The Democratic Alliance has come out critical of the recently gazetted new regulations by the Department of Home Affairs. Speaking on Monday, the DA MP, Haniff Hoosen said in a statement the new regulations, which are only in their first month, have caused the breaking up of families and have also been the cause of the cancellation of many multi- million rand business and tourism deals.
Haniff went on to say that the statement by the Home Affairs minister, Malusi Gigaba, that the new regulations were in the best interest of the nation of South Africa was not enough excuse for an inefficient policy. He went on to propose that the policy should be taken back to the parliamentary portfolio committee on home affairs in order to be debated fully. He further highlighted lack of definitions, omissions and lack of criteria as the areas of concern that were likely to cause serious misappropriation and abuse by the department and its officials. He further expressed concern about the cost of this to the nation, pointing out that this still needed to be reviewed.
Meanwhile, the department of Home Affairs has revealed that it has subcontracted the global company VFS Global to implement the new immigration rules which came into effect last month while at the same time tightening the country’s security. Minister Gigaba was speaking to journalists.
According to the minister, VFS Global is a specialist service provider for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide. The department, he added, had contracted the company to automate and run the application process, including the running of the call centre. This would be done through the eleven facilitation centers that had been set up country-wide. The minister explained that foreigners who needed to extend their visas for study or work for instance, would apply online and set up an appointment before visiting the nearest facilitation centre to submit their biometrics. The payment of handling and visa fees would be done electronically.
Malusi Gigaba went on to allay fears that the department was losing its grip on the whole immigration process by saying the decision to approve or reject an application was still vested with the department. He emphasized that the decision to subcontract these services had been necessitated by the need to improve efficiency and turnaround times. Furthermore, Gigaba informed the reporters that they had already set up such centers in its missions in Ghana, China, Kenya and Nigeria.
Back home, he divulged the information that the facilitation centers would be in each province, with Gauteng and the Western Cape having two centers each. Below is a list of cities where these centers will be found:
Eastern Cape – Port Elizabeth
Free State – Bloemfontein
Gauteng – Johannesburg and Pretoria
KwaZulu-Natal – Durban
Limpopo – Polokwane
Mpumalanga – Nelspruit
Northern Cape – Kimberly
North West – Rusternburg
Western Cape – Cape Town and George