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As for Home Affairs, it seems that former Minister Malusi Gigaba and his Director-General Mkuseli Apleni’s departure has left DHA in a shambles. None of the visa exemptions for citizens of various countries, which Gigaba had announced as being negotiated, have been granted, appallingly irregular rejections are on the rise, and processing times are inconsistent. No decisive signals have come from Minister Siyabonga Cwele who took over from Gigaba late last year. There is indecisiveness on the big issues such as the White Paper on Migration and the amendments to the critical skills list, side shows like whether the Guptas should have received citizenship or not are making the news, and the general sense is that everyone is lying low until the elections.

Yet again, migration and illegal immigration are used by the major parties for electioneering purposes by being punted as the causes for unemployment and poor service delivery in the country. Again, this narrative results in xenophobic (or rather, Afrophobic) discourse, violence and deaths. I have lamented politicians’ irresponsible behavior here before, and I might include in my criticism the media and those within the general public as far as they ignore or downplay those who defend foreign nationals and their value to this country. By continuing to hype catchy and emotive phrases,  they perpetuate stereotypes. May we all look out for the people in our lives who come from other parts of Africa, and may we counter the prejudice and stigma wherever we can. And may economic indicators recover this year to allow job creation to ease the social pressure that leads to this unrest.

Read on to find out more about current immigration topics, and give us a shout if we can assist with any visa or immigration matters.

Julia Willand