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Botswana’s Ian Khama can’t get asylum in SA as refugee offices are closed – govt

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Botswana’s Ian Khama can’t get asylum in SA as refugee offices are closed – govt
News 24 – 29 November 2021
• The home affairs department denied reports in Botswana that its former leader was seeking political asylum in South Africa.
• A home affairs spokesperson said even if Ian Khama wanted to apply for asylum, it wasn’t currently possible as refugee processing offices were closed due to Covid-19.
• The Seretse Khama Ian Khama Foundation issued a statement on 10 November stating that Khama was in South Africa.
The Department of Home Affairs has denied reports doing the rounds in neighbouring Botswana that its former leader Ian Khama has left the country and is seeking political asylum in South Africa.
Responding to media queries from News24, Department of Home Affairs spokesperson Siyabulela Qoza said the “refugee reception offices are currently closed, and this means that no new asylum applications are being processed”.
He went on to say that “the Department of Home Affairs has no record of Mr Ian Khama having applied for asylum in SA”, as was being reported in Botswana.
Sources at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) told News24 the department was watching the matter closely.
A Dirco official said:
This situation threatens to be a repeat of the former Mozambique finance minister (Manuel Chang). That scenario caused friction between the two countries, and this too threatens the same.
Chang has been jailed in South Africa since 2018 and is set to be extradited to the US.
Seeking protection
When approached for comment, the head of public diplomacy at Dirco Clayson Monyela said questions by News24 would be best directed to the home affairs department.
The Seretse Khama Ian Khama Foundation issued a statement on Wednesday, 10 November denying reports that Botswana’s former statesman had fled the country to South Africa.
The foundation issued the statement after media reports that Khama had ditched state security and crossed the border with South Africa, where it was alleged he was seeking protection from Pretoria, claiming Gaborone wanted to arrest him.
“The SKI Khama Foundation office is receiving a flurry of enquiries regarding the absence from the country of former president Lt. Gen. Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, who is in South Africa on a private visit.
“We are also observing commentary that seems to be deliberately untrue and causing undue public alarm. The notion that he has fled the country or has gone into exile is simply not true. It is also not true, as alleged by some, that he at any point confirmed fleeing Botswana, never to return. The former president is on a pre-arranged private visit to RSA, visiting friends and family, and having a series of meetings connected to his private visit. When Gen. Khama has completed his engagements in South Africa or anywhere else where these may take place he will return home,” read the foundation’s statement.
Khama was understood to have made his way to South Africa after Botswana’s Intelligence Director-General Peter Magosi demanded that he hand over all his firearms.
Magosi even lodged an urgent application in the Botswana High Court for permission to raid Khama’s residences, which was triggered by an allegation that Khama had threatened Botswana’s security.
The former president had also previously been accused of conspiring to dethrone incumbent President Mokgweetsi Masisi.
In the court papers, the Intelligence Agency says Khama may be in violation of the Penal Code, which includes the concealment of treason, obtaining unlicensed firearms and possession of arms of war.
This went back to a case in which three members of Khama’s private security detail were accused of possessing illegal firearms. The matter was later dismissed due to a lack of evidence.
Search and seizure warrant
Khama and his successor, Masisi, had a fallout in the run-up to the 2019 elections.
The High Court dismissed the application for a search and seizure warrant to raid Khama’s home.
There were also reports that the Intelligence Directorate had approached the Lobatse High Court for a warrant of arrest for Khama, with the court dismissing the application on Monday.
University of Botswana lecturer in politics and administrative studies Adam Mfundisi has said the rivalry between Khama and Masisi can be traced back to Masisi’s ascendance to the highest political office on 1 April 2018.
He said:
Upon assuming office, Masisi adopted an aggressive policy of damning everything his boss did or did not do. According to his interpretation of the political environment, anything that the Khama administration pursued was detrimental to the socio-economic and political development of Botswana. Even if he was SKI’s (Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s) most trusted lieutenant, he wanted to trash SKI’s legacy, which was riddled with serious problems.
Mfundisi said public confidence and trust in the Khama administration at the end of his tenure was extremely low. Generally, people accused the Khama-Masisi regime of being undemocratic, authoritarian, unethical and unaccountable, among other things. Mfundisi said Masisi wanted to disassociate himself from the unpleasant perceptions of the former administration.
“To him, Masisi went all out to demonise former president Khama to woo the voters to his newly branded CAVA BDP (Botswana Democratic Party) brigade. The 2019 general election was used as a platform to launch vicious and vitriolic propaganda against Khama and his associates. Anyone who associated with Khama was a demon and needed to be shunned by the voters. An assault on Khama’s presidential benefits was questioned and assertions of Khama’s autocratic leadership tossed,” said Mfundisi.

Cabinet announces Zimbabwe Exemption Permits will not be extended

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Cabinet announces Zimbabwe Exemption Permits will not be extended
25 November 2021 | – Groundup
Holders of the ZEPs given a year to migrate to other permits
The Zimbabwean Exemption Permit is coming to an end.
• The Zimbabwean Exemption Permit which expires on 31 December will not be renewed Cabinet announced on Thursday.
• About 182,000 Zimbabweans who hold the permit have been given a year’s grace to migrate to other permits to allow them to stay in South Africa.
• The Cabinet decision is disappointing for many who now face an uncertain future.
On Thursday, Cabinet announced that the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP), which ends 31 December, will not be extended.
However, Cabinet decided on a 12-month grace period during which time ZEP holders “should apply for other permits appropriate to their particular status or situation”. Those who are not successful will have to leave South Africa or face deportation, said Cabinet.
This ends months of rising anxiety for about 180,000 Zimbabweans in South Africa as the ZEP expiry date loomed and there had been no indication of what government intended to do.
Permit holders were debating whether to return home for Christmas. Many said banks had been refusing to grant them loans and cancelling their pre-approved bond applications, while employers were not renewing contracts because of their uncertain status. Cabinet’s grace period will not necessarly help in this regard, and many ZEP holders are unlikely to qualify for other permits.
Leaving the announcement to the eleventh-hour had also allowed for misinformation that the South African government had extended the permits by five years to circulate on social media, rumours which the Cabinet statement referred to as fake news.
Back in October 2019, Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi told GroundUp that the three special permits which were issued to legalise the status of nationals from Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Angola already living in South Africa, would be renewed. At the time the minister said they can’t stop renewing special permits if the problems that led to those special permits are not yet resolved. But he also said that permits can’t automatically be renewed by the department; it needed Cabinet.
Cabinet has now spoken.
“I’m very disappointed with the decision by the Cabinet,” said Advocate Simba Chitando, who filed papers in the Gauteng High Court in October requesting the South African government to grant ZEP holders permanent residency.
“I knew that the cancellation of the permit was being called for by many political parties, many of whom did well in the elections. The unfortunate decision has left litigation as the only viable solution for ZEP holders, permanently resident in the country, and who have given over a decade of their lives to this country,” Chitando told GroundUp shortly after the Cabinet announcement.
The ZEP community was divided on Chitando’s legal challenge, who feared it would ruin the chance of getting the permit extended. That has now been put to bed.
Chitando said the ZEP exploited Zimbabwean labour and made them second class citizens in a constitutional democracy, “renewable after every four years, operating like a dompas from the apartheid era, in a manner that Zimbabwean migrants to Europe, the US, and Australia, have not experienced”.
“It is a slave permit, and an abomination to the Pan African principle of ubuntu,” he said.
He is proceeding with his litigation.
Union of Zimbabwean Educators Western (UZEWC) said as much as they are happy for the 12 month reprieve they still maintain that granting permanent residency to deserving Zimbabweans should have been considered.
“Zimbabweans have been on special work permits for more than ten years, hence their stay in South Africa has been legal. They have been paying taxes. Some have started families here, and have children,” said Jack Mutsvairo, chairperson of the union.
“We also expect the DHA to expeditiously inform employers, creditors and the banking sector … so that none of our members are prejudiced.”
“We also hope that the application for other suitable permits by Zimbabweans will not be subjected to avoidable bureaucratic shenanigans. Let this be a user-friendly application process with predetermined timeframes.”
There are also other special exemption permits that will need decisions:
On 16 August 2021, Home Affairs opened the application for an Angolan Exemption Permit. The Angolan Special Permit (ASP) was first issued in 2018 and expires at the end of this year.
The Lesotho Exemption Permit (LEP) of 2019 expires on 31 December 2023.

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ASYLUM SEEKERS PERMIT EXPIRED during LOCKDOWN – Don’t know what to do ?

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Apply Now for Temporary Residence even with EXPIRED LOCKDOWN PERMITS

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Durban court sentences former Home Affairs official to four years behind bars for fraud and corruption

Durban court sentences former Home Affairs official to four years behind bars for fraud and corruption
Daily News Oct 29, 2021
DURBAN – The Durban Magistrates Court sentenced a former Department of Home Affairs official to four years of direct imprisonment for fraud and corruption.
Hawks spokesperson Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo said Sbulelo Malanda, 44, was sentenced on Monday.
Mhlongo said Malanda was working for the Department of Home Affairs at its Umzimkhulu offices. In 2017, she colluded with her accomplices and assisted the foreign nationals to obtain South African identity documents fraudulently. As a result, those foreign nationals unduly benefited from social grants from the South African Social Security Agency.
“A case of fraud and corruption was reported at Umzimkhulu police station. The case docket was allocated to Hawks members from the Durban Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team for intensive investigation, and they were arrested in August 2017,” Mhlongo said.
He said they made several court appearances until her accomplices were found guilty in 2018. They were sentenced to two years imprisonment, which was suspended for five years on condition that they were not found guilty of fraud or corruption during the period of suspension.
“Malanda continued to attend court until she was found guilty in June last year. She was sentenced to four years of direct imprisonment for three counts of fraud and another four years imprisonment for three counts of corruption. She was further sentenced to six months imprisonment for contravention of the Immigration Act,” Mhlongo said.
He said her sentence will run concurrently.

Process of renunciation of Indian citizenship simplified

Process of renunciation of Indian citizenship simplified
The Hindu – 28 October, 2021
SA mgratuon
Provision made for uploading documents online, completion of process within 60 days: MHA
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has simplified the process for Indians who want to renounce their citizenship. Provisions have been made for applicants to upload documents online, with an upper limit of 60 days for the renunciation process to be completed.
Over 6.7 lakh Indians renounced their citizenship between 2015-19, the Lok Sabha was informed in February.
In 2018, the MHA revised the Form XXII under the Citizenship Rules for declaration of renunciation of citizenship, which for the first time included a column on “circumstances/reasons due to which applicant intends to acquire foreign citizenship and renounce Indian citizenship”.
An official familiar with the subject said there was no sudden surge in the number of applications to renounce citizenship but the online process has been initiated to check fraudulent documents and “reduce the compliance burden”.
As many as 1,41,656 Indians renounced their citizenship in the year 2015, while in the years 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, the numbers stood at 1,44,942, 1,27,905, 1,25,130 and 1,36,441, respectively.
The Ministry issued new guidelines on September 16 stating that the form, after being filled online, has to be downloaded, signed and submitted at the District Magistrate’s office, if the applicant is in India, or at the nearest Indian mission, if she or he is in a foreign country. The applicant will also be interviewed by the DM before the certificate is issued, the Ministry said.
Other than the passport, the applicant also needs to submit proof of address and proof of payment of fee.
The Ministry stated that once a copy of the form had been received, the entire process for issuance of renunciation certificate would take 60 days after “verification of documents”.
According to the 2009 Citizenship Rules, the fee to renounce citizenship for an applicant in India is ₹5,000, and for someone applying through an Indian mission in a foreign country is ₹7,000.
The guidelines said that when a person ceases to be a citizen of India under Section 8(1) of Citizenship Act, 1955, “every minor child of that person shall thereupon ceases to be a citizen of India”. The minor child may, however, within one year of attaining full age apply to resume Indian citizenship. The guidelines are not clear if minors would also lose citizenship if only one of the parents gives up her/his Indian citizenship.