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Warders, Home Affairs officials in dock for allegedly freeing foreign drug mules

Johannesburg – Home Affairs officials and former prison warders are set to appear in court on Monday morning over allegations that they hatched an elaborate plan to assist in the illegal release of prisoners for a fee.
They will be joined in the dock by the inmates, all of whom are foreign nationals who had been arrested for drug trafficking.
According to a source close to the investigation, the scheme unravelled when one of the female drug mules was arrested in 2016.
Police had received information that a woman inmate had allegedly been impregnated by a prison warder from the Johannesburg Prison and subsequently wrongfully released on parole. The woman had allegedly been kept in a private cell – allegedly for prison warder to have easy access to her.
When the woman fell pregnant, the warder is alleged to have hatched a scheme to have her illegally released on an early parole. Instead of being deported, she was allegedly taken to a house in Soweto and she later aborted the baby.
Police traced her to the Soweto house where she was later arrested and further investigations revealed an intricate plot that had seen many other inmates fraudulently released on parole.
“One by one we found them in different locations around Johannesburg. They were in houses in Soweto, Hillbrow and Yeoville,” the source said.
According to the source, it was discovered that after the inmates were illegally released Home Affairs officials – who were in cahoots with the plotters – did not take the inmates back to Lindela to be deported to their home countries.
“Both the prison warders and Home Affairs officials shared the money that the inmates paid for their unlawful release,” the source said.
While the inmates have been charged with escaping from unlawful custody, the home affairs officials and prison warders face charges of corruption and aiding and abetting the illegal release of prisoners.

Why we should be concerned about Home Affairs contractor purge

Last week we learned that hundreds of IT contractors across the Department of Home Affairs were told they were no longer needed, with just a few weeks notice, six weeks before Christmas.
Sources have said the reason the contractors has been cut loose is due to budget pressure, but the department would only say it had reassessed its priorities and allocated spending elsewhere.
These contractors are generally highly-skilled specialists in the industry – they knew that by signing up to high hourly rates they also took the risks associated with being contracted instead of employed, but we should still pause to consider the abrupt end to their work.
The ramifications will be felt by the contractors, their families, and those left behind in the department trying to pick up the pieces. The taxpayer will also feel the impact, with funds already spent on projects that we may never experience benefits from, or will only feel those benefits years later than originally planned.
Home Affairs would only say that some projects had been “paused, slowed-down, or ceased,” with no further clarification. When will we know what promised benefits we will now miss?
This incident highlights many of the issues around the government’s reliance on contractors to get core work done. While Public Service Minister Mathias Cormann is a fierce proponent of the use of contractors to give the government expertise and flexibility, the reality is that in many areas contractors aren’t brought on for specific short-term tasks, but end up rolling from project to project.
This trend is amplified in the IT sector, where Home Affairs spent $687 million on IT and computer services between 2012 and 2017.
It is a widely-held view that the public service lacks capability and resources due to the reliance on hired expertise. When the work is consistently and overwhelmingly contracted out, institutional knowledge is not held within the department, meaning lessons are not learned and mistakes repeated.
The union has long been campaigning against the increasing use of contractors and consultants in the public service, arguing that in some cases big consulting firms are making a profit off work that should be done by public servants. Conversely, when it comes to labour hire, contractors working in similar roles take home less pay than their public servant counterparts, with less security.
The contractors who are affected will be considering their next move, working out how to support themselves while waiting for work to come up elsewhere. The public servants still employed must now do more, with less.
They, like many others, will be asking why this department in particular has needed to make such sudden and deep cuts due to budget pressure. Formed less than a year ago, and headed by powerful minister Peter Dutton and influential secretary Michael Pezzullo, its work in securing the country’s borders has long been a centre-piece of the government’s pitch to voters. If Home Affairs is feeling the squeeze, what is happening elsewhere?
Or has the embarrassment of riches that comes with being the government’s favourite been managed poorly, leading to last week’s swinging of the axe?

Rehab tourism is big business

When it comes to South African tourism, our beaches, safari parks, Table Mountain and the Garden Route undoubtedly garner the most attention.
There are, however, more reasons tourists come to our country.
South Africa has become increasingly popular among foreign English language students and addiction rehabilitation patients.
South Africa’s tourism industry is growing. The latest Tourism and Migration Survey by Stats SA shows that 2.6 million foreigners passed through our ports of entry in November last year – a 3.9% increase from November 2016.
Most of them (96.3%) came here on holiday, 0.4% visited South Africa for study purposes and the rest were here on business.
While small, South Africa’s English language travel sector is becoming a powerful contributor to the economy.
Last year, the 20 English schools belonging to Education SA (EduSA) language travel association attracted 10 042 students, 15% more than in 2016 and 43% more than in 2015.
“Each of them spends R6 146 for every week of their six-week stay,” said Johannes Kraus, founder of the Kurus English school in Cape Town and EduSA chairperson.
“Collectively, our students spent 61 268 weeks in South Africa in 2017.”
Based on these figures, EduSA’s students spent R377 million in South Africa in 2017, or R37 497 each. Their per capita contributions exceed the expenditures of conventional tourists.
The total contributions of South Africa’s entire language travel sector were much higher, as the above data only applied to EduSA’s 20 members.
South Africa had between 35 and 40 serious language schools.
While South Africa’s language travel sector was thriving, things could have been better had it not been for the visa debacle of 2014.
In that year, the department of home affairs decided it would no longer issue study permits to students of institutions not accredited by the higher education and training department.
As a result, EduSA’s student numbers plummeted from just over 10 000 in 2014 to 7 000 in 2015, said Kraus.
Students stayed shorter periods of time, around five weeks, instead of the usual six.
“Four schools had to close their doors and others had to downscale.”
Fortunately, Kurus was back at the level it was in 2014.
The fact that the home affairs department’s decision was overturned in court played a huge role in the recovery.
“We have until the end of this year to get registered, said Kraus.
“Imagine if we hadn’t lost out. We could have had 15 000 students by now.”
Another less visible group of economic contributors were foreign rehab patients who were after a spot in one of around 30 local rehab clinics.
The Netherlands alone accounted for 3 000 of them. They come here to deal with their addiction to substances such as alcohol and drugs and for behaviours ranging from gambling to sex.
Mario de Wit, CEO of Dutch addiction care organisation GGZ Interventie, said the Netherlands sent 250 patients per month to South Africa.
“Each of them contributes €4 000 (R59 500) to the local economy during their 32-day stay,” said De Wit, an addiction care expert.
The organisation had arrangements with five Cape Town-based clinics that offered 32-day rehab and recovery programmes.
The Dutch contingent of rehab patients alone was worth R180 million per year.
“This is over and above creating 70 direct jobs in the five clinics we have relationships with,” said De Wit.
The economic impact of South Africa’s entire rehab industry was much higher and growing, he added. This was due to the affordability and the quality of care.
“Addiction care is 65% cheaper in South Africa than in Europe. This allows you to get treatment twice as long for the same price.”
Most European medical aids covered addiction rehab. The reason was simple: a recovered Dutch addict, for instance, would save the Dutch economy around €1 million for the rest of his or her life after recovery.
“These savings refer to fewer medical costs, costs associated with social problems, crime prevention, police costs, increased economic productivity and the impact of addiction on the patient’s family,” he said.
The South African equivalent to this figure was R4 million, he said.
While Europeans accounted for most foreign rehab patients, new regions were making an entry. These included the Middle East.
“Addiction doesn’t officially exist in the Middle East because drugs and alcohol are forbidden. That is why they come to South Africa anonymously,” said De Wit.
Those coming here for treatment were mainly the elite in these countries.
“They tend to go to a five-star rehab resort that combines treatment for addiction, private bungalows, spas, golf and equine training woven around their therapy. The rich don’t go to our clinics, where people share rooms, sleep in bunk beds and are there to deal with their addiction and change their mentality.”

Russian banks to introduce contactless ATMs

Russian banks have introduced their first contactless ATMs, which customers can link to via smartphones and wearable devices
Russian banks are testing out contactless automated teller machines (ATMs) which link to smartphones and wearable devices, enabling customers to take money out via their mobile apps like Apple Pay.
This removes the need for customers to insert their cards, opening up possibilities to use mobile phones and wearable devices at ATMs.
Russia’s Sberbank and Russian Standard Bank are testing out the technology which sees NFC readers installed on ATMs. More banks in Russia, including VTB, CBOM and Otkriti, are expected to follow suit next year.
Alexei Okhorzin, director of the retail product department at Credit Bank of Moscow (CBOM), said a card is not just a piece of plastic, but a means of payment, which can take the form of a ring or phone.
“The introduction of contactless banking instruments is a promising way of development in terms of the payment service format, which meets CBOM corporate goals to provide customers with high-tech and comfortable solutions for everyday life and business.”
Over 80% of CBOM’s customers use various contactless payment services. “CBOM is interested in developing contactless operations using smartphones and expanding the capabilities of its mobile bank using popular services such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.”
Banks in other European countries have been using the technology for years. In 2014, Spain’s CaixaBank commissioned Fujitsu to build 8,500 ATMs with contactless capabilities. Customers tap the readers and then input their PIN. At the time, the bank said the technology will make cash withdrawals 30% faster.
Read more about contactless payments
• Mastercard research shows a growing number of shoppers are prepared to make purchases with smart watches, rings and bracelets.
• Paymentsense survey confirms rapid growth of contactless payments, but £30 limit is preventing further dominance.
According to MasterCard, since the beginning of this year, contactless payments with cards or smartphones have accounted for more than half of all transactions in Russia.
Meanwhile, Russian are using less cash to pay for things. According to a Sberbank’s study, in 2017, the share of cashless payments in Russians’ total spending on goods and services climbed to 39%, from a tiny 4% in 2008.

Why shouldn’t I use an unregistered migration agent?

In South Africa, unregistered people working as migration agents are not breaking the law but are unregulated and you have no recourse for poor advice which will have devasting consequences on your application and your future in South Africa .
This is because people who are not registered might:
• not know about current South African legislation and procedures
• give you incorrect advice
• make false claims about your chances of success.
Advantages of a registered Immigration Practitioner:
• knows the current South African Immigration legislation and procedures
• writes a licensing exam and is registered with FIPSA / Law Society
• will always give you correct advice
• will be honest about your chances of success
• will go for regular training with Department of Home Affairs, Department of Labour, VFS and Department of Trade and Industry.
Applying in South Africa: if you want to report an unregistered person, you can contact us (free of charge).

Applying outside South Africa: if you are outside South Africa and suspect that an unregistered person has broken the law, you can report them to your local law enforcement authority and tell your nearest immigration office or SA Embassy .

If you think that a migration agent is acting unprofessionally, you should also tell your nearest immigration office ( Department of Home Affairs ) .

SA Migration International is registered with FIPSA ( Forum of Immigration Practitioners ) and the Department of Home Affairs

Overstay / Declared Undesirable / VLIST Ban Issued for 5 Years. There is hope !!

Overstaying one’s visa is a common occurrence among people who applied to extend their visa in South Africa and said visa not issued in time for travel .
In recent months overstaying one visa has moved from being a minor inconvenience to a possible criminal offence with potentially serious ramifications. The changes brought about by the new immigration laws have made overstaying ones visa a very serious affair which needs a careful and smart approach to remedy.
Let us now explore the effect of overstaying ones visa and what steps to take to correct this now serious matter.
Effect of an overstay
An individual who remains the republic after his or her visa has expired is in violations of the Act. The immigration Act describe such individual as illegal Foreigners. Illegal foreigner are dealt with in terms of section 32 which provides:
32(1) any illegal foreigner shall depart, unless authorised to do so by the director general as well as any illegal foreigner shall be deported.
The seriousness of an overstay is clear from the section, anyone who is considered an illegal foreigner must be deported and there are no exceptions. In addition section 49(1(a) makes it a criminal offence to remain in the republic in contravention of the Act and on conviction the penalty is imprisonment for a period of not more than 2 years or a fine. In addition section 30(1) (h) renders one departing the republic on an expired status an undesirable.
Legalization of an Overstay
Section 32(10 read with regulation 30 provides for a mechanism to cure an overstay a potentially avoid any sanction for the overstay. This process is commonly referred to as legalisation and is given expression in the following section:
(a)Demonstrate, in writing ,to the satisfaction of the Director General that he or she was unable to apply for such status for reasons beyond his or her control and;
(b)Submit proof to the Director General that he or she is in a position to immediately submit his or her application for status.Reg 30(2) The Authorization to remain in the Republic as contemplated by section 32(1) of the Act shall be granted on Form 20….
In order to legalise an overstay 3 points must be complied with.
1.You must neither be arrested for purposes of deportation nor be ordered to leave. Both instances occur when you have been detected by Home affairs officials. Therefore you can only avail yourself to legalisation if you have not been detected by immigration enforcement officials.
2.Demonstrate in writing, commonly referred to a good cause. The applicant must demonstrate that the overstay was not intentional but a consequence of factors beyond the control of the applicant? It is not enough to simply overstay for no justifiable reason and approach the Director General where no good cause exists.
3.The applicant must show that he or she is in a position to submit his or her application for a status immediately upon being granted the authorisation.
Once the authorisation is given it will be issued to the applicant on a form 20. The applicant then uses the form 20 to apply for the visa.
If you require assistance with Uplifting the Overstay ban and or Legalization and have any questions on the topic please feel free to contact our offices for specialist advice.

Illegal In South Africa – What are my options ?

Talk to us and see how we can assist you !! We are experts in this area of immigration law .

South African Immigration – Temporary and permanent residency VISA (Temporary Residence Visa) & Permit (Permanent Residency) – We assist with all matters relating to South Africa Immigration. We specialize in South African Immigration. We are able to assist you with the following categories :
– Visit Visa
– Study Visa
– General Work Visa
– Critical Skill Visa
– Business Visa
– Corporate Visas
– Relative (Spousal) Visas – with endorsements (Work, study and business)
– Life Partner Visas
Please feel free to send us an email and explain your current situation. We will then be able to advise you the best routes moving forward, and the plan of actions to receive a desired outcome
For more information visit our website at