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Zim special permit application process to reopen

Zim special permit application process to reopen
SA News – 04 August 2017
Cabinet has approved the reopening of the application process for the current Zimbabwean Special Permit holders, under certain conditions.
The initial Special Dispensation for Zimbabweans was approved in April 2009 to document Zimbabwean nationals who were in South Africa illegally.
Their permits expire on 31 December 2017.
The ZSP allows applications from Zimbabweans with a valid Zimbabwean passport, evidence of employment, business or accredited study and a clear criminal record and if successful grants them a permit to stay and work, study or run a business in South Africa.
About 200 000 Zimbabweans in possession of the special permit are currently working or studying in the country.
The cut-of date for receiving ZSP applications was December 2014. The applications were received by VFS Global and adjudicated over by the Department of Home Affairs.
The special permits were introduced to allow Zimbabweans a three-year residency in South Africa.
A similar initiative was granted for the Basotho nationals who were in the country illegally. The LSP allows for Lesotho nationals to live in South Africa legally.
At the time of the introduction of the LSP, the Department of Home Affairs said the special permits were only for those Lesotho citizens registered in the National Population Register of Lesotho.
South Africa granted an amnesty to Basotho in possession of fraudulently acquired documentation, so that they can surrender such documents, without the fear of arrest or deportation. Applicants receive amnesty letters as proof. –

Jul 3, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Constitutional Court protects rights of detained immigrants

Constitutional Court protects rights of detained immigrants
The Citizen – 30.6.2017
This despite the fact that it will now become very expensive to process the arrests of undocumented migrants.
Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) has welcomed a unanimous Constitutional Court ruling upholding the rights of all detainees – also alleged illegal immigrants – to access our courts.
The Constitutional Court ruled that sections 34(1)(b) and (d) of the Immigration Act were inconsistent with the constitution and therefore invalid and gave parliament 24 months to issue new legislation to correct the defects in the act.
Although the ruling of invalidity was suspended, the court ruled that pending the enactment of amended legislation, any undocumented foreigner detained under section 34 of the act must be brought before court in person within 48 hours from the time of arrest or not later than the first court day thereafter if the 48 hours fall outside ordinary court days.
This also counts for foreigners currently already in detention.
The court ruled that the rights guaranteed in section 12 and 35 of the constitution – the right to challenge in court a detention within 48 hours of arrest and the right to be protected against arbitrary detention without trial – applied to foreign nations as well as South African citizens.
LHR said in a statement the ruling affirmed that all persons living in South Africa were protected by the law and not subject to arbitrary violations of their rights by authorities.
“This ruling will most importantly protect vulnerable individuals whose detention have in the past fallen beyond the reach of judicial oversight, resulting in widespread rights violations,” the rights group said.
LHR thanked Legal Aid South Africa, without whose financial support they would not have been able to wage a successful battle against state injustice, as well as People Against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty (Passop), which intervened in the application as a friend of the court.
LHR took the matter to the Constitutional Court for confirmation after the High Court in Pretoria ruled that the sections of the act were invalid, but Home Affairs appealed the ruling, arguing that the sections were consistent with the constitution and denying that arrested foreigners enjoyed the same protection under the constitution.
The Constitutional Court dismissed the state’s appeal and upheld the LHR’s argument that the legislation illegally authorised administrative detention without trial for purposes of deportation in violation of the constitution.
The organisation had instituted 115 cases against home affairs since 2009 and provided free legal assistance to arrested and detained foreigners who were in some instances detained without trial for periods of up to six months or longer.
Judge Chris Jafta said the LHR’s papers painted an unfortunate picture of widespread disregard for statutory requirements, which led to a violation of the rights of vulnerable people.
These lapses revealed shortcomings enacted by the Immigration Act in a system that was supposedly designed to promote dignity and human rights.
The state argued that it would increase costs as about 500 foreigners would have to appear in court daily countrywide, which would require a massive number of magistrates, but Judge Jafta said the mere increase in costs alone could not justify denying detainees the right to challenge the lawfulness of their detention.
He said an increase in costs would be unavoidable if each foreigner decided to exercise their right to challenge the decision to deport them, but the state should have budgeted for these costs, which are necessitated by the implementation of the act.
The court found that the reasons advanced by the state fell woefully short of justifying the limitation created by the impugned provisions of the act.
Judge Jafta stressed that arrest and detention without trial had been commonly used to suppress opposition to laws and policies of the former apartheid government, with detainees in most cases being beyond the reach of judicial oversight and subjected to torture and other forms of violence.
The constitution included section 12 in the Bill of Rights to outlaw this abuse of power and deprivation of personal freedom by guaranteeing everyone physical freedom and protection against detention without trial, Judge Jafta said.

Jun 28, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Home Affairs faces 50 new lawsuits every week

Home Affairs faces 50 new lawsuits every week
27 June 2017 – IOL

Johannesburg – The Home Affairs Department is being slapped with about 50 cases of litigation on a weekly basis, deputy director-general for institutional planning and support Thulani Mavuso said.
Now the department is hiring legally qualified people who will be placed in the directorates of immigration affairs and civic services to monitor and act quickly on litigation-related issues.
“On a weekly basis we have to respond and instruct state attorneys to defend matters. Some of them are opportunistic litigations,” Mavuso said.
He made the comments after department offices in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, were closed when the sheriff of the court attached its goods last month.
This was after a foreign national took the department to court for wrongful arrest and was granted a default judgment of R150 000, which the department is now seeking to rescind.
It has been reported in the past how the department wasted millions in taxpayers’ money on court battles.
The department had revealed in a parliamentary reply that it spent R46.3 million on legal costs in 2011/2012, and R21.3m was spent in the previous financial year.
In 2014, out of 404 judgments that were granted by the courts, 385 were made against the detentions of illegal foreigners at the Lindela Repatriation Centre in Krugersdorp or failed asylum seekers who filed judicial reviews against such rejections.
Mavuso said there were instances where people fly into OR Tambo International Airport, only to be met by lawyers, ready to take the department to court.
“It is quite bad in a sense that those opportunistic litigations, actually in the area of immigration, are quite huge,” Mavuso said.
“The same applies when people are arrested for fraudulent documents or documents that are invalid and then taken to Lindela,” he added.
“You have lawyers who make Lindela a hunting ground for those cases,” he said.
Mavuso also said the high volume of litigation was creating huge administrative issues in the department.
“People use the law to say these are their constitutional rights and we need to defend the cases. Sometimes we defend things which are actually a waste of money.”
Deputy director-general for civic services Vusumuzi Mkhize said the capacity of the department was being strengthened.
“We recently created posts for the core business in immigration and civic to have a legal person to deal with any matter relating to ligation,” Mkhize said.
When the department presented its budget to Parliament earlier this year, it noted the lack of capacity in its legal services, risk management, information services, financial management and counter corruption and security services.
Its 2017/18 annual performance plan said there was a phased restructuring of staff according to a plan proposed by a consulting firm to increase the proportion of specialists and prioritise posts.
Political Bureau

Jun 28, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Industry reacts to Rwandan permit increase

Industry reacts to Rwandan permit increase
27 Jun 2017 – Tourism Update
Rwanda’s permit hikes may be in response to the surge in high-end tourism development.
The recent doubling of Rwanda’s gorilla permits from $750 to $1 500 has resulted in concerns from some operators over the potential impact of the increase.
For Debbie Addison, Director of Wild Frontiers, the permit increase means “turning a dream into something that may be unattainable for people who really want to see gorillas in their natural habitat”.
Betty Jo Currie, Founder of Currie and Co Travels shares a similar view. “I’m sad to see a continuing polarisation between ‘haves and have nots’. This will clearly affect people for whom this is a bucket list item but who were travelling on a budget.”
Addison and Currie say although the increase is high, some guests are not concerned. They say their clients are concerned about value rather than cost and will continue to book gorilla trekking experiences. But Addison adds that some travellers have been “put off by the more expensive permit price”.
She says it is rare for guests to book Rwanda on its own. “Sadly very few guests book Rwanda as a destination in its entirety. I believe a lot of guests went there as it was an easy add-on to Kenya and Tanzania’s ‘big game’ safaris. Most of our bookings to Rwanda are ‘in and out’ gorillas.”
An indirect motivation behind the increase may be the rise in luxury operators building in Rwanda. Addison says: “The new lodges’ price points attract clientele that can afford the $1 500 permit.” Currie agrees: “I suspect that rather than being behind the fee hike, the new luxury lodges have proved to the Rwandan government that the market will support a fee increase.”
However, even though some businesses may be able to absorb the price increase, it is likely to have a negative effect on middle and lower range tourism options. “The lodges, the local operators, even the staff working directly with gorillas (trackers/porters etc). As the volume of people (tourists) now able and willing to enjoy this activity may reduce, this will likely have a knock-on effect throughout the industry,” says Addison. “If numbers of guests trekking reduce, so will the share of local income from those guests. Curios, porters, staff working in tourism in the area will start to feel the reduction as we move into low season this year, and into 2018.”
Addison says this could be positive for Ugandan tourism. “Uganda offers a more ‘rounded’ safari experience, and generally people will go there to see primates, birds, game, and culture and spend up to 10 days or more, taking in the country and its offerings. With Uganda recently confirming prices at $600 for the next two years, I believe that the country will pick up business from Rwanda.”

Jun 27, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

5 ways Cape Town and Western Cape plan to maintain investor confidence

5 ways Cape Town and Western Cape plan to maintain investor confidence
Jun 25 2017 – Fin 24
Cape Town – After engaging with stakeholders, the Western Cape’s investment agency Wesgro has set out five ways in which investor confidence can be maintained in Cape Town and the Western Cape after SA’s recent credit ratings downgrades by ratings agencies.
The five ways are:

An aligned communications plan must be established across the Western Cape to counter negative perceptions about investing the region.
Brand building
Cape Town’s brand as a world-class investment destination must be built through the City of Cape Town’s “Invest Cape Town” initiative.
More than 70 tourism, trade and investment promotion missions abroad must be conducted by Wesgro in 2017 to sell the region as an investment destination and help local businesses to access international markets.
Project Khulisa
There must be a doubling-down on Project Khulisa, the Western Cape government’s economic strategy, to ensure policy certainty.
Investor Centre
A new investor centre must be launched in conjunction with the InvestSA initiative of the Department of Trade and Industry, as a collaborative one-stop shop for investors into Cape Town and the Western Cape.
“While challenging, the current economic situation offers opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs. The cost of imports will increase and we’re also seeing a rise in demand for consumers wanting to know the full value chain of their products,” said Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde.
“These trends provide a space for local entrepreneurs to package their products with authentic stories being the unique selling point. We know the weakening rand will also make our tourism offering and our agri-processed exports more competitive.”

Jun 26, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Over 90% of Home Affairs’ offices closed on Saturday

Over 90% of Home Affairs’ offices closed on Saturday
24 June 2017 – Timeslive
Over 90% of the Department of Home Affairs’ offices were not operating on Saturday‚ despite a settlement agreement reached with trade unions just over a week ago‚ the department confirmed.
Over 90% of the Department of Home Affairs’ offices were not operating on Saturday‚ despite a settlement agreement reached with trade unions just over a week ago‚ the department confirmed.
“The Department of Home Affairs has established that over 90% of its offices are not operating today due to insufficient staff numbers that turned up to work as part of the settlement agreement with the Unions.
“The Department wishes to take this opportunity to apologise to the public for the inconvenience caused and put it on record that it is disappointed by these developments as they are not in line with the spirit of the agreement and the resolutions of discussions that took place up to Friday‚” the department said in a statement. It appealed to the “union leadership to prioritise resolving this matter urgently as agreed with the unions during negotiations”.
“The Public Service Commission‚ the unions and the Department believe quality service delivery to our people is of utmost importance in line with our values.
“We are hopeful this matter will be resolved amicably soon because the public deserves a better service from all of us‚” the department stated.
A planned nationwide strike by Home Affairs’ office workers‚ scheduled to have begun last Monday‚ was called off after the department agreed to withdraw a circular compelling its staff to work on Saturdays without overtime pay.
This was after months spent by unions and the department in various courts‚ including the Constitutional Court‚ in a bid to resolve the issue.
It was not immediately clear why the majority of workers failed to pitch up for work on Saturday after having reached an agreement with the department.

Jun 26, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

MPs call for Gigaba testimony after home affairs minister, DG fail to appear

MPs call for Gigaba testimony after home affairs minister, DG fail to appear
20 Jun 2017 – Mail & Guardian
On Tuesday, a parliamentary portfolio committee was set to grill Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize and director general Mkuseli Apleni over alleged malpractice in the naturalisation of Atul Gupta and his family. However, Mkhize and Apleni failed to appear, citing a schedule conflict.
The absences stand as only the latest episode in the state capture saga.
Last Monday, documents released by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) purportedly showed that former home affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba broke protocol when he waived residential requirements to grant the Guptas naturalised citizenship. Gigaba has since denied any misconduct, insisting “the whole process [was] handled by the book in terms of our laws”.
Unable to proceed with the committee’s agenda, MPs clashed in a series of heated exchanges.
Democratic Alliance and EFF members appeared to align as an opposition bloc, pushing back against multiple attempts by the ANC to postpone the meeting and its scheduled testimony.
The EFF’s Hlengiwe Hlophe asserted: “As members of the committee, we’re being told that even the DG is not coming … we were assured on Monday that the DG [would] be here to brief us.”
The discussion quickly shifted to whether the Parliamentary body could call Gigaba to explain his actions. Demands for answers were met with a sharp rebuttal from committee chairperson Lemias Mashile. He insisted: “No, we’ve got no jurisdiction over him, he’s now the minister of finance. A person like him can only be invited if we’ve got an inquiry … we don’t have an inquiry, so we can’t invite him now.”
Hlophe responded by accusing Mashile of “defending” Gigaba and stonewalling the state capture probe.
In an apparent bid to ease tension, ANC member Maesela Kekana called for solidarity in the body’s pursuit of justice.
“For sure as all of us as members of this committee, we are not here to compromise our integrity. We are not here to defend anybody. I propose let us make sure that we summon the minister and the previous minister and the DG to come … They must know they [are accountable] here.”
Despite initial objections from Mashile, the committee agreed to call Apleni, Mkhize and Gigaba for testimony in a week’s time.