New broom to sweep clean at Home Affairs


South Africa Minister of Home Affairs, Leon Schreiber

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – SOUTH Africa’s new minister of Home Affairs faces an uphill challenge in clearing a visa and permit application backlog.

Minister Leon Schreiber’s appointment in the coalition government coincides with the June 30 deadline, which left applicants vulnerable to adverse consequences, including erroneously being declared “undesirable”.

In his first act as minister, Schreiber has immediately extended the concession to safeguard foreign skilled workers, tourists and other people affected by visa processing delays at Home Affairs, which has also been riddled by corruption allegations.

The concession now runs until December 31, 2024.

“Without this concession, international tourists and workers who contribute to our economy would have been punished if their documentation expired while they awaited the outcome of Home Affairs processes,” Schreiber stated.

He said this would not be “unfair” and “irrational” and would discourage investment, tourism and skills transfer.

“Under the concession I granted today, this situation is averted and applicants, businesses and other stakeholders are protected while Home Affairs tackles the backlog of visa applications,” Schreiber said.

The minister believes clearing the backlog is an urgent priority.

In a further signal of a commitment to reinvigorate Home Affairs as an economic enabler for South Africa, Schreiber has pledged there will not be any repeat of the current situation where the concession expires before an extension is announced.

“Together, the Home Affairs team will work hard to restore your trust and build South Africa,” Schreiber said.

The backlog piled under the previous minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, who has been reshuffled to Health.

His time at Home Affairs will be remembered for the legal battles with human rights organisations, mostly over the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP), including Lesotho.

Hundreds of thousands from the troubled neighbouring country are holders of the permit that was introduced in 2009.

– CAJ News

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