Mango to restart flights

04 June 2020 – News24

Mango Airlines will resume flights on Monday, June 15, between Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
Travellers must present a travel permit and letter from their employer authorising business travel. This will be checked at the entrance to airports and again at check-in and boarding, says CEO, Nico Bezuidenhout. “Important enough to say it twice: if a traveller does not have a relevant permit for essential or business travel with the appropriate sign-off, the traveller will not be granted access to the airport and may subsequently forfeit the purchased ticket.”
Due to extra regulatory and safety protocols, passengers are asked to arrive at least two-and-half hours prior to their flight. If guests are feeling unwell, or suspect they are ill, Mango will allow one free date change to re-accommodate the passenger. This is valid from June 5 for two months, Bezuidenhout says.
“We will be strategically seating passengers on board aircraft, with exceptions made for guests travelling together,” says Nico. It will be compulsory for pax and crew to wear cloth masks prior to entering aircraft. Catering will not be provided. Passengers are asked to bring along their own refreshments. Sanitiser will be provided and aircraft will continue to be cleaned between flights and deep-cleaned each night, Bezuidenhout says.
www.samigration.com

Over 300 illegal foreigners arrested for trying to enter SA during lockdown

IOL – 30 May, 2020
Cape Town – Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has revealed that his department has found an increase of more than 300 foreigners trying to enter the country during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown amid the questions in the Beitbridge border post fencing.
Motsoaledi revealed this in a written response to a parliamentary question from IFP MP Liezl van der Merve.
Van der Merve had wanted to know if Motsoaledi had been informed that persons were passing through the Beitbridge border post on a daily basis for shopping and other non-essential travel during the lockdown.
She also asked if the department has found an increase in the number of undocumented migrants entering the country, a move directly related to the Beitbridge border fence being compromised.
In his response, Motsoaledi said no person was allowed entry or departure which did not relate to essential services.
He confirmed the number of arrests by the South African National Defence Force was increasing. “In April 2020, 22 undocumented foreigners were arrested and by May 2020, the number of arrests has increased to 357 undocumented nationals. “The department is finalising deportation processes in this regard,” Motsoaledi said.
The minister would not be drawn into commenting on the fencing of the border post which was underway.
Van der Merve had asked whether the department had found the 40 kilometre border fence adequate to help it to enforce the laws regulating entry into the country.
“The Department of Home Affairs was not involved in the procurement of the border fence and a response should be requested from DPWI (Department of Public Works and Infrastructure),” Motsoaledi said.
The R37m tender for fence the border post raised eyebrows recently. This after the newly erected fence was damaged, and large holes had been cut into the multi-layered razor wire fence. The awarding of the tender is subject of a probe by the Special Investigating Unit.
The minister also revealed that there were no temporary asylum-seeker permits that have been automatically renewed since the national state of disaster was declared. He, however, said there were 118 842 asylum seekers with a permit expiry date after May 4.
“As at 31 March 2020 there were 80 758 refugees with active section 24 certificates recorded on the National Immigration Information System,” Motsoaledi said.
Responding to EFF MP Lorato Tito, the minister said if there were new applicants who have entered the country as lockdown was declared, they would receive assistance in the communities where they reside.
“It should be noted that the republic has not abdicated its international obligations, especially to those who will declare their intention to apply for asylum.
“The principle of non-refoulment is fully applicable even under these circumstances we currently face and therefore Immigration Officials are expected to assist such persons should they encounter them during law enforcement operations,” Motsoaledi said.
www.samigration.com

Business victory as Gauteng High Court, Pretoria rules against licences

Pretoria – Businesses are now free to trade with only their self-issued permits, without government licences relating to the state of disaster.
Judge Johan Louw, sitting in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, has declared that the directions issued by the Minister of Small Business Development on May 12 are illegal and invalid.
No enforcement agency may require an essential services business certificate or any other licence that was not required before the state of disaster was declared, the judge said.
While several types of businesses such as restaurants – as announced in the level 3 regulations – remain prohibited, all other businesses are free to operate.
And they do not have to first obtain a new government licence from national, provincial, or local government or any other organ of state.
This victory for businesses followed business group Sakeliga’s application to court, as well as Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel and the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) peremptory withdrawal of the certificate system on Sunday.
The judge set aside the regulations which were not withdrawn by government and confirmed the unlawful status of any would-be CIPC certificate enforcement.
Sakeliga asked the court to declare that the CIPC had no authority to issue essential service permits or certificates to enable any company to conduct essential services under level 4 of the lockdown regulations.
The organisation argued that the instruction by Patel that such certificates had to be issued, was not authorised under level 4.
Government argued that as new regulations were issued under level 3 whereby most businesses – apart from those which were stipulated by government – could resume operations, the issues were now academic.
But Sakeliga argued that it was still important because metropolitan areas identified as Covid-19 hot spots could any time go back to level 4 or even level 5 of the lockdown regulations.
The judge said as matters stood, all businesses and institutions may operate, apart from those mentioned by government.
He said businesses which provide essential services were no longer singled out as the only businesses permitted to operate and who must have certificates to do so.
The judge said the country may or may not go back to level 4 or 5, but as things stood, there was no need for the issuing of certificates by any business, no matter the nature of the business.
“No enforcement officer is therefore entitled to demand the production of a CIPC certificate by any business.”
The judge said it would thus be unlawful to arrest or fine anyone without such a certificate.
Piet le Roux of Sakeliga said: “The court case is a victory for freedom to do business in South Africa. Under the guise of a medical crisis, the state was implementing a general system of business licensing in South Africa.”
He added that through uncertainty and red tape, government severely restricted businesses’ ability to operate even when permitted under the often arbitrary and harmful regulations.
The SA1st Forum said it applauded the judgment and said it hoped that the government must sit up and take note.
“In essence the court said that ministers dont have free reign to do as they wish and issue regulations that are not balanced and well-thought though,” it said in a statement.
“Whatever they do must pass Constitutional muster and cannot be done on some grounds that we are unaware of.”
It added that the judgment could have far-reaching implications and asked that the government not rush the issuing of “clumsily drafted and confusing regulations.”
“We appeal to government to put our people, country and Constitution first.”
www.samigration.com

Over 300 illegal foreigners arrested for trying to enter SA during lockdown

Cape Town – Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has revealed that his department has found an increase of more than 300 foreigners trying to enter the country during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown amid the questions in the Beitbridge border post fencing.
Motsoaledi revealed this in a written response to a parliamentary question from IFP MP Liezl van der Merve.
Van der Merve had wanted to know if Motsoaledi had been informed that persons were passing through the Beitbridge border post on a daily basis for shopping and other non-essential travel during the lockdown.
She also asked if the department has found an increase in the number of undocumented migrants entering the country, a move directly related to the Beitbridge border fence being compromised.
In his response, Motsoaledi said no person was allowed entry or departure which did not relate to essential services.
He confirmed the number of arrests by the South African National Defence Force was increasing. “In April 2020, 22 undocumented foreigners were arrested and by May 2020, the number of arrests has increased to 357 undocumented nationals. “The department is finalising deportation processes in this regard,” Motsoaledi said.
The minister would not be drawn into commenting on the fencing of the border post which was underway.
Van der Merve had asked whether the department had found the 40 kilometre border fence adequate to help it to enforce the laws regulating entry into the country.
“The Department of Home Affairs was not involved in the procurement of the border fence and a response should be requested from DPWI (Department of Public Works and Infrastructure),” Motsoaledi said.
The R37m tender for fence the border post raised eyebrows recently. This after the newly erected fence was damaged, and large holes had been cut into the multi-layered razor wire fence. The awarding of the tender is subject of a probe by the Special Investigating Unit.
The minister also revealed that there were no temporary asylum-seeker permits that have been automatically renewed since the national state of disaster was declared. He, however, said there were 118 842 asylum seekers with a permit expiry date after May 4.
“As at 31 March 2020 there were 80 758 refugees with active section 24 certificates recorded on the National Immigration Information System,” Motsoaledi said.
Responding to EFF MP Lorato Tito, the minister said if there were new applicants who have entered the country as lockdown was declared, they would receive assistance in the communities where they reside.
“It should be noted that the republic has not abdicated its international obligations, especially to those who will declare their intention to apply for asylum.
“The principle of non-refoulment is fully applicable even under these circumstances we currently face and therefore Immigration Officials are expected to assist such persons should they encounter them during law enforcement operations,” Motsoaledi said.
www.samigration.com

Home affairs seeks extension of VFS Global visa contract The department wants to extend the contract until it is ready to launch a public-private partnership

The department of home affairs has recommended the extension of the contract of its front-end visa handling operator until it is ready to launch a public-private partnership with a new service provider to undertake the work.
The contract with VFS Global expires at the end of December but home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi told parliament’s home affairs committee on Tuesday that this was not enough time to finalise the public-private partnership, especially given the constraints imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.
If the contract with VFS were to be terminated, the visa system and tourism would collapse, the minister warned. VFS handles the visa application process while the department makes the decisions and issues the visas. Motsoaledi stressed that the department did not have the capacity to handle the entire visa issuing process on its own.
VFS has been handling visa applications on behalf of the department since 2010. The contract was extended for two years in December 2018.
The department’s acting director-general Jackie McKay said the extension was intended “to protect the department against operational disruptions at a time when there is substantial uncertainty and global risk that Covid-19 has imposed on international travel, investment and migratory movement in general”.
An extension of the VFS contract would allow for a continuity of operations while the department proceeded with its public-private partnership process and the introduction of an e-visa system, he said.
An extension would also allow for a smooth handover to the new service provider which would not be possible in the six months remaining before the VFS contract expires.
McKay noted that the process would take between 24 and 36 months.
www.samigration.com

Stranger in a strange land – my refugee life in South Africa

I applied for every job on the internet and still could not find employment. I now knew what it meant to be a foreigner.
‘I started looking for employment. I started with tutoring jobs and would go for the interviews only to be told that I can’t be hired because of my refugee status. I applied for every job on the internet and still could not find employment. I now knew what it meant to be a foreigner.’
My parents lived in the Democratic Republic of Congo under very dangerous circumstances and decided to immigrate, my father first and then my mother. They met in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1992 and after a miscarriage in 1993, they finally had twins in 1996 and another baby girl in 1999.
Being a refugee, unlike a migrant, is simply the difference of choice – migrants have a choice, but refugees don’t. South Africa gained freedom and in the same year, my parents applied for asylum seeker papers and were granted it, and later granted refugee status, so they planned to make SA their permanent home.
We lived between Berea and Yeoville in the early 2000s, and I started and completed my pre-school at Cozy Cots Corner at St Georges in Yeoville. In 2003, I then started primary school at Houghton Primary School. I knew I was different because I often got teased for my dark skin. I did not, however, know I was “foreign”, I had always known SA to be my home.
In 2006, my mother really wanted to get us documented, so she went to a group that helped with documentation, called “RCP” and they took us to the Refugee Reception Centre in Rosettenville. We were put under her file, my siblings and I legally became refugees in SA, I did not know what that meant, I continued with my schooling , I was very diligent and did well – I had big hopes and dreams of becoming successful.
In 2010, I started high school at Waverley Girls High School – these were honestly some of my best years, being a teen was fun as I did not have many issues or problems, the teasing stopped. I had self-esteem issues, but was smart so that made up for that. When we were born, my parents were not able to get us birth certificates, they tried and tried for years, but the Department of Home Affairs would always confuse them. Luckily, however, in 2011, Home Affairs came to Yeoville and was documenting children and my parents were able to acquire our unabridged birth certificates.
It was in my matric year that I finally understood what I really was, a foreigner. Home Affairs had come to our school to register people for IDs and I went up to the official and I presented him with my unabridged birth certificate and clinic card, and he said I am not liable to apply for an ID because my birth certificate was unabridged. He then showed me an abridged birth certificate and I was shocked at how different it was. He told me that my parents had to apply for permanent residence and that way I would attain citizenship.
I went home to my parents and they explained that although I was born in South Africa, because they were not South African, I could not get citizenship. I asked them about the permanent residence and my dad told me he was approved by a standing committee in 2006, but did not have the money that was needed for the applications. My dad had never had stable permanent income because he could not get a job.
If this year there are no changes, I don’t see myself living past this year. I will take my life.
Despite that, I wrote my exams using my refugee status and I passed matric with a bachelors pass and a distinction in history. I really wanted to go to varsity and the universities that I had applied to accepted me. I then had to come up with the registration money, but because I was a foreigner, I did not qualify for any scholarships or bursaries despite my good marks. I was forced into taking a gap year. I started doing promo work in 2015 and I saved up for registration for the following year. In 2016, I started a degree at the University of Johannesburg in journalism.
My university years were the hardest years to date. I was severely depressed and had major anxiety issues because of university fees. I had no income and could not apply for funding because of my refugee status. In second year, I was financially excluded because I had not paid my first-year fees.
I cried for days, I loved school and was doing well, I thought my life was over, but luckily a lady at UJ put me in contact with a man that got me unblocked because I had good grades. Still, that year I was not well mentally, I started going to the Centre for Psychological Services and Career Development at UJ often – they offered psychological services as I was struggling with depression and anxiety.
In third year, despite owing over R50,000 in fees for first and second year, I managed to apply for the Student Representative Council student fund and was granted the fund which had me unblocked to register for my final year.
Despite not seeing my marks because I owed too much in fees, I still had hope that I would get employment after I graduated so I could pay off the debt. In December 2018, I passed and had acquired my first degree. On 3 April 2019, I graduated despite not getting my certificate because of unpaid fees.
I started looking for employment. I started with tutoring jobs and would go for the interviews only to be told that I can’t be hired because of my refugee status. I applied for every job on the internet and still could not find employment. I now knew what it meant to be a foreigner. I was in a really bad place mentally in 2019, and went to Hillbrow Adolescence Clinic and I was again diagnosed with depression and anxiety.
At the beginning of 2020, I promised myself that I would try. I have already applied for many jobs and again been rejected because I do not have an ID. If this year there are no changes, I don’t see myself living past this year. I will take my life. This is not life and I desperately need help. I want to be able to change the situation of my family. We are currently staying in one room – all four of us – but I have a degree. I need help, please help me.
www.samigration.com

It takes most foreign-trained doctors months to register in SA. How did Cuban health workers do it in 3 days?

Most foreign-trained doctors spend months trying to register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), but visiting Cuban healthcare workers waited just three days – and the HPCSA may have the power to make this possible for more foreign-trained doctors sitting on the sidelines of the Covid-19 response.
On Monday, Gauteng welcomed 28 Cuban doctors to assist in the province’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak. The group is part of the 187 healthcare workers who arrived from the Caribbean nation on 27 April and are being deployed around the country.
Cuba is known for its strong primary healthcare systems that helped it achieve one of the world’s highest life expectancies, according to World Bank data, despite spending less per person on health than many other nations. It also has a long-standing partnership with South Africa when it comes to health care.
But the arrival of Cuban healthcare workers came as many foreign-trained doctors in South Africa said they were still waiting months, if not years, to register with the HPCSA to practice in the country.
Cuban healthcare workers, meanwhile, benefitted from a long-standing, streamlined process with the HPCSA and one that – as of at least 2018 – was also supposed to apply to other HPCSA-vetted international medical schools. But today, a public list of these schools that was supposed to be updated annually does not exist.
When Jehane Michael le Grange could not get a spot at one of South Africa’s eight medical schools, he sought training in China, he told Bhekisisa recently.
In the May edition of the South Africa Medical Journal, Le Grange and others surveyed 644 internationally trained South African doctors and found that about 70% were either unemployed or not practicing.
Many doctors had either not taken the HPCSA exam, which were postponed during lockdown, or were still waiting on results, he told Bhekisisa.
All other healthcare workers other than nurses must register with the HPCSA to practice regardless of where they trained. Nurses register with the South African Nursing Council.
Le Grange said: “The irony is that the government wants to bring in Cuban and Chinese doctors to help, while many of us who qualified in China and are eager to help are already sitting here twiddling our thumbs.”
Why Cuban doctors were able to bypass the queue
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize was quick to note the incoming Cuban healthcare workers would complement existing drives to hire more local workers during the Covid-19 outbreak. Earlier this year, the Gauteng health department opened more than 400 such positions.
The non-profit Africa Health Placements spent more than a decade recruiting foreign doctors to fill gaps in underserved rural areas.
The organisation closed earlier this year, but its former CEO, Stacey Ann Pillay, says it can take anywhere between nine months and almost two years for foreign-trained healthcare workers to complete the process to register in the country.
They must also first have their qualifications recognised by the HPCSA, the national health department and the US Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.
Timelines also depend on whether or not doctors’ qualifications are deemed to be at the same level as that offered by South African medical schools. If not, doctors may have to compete for scarce internship posts as well.
South African medical students have been training in Cuba since 1996 through the bilateral Mandela-Castro programme. As part of this, the HPCSA reviewed Cuba’s medical school curriculum and found it to be on par with that of South Africa. This allowed the recently arrived Cuban healthcare workers to register with the HPCSA within days instead of months.
“Not all foreign-trained doctors have to write the board exam,” said Deputy Health Minister Mathume Joseph Phaahla in a 28 April briefing. He went on to explain that graduates of international universities who have been similarly assessed by the HPCSA do not need to take the board exams in order to register with the body.
In fact, a 2018 national health department policy stipulates that a list of these universities should be updated and published annually.
Yet, no trace of such a list exists. The HPCSA did not answer repeated requests from Bhekisisa as to why.
Other international medical school graduates could get streamlined registration in South Africa too … if the HPCSA were to release a long-anticipated list of qualifying universities
In a 2019 presentation, the ministerial appointee to the HPCSA, Tahir Pillay, suggested the body used a three-track system to streamline applications from foreign-trained doctors based on – for instance – proof of their institution’s national or international accreditation and how many years they studied.
It is unclear whether the HPCSA considered this proposal.
But, as of 2019, a lack of clarity on which medical schools qualified for streamlined registration, allowed dubious foreign recruiting agencies to mislead students into thinking they would be guaranteed registration, Pillay warned in his presentation.
Currently, the HPCSA evaluates foreign medical school curricula on an applicant-by-applicant basis, says HPCSA spokesperson Priscilla Sekhonyana. Those who do not meet South African standards are then required to take the HPCSA board exam.
Ordinarily, the HPCSA offers board exams twice a year. But as long as universities remain closed, these exams are likely to remain on hold. As of late April, 120 people who had taken the last HPCSA board exam in January were still awaiting their results, but Sekhonyana says these results have now been released.
The delay, she says, was in part because the Medical and Dental Professional Board, which approves results, was unable to meet during the lockdown.
Although the HPCSA reported a backlog in processing board exams from foreign-trained applicants in its 2019 annual report, Sekhonyana says no such backlogs exist today – partly because the HPCSA moved to allow part of the exam to be written online.
Meanwhile, foreign trained doctors such as Hoosein Alvi, who asked not to use his real name, remain desperate to start work.
“A lot of the doctors even … said, look, we are even willing to volunteer our services and that’s gone to deaf ears too.”
www.samigration.com

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