Archive from December, 2021

‘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 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

Treasury hails ‘stable’ outlook in Fitch rating

Flysami

Fin24 – 16 December 2021

  • National Treasury said the latest rating of South Africa by Fitch signaled a better-than-expected performance from the economy.
  • Fitch’s affirmed South Africa’s long term foreign and local currency debt ratings at BB-, revising the outlook from negative to stable. 
  • National Treasury said while the pandemic continued to serve as a headwind for South Africa, it was unlikely to sink long-term creditworthiness.

National Treasury said the latest rating of South Africa from sovereign credit rating agency Fitch signaled a better-than-expected performance from the economy as the country continued its recovery from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Fitch’s affirmed South Africa’s long term foreign and local currency debt ratings at BB-, revising the outlook from negative to stable.

Statistics South Africa announced in early September that the South African economy grew by 1.2% in the second quarter of 2021, which was a 19.3% increase from the same period in the previous year, when the country was in a hard national lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19.

In its rating Fitch also noted a “surprisingly strong fiscal performance” for the year with improvements in key fiscal indicators following the rebasing of its national accounts. A National Treasury statement released on Thursday said while the pandemic continued to serve as a headwind for South Africa, it was unlikely to sink long-term creditworthiness.

“The agency warns that the pandemic continues to weigh on economic performance and remains a source of downside risk for public finances.

“However, the likelihood of severe negative effects on creditworthiness has declined over the last year despite the recent emergence of the omicron variant of Covid-19 and the associated rapid surge in new cases in South Africa,” said the statement.

The Treasury statement said government would continue to demonstrate its commitment to fiscal sustainability and “enable long-term growth by narrowing the budget deficit and sizable debt”, in line with Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana’s medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS) in November.

“As stated in the MTBPS, government will use part of the higher tax revenues associated with the recent commodity price surge to narrow the deficit, while increasing non-interest expenditure to support key spending priorities,” the statement said.

The statement said government would continue to prioritise faster structural reforms, unlock private sector investment and introduce interventions aimed at driving economic growth and job creation.

www.samigration.com

 

Dec 16, 2021 - Asylum, Asylum Seeker, General    No Comments

We haven’t reversed the decision to end the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit: minister

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Businesstech – 15 December 2021

 

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Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi says that the government is moving ahead with its plans to end the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit in South Africa.

This follows earlier reports that his department had withdrawn a circular on the decision on Monday (13 November), seemingly backtracking on the planned change that would force about 200,000 Zimbabweans to return home.

Speaking to radio station 702, Motsoaledi said that while the circular had been withdrawn, this was due to a clerical issue, not a change of policy. The government would not be renewing the permit, he said.

The policy was first introduced in 2009 by then-Home Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, as a temporary solution to a growing refugee crisis related to Zimbabwe. While the dispensation was initially catering to a few thousand people, it quickly ballooned to over 400,000 individuals.

Motsoaledi said the permit was always supposed to be a temporary solution and was subsequently renewed three times over the last decade. The idea was never for Zimbabweans to stay in the country on the permit permanently.

The plan is to end the permit on 31 December and allow permit-holders to apply for different visas and permits – or face deportation after 12 months.

“There should not be any impression that the decision about terminating the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit – and then giving them a 12 month grace period to apply for other statuses – there is no withdrawal of that decision,” Motsoaledi said.

“What we have withdrawn is a circular that was issued by officials within the Department of Home Affairs – a circular explaining to the banks what they must do. That circular was wrong, it was not supposed to be issued. It was causing more confusion.

“But the initial decision to end the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit – nothing has changed, and nothing is going to change,” he said.

The decision to end the permits drew a chorus of complaints from human rights groups that threatened to mount a court challenge.

Activists have argued that Zimbabweans who have been living in South Africa for more than a decade were going to be sent back to a country with few economic opportunities and high levels of political repression.

The exemption only applied to Zimbabweans who entered South Africa before the arrangement was enacted in 2009.

According to government statistics, South Africa has a population of about 60 million, including about 3 million migrants. Many are Zimbabweans driven south by two decades of politically linked violence and economic collapse. The majority are undocumented and do not hold the permit.

www.samigration.com

Applying for your Section 11(2) Visitors Visa with Work Conditions

Applying for your Section 11(2) Visitors Visa with Work Conditions

This visa must be applied for abroad in your country of residence. Applications must be logged and processed by the responsible South African Embassy or consulate.

The Section 11 (2) Permits requires an approval letter which is a once off non-renewable permit allowing one to work in South Africa and cannot be changed into another type of permit in South Africa.

Only staff or  employed by a legitimate, registered entity will be granted this type of visa, but every application must be accompanied by a comprehensive explanation as to why the worker is needed to conduct short term work and here we will guide you in this process

We have done in excess of 1500 of these visas

The document must also be supported by a motivational letter from the applicant detailing why they are needed in South Africa and what the nature of their visit will be.

Note the Act allows for 1 extension for a maximum of 3 months whereupon applicant has to return to country of application or residence , ie you get 6 months and upon return home you can apply again and the process will repeat itself

Who does not qualify for a Section 11 Visitors Permit “Work Authorisations”?

In our experience it is however advisable to consult a professional immigration consultant such as SA Migration should you be unsure of which visa best suite your needs or if the visa bearer might need more than 90 days to conclude their business.

According to the South African Department of Home Affairs this type of visa will not be issued to the following occupations:

– Self-employed persons
– Contract Workers
– Exotic Dancers
– Project Management Workers
– Casual Labourers
– Seasonal Labourers
– Work Seeking Persons

Validity and Processing Times of the Section 11 (2) Visitors Permit

This visa expires 90 days after being issued and in our experience this visa is mostly processed within 30 days.

Note the Act allows for 1 extension for a maximum of 3 months whereupon applicant has to return to country of application or residence , ie you get 6 months and upon return home you can apply again and the process will repeat itself

How can we help you , please email us to info@samigration.com whatsapp me on:

+27 82 373 8415, where are you now? check our website : www.samigration.com

 

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https://g.page/SAMigration?gm

 

Alternatively , please contact us on :

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America - open border

Dec 15, 2021 - General    No Comments

SA banks to keep Zimbabweans’ accounts open following ‘confusion’

SA banks to keep Zimbabweans’ accounts open following ‘confusion’

Fin24 = 15 December 2021

South Africa withdrew a circular that prompted banks to threaten to close the accounts of a category of Zimbabwean immigrants who have a permit to live and work in the country from 1 January next year.

The circular sent to banks was withdrawn because it created confusion, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said in an interview on Monday. Permit holders still have the right to stay in the country for another 12 months and should therefore have access to their accounts, he said.

On 25 November, South Africa’s Cabinet issued a statement saying that about 200 000 holders of the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit would see their permission to stay in the country expire on 31 December. They would then have a 12-month grace permit to apply for alternative permits under the usual immigration framework.

Cabinet’s decision to end the permits drew a chorus of complaints from human rights groups that threatened to mount a court challenge. They argued that Zimbabweans who have been living in South Africa for more than a decade were going to be sent back to a country with few economic opportunities and high levels of political repression.

The exemption only applied to Zimbabweans who entered South Africa before the arrangement was enacted in 2009.

The plan may result in Zimbabwean permit-holders’ lives being disrupted, with children denied the opportunity to register for school, employers refusing to renew work contracts, and banks denying services or withholding access to accounts, Sharon Ekambaram, head of the Refugee and Migrant Rights Programme at Lawyers for Human Rights in Johannesburg, said last month in a letter signed by 46 organisations.

South Africa has a population of about 60 million, including about three million migrants, according to government statistics. Many are Zimbabweans driven south by two decades of politically linked violence and economic collapse. The majority are undocumented and do not hold the permit.

Cabinet voted to end the exemption program after the governing ANC suffered its worst ever electoral performance in municipal and national elections. ActionSA, an anti-immigrant party formed by former Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba, won 16% of the votes in the city in its first race and a large proportion of the ballots in the capital, Pretoria.

South Africa has been plagued by recurrent bouts of xenophobic violence since at least 2008, with foreigners often accused of taking jobs in a country where a third of the workforce is unemployed.

www.samigration.com

 

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