Court orders 8 Zimbabwean children to be repatriated

Pretoria – Eight Zimbabwean children who were found by police in Rustenburg in November last year will be repatriated to Zimbabwe, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruled on Monday.

According to the Department of Social Development, Judge Bill Prinsloo said he could not fathom how parents could allow their children to travel with strangers, in a truck, from Beitbridge to Cape Town.
Prinsloo said that he doubted that their parents acted in the best interests of the children.
The children, between the ages of two and 14 years, are currently in the care and protection of the department.

The driver of the truck they were travelling in when they were found by police was in possession of 15 passports – none of which belonged to the minors in transit.

In February, an application for a court interdict was applied for in court by eight adults who claimed to be the parents of the children.

The alleged parents demanded that the children be released into their care but could not provide proof that they are indeed the children’s parents or primary caregivers.

In terms of section 290 of the Children’s Act, there is a need to ascertain where the children will be released to. In this instance, the children will be released to the care and safety of the government of Zimbabwe, according to the department.

Newly appointed Social Development Minister Susan Shabangu welcomed the decision to repatriate the children to Zimbabwe.
“We believe that the South African government, through the Department of Social Development, always acts in the best interest of the child. We want to thank the SAPS, the social workers, the office of the family advocate and all other officials who worked tirelessly to make sure that the children are protected.”
The government of Zimbabwe is expected to receive the children on Tuesday

Court battle over Zimbabwean children in SA custody

2018-03-02 – Groundup

Parents of eight Zimbabwean children filed an urgent application in the Pretoria High Court for an interdict to stop the Minister of Social Development and the Minister of Home Affairs from repatriating their children to Zimbabwe.
Pretoria – On Wednesday, parents of eight Zimbabwean children filed an urgent application in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria for an interdict to stop the Minister of Social Development and the Minister of Home Affairs from repatriating their children to Zimbabwe. The parents are in Cape Town.
Lumka Oliphant, spokesperson for the Department of Social Development, would only comment that the court first wants the report of the independent family advocate it had previously ordered, before deciding on what is in the children’s best interests.
The court did not grant the interdict and has postponed the matter to Friday March 2, according to a GroundUp report.
The department has stated that it intends to fly the children to Harare International Airport on March 6.
Advocate Simba Chitando, acting for the parents, argued that this would be unlawful and not in the best interests of the children.

The children, aged between two and 12, are being held by the Department of Social Development at an undisclosed location and parental contact has been denied.
The children were taken into custody more than three months ago, in November, after they were discovered in a truck. They were travelling to Cape Town to be with their parents.

The parent of the 12-year-old child told GroundUp that the parents were never consulted on the repatriation process.
They do not know what will happen to the children when they arrive back in Zimbabwe.
Detained under Trafficking Act
Chitando said the Minister of Social Development had not filed anything in court that indicates the reasons for detaining the Zimbabwean children.
There was only a press statement that said children were detained pursuant to the Trafficking Act.

“The immediate reunification with the biological parents, based in Cape Town, is in the best interests of the children. … According to Section 31 (1) (a) of the Trafficking Act, the director general of home affairs and social development may not repatriate a foreign child who is a victim of trafficking without due consideration into the best interests of the child,” Chitando argued in court papers.
He said there could never be any suitable arrangement for the care of an infant in Harare that is better than care by the biological parent in Cape Town.

All the parents have stated in papers that they are capable of going to Rustenburg to collect their children and to take them to Zimbabwe themselves.

Chitando characterised the planned repatriation as “a slap dash attempt at getting rid of their [home affairs and social development] burdens and obligations to guarantee the safety of the children”.

In heads of argument, Chitando states that “the callous way that the biological parents have been kept in the dark, without forthcoming explanation … has left them to assume they have been stripped of their parental rights”.

The departments had taken the children through the Children’s Court to suspend parental rights without notifying the parents. He said those proceedings are likely to be set aside.

The Department of Social Services had only acknowledged receipt of the parent’s court papers in a press statement and expressed displeasure with the allegations in the papers, but it had not filed any opposing papers.
The department had also missed two court appearances.

Home Affairs must review naturalisation regulations: Public Protector

01 March 2018 – News24

Home Affairs must review naturalisation regulations says Public Protector.
The Public Protector has ordered the Home Affairs Minister to review the 10-year period to apply for naturalisation and ensure it aligns with the five-year period in the Citizenship Act.
The Public Protector received communication from 18 individuals who complained about the time it took for the department to finalise their applications for naturalisation. She received the complaints between 2014 and 2017.
Some complained about the department of home affairs’ decision to reject their applications for naturalisation on the basis that their applications were made before the expiry of 10 years after obtaining a permanent resident permit.
Others complained of the long period it took before their applications were adjudicated.
One of the complainants stated that he received his permanent resident permit in January 2008. He lodged his application for naturalisation in January 2013. The department informed him that his application was premature.
The eight complainants submitted their applications for naturalisation‚ and the response from the department took between 13 months and 48 months to advise them of the outcome of their applications.
Ten other complainants had waited for between 13 months and 48 months and they had not received the response from the department at the time of lodging their complaints.
The Public Protector‚ in her findings‚ said Section 5 of the Citizenship Act provided that a person may be naturalised five years after being resident in South Africa.
This was in contrast with Regulation 3(2) of the Act‚ which provides that the period referred to the Act for naturalisation is 10 years.
“The Regulations … ascribe a period of ordinary residence as 10 years contrary to the 5 year period specified in the Act‚” the Public Protector said in her report.
She said ten of the complainants had the permanent residence permits and had met the minimum requirement of five years immediately preceding the date of their applications.
“Despite meeting these requirements‚ the (department) disqualified them on the basis that their applications for naturalisation were premature‚” the Public Protector said in her report.
She said the department‚ in adjudicating the applications‚ improperly applied section 5(1)(c) of the Citizenship Act and said the 10-year period prescribed in the regulations was inconsistent with the provisions of the Act.
In her remedial action‚ the public protector said the minister must initiate a review of the regulations‚ specifically the 10-year period to apply for naturalisation‚ as this was inconsistent with the Citizenship Act. She said this must be done within three months.
She also said the director-general of the department must issue letters of apology to the complainants within 30 days after the issuing of the report.
She said the department must also review the naturalisation applications submitted by the complainants.
She said the director-general must‚ within six months of the report‚ publish standard operating procedures with turnaround times on how long it should take to adjudicate upon applications for naturalisation.

Lesotho, SA to Meet Over Permits

3 March 2018 – Lesotho Times (Maseru)
Home Affairs Minister, Tsukutlane Au, is set to meet his South African counterpart, Malusi Gigaba, to discuss the highly emotive issue of the Lesotho Special Permit (LSP) amid indications that Lesotho will request South Africa not to deport Lesotho nationals who were not granted LSPs.
The meeting was initially scheduled for tomorrow in Pretoria but Home Affairs Principal Secretary, ‘Machabana Lemphane – Letsie, said South Africa had requested a postponement to a later date due to this week’s cabinet reshuffle which saw Ayanda Dlodlo being replaced by Mr Gigaba.
Mr Gigaba was the Home Affairs minister when the South African government introduced the four-year LSP in 2015 to enable qualifying Basotho to lawfully work, study or do business in South Africa.
The initial application process for the permit began in March 2016 and was due to end in June 2016. There were three extensions culminating in the final extension to 31 March 2017 for all applications.
A South African Home Affairs report issued in October 2017 said that 194 941 LSP applications were received out of an estimated 400 000 Basotho believed to be in South Africa.
“Out of these, about 90,225 were approved, 3 582 rejected,” the report stated.
Although 90 225 applications were approved, the figure is a drop in the ocean as it represents less than a quarter of the 400 000 Basotho estimated by the South African government to be living within its borders.
Even though most of those who applied succeeded in getting the LSP, more than 300 000 Basotho living in South Africa do not appear to have bothered to apply. They now risk being arrested and deported from that country after a moratorium on such deportations expired on 31 December 2017.
During his first stint at the helm of the Home Affairs ministry, Mr Gigaba vowed that his government would enforce deportations upon the expiry of the moratorium as Africa’s second largest and most sophisticated economy seeks to stem off the tide of illegal immigration into its borders.
However, the two countries will soon meet to discuss Lesotho’s requests which include a freeze on arrests and deportations as well as the relaxation of the LSP requirements.
Ms Lemphane – Letsie this week said that officials from both countries’ Home Affairs ministries held a preparatory meeting last week in Pretoria ahead of the ministers’ meeting which had been scheduled for tomorrow.
“Last week, home affairs officials from both countries met in Pretoria to map the way forward for Basotho who failed to get the LSP,” Ms Lemphane – Letsie said.
“We then scheduled a meeting of the SA and Lesotho Home Affairs ministers for 2 March to further discuss how the two countries would deal with LSP issues to avoid the arrests and deportations of Basotho.
“Following the cabinet reshuffle, South Africa has asked for the meeting to be postponed to a later date.”
For his part, Mr AU said he would only share with this publication the outcome of the meeting with his South African counterpart.
He has however, previously told this publication that he would request South Africa to revise the LSP in order to come up with a totally different arrangement because the current document which was “modelled on a similar one for Zimbabweans does not address the special circumstances of Basotho nationals”.
He said the government would negotiate with their South African counterparts for a special arrangement akin to that of Italy and the Vatican where citizens of the former did not need passports to work or visit the latter country.
Meanwhile, South Africa has begun the process of reimbursing Basotho nationals who unsuccessfully applied for the LSP.
According to Ms Lemphane – Letsie, “South Africa’s Home Affairs ministry noted that there were Basotho who paid the application fee but failed to meet the deadline for applying and these will be reimbursed because their applications were never processed”.
The application fee was M970.

11 awesome countries South Africans can visit visa-free in 2018

27 February 2018 – Biztech

Arton Capital has released its latest Passport Index, with South Korea taking the lead with the world’s most powerful passport for the first time.
The index is used by governments from around the world to monitor the power of their passports – and is largely based on how many countries it grants you access to without a visa.
South Korea and Singapore now have the world’s most powerful passport with a score of 162, followed by Germany and Japan (161 countries), then Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Italy, France, and Spain with a score of 160 countries.
“We are currently seeing not one but two Asian countries with the most powerful passports in the world,” said Armand Arton, founder and president of Arton Capital.
“This is a testament to the increased global respect and trust Asian countries are commanding,” he said.
While South Africa has one of the strongest passports among African countries, it is ranked 47th on the list with a score of 95 countries open to visa-free travel.
However, this could change following the re-appointment of Malusi Gigaba as minister of home affairs, following a brief stint as minister of finance.
Before his appointment to the finance ministry, Gigaba had targeted visa-free travel for South Africans to the European Union, an initiative which has stalled somewhat in his absence.
Speaking to the BusinessTech at the end of January 2018, a Home Affairs spokesperson confirmed that visa-free travel to the EU was still on the cards, but that it was currently being decided on a country by country basis, with no time-frame as to when this may be completed.
Below is a list of the countries South Africans can currently visit visa-free, including 11 popular holiday destinations.




Hong Kong





South Korea


Home Affairs verifies visas of ANN7 employees

Home Affairs verifies visas of ANN7 employees
February 23, 2018
Home Affairs has confirmed that it conducted verifications of certain individuals in the employ of media house ANN7.
“Our officials visited ANN7 studios to verify information related to visas of certain individuals employed by the organisation,” said the department.
Home Affairs said the search and verification at the ANN7 studios in Midrand, Gauteng, forms part of the mandate of its Inspectorate Directorate division.
The Inspectorate Directorate of the department does regular inspections on the basis of information provided to them.
Once verified, the department said the findings of the ANN7 investigation would be released. –

Gigaba revisits the skeletons in his ‘home affairs’

Gigaba revisits the skeletons in his ‘home affairs’
27 February 2018 – Enca
JOHANNESBURG – President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet reshuffle on Monday moved former Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba back to head the Department of Home Affairs.
Gigaba has previously been linked to state capture.
In June 2017, leaked emails suggested that Gigaba facilitated the Gupta family with their applications for naturalisation.
The EFF had previously released a Home Affairs letter which showed the Gupta family’s request for citizenship was turned down.
This document was followed by one from then Home Affairs Minister Gigaba, in which he waived the legal requirements for citizenship and granted the Guptas’ request for naturalisation.
Gigaba’s name was also dragged into a court battle with the Oppenheimer family over its application to operate an international customs and immigration service at OR Tambo International Airport.
Last year, the North Gauteng High Court gave the family’s Fireblade Aviation, permission to run the service, saying that Gigaba approved the request, which he later denied.
Due to the approved request, the wealthy family was given the privilege to be able to run a private customs and immigration service that will allow it to facilitate international arrivals and departures of heads of state and other VVIPs using private aircraft in and out of OR Tambo Airport.
With Gigaba back at the head of the Department of Home Affairs department, his previous operational decisions are back under public scrutiny.