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SOUTH AFRICA | Hardcopy Police Clearances No Longer Required for In-Country Applications

Effective December 31, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) of South Africa is automating the process of checking a foreign national’s South African criminal record, It will then no longer be necessary to apply for a hardcopy South African Police Clearance Certificate (“SA PCC”). The DHA will continue to accept hard copy SA PCCs until December 31; but the automated verification process will become mandatory starting January 1. Welcomed news for foreign nationals residing in South Africa, the new automated process is expected to significantly reduce document procurement time, in some cases trimming months from the processing times.

All foreign nationals who have resided in South Africa for twelve months or more since their 18th birthday require an SA PCC to support any application to renew their visas, change visa conditions, change visa status, apply for a Permanent Residence Permit, or submit a new application for a long-term Temporary Residence Visa from abroad.

Note that this new automated process is only applicable to SA PCCs being obtained to support applications filed from within South Africa. Foreign nationals who require SA PCCs for applications submitted at South African Missions abroad are still required to provide hardcopy SA PCCs as part of their applications processes.

Currently, it is necessary in all cases to obtain a hardcopy SA PCC through the Criminal Records Centre of the South African Police Service (“SAPS CRC”), a process that can take six weeks or more. This oftentimes results in applicants failing to meet the requirement of submitting their applications no less than 60 days prior to the expiry of their existing visas.

Under the new process, the DHA will check the foreign national’s biometric fingerprints – which are digitally recorded at the Visa Application Centre (“VAC”) at the time of application submission – against the police database to check for any recorded criminal convictions in South Africa. An additional fee of R175.00 (including VAT) will be levied by the VAC per applicant for the new service.

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Afrophobia not in SA, Nigeria’s vision for Africa – Nigerian foreign minister

Tshwane – South Africa and Nigeria have resolved to establish an early warning system in response to xenophobic attacks and to strengthen relations between the two nations.

International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and her Nigerian counterpart Geoffrey Onyeama held a bilateral meeting on Monday. This follows a wave of xenophobic violence in SA in February.

The meeting was attended by several officials from both countries, including Nigeria’s interior minister and South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba.

Ten houses were torched in Rosettenville by angry residents who claimed the homes were being used by Nigerians for drug dealing and prostitution. Several Pretoria homes were raided by community members for similar reasons.

“For some time now, there have been these incidents of attacks and Nigerians have been victims,” said Onyeama.

He added that his government knew that violence aimed at Nigerian nationals in SA was not state sponsored.

‘Dynamic’ South Africa

“We know that the South African government has always condemned this, that the South African people have condemned this. It was the action of a small criminal minority,” he continued.

“We also recognise that not all the Nigerians in SA engage in lawful activity, but the vast majority are,” said Onyeama.

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Zimbabwe to engage South Africa over special dispensation permits

HARARE – The Zimbabwean government will be engaging the South African government this coming week to iron out the issue regarding Zimbabweans who are living and working or studying in the neighbouring country under a special dispensation permit, which expires on the 31st of December this year.

197 790 Zimbabweans living in South Africa under a special dispensation permit face deportation when the permit expires by year end.

Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo told a media briefing in Harare this Friday (yesterday) that the Zimbabwean embassy in South Africa has indicated that the South African Home Affairs Minister Mr Malusi Gigaba will be announcing the cabinet position on the review of the special permits and chances are high that the permits will not be extended.

The Home Affairs Minister said the Zimbabwe Special Permit (ZSP) was introduced in 2009 after a memorandum of understanding was signed between the two countries to facilitate the regularisation of Zimbabweans living in South Africa without proper documentation.

The ZSP allowed holders to work, conduct business or study in the neighbouring country for three years.

Dr Chombo will be travelling to South Africa on Friday to engage his counterpart Mr Gigaba over the issue.

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South Africans Vow to Punish Foreigners as Minister Calls for Peace

South African Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has urged residents of Rosettenville suburb in Johannesburg to stop attacking foreigners accused of perpetrating crime.

Gigaba, who toured the suburb on Monday where about 10 houses occupied by foreigners allegedly selling drugs and promoting prostitution were set on fire, said locals should report such incidents to the police instead of taking matters into their own hands.

He told residents, after touring the affected area, that the South African government is aware of their grievances and will do all it can to address them.

But he was quick to stress that it is wrong to attack foreigners. “No person has the right to take the law into his or her own hands … We need to assess the whole situation concerning people said to be committing crimes before we take any action.”

However, his calls fell on deaf ears as some of the residents said they are sick and tired of foreigners who are allegedly selling drugs to their children and promoting prostitution.

One of them, Teressa Zwane, said, “They (foreigners) are selling drugs to our children. They are also promoting prostitution here. We are now sick and tired of them. They must go because even police are not taking any action even if we inform them about what is going on.”

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