently stands at 1.6bn. Up to 60% of the global Muslim population is under the age of 30. Last year the Pew Research Centre famously released a report which said Islam would overtake Christianity as the largest faith on earth by 2070.
In 2017 the direct contribution of travel and tourism to SA’s GDP stood at about R136.1bn (2.9% of GDP), according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
The total spend globally on halal-relevant imports currently stands at $250bn.

Where’s the R794m, Gigaba?

Where’s the R794m, Gigaba?
The Star Early Edition – 19 Oct 2018
IT company claims Home Affairs failed to pay it R67m in 2009
HOME Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has been subpoenaed to answer why his department allowed an unpaid R67 million invoice owed to an information technology (IT) company undergoing liquidation to balloon to almost R800m.
According to investigators in the liquidation process, the amount owed to IT company Double Ring Trading shot up when the dispute with the Department of Home Affairs began in 2009, to the current R794m, which liquidators are gunning for.
Lorenzo Pavoncelli, one of the investigators appointed by liquidators SAF Trust to oversee the winding up of Double Ring Trading, asserted that they wanted the R794m, which they said could be forked out by taxpayers.
Subpoenas were issued by the South Gauteng High Court this week for Gigaba to appear before a court-appointed presiding officer later this month and provide documents about the government’s alleged complicity in the non-payment of the bill, which resulted in the loss of 150 jobs when the IT company was forced to shut down.
According to the subpoenas, Gigaba faces prison detention if he does not avail himself before the court-appointed presiding officer.
Double Ring Trading was tasked by the Department of Home Affairs from 2005 to, among other things, supply and install an information and communication technology (ICT) hub at the department’s premises in Tshwane.
This is according to a sworn affidavit by Moeketsi Nonyana, the former Home Affairs manager who was tasked with overseeing the ICT project.
Nonyana said under oath that Double Ring Trading had complied fully with its contractual obligations, which is contrary to the contention made by the Department of Home Affairs in court documents that the hub was never installed.
Home Affairs spokesperson Thabo Mokgola acknowledged yesterday that subpoenas were delivered to Gigaba this week, as well as to Karabo Mogotsi, director of legal services, and acting director-general Thulani Mavuso.
Mokgola added: “We are not going to comment further about this because the matter is before the courts.”
“When we inherited this matter in 2016, we agreed with Home Affairs that we would settle the matter for R250m – they turned us away.
“We then said we would settle the matter for R300m at the end of 2016 – they tuned us away,” Pavoncelli said.
“Now, we must go ahead and press with the R794m – and we want it,” Pavoncelli said.
“On the facts as they stand at present, duly supported by the documentation which we have located, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that, at some point, the court is going to order Home Affairs to pay.
“Had this matter been dealt with in 2009 – honestly, transparently and properly – the South African taxpayer would have been billed for only R67m.
“Taxpayers are now in for 10 times that amount because of rubbish defences,” Pavoncelli said.
He said the ballooning of the amount related to the contractual agreement between the Department of Home Affairs and Double Ring Trading, which stated that outstanding amounts attracted interest at a rate of 5% plus prime, and that the charges are dollar-based.
Johan du Plessis confirmed that he is one of the liquidators overseeing the daily operations of Double Ring Trading and that he speaks on the company’s behalf.
Du Plessis said they had appointed the investigators after Double Ring had gone into voluntary liquidation in 2016.
He declined to comment further. |

SA needs ‘closed’ borders, tighter immigration control, says DA

SA needs ‘closed’ borders, tighter immigration control, says DA
15 October 2018 -Business Day
The ANC has failed to secure SA’s national borders, says the party, as it ramps up its anti-illegal immigration campaign ahead of 2019 elections
SA’s borders should be “closed” and stricter immigration controls must be implemented, the DA said on Monday.
Illegal immigration is seen as a powerful electoral tool ahead of the crucial 2019 elections, in which the DA hopes to push the ANC below 50% in both Gauteng and in the Northern Cape, as well as increase its share of the vote in the Western Cape and nationally.
The DA’s Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba has taken a hard line on illegal immigration in the city, while Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga, who is also the DA’s Gauteng premier candidate, also recently raised the issue in a letter to home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba.
Immigration is, however, an extremely sensitive topic in SA, with the targeting of foreign nationals a big issue. This was epitomised by the widescale xenophobic violence that erupted in 2015.
Immigration is one of the DA’s key campaign pillars. The party announced at its campaign launch in Johannesburg in September that it will campaign against corruption, illegal immigration and crime, as well as for jobs.
The party provided details at a briefing in Johannesburg on Monday of its plan to curbed illegal immigration.
“We have to close our borders. The fact that our borders are porous, you know people can just enter the country,” said Jacques Julius, the DA’s spokesperson on immigration for the elections.
He added that it was also important to change the perception that all foreigners in the country were here illegally.
Julius said the ANC had failed to secure SA’s national borders, and that this has led to the country not having reliable figures as to how many immigrants enter its borders.
“Estimates have ranged from hundreds of thousands to millions. This lack of critical data on immigration means that the government cannot know or plan to provide services to our own citizens and to those immigrants who are here legally. It is impossible to make proper plans for service delivery with no reliable data on which to base decisions concerning budget allocations,” Julius said.
He said the ANC government did not know how many people were in SA illegally, and that it proved incapable of addressing and fixing the challenges of immigration and border security.
He said a DA-led government would “secure” SA’s borders and “stop illegal immigration”.
The DA said this would be done by revamping and improving border management and governmental co-ordination.
Julius said the party would review the number and size of border posts, while also training immigration officials and police officers.
The party has also promised that it would “eradicate” corruption and inefficiency in the home affairs department, saying it will initiate a once-off investigation into corruption by a “reformed Hawks”.
“Any officials found guilty of corruption and/or fraud will be blacklisted and prevented from working for any state agency or government department. To address inefficiency, the DA would enhance and improve the systems and technology, capacity, and competency levels through adequate training to officials at home affairs,” Julius said.
He said undocumented immigrants should be regularised or assisted in leaving the country if they did not meet the criteria for remaining in SA, which would require “innovative and strategic interventions to properly record and regularise undocumented foreign nationals already in the country, and actively protect, rescue and host refugees and those who have been trafficked, smuggled or abused within or across our borders.”
He said the DA believed that legitimate refugees and asylum seekers should be assisted and supported, and that SA should attract foreign nationals with scarce skills to SA to help grow the economy and create jobs

Stuck in the endless Home Affairs queues

Stuck in the endless Home Affairs queues
Zululand Observer – 19 Oct 2018
With reference to the article entitled ‘Uncollected IDs cause problems at Home Affairs’ in last week’s ZO Weekender edition, did anyone question why this is such a huge problem?
If you are one of hundreds of Zululanders who queue at the offices daily, you will realise it is an absolute nightmare to pick up your ID or do anything for that matter at your local Home Affairs office.
Firstly, you need to take an entire day’s leave to pick up an ID. You cannot collect anything in your lunch break as the queues extend outside and onto the pavement.
There are no chairs or benches outside and no relief from the harsh Zululand heat.
People just sit for hours on the concrete floor, including children and senior citizens.
So, how are we supposed to collect IDs or conduct any business at a department where professional planning is obviously nonexistent?
If only there was another system where we all didn’t have to queue in one line and those who needed to collect IDs could do so separately.
Can that not be arranged so the 2 571 outstanding IDs can be picked up?
In the run-up to next year’s national general elections, there will be major backlogs for applications and collection of IDs resulting in longer queues.
Authorities should come up with a plan quickly so people can easily pick up their IDs without delay.

Everything You Should Know About the UK Transit Visa

4 October 2018
Travelling from South Africa via the United Kingdom and feeling a little confused about whether or not you need a transit visa? The frequent changes to visa and immigration policies have made travelling to and transiting through the UK a rather confusing affair even for the most seasoned travellers.
But this post will answer some of the frequently asked questions about the UK Transit Visa and hopefully shed some light on this widely misunderstood visa.
This information applies to South African passport holders.

Types of UK Transit Visas?
There are two types of transit visas for the United Kingdom:
A Direct Airside Transit Visa (DATV) is valid for 24 hours and does not allow you to pass through the UK Border Control (i.e. you must remain ‘airside’). This transit visa allows you to pass through the transit channels and requires that you depart from the same airport on the same day. The DATV is perfect if you are travelling to Europe and need to catch a connecting flight in the United Kingdom.
Find out more about the Direct Airside Transit Visa.
A Visitor in Transit Visa is valid for 48 hours and allows you to change terminals and pass through the UK Border Control. The Visitor in Transit visa is designed for travellers who need to re-check their luggage or catch a connecting flight at a different airport (e.g. If you land at Gatwick Airport and your onward flight departs from Heathrow Airport). You will only be allowed to stay in the UK for 48 hours.
Find out more about the Visitor in Transit Visa.

Who needs a UK Transit Visa?
You will need a transit visa if you have to pass through border control. You will pass through border control if:
• you leave the airport building for any reason
• you need to collect and re-check your luggage
• your connecting flight departs from a different airport
• your connecting flight departs on a different day to when you arrive
• there is nowhere for you to stay in the airport overnight
• you are transiting through the UK to get to Ireland
Note: You may need to re-check your luggage if you have connecting flights on different airlines.
If you want to leave the airport and visit friends or family, or just spend some time exploring the country, you can apply for a UK Visitor Visa.
Who does not need a UK Transit Visa?
You do not need a transit visa if you:
• have a valid visa for Australia, New Zealand, Canada, or the USA
• have a valid Visitor Visa or residency permit for the UK
Note: If you have a valid visa for Australia, New Zealand, Canada, or the USA and your final destination is one of those countries, or you are simply transiting through them to get to another country, you will not need a transit visa. You will, however, need to be departing on the same day and have proof of an onward flight and all the relevant documents. This is known as “Transit Without Visa”.

How much is a UK Transit Visa?
Direct Airside Transit visa – about R659 (£35)
Visitor in Transit visa – about R1,205 (£64)
How long is a UK Transit Visa valid for?
Transit visas for the UK are usually valid for 6 months and allow multiple entries as long as your future trips meet the same criteria as the original transit trip (e.g. you cannot leave the airport if you were granted a Direct Airside Transit Visa). You will also be allowed to do a reverse journey with the visa (i.e. the same visa can be used on your return trip).

How to apply for a UK Transit Visa?
The application process for a UK Transit Visa is the same as the UK Visitor Visa. It is done online through the GOV.UK website.
You will need to:
• fill in the application form and answer in English
• pay the visa fee online
• print out your completed application form
• book and attend your appointment at a visa application centre
Find a visa application centre
For the UK Transit Visa application, you will need:
• A valid passport
• A flight booking (email or copy of tickets)
• A valid visa for the country for which you are departing the UK
Need assistance with your visa? Get a free visa quote from our expert partners at Visa Box!

We hope this cleared up some of the confusion surrounding the UK Transit Visa. Now, all that’s left to do is book your flights and get ready to live out your travel dreams!
If you are worried about your visa being rejected and losing your money on flights, you might be interested in our Visa Denied Service. It offers a full refund of airfare and taxes if your visa is denied.

Victory for asylum seekers in Constitutional Court – Judicial Review

13 October 2018 Groundup
Court rules on extension of temporary permits

The Constitutional Court has ruled that asylum seekers’ temporary permits must automatically be extended while their case is being reviewed. Archive photo: Ashraf Hendricks
In an important victory for the rights of asylum seekers, the Constitutional Court has found that their temporary permits must automatically be extended while their case is under judicial review.
South Africa is home to at least 400,000 asylum seekers and refugees. An asylum seeker is someone who claims, in an application to the Department of Home Affairs, to have fled from a place where they have been persecuted or where they are in danger. A refugee is someone who has been granted asylum either by government or a court.
Before asylum seekers get official refugee status they are granted a temporary permit which allows them to remain in the country until their application has been dealt with. Official refugee status can often take time and many applications are rejected.
When an application is rejected, an asylum seeker can go through an internal appeal, up to the Refugee Appeals Board. If that too fails, he or she can take the matter on judicial review in the High Court. During this time, the Refugees Act allows a Refugee Reception Officer to extend the asylum seeker’s temporary permit from time to time.
The question that arises is: up to what point is such an extension allowed? And is the extension automatic or does a Refugee Reception Officer have the discretion to refuse an extension?
The case before the Constitutional Court was brought by several asylum seekers from Cape Town whose applications for official refugee status had been rejected. They were represented by the Legal Resources Centre. After exhausting internal appeals, they applied for an extension of their temporary permits pending judicial review. The extension was not granted.
The High Court found that a Refugee Reception Officer does have the discretion to extend a permit pending judicial review. However, the Court found that the extension is not automatic but at the discretion of the officer.
The Supreme Court of Appeal largely upheld the decision of the High Court.
Home Affairs appealed to the Constitutional Court to rule that a Refugee Reception Officer can only extend a permit until internal remedies in terms of the Act have been exhausted.
The asylum seekers cross-appealed and wanted the Constitutional Court to go further than the Appeal Court decision and find that an extension is not only permitted but also automatic.
The Constitutional Court explained that two legal issues had to be addressed
• whether a Refugee Reception Officer has the power to extend a permit pending judicial review; and
• if so, whether an extension is automatic or whether the Refugee Reception Officer must exercise discretion.
Is there a power to extend pending judicial review?
At issue was the interpretation of the word “outcome” in the Act. Home Affairs argued that this referred to “the final administrative outcome” in terms of the Act.
The Act provides for two layers of appeal if an application for official refugee status has been rejected: first, asylum seekers may approach the Standing Committee for Refugee Affairs, and if this fails they may approach the Refugee Appeals Board. According to this logic, once this outcome is reached no further extensions are permissible. For this reason, the outcome of a judicial review of the decision of the Appeals Board wouldn’t qualify as an “outcome” in terms of the Act.
The court rejected this approach. Firstly, it emphasised that when courts interpret legislation they must do so in order to fulfil the key purpose of a piece of legislation.
And one of the key purposes behind refugee law, the court said, was to ensure that refugees are not returned to the circumstances from which they were seeking refuge. This means that “no one shall expel or return a refugee against his or her will, in any manner whatsoever, to a territory where he or she fears threats to life or freedom.”
Adopting the Home Affairs approach would mean that asylum seekers who have exhausted internal remedies in terms of the Act would be at risk of being deported, even if they were seeking refuge for valid reasons. It would be “cold-comfort” to argue that an asylum seeker would still have the option of approaching a court for interim protection: this could be unsuccessful for technical reasons, and anyway it would be expensive and impractical for an asylum seeker to institute legal proceedings once he or she had already been deported.
The Constitutional Court also emphasised that courts must prefer an interpretation of legislation that protects fundamental rights in terms of the Bill of Rights. If Home Affairs’s interpretation were adopted an asylum seeker’s rights to just administrative action, access to courts, life, human dignity, and freedom and security could be infringed.
For all these reasons, the court rejected Home Affairs’s interpretation and found that a Refugee Reception Officer does have the power to extend a permit, pending judicial review.
Is an extension automatic?
Here, the court found that the principle of “non-refoulement” — not sending a person back to a place where he or she would be in danger — would suggest that an extension must be automatic.
The court also said that if a Refugee Reception Officer did have discretion to refuse to extend a permit this would create a discrepancy in the Act. This is because the Act enables the Minister in certain prescribed circumstances to withdraw a permit but does not prescribe the circumstances under which a decision not to extend a permit may be made. Yet a refusal to extend a permit and the withdrawal of a permit have the same effect. The court found that it would not make sense that the Act gives more discretion to the Refugee Reception Officer than to the Minister. So the court found that the only interpretation that would make sense is that an extension is automatic and the Refugee Reception Officer has no discretion at all.
The court declared — with a minority of judges dissenting — that a Refugee Reception Officer does have the power to extend a permit pending judicial review and that such an extension is automatic. The court awarded costs against Home Affairs.
The case will strengthen the situation of thousands of asylum seekers who are in a precarious position without official refugee status. It reduces the possibility of unjustified deportations and ensures that South Africa complies with its international obligations to protect refugees from persecution and threats to their life and safety.

Ten-month visas to address seasonal worker shortages?

Jersey Post 14 Oct 2018
A NEW visa scheme to solve the recruitment crisis in the hospitality, agriculture and retail sectors could be announced within weeks, the JEP can reveal.
Non-EU nationals will be offered ten-month visas to work in the Island and must go back to their home country for at least two months before returning.
The labour shortages have been blamed on Brexit uncertainty for migrant workers, the falling value of the pound which has reduced the buying power of money earned in Jersey in their home countries and the strengthening economies of those countries. The move has been welcomed by those struggling to find staff. While the fine-print is yet to be finalised, Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham (pictured right) did confirm his intention to announce the plan ‘within weeks’.
He said: ‘What we have to do is find a way to ensure there is a supply of labour to industries that are currently suffering a shortage. It’s agriculture, tourism, retail and certain other sectors of the economy. We need to find a supply of labour without it having an unsustainable long-term effect on the overall population figure. The way we can do that is by offering a long annual work permit.’
Simon Soar from the Jersey Hospitality Association, which has previously spoken about an acute shortage of workers among members, says ten-month visas would make a big difference.
When contacted by the JEP, he said: ‘The JHA would welcome any opportunity for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access the Jersey market. This system would create a controlled environment and would remedy our problems without damaging the current workforce. There is no bigger concern we are facing at the moment than recruitment. The scheme you’ve told me about goes in line with talks we’ve been having in recent weeks. I have to say, as an association, we’d support this, so long as there aren’t too many costs and restrictions.’
The JEP understands that both Economic Development and Home Affairs are in talks about how the visa system would work in practice. One issue they face is that civil servants and politicians at Westminster have concerns that the scheme could provide non-EU nationals with a new route into the UK.
Peter Le Maistre, president of the Jersey Farmers’ Union, said the introduction of the visas would be ‘great news’ for those working in agriculture.
He said: ‘If that’s going to happen, that’s great news. Without it, there have been growers, particularly vegetable growers, who lost harvests last year and at the start of this year, and haven’t planted crops for this winter. If you think you’re going to be short of staff you’re not going to be planting crops. As an industry we’ve been ten to 15 per cent lower than we should be in terms of labour. I think we’ve got away with it, but that’s not sustainable.’
Senator Farnham said: ‘I think if it was anything less than a ten-month visa it would be difficult, as we’re pushing out the season. I want our economy to be less seasonal to drive up productivity. I’m working closely with Home Affairs and we are engaging with industry sectors. Something has to be in place before next summer and we’re hoping to have something agreed as soon as possible. We want to announce our plans as soon as possible so businesses can start planning.’