Transcript copy: Interaction with media by Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni regarding department's festive season plan
17 Dec 2010
The Department of Home Affairs has begun to implement a comprehensive plan for the smooth movement of South African nationals, visitors and others into and out of the country, in anticipation of their increased movement through all land, air and sea ports of entry for the festive season.
The operational plan, implemented since Monday, 13 December 2010 is based on the successful implementation of the department’s innovative new Movement Control System (MCS) for South Africa’s successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
In addition to ensuring the smooth movement of travellers, the MCS will also assist the Department of Home Affairs and other government agencies to prevent the entry of undesirable elements into the country to ensure optimal security for South Africans and foreigners alike.
As part of its preparations, Home Affairs has optimised its cooperation with various other government departments and Agencies including the SA Revenue Service (SARS), Health, the SA Police Service (SAPS), the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), Intelligence and the Border Control Coordinating Committee (BCOCC). This collective of departments and agencies will be coordinating operations throughout the festive season.
To further ensure the smooth movement of travellers, the department has also increased its human resource capacity by 198 officials at six key Land Ports of Entry (PoE) including Beit Bridge, Lebombo, Ficksburg, Maseru, Oshoek and Kopfontein. As a consequence of 24 hour monitoring through its operations centre, the department will be in a position to rotate this capacity at short notice to ports of entry with high volumes.
As a department, we are confident that all the required measures are in place to ensure the safe and smooth movement of travellers into and out of the country. We take this opportunity to wish South Africans and foreigners alike a peaceful and restful festive season.
Questions and Answers
Question: DG, you say you have operationalised this process from Monday this week – what has happened since?
Answer: There have been no problems.No backlogs or points of congestion are being reported. We have even opened some points for 24 hours.
However, the statistics which I currently have are from 1 to 9 December 2010. We have processed 919 642 entries to South Africa through the Movement Control System. This is an increase of 104 672 in the same period (1 to 9 December 2009) last year.
Question: DG, what is happening regarding the documentation of Zimbabwean nationals?
Answer: We really want to communicate that we have endeavoured to ensure that all Zimbabwean nationals who want to be documented are assisted. We have created an environment to support this.
We had required that a passport is required – however, we have since realised that there are difficulties on the Zimbabwean side regarding the provision of such passports. We have now asked those who have applied, around 30 000 or so, and have been issued receipts to confirm their applications, to proceed to their nearest Home Affairs offices to fill in their applications and attach the receipt for their passport application.
The second group is those who do not have birth certificates or IDs, we are saying to this group they should apply for such documents and again attach these receipts to their applications for regularisation. These people are now also covered.
The third group is that which comes from the Zimbabwean stakeholders or the media who say there are 1.5 – 3 million Zimbabweans in South Africa. We have asked for these lists which document such numbers so we can know why they cannot apply for passports, birth certificates or IDs. We are asking for the list of people who are Zimbabwean but meet the requirements for and should be regularised. We are still awaiting these lists.
You must also remember that such people meet the criteria for regularisation.
Question: DG, how will you deal with those who claim to be Zimbabwean but are not Zimbabweans and have been turned down by the government for passports?
Answer: You will remember the minister is on record as saying that no deportations will begin until the process has been finalised and all applications have been considered. We will look at all documents after 31 December. This is the deadline for the receipt of applications. Processing of these applications will continue after 31 December.
We will then look at all the applications and those who have been turned down will have to be adjudicated. The person is then able to appeal the decision. If the application is still declined, it is clear that the person should not be in South Africa. We will then deal with this in terms of our immigration laws.
If a person is using a fraudulent passport, the regulations still remain.
Applications must be adjudicated with passports. If the person cannot produce a passport after 31 December, the application will be declined. We are working together with the Zimbabwean government. They will then come to us to confirm that all passports applied for in South Africa have been issued. They will confirm that no applications are outstanding. After this, we will close the process on our side as well because the two processes will tie in with each other.
Issued by: Department of Home Affairs
17 Dec 2010
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