Home affairs shuts its door on US missionaries – News24

Missionaries Dave and Marj Patrick. (The Witness)

Pietermaritzburg – After 20 years serving the community as missionaries in South Africa, Marj and Dave Patrick have been told by the department of home affairs to pack up and go back home.

The American couple arrived in South Africa on a voluntary missionary visa to help, educate and equip poverty-stricken people with new skills to eventually take over the positions the missionaries initially filled.

Without pay, the couple worked with South Africans in the newly established democracy and were even commended for their hard work by former president Nelson Mandela a few years after they started their missionary work in the country.

Refused

Marj said three years ago when she and her husband attempted to renew their voluntary missionary visas with the department of home affairs, their renewal was refused and they were told those visas were no longer part of the system.

“We came here to work together, embrace culture and empower people. Our organisation, the Evangelical Alliance Mission, has been working in South Africa for over 100 years and we have made a difference.

“What would cause a nation to say they don’t want help?”

Marj said the only way they would be able to keep working in the country would be to apply for a visitor’s visa or a project visa as well as a work permit, which missionaries could just not afford.

“We are here to empower people, help people get an education and then take over our work once they are qualified and they will be paid where we weren’t. If you take us away, South Africans will be at the complete mercy of the government.”

Empowered

She said she and her husband leave for America next week and although there was still work to be done across the country, she felt they could leave their station at Pietermaritzburg’s Union Bible Institute knowing they had fully equipped and trained locals to take over, empower themselves and start earning a living.

“We haven’t been told why the department of home affairs weren’t renewing voluntary missionary visas, but they did tell us that eight other missionaries had been sent back to their home countries.”

The department of home affairs was contacted for comment but did not respond.

SA gives BRICS port of entry visas – Feb 26 2015

Cape Town – Business and diplomatic travellers from South Africa’s Brics partners – Brazil, Russia, India and China – are to receive a port of entry visa into South Africa, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Thursday.

Malusi Gigaba

Malusi Gigaba

“… I have approved the issuance of port of entry visas to Brics business executives for up to 10 years, with each visit not to exceed 30 days,” he told the Cape Town Press Club.

The visas had been in effect since December 23 last year.

“This applies to diplomatic, official or service, and ordinary passport holders.”

Gigaba said the relevant individuals would receive a long-term visa allowing them multiple entry into the country for the duration of the passport’s validity, not exceeding 10 years.

The department would continue to meet a turnaround time of five days for short-term business visas.

It had consulted extensively with the Brics business council and the trade and industry department.

Gigaba said the four countries presented an “important investment potential”.

Together with South Africa, the countries comprised 40% of the world’s population.

 

“Business people from Brazil, Russia, India, and China want to come to our country, buy and sell an increasing array of products and services, and invest in our companies and growth sectors,” he said.

“At home affairs we are completely committed to enabling this by facilitating the efficient entry of these commercial visitors, and will continually look for opportunities to improve in this regard.”

Gigaba smiled when asked if his announcement would anger countries that had a long-established trading relationship with South Africa.

“No, every good thing must start somewhere,” he said.

The same arrangement might well be extended to other countries who had “significant investments” locally.

“These are issues that you undertake as you improve your systems.”

NIGERIA: Abolition of Re-entry Visa

Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has abolished the requirement to obtain re-entry visas for re-entering the country by expatriates who are already resident in Nigeria.

It has not been indicated yet when the new policy becomes effective. However, once implemented, it will mean that assignees working in Nigeria would not require a re-entry visa (e.g. SJRV, MJRV, etc.) in their passport to re-enter the country each time they travel out, as long as they have a valid residence permit/green card.  

Contact Cassandra at immigration@relocationafrica.com for further support.

From the Horse’s Mouth – Mauritius

FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH **

Contributions by Fontana Agathe

Facts you did not know about Mauritius (Mauritius, officially the Republic of Mauritius, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometres off the southeast coast of the African continent. The capital and largest city is Port Louis.)

1. How are birthdays celebrated?
It’s always a special occasion and mostly celebrated at home with family.

2. When you first meet someone, how do you greet them?
We normally shake hands and kisses are kept for family.

3. What languages are spoken in your country?
Most Mauritians are multilingual; Mauritian Creole, English, French, and Asian languages are used with Creole and French as the most common. English remains an administrative language, and is also used as support in schools.

4. Do you use a twelve hour clock, or a twenty-four hour clock?
Both. There are no special specifications.

5. What side of the road do people drive on? What do we need to know about driving in Mauritius?
We drive on the left-hand side of the road. The most important thing to know when driving here is that most drivers believe that they are in possession of a racing car. The easy-going way of life and the friendliness of the Mauritians can however also be seen when they are driving. When asking for the way they might just go in front of you to make sure you do not get lost.

6. How important is punctuality?
Very few persons know what punctuality is.

7. What types of music are popular? Who are some of your most popular musicians?
A great majority of Mauritians listen to Bollywood music, because 60% of Mauritians are Hindu. Most of the remaining 40% listen to European music. Very few are actually fond of Sega, the local music. A few of our popular local musicians are:
Clarel Armelle and Linzy Bacbotte: Watch this
Mister Love: Watch this
Alain Ramanisum: Watch this

8. Are there any Traditional Dances?
The Sega remains the main traditional dance. Check it out

9. What traditional Festivals are celebrated in your community?
That’s a long list. We celebrate almost all main Hindu, Chinese, Christian and Muslim festivals; plus some special occasions like the Abolition of Slavery and the first arrival of engaged Indian workers.

10. What are your seasons like?
Two seasons: winter and summer. In recent years our summer-times are getting very, very hot and the winters more windy. In summer temperatures vary between 25°C – 32°C and in winter between 20°C – 27°C.

11. Tell us an interesting fact about your President?
The President of the Republic of Mauritius is the Head of State of the Republic of Mauritius and is also the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Mauritius. The President functions as a ceremonial figurehead elected by the National Assembly, as set out by the Constitution of Mauritius. The current office-holder is Kailash Purryag. He was elected as the fifth President and took office on 21 July 2012.
He is the eldest of a family of nine children, has been married to Aneetah Purryag since 1973 and has a daughter and two grandchildren. His great grandfather Lakshman Paryag sailed to Mauritius some 150 years ago to work as an Indentured labourer.

12. What are Mauritius’ major industries?
• Sugar,
• Textiles,
• Tourism, and
• Offshore (Financial Services)

13. How do people spend their free time?
Beaches and all related sea and sand activities, foot-ball for a lot of men, facebook for youngsters, and window-shopping which is quite a new thing with the new shopping malls opening in the last two years.

14. What do people drink?
A lot of sodas like Coke and Fanta, but the spirits consumption curve is constantly climbing.

15. What is a popular local dish?
Traditionally, Mauritian food is spicy, with influences from Indian, Creole, African and Chinese cuisine. Many of the staple fruits, vegetables, fish, seafood and meats are grown or caught locally and there are dishes to suit all tastes. Curry (cari) is a favourite food and there are plenty of side dishes to choose from, including rice, roti, niouk nien (dumplings) or mine-frit (Chinese fried noodles.). Lentil or bean curries are popular, along with meat, fish or seafood varieties.
Rougaille is also a very popular traditional dish. Served hot, this Creole tomato dish also contains onions, chillies, garlic and spices.
With their French name but Indian origins, all visitors should try gateau piment. Made with split peas (dhal or dholl), they also contain red or green chillies, coriander, onions and cumin. Shaped into balls, gateau piment are then deep fried until golden brown.

16. What do you pay for?
In a restaurant… A cup of coffee – $0.60 cents, a Coca Cola – $0.50 cents,
A 2-Course meal for 2 people – nothing extravagant – a local menu with drinks approx. $ 26.00
At a shop… A loaf of bread – French white bread – $0.20 cents, a local newspaper – $0.50 cents

17. Security – in general?
Average. Unfortunately, criminals are always on duty in some specific areas like the north and west. If from a national view figures represent a quite mastered average, in specific spots, figures are quite frightening. As everywhere though, despite a fairly strong police presence, one should be aware and careful, especially at night.

 

 

** Meaning: From the highest authority. From the source.
Origin: In horse racing circles tips on which horse is a likely winner circulate amongst punters. The most trusted authorities are considered to be those in closest touch with the recent form of the horse, that is, stable lads, trainers etc. The notional ‘from the horse’s mouth’ is supposed to indicate one step better than even that inner circle, that is, the horse itself

Visa law review to help boost tourism – February 20 2015 – Cape Times  Melanie Gosling

SOUTH Africa’s visa regulations will be reviewed to ensure the stringent requirements do not become an obstacle to unlocking the massive tourism potential, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom said yesterday.

Speaking at Kirstenbosch to mark the botanical gardens’ milestone of attracting more than a million visitors last year, Hanekom said South Africa’s visa requirements needed to strike a balance between protecting the country and helping combat crimes like human trafficking, while ensuring these measures did not negatively affect tourism.

“We will be carefully examining the whole visa requirement issue, finding the right balance,” Hanekom said at a media briefing.

With him was TalebRifai, secretary-general of the UN’s World Tourism Organisation, who echoed Hanekom’s views on visa regulations, but said he was not suggesting South Africa compromise on safeguarding the country.

“We’re on the side of homeland ministers and the security people, but they should not make it a nightmare for visitors to get a visa,” said Rifai.

He questioned the wisdom of South Africa’s visa requirements, which meant “every tourist from China or Russia or other rising markets have to travel to embassies, pay more money, sit there, standing in lines” to apply for a visa to visit South Africa.

The country’s visa requirements, introduced in May, mean tourists have to present themselves for “in-person biometric data collection” when applying for a visa. This has met with criticism from the tourism industry.

Rifai said visitors to Australia could buy a visa online.

David Scowsill, chief executive of the World Travel and Tourism Council, said the US had recognised the negative economic impact of their stringent visa requirements and were changing them.

“Since 9/11, the US has lost $600 billion in tourism because their State Department was not issuing visas, they were treating everyone as terrorists.” Scowsill said the US tourism industry had made sure President Barack Obama knew about the losses, with the result that there had been a change in US visa requirements in the last three years.

“You have an enormous opportunity to grow tourism in South Africa, you have everything which an international tourist can enjoy, but there are some practical issues which you need to fix. One is a visa system which inhibits people from coming to see this country,” Scowsill echoed.

Another was encouraging other airlines to South Africa. He understood the dilemma of wanting to support the national carrier, while seeing the need to bring in other airlines, but it was one which needed to be resolved.

He believed South Africa should develop an “open-skies” agreement with other African countries with high tourism potential, such as Tanzania.

Western Cape MEC for Tourism Alan Winde said tourism was the fastest-growing sector in the province and had grown by 7.8 percent in the last five years. Tourism jobs were “great multipliers”, with several indirect jobs being created for every direct job in tourism

http://www.iol.co.za/capetimes/visa-law-review-to-help-boost-tourism-1.1821144#.VObrYCxPlKo