Consulate Closures in South Africa.

  1.  ALL VFS Schengen – Will be open, only closed on South African Public Holidays

 

  1.  Angola Cape Town – Closing 15th December re-opening 09th January 2017

 

  1.  Angola Johannesburg – Closing 15th December 2016 and re-opening 11th January 2017

 

  1.  Belgium – Will be open, only closed on South African Public Holidays (Cape Town and Johannesburg)

 

  1.  Canada – Normal Christmas holidays

 

  1.  China Closed – Closed 16, 26th, 27th December 2016 and 02nd January 2017

 

  1.  Egypt – No updates yet but generally closed between Christmas and South African Public Holidays

 

  1.  France – Closed 16th, 26th, 27th December 2016 and 02nd January 2017

 

  1.  Germany – Only Closed on South African public Holidays. The Embassy and Consulate will have skeleton staff but will impact the processing times.

 

  1.  Greece – Normal Christmas holidays.

 

  1.  Italy – Closed 16th, 26th, 27th December 2016 and 02nd January 2017

 

  1.  Japan – Closed 16th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th December 2016 and 02nd January 2017

 

  1.  Madagascar – Closed 16th, 26th, 27th December 2016 and 02nd January 2017

 

  1.  Morocco – No updates yet but generally closed between Christmas and South African Public Holidays

 

  1.  Mozambique – No updates yet but generally closed between Christmas and South African Public Holidays

 

  1.  Nigeria – Closed between 28th of December 2016 and 2 January 2017

 

  1.  Russia – Closed 16th, 26th, 27th December 2016 and 02nd January 2017 to 6 January 2017

 

  1.  Rwanda – No updates yet but generally closed between Christmas and South African Public Holidays

 

  1.  Senegal – 26 December 2016 until 02 January 2017

 

  1.  Taiwan – Closed 16th, 26th, 27th December 2016 and 02nd January 2017

 

  1.  TLS Australia – 26 December 2016 until 2 January 2017

 

  1.  TLS Switzerland – Closed on certain days currently confirmed for 27, 28 and 29 December 2016. Another update will follow next week.

 

  1.  TLS United Kingdom – Only closed on South African Public Holidays and working with skeleton staff (May impact processing times)

 

  1.  Uganda: Closed from 15 December 2016 until 5 January 2017

 

  1.  Ukraine – Closed 16th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th December 2016 and 02nd January 2017

 

  1.  USA (no updates yet but generally between closed between Christmas and South African Public Holidays)

 

  1.  Vietnam – Closed 16th, 26th, 27th December 2016 and 02nd January 2017

 

SA to Get Child Passport

PRETORIA – The Department of Home Affairs says it’s working hard to make travel easier for South Africans.

For many parents, getting the right documents to leave the country with their kids, is a nightmare, in response Home Affairs is now working on introducing a passport for children.

Home Affairs Director General, Mkuseli Apleni said, “Now we have designed a new passport at the time that the parents applying for the child passport, the details of parents will already be in the passport, parents cannot change they will remain until you die, then there won’t be a need to carry the birth certificate.”

The new passport will become available next year.

The department hopes this document will also help stop child trafficking. Over 30, 000 minors are trafficked through South African borders annually.

Meanwhile, officials say budget cuts have affected operations.

Apleni explained, “As a department we were affected about the issue of capping the number of positions, we are lower base it causes problems and at the OR Tambo you cleared based on the number of counters and it’s frustrate passengers to arrive at OR Tambo, there are 45 counters and 20 counters are manned, cause we don’t have people.”

But despite the personnel shortages, officials are promising, travellers will get adequate service at immigration checkpoints.

Source

Home affairs a corrupt hell for refugees

“[The department…] also rejected the recommendations contained in a memorandum proposing practical solutions to the problem,” said the not-for-profit organisation.

As a result of investigations into allegations of extortion, threats and bribery by government officials, Corruption Watch last week opened criminal cases at the Johannesburg Central Police station against three individuals implicated at Marabastad Refugee Reception office.

According to a 2015 UN High Commission for Refugees report, there are currently 3.2 million individuals awaiting decisions on asylum claims globally. And of these, South Africa has the highest number of pending asylum claims, with an astonishing 1 096 100 individuals waiting for their claims to be processed, the report said.

“This points to the lack of efficiency at the DHA in processing such claims. Since 2012, Corruption Watch has received 314 complaints of corruption relating to applications for asylum or refugee status and other immigration-related processes,” the report said.

The findings of the report show that 80% of these complaints involved refugee reception offices (RROs), which implicates home affairs officials, security guards, administrators and interpreters.

“About 17% [of complaints] implicated metro police and other SA Police Service officials, and 74% involved bribes demanded for issuing asylum and refugee permits,” the report states.

The NGO’s executive director, David Lewis, said: “The gatekeepers vary from the security guard who extracts R100 for allowing the refugee to literally enter the gate of the documentation centre, to the department of home affairs official who is custodian of that vital final stamp and whose fee is often measured in thousands of rands.”

Source

HOME AFFAIRS VOWS TO CRACKDOWN ON CORRUPTION

A report on asylum seekers in South Africa revealed widespread dodgy dealings at the Home Affairs Department.

JOHANNESBURG – The Home Affairs Department says it’s aware of officials who are trying to undermine its system and has warned they’ll be “dealt with” accordingly.

The department says the initiatives taken to curb corruption within the sector are starting to bear fruit, with over 80 of its officials being arrested so far.

Corruption Watch released a report on asylum seekers in South Africa this week, which revealed widespread dodgy dealings at Home Affairs.

The watchdog found the department failed to respond to a number of allegations of extortion, bribery and threats leveled against its officials by foreign nationals.

Spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete says, “We are aware that there are officials who go to the department and betray the trust that is bestowed upon us as a public office that is supposed to protect the most vulnerable in society. Those people who are engaging in that activity, whether they are officials or members of the public, will be dealt with.”

Source

Angolan ex-refugees given chance to apply for residency in South Africa

Angolan ex-refugees in South Africa who were given a two-year deadline in 2013 to return to their country have been given a chance to apply for residency.

According to the Legal Resources Centre (LRC)‚ the negotiated settlement allows for former Angolan refugees falling into this category to submit further documents to the Department of Home Affairs in order to attempt to regularise their stay in South Africa and apply for permanent residency.

The LRC represented Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town and a number of former Angolan refugees in litigation against the Department of Home Affairs regarding the legal status of former Angolan refugees in South Africa.

In 2013‚ Home Affairs decided that former Angolan refugees no longer needed the protection of the South African government‚ as Angola was considered politically stable. Those Angolans who had been recognised refugees in South Africa were advised to apply for a special type of visa (Angolan Cessation Process Permit) which would allow them to legally work and study in South Africa for another two years‚ while making plans to return to their country.

“Many Angolans have lived in South Africa for close to 20 years. They have created lives for themselves and raised their families in South Africa.

Source