Johannesburg – South African Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has set-up a committee to review all permits and visas issued since May 2004.
Addressing the media in Tshwane this week, the minister said the team would zero in on suspicious cases and deliver a report within three months.
All permanent residence permits, corporate permits (especially in the mining industry), study visas, work permits for professionals, citizen naturalisation and retirement visas issued since May 2004 will be examined.
“We want to pay attention to them, to see how they managed to obtain their permits,” Minister Motsoaledi said. “The committee will also identify loopholes in our system and recommend improvements. This committee is expected to present an interim report in three months. The three months’ period is not an indication of the lifespan of this committee, but this target communicates our desire for a speedy conclusion of the review because most of the information to be reviewed is already held within the Home Affairs Department.”
The minister said the department wanted to ensure permits were only issued to qualifying persons.
“Our immigration laws have to be implemented in a manner that facilitates economic development and encourages social stability. The expeditious and accurate issuance of these permits can contribute to growing the economy as we emerge from the impact of COVID-19.”
Earlier, Minister Motsoaledi told MPs that the department was drafting guidelines on the use of discretion in approving early naturalisation of applicants as instructed by the Public Protector.
He said this was to ensure that there was a uniform approach to exceptional circumstances such as granting the naturalisation to an investor who could help boost the economy, an academic or a sports star. He said the guidelines would be finalised by March 15.
The draft regulations will be published for public comment and Minister Motsoaledi wants final regulations gazetted by June.
Normally, a person is eligible for citizenship through naturalisation if they have held a permanent residence permit for at least five years, among other conditions.