Jun 8, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Dear Tony Gupta, I Have Top Secret Clearance … “Kindly find attached copy of my resumé and note that I have been vetted by SSA for top secret clearance and awaiting my evaluation.”

Dear Tony Gupta, I Have Top Secret Clearance …
“Kindly find attached copy of my resumé and note that I have been vetted by SSA for top secret clearance and awaiting my evaluation.”
02/06/2017 13:14 SAST | Updated 02/06/2017 15:17 SAST
• Pieter du Toit Deputy Editor, HuffPost South Africa

Jaco Marais/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA MAY 31: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): President Jacob Zuma tables the Presidency budget vote in the National Assembly on May 31, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. Zuma has reiterated government’s commitment to secure energy certainty for the country. (Photo by)
A senior official at the Department of Home Affairs in Cape Town sent Rajesh “Tony” Gupta his CV — and a certificate declaring he has top secret clearance.
According to copies of emails to which City Press has access, Sagie Mudley, head of inspectorate (immigration) in Cape Town, sent a message to Gupta on the morning of November 27, 2015 saying: “Kindly find attached copy of my resumé and note that I have been vetted by SSA (State Security Agency) for top secret clearance and awaiting my evaluation. If you require any further information and clarity please don’t hesitate to call me”.
Rajesh Gupta, the younger of the Gupta brothers, emerges as quite a power-broker in much of the correspondence. It appears he played the role of fixer between Atul Gupta, companies in the Oakbay Group, and government departments like home affairs and the presidency, often being the primary contact in correspondence.
According to Nomzamo Mnyaka, a chief director at home affairs, Mudley is in charge of immigration at Cape Town International Airport. Mnyaka was listed as a reference on Mudley’s CV sent to Gupta, and told HuffPost South Africa Mudley “is a good civil servant who has never had any trouble”. Mudley describes himself as “a highly-motivated public service professional, skilled in administration, networking and relationship development”.
Mudley again emailed Gupta less than two months later, seemingly triumphant after his top secret clearance was approved: “Dear Sir: please find attached security clearance. Thank you.”
Attached to the message to Gupta is a confidential security clearance certificate, issued by the Department of State Security, with a clearance number and signed by CM Mavata, director: domestic branch. There are also two letters by Mavata, both addressed to the provincial home affairs manager confirming Mudley’s top secret clearance.
The Guptas have in the last week been accused of trying to influence immigration officials unduly. Various emails indicate that they have tried to have associates and friends receive preferential treatment from home affairs.
Mkuseni Apleni, home affairs director general, wasn’t immediately available for comment. He did however earlier confirm to 702’s Barry Bateman that the department was investigating all allegations pertaining to the department.

Jun 6, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Re-application for PRP for those who applied prior to 02 June 2014

Re-application for PRP for those who applied prior to 02 June 2014
The Department of Home Affairs received permanent residence applications prior to 02 June 2014 utilising the Track and Trace system. The Department has noted that it does not have 4 616 applications on hand as per Track and Trace system.

In this regard, Mr Mkuseli Apleni, the Director-General of the Department of Home Affairs, under the powers vested in him under Sections 26 and 27 of the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act no. 13 of 2002) as amended, hereby gives notice that persons whose particulars appear in a list published in the National Government Gazette No 40691 on 17 March 2017 (www.gpwonline.co.za) who applied for permanent residence prior to 02 June 2014, at their earliest convenience and without delay, re-submit their permanent residence applications online through the Department of Home Affairs Contact Centre. The persons whose particulars appear on the published list will be afforded a period starting from 15 May 2017 to 31 July 2017 to re-submit the applications. The Department of Home Affairs will not accept any applications submitted after the stipulated period.

Applications may be re-submitted by e-mail to: hacc@dha.gov.za

Application forms, general guidelines and requirements for specific categories in terms of Sections 26 and 27 of the Immigration Act may be downloaded from the following website: www.dha.gov.za. All applicants who are eighteen (18) years of age and older must also submit a South African Police Clearance Certificate not older than six (6) months or approach the Afiswitch office to submit an application for a South African Police Clearance Certificate. Afiswitch can be contacted on 012 679 2900 or visit www.afiswitch.com for more information.

Those applicants who already received their permanent residence permits and whose names appear on the list are advised to provide a copy of the permanent residence permit to: hacc@dha.gov.za and applicants need not re-apply.

Failure to re-submit your permanent residence application will render the application closed.

For your ease of reference you may check the progress of your application by calling the department’s call centre on 0800601190

The Department of Home Affairs endeavors to adjudicate and finalise all received permanent residence applications by the end of December 2017.The Bi-947 application form can be downloaded here <<< and must be completed and sent via email only! Please contact us at SAMI at info@sami.co.za and Tel No office : +27 (0) 82 373 8415 , +27 (0) 61 896 2256 , +27 (0) 61 835 1280 , Fax No 086 579 0155

Jun 5, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Home Affairs DG demands answers from officials implicated in #GuptaLeaks

Home Affairs DG demands answers from officials implicated in #GuptaLeaks
ENCA – 2 June 2017

PRETORIA – Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni says he’s initiated an investigation and called on immigration officials implicated in the latest Gupta leaks to explain themselves.
Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni says he’s noted the allegations against some immigrations officials.
AmaBhungani and the Daily Maverick reported on Thursday how Gupta associates used insiders at the South African High Commission in New Delhi to fast track visa applications.
A former employee told Eyewitness News how their work permit requirements were waived and they obtained the documents within days after approaching a go-to person at the mission.
Former ANN7 staffer Rajesh Sundaram says they jumped the queue and had work permit requirements waived by a Gupta contact at the High Commission in Delhi.
“There was a lot of paper but we didn’t have to go through that, we were just asked to give the passports… within a few days the work permits were stamped and given out, no questions asked.”
Apleni noted the allegations against some immigrations officials.
“The right thing we have done is to go to those officials who are named and say ‘here are the allegations against you, what do you know about this’? Based on that, we can deal with the matter.”
He says he will report back on the outcome of the investigation.

Jun 5, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Is it time to ask the Constitutional Court to examine the workings of Home Affairs?

Is it time to ask the Constitutional Court to examine the workings of Home Affairs?

04 June 2017 – Tourism Update

One of the key issues not raised in all the discussions around the changes in South Africa’s Immigration laws since mid-2014, relates to the general processes and conduct of the Department of Home Affairs in the execution of its duties. These duties include receiving and adjudicating applications submitted through Visa Facilitation Services (VFS), an outsourced company which is only meant to handle the logistics of this process at their front offices in nine provinces. They have no legal right or mandate with respect to offering advice in any form.

The SASSA Constitutional Court Case, which saw the Judges of the Highest Court in the land intervene in a looming crisis with respect to the incapacity of the Ministry of Social Development to deliver and pay social grants to 11 million people, has a striking parallel. The Constitution and the social development legislation prescribe roles and responsibilities which, in general terms, empowers and provides the framework for the Minister to exercise her role and it sets out certain responsibilities. These are set in law and can only be exercised, or delegated, as prescribed by the law.

In the case of Home Affairs, the Minster has responsibility for Immigration and can only delegate his responsibilities to another party/person within the sphere of the State. In the case of VFS, it is a private company advising at and through its offices, often incorrectly, on Immigration matters. Home Affairs is basically inaccessible and unresponsive on key issues related to documents and decisions which impact on applications which people have to submit. The Minister’s authority has been unlawfully delegated and is being exercised by an unauthorised party. Directives, which applicants require in order to have information for their applications, are generally not available and the attitude of the department is that they are not required to make this information available.

Immigration is complex in many cases and South Africa’s scheme has its convolutions. The law is not cohesively written and sometimes what you read in the Immigration Act and regulations “ain’t as advertised” as many a bargain hunter has found out after buying a cheap product. The roles of the Act and regulations in prescribing the framework and requirement are interchangeable and often read like a series of afterthoughts. Then there are directives, which are not accessible, and court cases. Add to that the interpretations of various staff members at various levels and at Consulates abroad and one would swear that you had wandered on to a remake of the Tower of Babel.

Lawyers and practitioners represent applicants and in fact people are entitled to representation in terms of our Constitution. Home Affairs, at all of its offices and VFS offices, effectively denies people this right. When challenged, they might relent, but it is clear that there is a high level disdain for the right of representation and a culture of obstruction. In many cases there is blatantly unconstitutional advice and decision making, which denies people the right to family life, the right to do business and a host of other rights in the Constitution.

It is quite common to receive decisions from Home Affairs and Labour that have no rational, logical or fair basis. To say that people can complain or appeal is trite – if the basic service is not offered on a systematic basis and it takes 6-12 months to get a similarly poor decision, then the system has broken down and the courts have to become involved.

Then there are decisions by courts in respect of immigration matters which Home Affairs simply ignores. In the Dabone matter, the courts decided that asylum seekers and refugees could apply for other prescribed visas inside South Africa, with reduced requirements. Home Affairs has overridden this case and refuses to accept applications. In the Stewart matter, the judge clearly stated that conditions, which provide the framework once a person has status (eg. work, study, visa) may be changed inside the country. In many cases, Home Affairs denies applicants the right to do this. VFS implements these decisions, unlawfully, as their “system” which will not allow these applications to be accepted.

VFS charges R1 350 per application and had a minimum of R200m in turnover inside South Africa and probably another R200m turnover through applications submitted at SA missions abroad in the last year. None of these fees are prescribed and these are therefore unlawful. I cannot find a trace of competitive tenders or bids which cover this arrangement. It is effectively a monopoly contract which has been extended to many SA Missions in many countries.

A key State department function has been unlawfully outsourced to a private company for additional non prescribed fees. Representation is denied to applicants and representatives are openly vilified. The same department overrides court decisions and issues decisions which are fundamentally against the Constitution of the country.

Isn’t it time for the judges to summon the authorities to account for this state of affairs?

Jun 5, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Home affairs minister vows to fight ‘corrupt’ individuals to tighten immigration limits

Home affairs minister vows to fight ‘corrupt’ individuals to tighten immigration limits
June 3, 2017 – The South African
Hlengiwe Mkhize has promised to fight the corruption within the immigration authorities, so South Africa can firmly control who they decide to let into the country
Minister highlights how undermined she has been by her own department
Mkhize admitted it was “depressing” to find out just how many officials were involved in accepting bribes and bending the rules to let undocumented foreigners in. She was dismayed to learn of ‘syndicates’ run by Home Affairs officials which bypass the regulations to sneak people into SA with fraudulent papers.
“It’s almost like it’s systematic, something which has got roots now in each and every corner. When you ask, ‘But how did it happen? Where was the priest?’ They have priests who collude; they have police who collude and some of our officials who collude, and citizens who also collude” said Mkhize.
Alarmingly, 85 employees of the Home Affairs department have been arrested for their involvement in these syndicates, as have a further 81 members of the public – ALL since 2015.
In Mkhize’s eyes, it isn’t just corrupt individuals who are responsible for the influx of illegal immigrants; she has singled out entire industries – particularly service and security – for being complicit in hiring them, knowing that they have no legal right to work here.
The minister had previously backed visa-free travel for all Africans across the continent, but now believes South Africa has become too “socially unstable” to manage this policy:
“If we do not manage the process of free movement within the continent, we could end up with a crisis,” she said. “Remember our triple challenge [unemployment, poverty, and inequality] is real and we know from other parts of the world that that’s what triggers a revolution.”
Mkhize supports the creation of a single authority that ensures legal travel across South Africa’s borders. Made up of police, SARS, customs and home affairs, this new department would solely be responsible for clamping down on undocumented travellers entering SA illegally.
Parliament did not approve of this when it was presented to them in 2015, but it may come back under consideration in an attempt to stop the collusion within Home Affairs

Jun 5, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Lengthy visa delays threaten key emerging market

Lengthy visa delays threaten key emerging market
26 May 2017 – Tourism Update
The issuing of tourist visas for Indian national is taking anything up to 20 days, if not longer.
The inability by South Africa’s consular offices to process visa applications from Indian nationals timeously is forcing operators to postpone and rebook travel arrangements, all while pleading with suppliers to keep the original rates in place and not charge cancelation fees.
The Times of India on Thursday reported that a family of five had to cancel flight bookings because visas, applied for four weeks prior, had not been issued on time.
When asked why visas were taking longer to process, Department of Home Affairs Spokesperson, Thabo Mokgola, said all visas that meet the requirements are issued within stipulated time. “Those that take longer to finalise are due to verification of information, outstanding documentation and other factors that impact on finalisation. In the latter instance, applicants are informed accordingly.”
Both Collin Thaver, MD Southern Africa 360 Luxury Holidays and Johan Groenewald, MD of Royal African Discoveries have been affected by the delays.
Thaver says at present visas are taking anything up to 20 days, if not longer, to be issued. “In one instant we are having to postpone and re-postpone holiday arrangements for clients wanting to travel because they have not received their visas.” Groenewald says for the past five years, the Indian market has experienced issues with visas. He adds that while the Department of Home Affairs said it increased staff two years ago, it appears the staffing is still insufficient.
Rebooking to accommodate postponements eats into operators’ tight margins, says Thaver. “With the low margins we make from this market, these undue delays are not cost effective for us to endure administrative hiccups,” he says. “Yet again we are pleading with our suppliers to be flexible with us and not raise cancellation costs when we have to release bookings at the last minute or change travel dates.” He adds that payment delays based on late issuing of visas also puts operators at risk.
The Indian market has been a growth market for South Africa and because Indians travel during their summer, which is South Africa’s winter period, the market presents an opportunity to deal with seasonality, says Groenwald. He adds that both Zimbabwe and Zambia have introduced online visas for this market. He questions why South Africa cannot do the same, given that biometrics are submitted on arrival.

Jun 5, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Renewing general work visas challenging in South Africa

Renewing general work visas challenging in South Africa
29 May 2017 By: Stefanie de Saude
General work visas are proving virtually impossible to renew, since the implementation of the current immigration laws on 26 May 2014, when the Department of Labour took on a more significant role in the process.

Holders of general work visas, the most commonly sought visa for foreign professionals working and living in South Africa are finding it practically impossible to renew their visas.

Applications are regularly rejected for reasons not given or because the Department of Labour has found that issuing the visa could discriminate against South Africans, even in cases where the applicants’ jobs depend on them being fluent in a language not spoken in South Africa.

The Department has added layers of bureaucracy and inconsistency in carrying out directives and applying the law, compounding delays in a process already fraught with hurdles.
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Stefanie de Saude, hears reports almost daily of professionals who have lived and worked legally in South Africa for years, now denied renewed work visas and facing the prospect of losing their homes and jobs and disrupting their families.

The law requires the Department of Labour to assess each application it receives to determine whether it complies with the regulations 18(3) (a) to (e). These regulations require, amongst other things, that a diligent search is carried out for a job candidate in South Africa before a foreign applicant is appointed, and that the skills or experience of a suitable South African is not available in the labour market. Thereafter the Department of Labour will issue a certificate of recommendation to the Department of Home Affairs.

In theory, this should be a relatively simple process taking no more than around 30 days. In practice, however, the assessment runs to site visits, SARS checks and more, and can take in the order of seven months to complete. In many cases, the Department of Labour rejects the application at which point, Home Affairs rejects it too, citing a ‘negative recommendation from the Department of Labour’ without providing adequate reasons for the rejection.
Limited scope to appeal

There is limited scope to appeal when the reason for the application being denied has not been disclosed.

“Indeed, in our work on numerous such applications, we have only twice been told why the certificates were not issued – and in both cases, the Department of Labour had found that the foreign language requirements discriminated against South Africans. Unfortunately, for the employers and applicants concerned, those foreign language skills were vital in order to carry out the work,” explains de Saude.

The gap between theory and practice is confusing for all concerned. In a recent High Court judgment, the applicant in the case applied for a waiver of the need for a Department of Labour certificate. He was rejected, for reasons that we have seen before – in essence, the decision maker reiterated the basis of the requirement of the Department of Labour certificate, without considering whether a waiver from the usual rules was deserved in this case. On review, the judge found that that the decision maker had misapplied his/her mind, and had been needlessly rigid.

Despite this judgement, we still receive waiver refusals for exactly the same reason and the outcome of work visa applications has begun to look like a foregone conclusion – bad news for applicants.
Critical skills also affected

These challenges are also affecting critical skills visas to some degree. Where once, applicants in possession of scarce and critical skills might have been issued with five-year visas, without the need for an employment contract at the time of application, they are now being issued with 12-month visas, bound to particular employers, so undermining the country’s efforts to bring important skills resources into South Africa and support much-needed skills transfer. The list itself lacks clarity and fails to support the intentions of the law. For example, the Department of Home Affairs incorrectly interprets the BPO category as covering only call centres and no other BPO services, therefore any critical skills applicants in this category would have to work in a call centre in order for the visa application to be approved. The emphasis is therefore not on the skill at all but rather the sector.

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