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ConCourt: Children Born in South Africa to Foreign Parents Can Apply For Citizenship

It has taken four years of legal battles – but now, if you were born in South Africa to foreign parents, you can apply for citizenship. It has been an “agonizing journey” for those who consider South Africa to be their only home.

The department of home affairs’ opposition to the court bid by five adults, representing others in a similar situation, for the vindication of their rights, was dealt a death blow by the Constitutional Court last week. The court simply ruled that it would not hear any further argument on the matter.

The department had not filed its papers in time, and it had not given good reason for this. What this means for Mariam Ali, Aden Salih, Kanu Nkololo, Caroline Masuki, Murphy Nganga and any others “similarly situated” is that their previous victory in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) now stands.

In terms of that order, the minister must accept their applications for citizenship and make a decision within 10 days.

The SCA declared that if you were born in South Africa to foreign parents who have not been admitted as permanent residents, you qualify to apply for South African citizenship upon becoming a major – if your birth was registered and if you have lived here all your life, irrespective of the date of your birth.

It also ordered the minister to enact the necessary forms to allow for such applications within one year. Pending this, he must accept applications on affidavit. The application, brought with the assistance of the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), was first set down in the Western Cape High Court.

It was argued that the centre’s clients had all complied with the Citizenship Amendment Act, which came into effect in January 2013. They were all born in South Africa to foreign parents and they had all turned 18, but their applications for citizenship under naturalisation laws were being refused.

In fact, they said, they were being told that such an application form did not even exist.

In that court, the minister argued that the act only applied to children born after January 2013 and could not be applied retrospectively. In fact, his lawyers argued, it did not even apply to children who turned 18 after that date but only to children born after that date.

Any retrospective application would create “an unnecessary flow of applications and burden the already strained resources of the department”. The Western Cape High Court ruling in favour of the centre’s clients was taken on appeal to the SCA by the minister.

There, the department of home affairs changed its argument. Retrospectivity was no longer an issue. Instead, it was argued that those affected should have put the minister on terms to deal with their applications and, if they were refused, they could then launch court proceedings to review and set aside the decisions.

“But this was untenable,” the judges said. “It is difficult to understand on what basis the minister could have made any decision. They were never given an opportunity to apply. They were just turned away.

“The argument is consistent with the ongoing attempts to frustrate and delay their application. It is not in the interests of justice to send them from pillar to post, simply because the minister adopted a supine attitude that the regulations will only be promulgated in due course.”

They were being treated unfairly, the court ruled, dismissing the appeal. Sherylle Dass, LRC regional director in Cape Town, said they had opposed the state’s application for leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court, saying it was an attempt to have a “second bite of the cherry” in spite of conceding the bulk of their submissions in the lower courts.

“Despite these concessions, some 10 months later, the state decided to change its stance. We believed it was an abuse of process. They plainly had no reasonable prospects of success and again it showed a total disregard for taxpayers, who have to foot the bill for these types of vexatious proceedings.”

She said that during those 10 months, when there was no indication of any appeal, the clients had submitted their citizenship applications but they were not dealt with.

“Following the dismissal of their appeal, we will now be demanding the adjudication of those citizenship applications and we will approach the courts if necessary, should a decision not be made within 10 days, in accordance with the SCA ruling.

“Our clients have had to endure a long and painful journey to obtain citizenship, with some of them all but giving up hope of being finally accepted by a country they have grown to love – the only country they have called home.

“A large part of this agonizing journey could have been avoided if decision makers within the department of home affairs exercised reason and caution by not arbitrarily abusing the court processes to delay and frustrate the exercise of the clear and unequivocal right of these applicants.”

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.
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4 Ways Urban Lifestyle Trends are Changing the South African Property Landscape

There’s a lot of talk about future cities, many of them being the sprawling metropolises of the world. The new world order for professionals, executives, and indeed millennial behaviour is to catch a taxi to work if needed, then to walk from work to gym, move on to coffee with friends – and cycle, walk or take a quick Uber home.

South Africa’s evolving modern urban living landscapes are right on par with global trends in areas such as Johannesburg’s Rosebank zone and the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, where people are looking for smart alternatives to untenable traffic congestion, hair-raising commutes and the need for time efficiency.

Locally, urbanisation is rapid when you look at the growth: 34.2 million people lived in urban areas in 2014, a figure that will jump to 49.1 million by 2050 according to the SA Council of Shopping Centres. As the commercial property market in Rosebank explodes, Jonathan Kohler, CEO of Lansdowne Property Group says the global trend towards an integrated living and working environment has far-reaching consequences including cost-saving and security. The private property market is playing catch-up with 16 new developments currently underway in Rosebank.

Rosebank has become a favoured destination for investors because of its vibrant mixed use of commercial, retail, entertainment and residential attractions. It is undoubtedly one of Joburg’s fastest growing and fashionable places to be and is linked to the Gautrain. In terms of affordability, Kohler explains the reasons why upmarket apartments are a compelling buy in the current market below.

#1: Urban living on the rise

People are wanting to live, work and relax in one space to create a balance – it’s a very workable solution for the many international and domestic inbound travelling executives who need to settle for 3 – 6 month contracts close to work. “The lock-up-and-go appeal of investing in an apartment accommodates this lifestyle with lucrative rental opportunities,” says Kohler.

#2: Rocking the rentals

The average rental price for an unfurnished 1-bedroomed apartment in Rosebank is about R13,000 a month and R24,000 for a 3-bedroomed place. “Furnished apartments give an even higher yield, but are harder to rent out,” says Kohler. There is an increase in Joburg execs relocating their families to Cape Town and choosing to fly in weekly to work in Sandton and Rosebank. Whether private investors buy apartments like these to rent, or corporates buy into an apartment to house their international contract execs, there is no doubt that Rosebank property will appreciate substantially in the coming
5 – 10 years.

#3: Winds of change

There’s talk of the property market finally starting to bottom out, but even if this is the start of an uptick or not, the interest rates are as low as they are going to go, and building costs are not going to get any cheaper – in fact they’ll go up despite what the market is doing. “The point is, the business district is central to the Rosebank and Sandton zones – this is not going to change, it’s a landmark area,” says Kohler. “As the economy strengthens, the prices of urban city properties are going to shoot up.” There is certainly investment opportunity in a zone like Rosebank which has had the best capital appreciation in Joburg over a 10-year period.

#4: Mobility without the drive

The global trend is for new sustainable precincts to lean towards a pedestrian-focused movement, not a vehicular one. “While there will always be room for cars in the smart cities of the world, the appeal of greener, less congested cityscapes holds huge appeal, where young professionals and visiting execs don’t have to use a car to get around,” says Kohler.

There is no doubt that smart cities, are changing the way we live and work. “With more people working on the move, at home, and in shared offices spaces; urban apartments are designed to embrace new urban living trends,” concludes Kohler.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

SA President Visits Home Affairs Head Office

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the Home Affairs head office in Tshwane recently, as part of his commitment to promote good governance and professionalism in the public sector. Click here to view the video.

On the back of bilateral talks with Nigeria, the President visited a Department of Home Affairs to ensure that asylum seekers were treated properly.

The department had been accused of being slow to issue asylum or other documentation, forcing foreign nationals to live as illegals.

Ramaphosa addressed staff and senior managers at Home Affairs in Tshwane.

“We are about to demonstrate to South Africans and the world that Home Affairs is at that top-level when we introduce the e-visa system which is world-class by any means that you can describe. But at the same time, the people of our country and the rest of the world will be expecting Home Affairs to continue to push the boundaries and push the limits and demonstrate that it can do even better than what we are doing now,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa met with his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday during a state visit.

The presidents of the continent’s two biggest economies reached 32 bilateral agreements following the gathering.

While Ramaphosa said that the recent xenophobic violence did not represent the values of either country, Buhari urged his citizens living in South Africa to adhere to the law.

Ramaphosa said South Africa and Nigeria agreed to elevate their co-operation to presidential level to revive relations that were battered by the recent violence.

Flight expenditure for undocumented migrants

Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi confirmed that R8 956 713.41 has been spent on charter flights and/or airlines by his department to deport undocumented migrants for the period April 1 to August 31 this year.

The minister made the revelations in a parliamentary reply to a question asked by DA MP Joseph McGluwa.

McGluwa asked Motsoaledi about the details of the charter flights and airlines as well as the total amount paid in respect of the deportations in both the 2018/19 financial year and since the start of April this year.

For the 2018 to 2019 financial year, R33 070 629.90 was spent on flights for the deportation of undocumented migrants.

DA MP Adrian Roos asked Motsoaledi whether he would engage with the executive mayors of metropolitan municipalities to conduct raids to combat illegal immigration.

To this, the minister replied that he “… has engaged with municipal structures on matters of migration and will do so on a continuous basis”.

“Joint and special operations to combat illegal migration are planned and conducted by law enforcement agencies at national, provincial and local level through inter-governmental security structures. All metro municipalities are represented in local security, provincial and national structures such as the provincial joint operational structures and the national structure,” Motsoaledi added.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2], [3]. Image sources: [1], [2].