Department of Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba

South African Immigration policies challenged

Several months after the implementation of the amended Immigration Act No. 13 of 2002 and the accompanying regulations, there is still protest from various stakeholders within the travel and tourism industry, including local government. The Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, recently addressed the Western Cape provincial parliament’s economic opportunities, tourism and agriculture committee in the spirit of co-operative government. The official summons for the Minister came after public outcry concerning the impact of the new regulations on both the Western Cape and national economies.

Addressing concerns around foreigners visa expiriations

Some of the more specific concerns included:

Individuals can no longer await visa renewal decisions from within South Africa should their current visa have expired;
Applications for new visas must now be done in person from the applicant’s home country;
Biometric requirements (i.e. fingerprints and a passport photograph) are also now to be submitted in person.

Over and above the regulatory changes themselves, the infrastructure required to process these reforms has also been called into question. Whilst the Minister acknowledged the meeting as a welcomed opportunity to engage with the concerned parties, ultimately the perceived benefits of the amendments were deemed to outweigh any apprehension brought to light during the assembly. The Minister reaffirmed the need for more stringent immigration regulations in order to safeguard national security, referencing prior instances of well-known immigration policy abuse to support his argument.

Whilst the provincial legislature maintained that the proposed security amendments would do little to prevent criminals from entering the country, and continued to object to the amendments, the minister did acknowledge that the Department was open to suggestions should new facts be presented.

Department of Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba
Department of Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba

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