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14. Mar. 2023 News24

Home Affairs Department said it is reviewing their options relating to the 22 Afghan nationals seeking asylum


The Home Affairs Department said it has asked for a legal opinion regarding the matter involving 22 Afghan nationals who were dumped in the country without being vetted.
`We are reviewing our options and have asked for a legal opinion in this regard,` said Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s spokesperson, Siya Qoza.
South Africans expressed concern over a security rush associated with the 22 Afghan nationals who are in the country; some even suspected that they might attack citizens.
Last week, the Pretoria High Court ruled in favour of the 22 Afghan nationals who are believed to be running from the `Taliban` and who wanted asylum in the country.
This was after the US NGO Lifeline Foundation took the department to court after the applicants were refused entry.
According to the website, the Lifeline Foundation is an expeditionary-focused, 501(c)(3) non-profit organisation providing humanitarian support, security, and logistics to rebuild communities around the world. It was established in 2021.
Last month, Motsoaledi said the department was challenging the court order because the asylum seekers could pose a risk to the country.
The department said on February 15, 2023, they received a letter from a firm of attorneys representing unnamed Afghan nationals demanding that asylum transit visas be issued to those unnamed individuals at Beitbridge Port of Entry.
When asked if he will challenge the ruling, Motsoaledi said they are going to hear what the lawyers tell them.
`By the way we have challenged it, they were supposed to arrive here on February 17 because we received that letter on the 15th and we challenged it in court. And after that, when it went to court for the second time, the judge said that you must allow them in to apply. So we will look into which areas, depending on what the lawyers advise us to do,` Motsoaledi said.
Motsoaledi said he was disappointed with the ruling, citing that no one goes to court not hoping to win.
After the ruling, the department said it would abide by the ruling, but Motsoaledi, in an interview with one of the broadcasters, said they are reviewing the decision because a number of colleagues in government are not convinced that the country should take it. He said they also looked at the implications to see whether this was going to open floodgates.
`So we are looking into an issue, including asking for legal advice from outside the department, outside the government,` he said.
He said they will abide because the court said they must allow the 22 individuals to come to the country to apply for asylum.
When asked about the whereabouts of the 22 individuals, Motsoaledi said the last time he checked, they were in Zambia.
`The last time we learned, they were in Zambia, and we believe that they are still there. Remember that in Zimbabwe, they entered as visitors who said they were on vacation. That`s what the Zimbabwean government informs us. We were given 30 days, and they were expiring. That is why they had to leave Zimbabwe, but we understand that they applied for the same visitor`s visa to Zambia, and they`re still there. I don`t know how long I heard the rumour that it was going to be for 25 days. I don`t know when it will expire. But they are still there,` Motsoaledi said.
Explaining the asylum process, Motsoaledi said the system says once one goes through the borders having been given the Section 23 permit, that means, in terms of Section 23 of the Immigration Act, you are given five days to represent yourself at the nearest refugee reception centre,
He said the country has five centres, one in Limpopo, two in Tshwane, Gauteng, one in Cape Town, one in the Eastern Cape, and one in KwaZulu-Natal.
He said they will find a kiosk at a refugee reception centre where people can just go and do renewals.
`Then during that process, a person called a refugee status determination officer will be interviewing you to see whether you qualify for refugee status in terms of the United Nations Convention 1951 and the United Nations Protocol of 1967 and the EU, now called the European Convention of 1969, and the domestication of all those laws, the domestication into the Refugee Act of South Africa of 1998,` said Motsoaledi.
ATM President Vuyo Zungula said the issue is our Constitution.
`People drafted the Constitution in the mid-1990s because they wanted to be the complete opposite of what happened during apartheid. Then this is abused by foreign nationals and other foreign bodies that want to achieve certain objectives in South Africa,` Zungula said.
According to media reports, these 22 individuals were willing to provide medical assistance at the Cape Flats in the Western Cape, a place known for violent crimes and gang-related incidents.
Motsoaledi said that is an insult to the medical fraternity.
`How does a person say, I’m coming to apply for asylum, and you must give it to me; after all, I’m going to help you, and I even know the area where I’m going to help you. Surely if we have a shortage of medical personnel, we are the ones, as a sovereign state, who must say so and even show you the area where you must go. They did not even mention what kind of medical qualifications they have,` Motsoaledi said.
He revealed that they have the passengers` manifest.
`But what we know about them is that the Americans themselves say these are the people who were helping the Americans during the time when Americans were in Afghanistan,` he said.
He said they are suspicious of the individuals and what is going on.
`We are still very suspicious about what is going on. In court, the explanation was that the people moved from Afghanistan to Pakistan and the Taliban followed them there. And then they went to Qatar. And they claim that Qatar sent them away. Then they went to Zimbabwe and never said they were being sent away; we are asking for asylum or protection. They said they were on vacation. Now they are in Zambia for a vacation. Why is it that out of all those countries, only South Africa has been targeted for this?` said Motsoaledi.
An activist known as `Sentletse` on Twitter asked DIRCO spokesperson, Clayson Monyela, if the country had any security background information on the 22 Afghan nationals.
`Nothing! They`re not vetted (their background and agenda are unknown). They arrived at Beitbridge, accompanied by some American citizens. Lawyers had already written to Home Affairs (reportedly briefed by an American-based NGO). We need to urgently review and tighten our immigration laws,` replied Monyela.
www.samigration.com



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21. Jun. 2024 Business Tech

Big loss for Home Affairs in South Africa

The Department of Home Affairs has lost its legal battle over Zimbabwean Exemption Permits (ZEPs). The Helen Suzman Foundation and the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA) previously took the Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi to court over his termination of the ZEP under the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, 2000 (PAJA). V.5436

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21. Jun. 2024 Business Day

The real culprit behind SA’s immigration woes

Proposed changes to the Citizenship Act fail to deal with the most serious problem: the department of home affairs The final white paper released recently by the home affairs ministry has brought SA’s immigration landscape into sharp focus. While it highlights several areas of concern within the present immigration framework, it fails to address the deeper issue at hand: the department of home affairs itself. V.5437

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21. Jun. 2024 The Citizen

Woman still fighting Home Affairs for ID 10 years later

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21. Jun. 2024 MoonStone

SCA overturns precedent-setting cyber-crime judgment

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has set aside a judgment that opened the door to liability claims against businesses that send their banking details in an unsecured manner to a debtor who falls victim to cyber-crime. In January last year, the High Court in Johannesburg ordered law firm Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs (ENS) to pay Judith Hawarden R5.5 million, plus interest and costs. Hawarden lost the money in August 2019 when she transferred the balance owed on a R6m property purchase. Hawarden thought she was paying the money into ENS’s account, but a cyber-criminal had accessed her email account. V.5440

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21. Jun. 2024 Tourism Update

Onerous visa regs threaten SA’s headquarter ambitions

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19. Jun. 2024 Business Day

There is a palpable change at home affairs department

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19. Jun. 2024 BBC

Biden to give legal status to 500,000 undocumented spouses

President Joe Biden has announced a new policy that would protect hundreds of thousands of undocumented spouses of US citizens from deportation, according to administration officials. The issue of immigration has proven an election-year headache for Mr Biden, who recently issued a sweeping executive action to curb record migrant arrivals at the US-Mexico border. The new policy will apply to those who have been in the country for at least 10 years and will allow them to work in the US legally. The White House believes more than 500,000 spouses will be eligible. Speaking at an event at the White House on Tuesday, Mr Biden said the move would help the US immigration system become less `unfair` and `unjust` for the benefit of immigrants, married couples - and all Americans. V.5433

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19. Jun. 2024 News24

Constitutional Court dismisses application for leave to appeal Zimbabwe permit decision

he Constitutional Court dismissed an application by the home affairs minister for leave to appeal a June 2023 Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruling that the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) programme had been unlawfully terminated. The court ordered the minister to meaningfully consult with the 178 000 affected permit holders, according to GroundUp. The matter was brought to court by the Helen Suzman Foundation, which argued that the minister had not taken into account the profound impact of the termination of the ZEP programme on those who had been living and working in South Africa, legally, for more than a decade. V.5434

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18. Jun. 2024 Enca

GNU | PA wants either Home Affairs or Police Ministry

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18. Jun. 2024 Travel Channel

Schengen-Style Visas For Asia & Africa? Exploring A New Era Of Multi-Country Travel

Will the proposed Schengen-style multi-country unified visa system ease travel across Southeast Asia, the Middle East and southern Africa? Visa applications can be time-consuming, with embassies evaluating documents, biometrics, and travel history. The US and Schengen visas have gained a global reputation for their thorough and extensive processes. However, in the wake of the pandemic, there has been a global surge in tourism and many countries are seeking to streamline visa processes to boost tourism and the local economies. Visas are being reimagined through new schemes and policies, with many nations bringing in the Schengen-style unified multi-country visa. V.5430

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18. Jun. 2024 The South African

Zimbabwe consulate in South Africa rolls out e-passports

Zimbabwe’s consulate in South Africa has announced that it will start rolling out an e-passport facility, starting on Tuesday. Consul-General Eria Phiri explained in a public notice that the first phase involved training consulate staff. This concluded on 15 June, and will now be followed by a system test run from June 18 to 21. South Africa is home to over one million Zimbabwean nationals. This is according to the country’s census data and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). The IOM also notes that many have entered South Africa without proper documentation. Zimbabweans have left their home country en masse to escape a political crisis, harsh economic conditions and chronic underdevelopment. V.5431

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13. Jun. 2024 IOL

Namibia demands reciprocal visas for their nationals

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11. Jun. 2024 IOL

Border management dispels rumours claiming that there are flight delays at OR Tambo Airport

The Border Management Authority (BMA) has dismissed reports claiming that a transition to a biometric system at OR Tambo International Airport is causing delays for all international departures and arrivals. Commissioner at BMA, Dr Michael Masiapato said the false reports have caused unnecessary concern among travellers and stakeholders. V.5427

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10. Jun. 2024 Times Lives

Home affairs grapples with authenticity of relationships

The department needs to establish authenticity before granting spousal or relative visas A major headache for the department of home affairs in processing temporary residence visas is having to establish the authenticity of relationships claimed between individuals. V.5421

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10. Jun. 2024 Visa News

5 South African Countries Announce Plans to Introduce Single Visa to Promote Tourism

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10. Jun. 2024 The South African

There’s a huge VISA backlog at home affairs that’s stifling SA

It’s ironic that with so many South Africans trying to leave the country, it’s a visa backlog for people trying to get INTO the country that’s stifling economic growth. According to a report from Business Tech, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has a visa backlog of 62 000 applications. These are for people and workers trying to get into the country to fill critical skills shortages. Now, visa agent Xpat, says the DHA are rejecting applications out of hand to simply try clear the huge visa backlog. The agent specialises in work permits for people coming to South Africa. It says individuals, HR professionals and businesses face lengthy delays and a needlessly complex application process WHAT’S THE REASON FOR THE VISA BACKLOG? Since COVID, there have been a number of changes to rectify problems within the DHA. And Xpatweb believes these administrative processes have led to mounting rejections for frivolous reasons. V.5423

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10. Jun. 2024 News24

`Habibi, come to South Africa!`: Dubai Bling`s Ebraheem confirms Forever Rose coming to SA

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10. Jun. 2024 The Guardian

High court rules Home Office acted unlawfully over visa documents

Home Office failed to provide digital proof of status to those applying for visa extensions, in new Windrush-style scandal The Home Office is facing a new Windrush-style scandal after a landmark high court ruling found that the home secretary acted unlawfully by failing to provide documents to thousands of migrants proving they are here legally. The charity Ramfel brought the legal challenge along with Cecilia Adjei, a healthcare worker and mother of two boys aged 17 and 11, who came to Britain from Ghana in 2000. V.5425

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10. Jun. 2024 City Press

SA`s population is getting older: `New report offers government blueprint for future planning`

Expert says the new report gives government an opportunity to plan ahead to meet the country’s needs. The South African population has grown by 1.1% in the past year to about 63.1 million. Of this number, 51.6 million are black Africans, followed by coloured people and the white population projected at about 5 175 608 and 4 607 554, respectively. People of Indian and Asian origin are estimated to be at 1.7 million. V.5426

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07. Jun. 2024 BusinessTech

South Africa scores massive own-goal

Woes within South Africa’s visa processes have left businesses and skilled workers in limbo, hurting investment and business activity as a result. Recently, French diplomats warned that South Africa’s strict visa requirements are driving investors away. In addition to this, Western Cape Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger, said that a key obstacle attracting investment and expanding business is “the broken South African visa regime.” “To facilitate foreign investment, companies need to be able to easily access South Africa and those who apply for critical skills visas typically help to develop new and existing sectors, in line with international best practice or by helping to new industries through skills development,” said Wegner. Companies aiming to operate in the country must invest a minimum of R5 million and ensure at least 60% of their employees are South African. V.5419

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Articles

21. Jun. 2024 Business Tech

Big loss for Home Affairs in South Africa

The Department of Home Affairs has lost its legal battle over Zimbabwean Exemption Permits (ZEPs). The Helen Suzman Foundation and the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA) previously took the Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi to court over his termination of the ZEP under the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, 2000 (PAJA). V.5436

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