Durban Home Affairs official jailed for fraud

Updated Aug. 21, 2018, East Coast Radio
A Home Affairs official in Durban has been jailed for fraud and corruption after arranging a fraudulent ID for a Mozambican national.
The Durban Commercial Crime Court’s sentenced 47-year-old Ntombentle Pako to eight years in prison – three of which have been suspended.
The NPA’s Natasha Kara says Pako was contacted by a member of the public and agreed to provide an ID for a Mozambican woman for a fee of R1,000.
The woman raised the alarm when she discovered the ID was not in her name.
Pako and the woman who had initially contacted her were then arrested.
The woman’s since pleaded guilty and turned State witness.
“The accused was an employee at the Department of Home Affairs in Durban. The National Prosecuting Authority in KwaZulu-Natal welcomes the sentence. We hope it will contribute to eradicating the scourge of corruption,” said Kara.

SA super-rich looking for a 2nd citizenship in Europe

Aug 21 2018 – Fin 24
Many South African high net-worth individuals (basically the super-rich) are not always looking to relocate to another country, but rather to invest in a “Plan B”.
This is according to Amanda Smit of Henley & Partners, a global citizenship and residence advisory firm. She responded to some questions from Fin24 on the matter. It turns out super rich South Africans recognise that dual citizenship or residency provides more benefits and privileges for them and their families, including the ease of travel, security for the future and the expansion of business and banking opportunities.
There is a very high demand for European residency programmes, for instance Portuguese and Spanish ones and for citizenship programmes in Malta and Cyprus, according to Henley & Partners.
Most of South African clients of Henley & Partners are usually male, even though the firm has had a growing number of female individuals also applying for these programmes in the last couple of years.
“Our programmes are quite popular amongst parents wanting to give their children the best education in the world and also to ease of travel requirements,” Smit said.
Most of its South African customers choose to get their second citizenship in Malta. With this programme they get the right to live, work and study in any of the 28 European Union countries and Switzerland. They can then also travel visa-free to 182 countries, including the European Union (EU) and Canada.
Major industries in Malta include high-tech manufacturing, food and beverages, tourism and international financial services. For entrepreneurs Malta has strengths such as its strategic location, excellent international trade relations and a highly qualified English-speaking workforce.
Cyprus is another popular option. It was ranked number 53 out of 190 countries on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index 2018.
The benefits of the Cyprus Investment Programme are access to the EU, the right to live, work and study in all 28 EU countries, visa-free travel to 171 countries around the world and qualify by acquiring assets in Cyprus, with no requirement to donate your wealth.
Another second citizen option is Moldova. Launched in the second half of 2018, the Moldova Citizenship-by-Investment (MCBI) programme is being developed by the government of Moldova in partnership with Henley & Partners and the Moldovan Investment Company.
The programme offers visa-free access to 121 destinations around the world, including Russia, Turkey and the countries in Europe’s Schengen Area. Dependent children up to 29 years of age and parents – of either the main applicant or the spouse – from 55 years of age can be included and the citizenship is transferable to future generations without restrictions
According to Smit, there was a 229% increase in the number of applications during 2018 compared to 2017. Each applicant has an average of one to three dependents.
About 45% of the applicants are self-employed, 45% employed and 10% non-economically active. Most (70%) are between 45 and 64 years old. Most applicants are from Gauteng (38%), followed closely by the Western Cape (37%).

‘Its high time churches moved forward on same-sex couples’

20 August 2018 – Radio 702
Home Affairs officials may soon be obliged to marry same-sex couples.
This comes after the Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs gave their support for the Civil Union Bill amendment.
It amends Section 6 of the bill to ensure that marriage officers would not have the option of refusing to marry same-sex couples.
Meanwhile, the North Gauteng High court will on Tuesday make a decision on whether or not the Dutch Reformed Church can renege on their decision to marry same-sex couples.
People are people and we have a variety of people in this country.
— Reverend Laurie Gaum Dominee at Dutch Reformed Church
Peoples sexual orientation obviously differs that the way of being made in the image of God. Diversity has been created.
— Reverend Laurie Gaum Dominee at Dutch Reformed Church
I think its high time the churches move forward on this matter. We have deliberated for a whole decade and now people should now educate themselves thoroughly. The science is out there and the truth has been established about this.
— Reverend Laurie Gaum Dominee at Dutch Reformed Church
People should read the bible more responsibly to include people rather than to exclude people and cause greater harm in the process.
— Reverend Laurie Gaum Dominee at Dutch Reformed Church

Medical Visas for Batswana patients going to SA

16 August 2018 – Mmpegi Online
The Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs advises nationals travelling to South Africa for medical purposes to always obtain Medical Visas before leaving the country.

In an interview with Mmegi, the ministry’s permanent secretary Dr Temba Mmusi said SA, which is a sovereign state, took the decision and the basis for the decision was not known.
He stated that in the past, Batswana travelling to South Africa seeking medical attention were not being expected to obtain Medical Visas.
“The challenges that the two countries encountered due of lack of Visa application by Batswana who seek medical attention in SA without Visas are unauthosired stay in RSA medical facilities which is against international laws and may sour diplomatic relation between Botswana and
RSA together the two countries and Batswana being declared unwelcome in RSA which means that they will not be able to travel to RSA to visit, receive service or do business,” he said.
Mmusi therefore advised Botswana citizens going to RSA for medical reasons to apply for medical permits. He highlighted that the application could be obtained through the South African High Commission in Gaborone.
“Proper arrangements should be made with the SA High Commission offices before departure. Batswana are urged to take heed of this advice to avoid any inconvenience,” he added.

South Africa: Zimbabweans in Despondent Wait for New SA Permits

CAJ News – 17 August 2018
Johannesburg — THE euphoria that greeted the announcement by South Africa regarding the extension of permits for thousands of Zimbabweans has turned into despair for scores of the migrants who are yet to receive their documents, almost a year after the process began.
The uncertainty comes amid a lack of clarity after the exercise, which was initially anticipated to be concluded in a matter of weeks, has dragged on for 11 months.
While some of the estimated 200 000 applicants in the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) have received their permits, the wait continues for a majority who are yet to get the much-needed document to enable them to work, study or run businesses in the neighbouring country.
“This year has been a horrible one without my permit as I have lost my job at a private firm as management say I am in the country illegally,” said an applicant who declined to be named, fearing this could jeopardize his prospects of getting a new permit.
“It has been a long and frustrating wait for the document. I applied last October but there has been no progress at all. This worsens the stress from the loss of my job,” he added.
Human rights advocates this week told CAJ News Africa how some applicants had lost their jobs and bank accounts in the wake of their failure by authorities to regularise their stay in South Africa.
“The atmosphere among applicants is now one of despondency and desperation, especially as some of them are now being fired from work. Others are also having their bank accounts frozen,” said Advocate Gabriel Shumba of the High Court of South Africa.
“However, we are not aware what the reason for the delay is. Home Affairs has of late not been directly engaging with stakeholders, which poses serious problems of communication,” Shumba continued.
He added: “We have sought engagement with the Department (Home Affairs) over this and await their response. That notwithstanding, we have also raised these concerns in writing and they were sent directly to the Minister and Director General.”
Malusi Gigaba is the minister while Thulani Mavuso is the Acting Director General following the recent resignation of Mkhuseli Apleni from the unstable department.
Three ministers have been at the helm of the department since the ZEP exercise resumed last September.
Hlengiwe Mkhize, who had earlier succeeded Gigaba, was minister when the announcement of ZEP was made. Ayanda Dlodlo succeeded her last October but President Cyril Ramaphosa re-deployed her in February, paving way for the return of Gigaba.
It is believed the chopping and changing of personnel has impacted on the conclusion of the exercise.
“We are worried about the delays in issuing out ZEP to applicants,” said Ngqabutho Mabhena, Chairman of the Zimbabwean Community in South Africa.
“We were told that the process takes about eight weeks now it has taken almost eight months (Ed’s Note: eleven months). We have engaged the manager of ZEP, who keeps on saying its work in progress,” Mabhena added.
Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) Global, the outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions, manages the ZEP applications.
The company said it would be unable to comment on enquiries by this publication as the Department of Home Affairs “cannot guarantee the outcome or the length of time an application takes to process.”
“Neither can it guarantee the return of decision within a certain timeframe,” VFS Global stated.
The company, which accepted ZEP applications at ten offices around South Africa, said this was due to the fact that applications were assessed individually and “individual circumstances” could mean processing times might vary and result in longer decision times.
“Therefore you are requested to wait until a decision on the application is taken since VFS Global does not have any control over the processing time,” a spokesperson stated.
Thabo Mokgola, the Home Affairs spokesperson, contacted for comment, said, “Kindly note that the Department will be convening a media briefing to provide a detailed update on the ZEP process.”
ZEP was put in place of the Zimbabwean Special Permit (ZSP), which started in 2014.
Applications for the new permit were accepted until February. The permit is issued for a maximum period of four years, effective from January 1, 2018 and expiring on December 31, 2021, notwithstanding the date of application.
South Africa first issued special permits for Zimbabweans in 2010 under the Dispensation for Zimbabweans Project (DZP), which saw about 245 000 nationals secure the permits.

Gigaba hosts naturalisation ceremony, over 200 receive citizenship

17 August 2018, IOL
Johannesburg – Around 278 foreign nationals from around the world are currently receiving their South African naturalisation certificates from Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba at a naturalisation ceremony in Durban.
Gigaba says that the department had decided in 2016 to conduct naturalisation ceremonies to officially induct naturalised South African citizens into the country.
“From today onwards, you too are part of the rich history of our country and the rich tapestry of what constitutes our nation.
“Over many years of its existence our country has continued to evolve to accommodate in its rich fabric ever newer elements of people all whom, individual and collectively, enrich our understanding of who we are as well our standing in the world,” Gigaba says.
He said that the department did not treat the issue of South African citizenship as a routine administrative matter hence they undertook the decision to conduct the ceremony in a formal induction process.
“You bring into our society not only the learned experiences of your countries of origin, but also the rich diversity that helps enrich who we are and makes us better people ready for future challenges in a highly complex and diverse, but very integrated and globalised world,” says Gigaba.
Amongst those who received naturalisation certificates, were siblings Aldona Tommy, 19, and Akhil Tommy, 22, who respectively flew from Pretoria and Port Elizabeth to attend the ceremony.
“I was born in India in 1999 and came to South Africa after my birth, but my parents moved to South Africa in 1993,” Aldona, a second-year Medical student at the University of Pretoria says.
She said that although she was happy to finally receive her naturalisation certificate, having applied for citizenship in 2016, it did not feel any different because she has lived in the country her whole life.
“South Africa has felt like home for as long as I can remember,” she says

Calls mount for reopening of refugee reception office in Cape Town

Calls mount for reopening of refugee reception office in Cape Town
16 August 2018, – IOL
Cape Town – The University of Cape Town’s Refugee Rights Unit has called on the Department of Home Affairs to re-open its Refugee Reception Offices for first-time asylum applications.
The unit appeared before Parliament’s portfolio committee on home affairs, where it made a submission on the proposed amendments to the Immigration Bill.
Attorney at the Refugee Rights Unit at the University of Cape Town Popo Mfubu said the re-opening of the Cape Town Refugee Reception Office (CTRRO) for new asylum applications, would assist with the backlog of asylum applications.
“The things we want changed with the system include opening of refugee offices, we don’t want undocumented people. People also don’t want to undocumented, it is not enjoyable to be detained,” he added.
Home Affairs disregarded a court order last year, instructing it to re-open its refugee reception office in Cape Town by 31 March 2018.
The country has five Refugee Reception Offices, however, the department suspended the services to first-time applicants in two of these offices.
The office building is open for renewal permits for asylum seekers who registered at the Cape Town office prior to its closure in June 2012.
Mfubu charged that the suspension of services of the offices in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth have added pressure on the remaining offices that still assist first applicant asylum seekers.
He said officials who assist refugees must also apply legislation in the correct manner to ensure that the backlog for undocumented immigrants is resolved.
“We are currently doing a case now where we are challenging the manner in which the Cape Town refugee office documents dependents of refugees. There are many undocumented children because Home Affairs is just not joining them to their parent’s files. They have created an administrative barrier for them to be able to make those kind of applications.
“Our refugee system is amazing, the framework is amazing. It is just the application that is a problem,” said Mfubu.
The portfolio committee chairperson Hlomane Chauke said he was concerned there was “no relationship between the organisation and Home Affairs”. He said the committee would discuss the matters raised by the organisation with the department.