Archive from February, 2022
Feb 28, 2022 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Home Affairs R50 million visa system tender on the table

The bidding process for a visa and permit applications management tender worth R50 million closed on 25 February 2022.
Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s confirmed the closing date in response to questions asked by the Democratic Alliance’s Adrian Roos.
The current contract, awarded to VFS Global in December 2010, expires in December this year. The new contract is valued at R50 million according to the tender document.
According to Motsoaledi, the current bid specifications for the appointment of a project officer to manage the project were approved by the Bid Specification Committee on 9 February.
Roos also asked if there would be an alternative review process other than a formal appeal by VFS.
Motsoaledi explained that an applicant aggrieved by a decision of the director-general could apply for a review or appeal of the decision within ten working days.
“The Immigration Act and its Regulations stipulate that the Director-General may from time to time designate any place to receive applications,” he said.
VFS Global is the service provider designated to receive applications on behalf of the Department of Home Affairs.
“Section 8(6) of The Immigration Act states that an applicant aggrieved by a decision of the Director-General contemplated in subsection (5) may, within 10 working days of receipt of that decision, make an application in the prescribed manner to the Minister for the review or appeal of that decision,” Motsoaledi explained.
“Appeals, similar to all visa and permit applications, must be submitted through an office designated by the Director-General. Visa Application Centres operated by VFS are such designated offices,” he added.
Home Affairs is expected to launch an e-visa platform by March this year, and according to finance minister Enoch Godongwana, the system will be available to applicants in 15 countries.
The countries that will be able to receive South African e-visas include:
• Cameroon
• Democratic Republic of Congo
• Egypt
• Ethiopia
• Iran
• Mexico
• Pakistan
• Philippines
• Saudi Arabia
• Uganda
However, while inroads seem to have been made into developing the e-visa platform, the government has been promising this system since 2018.
The pilot project launched that same year and is yet to service all the countries initially meant to be included in the beta phase.

Feb 28, 2022 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Home affairs is hiring fit, capable, and `highly patriotic individuals` to protect SA`s borders

The department of home affairs is looking for `highly patriotic` South Africans, trained in public security, to work within the recently formed Border Management Authority (BMA).
South Africa`s Border Management Authority Act was signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa in July 2020. The Act aims to manage the legitimate movement of people and goods through ports of entry, while tightening the security of South Africa`s porous borders.
To do this, the BMA needs money â€` around R8 billion, at last count â€` and a battalion of competent border guards. The department of home affairs, custodian of the BMA until April 2023, is looking to hire at least 200 personnel to patrol South Africa`s borderline and inspect ports of entry.
`We are looking for committed, passionate, talented, ethical, and highly patriotic individuals to form part of the new project of border law enforcement under the Border Management Authority,` noted a human resources circular issued by the department of home affairs on Tuesday.
Only South African citizens â€` with no prior criminal convictions â€` will be considered for the job. All applicants need to have training in a public security environment, like the military, police, or community policing services. `Strenuous physical activity` is part of the border guard`s job, and shortlisted candidates will be put through their paces during a physical assessment.
Most of the jobs on offer â€` 182 positions of the 200 listed in the circular â€` are for regular border guards. Applicants need to have a Grade 12 Certificate and firearm competency. A valid driver`s license will be an added advantage.
A regular border guard`s duties include safeguarding evidence, conducting arrests, searching people, luggage, and vehicles at roadblocks, and responding to electronic sensor alarms in remote areas. These regular BMA border guards can expect a basic salary of R211,713 to R249,378 per annum, along with a `range of competitive benefits.`
Home affairs is also looking for 13 senior border guards who will lead teams on borderline operations from centres at Beitbridge, Lebombo, Kosi Bay, and Ficksburg border posts.
These senior guards need to have an undergraduate qualification in a security-related field at NQF Level 6 as recognised by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). They`ll also need a minimum of two years` experience of command and planning in the public security environment.
Successful candidates will be responsible for inspecting temporary holding cells, monitoring the CCTV systems when required, overseeing personnel placement, training, development, performance, and discipline, and compiling reports on borderline operations. That`s in addition to most work undertaken by regular border guards.
Senior BMA guards can expect to earn between R261,372 to R307,890 per annum.
Five chief border guards â€` also referred to as group or platoon commanders â€` are also being sought by home affairs. Like the senior guards, these platoon commanders also require an undergraduate qualification in a security-related field at NQF Level 6 but need at least three years` experience in commanding, planning, and executing security operations.
In addition to the NQF Level 6 qualification, successful candidates need to have leadership qualifications in commanding staff.
Chief border guards will be responsible for exercising `full command and control at team level to ensure efficient and effective border operations.` They`re also tasked with conducting interviews and interrogations, ensuring operational readiness of the team for borderline activities, and enforcing the BMA dress code.
These platoon commanders will get a basic salary of R321,543 to R378,765 per annum.
Applications for these jobs need to be submitted to the department of home affairs before 1 March 2022.

People queuing for eight hours outside Home Affairs sent home without being helped

21 February 2022 | Groundup

Manager says he is used to addressing angry crowds at Durban office

More than 100 people still waiting in line to be served at Home Affairs in Umgeni Road in Durban demanded that they be helped when the office closed early on Thursday. Photo: Nokulunga Majola

Chaos erupted outside the Home Affairs office in Umgeni Road, Durban on Thursday when scores of people demanded assistance after the office closed early at 3:30 pm.

People had been queuing for more than eight hours to apply for IDs and passports, and by late afternoon, the line was still snaking outside. Many people we spoke to were returning for the second and third time without assistance.

About 100 people were still waiting in line outside when they were informed that the office was closing early, as the system was apparently offline. Thereafter an angry crowd tried to stop a state-branded vehicle from leaving the premises.

According to people who were at Home Affairs the previous day, the system had also been offline for most of the day.

“I was here on Tuesday from 7 am but I had to turn back. I returned [on Thursday] because on Wednesday they only serve matrics. This is so frustrating. We don’t understand why we need to spend a whole day here just to collect IDs,” said Buyile Madonsela from Inanda. She said she spends a total of R76 a day for her and her grandson to travel to Home Affairs.

Nomusa Dabula from Quarry Heights said she needs her ID so she can complete her applications to tertiary institutions. “You cannot do anything without an ID. I came on Friday, I had to return home without any assistance. I came again today and it’s the same issue. How many more times must I keep coming here?” asked Dabula.

To quell the crowd outside, District Manager of Operations at eThekwini, Mbongeni Magagula, told them that what had happened was not isolated and that he was “used to addressing an angry crowd of people” because “it happens every day”. He explained that the staff had already left for the day and asked the group to leave because there was no one to assist them.

Some people were given slips of paper with dates on them on when to return but most of them called for the Minister of Home Affairs to intervene.

Questions sent to Home Affairs were not answered by the time of publication.

Judge tells Home Affairs to get house in order, stop wasting taxpayers’ money Pretoria News -21 February 2022

News -21 February 2022

Pretoria – A judge gave the Department of Home Affairs a tongue lashing for wasting taxpayers’ money by not doing its work and ignoring applications made by the public.

He said these ended up in the courts, usually with the taxpayers footing the legal bill on behalf of the department.

Judge MP Phooko, sitting in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, said it was time “Home Affairs got its house in order”.

He pointed out the courts were flooded with applications from people who could not get any answers from the department, regarding their legal status in the country.

In the latest such application, British citizen Jonathan Firth applied nearly four years ago for permanent residency with the department. After he did not receive any response from the department two years later, he instructed a lawyer to assist him.

The lawyer wrote letters to the department requesting information regarding the status of Firth’s application, but there was no response.

Even after this application was served, Home Affairs did not respond, and did not attend court either to defend the matter.

It was silence from its side and it adopted a no-response attitude, the judge said.

Firth turned to the court in desperation for an order compelling the department to decide whether he should be granted permanent residency in South Africa or not.

He is in South Africa under a temporary residence visa that was issued to him by the department in August, 2017.

Firth applied for a permanent residency permit in June 2018 through a VFS Global Office in Johannesburg. He was subsequently issued with a reference number.

The records from VFS Global indicate Firth’s application for a permanent residency permit was received by the department on June 6, 2018.

He had subsequently not heard from Home Affairs.

The processing period for an application for a permanent residence permit is not stipulated in the immigration laws of South Africa.

The minimum processing time of eight to 10 months is stipulated on the VFS Global website, but is not legislated.

However, precedent informs that eight months is considered to be a reasonable period for the outcome of a permanent residence application.

The judge said the importance of one knowing the outcome of their application could not be gainsaid, given the significance of a permanent residence permit and the impact it had on one’s life.

Judge Phooko said Home Affairs was under a duty to take decisions, otherwise failure to do so would render immigration laws meaningless.

“It is, therefore, clear that waiting for extended periods for a permanent residence permit application to be finalised without any update whatsoever, is unlawful.”

He added the Constitution mandated public servants to promote and maintain a high standard of professional ethics when executing their duties.

“The Department of Home Affairs is a core government department that produces important documents regarding peoples’ status and access to services in South Africa.

“The department is needed by any person who enters, lives in and/or exits South Africa. Therefore, a crucial department like Home Affairs needs to put the interest of those who approach it for any documentation first,” he said.

He remarked that, at the very least when people approached state institutions, they expected a certain level of service and care, not indifference.

“If the department continues with its non-responsive stance, cases such as this are nowhere near the end. The public purse is also going to be severely affected,” the judge warned.

He gave the department 10 days in which to decide on Firth’s request for permanent residency.

My asylum permit expired and now I’m facing a fine even though all the refugee offices are closed. Groundup – 21-02-2022

You can approach one of the organisations that work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

The whole question

Dear Athalie

My asylum seeker permit has a note saying that I must pay a fine because I was one week late in renewing it. Where can I go to resolve this? All the refugee reception offices are closed!

The long answer

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) set up an online system in April 2021 to renew refugee and asylum seekers’ permits, and gave a deadline of 31 December 2021 for renewing permits online. A lot of people missed that deadline, saying that the DHA online system was always breaking down, while some said that they never got any response after renewing their permits online.

But that deadline was not extended to people who entered the country after March 2021, as I think must be the case with you.

There is also a massive backlog of applications for asylum seekers’ permits and refugee permits at DHA from before 2020, which is why the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) launched a big joint project in March 2021 with DHA and the Refugee Appeals Authority to clear the backlog. But because there has been no processing of new asylum seekers and refugees’ permits since 2020, the backlog is unlikely to have been cleared. 

So perhaps the best thing for you to do is to approach one of the three legal organisations that work with the UNHCR and offer free services to asylum seekers and refugees, including assisting with permit renewals. 

These are: 

  • Lawyers for Human Rights (with Migrant and Refugee Rights programmes in Johannesburg, Musina, Durban and Pretoria). They are operating through email and phone calls since Covid, and can be reached here:

How job reservation is going to tackle unemployment is a mystery

How job reservation is going to tackle unemployment is a mystery

21 February 2022 – Business Day

Economists tell us the employment of foreign nationals in SA is less than 3% of our workforce

Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

Once again we see a move by government to restrict employment practices (“Job reservation is on the cards, government confirms,” February 13).

Economists tell us the employment of foreign nationals in SA is less than 3% of our workforce. How this restriction is going to tackle SA’s record unemployment is therefore a mystery. 

In essence, the government merely wants to do something to make it look like it is trying to tackle the unemployment problem. Instead of actually addressing our restrictive labour laws and onerous regulations, it is making up more regulations as a decoy.

The statement by the home affairs ministry that it wants to implement existing labour laws is also ridiculous. If the laws exist, implement them, instead of trying to add more ridiculous and unworkable regulations.

First, we don’t have the workforce within the department of employment and labour to monitor and oversee the regulations, and second, few employers are actively recruiting at present, so any new regulations would be meaningless.

The employment and labour minister ought to understand that you cannot retrench people to make way for others purely to fulfil a new regulation mandate. 

The storm trooper behaviour of the EFF when barging into businesses to check their employment records will be heavily emboldened by introducing government-sanctioned quotas. If home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi is adamant that all government is doing is enforcing law and order, that’s what it should do, instead of introducing unworkable and unenforceable quotas.

Michael Bagraim
DA deputy employment and labour spokesperson

Feb 21, 2022 - Business Permit    No Comments

Home affairs effectively wants to destroy economy 21 February 2022 – Business Live

After 26 years of successfully operating our own business in SA, we are virtually being told by home affairs that we are not wanted in SA anymore

I read Michael Bagraim’s letter with great interest (“How job reservation is going to tackle unemployment is a mystery,” February 15). The issue goes even further.

My wife and I (German nationals) came to SA in 1996, brought foreign investments into this country, founded our own company and employed SA nationals, always at the prescribed ratio of at least 60/40.

After 26 years of successfully operating our own business we are virtually being told by the department of home affairs that we are not wanted in SA anymore. It will not extend our business permits anymore, which means we have to close our doors, sell off our assets and leave the country by the end of 2022.

As a result, SA will lose further jobs, investment and taxpayers. In my view this is actively destroying employment rather than doing everything to stimulate the economy.

Very sad.