Category Archives: Home Affairs

Department of Home Affairs

Home Affairs expresses condolences on death of a cancer patient at Barrack Office in Cape Town

The Department of Home Affairs has today expressed its heartfelt condolences to the family of a cancer patient who died at the Barrack Office in Cape Town. The 45 year old man was brought to the office by members of his family, to help him get an ID as he was very sick.

On arrival, the family was assisted immediately from the vehicle by the office supervisor who had gone out of the office for a routine check, which is part of the campaign against long queues that the department recently launched.

With the help of the supervisor, the client was helped to alight from the vehicle and was taken straight into the office, to fulfill his request for an ID. He did not have to wait in a queue. The man was issued first with a temporary ID so he could apply for a smart ID card, which process he had started when he gave his last breath in the photo booth.

The family was grateful that we issued him a temporary ID before he passed on as this will ensure a dignified burial for him. A death certificate will be issued. The department would like to thank officials at Barrack for their speedy response and for doing all in their power to assist the deceased as well as the family in their hour of need. Officials who were visibly traumatized, are receiving counselling and other support from the department’s wellness team.

May our client’s soul rest in peace.

ACTION TAKEN AGAINST HOME AFFAIRS OFFICIAL

The Department of Home Affairs has taken note of a video clip which depicts an official seemingly preoccupied with her cellular phone while at work.

The Department can confirm that the official is stationed at the Beitbridge Port of Entry.

This morning, Wednesday, 14 March 2018, Minister Malusi Gigaba issued an instruction to the Department to act swiftly to address the matter. The Department’s policy prohibits the usage of cellular phones by front office officials while performing their duties.  

The official has been identified and she will be subjected to internal disciplinary processes. Further to this, disciplinary measures have commenced against the three supervisors on the shift for lack of adequate supervision.

Director-General Mkuseli Apleni has expressed his displeasure at the lack of attention paid to the actual duty performed by the official in direct violation of the policy against use of cellular phones at workstations.

“Of major concern to me is the fact that the official is dealing with security documents without paying attention to detail and rather preoccupied with her cellular phone. To this end, we have commenced with disciplinary measures against the official and the three supervisors,” said the Director-General.

 

HOME AFFAIRS TO CONDUCT AND AUDIT OF ENABLING DOCUMENTS TO ENGCOBO CHURCH MEMBERS

The Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba has, through the Director General, issued a directive to the Provincial Manager of the Department in the Eastern Cape to commence with processes to conduct an audit of enabling documents to affected community members who were part of the Mancoba Seven Angels Ministry in Engcobo in the Eastern Cape.
According to the police, members of the Ministry were forbidden to have identity documents while children were not allowed to have birth certificates and prohibited from attending school.
Section 20 of the Constitution states that no citizen may be deprived of citizenship while Section 28 (1) (a) guarantees the right to a name and a nationality for every child from birth. To this end, without a birth certificate, any individual’s nationality cannot be affirmed, thus rendering them stateless.
Minister Gigaba has expressed his dismay at the wanton disregard of the law by those implicated in this injustice and has declared that government will not watch on the sidelines while people’s constitutional rights were being trampled on by those who sought to exploit vulnerable members of the society.
Of particular concern to me, is the exploitation of children and women whose rights have been blatantly disregarded by being denied their basic right; their sense of belonging; their birthright to identity. No individual has the authority to deny any citizen of our Republic their Constitutional right to identity through the imposition of their irrational beliefs.
In this regard, I have given an instruction to the Provincial Manager for Home Affairs in the Eastern Cape, through the Director-General, to visit the area and conduct an audit to determine the extent to which these vulnerable members of the society have been affected, with a view, of course, to begin the process of documenting them to ensure that they reflect on the National Population Registers said the Minister.

Department of Home Affairs

HOME AFFAIRS EXTENDS PAYMENT FOR THE ZIMBABWEAN EXEMPTION PERMIT (ZEP)

The Department of Home Affairs has extended the closing date for payments and submission of supporting documents and biometrics for the new Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP), until 15 February 2018. The cut-off date was initially 30 November 2017 and was extended to 31 January 2018 in the hope that all those who had applied online would have made the necessary payment and provided the required supporting documents and biometrics.

By 29 January 2018, a total of 176 605 applicants had completed the entire process, which includes honouring their appointments with VFS and submitting supporting documents and biometrics.

The extension, to 15 February 2018, is only for submitting biometrics (fingerprints) and supporting documents at the 10 VFS offices listed below as well as for those who have submitted online applications by 30 November 2017 but did not pay the prescribed fee. New applications will not be accepted. By the end of September 2018, the Department plans to have completed the whole project, including finalising adjudications and issuing out of all new permits.

Online applications for the new Zimbabwean Exemption Permit opened on 15 September 2017 for valid Zimbabwe Special Permit (ZSP) holders and closed on 30 November 2017. From 1 October 2017, applicants were allocated appointments so they could provide the required fingerprints and supporting documents at VFS offices. By the closing date of online applications, 30 November 2017, a total of 196 006 applications were received. No applications were accepted after the closing date.

The ZSP which started in 2014 with 197 951 permits issued expired on the 31st of December 2017. ZEP permit holders will be allowed to work, study or conduct business in South Africa. The ZEP permits are valid for a maximum period of four (4) years, effective from 01 January 2018 and expiring on 31 December 2021, notwithstanding the date of issue. Exemption permits like the ZEP permits are not permanent or long-term. They only serve a specific purpose with a view ultimately to have people returning to their countries of origin, to build their lives a new.

LOCATION/OFFICES FOR PAYMENT AND SUBMISSION OF ZEP SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS AND BIOMETRICS:

DURBAN MUSGRAVE TOWERS: Musgrave Shopping mall, 5th Floor Musgrave
CAPE TOWN: 2 Long Street, 7th Floor
PORT ELIZABETH: Office 7C, 1st floor Moffet and Main, Corner 17th Ave & Main Road, Walmer
JOHANNESBURG: Mount Royal Building Unit D, 657 James crescent, Halfway house
RUSTENBERG: Cnr of Boom and Fatima Bayet street
KIMBERLY: Unit 3 Building 2, Agri Office Park, N12 Kimberly
POLOKWANE: Thornhill Shopping Centre, Veldspaat and Munnik Avenue Bendor Park
NELSPRUIT: Office 5 F, Nedbank Building, 30 Brown Street
BLOEMFONTEIN: Suite 4, The Park, 14 Reid Street Westdene
GEORGE: Unit 5 Eagle View, Progress Street

 

Department of Home Affairs

Department of Home Affairs launches improved Refugee Travel Document

In another major step towards better refugee and asylum-seeking management, the Department of Home Affairs this month introduced a hugely improved refugee travel document.

 The new version Machine Readable Travel Document for Refugees has been designed and developed using the latest passport production technology and security standards to include a pure polycarbonate data-page for personalisation by laser engraving. It is fully compliant with the UNHCR and ICAO (International Civil Aviation Authority) guidelines.

The earlier version was introduced in 2009, but the new version was necessitated after the UNHCR and ICAO published comprehensive international guidelines.

Machine-readable travel documents are more secure. Because security considerations play an ever-increasing role due to the risks of document and identity fraud, they not only increase security and trust among States, but also enhance the level of confidence in the users, in this case, refugees, who will travel with them. They facilitate the safe and regular movement of refugees and thereby reduce the risk of exploitation, abuse, violence and human trafficking.   

The improved Refugee Travel Document has the following new features;

  • Enhanced security features enabled by more advanced production technology
  • The name of the document has been changed from Passport to Travel Document
  • The following return class has been inserted; “the holder is authorised to return to the Republic of South Africa within the period of validity specified in this document “.
  • A page (30) has been included to add the names of parents of a refugee child to minimize risks such as abduction and child trafficking. It will be left blank for now until the finalisation of the enhancements of the Department’s National Immigration Information System.
  • The amendment of the endorsement to specify the applicant’s country of origin in the travel document to which he/ she is not allowed to travel to.
    The introduction of the new document is part of a process that seeks to markedly improve the management of refugees coming into and leaving South Africa. From a peak of over 200 000 refugees and asylum seekers coming into the country in 2008 and 2009, the numbers have decreased drastically to 71 914 in 2014, 62 159 in 2015 and 35 377 last year. In addition, an improved Border Management Bill is making its way through the parliamentary processes.
    “We are giving further effect to our strong human rights culture that was introduced from 1994 to replace the crime of apartheid while ensuring that the right to security for citizens as well as migrants are upheld,” said Ms Fatima Chohan, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs.
    “As a country, we must strike a balance between our humanitarian values and our responsibility to ensure safety and security for all citizens and migrants alike,” she said.
    “This development is also another step in our efforts to improve services in the country, mainly to our citizens, but also to migrants who find themselves in difficulties in their home countries,” she said.
    Our Moetapele programme is aimed at constantly improving the quality of service delivery in a wide range of areas such as, among others, the provision of visas and passports and the issuing of birth certificates within 30 days of birth”, she said.
    According to Ms Sharon Cooper, Regional Representative of the UNHCR, the issuance of travel documents to refugees and stateless persons builds on a longstanding tradition, dating back 95 years, to the “Nansen passport” provided under the auspices of the League of Nations.
    “The right of every refugee and stateless person to a travel document issued by their country of lawful stay is outlined in article 28 of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and in article 28 of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, respectively,” she said.
    “Travel documents have concrete benefits for refugees. Having a legal identity, including through the issuance of travel documents, is a critical component of international protection. Travel documents can enable access to basic services and rights, allowing refugees to pursue education or work abroad.
    They also allow refugees to seek possibilities for family unity, further strengthening their self-reliance and resilience of refugees, as well as their ability to lead independent and stable lives. Furthermore, travel documents can facilitate solutions, allowing refugees to take up opportunities for resettlement and voluntary repatriation,” according to Ms Cooper.
    “The promotion of travel documents to refugees and stateless persons is a core part of UNHCR’s international protection mandate and it is with the mentioned benefits in mind that we welcome the launching of the new version of the MRTDs in South Africa.
    As with the previous documents, applications for the Refugee Travel document must still be lodged at Refugee Reception Offices. After this, an interview will be conducted with refugee to establish the purpose of travel and the destination as well as to inform him/her of the consequences should he/ she travel to his/ her country of origin from whom he/ she fled due to persecution. The latter could lead to withdrawal of his/ her refugee status should he/ she travel to his country of nationality).
    Holders of valid Refugee Travel Documents will still be allowed to use the existing travel documents until the date of expiry. The document will be valid for the same period of the validity of the Section 24 refugee permit.

Farewell to a gallant patriot, Mr Ronnie Mamoepa

It was with deep sadness that we received the devastating message on the passing-on of a gallant fighter for freedom, a time-tested public servant and a seasoned government communicator par excellence – Mr Ronnie Mamoepa.

In this time of heavy sadness, when the ravenous messenger of death had landed on our doorstep, the Department of Home Affairs, on behalf of the Minister, Deputy Minister, Director-General and staff, wishes to convey its heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr Mamoepa, and to all of his colleagues, friends and comrades across the length and breadth of our beloved Republic.

In spite of the success he was making for himself, family, and country in the Deputy President’s Office, we still hoped one day he will return to complete the mammoth tasks he set in motion in the sphere of communication at Home Affairs. Without the Ronnie magic we are left the poorer.

He will be missed by all patriots – regardless of any of the human-made notions of divisive power, whether they be political, ethnic, racial, class, or gender-based. It is in the lives of such rare spirits, like Ronnie, that we get to see the vision of a better humanity we all would like to see. Already, he is deeply missed.

To the family we say, with the many of our people deeply shocked by his untimely departure last night, in hospital, after a recent stroke, your loss is our loss, and as Mr Ronnie Mamoepa would have said from his genuine African heart, your pain is indeed our pain.

May his soul rest in peace!

Department of Home Affairs

HOME AFFAIRS OFFICES REMAIN CLOSED THIS SATURDAY

The Department of Home Affairs says its offices will remain closed this Saturday, 15 July 2017.

“The Minister of Home Affairs, Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize, continues to appeal to members of the public to be patient while the Department is working on resolving the matter as quickly as possible and apologises for any inconvenience caused,” said David Hlabane from the ministry of Home Affairs.

Department of Home Affairs

MEDIA STATEMENT ON NEGOTIATIONS WITH UNIONS ON WORKING HOURS

The Minister of Home Affairs, Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize is content that the negotiations currently underway aimed at resolving the impasse regarding Saturday operations are proceeding well. The Department and Unions have been locked in talks since Monday to find a solution to the labour dispute which has led to the suspension of operation in Home Affairs offices countrywide on Saturdays.

Minister Mkhize has been briefed about progress in the negotiations and was informed of the request by unions to consult with members on the various proposed solutions. She remains hopeful that an agreement will be reached soon after the consultation process by both parties. Both the Department and unions have acknowledged the importance of ending the Saturday work stoppage.

The implications of the ongoing negotiations are that Home Affairs offices will not be operational this Saturday, 08 July 2017 until and unless an agreement is reached.

The Minister appeals to members of the public to be patient while the Department is working on resolving the matter as quickly as possible. The Minister apologises for the inconvenience caused by the disruptions of a service South Africans had become accustomed to Saturday services.

Minister Mkhize applauds the Unions, the Bargaining Council and all staff for their commitment to finding a resolution as a matter of urgency. She believes once a solution has been found the Department will continue to provide excellent services that the nation deserves.

Department of Home Affairs

Home Affairs Offices not open this Saturday, 1 July 2017

The Department of Home Affairs hereby informs members of the public that all its offices will not be open this Saturday, 1 July 2017.

This is due to the ongoing discussions and negotiations with the labour unions PSA, Nehawu, and Nupsaw in order to find a lasting solution to ensure that our offices can provide full services on Saturdays to members of the public. In this regard, there will be another round of negotiations scheduled for Monday, 3 July until Wednesday, 5 July, which the Department firmly hopes will achieve both an interim and a long term solution to the matter.

The Department wishes to take this opportunity to apologise to the public for the inconvenience caused. Once again, the Department is appealing to the union leadership to assist in resolving this matter speedily in the spirit of the settlement agreement.

We reiterate our call that quality service delivery to our people is of utmost importance in line with our values and the sooner this matter is finalised, the better the situation will be for the public and our country.

Department of Home Affairs

UNWARRANTED PUBLIC SERVANTS ASSOCIATION (PSA) LEAFLETS DISTRIBUTED TO HOME AFFAIRS OFFICIALS AND THE PUBLIC AT LARGE

12 June 2017, PSA has, to the dismay of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), and in a manner that may be regarded as unscrupulous and devoid of any integrity, distributed misinformation in the form of fliers to officials at Head Office, and by extension, to the public at large.
 
The conduct of the union has been unreasonable. The union is aware that the DHA has referred a dispute to expedited arbitration. This happened today, 12 June 2017 where the department presented its submission and the unions, clearly unprepared, could not present their own submissions, and instead requested indulgence from the Commissioner to allow them to submit written submissions by Tuesday 13 June 2017. This would in turn allow the department to reply to the unions’ submissions later that afternoon.
 
Upon closure of the submissions, the Commissioner would then make a decision in the form of an award by no later than close of business on Wednesday, 14 June 2017.
 
The union is aware that the decision of the Arbitrator may have a dispositive effect on the strike in that if the correct characterisation of the dispute is as the department has outlined, the unions will clearly not be entitled to strike. Despite this, the union elected, in a rather precipitous manner, to call upon and begin organising the strike. This conduct also undermines the efficacy of the dispute resolution procedure under the Labour Relations Act (LRA).
 
Also apparent from the strategy of the PSA is that it intends causing maximum harm and maximum damage to the public, hence the premature notice to strike and further mistruths outlined in their fliers distributed to the officials and the public at large this morning.
 
The union has been unreasonable in its conduct of the matter. During the conciliation proceedings last week, it adopted a single track stance, refusing to budge on its demands. The department was prepared to accommodate the union’s demands by allowing each employee a day off during the week, on a Wednesday, in order to compensate for the fact that they have worked on a Saturday. The union refused to consider this proposal which simply goes to show that the intention of the union was never to engage in a meaningful consultation process but to use power for its own sake.   
 
In this misinformation, PSA sought to mislead officials and the public that negotiations have been exhausted and therefore entitles it to embark on a strike. This is far from the truth as parties are still continuing with the negotiation process in the form of arbitration that was scheduled for hearing today, at the General Public Service Sector Bargaining Council (GPSSBC).
 
Officials of the department are reminded that the labour dispute currently underway between the department and the unions is a constitutionally and legally sanctioned process to which parties must abide with and observe the rules governing the process. To this end, PSA’s decision to serve the department with a notice to strike was rather premature, ill-considered and in bad faith as the dispute resolution mechanism is still currently underway.
 
The department has further noted the latest communique from PSA in which PSA seeks to unjustly influence the department’s immigration service to join their ill-conceived strike action under the guise that our immigration service is not an essential service. Immigration service is not declared an essential service, but the reality of the situation is that it provides an essential service the importance of which should not be relegated to point-scoring.