The South African Minister of Home Affairs, Maulsi Gigaba has since the inception of his term in office been a mover and a shaker. While some insist his strict new immigration policies will affect the country, specifically the tourism sector, negatively, the fact is, 6 months down the line there has been no evidence to substantiate these fears.
Recently a survey leaked to the press which revealed some very damning information, but this is – at best – a possible case scenario and only time would really tell. But Gigaba anticipated teething problems and have since the inception of the new regulations been confident in the fact that, “people will accept it when they get used to it,” as he has said in various press statements since June this year.
In October Gigaba said to SAfm that his department is in the process of improving the service of issuing correct and relevant documents to asylum seekers and catering for their children. This is in many respects one of the most progressive moves from an African country especially when it is considered that Australia is under constant criticism for being unable to come up with a humane asylum policy especially in terms of the treatment of children of asylum seekers.
Protecting South Africa’s children is also a priority for Gigaba who said that unabridged birth certificates is one of the few measures put in place to protect children. Children will forthwith be unable to travel with adults unless that adult can produce an unabridged birth certificate as evidence of his or her relationship to the child. This would mean that only the parents / guardians of a child will be allowed to take a child over our country borders, delivering a death-blow to child smugglers in and outside the South African borders.
Gigaba’s notable drives, while in the ministerial seat, is to ensure a shake-up on service delivery at the Department of Home Affairs offices across the country and to ensure that every South African and person living in the country is correctly and legally documented.
This started when he negotiated the New Special Permits for Zimbabweans. In a massive undertaking to re-issue 250,000 Zimbabweans with new legal South African permits so that they can continue to live and work in the country, Gigaba has turned to technology to speed-up and simplify applications for the new permit.
Zimbabweans are spared long time consuming queues and extensive travelling to get their paperwork in order. A first of its kind on-line permit application service was spearheaded by the man himself.
Gigaba continues to closely monitor this system and have reacted humanly to suggestions and requests to allow Zimbabweans who had in 2009 applied for their Special Dispensation Visas but was not processed timeously to also log their applications for the new permits.
Gigaba might be in the unenviable position of turning a falling Department od Home Affairs on its head, but it is believed that his policies will protect South Africans and migrants alike.