Govt acted decisively to deal with attacks on foreign nationals

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Cape Town – Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba says his department has acted decisively to deal with the recent attacks on foreign nationals.

The Minister also made several announcements with relation to his department’s modernisation programme aimed at improving service delivery at front line desks.

He said this after government had to pull out all stops to respond to the recent attacks on foreign nationals and the looting of shops this year.

The attacks first happened in Soweto earlier this year and spread to KwaZulu-Natal, Alexandra – north of Johannesburg and other parts of Johannesburg last month.

“As you know, we have acted decisively to deal with the unacceptable attacks against foreign nationals in January and April of this year, as we did in 2008,” he said.

The Minister was one of several ministers deployed by President Jacob Zuma to KwaZulu-Natal to be on the ground and engage with members of the public and provincial authorities in a bid to restore calm and normality in the province.

He said a lot of progress was made during the public engagements, and that some of the concerns – including complaints that some foreign nationals were in the country illegally – were being addressed.

“Our on-going work with the Inter-Ministerial Committee on International Migration, the establishment of a Border Management Agency and the policy review process will substantially improve our country’s management on international migration and address the underlying issues driving tensions on the issue of immigration,” he said.

Department moves to end the late registration of births

The Minister said his department was moving to end the late registration of child births – a wide spread practice – by December 31, 2015.

As the department strives to clear the population register, the Minister said late registrations of birth could no longer be justified.

“From January 1, 2016, all births registered after 30 days will have to undergo a rigorous process to prove that the child really is a South African citizen.

“The process will be designed to ensure that no genuine South African is at risk of losing their citizenship,” he said.

Innovative initiatives to improve services

Minister Gigaba said as part of improving the overall services of his department, the department will during the current financial year:

  • Issue 2.2 million smart ID cards;
  • Expand its footprint by placing Home Affairs kiosks at banks, which will enable application for ID smart cards and passports by appointment;
  • Roll-out payment for Home Affairs services by debit or credit card to 140 smart ID card-capable offices;
  • Begin to upgrade the Electronic Movement Control System (EMCS) at the country’s ports of entry to capture biometric data of all foreign nationals entering the Republic;
  • Introduce enabling legislation for the Border Management Agency (BMA) and pilot aspects of the BMA operating model at selected ports of entry;
  • Work with National Treasury to develop an innovative funding model to revamp six key land ports of entry;
  • Finalize a Green Paper on International Migration for public comment;
  • Expand access to its Visa system by opening two new centres in China, to join the nine new centres that were already opened in India; and
  • Make it easier for foreign students with critical skills to remain in South Africa after graduation.

The Minister said the department hopes to have finalised the Green Paper on International Migration by the end of this year. –