Archive from December, 2021
Dec 30, 2021 - Uncategorized    No Comments

`They wanted to catch us off guard` – Motsoaledi on ZEP urgent applications

ZEP holders have sought to challenge Cabinet`s decision not to renew the Zimbabwe special dispensation, which has been in place since 2009
JOHANNESBURG – Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi welcomed the High Court in Pretoria`s decision to strike from the roll two applications by African Amity and another group to have the case of Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) holders against the department heard urgently.
ZEP holders have sought to challenge Cabinet`s decision not to renew the Zimbabwe special dispensation, which has been in place since 2009
The validity of the permits expires at the end of this month and ZEP holders are expected to apply for different visas and permits or face deportation after the 12 month grace period.

Motsoaledi said they also welcome the cost order in one of the matters.
The minister said he believes the timing of the application was so Home Affairs could be caught off guard.
`They just wanted to catch us off guard. How do you on a matter that is not so urgent file papers in court on Christmas Eve?`
Motsoaledi warned that his department will remain vigilant and promote the sovereignty of the country.

www.samigration.com

Dec 30, 2021 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Ethiopian who fled to SA handed a lifeline after ConCourt rules against his deportation

• Constitutional Court judgment rules that an illegal foreigner stay in the country pending his application for asylum status.
• Ethiopian Desta Abore was arrested in 2020 in Eshowe for entering and living in South Africa illegally.
• The court ruled that his continued detention until June 2021 was unlawfully.
A man who fled Ethiopia for South Africa for allegedly fearing for his life, has been given a lifeline to remain in the country.
On Thursday, the Constitutional Court ruled that the Department of Home Affairs was not allowed to deport Desta Abore back to Ethiopia.
Instead, it ordered the department to `take reasonable steps` in the next 14 days to `give effect to Mr Abore`s intention to apply for asylum in terms of the Refugees Amendment Act`.
Abore entered South Africa through Zimbabwe.
It is unclear when he entered, but was arrested on 8 June 2020 in Eshowe, KwaZulu-Natal, on charges of unlawfully entering and residing in the country.
A month after his arrest, he was sentenced to 50 days` imprisonment with an option to pay a R1 500 fine.
He claimed the fine was paid on his behalf, but that he was still detained.
Despite his conviction ending on 25 August 2020, Abore was only released on 25 June 2021.
He stayed in custody after filing an urgent application in the Durban High Court in July 2020, seeking a ruling that he not be removed from the Eshowe police station holding cells and interdicting the Department of Home Affairs from deporting him.
The court granted Abore an interim order pending the finalisation of his application for his release from custody to be heard on 6 August 2020.
This was extended several times until 27 January 2021.
On 8 February 2021, the department started Abore`s deportation process.
The warrant of detention was put in place, ordering that Abore be detained in a detention facility until his deportation.
The Eshowe Magistrate`s Court confirmed this and on 1 March, Abore`s detention at the Lindela Repatriation Facility was extended by 90 days.
However, Abore launched an urgent court application challenging his deportation on 12 March.
He sought an order to stop his deportation until his status as a refugee had been determined.
The Johannesburg High Court upheld that his continued detention was lawful.
Abore approached the Constitutional Court to appeal the high court decision on an urgent basis.
The Department of Home Affairs argued that new provisions in the Refugees Act did not automatically grant an illegal foreigner the right to be afforded the opportunity to apply for asylum.
The department said the new amendments gave immigration officers and the courts the authority to decide whether valid reasons existed as to why the illegal foreigner was not in possession of a valid transit visa.
Illegal foreigners must show the immigration officer valid reasons for the illegal entry and stay in the country.
Abore said he was unable to visit a refugee reception centre because they were closed down as part of the Covid-19 lockdown regulations.
He said in court papers that he arrived in March 2020, but Home Affairs believed he arrived in 2017.
On Thursday, a unanimous judgment by Constitutional Court judges written by Justice Lumka Tshiqi ruled that `the interests of justice favoured the granting of direct leave to appeal`.
They held that the legislative changes occasioned by the amendments to the Refugees Act, which came into operation on 1 January 2020, did not have the effect of barring people in Abore`s position from applying for asylum.
The justices said the amendments, however, introduced an additional step in the form of an interview before a person may be permitted to apply for asylum.
The justices also ruled that Abore`s detention was unlawful as it ended in August 2020.
`He was therefore kept in detention without just cause or in the absence of a court order from 26 August 2020 until 7 February 2021.`
They also ruled that his detention until 25 June 2021 was unlawful.
ordered that within 14 days of its order, to give Abore`s intention to apply for asylum.
The department was also ordered to pay Abore`s costs for both the high court and the Constitutional Court.
SaMigration.com

Dec 26, 2021 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Deputy Minister of Home

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Njabulo Nzuza has called on parents to make sure that their baby’s birth is registered before they leave the hospital with the new addition to their family.
Nzuza has visited Eshowe Hospital on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast to hand over birth certificates to the eight mothers who gave birth on Saturday, the first baby being born at 2 o’clock.
The Eshowe Hospital, like around 140 other state hospitals countrywide, has a Home Affairs office on its premises.
Nzuza says if birth is not registered within 30 days, a cumbersome process has to be followed to establish if the child is a South African citizen to prevent fraud.
He says, “We really rely on the parents to make sure that when they come in, they ask: is there a home affairs office here? and then they also ask: do they come to make collections? Can I register my baby? And they have to carry their IDs with them because what we have observed is that sometimes they don’t register babies because they are unable because they don’t have their identity documents with them.”
KwaZulu-Natal
Altogether 45 babies have been born in the first 8 hours of Christmas day in KwaZulu-Natal. Health MEC, Nomagugu Simelane, welcomed Christmas babies at Addington hospital in Durban.
She showered the newborn babies with gifts. Simelane says the first baby to arrive in KwaZulu-Natal, was born in Durban’s King Edward hospital.
She says, “We are pleased to announce that as of six am today (Saturday) we had welcomed 33 Christmas babies from healthcare facilities across the province but at 8am this morning the number had risen to 45, which is made up of 24 boys and 21 girls. The province’s first Christmas baby was a boy that was born at King Edward hospital at 12 o’clock sharp to a 39-year-old mother here at Addington hospital.”
Eastern Cape
The Eastern Cape has been blessed with 52 babies so far this Christmas.
Health Department MEC Nomakhosazana Meth visited the new moms and their bundles of joy at the Nelson Mandela Academic hospital in Mthatha where she donated toys and gifts.
Only two Christmas babies have been delivered at the hospital, while two other expecting moms are waiting for a cesarean section.
Meth says both moms have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
She says, “We are here today at Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital. We are receiving these bundles of joy that were received today, the parents that gave birth. Fifty-two in total, two from Nelson Mandela and unfortunately the mothers of the two in Nelson Mandela were found to be COVID-19 positive, but they are fine. We are saying congratulations to all mothers.”
Limpopo
A 15-year-old teenager was the first person to give birth to a Christmas baby at a hospital in the Vhembe district of Limpopo.
Health authorities say the teenager gave birth to a baby boy.
The second teenage mother, 14, has also given birth to a baby girl at a hospital in the Waterberg district.
The authorities would not divulge the names of the hospitals where the teenagers have given birth.
Limpopo MEC for Health Dr Phophi Ramathuba says a total of 40 babies were born between midnight and six o’clock on Saturday morning.
Twenty-five of those are boys while 15 are girls.
Ramathuba has expressed disappointment that young girls are giving birth.
www,samigration.com

‘Fake marriage’ costs DRC-born home affairs official his SA citizenship

‘Fake marriage’ costs DRC-born home affairs official his SA citizenship

sami 3

Times Live – 24 December 2021

 

A DRC-born home affairs official has been stripped of SA citizenship after the department found he obtained it via a marriage of convenience. File photo.

A home affairs official’s professional ambition has had unintended consequences for him.

Mbemba Pierre Mahinga faces a bleak 2022 after the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) dismissed his application to stop the home affairs department stripping him of his SA citizenship.

In 1996 Mahinga, now 55, arrived in SA from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as an asylum seeker, and home affairs alleged he engaged in a marriage of convenience to get citizenship.

He worked at home affairs, where a promotion exposed problems with his CV.

Mahinga has been engaged in a legal battle with the home affairs minister and director-general since 2016, when the minister revoked his citizenship and terminated his employment.

He hauled the minister and the director-general to the high court in Pretoria and won a minor reprieve when the court set aside the decision to revoke his citizenship.

However, the full bench of the court later ruled in favour of the minister and director-general when they appealed, at which point Mahinga turned to the SCA.

The court in Bloemfontein dashed his hopes last month. A 17-page judgment penned by judge Dumisani Zondi detailed inconsistencies in Mahinga’s CV, asylum seeker application and marriage.

The judgment said Mahinga flew to the DRC for a holiday in 2012 even though he claimed to have fled the country because he feared persecution.

According to the judgment, Mahinga married a South African in 1999. He withdrew his asylum application the following year and applied for a permanent residence permit. It was granted in 2001, and two years later he obtained citizenship.

“At that stage there were problems in the marriage,” said Zondi.

“His wife was allegedly seeing another man. A child was born from this relationship on October 15 2003, four months after his application for naturalisation. He renounced his Congolese citizenship in 2015.”

In  2004, Mahinga got a job as an admin clerk at the home affairs refugee reception centre in Pretoria. He was promoted to assistant director in 2006.

“When he applied for employment at the department, [he submitted his curriculum vitae as part of his application. Under work experience on his CV, he stated he was an employee at the embassy of the DRC in Pretoria as an administrative officer from July 1998 to August 2000, and left the embassy’s employ because he was retrenched,” said Zondi.

A tip-off in 2007 sparked a home affairs investigation, but Mahinga did not co-operate with officials when he was asked to provide information for vetting purposes in 2011.

The investigation escalated in 2013 when the department picked up inconsistencies in his application for citizenship after perusing its movement control system. These included how and when he entered SA, the legitimacy of his marriage and “false registration of several children on his personal and salary system”.

The department concluded he was “an illegal foreigner, whose only two options to remain in SA were to apply for asylum or go into a marriage of convenience”, said Zondi.

His application was founded on misrepresentations and the spouse permit in support of his citizenship application was allegedly false.

Mahinga denied the allegations.

“I have never been an illegal foreigner in SA,” he told home affairs.

“My asylum application was based on true-life persecution experiences. My asylum claim was appropriately lodged and duly registered in 1996 first. Home affairs put me through a second re-registration process in 1998.

“The accompanying spouse permit was legitimate. My spousal relationship was based on true love, good faith and a genuine spousal relationship reinforced by shared dreams, shared family life and faithfulness and meant to last until death do us part.”

He said only the department could shed light on “how people I never officially declared as being my children or being connected to me ended up being linked to me”.

The SCA found Mahinga obtained permanent residence through misrepresentation because he was not staying with the woman to whom he claimed to have been married. It dismissed his appeal and ordered him to pay the legal costs.

Neither Mahinga’s lawyers nor home affairs responded to requests for comment.

www.samigration.com

 

 

Dec 24, 2021 - Uncategorized    No Comments

`Fake marriage` costs DRC-born home affairs official his SA citizenship

A DRC-born home affairs official has been stripped of SA citizenship after the department found he obtained it via a marriage of convenience. File photo.
A home affairs official’s professional ambition has had unintended consequences for him.
Mbemba Pierre Mahinga faces a bleak 2022 after the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) dismissed his application to stop the home affairs department stripping him of his SA citizenship.
In 1996 Mahinga, now 55, arrived in SA from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as an asylum seeker, and home affairs alleged he engaged in a marriage of convenience to get citizenship.
He worked at home affairs, where a promotion exposed problems with his CV.
Mahinga has been engaged in a legal battle with the home affairs minister and director-general since 2016, when the minister revoked his citizenship and terminated his employment.
He hauled the minister and the director-general to the high court in Pretoria and won a minor reprieve when the court set aside the decision to revoke his citizenship.
However, the full bench of the court later ruled in favour of the minister and director-general when they appealed, at which point Mahinga turned to the SCA.
The court in Bloemfontein dashed his hopes last month. A 17-page judgment penned by judge Dumisani Zondi detailed inconsistencies in Mahinga’s CV, asylum seeker application and marriage.
The judgment said Mahinga flew to the DRC for a holiday in 2012 even though he claimed to have fled the country because he feared persecution.
According to the judgment, Mahinga married a South African in 1999. He withdrew his asylum application the following year and applied for a permanent residence permit. It was granted in 2001, and two years later he obtained citizenship.
“At that stage there were problems in the marriage,” said Zondi.
“His wife was allegedly seeing another man. A child was born from this relationship on October 15 2003, four months after his application for naturalisation. He renounced his Congolese citizenship in 2015.”
In 2004, Mahinga got a job as an admin clerk at the home affairs refugee reception centre in Pretoria. He was promoted to assistant director in 2006.
“When he applied for employment at the department, [he submitted his curriculum vitae as part of his application. Under work experience on his CV, he stated he was an employee at the embassy of the DRC in Pretoria as an administrative officer from July 1998 to August 2000, and left the embassy’s employ because he was retrenched,” said Zondi.
A tip-off in 2007 sparked a home affairs investigation, but Mahinga did not co-operate with officials when he was asked to provide information for vetting purposes in 2011.
The investigation escalated in 2013 when the department picked up inconsistencies in his application for citizenship after perusing its movement control system. These included how and when he entered SA, the legitimacy of his marriage and “false registration of several children on his personal and salary system”.
The department concluded he was “an illegal foreigner, whose only two options to remain in SA were to apply for asylum or go into a marriage of convenience”, said Zondi.
His application was founded on misrepresentations and the spouse permit in support of his citizenship application was allegedly false.
Mahinga denied the allegations.
“I have never been an illegal foreigner in SA,” he told home affairs.
“My asylum application was based on true-life persecution experiences. My asylum claim was appropriately lodged and duly registered in 1996 first. Home affairs put me through a second re-registration process in 1998.
“The accompanying spouse permit was legitimate. My spousal relationship was based on true love, good faith and a genuine spousal relationship reinforced by shared dreams, shared family life and faithfulness and meant to last until death do us part.”
He said only the department could shed light on “how people I never officially declared as being my children or being connected to me ended up being linked to me”.
The SCA found Mahinga obtained permanent residence through misrepresentation because he was not staying with the woman to whom he claimed to have been married. It dismissed his appeal and ordered him to pay the legal costs.
Neither Mahinga’s lawyers nor home affairs responded to requests for comment.
www.samigration.com

Dec 19, 2021 - General    No Comments

White South Africans are leaving the country in their thousands: Stats SA

White South Africans are leaving the country in their thousands: Stats SA

Businesstech – 19 December 2021

 

Statistics South Africa has published its mid-year population estimates for 2021, showing that the country’s population continues to grow, to 60.1 million people.

The country recorded a net increase of 520,628 people between estimates in 2020 and 2021, Stats SA said.

StatsSA also provided a breakdown of demographics, including the estimated shifts among different racial population groups. Black South African estimates increased by 486,602 over the period, while the country’s coloured population grew by 47,228. The Asian/Indian population group added 4,109 over the last year.

South Africa’s white population, however, declined by 17,311 people between 2020 and 2021, Stats SA said.

Notably, while South Africa’s white population still maintains its proportionate make-up of the overall population, at 7.8%, this has steadily declined over the years, from 7.9% in 2019, 8.1% in 2016, and 9.0% in 2011. Stats SA pointed to emigration as a key factor in this declining trend.

Migration data over the 2016-2020 period shows that South Africa has seen a massive influx of foreign nationals over the last five years. Stats SA estimates that between 2016 and 2021 South Africa is expected to see net international migration of 852,992 people into the country.

This includes a large number of people entering the country from Africa (894,365), as well as a smaller number from Asia (49,854). However, the stats body estimated that around 91,000 white South Africans will have left the country over the period.

Stats SA’s migration assumptions are in fact lower than previously reported – in 2020 it was expected that 115,000 white South Africans would have left the country by 2021.

One reason for this lower number could be the Covid-19 pandemic, which Stats SA said had an indirect impact on migration data, and affected 16 of the 60 months under review.

“There is a marked reduction in international migration, which is indicative of the Covid-19 travel restrictions globally over the past 16 months,” it said. However, it noted that internal numbers have not been as affected because internal mobility over this period has been temporary.

Overall, Stats SA estimates that 611,500 white South Africans have left the country over the last 35 years, contributing to the declining trend.

Looking at the larger picture of South Africa’s racial demographics as a proportion of the population, little has changed over the last decade, with black South Africans accounting for around 80% of the population.

In raw numbers, South Africa’s white population is estimated to be 96,600 larger than a decade ago (2011), however, this follows a loss of 108,900 people in number between 2013 and 2017, and a gain of 186,270 between 2018 and 2020.

Zooming in on the population proportions (percentage of the population) among minorities, while coloured South Africans and Indian/Asian South Africans have remained stable, white South Africans have shown a clear decline.

Stats SA’s population figures are based on estimates from a cohort. While it is considered an accurate reflection of the demographics of the country, it can change based on new information.

The most accurate way to get population figures is from a national census, with Stats SA expected to conduct one in October 2021.

www.samigration.com

 

Home affairs minister will not budge on Zim exemption permits

zep permit

City Press –

 

Motsoaledi told City Press that South African government officials were facing pressure mainly from Zimbabwean politicians and diplomats in a last-ditch attempt to persuade Ramaphosa to change his mind.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has vowed to push ahead with the termination of the Zimbabwe exemption permits issued to asylum seekers, when they expire at the end of this month, despite “tremendous” pressure from the Zimbabwean government and lobby groups not to.

The exemption permits were granted to more than 250 000 Zimbabweans who were among the millions who poured out of Zimbabwe at the height of its political and economic crisis in 2008 and 2009, overwhelming the country’s refugee system.

The temporary measure was meant to regularise their presence in the country and allow them to access services such as banking.

South Africa’s Cabinet decided last month that it would not extend the permits when they expire on December 31.

Exemption permit holders will have to apply for mainstream visas under normal immigration laws before December 31 next year, or leave the country.

Motsoaledi says South Africa is facing huge pressure from the Zimbabwean government – which seemingly does not want its own citizens back – to withdraw the Cabinet directive.

And it is not alone in protesting against the termination.

Human rights groups have slammed the decision, with the Centre for Applied Legal Studies writing to Motsoaledi, asking him to rescind it on “purely humanitarian grounds”.

It said: Zimbabwe remains a country in turmoil and continues to experience serious economic and political challenges and violence.

Exemption permit holders argue that they qualify for permanent residence on the basis that they have been in South Africa for more than a decade.

Advocate Simba Chitando, representing exemption permit holders, said he had instructions to continue with court action to have President Cyril Ramaphosa’s directive overturned.

“Our attention’s now focused on asserting exemption permit holders’ legal right to permanent residency in the Republic,” he said.

SA WON’T BE ABUSED

It is believed that the Zimbabwean government is concerned that it would not be able to cope with a large influx of returning citizens.

City Press also understands that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government fears that some of the returnees are former political activists who would strengthen resistance to the regime.

Motsoaledi told City Press that South African government officials were facing pressure mainly from Zimbabwean politicians and diplomats in a last-ditch attempt to persuade Ramaphosa to change his mind.

He said the pressure seemed to be an attempt to get the South African government to abuse its own immigration laws.

“There’s an abuse of our systems and, if we don’t put our foot down, we’ll keep being abused forever. We’re not going to be forced to break our own laws in order to make someone else’s work easy.

Motsoaledi said: We’re dealing with self-interest groups that don’t care about the wellbeing of Zimbabweans who, as exemption permit holders, can’t apply for any other visa, given the restrictions that were put in place.

SA’S IMMIGRATION SERVICE

He expressed anger about the fact that “people keep blaming the immigration services of South Africa, as if when one country creates a crisis, the country closest to it must respond by building the requisite capacity to deal with that crisis.

That’s the logic here.”

He added: “There’s also this [belief] that South Africa has abundant [resources] for everybody. That’s nonsense. No country has the capacity to accommodate everyone who has problems in the country they come from. In other words, when more and more [people] come, we must be able to hire more and our resources must expand. That’s not on.”

Motsoaledi’s hard-line stance comes at a time when illegal immigration has become a powerful political football in South Africa, with some parties using it as a major mobilising issue during the recent local government election.

THE 2008/09 INFLUX

Motsoaledi explained that the exemption permits were issued to people who were fleeing Zimbabwe between 2008 and 2009, because asylum centres were not designed to process the tens of thousands of Zimbabwean citizens who ended up overwhelming the system.

Some of those who applied were economic refugees who had no legitimate claim to political asylum status.

He said: The refugee regime was only designed for a small number of people.

Motsoaledi pointed out that in 1998, the number of people who sought asylum in South Africa was 16 000, rising gradually to 45 000  in 2006.

“All of a sudden, in 2008, we had an influx of 200 000 and one refugee centre was [unable] to process those people. In 2009, there were a further 207 000, which meant that we had more than 400 000 people flooding in from Zimbabwe in just one year,” said Motsoaledi.

City Press was reliably informed by another senior official that the Zimbabwean government intended using Covid-19 measures, including stringent monitoring of curfew hours, as a way to discourage “those whom they deem ‘undesirable’” from returning to that country.

Some of these “undesirables” included former state intelligence and security operatives who fled the country after falling out of favour with the heavy-handed Zanu-PF government.

The official said: The Zimbabwean government hunted down its own operatives and now they want South Africa to keep them because they’re afraid.

He added that many intelligence operatives had found homes in different organisations, including some NGOs that were leading protest action on behalf of exemption permit holders.

Motsoaledi said “special-interest groups” claiming to represent the interests of Zimbabweans affected by the termination of the exemption permits had turned out to be immigration lawyers whose businesses survived on expediting migration.

“If there’s no immigration in whatever form – legal or illegal – they can’t make a living, so they resort to pressurising the state.

Others make money as NGOs by claiming that they’re representing human rights and they get donor funding,” he explained.

He said many of those opposing the final termination of the permits did not understand that something that had been an extraordinary dispensation could not last forever, and that people who qualified and wished to apply for different kinds of visas were free to do so during the 12-month grace period that had been granted for that purpose.

“So how long must this special permit remain special? There were disadvantages for people who were on the exemption permit,” said the minister.

DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN

Motsoaledi said there were also disinformation campaigns encouraging Zimbabweans whose children who were born in South Africa to demand citizenship for their offspring.

“Parents are told that if they don’t do this, their children won’t be accepted in our schools. That’s just nonsense. All they need to do is go to the department of education and enquire.

“There’s nothing in law stating that when you’ve been in a country for a certain period, then that country is obligated to naturalise you. But here they want to make it an automatic right – and that’s what I’m resisting. We’re being pressurised into doing what other countries would never do.”

He said this would mean that the children of Zimbabweans who made use of Limpopo’s health services in huge numbers would be entitled to South African citizenship.

He asked:

If you go to Musina Hospital [in Limpopo], 70% of the women giving birth there who came for health services are from Zimbabwe. If those children are born there, does this mean we must give them citizenship?

 

www.samigration.com

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