Dec 12, 2012 - Business Permit    No Comments

Dept warns on immigrant workers

 

Nov 22 2012 17:00

Johannesburg – The department of home affairs on Thursday warned employers against taking on illegal immigrants.

“It is illegal and against the spirit of our Immigration Act to employ immigrants who are illegal in the country and are without the necessary permits to be in South Africa,” home affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni said in a statement.

The department was reacting to a request by Cosatu and Passop on Tuesday for Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor to give immigrant farmworkers in the Western Cape amnesty for the next three months.

“The two parties have reportedly called on minister Pandor to consider extending amnesty for three months to, particularly, workers from Lesotho,” Apleni said.

Pandor had not received an official request from the two organisations.

People Against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty (Passop) and the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said the amnesty would avoid serious bloodshed and tensions between different immigrants and South African workers.

Protests about wages and living conditions started in De Doorns at the beginning of November and spread to 15 other towns in the Western Cape.

The protests started with table grape harvesters, who were calling for wages of R150 a day. Most earned between R69 and R75 a day.

“Now is too volatile a time to be implementing the immigration act, and farm owners who have previously employed undocumented workers for years are now dividing workers, using documentation as an excuse,” the two organisations said.

Apleni urged employers to ensure their workers were properly registered with the department of labour.

Workers should have the necessary documentation and work permits in line with the country’s immigration act.

“We wish to express our concern at reported remarks that may have the consequence of creating a climate conducive for the rise of xenophobic attacks against foreign migrants in the country,” Apleni said.

He said the department would continue to address issues of regularisation of illegal migrants in South Africa.

“Following the regularisation of illegal Zimbabwean nationals, the department would consider extending similar services to immigrants from other neighbouring countries,” Apleni said.

The department and ministry would decide on the issue once the Zimbabwean documentation project had been completed and finalised.

 

Dec 11, 2012 - Visa    No Comments

Speaking Notes for Weekly Media Briefing by Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni,

Thursday, 22 November 2012
22. Nov. 2012 homeaffairs

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our weekly media briefing. Our media briefing this week will focus on among others: 1. The call by COSATU and Passop to regularize some farmworkers in the De Doorns area in the Western Cape 2. Temporary residence permits 3. SA-Zimbabwe Joint Permanent Commission on Security and Defence 4. Progress report on plans and priorities of Home Affairs 5. Minister’s directive to senior Home Affairs managers THE CALL BY COSATU AND PASSOP FOR AMNESTY FOR FARMWORKERS We have noted the call through the media by Passop and Cosatu to the Minister of Home Affairs, Naledia Pandor, to regularize illegal immigrant farm workers that are affected by the recent farmworkers strike in De Doorns area in the Western Cape. The two parties have reportedly called on Minister Pandor to consider extending amnesty for a three months to particularly workers from Lesotho. Firstly, we wish to put it on record that Minister Naledi Pandor has yet to receive such an official request from both Passop and Cosatu. We cannot respond to media reports to a matter of such grave concern. In this regard, Minister Pandor will await receipt of such an official request before responding comprehensively to the request. Nonetheless, we wish to remind employers in all sectors of our economy that it is illegal and against the spirit of our Immigration Act to employ immigrants who are illegal in the country and are without the necessary permits to be in South Africa. Employers must always ensure the workers they employ are properly registered with the department of labour and have the necessary documentation and work permits in line with the country’s immigration act Equally, we wish to express our concern at reported remarks that may have the consequence of creating a climate conducive for the rise of xenophobic attacks against foreign migrants in the country. We therefore urge members of the public to join government and other stakeholders in helping to find a long lasting solution to current challenges facing farmworkers and to desist from calls that will only excarcebate the situation with serious consequences for life and limb. The issues of regularization of illegal migrants within our country continues to receive the attention of the department and ministry. Indeed we are on record as having stated that following the regularization of illegal Zimbabwean nationals the department would consider extending similar services to immigrants from other neighbouring countries. The matter however, is still receiving the attention of the department and ministry who will decide on the issue once the Zimbabwean documentation project has been completed and finalized. TEMPORARY RESIDENCE PERMITS A team of adjudicators was established at the beginning of this year to manage the backlog of temporary residence applications. We can now announce that the Department has finalised the adjudication of these applications which were at Head Office’s Central Adjudication Hub. It is possible that applications may have fallen within the cracks during the processing stage. In this regard, the Department requests that any applicant who applied for a temporary residence permit eight weeks ago and has not received feedback should contact the Department through: email permit.extension@dha.gov.za or fax: 0865326320, telephone numbers: (012) 406-4493 / 4476 / 4463 / 4485 / 4462 / 4475 / 7072. These contact details are also available at the Department’s Regional Offices. The Department will endeavour to ensure that any enquiry relating to outstanding temporary residence permit is finalised without any further delay. PERMANENT RESIDENCE PERMITS The Department is aware of challenges relating to applications for permanent residence permits. The Department took a decision to prioritise temporary residence permits as this category of foreigners was at risk of being in the country illegally if their applications were not finalised timeously. Accordingly, we have now begun to address permanent residence backlog with effect from August 2012. In addressing this backlog, the Department recognises its role in contributing to South Africa’s economic development and national priorities as they relate to the attraction of critical skills. As such, we intend to address the backlog by facilitating the expeditious adjudication of Permanent Residence applications from applicants with critical skills. The Department will prioritise applications for permanent residence permits from holders of Quota Work Permits and Exceptional Skills Work Permits in line with the country’s objective of attracting critical skills. Once these applications are finalised, we shall process other categories of permanent residence applications. Our projection is to finalise the backlog by the end of the current financial year (31 March 2013). RSA/ZIMBABWE JOINT PERMANENT COMMISSION ON DEFENCE AND SECURITY As part of the Departments participation in the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster (JCPS), the Deputy Minister Fatima Chohan will lead the Home Affairs delegation to the South Africa-Zimbabwe joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security in Cape Town, on Friday 23 November 2012. The Commission began its deliberations earlier this week. This annual bilateral meeting is held to discuss matters of mutual concern with respect to security, safety and defence that affect the

two countries. In this regard the meeting will amongst others review the progress on managing irregular migration including the sharing of information and future cooperation on asylum seeker management. The meeting will also discuss the proposal from the Zimbabwean authorities to establish new ports of entry in the areas of Limpopo province and the Beitbridge Border Efficiency Management System Programme. PROGRESS MADE BY THE DEPARTMENT IN THE SECOND QUARTER I would like to share with you the progress that the Department of Home Affairs has made in the second quarter. This is done against the targets that we committed ourselves to, in the 2012-2013 financial year. The work of the department is informed by the need to achieve the following outcomes; 1. Secured South African citizenship and identity 2. Managing immigration effectively and securely in the national interest including economic, social and cultural development 3. Provision of a service that is efficient, accessible and corrupt free In the main, we seek to achieve these outcomes through ensuring that: * birth is the only entry point into the National Population Register; * ensure a secure, responsive and flexible immigration regime in support of national security, priorities and interests * and the transformation of the culture of the department in support of securing identity, citizenship and international migration. With regards to the first outcome, we can report that: * 2% percent more births were registered. This amount to 151,290 against the projected 149,540 quarterly baseline. * In addition 96% of cases of late registration of births were finalized within six months. * Furthermore, 100 pilot ID Smart Cards were issued and accordingly the functionality and durability of the Smart ID Card was tested. * We are happy to announce that we are on track with plans to roll-out the Smart ID Card in 2013. Smart ID Card watch it, it is coming * The issue of duplicate ID’s continue to receive the attention of the department to ensure the dignity of those affected is restored and that they too, can, together with their fellow South Africans enjoy a better life. * visa facilitation services were introduced in Angola which is one of high volume foreign missions. With regard to rendering a service that is efficient, accessible and corrupt free, the department continues to engage in training its management.-we are happy to report that: * 98.3% of IDs were issued within 47days amounting to 222,713 in the second quarter. * 95.9% passports that were processed manually were issued within 24days amounting to 98,316 in the period under review. * With offices that have live capture capacity, 97.49% of passports were issued within 13 days. This amounts to 35,269 passports. MINISTER SAYS HOME AFFAIRS IS KEY IN ACHIEVING SOUTH AFRICAS OBJECTIVES AND PRIORITIES You will recall from last week that we mentioned that Minister Pandor has held meeting with senior management of the department with a view to familiarizing herself with the mandate of the department and to assess service delivery levels. In this regard, the Minister participated in the retreat of the department which included the Deputy Minister, the DG, the DDG’s and Provincial Managers at Kievitskroon in Pretoria to assess the objectives and priorities of Home Affairs. In outlining her vision for the Department, Minister Pandor stressed the strategic role that the Department of Home Affairs plays in helping to attain the overall national objectives of the government as set out in the State of the Nation Address. Minister Pandor said the Department was one of the most important in our country as it was linked to overturning all negative imprint of apartheid that characterised our society for many decades. This was because the issues that the Department deals with on a daily basis focus on the restoration of the full status and identity to people who were denied citizenship by successive past racist regimes. Minister Pandor further said the Department played an important role in service delivery and the process of nation building for South Africa. Minister Pandor reminded the Department’s senior managers about the need to intensify their efforts in providing enabling documents to the public, emphasising that there was a need for the staff to be more helpful towards members of the community. She concluded her remarks by saying that the Department contributed significantly in how South Africa related internationally with the global community of nations. As the first point of contact through our ports of entry, the Department determines the movements of immigrants and visitors in and out of South Africa, how they are treated when they are in our country and in particular how humanitarian obligations are met by South Africa including responsibilities arising from the Geneva Convention and many other UN Conventions to which South Africa is a signatory. V.2123

Dec 11, 2012 - Visa    No Comments

Home affairs gets OK to use soldiers

29. Nov. 2012 sapa

Johannesburg – Using soldiers to work at ports of entry has received the nod from the Johannesburg Labour Court, a home affairs official said on Thursday. Immigration director general Jackie McKay said the court ruled in favour of the department on Tuesday. At issue was a project by the department to use SA National Defence Force members to man ports of entry for security reasons. The Public Servants’ Association (PSA) objected, saying this would lead to job losses for current staff at ports. McKay said the court ruled that the employment of soldiers would not have an adverse effect on PSA members or result in job

losses. “The judge found that the objectives of the project were geared towards ensuring state security and the security of the citizens and therefore it was in the public interest that the project be implemented.” The PSA took home affairs to court after it deployed 350 soldiers at OR Tambo International Airport as part of the pilot project. Those people previously at the airport were retrained and sent elsewhere in the department, McKay said. The PSA brought an urgent application in the labour court for an interdict to stop the department from employing SANDF members. V.2126

Dec 11, 2012 - Visa    No Comments

Dalai Lama court ruling welcomed

29. Nov. 2012 sapa

Cape Town – Thursday’s Supreme Court of Appeal ruling vindicates the view that the government broke the laws of the country in delaying a decision on a visa application by the Dalai Lama, IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said. Speaking from Ulundi in KwaZulu-Natal via telephone to a media conference at Parliament, Buthelezi said he was delighted at the judgment. “All this begs the question as to why the government, in twice preventing the entry of the Dalai Lama to South Africa, would do something so opposite to the will of the people of this country, the values of our Constitution, and all that which is good, noble, and decent in public affairs,” said the Inkatha Freedom Party leader. Buthelezi and Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota brought the appeal after the Western Cape High Court in February dismissed their application challenging the delay in government granting a visa to the Tibetan spiritual

leader. The court found the case moot, as the Dalai Lama had already cancelled his trip. Freedom of association Lekota said he was “thrilled that, once again, the rule of law had been upheld”. He said the Constitution provided Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, and any other citizen, the right to freedom of association. “If therefore, Archbishop Tutu or any other citizen of our country were to invite a friend to visit them, whether the majority party or the communist person does not like that person is irrelevant… the right given to us under our Constitution is to associate with whoever we choose to associate,” said Lekota. The Tibetan spiritual leader eventually cancelled his trip to South Africa to attend Tutu’s 80th birthday on October 4, last year. Tutu was outraged and accused the current government of being worse than the apartheid-era one. V.2125

Dec 11, 2012 - Business Permit    No Comments

Home Affairs confident about Lama visa case

 

November 12 2012 at 06:43pm
By SAPA


 

Related Stories

Johannesburg – The home affairs ministry expressed confidence on Monday about an appeal by the IFP and Cope regarding the Dalai Lama’s visa.

“The ministry… remains confident of the case it has made against arguments brought by counsel for the (parties),” said spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa.

The Congress of the People and the Inkatha Freedom Party have taken the department of home affairs to the Supreme Court of Appeal, contending it acted unconstitutionally and unlawfully by turning down the visa of the Dalai Lama.

The Tibetan spiritual leader cancelled his trip to the country last year after the department allegedly failed to approve his visa in time.

He was supposed to be one of the dignitaries attending the 80th birthday party of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

During argument on Monday, Appeal Court Judge Robert Nugent asked why a visa application for an international figure could take several months to be processed.

“How many months can people expect to wait?” he asked the department of home affairs’ lawyer Marumo Moerane SC during an argument about “unreasonable delay”.

Moerane submitted that the department had not deliberately obstructed the visa application.

If the Dalai Lama had not withdrawn his application, it might have been approved, Moerane contended. – Sapa

 

 

Nov 19, 2012 - Business Permit    No Comments

Case against home affairs withdrawn

 

Pretoria – An application to prevent the home affairs department from violating the rights of foreigners has been withdrawn, director general Mkuseli Apleni said on Thursday.

“The withdrawal arose from the fact that by the time the case was brought against the department the 39 inmates… had already been released or deported,” he told reporters in Pretoria.

The matter was withdrawn on Tuesday.

On 3 November, the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) along with Passop [People Against Suffering, Suppression, Oppression and Poverty] and 39 immigrants, launched an urgent court application with the High Court in Johannesburg.

The application was to prevent the department from violating foreigner’s rights at the Lindela Repatriation Centre in the West Rand.

The department received court papers last Friday, but the matter was withdrawn before it came to court.

SAHRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena on Thursday confirmed this. He said the department satisfied the SAHRC’s demand in the application to immediately release the immigrants.

“The department moved fast to avoid going to court by releasing them in batches, for a period of a week prior to the court seating.”

Apleni said Minister Naledi Pandor established mechanisms to monitor the number of days each inmate spent at the centre, to ensure they would not exceed the 120-day maximum period for detention.

He did not elaborate on the mechanisms but said the media would be allowed to view the facility on a ministerial visit soon.

“The challenges that had previously led to inmates overstaying the stipulated 120 days arises from, among others, a deliberate attempt to subvert the law by refusing to supply officers at the transit centre with details of their origin and/or nationality.”

He said another problem was with embassies and high commissions not assisting the department in identifying their nationals.

Therefore they were delaying the process of deportation, but Apleni would not be drawn on who specifically was causing the delays.

“This is something we want to work on as a department.”

– SAPA

Nov 14, 2012 - Business Permit    No Comments

Home Affairs needs work – DA

November 6 2012 at 09:00am

The Star

Political Bureau

THE DA has called for disciplinary steps to be taken against Home Affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni after the department revealed it had spent R46,3 million on legal costs in the 2011/12 fin- ancial year.

While the number of cases has shown a significant decline since 2009/10, when 2 970 cases were instituted against the department, falling to 1 099 for the past financial year, the costs have soared, more than doubling from the R22,8m of 2009/10. Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor explained in reply to a written parliamentary question from the DA’s home affairs spokesman, Manny de Freitas, that legal costs are paid only once a case has been finalised and costs awarded, usually to successful litigants. This took a long time from the date the action was instituted, she said. “Legal fees of matters arising in one year are thus normally paid in another financial year,” Pandor said. This would explain the rise in costs at the same time as the number of cases has been more than halved. But De Freitas said the soaring costs were “likely attributable to the fact that the department’s immigration services are a complete disaster and they continuously fail to comply with court orders”. It was Apleni’s job to ensure the immigration service ran smoothly, yet there were still huge backlogs in applications, as well as three contempt of court suits against the department. Apleni, as the accounting officer, had presided over R800m in irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure in three years and had “continuously violated the Public Finance Management Act [PFMA]”, De Freitas said. He said he had written to Pandor asking her to institute disciplinary proceedings against Apleni for his failure to comply with the PFMA. “The minister should, however, also consider Mr Apleni’s role in immigration applications and the bloating legal costs of the department.” Pandor’s reply comes after the department turned in a qualified audit for the past financial year, having achieved its first unqualified audit the previous year. Under immigration services, cases included judicial reviews of the department’s decision to reject asylum applications and temporary and permanent residence permits, and applications for the release of “illegal foreigners” detained at the Lindela Repatriation Centre. There were also cases relating to permits where the department had failed to make a decision within the prescribed period. A number of class actions had been brought in which “hundreds of applicants” were represented in a single court application seeking orders to compel the department to make a decision. There were also cases falling under civic services in which the department had been taken to court after failing to issue IDs, passports and birth certificates correctly or on time. It was sometimes also dragged into disputes over customary marriages, often between spouses of people who had died and their families. Pandor said training of officials had been stepped up on processes and standard operating procedures, as well as on the legislation administered by the department in a bid to reduce the number of claims against it and reduce money spent. More funding had been set aside for staff, especially at a hub at head office dedicated to the adjudication of temporary and permanent residence permits. The Refugees and Immigration Acts had also been amended, which would result in a more streamlined process, Pandor said.