Minister Pandor's statement to the Home Affairs weekly media briefing
Most interesting to our clients: comments below regarding the backlog on Permanent Residence and on ID applications
PRETORIA, 26 SEPTEMBER 2013
May I take this opportunity to thank members of the media for making time to attend our weekly media briefing. As we stated before these briefings provide both the Ministry of Home Affairs and the media with a platform to address issues that are of mutual concern.
Today's briefing will focus on four main issues: the UN High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development in New York, the Annual UN High Commission for Refugees, High Level meeting in Geneva, the invalidation of duplicate IDs, and the permanent residence permit backlog.
UN HIGH LEVEL DIALOGUE ON INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT
I will be leading the South African delegation to the UN High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, scheduled for 3-4 October 2013 in New York. The theme of this year's Dialogue is migration and development. There are four plenary sessions based on interactive round-table discussions dealing with the effects of international migration and sustainable development, measures to protect migrant human rights with particular reference to human trafficking, strengthening partnerships and international cooperation on migration, regional labour mobility and development.
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING OF THE UN HIGH COMMISSION FOR REFUGEES
Deputy Minister Fatima Chohan will lead a delegation to Geneva in Switzerland to attend the 64th Session of the Executive Committee meeting of the UNHCR scheduled for 30 September-04 October 2013.
INVALIDATION OF DUPLICATE IDs
We have decided to phase out duplicate and multiple IDs by the end of this year. We published the names of those affected in all major national and regional print media, calling upon them to approach Home Affairs offices across the country for assistance. We also worked with Trans-Union to trace those affected. Despite our efforts, few of those affected responded. We encourage those with duplicate (two people share an ID) or multiple (one person has more than one) IDs to use the sms number 32551 or ring the call centre-number 0800-601190 to check their status.
We will invalidate duplicate IDs by the 30 October 2013 and multiple IDs by 31 December 2013. In both cases we will again advertise the names of those affected in the main national newspapers and regional papers between October and December 2013. I understand that Lawyers for Human Rights has brought a court application to declare it "unlawful and unconstitutional to block any citizen's identity numbers without reason and giving them a chance to respond". I will oppose the application. I have indicated the efforts we have made to contact those affected before we invalidate identity numbers.
EFFORTS UNDERTAKEN TO DEAL WITH PERMANENT RESIDENCE PERMITS BACKLOG
Home Affairs has undertaken to adjudicate permanent residence permits within eight months. I have appointed 20 full time staff to focus solely on adjudicating permanent residence. This team is currently undergoing training and is expected to assume their duties from the 1 November 2013.
I have also established a permanent residence backlog project to clear 23 945 applications for permanent residence over three months. This backlog dates back to 2009. At the moment, the focus is on 2009/2010 applications, followed by 2011 applications and concluding with 2012/2013 applications.
In addition to this yearly prioritization we are also focusing on permanent residence categories that are of national economic importance like work, quota skills, extra-ordinary skills and business permits. We will still be attending to urgent cases based on their specific merits. In this connection, the departmental website will be updated with contact details of the project manager and how clients can get in touch with the project office.
Issued by Department of Home Affairs
IMCOSA - Immigration Consultants South Africa - Visa Services, Immigration Agents