Who is an illegal worker?

An illegal worker is a non-citizen who is working without a valid visa or working in breach of a visa condition. Not everyone who comes to South Africa with a visa has permission to work.
Please access our website www.samigration.com to check whether you qualify for a work visa

Where can I lodge my application?

Different visas have different requirements. Not all offices accept applications for all visas.
Read the visa information for applicants on our website www.samigration.com to find out how to apply, and where you should lodge your visa application.

Oppenheimers’ Fireblade VVIP terminal up and running

20 February 2018, IOL
Pretoria – More than two years after then Minister of Home Affairs and now Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba gave Oppenheimer-owned Fireblade Aviation the go-ahead to operate an international customs and immigration service at OR Tambo International Airport, the first international flights at this terminal were processed last week.
It took Fireblade months of fighting fierce legal battles, despite numerous judgments in its favour, before it could eventually start operating from OR Tambo.
Gauteng High Court, Pretoria Judge Sulet Potterill in October last year gave Fireblade the green light to run the customs and immigration services.
But despite various court applications, mainly brought by the Department of Home Affairs in its attempts to appeal Judge Potterill’s ruling, and undertakings made by it that the company could go ahead with the running of its VVIP centre, Fireblade was still not able to do so until now.
Although the department and Fireblade had reached an agreement that it would be all systems going, the company at the end of December once again had to turn to court for an urgent order allowing it to operate.
The latest reason for the delay was due to technical reasons on the side of home affairs, which said a specific IT system had to be in place before it could render custom services from this terminal.
But the company had now confirmed that it is all systems go.
Fireblade said in a statement that the seven-star facility last week successfully handled international tourists arriving in South Africa. It regarded this as a significant milestone following its uphill battle with government.
Home affairs, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the police were, among others, on site at the Fireblade terminal to provide the required government clearance for the international flights.
The Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) meanwhile said there were several benefits to having fully operational international border control capabilities at Fireblade.
It said the main terminal at OR Tambo will be freed up for additional capacity when commercial business aviation can use the Fireblade terminal.
It will also reduce runway crossings and thus improve safety and reduce departing and arrival times for aircraft.
Judge Potterill last year ruled that Gigaba did give the Oppenheimers, through Fireblade, permission to run the customs and immigration services at the airport.
The Oppenheimers lodged their application after Gigaba denied that he had given them permission in January 2016 to go ahead with their plans.
They argued that Gigaba went back on his word after Denel suddenly cited security concerns over the proposed terminal.
Fireblade argued that the Guptas were behind the backtracking.
Judge Potterill, however, concluded that Gigaba’s approval was “of force and effect and may not be revoked without due cause”.

Gigaba found guilty of lying under oath shortly before delivering budget

The Citizen – 21.2.2018
Scathing findings by a full bench of the high court against the minister are being reviewed by his lawyers.
The High Court in Pretoria handed Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba a bitter blow to his hopes of remaining in office on Friday when it handed down judgment finding that he had lied under oath in his testimony while he was still home affairs minister.
The opposition and civil society have been calling for Gigaba’s removal due to his perceived links to the Gupta family.
The matter before court related to an aviation company, Fireblade, owned by the Oppenheimer family, which had wanted to open a private international terminal at OR Tambo International Airport.
In legal papers released by the Democratic Alliance on Wednesday, Judge Neil Tuchten found that the minister had been deliberate in his untruths. “The minister has committed a breach of the Constitution so serious that I could characterise it as a violation.”
The company had sued Gigaba for allegedly reneging on his pledge to make officials available to them to staff their customs and immigration facility. Gigaba denied that he had approved the terminal, but the court ultimately found against him.
The minister said outside parliament in Cape Town, shortly before delivering the Budget Speech, that he would take the matter on appeal because “at no stage was there an agreement with Fireblade. Legally you cannot have a private terminal for a family.”

It is time to secularise marriage in South Africa

It is time to secularise marriage in South Africa
20 Feb 2018 – Daily Maverick
Every Home Affairs branch in South Africa has the explicit duty to provide the option for same-sex couples to get married or form a civil union, and so each office should be compelled to have at least one marriage officer who is willing to officiate the process. By JAMES LOTTER.
It has been 12 years since “marriage equality” was introduced to South Africa and the subject has once again launched itself into the arena of debate. On 14 November 2006, South Africa became the first country in Africa and fifth in the world to legalise same-sex marriage. It was a highly contested process with many stakeholders resisting the move – this was particularly evident in the religious and traditional segments of South African society. Nonetheless, the Civil Union Act was passed in the National Assembly with 230-41 votes.
The recent Private Members Bill (The Civil Union Amendment Bill) submitted by COPE Member of Parliament, Deidre Carter, aims to repeal section 6 of the Civil Union Act 17 of 2006. This is the provision that allows marriage officers stationed at Home Affairs branches to refuse to constitute a civil union or marriage between persons of the same sex.
As such, an employee of the state can selectively distribute their services to “equal” members of the public where they see fit, under the guise of religion or personal belief. The result of this provision, which was negotiated to appease homophobic religious and traditional stakeholders, is that thousands of same-sex couples face further discrimination and have to travel to different cities, and provinces, to have their civil union or marriage legally ratified. To put this into perspective, almost half (421) of the marriage officers (1,130) in the employment of the state fall under the category of exemption. This has particular implications for same-sex couples residing in rural areas with fewer Home Affairs outlets.
A recent video of SAPS officers harassing two gay men in KwaZulu-Natal further calls into question whether the government is doing enough to ensure that its public servants are sensitive to the diverse nature of South African society.
The proposed amendment to the Civil Union Act is therefore absolutely necessary, for the sake of the LGBTQ community, and for the sake of our state administration which is obliged to fulfil its constitutional mandate.
Imagine a scenario where a marriage officer refuses to solemnise a marriage or civil union on the basis of race, ability or nationality. There would be outrage, and rightfully so. Some of the vilest forms of discrimination have taken place on the basis of “personal belief”. South Africa is a secular state, meaning that there should be a clear boundary (separation) between the state and religion. Our Constitution enshrines tolerance, freedom and human rights, and if a state employee’s beliefs clash with these ideals to the point that they cannot fulfil their duties, they have no place serving in a position that involves the necessity of serving the public without discrimination. Furthermore, what will the (legal) implications be for these public servants when the soon-to-be presented Hate Speech and Hate Crimes Bill comes into effect?
With that said, I am not implying that we should dismiss or even compel marriage officers to constitute same-sex civil unions or marriages. While my personal beliefs may differ, I too am guided by the values enshrined in our Constitution. What I am implying is that under the current legislation, every Home Affairs branch in South Africa has the explicit duty to provide the option for same-sex couples to get married or form a civil union, and so each office should be compelled to have at least one marriage officer who is willing to officiate the process.
The fact that this conversation is taking place once again draws attention to a much deeper issue regarding the secular status of the South African state apparatus. Hierarchies are inherently embedded in the complex interactions between the state and religion (as witnessed when Christian evangelist Angus Buchan recently addressed Parliament). Not only do same-sex couples have to travel to find marriage officers, they also have no option but to get married under the Civil Union Act.
South Africa has three pieces of legislation that govern legally recognised partnerships: the Marriage Act, the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act, and the Civil Union Act. Anyone can choose to get married under the latter, but only the heterosexual privileged can get married under the first two.
The Marriage Act was passed by the white-only Parliament of 1961. Embedded in the language of religious morality, it describes marriage as a partnership between a man and a woman, and not much has changed since its inception. Even to this day, only Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu members of clergy may be appointed marriage officers with the (limited) religious right to solemnise partnerships under the Marriage Act. As such, marriages solemnised under the Marriage Act, including those by the above-mentioned religious entities, are only recognised under certain conditions (e.g. monogamy). Not only does this exclude same-sex couples from equal access, but religious groups that do not fall under the above-mentioned normative prescriptions are also affected, with particular legal implications for partners that do not fall within the parameters of state recognition.
This is not the first time this information has been brought to light. In 2006, the then Independent Democrats (ID), along with various LGBTQ groups, refused to support the Civil Union Act, citing these technicalities as unconstitutional. In 2015 Constitutional Law expert Professor Pierre de Vos further explored this issue in light of County Clerk Kim Davis’ refusal to offer marriage licences to same-sex couples when it was legalised federally in the US (she was arrested for refusing to abide by the Supreme Court order). He wrote an article titled, “Same-sex marriage in South Africa: Separate but unequal” in which he highlighted the notion that this was actually allowed in South Africa while challenging the constitutionality of both the Civil Union Act and its section 6 provision. At the time, only 45% of South Africans supported same-sex marriage.
In 2016, updated poll data was released by the Other Foundation, presenting attitudes towards homosexuality and gender non-conforming individuals in South Africa. The report, titled “Progressive Crudes”, highlights that although members of the LGBTQ community are particularly prone to become victims of violence, attitudes towards equal rights, protection and marriage equality have improved drastically. This shift in public opinion is positive and indicative of a need for reform. The separate-but-(un)equal Civil Union Act has no place in post-apartheid South Africa, and quite frankly it should be deemed unconstitutional.
Political parties should collectively use the opportunity to rectify this issue, and instead of proposing amendments, I would go so far as to say that it is time to repeal the Civil Union Act completely.
Amending the Marriage Act to incorporate a secular framework that accommodates all sexualities, gender identities, religions and traditional customs in line with the Constitution would be the most obvious approach. The time for real Marriage Equality in South Africa has come.

Who can translate my documents into English for me?

Any document in a language other than English must be accompanied by a certified English translation.
A translator in South Africa must be accredited as a Registered Sworn Translator of the High Court of South Africa / The South African Translators’ Institute (SATI) for Translators and Interpreters.
A translator outside South Africa does not need to be accredited, but they must endorse the translation with their full name, address, telephone number, and details of their qualifications and experience in the language being translated.

Motorbike tourism: A growing niche for Southern Africa

9 Feb 2018 – Tourism Update

With the growth in tourists looking for unique and interesting experiences, motorbike tourism is a niche but growing market in Southern Africa, with the potential to grow even further.
Over the past couple of years there has been a growing interest from markets such as China, Australia, America and Canada for on-road motorbike tours through Southern Africa. “There has been an uptake on motorbike tour requests over the past couple of years following the trend of out-of-the-ordinary experiences. Most of the requests for specialised motorbike tours come from markets such as Australia, UK and the USA,” Renier Friis, General Manager: Business Development & Contracting at Tourvest DMC.
Chris Reynolds, Owner of African Iron Horse Tours (AIHT), says he has seen a definite increase in international visitors on the tours his company runs. “We have seen interest from visitors from the UK, America and Canada. The most surprising interest has been from China,” he says.
Michael Oosthuizen, a travel consultant for Motorcycle Tours South Africa, says international tourists make up 90% of their tours, adding: “Our clients are mostly from New Zealand, Australia and the United States.”
The main market is the baby boomer generation, according to Oosthuizen: “Most of our clients are older, 50 years plus.”
Reynolds says the majority of the riders are people who have bikes for recreational purposes and have been riding for many years. “We do get some younger riders, from about 25 to 35 years old, but we mainly have older riders.”
This is often due to the riding experience needed for the longer trips. “As stated earlier, at least a year or two’s riding experience is needed for the longer tours. For the safety of the rider and the rest of the tour group it [long tours] is not recommended for novice riders,” explains Reynolds. “We do offer shorter rides, from a few hours on a breakfast run to a two-day, one-night stay out in the country for novices.”
Motorbike tourism can be a bit tricky. “For longer motorcycle tours it is better to book this with a skilled and knowledgeable travel specialist that can co-ordinate the logistics of bike hire and all the relevant equipment,” says Victoria Rodenacker, Market Manager for Spain, South America, Australia and New Zealand at Tourvest DMC.

Friis says: “It does take tailor making knowledge and skill to put together an entire itinerary around motorbike excursions, therefore it would be recommended that such a tour is booked through a tour operator, as it can get complicated logistically.”
Reynolds says a bike tour is different to most vacations: “Visitors have to take biker culture into consideration – riders must be able to pack everything they need for a seven- or 14-day trip into small bags, and they need to have at least a year or two’s riding experience for the longer tours.” While there are vehicles that follow the tours with spare parts, first-aid kits and extra fuel, there is not a lot of space for extra bags.
There are different ways a motorbike tour can be packaged and marketed, depending on the target market and what they want, says Sethu Komani, Marketing Manager at Tourvest DMC. “Tourvest DMC offers both add-on day tour experiences where guests can enjoy a thrilling afternoon on the back of a chauffeured Harley-Davidson, as well as extensive tailor-made itineraries where enthusiasts can combine their passion for motorbikes with scenic South African landscapes and iconic destinations,” Komani explains.
AIHT does trips throughout South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. “We visit the main place like Cape Town, but we also visit little out-of-the-way towns and stay at boutique hotels,” he says. “We try and make the tours as interesting as possible by teaching our guests about the places we visit, like Kimberley, Lambert’s Bay and so on. It is not just about visiting South Africa, it is about learning about its people and culture,” says Reynolds.
“South Africa is a great destination for motorcycle tours; we have plenty of scenic routes all across the country. The most popular ones being Chapman’s Peak Drive, the Garden Route, Route 62 and the N7 highway that runs along the west coast between Cape Town and Namibia,” concludes Rodenacker.