UAE Eastern Cape landing: Many unanswered questions for Minister Motsoaledi

Issued by Angel Khanyile MP – DA Shadow Minister of Home Affairs
24 Apr 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Angel Khanyile MP.

The Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, should, in compliance with the Immigration Act of 2002 and the Border Management Authority Act of 2020, provide evidentiary proof that he complied with the law in designating Bhisho Airport, in the Eastern Cape, as a temporary port of entry to facilitate inbound immigration entry to the UAE President and his 500 guests.

While section 9(A) of the Immigration Act of 2002 gives the Minister authority, in the prescribed manner, to “…designate any place in the Republic, which complies with the prescribed requirements, where all persons have to report before they may enter, sojourn or remain within, or depart from, the Republic.”,  section 30(3) of the Border Management Authority requires that the “The Minister must, prior to an approval… publish a notice in the Gazette for public comments for a period of not less than 30 days”.

After we failed to find a notice, either on the Department of Home Affairs website or on the online government gazette, listing his intention to designate Bhisho Airport as a temporary international port of entry, the DA is now calling for Motsoaledi to provide proof thereof. The failure to locate this gazette may potentially create the risk of his declaratory letter to Eastern Cape Premier, invalid and of no force in law – requiring that it be withdrawn immediately and the ‘temporary port of entry’ authorization voided.

In addition to providing documentary proof on the designation, Motsoaledi must provide answers on whether the 500 guests who were accompanying the UAE President had the requisite visas and were cleared by immigration officials to enter the republic. The immigration status of the guests needs to be verified and confirmed to ascertain if they are in the country legally.

Even though the Minister has the authority to designate any place in the Republic for entry, any place so designated must still have all the requisite government agencies to ensure that all requisite clearances are granted before access is given. To this end, the Minister must prove that he complied with section 36(2) of the immigration act which requires that he receives delegations from SARS, SAPS and Defence to ‘control the movement of people or goods across’ the supposed temporary port of entry at Bhisho airport.

South Africa cannot compromise its laws to pander to anyone who pays the right price to gain access to the country. A few years ago, the country’s national security was compromised when a Gupta family plane was allowed to land at Waterkloof Airforce base. Lawlessness becomes the order of the day when money becomes the currency to violate South African law.