Home Affairs on African People First statement on immigration

Department of Home Affairs clarifies any confusion that may have been caused by the statement issued by the African People First organisation

The Department of Home Affairs has been made aware of a media statement doing the rounds on social media about a meeting the Minister held with representatives of the African People First which purports to communicate the outcomes of that meeting.

To set the record straight, the Minister did meet the representatives of the African People First, at their own request. In the normal course of his work, the Minister does honour requests for meetings, for one reason or the other, from various individuals, institutions and organisations that request to meet with him. He honours the requests only if they are appropriate.

In this instance, the Minister has neither appointed nor delegated the African People First to speak on his behalf.

In that meeting, the Minister outlined the general provisions of the Citizenship Act of 1995, the Refugee Act of 1998 and the Immigration Act of 2002. The Minister further outlined the international conventions and protocols on refugees and asylum seekers which South Africa has ratified.

The Minister did not prescribe any special route for any group of migrants but was outlining the general provisions in the laws highlighted above.

Immigration laws of the country apply to everyone equally. There are no alternative pathways to citizenship. All applicants must meet all the requirements applicable to the permit they are applying for.

Any migrant who has applied for an extension of their permit is issued with a receipt whose authenticity can be verified by officials in the Inspectorate Unit of the Department. Authentic receipts give the holders a legal right to be in the country, pending the finalisation of their application.

To ensure that immigrants have access to services that help them to legalise their stay in the country, the Department has five Refugee Reception Centres where they can apply. Some of these centres have self-help kiosks which means that applicants can apply for the extensions themselves without requiring assistances of officials. There is also an online service for the renewal of permits for qualifying applicants.

On the issue of children born of migrant parents, who when they turn the age of majority in South Africa (18), can apply for citizenship, the Minister was just outlining the outcome of a court ruling to that effect.

When reading the contents of the African People First statement, the Department is worried they could easily be misconstrued as the Minister entering into some special arrangement with a particular grouping of people.

There is no such. All applicants must meet the conditions of the permit they are applying for in full.

Source: Government of South Africa

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