South Africa: Home Affairs Briefs Media On E-Visa, Border Management Authority, Status of Tshwane Mmc and Facilitation of Traveller Movement

press release

Briefing on e-Visa, Border Management Authority (BMA), status of Tshwane MMC and facilitation of traveller movement

My colleague, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Honourable, Mr Njabulo Nzuza

The Acting Director General of the Department of Home Affairs, Mr Thulani Mavuso

Ladies and gentlemen of the media;

Good morning and thank you very much for honouring this invitation as we give an update on some of the key pronouncements the Department made during the Budget Vote in July, in particular, the Border Management Authority (BMA), e-Visa system and also affirm our readiness to facilitate traveller and goods movement at SA ports of entry over the festive season.

When we called the press conference, it was to brief you on these issues. Since then, we have become aware of issues which have become topical, such as the matter involving former Tshwane Member of the Mayoral Committee, Ms Shiela Senkubuge.

Ms Senkubuge

In the wake of the widespread media reports about what allegedly happened in the Mayor's office, a private citizen has laid criminal charges with the police against former Tshwane MMC Sheila Lynn Senkubuge. The matter is with the police, which limits the amount of information we can share with you in relation to the matter.

A very serious allegation has been made that Ms Senkubuge immigrated to South Africa in 2011 from Uganda and according to information obtained from the Department of Home Affairs she first entered SA as a foreign national in 2011 and naturalized as a South African citizen in August 2018.

We wish to correct this information because it is grossly wrong. Because of the widespread interest in the matter, we went to retrieve the case file which gives all the information as far back as 36 years ago, in 1983, which shows that her parents entered the former Transkei from Uganda to work at the Department of Education.

She was born a year later, in 1984 in the former Transkei.

The parents were given appropriate documents as it pertained in the former Transkei.

As you know, all the people who were in the former Transkei were transferred into SA in terms of the laws which were agreed to during the transition from apartheid to democracy.

As to contemporary issues, as to her eligibility to registration and voting, is a subject to the police investigation and together with the IEC, we are investigating the matter. We would not want to offer you half-baked answers.

Border Management Authority (BMA)

South Africa continues to be open to people who want to come here through regular channels. Our work to properly document people who come to South Africa and to fight human trafficking, in particular, of persons of women and children across our borders, will receive a major boost with the passing of the BMA Bill.

The National Council of Province is scheduled to consider the BMA Bill on Tuesday. This will bring to finality deliberations on the Bill and once adopted, will be referred back to the National Assembly which will then consider it for submission to the President before it becomes law.

In the meantime, the BMA project management team has been busy finalising the technical work required to establish the BMA.

I have directed the BMA project management office to focus their initial efforts in strengthening the borderline between Limpopo and Zimbabwe, Mpumalanga and Mozambique and KwaZulu-Natal with Mozambique.

We are aware of the video, doing the rounds, of a serious security breach along the borderline. We can confirm that this happened at the borderline with Mozambique not very far from the Lebombo Border Post.

This is part of the reasons we want to expedite the BMA, to deal with this eventuality.

In the meantime, we want to assure South Africans that we take this matter seriously. We have contacted the SA National Defence Force and the Ministry of Transport.

The reason that we want to expedite the establishment of the BMA is because we concede that due to the porousness of our borders, law enforcement agencies of the country are not able to be present everywhere where criminal acts like this are taking place. However, we have decided to take action against the people involved. At the moment we have identified that taxis from Mozambique were involved. Such taxis are working on the basis of permits.

The permits maybe withdrawn in line with the provisions of Section 30 of the Cross Border Road Transport Act 4 of 1998. The Act is administered by the Cross Border Road Transport Agency (CRBTA), an agency of the Department of Transport.

Together with the Minister of Transport, we have agreed that the agency needs to pursue the matter with a view to withdrawing the permits so that they are no longer able to operate across the border into South Africa.

A joint law enforcement operation will be mounted in that area to identify the perpetrators.

Increased capacity at ports, for festive season

As was announced, last week Thursday, the department is working with border law enforcement agencies and the six countries sharing borders with our country, to ensure ease of movement for travellers over the festive season. We want travellers to enter and leave South Africa without hindrance in this peak period, and to do so in a manner that is legally permissible, without breaking any law of our country.

Capacity will be increased between Wednesday, 04 December 2019 and 13 January 2020.

The ports of entry with traditionally high volumes of movement will have their operating hours increased by between one and seven hours. The Lebombo and Oshoek ports of entry will open for 24 hours on specified days (See schedule below).

Border law enforcement entities have confirmed readiness to handle increased volumes of travellers and goods at all ports of entry. This increase in movement of people and goods, across borders, is due to the inflow and outflow of travellers such as tourists, cross-border workers, business, academics and those on educational activities.

Home Affairs will deploy close to 400 additional officials at selected ports, to assist with delivery of immigration services and offer technical support at the borders. Most of these officials will be posted at the Beit Bridge Port of Entry with Zimbabwe, Lebombo, Maseru Bridge Port of Entry with Lesotho and the Ficksburg Port of Entry with Lesotho.

The South African Police Services has increased police officials with an additional 80. South African Revenue Services (Customs) is deploying an extra 86 customs officials at selected ports, and the rest of the border law enforcement entities have also deployed limited numbers of staff as they will rely mainly on overtime for permanent staff.

We implore all travellers leaving and entering South Africa to ensure all their travel documents are in order to avoid unnecessary delays at ports. These include passports, visas, health certificates, permits for specified goods, plants and animals and vehicle insurance and bank authorised cross-border documents for vehicles.

e-Visa pilot

The Department of Home Affairs has started with the testing and piloting of the electronic visa application system - e-Visa.

The decision to introduce e-Visa was informed by observable benefits of this system. It is reliable, client-friendly and convenient for visa applicants, airlines, trading partners and Home Affairs officials.

Once fully rolled-out, prospective visitors will apply online for visas, at home, office or place of work. It will lesson administrative burdens, including those involved in receiving applicants at visa offices, printing visa stickers and returning passports to applicants.

Currently, the department is testing the new system with Kenya. As part of the pilot, a team of DHA immigration and IT officials visited Kenya. This team is scheduled to return to Kenya next week, on 09 December 2019. The first Kenyan tourist who applied for a visitors' visa on the new e-Visa system arrived yesterday afternoon and more are expected this week as part of the pilot.

We are continuously monitoring this pilot process to ensure that user experience is not compromised.

In early 2020, we'll include China, India and Nigeria to the pilot which will run until March 2020.

Tunisia added to countries with Visa waivers

As part of our efforts to attract tourists to South Africa, we have added the Republic of Tunisia to the list of countries which enjoy visa free status to South Africa. This means that tourists from this country will come to South Africa without requiring a visa and South Africans can visit Tunisia without a visa, as part of reciprocity. The implementation date of this agreement will be decided and communicated after the two countries have agreed on a date.

South Africa now has 83 countries which it has granted visa free status. These countries are among the highest tourist sending nations globally.

We wish everyone a safe and pleasant festive season.

Thank you.

Extended hours at ports of entry

From 04 December 2019 to 13 January 2020

Province

Port of Entry

Current Hours

Extended Hours

Increased Hours

Mpumalanga

Lebombo

06:00 - 00:00

24 hrs

(6hrs) 13 Dec 2019 - 13 Jan 2020

Mananga

07:00 - 18:00

07:00 - 20:00

(2hrs) 21 - 24 Dec 2019

Jeppes Reef

07:00 - 20:00

07:00 - 22:00

(2hrs) 21 - 24 Dec 2019

Oshoek

07:00 - 00:00

24 hrs

(7hrs) 19 - 21 Dec 2019

Mahamba

07:00 - 22:00

07:00 - 00:00

(2hrs) 21 Dec 2019

(2hrs) 24 Dec 2019

EAstern Cape

Qacha's Nek

07:00 - 20:00

06:00 - 22:00

(3hrs) 21-24 Dec 2019

07:00 - 20:00

06:00 - 20:00

(1hrs) 25 Dec 2019

Tellebridge

06:00 - 22:00

05:00 - 23:00

(2 hrs) 13 Dec 2019 &

(2hrs) 17 Dec 2019

(2 hrs) 22-24 Dec 2019

KwaZulu-Natal

Kosi Bay

08:00 - 17:00

06:00 - 20:00

(2hrs) 13 Dec 2019 - 09 Jan 2020

Free State

Van Rooyenshek

06:00 - 22:00

06:00 - 00:00

(2hrs) 20 Dec 2019

06:00 - 22:00

06:00 - 00:00

(2hrs) 23 Dec 2019

06:00 - 22:00

24hrs

(8hrs) 24 Dec 2019

06:00 - 22:00

06:00 - 00:00

(2hrs) 5 Jan 2020

Caledonspoort

06:00 - 22:00

06:00-00:00

(2hrs) 14 Dec 2019

06:00 - 22:00

24 hrs

(8hrs) 21 Dec 2019

06:00 - 22:00

06:00-00:00

(2hrs) 01 Jan 2020

Monontsha Pass

08:00 - 16:00

08:00 - 18:00

(2 hrs) 14-15 Dec 2019

(2 hrs) 21-24 Dec 2019

08:00 - 16:00

08:00-17:00

(1 hrs) 28-31 Dec 2019

(1hr) 01-03 Jan 2020

Issued by: Department of Home Affairs

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