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Nzinga Qunta – ANN7 presenter:
Okay. I’m going to bring Craig Smith, who’s an immigration attorney back into the discussion. Craig thanks so much for your time on ANN7 Prime. Your reaction to these regulations?

Craig Smith – Immigration Lawyer:
Well I’ve never really been a big fan of those regulations, the 26th of May and I want to comment on the Director General’s comment about China and unabridged birth certificates and the drop in tourism. The drop in tourism actually relates to the new regulations which requires Chinese people to go in person to either Shanghai or Beijing, which could be a thousand kilometers away and apply for a visa. That is a principle issue of the drop in Asian tourism. I just want to go back and comment on a couple of points. Consultation, so the Director General raised act of Parliament and the Parliamentary process. This has nothing to do with that. This pertains to regulation six-twelve of the regulation which allows the Minister to promulgate regulation of the stakeholder intervention. As far as I’m concerned, an immigration advisory board has been defunct for over a year and I don’t therefore understand what consultation would have come the way of the immigration advisory board and stakeholder intervention. So I am concerned whether the Department has done its homework whether the cost of tourism versus the one person that may be subject to a child kidnapping. We are not a country that is flagged as a high-risk trafficking country, and this was reported in the US in May 2013 report on child trafficking. And notwithstanding that, our requirement for the birth certificates now are the most onerous anywhere in the world based on other comparative with the US, with Canada, with Brazil and Australia. So I do think we are missing a trick here, and I think that there should be a lot of importance and significance attached to what the tourism industry is saying, because the immigration act wants to encourage foreigners to come to South Africa, spend their money and contribute towards our economy. And I think our immigration laws are becoming more and more restrictive, which is a bit of a turn-off for the foreigners, and the reality is the proof will be in the pudding over the next couple of years if nothing is done.

Nzinga Qunta – ANN7 presenter:
Craig you’re speaking about foreigners and how perhaps tighter and stricter regulations are making it off-putting for them. How do we balance that with a need for a safer South Africa, South Africa which is off-putting to people who mayhaps have criminal intentions to come here?

Craig Smith – Immigration Lawyer:
Okay, it would then be incumbent on the Department to demonstrate the research, to show what the minutes were in the immigration advisory board meeting. This board is critical to informing immigration and policy makers. now if the Minister or the Director General was able to demonstrate scientifically that we have lost track in terms of human trafficking, and that we are now a CS3 country, synonymous with the Chinese and a few other countries, Uzbekistan, Libya, and North Korea, since we suddenly have relegated ourselves, by all means the Minister or the Director General could stand up and say we have scientific evidence that we are losing track. But to argue the point we have one child kidnapping is too many, but in an absolute breakdown of the tourism industry, and negative sentiment towards foreigners who see our immigration laws as restrictive, I don’t think that’s in our best interests, interests of our country, and I think that’s contrary to what the immigration laws want to see.

Nzinga Qunta – ANN7 presenter:
Thank you very much. Mkuseli Apleni, Director General for the Department of Home Affairs joining me in the studio, and via Skype Craig Smith who is an immigration attorney.

Nzinga Qunta – ANN7 presenter:
Joining me in studio is Mkuseli Apleni, he’s the Director General for the Department of Home Affairs. Thanks so much for your time on ANN7 Prime. Why the need for these regulations that are being introduced?

Mkuseli Apleni – Director General of DHA:
Well as we said in our statement, that we are implementing these regulations to make sure that children of South Africa and as well as the rest of the world are protected who want to come into South Africa or leave South Africa.

Nzinga Qunta – ANN7 presenter:
How much consultation did the Department of Home Affairs do with different stakeholders and interested parties before implementing these regulations?

Mkuseli Apleni – Director General of DHA:
Well I think it’s important for people to understand that a legislative process is not the responsibility of the Department of Home Affairs. We are to prepare a bill, and we go through the Cabinet which has got various ministers of various sectors, and then thereafter we take that bill to Parliament. And then Parliament has got a responsibility towards their representative of the people of South Africa to conduct public hearings. And then after that you put all those judgments, when a government does that, so that everyone who’s got an interest can have an access and be consulted. So there’s that consultation at that level which was done before the act was passed.

Then thereafter as a department you have to draw the regulations themselves. Even those regulations, you need to publish them through a government gazette so that everyone has gotten access, and there were public comments which were received and considered. Then after that, we did enact through the Minister of Home Affairs, we met with various stakeholders concerned, and then based on that then there were certain things which we agreed to change. There are other things which we are not able to change because of the, what were the papers for us to make those changes in the first place.

Nzinga Qunta – ANN7 presenter:
How much training have people been given in order to deal with the new rules and regulations that are going to be implemented on the first of June?

Mkuseli Apleni – Director General of DHA:
You’ll recall that these regulations should have been implemented on the twenty sixth of May, 2014. Now is the twenty eight of May, it’s one year later. So we’ve been engaged in training and developing standard operating procedures, and changing them here and there based on what the people have been advising us, and also on our side to make sure that we deal with any backlog which we have so that people are able to get these documents in time by changing the systems.

Nzinga Qunta – ANN7 presenter:
For more discussion I’m also joined via Skype by Craig Smith. He’s an immigration attorney from Cape Town. Thanks for your time on ANN7 Prime. Your reaction to the new regulations.

Craig Smith – Immigration Lawyer:
Well, the Director General’s … the regulations … for twenty eight, sixth of May last year, however he does raise … legislative process . The very cornerstone of law is causing … lack of … information. It’s not an act of Parliament, it’s a piece of…

Nzinga Qunta – ANN7 presenter:
Mr. Smith perhaps I’ll ask you to hold that thought, we’re going to try and make sure that your sound is a little bit better, then we can continue this three-way discussion that we’d like to have on these new regulations. Perhaps you can advise me: what happens to people who travel after the first, and they don’t have an unabridged birth certificate for their child? And are there any other things that they need?

Mkuseli Apleni – Director General of DHA:
Firstly this is the law of the country. You cannot travel if you do not have a passport. So then if you do not have an unabridged birth certificate, that’s your own choice. Surely, you won’t be able to travel. However, if there’s apparent you applied for an unabridged birth certificate which our standard norm is that it must take between six and eight weeks, and we are over that eight weeks, we will be able to as a department to issue a document which will be confirming you are the parents of this child. And then you will be allowed to travel.

Nzinga Qunta – ANN7 presenter:
What happens to people who are coming into South Africa from outside, perhaps the United States, France, do they also need to have an unabridged birth certificate, or is it a regulation for South Africans only?

Mkuseli Apleni – Director General of DHA:
Well, how we deal with the countries abroad is that firstly there are countries which are visa-exempt. It means if you are visa-exempt you only need to have your passport to come to South Africa. There are countries which are not. Those have to apply for a visa, and thereafter then they come to South Africa. So if you are coming from a country where you need to have a visa, at the point of applying for that visa, you will be submitting your unabridged birth certificate. Therefore you are not required to bring that unabridged birth certificate. Which those countries, some of them is like your China, which now people are going around and saying tourism will be affected because China numbers are dropping. But the question is: what is the affect of the unabridged birth certificate? Because in that instance you are not required as a Chinese to come to South Africa with an unabridged birth certificate which you have already submitted when applying for your visa. And the issue of visas have been implemented with China ever since we have gone back to democracy South Africa. They will always have to come up with a visa. Then if you are coming from a country which is not required for a visa like the UK or USA, you need to bring an unabridged birth certificate, which anyway it is the same. If a South African is to go to UK, he is to bring an unabridged birth certificate, but at the time of applying, because we are also not visa exempt in UK.

Nzinga Qunta – ANN7 presenter:
The reaction, and you’ve touched on it a little bit, but it specifically from the tourism industry has been quite negative towards these regulations and having to have your unabridged birth certificate as a child. Coming up with number, things that I think are lost, sixty six thousand foreign tourists last year in May to December, due to changes in immigration regulations, and saying that the total direct, indirect and induced impact on the South African economy is negative two point six billion, and a loss of five thousand eight hundred jobs.

Mkuseli Apleni – Director General of DHA:
Well we are getting this comment from the tourism industry, but I’ve not yet got one on the business, what are the comments of the parents whose children must be protected? Because no South African have come to us as Home Affairs and say it seems as if you are worrying too much, because in one of the interactions that I had people are saying yes, there is a child trafficking, but it is not at alarming rate. Then for us as Home Affairs one child kidnapped is too many. But if we come to that we are saying, as we saw there will be an impact which is not only caused by the unabridged birth certificate. That’s why we are not understanding. When people are quoting countries like India, like China, like Russia, because those countries, they don’t need an unabridged birth certificate to come to South Africa. So what is the impact? At the center we have done the study to look at how other countries are doing. All the countries have got an unabridged birth certificate. Malawi, South Africa, Botswana, all the countries in the world they showed us a specimen. We have not yet come across any country that says I do not have an unabridged birth certificate. But when people are travelling to US, they are travelling to UK, they do produce unabridged birth certificate when they are applying to those visas. So why it becomes a problem now, because of South Africa?

Nzinga Qunta – ANN7 presenter:
Why do you think it is important?

Mkuseli Apleni – Director General of DHA:
Well what I think is because of problems, people have various interests which I think is important for us to protect this country. We do not want to be a hive of criminals at the same time, but South Africa there was an article by one of the studies to say we have improved our level of tourism in the country because the more you improve your security, is then that people come to a country. But if you get bombed, what are you going to get tourism if you are like that?

Nzinga Qunta – ANN7 presenter:
Okay. I’m going to bring Craig Smith, who’s an immigration attorney back into the discussion. Craig thanks so much for your time on ANN7 Prime. Your reaction to these regulations?

Craig Smith – Immigration Lawyer:
Well I’ve never really been a fan of those regulations, the twenty sixth of May and I want to comment on the Director General’s comment about China and unabridged birth certificates and the drop in tourism. The drop in tourism actually relates to the new regulations which requires Chinese people to go in person to either Shanghai or Beijing, which could be a thousand kilometers away and apply for a visa. That is a principle issue of the drop in Asian tourism. I just want to go back and comment on a couple of points. Consultation, so the Director General raised act of Parliament and the Parliamentary process. This has nothing to do with that. This pertains to regulation six-twelve of the regulation which allows the Minister to promulgate regulation of the stakeholder intervention. As far as I’m concerned, an immigration advisory board has been defunct for over a year and I don’t therefore understand what consultation would have come the way of the immigration advisory board and stakeholder intervention. So I am concerned whether the Department has done its homework whether the cost of tourism versus the one person that may be subject to a child kidnapping. We are not a country that is flagged as a high-risk trafficking country, and this was reported in the US in May 2013 report on child trafficking. And notwithstanding that, our requirement for the birth certificates now are the most onerous anywhere in the world based on other comparative with the US, with Canada, with Brazil and Australia. So I do think we are missing a trick here, and I think that there should be a lot of importance and significance attached to what the tourism industry is saying, because the immigration act wants to encourage foreigners to come to South Africa, spend their money and contribute towards our economy. And I think our immigration laws are becoming more and more restrictive, which is a bit of a turn-off for the foreigners, and the reality is the proof will be in the pudding over the next couple of years if nothing is done.

Nzinga Qunta – ANN7 presenter:
Craig you’re speaking about foreigners and how perhaps tighter and stricter regulations are making it off-putting for them. How do we balance that with a need for a safer South Africa, South Africa which is off-putting to people who mayhaps have criminal intentions to come here?

Craig Smith – Immigration Lawyer:
Okay, it would then be incumbent on the Department to demonstrate the research, to show what the minutes were in the immigration advisory board meeting. This board is critical to informing immigration and policy makers. now if the Minister or the Director General was able to demonstrate scientifically that we have lost track in terms of human trafficking, and that we are now a CS3 country, synonymous with the Chinese and a few other countries, Uzbekistan, Libya, and North Korea, since we suddenly have relegated ourselves, by all means the Minister or the Director General could stand up and say we have scientific evidence that we are losing track. But to argue the point we have one child kidnapping is too many, but in an absolute breakdown of the tourism industry, and negative sentiment towards foreigners who see our immigration laws as restrictive, I don’t think that’s in our best interests, interests of our country, and I think that’s contrary to what the immigration laws want to see.

Nzinga Qunta – ANN7 presenter:
Thank you very much. Mkuseli Apleni, Director General for the Department of Home Affairs joining me in the studio, and via Skype Craig Smith who is an immigration attorney.

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