Jun 20, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

New Home Affairs says Gigaba granted Gupta’s citizenship lawfully

New Home Affairs says Gigaba granted Gupta’s citizenship lawfully
Destiny Reporter June 15, 2017
Former Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba did nothing wrong in granting the Gupta family South African citizenship, his successor Hlengiwe Mkhize said on Wednesday
“I have looked at all the documentation and I thought [that] if I was in a similar position I would have considered the request in a favourable manner,” Mkhize said, adding that there was therefore no reason to investigate the matter further.
The EFF released two letters on Monday which it claimed proved that Gigaba – now Finance Minister – granted the Gupta family’s citizenship irregularly.
The first letter, signed by a Home Affairs official in January 2015, states that the family’s application had been rejected as they have not complied with the law. It states that they could apply again in December of that year, provided they had not spent more than 90 days a year outside the country in the past five years.
However, Gigaba wrote to the family in May, approving their citizenship.
Mkhize insists that Gigaba followed the letter of the law. She said that in her three months in office she had received numerous complaints from applicants. Front-line officials were to blame and needed training as they had to implement complex legislation and policies, she said.
The Gupta family qualified for citizenship as they had lived in South Africa for more than five years and government gave priority for naturalisation to investors and those bringing in skills.
She said the official only rejected their application because they had left the country on business. As a minister she would have looked at this and used her discretion to help.
“I don’t think, in all fairness, we can start questioning, unless we amend the legislation and say people should not appeal to ministers,” Mkhize said.
The EFF said it would go to court to challenge the decision to grant the family citizenship.
Mkhize said calls to have their citizenship reviewed, following revelations in the emails leaked from the family, would have to consider the law.
The emails reveal that the family allegedly interfered with the running of government and state-owned enterprises.
“If we were to make a decision you have to be legal, have the facts, interpret those and apply relevant sections of policies and legislation,” she said.
–News24Wire

Jun 20, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

South Africa: Refugees Struggle to Renew Papers At Home Affairs

South Africa: Refugees Struggle to Renew Papers At Home Affairs
GroundUp (Cape Town) – 15 June 2017

Asylum seekers from Somalia face unexplained delays and shabby treatment at the foreshore office
A number of refugees from Somalia say they keep getting turned away at the Customs House foreshore offices of Home Affairs when trying to renew their documents. This after they had travelled all the way from Pretoria, since Home Affairs only allows people to renew their documents at the place they first applied for refugee status in South Africa.
Last week, GroundUp met Abdullahi Mumin and a group of Somalis outside the Home Affairs offices. Mumin received refugee status in 2007 and renews every four years. He said this time it was their fourth visit in a month, trying to renew his documents. He had been to the offices on 1 May, told to return on 25 May, which he did, only to be told to return on 1 June, only to be told yet again to return on 9 June. On 9 June, he was told to return on 13 June. Each time officials would scribble the return date on the permit. Mumin now plans to engage a lawyer.
Mumin has a shop to run in Pretoria and the trips to Cape Town cost him business. He said he couldn’t go back without valid documents, because in Pretoria police demanded bribes. His refugee status expired on 31 April.
“If I refuse to pay, they would keep me in a [police] cell for more than three days just to spite me,” he said.
Home Affairs offices open at 8am, but refugees and asylum seekers have learned to start queuing at 6am if they hope to be helped. There are queues for asylum seekers documents renewal, refugees status documents renewal, ID and passport applications. Typically, foreign nationals seeking to renew their papers are required to wait outside. Between 8 and 8:30am, an official collects their papers and takes the paperwork inside. During the course of the day, usually after 2pm, someone from Home Affairs will emerge and call the person. They then find out what the outcome of their application is. Parents or guardians have to bring their minor children as their documents cannot be renewed in their absence. Sometimes women form their own queue, and sometimes they are served first.

Jun 20, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Home Affairs Dept ordered to appear in Parly over Guptas’ SA citizenship

Home Affairs Dept ordered to appear in Parly over Guptas’ SA citizenship
17 June 2017 – ENCA
JOHANNESBURG – Parliament’s portfolio committee on home affairs has ordered the Home Affairs Department to appear before it and provide details around the naturalisation of the Gupta family.
Home Affairs officials will appear before the committee on Tuesday following Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema’s release of a letter from the department, turning down the Gupta’s request for citizenship.
Another letter Malema released came from Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, who was previously home affairs minister, waiving the residential requirements for citizenship.

The chairperson of the portfolio Lemias Mashile says they want details from the department about the EFF’s claims.
“We have requested the department to come and brief us on what happened. We want to know what the department knows so that we can understand the background on this matter.”

Mashile says the department is expected to explain as to how the Gupta family’s application got in to the hands of the minister.
“We will only have details after Tuesday on what they have in their records. Remember the minister doesn’t receive papers, someone has to take it to him. We want to know what convinced the minister to sign or not to sign.”

Jun 20, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Home Affairs makes U-turn on disciplinary action against workers

Home Affairs makes U-turn on disciplinary action against workers
17 June 2017 – ECN
Home Affairs agreed to enter negotiation with unions after the Bargaining Council’s conciliation hearing on Thursday.
without paying them overtime.
Workers told the department that the order meant that they would have to use extra money for transport to work and that this warranted remuneration.
Home Affairs agreed to enter negotiation with unions after the Bargaining Council’s conciliation hearing on Thursday.
The department’s Nkidi Mohoboko announced on Saturday that it would review its disciplinary plans for staff.
Numsa’s Daniel Mthethi says they will ensure the department keeps its word.
“Those charges must be withdrawn and we’ll make sure those charges are dropped.”
Trade unions and the department will meet on Monday to discuss an amicable strategy concerning Saturday shifts.
Mohoboko says they’re open to negotiating on the matter.
“We will negotiate in a way that satisfies both the employer and employees.”
The department and trade unions have just under six days to come to an agreement concerning their Saturday shifts for staff.
The Public Service Association’s Ivan Fredericks says their mandate is to ensure their members get what they deserve.
“We will ensure there is security measures so that people feel safe in their working environment.”
Unions have subsequently called off the nationwide strike that was planned for Monday.

Jun 20, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

SA and UNHCR to mark World Refugees Day with tolerance exercises

SA and UNHCR to mark World Refugees Day with tolerance exercises
Jun 16, 2017 – News Ghana
The Department of Home Affairs and United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNHCR) have announced that they will jointly commemorate World Refugee Day in eThekwini Municipality to promote social cohesion, tolerance and peaceful co-existence among refugees, asylum-seekers and host communities.
World Refugee Day celebrations kick-off with build-up events on Sunday 18 June at Inanda J.L. Dube Stadium with Fun Run/Walk as well as friendly football matches involving refugees, asylum-seekers and the local community.
On Tuesday 20 June at Play House Company, the Department of Home Affairs and UNHCR will organise structured community dialogues between refugees and the host community aiming at increasing knowledge on the rights and responsibilities of refugees, promote better understanding, social tolerance and mutual trust as well as respect for cultural diversity. Community discussions are followed by cultural entertainment as well as World Refugee Day remarks by refugees, provincial authorities, UNHCR and the Department of Home Affairs.

Jun 13, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Gigaba pushed through Guptas’ SA citizenship – EFF

Gigaba pushed through Guptas’ SA citizenship – EFF
2017-06-12 – News 24
Cape Town – The EFF says it has received reliable information that whilst Malusi Gigaba was minister of home affairs, he unduly granted the Gupta family South African citizenship.
In a letter dated 2015-01-22, Mr GG Hlatshwayo, on behalf of the Director General, “correctly denied” the Guptas South African citizenship stating that they “did not comply with the requirement in terms of section 5(1)(b) of the South African Act 2010″, the EFF said in a statement on Monday.
Hlatshwayo indicated that the Guptas “did not have five years of physical residence in the Republic of South Africa”, the statement says.
The application for naturalisation was therefore unsuccessful and the Guptas were advised to make another attempt on December 23, 2015, “provided [they] do not exceed 90 days outside South Africa for every year in the five years preceding [their] new application and comply with requirements as prescribed in Citizenship Act, Act 17 of 2010 as amended”.
A few months later, Gigaba, in a letter dated 2015-05-30, wrote to the Guptas, granting them, what he terms, “early naturalisation”.
Gigaba states that “after careful consideration of the matter, I have decided by the powers vested in me under section 5(9)(a) of the South African Citizenship Amendment Act, 2010 (Act no 17 of 2010), to wave the residential requirements in regards to your application for naturalisation and grant you early naturalisation”.
The EFF is taking the matter to court.
Department of Home Affairs spokesperson David Hlabane said the department would have to check on the claim before commenting.
”We need to go back to our files with our team to check and verify the information that you require, and then we will be able to respond.”

Jun 13, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

#GuptaLeaks: Delhi Daredevils staff member contacted Guptas for SA visa assistance

#GuptaLeaks: Delhi Daredevils staff member contacted Guptas for SA visa assistance
2017-06-12 – Daily Maverick and News24
Leaked emails show that a visa application for somebody connected to the Delhi Daredevils cricket team was expedited when the side made it to the semi-finals of the Champions League T20 tournament in South Africa in 2012. But only after he had contacted Ajay Gupta directly
Much has been written about Malusi Gigaba’s time as home affairs minister. Particularly, how a senior Gupta employee, Ashu Chawla, repeatedly asked officials to fast-track visas to benefit Gupta businesses. Now, further leaks show that these officials were pulling favours, even before he took up the post.
The Gupta family’s love for cricket is well known. Their company Sahara had key sponsorships at a number of South Africa’s most loved cricket grounds. More details of their relationships with cricket officials will be revealed at a later stage.
But this particular incident is about more than cricket. It once again asks serious questions about the influence the family has been able to wield at a number of South Africa’s government institutions – and under whose watch it happened.
This story is about a senior official with an Indian Premier League (IPL) team who contacted Ajay Gupta directly when South Africa hosted the now defunct Champions League T20 in 2012.
The tournament, that shifted from India to South Africa, took place in May that year and the qualified teams knew months beforehand that they would need to follow due process. Yet, it appears a gentleman by the name of Amrit Mathur, using a private email with a Delhi Daredevils signature, saw no need for such protocol – having friends in high places.
The only Amrit Mathur linked to the Delhi team is the COO. On October 17, 2012, seven days before the Delhi Daredevils were due to play the Highveld Lions in the semi-finals of the tournament, he sent an email to Ajay saying: “Need your help to get a visa quickly for SA for the CLT 20. Can I get in touch with some official in the High Commission in Delhi ?” [sic]
‘Appreciate your help to expedite grant of visa’
The next day, Mathur also emailed Ronica Ragavan, who at the time was Oakbay’s financial director, saying: “Appreciate your help to expedite grant of visa.”
He adds: “I would ideally like to travel to South Africa night of Saturday 20th October. Let me know the way forward, specially if I have to contact someone in Delhi after you have put in a word. [sic]”
Chawla requested a few documents, and within a couple of days, Mathur’s visa was granted, with a note that it was ready for collection from “security at embassy not VFS”. VFS is the intermediary for visa applications.
After his return from the tournament, Mathur again emailed Ajay, thanking him for his assistance.
It is not clear from the email correspondence how the two know each other. However, the family did play a key role in bringing the IPL to South Africa in 2009. It seems Mathur knew that the Guptas had friends in high places.
These timelines paint a curious picture. The request was made just a few weeks after Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma abandoned her post as minister of home affairs to take up the African Union job. Naledi Pandor was running the department at the time.
Scorpio contacted both Mathur and Gupta spokesperson Gary Nadioo to request comment. Neither responded.