LRC Speaks Out on Economic Migrants Difficulties

19 November 2008

On 20 November 2008, an urgent application will be made to review the failure of the Minister of Home Affairs to determine Zwelani Ncube’s internal appeal against her Director-General’s refusal of his application for a work permit in the Eastern Cape High Court.

A Zimbabwean national, Mr Ncube was offered a job teaching English by Molteno High School in the Eastern Cape in November 2007 and was immediately informed that he needed to obtain a work permit.  Despite his sustained attempts to do so, the Queenstown Home Affairs office refused to process his application until September 2008, and then denied it anyway.  Thereafter he applied for an internal appeal by the Minister, which was basically ignored.

‘This is disgraceful’, said Sarah Sephton, his instructing attorney from the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), Grahamstown. ‘Mr Ncube has done everything in his power to obtain a work permit and cooperate with government officials. The treatment meted out to him is unconstitutional, and is similar to that faced by many migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in South Africa.’

Mr Ncube has endured long waiting periods at the Home Affairs office in Queenstown, countless unanswered and unreturned phone calls, has had his passport confiscated, paid for an unnecessary extension of his visa, and was formally charged with misconduct twice though the charges have consistently been withdrawn by the public prosecutor. He has also suffered the indignity of not being able to support himself and his family in Zimbabwe because he is without any financial means.

Mr Ncube assisted by the LRC will ask the court for the following:
 

  • For the Director-General to issue Mr Ncube with a work permit in terms of the Immigration Act 13 of 2002 (the Immigration Act).
    Or
  • For the Minister to decide on Mr Ncube’s internal appeal on or before 27 November 2008.
  • As well as for all the respondents to jointly and severally pay compensation to Mr Ncube in the amount of R16 325 for the transport costs to and from the Home Affairs Office in Queenstown (a one and half hour long journey) and lunch each time, the extension of his visa, and his lost wages.

The application is made in terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act 3 of 2000 (PAJA).

For further information please contact the Legal Resources Centre:

Adelline Malema
Communications Officer
0118386601
0741871362
adelline@lrc.org.za

Sarah Sephton
Attorney
0466229230
0834107646
sarah@lrc.org.za

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Date published: 
Wednesday, 19 November, 2008
Defined tags: 
Issued by: 
Legal Resources Centre
Organisation: 
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