Immigration Bill: deliberations

Home Affairs

29 October 2001
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HOME AFFAIRS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
30 October 2001
IMMIGRATION BILL: DELIBERATIONS

Chairperson: Mr Mokoena (ANC)

Relevant Documents:
Immigration Bill [B79-2001]
October 29, 2001 Letter from Chairman to Minister (See Appendix)
October 29, 2001 Letter from Film and Publication Board to Chairman
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SUMMARY
The Chair provided details for the planned Committee study tour from November 4-7.

The Minister's letter detailing problems with the Director General's contract and performance was discussed. The Chair outlined the Committee's decision to refer the contract issue to the Public Service Commission, and its intention to tread carefully concerning other matters. The letter from the Film and Publication Board, and indicated that time would be made for its requested opportunity to address the Committee.

Consideration of the Immigration Bill continued with the reading of the bill.

MINUTES
Committee Study Tour
The visit to Messina scheduled for November 5 will examine the situation of Zimbabwean farm workers in the Northern Province. Visits to two Department offices in Johannesburg will take place on November 6 followed by a visit to Department headquarters in Pretoria on November 6 and 7. Nine members indicated their intended participation in all or part these activities, The Chair chastised a UDM member for her unavailability due to other parliamentary commitments, commenting that this Committee must have a practical understanding of conditions in the field in order to properly exercise its oversight function

Immigration Bill
Objectives and structures of Migration Control
Clause 33(3): Regulation Making
It was noted that the Minister chairs the Immigration Board, but the Board makes recommendations to the Minister, which an ANC member found confusing.

Enforcement and Monitoring
Clause 36: Investigations
Questions were raised as to who the "commissioners" comprising the "investigative unit" would be, and the criteria for their selection by the Minister.

In Clauses 36(7) and (9)(b) the Chair noted that the provisions specifying that warrants cannot be executed at night without specific authorization by a magistrate could lead to problems with the destruction of evidence. It was also noted that Clause 36(9)(a) provides large discretion in the "good faith" conduct of warrantless searches, and that the reference is Clause 36(11) should be to "item", rather than "thing".

Mr Chikane (ANC) stated that the constitutionality of the investigative search and seizure provisions should be confirmed.

Clause 37: Deportation and Detention of Illegal Foreigners
Mr Chikane commented that the deportation provisions of Clause 37 provide broad powers to "officers", whose selection and training should be specified to ensure that minimum professional standards are observed.

The Chair agreed, and suggested that Safety and Security officials be consulted in this regard. It was also noted the Clause 37(3) bonding procedure, and the fine called for in Clause 37(5), should be scrutinized.

Clause 38: Ships
Mr Skosana (ANC) requested that "stowaway" be specifically defined.

Immigration Courts
Clause 40: Immigration Court
The Chair suggested that the Justice Committee be consulted to confirm the consistency and legality of the proposed provisions concerning creation of these specialized courts, including the provisions concerning selection of magistrates to serve on them.

Duties and Obligations
Clause 41: Employers
Mr Grobler (DP) noted the evidentiary difficulty of applying "good faith" concepts to employer sanctions. The Chair also observed that Clause 41(5) appeared too broad concerning sanctions for the presence of illegal foreigners on business premises.

Clause 42: Learning institutions
The Chair repeated his comment concerning Clause 41(5), noting that responsibility for the presence of illegal foreigners might be better placed on institutions, rather than on individual personnel such as university lecturers.

Clause 43: Overnight accommodation
The Chair was similarly concerned with the practical effect of creating broad duties for innkeepers, and granting immigration officials rights of scrutiny and the power to prosecute for "harbouring" illegal foreigners.

It was noted that consideration of the Bill would continue at the October 31 Committee meeting. The meeting was adjourned.

Appendix
Letter from Chairman to Minister October 29, 2001


THE STATUS OF THE EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT OF THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF HOME AFFAIRS, MR B L MASETLHA AND YOUR COMPLAINTS ABOUT HIM

1. Thank you for your letter of 22 October 2001 wherein you listed 64 complaints about the Director-General.

2. The Committee notes the contents of the letter.

3. Evidently, there are two separate issues, viz.
3.1 The status of the employment contract of Mr Masetlha; and
3.2 Your complaints about your work relationship with him.

4. The Portfolio Committee has decided to separate the issues and eschew muddying the waters.

5. The robust deliberations amongst the Committee members culminated in the report being tabled to the National Assembly and I am pleased to attach the ATC to this effect for your facile reference.

6. We will await the Parliamentary process as enshrined in point 5 above.

Yours faithfully

Aubrey Mokoena
Chairperson: Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs


 

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