Archive from January, 2022

Americans have become SA’s biggest overseas tourists – overtaking Brits and Germans

Americans have become SA’s biggest overseas tourists – overtaking Brits and Germans

Business Insider SA – 31 Jan  2022

Flysami

  • Visitors from the United Kingdom accounted for 30% of all overseas tourists in South Africa prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • But travel restrictions, including the controversial red list, dropped the number of incoming UK tourists by around 90%.
  • The same is true for tourists from Germany, which has traditionally been South Africa’s second-highest source market for overseas tourists, behind the UK.
  • South Africa’s primary source market for tourists in 2021 was the United States, with almost 72,000 Americans having arrived by December.

South Africa welcomed more tourists from the United States in 2021 than from anywhere else overseas, with American visitors being far more common than those from the United Kingdom and Germany.

Prior to the global Covid-19 pandemic, European visitors accounted for roughly 60% of overseas tourists entering South Africa annually. Tourists from North America – the US and Canada combined – accounted for just 17%.

But the pandemic turned international travel on its head, with border closures, flight suspensions, and fear driving down tourism.

The number of overseas tourists visiting South Africa dropped by almost 80% in 2020, as the world entered hard lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19. The following year was even worse, with overseas tourists dropping by a further 50%, as new Covid-19 variants and waves of infections led to further travel restrictions.

Just under 330,000 overseas tourists came to South Africa between January and November in 2021, according to Stats SA’s latest report on tourism and migration. Before the pandemic, roughly 2.4 million tourists arrived during the same period.

This major upset to global travel also saw major changes to South Africa’s key tourism source markets.

The UK has traditionally been South Africa’s main source market, with more visitors arriving from here than from anywhere else in the world. Of all European tourists to South Africa, those from the UK have consistently accounted for around 30%.

This all changed during the pandemic, with the UK imposing some of the strictest restrictions on travellers from South Africa. Being on the UK’s red list meant that travellers from South Africa needed to endure a ten-day quarantine in a state-managed hotel at their own cost of £2,285 (around R47,000).

South Africa was removed from the UK’s red list in early October. The number of UK tourists arriving in South Africa in November increased by more than 60% compared to the month prior, with travel agents reporting a surge in bookings. But the discovery of the Omicron variant at the end of November saw South Africa relegated back to the UK’s red list.

The UK’s proportion of European tourists travelling to South Africa in 2021 dropped to 18% and to under 10% of pre-pandemic levels.

Travellers from Germany, which has traditionally wrangled with the US for second spot on South Africa’s list of key source tourism markets, outnumbered UK visitors in 2021. But due to its own harsh travel restrictions imposed for much of the year, the number of German tourists arriving in South Africa dropped by around 85% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

South Africa’s primary source market for tourists in 2021 was the US. The number of American arrivals almost equalled the combined total of UK and German tourists.

Almost 72,000 Americans arrived in South Africa by December 2021, which is just 0.1% down from the year prior, compared to the 50% drop in overall overseas volumes.

The US’ restrictions on travel from South Africa were also in place for most of the year, but unlike those imposed by European countries, was largely targeted at barring entry for foreign nationals. Fully vaccinated American citizens were allowed to return to the US, without having to endure a mandatory quarantine, during the travel ban.

Like the UK and Germany, the US reimposed a ban following the discovery of Omicron, but this has since been rescinded.

www.samigration.co.za

 

 

Motsoaledi vows to clean up home affairs

Motsoaledi vows to clean up home affairs

City Press – 31 January 2022

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The minister said he and Makhode were keeping a close eye on all cases of alleged fraud, corruption and maladministration.

 

A full-scale operation targeting senior officials suspected of corruption and gross negligence costing taxpayers millions of rands is under way at the home affairs department.

This was confirmed to City Press by Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi in an interview following the recent suspension of three senior officials accused of failing to execute court orders, resulting in three warrants of arrest being issued to Motsoaledi and his director-general, Livhuwani Makhode.

“A cleaning up operation in the department has started; this is not the end.” Motsoaledi said:

We need to clean up the department, where negligence and corruption are in every corner.

The minister said he and Makhode were keeping a close eye on all cases of alleged fraud, corruption and maladministration, with the sole intention of making sure that consequence management was imposed on those officials found guilty of wrongdoing, following disciplinary hearings.

“The message that must get out is that I, as the minister, together with my director-general, am serious about consequence management. There will be consequence management for every action by a public servant, especially those in home affairs.

“I am putting my foot down on this. If anything wrong happens in home affairs because of a public servant, there will be consequences,” said Motsoaledi.

On December 21, Makhode issued suspension letters to deputy director-general of human resources Nkidi Mohoboko, labour relations director Ditsoanelo Mosikili and Sello Malaka, the department’s chief director of employee services.

The three are accused of gross negligence that cost home affairs R11 million in payouts to junior employees who were supposed to be fired from the department.

Insiders who are at close proximity to investigations into the senior officials told City Press that the millions of rands that the department purportedly unduly paid to junior employees – who were facing dismissal – were just the tip of the iceberg.

One insider painted a bleak and worrying picture of the implications of the gross negligence by the suspended senior officials, saying the reputational risk was immense.

The information emerging, said the insider, “shows that government officials have been systematically breaking down the department’s systems”.

“What is most concerning is that, where things were supposed to be fixed in order to keep the department from further operational deterioration, people simply didn’t act.

The insider said:

We may very well find that what happened was in fact deliberate.

Another department insider with intimate knowledge of the forensic investigation was more direct about what investigations were unearthing regarding Malaka’s modus operandi.

“The chief director is accused of throwing away cases. He is the one who must set up and hand over charges. He prepares the director-general and makes sure everyone concerned, as it relates to a case at hand, is on the same page, especially when dealing with such cases where actual taxpayer money was handed over unduly, without any good reason,” said the insider.

Disciplinary charges are being formulated and will be handed to the three senior officials over the next few weeks.

The investigation of gross negligence, which covers labour relations and governance-related matters, was triggered when three warrants of arrest for Motsoaledi and Makhode were issued for their failure to execute court orders.

“People take us to court and say the department is not implementing [court orders] … So, for myself and the director-general, in this particular case, the warrant came out three times,” said Motsoaledi.

It has since emerged that the minister and his director-general did not know about the court orders, as the information was never filtered through to them for action from the department officials who are currently on suspension.

“The main thing is that they are charged with gross negligence. The department is losing money because they ignored obvious court orders. The department has lost R11 million and, on top of that, warrants of arrest have been issued against me as the minister and the director-general for being in contempt of court over these cases.

“The warrant is for our arrest because we are the leaders of the department. But can you now imagine an official not doing their job and you getting a warrant of arrest without knowing?

“This happened without myself and the director-general knowing that we were in contempt of court. We were not aware that there was an official here who was sitting and defying a court order by not carrying it out,” Motsoaledi explained.

“For these warrants against the minister and the director-general, someone is going to have to account.”

High-profile suspensions are likely to become a disturbingly common feature in the department over the coming months and years if Motsoaledi and Makhode’s determination to flush out the wanton criminality and gross misconduct by senior officials is anything to go by.

City Press was told that, apart from the recent suspensions, the heat is being turned up on pending disciplinary cases against senior immigration officials believed to have facilitated the illegal issuing of permanent residency permits to fugitive priest Shepherd Bushiri and his family.

The officials, who are believed to have been instrumental in ensuring that Bushiri and his wife unduly received their permits, are facing serious disciplinary charges after home affairs internal investigations revealed a sophisticated network that allegedly went as far as manipulating and altering information contained in immigration application forms.

“These fraudulent documents are so prevalent, where people [such as] the Bushiris of this world don’t do it alone, they do it with home affairs officials.

“The cleaning up of home affairs has started. If it means suspending and arresting the whole department, so be it. A stern Motsoaledi:

I am not going to concentrate on the small fish, I am going for the big fish in the department.

“Someone apparently once said: ‘If this minister wants to get rid of corruption at home affairs, he will have to get rid of two-thirds of the staff.’

“If that’s what it takes to clean the department, so be it!

“So, if we have to get rid of two-thirds of the department’s officials to clean it up from what it is, then so be it. And that process has started.”

www.samigration.com

City Press – 31 January 2022

 

The minister said he and Makhode were keeping a close eye on all cases of alleged fraud, corruption and maladministration.

 

A full-scale operation targeting senior officials suspected of corruption and gross negligence costing taxpayers millions of rands is under way at the home affairs department.

This was confirmed to City Press by Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi in an interview following the recent suspension of three senior officials accused of failing to execute court orders, resulting in three warrants of arrest being issued to Motsoaledi and his director-general, Livhuwani Makhode.

“A cleaning up operation in the department has started; this is not the end.” Motsoaledi said:

We need to clean up the department, where negligence and corruption are in every corner.

The minister said he and Makhode were keeping a close eye on all cases of alleged fraud, corruption and maladministration, with the sole intention of making sure that consequence management was imposed on those officials found guilty of wrongdoing, following disciplinary hearings.

“The message that must get out is that I, as the minister, together with my director-general, am serious about consequence management. There will be consequence management for every action by a public servant, especially those in home affairs.

“I am putting my foot down on this. If anything wrong happens in home affairs because of a public servant, there will be consequences,” said Motsoaledi.

On December 21, Makhode issued suspension letters to deputy director-general of human resources Nkidi Mohoboko, labour relations director Ditsoanelo Mosikili and Sello Malaka, the department’s chief director of employee services.

The three are accused of gross negligence that cost home affairs R11 million in payouts to junior employees who were supposed to be fired from the department.

Insiders who are at close proximity to investigations into the senior officials told City Press that the millions of rands that the department purportedly unduly paid to junior employees – who were facing dismissal – were just the tip of the iceberg.

One insider painted a bleak and worrying picture of the implications of the gross negligence by the suspended senior officials, saying the reputational risk was immense.

The information emerging, said the insider, “shows that government officials have been systematically breaking down the department’s systems”.

“What is most concerning is that, where things were supposed to be fixed in order to keep the department from further operational deterioration, people simply didn’t act.

The insider said:

We may very well find that what happened was in fact deliberate.

Another department insider with intimate knowledge of the forensic investigation was more direct about what investigations were unearthing regarding Malaka’s modus operandi.

“The chief director is accused of throwing away cases. He is the one who must set up and hand over charges. He prepares the director-general and makes sure everyone concerned, as it relates to a case at hand, is on the same page, especially when dealing with such cases where actual taxpayer money was handed over unduly, without any good reason,” said the insider.

Disciplinary charges are being formulated and will be handed to the three senior officials over the next few weeks.

The investigation of gross negligence, which covers labour relations and governance-related matters, was triggered when three warrants of arrest for Motsoaledi and Makhode were issued for their failure to execute court orders.

“People take us to court and say the department is not implementing [court orders] … So, for myself and the director-general, in this particular case, the warrant came out three times,” said Motsoaledi.

It has since emerged that the minister and his director-general did not know about the court orders, as the information was never filtered through to them for action from the department officials who are currently on suspension.

“The main thing is that they are charged with gross negligence. The department is losing money because they ignored obvious court orders. The department has lost R11 million and, on top of that, warrants of arrest have been issued against me as the minister and the director-general for being in contempt of court over these cases.

“The warrant is for our arrest because we are the leaders of the department. But can you now imagine an official not doing their job and you getting a warrant of arrest without knowing?

“This happened without myself and the director-general knowing that we were in contempt of court. We were not aware that there was an official here who was sitting and defying a court order by not carrying it out,” Motsoaledi explained.

“For these warrants against the minister and the director-general, someone is going to have to account.”

High-profile suspensions are likely to become a disturbingly common feature in the department over the coming months and years if Motsoaledi and Makhode’s determination to flush out the wanton criminality and gross misconduct by senior officials is anything to go by.

City Press was told that, apart from the recent suspensions, the heat is being turned up on pending disciplinary cases against senior immigration officials believed to have facilitated the illegal issuing of permanent residency permits to fugitive priest Shepherd Bushiri and his family.

The officials, who are believed to have been instrumental in ensuring that Bushiri and his wife unduly received their permits, are facing serious disciplinary charges after home affairs internal investigations revealed a sophisticated network that allegedly went as far as manipulating and altering information contained in immigration application forms.

“These fraudulent documents are so prevalent, where people [such as] the Bushiris of this world don’t do it alone, they do it with home affairs officials.

“The cleaning up of home affairs has started. If it means suspending and arresting the whole department, so be it. A stern Motsoaledi:

I am not going to concentrate on the small fish, I am going for the big fish in the department.

“Someone apparently once said: ‘If this minister wants to get rid of corruption at home affairs, he will have to get rid of two-thirds of the staff.’

“If that’s what it takes to clean the department, so be it!

“So, if we have to get rid of two-thirds of the department’s officials to clean it up from what it is, then so be it. And that process has started.”

www.samigration.com

Corrupt Home Affairs Officials Panick as Police Arrest Lady with 14 New Asylum Papers and R67,000.

Corrupt Home Affairs Officials Panick as Police Arrest Lady with 14 New Asylum Papers and R67,000.

Opera – 31-01-2022

Court

Despite the warning issued to corrupt Home Affairs Officials on daily basis with respect to issuing South African documents to unqualified individuals, it seems these scrupulous elements are hell bent on engaging in criminal activities. View pictures in App save up to 80% data.

In an emerging report, Police in Pretoria West have successfully arrested a lady who was in possession of 14 ready-to-be-issued asylum documents gotten directly from Home Affairs on Thursday.

The suspect was apprehended in Maltzan Street near Luttig Street.

Constable Sibongile Vuma who is the police spokesperson, during his statement said that when the woman was interrogated on what she was doing with the documents and blank home affairs papers, she allegedly admitted that they were fraudulent.

Vuma added that the lady said that foreign nationals, who are already on the home affairs database, pay the sum of R600 to get the documents,while those who are not yet on the database pay R1, 200 or more to get theirs.

Vuma further stated that the police could not confirm whether the documents were authentic as at the time of gathering this information.

“Home affairs will have to confirm their authenticity. The suspect was also found in possession of R67 700, which was also confiscated as evidence. The money was booked for further investigation.”

Vuma said the suspect will be arraigned in Pretoria magistrate court on one count charge of fraud.

Police appealed to the community to inform them of any illegal dealings in their policing area.

“There is no place for criminals to do their criminal activities in our precinct. We will no stone unturned.”

www.samigration.com

 

 

 

Jan 30, 2022 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Corrupt Home Affairs Officials Panick as Police Arrest Lady with 14 New Asylum Papers and R67,000

Despite the warning issued to corrupt Home Affairs Officials on daily basis with respect to issuing South African documents to unqualified individuals, it seems these scrupulous elements are hell bent on engaging in criminal activities. View pictures in App save up to 80% data.
In an emerging report, Police in Pretoria West have successfully arrested a lady who was in possession of 14 ready-to-be-issued asylum documents gotten directly from Home Affairs on Thursday.
The suspect was apprehended in Maltzan Street near Luttig Street.
Constable Sibongile Vuma who is the police spokesperson, during his statement said that when the woman was interrogated on what she was doing with the documents and blank home affairs papers, she allegedly admitted that they were fraudulent.
Vuma added that the lady said that foreign nationals, who are already on the home affairs database, pay the sum of R600 to get the documents,while those who are not yet on the database pay R1, 200 or more to get theirs.
Vuma further stated that the police could not confirm whether the documents were authentic as at the time of gathering this information.
“Home affairs will have to confirm their authenticity. The suspect was also found in possession of R67 700, which was also confiscated as evidence. The money was booked for further investigation.`
Vuma said the suspect will be arraigned in Pretoria magistrate court on one count charge of fraud.
Police appealed to the community to inform them of any illegal dealings in their policing area.
“There is no place for criminals to do their criminal activities in our precinct. We will no stone unturned.”
www.samigration.com

Jan 30, 2022 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Americans have become SA’s biggest overseas tourists â€` overtaking Brits and Germans

• Visitors from the United Kingdom accounted for 30% of all overseas tourists in South Africa prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
• But travel restrictions, including the controversial red list, dropped the number of incoming UK tourists by around 90%.
• The same is true for tourists from Germany, which has traditionally been South Africa’s second-highest source market for overseas tourists, behind the UK.
• South Africa’s primary source market for tourists in 2021 was the United States, with almost 72,000 Americans having arrived by December.
South Africa welcomed more tourists from the United States in 2021 than from anywhere else overseas, with American visitors being far more common than those from the United Kingdom and Germany.
Prior to the global Covid-19 pandemic, European visitors accounted for roughly 60% of overseas tourists entering South Africa annually. Tourists from North America â€` the US and Canada combined â€` accounted for just 17%.
But the pandemic turned international travel on its head, with border closures, flight suspensions, and fear driving down tourism.
The number of overseas tourists visiting South Africa dropped by almost 80% in 2020, as the world entered hard lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19. The following year was even worse, with overseas tourists dropping by a further 50%, as new Covid-19 variants and waves of infections led to further travel restrictions.
Just under 330,000 overseas tourists came to South Africa between January and November in 2021, according to Stats SA’s latest report on tourism and migration. Before the pandemic, roughly 2.4 million tourists arrived during the same period.
This major upset to global travel also saw major changes to South Africa’s key tourism source markets.
The UK has traditionally been South Africa’s main source market, with more visitors arriving from here than from anywhere else in the world. Of all European tourists to South Africa, those from the UK have consistently accounted for around 30%.
This all changed during the pandemic, with the UK imposing some of the strictest restrictions on travellers from South Africa. Being on the UK’s red list meant that travellers from South Africa needed to endure a ten-day quarantine in a state-managed hotel at their own cost of £2,285 (around R47,000).
South Africa was removed from the UK’s red list in early October. The number of UK tourists arriving in South Africa in November increased by more than 60% compared to the month prior, with travel agents reporting a surge in bookings. But the discovery of the Omicron variant at the end of November saw South Africa relegated back to the UK’s red list.
The UK’s proportion of European tourists travelling to South Africa in 2021 dropped to 18% and to under 10% of pre-pandemic levels.
Travellers from Germany, which has traditionally wrangled with the US for second spot on South Africa’s list of key source tourism markets, outnumbered UK visitors in 2021. But due to its own harsh travel restrictions imposed for much of the year, the number of German tourists arriving in South Africa dropped by around 85% compared to pre-pandemic levels.
South Africa’s primary source market for tourists in 2021 was the US. The number of American arrivals almost equalled the combined total of UK and German tourists.
Almost 72,000 Americans arrived in South Africa by December 2021, which is just 0.1% down from the year prior, compared to the 50% drop in overall overseas volumes.
The US’ restrictions on travel from South Africa were also in place for most of the year, but unlike those imposed by European countries, was largely targeted at barring entry for foreign nationals. Fully vaccinated American citizens were allowed to return to the US, without having to endure a mandatory quarantine, during the travel ban.
Like the UK and Germany, the US reimposed a ban following the discovery of Omicron, but this has since been rescinded.
www.samigration.co.za

Jan 30, 2022 - Uncategorized    No Comments

U.S. Department Of State Expands Interview Waivers For Certain Non immigrant Visa Classifications

On December 23, 2021, the U.S. Department of State announced that it will temporarily suspend in-person interviews for some nonimmigrant visa classifications in order to expedite visa issuance as the pandemic heads into its third year. The Department announced that individuals applying for L-1, H-1, H-3, P-1, O-1, and Q visas (and their dependents) will not be required to appear for in-person interviews at U.S. consular posts abroad. This policy is effective until the end of 2022.
Consular officers have the discretion to waive the interview requirement for individuals applying for these visa types who were previously issued any type of visa. Notably, the E visa category is not exempt from interview waivers, whether for first-time applicants or for E visa renewals. The non immigrant visa application process and in-person interview are the last steps in a lengthy process after U.S. petitioning companies have secured non immigrant petition approvals from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. F-1 student visas and visas for other temporary seasonal workers as well as M and J academic visa applicants have already been exempted from the in-person interview requirement.
Globally, U.S. consulates have been affected with reduced staffing capacity and further, due to varying country conditions have been unable to process most work visas in the volume and speed as they had in pre-pandemic times. This causes stress for U.S. companies seeking to employ foreign talent and for the foreign worker anxious to commence employment here in the U.S. H-1B and L-1 visas, in particular, had reduced incidents of visa issuance due to consular closures and unpredictable processing times. The suspension of the waiver of in-person interviews will be extended to the end of 2022, according to the U.S. Department of State.
Foreign visa applicants must apply for a visa in their country of nationality or residence and consular officials will have the discretion to waive the in-person requirement for any visa applicant who was previously issued any type of visa, never been refused a visa in the past unless such visa refusal was overcome or waived and who have no other ineligibility or potential ineligibility. The U.S. Department of State has extended the waiver of the in-person interview until the end of 2022.

www.samigration.com

Jan 30, 2022 - Uncategorized    No Comments

United Nations confirms SA not obliged to give citizenship because of birth

Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi gives details of their meeting with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The South African Home Affairs ministry has concluded a meeting with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) on various issues concerning refugees in the country.
John Perlman speaks to Home Affairs minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi for more details.
A few weeks ago, there was a group of NGOs and human rights groups that clubbed together and marched to Home Affairs and demanded that every child born of foreign parents who are born on our soil must get our birth certificate and citizenship.
Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Home Affairs
I came out to the media and said we are not obliged to do that and there is no law that forces us. Now the United Nations yesterday accepted it. The United Nations said no there is no obligation on any country to give you citizenship because you were born there.
Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Home Affairs
www.samigration.com

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