Cape Town Carnival 2024 Promises a `Lekker` Time for All

During a vibrant media launch, the Cape Town Carnival provided a sneak peek into the upcoming festivities scheduled to commence on March 16, 2024, along the iconic Green Point Fan Walk. The Cape Town Carnival, a registered social impact initiative under the leadership of Professor Rachel Jafta from Stellenbosch University, showcased the diverse and creative contributions from over 1,000 performers across the province.

The media launch featured enthusiastic dancers portraying fantastical worlds, including a deep sea with mythical creatures, a landscape made of sweets, and vibrant scenes of feathers and fynbos. The theme for this year`s carnival, revealed by Jay Douwes, CEO of Cape Town Carnival, is `Lekker,` reflecting the light, fun, and diverse essence of Cape Town and South Africa.

Professor Rachel Jafta highlighted the multi-faceted impact of the Cape Town Carnival, emphasizing its contribution to the local economy and skills development. Jafta noted that beyond the economic aspects, the event fosters social cohesion, bringing communities together across diverse backgrounds.

Acting Mayor Eddie Andrews expressed the City of Cape Town`s pride in partnering with the Cape Town Carnival, recognizing its role in attracting investment and positioning Cape Town as a city of hope. Sibusiso Sakayi, a performance facilitator for the carnival, shared his journey from being a spectator to becoming a choreographer and performance facilitator, highlighting the transformative opportunities provided by the event.

Sponsored by various entities, including the Western Cape Government, City of Cape Town, KFM 94.5, Southern Sun, DSTV, MultiChoice, Naspers, and the National Department of Arts, Culture, and Sport, the Cape Town Carnival continues to be a celebration of diversity, culture, and creativity.

Gauteng High Court Rules in Favor of Motsoaledi on Detention of Illegal Immigrants

The Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg has ruled in favor of Home Affairs Minister Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi in response to an application by a group of illegal immigrants. The immigrants claimed that their detention at the Modderbee Correctional Services Centre in Benoni was unlawful and violated immigration and refugee acts.

The court found no basis for the argument, stating that the expression of intention to apply for asylum does not trigger the protections in section 2 of the Refugees Act 130 of 1998 section 21(1b) requirement to show good cause for illegal entry and stay in the country.

The application was brought by Thomas Godiso, Abi Osman Yusuf, and four others on an urgent basis. They sought to interdict the minister and other respondents from detaining, prosecuting, and deporting them until their status is lawfully and finally determined under the Refugees Act 2 as amended.

The applicants also sought declarators that their continuing detention is unlawful and, in terms of section 2 of the Refugees Act, they are entitled to remain lawfully in the Republic of South Africa until their applications for refugee status are finally determined.

Additionally, the applicants sought orders directing the minister and director-general of Home Affairs to accept their applications for asylum, issue them with temporary asylum seeker permits within 15 days, pending finalization of their asylum seeker applications.

Judge Dunstan Mlambo dismissed the application, ordering the applicants to pay costs for the amendment application. He directed the respondents to afford the applicants an opportunity, within 60 days, to show good cause in terms of section 21(1b) of the Refugees Act 130 of 1998.

The applicants, some from Ethiopia and Somalia, claimed persecution in their home countries due to their political and religious beliefs. Arrested in 2023, they argued that seeking refuge in South Africa was a result of persecution by Ethiopia's ruling party.

SA must clean up the mess Motsoaledi has made at home affairs

This particular mess was triggered by Aaron Motsoaledi’s failure to amend an unconstitutional law that allowed for the detention of irregular migrants for 120 days. 

Legal grievances against the South African department of home affairs, including contempt of court cases, are depressingly common. Too frequently, the minister has to apologise to a court or ask for more time on behalf of the department.

Most of the court cases involve the operations of the department regarding visas, and permits for foreign visitors, immigrants and prospective refugees.

Just a few months ago, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said, in legal papers: 

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere apology to the Chief Justice, all judges of the high court and Constitutional Court, the president of South Africa, minister of finance, Lawyers for Human Rights and its legal representatives and the people of South Africa for the mess created by officials of the department of home affairs.


This particular mess was triggered by the minister’s failure to amend an unconstitutional law that allowed for the detention of irregular migrants for 120 days.

The rotten state of the department is widely known. Two reports released in the last three years, commissioned by the minister and the presidency, and led by senior and seasoned individuals, set out the problems in detail. 

One, released in 2022, chronicled a backlog of visa, permit and status applications; evidence of fraudulent applications being first rejected, then accepted; and the illegal use of the system. The other found multiple failures in the provision of visas to senior business managers and experts.

The issue of migration policy and its implementation has never been more pressing for South Africa. Immigration has grown relatively rapidly in the past 20 years. The proportion of migrants to local people more than doubled from a relatively low level of 2.1% in 2000 to a moderate level of 4.8% in 2020, according to a study drawing on UN data.

The global average immigrant population is about 3.5%, but in countries such as the US (nearly 16% in 2019), Australia and New Zealand, it is much higher. Ivory Coast is the only country on the continent with a considerably higher percentage of immigrants than in South Africa.


Migration policy is likely to be a critical issue in South Africa’s forthcoming elections. A leading journalist has argued that 2024 will be an “immigration election”. Populist parties are expected to mobilise around people’s fears, while the government will continue to use immigration as an excuse for poor service delivery and joblessness.

The reality is that the impact of migrants on the circumstances of poor South Africans is marginal, and far less important than the very poor performance of the economy and many governmental institutions. 

In a paper just published, I examine the recent history of immigration policy in South Africa.

I argue that the challenges would best be addressed by improvement in the operations of the department of home affairs. This should be accompanied by some modernisation of migration law to encourage the use of regular migration channels and discourage irregularity.


The first of the two investigations initiated by the minister was headed by Cassius Lubisi, former secretary of the Cabinet. The second was headed by anti-apartheid struggle stalwart Mavuso Msimang.

Their main findings were as follows.

Fraudulent documentation was used in 36 647 applications for visas, permits or status over a 16-year period. Of these, 880 were approved and 288 were pending. Of the fraudulent applications, 4 160 were first rejected, and then accepted after reconsideration. 

Systems that had been replaced were still being used illegally from time to time. The outcomes of such activities were suspicious. In some cases, applications were processed in zero days. The investigation found visa expiry dates issued beyond the legal limit.

The department’s databases for naturalisation and population registration didn’t correlate with each other.

The list identifying undesirable immigrants was “fatally flawed due to incomplete and missing crucial data”.

In some cases, files had been inserted illegally into the information system. This process would require “a highly skilled IT user with administrator rights to execute”.

There were multiple cases of “forum-shopping” by applicants. This is when an applicant applies for a range of unrelated permits in the hope that one of them will get through.

The department did not have systems that could identify multiple applications by the same person.


The department of home affairs recently issued a draft white paper which it said was aimed at addressing the problems that had been identified.

It proposed severely curtailing the rights of prospective refugees, restricting paths to citizenship, and strengthening the Border Management Authority and supportive institutions.

But, based on my findings, it is clear that these changes won’t solve the problems. Experts show that tighter restrictions lead to greater illegality, not less migration. 

The most disappointing element of the draft white paper is that it makes no reference to recommendations made in the two reports on the problems at the department.

Recommendations of the reports included:

• Major investment in and reorganisation of information systems;

• The integration of the various population databases;

• Further forensic investigations to root out corruption; and

• Hiring and training staff with skills and integrity.

The draft white paper also does not mention the need to modernise the colonial-style bilateral labour agreements that South Africa maintains with five regional neighbours Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi and Botswana. These countries, and Zimbabwe, are the greatest source of regular and irregular migration.

These agreements are no longer fit for purpose. Firstly, they impose tight restrictions on the rights of contracted migrants from other countries. Secondly, they are based on patterns of migrant labour developed during the colonial period to support farming and mining. Thirdly, they’re based on an unequal relationship between countries of the southern African region.

Modern bilateral labour agreements have been developed. An example is the Canadian system. It provides for long-term arrangements with full labour and social rights for the duration of the multiyear contract, but no right to permanent residence for the workers or their families.

Modern Canadian-style migrant labour agreements would encourage more migrants to choose regular migration routes and fewer would try to evade or abuse the law.

The draft white paper gives the impression that the challenge of migration policy can be solved with tighter laws on refugees and citizenship. In fact, the fundamental problem is the corruption and inefficiency in the permits and visa section of the department, which the white paper hardly mentions. 

The unfortunate conclusion that can be drawn from a reading of the draft white paper is that it was designed primarily to give the ruling party a narrative for the upcoming election, rather than to reform the migration governance regime.

Weak rand a tourist magnet, as their dollars and pounds go much further than back home

The rand may have lost value against foreign currencies, but this makes South Africa an attractive tourist destination 

It`s probably not the prospect of cheap cappuccino in South Africa that attracts foreign tourists here, but it`s obviously welcome if your foreign currency gets you further.

Mary Curtis, a strategist, and Andrea Masia, a senior economist, both associated with RMB Morgan Stanley. said:

Consumers can easily drink three cappuccinos in South Africa for the price of one in America. You can also spend four nights in a Cape Town hotel for the same price as one night in London

`In the bigger picture, the low relative prices of goods and services in South Africa are just another example of the value in South African assets.`

The affordability of goods and services for foreigners gives South Africa an unexpected advantage over peer countries, they write in a note to clients.

According to Curtis and Masia, the weakening of the rand against the major currencies, together with moderate inflation in South Africa in comparison with other countries, means that the relative prices of local goods and services are cheaper than elsewhere. These price differences support foreign tourism.

In the past year, the rand has weakened by around 9% against the US dollar and the euro, and by almost 12% against the British pound

Statistics South Africa`s (Stats SA) latest figures show that almost 98% of tourists who visited South Africa in December were here for holiday. This definition refers to holidaymakers and tourists who come for shopping, other personal reasons and visiting friends and family.

Business travellers made up 1.9% of the total, students 0.2% and people coming to South Africa for medical treatment only 0.1%.

In the fourth quarter of 2023, 18% more overseas tourists visited South Africa than in the fourth quarter of 2022

SSA says the tourism industry is recovering after Covid-19.

Between January and November 2023, visitors from overseas rose by 47% on an annual basis. Most of these visitors were from Europe (especially Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and France). Almost 40% more Americans visited South Africa than in the first eleven months of 2022, and 72% more tourists from Asia.

In December 2023, 3.5 million visitors passed through the country`s border posts (entry and exit), compared to 2.6 million in November 2023. This is also higher than the 2.9 million in December 2022.

Lara Hodes, an economist from Investec, says in a note that the local tourism industry is also doing better.

According to Stats SA`s figures, the income from local tourist accommodation in November was 15% higher on an annual basis (without the effects of inflation) after it was also 11% higher in October than the previous October

This November income of R2.7 billion is slightly less than in November 2018 and 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Relief for over 700,000 citizens as high court declares ID blocking by Home Affairs unconstitutional

The Gauteng High Court handed down a landmark judgement on Tuesday, 16 January, declaring the Department of Home Affairs’ practice of blocking IDs unjust and inconsistent with the South African constitution. (Photo: Deaan Viviers / Gallo Images / Foto24) 

The Department of Home Affairs is no longer allowed to block South African IDs arbitrarily, cutting citizens and residents off from essential services, following a landmark judgment from the Gauteng high court. Lawyers for Human Rights has welcome the ruling. 

In a landmark judgment that has been years in the making, the Gauteng high court in Pretoria has declared that the Department of Home Affairs’ (DHA) practice of blocking South African IDs is an unjust and irregular administrative action that is inconsistent with the South African Constitution.

This comes after Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Directer-General Livhuwani Makhode were taken to task by affected permanent resident and Civil Society organisations Lawyers For Human Rights, Legal Wise South Africa and the Children’s Institute, after the department went on a widespread campaign to block IDs it deemed suspicious and fraudulent. 

The application was initially brought forward by Eswatini citizen Phindile Mazibuko, who has lived in South Africa since 1998 but had her ID blocked by Home Affairs and was under threat of having her permanent residency revoked. Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) and Legal Wise South Africa applied to be joined as an applicant in the matter as a matter of public interest and to have their client’s IDs unblocked, while the Children’s Institute was admitted as a friend of the court.

The applicants argued that the practice of blocking IDs was unconstitutional because it left the affected parties in a state of statelessness. Perhaps perfectly summed up in LHR’s founding affidavit, the organisation argued that the blocking of IDs effectively prevents those affected from engaging with the world.

The civil society organisation argued, “They become ghosts in the system they cannot obtain passports and travel, they cannot access education and healthcare, they cannot open or access bank accounts.”

The consequences of the practice extend far beyond the affected adults, hindering the quality of life of children whose parents had their IDs blocked.

DHA ID blocking campaign

The issue dates back to May 2012 when DHA went on a drive to address the issue of duplicate IDs on the National Population Register. What started out as 29,000 identity documents having markers placed against them quickly escalated to over 1 million by 2020.

At the time when the application was heard, DHA had unblocked 1.8 million IDs. However, over 700,000 remained blocked.

The department framed the practice as an administrative tool that was necessary to maintain the accuracy and integrity of the National Population Register and combat suspected fraud and manipulation.

However, Lawyers for Human Rights condemned the practice, claiming that ID blocking had become increasingly arbitrary, with criteria that seemed subjective and discriminatory. DHA’s reasons for blocking identity documents included the shape of inoculation marks, records of frequent cross-border travel, alleged deportation records, inability to speak a specific local language, bearing a foreign-sounding name or having a parent or spouse of foreign decent.

Another point of contention was that the DHA did not follow fair administrative processes before blocking IDs. Many of the IDs had markers placed against them which resulted in the documents being blocked without prior notice to the affected individuals depriving them of the opportunity to plead their case and provide information before being blocked by the DHA. 

Blocking IDs declared unconstitutional

In passing down the judgement, High Court Judge Elmarie van der Schyff said that the Director General had a responsibility to protect the integrity of the national population register by “placing a marker” against any suspicious ID. However, Judge van der Schyff added that doing so without following just administrative procedure was mischief.

Judge Van der Schyff said that a mere suspicion that an ID document was fraudulent did not justify placing a marker on it and blocking an ID unless it is authorised through a court order, adding that the DHA jumped the gun.

In an answering affidavit, the DHA conceded that the IDs were blocked without a fair and just administrative process, admitting that it was inconsistent with the Constitution. It informed the court that it had developed a procedurally fair and transparent system that has since been implemented. However, the system still entails the placing of markers or blocking of IDs.

DHA has been ordered to determine whether unblocking the ID documents currently blocked will constitute a security risk and determine the status of Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Wise clients within 90 days. The declaration has been suspended for 12 months, giving the DHA time to comply with the order. 

‘A first step’ says Lawyers for Human Rights

Touching on the Constitutional Court’s emphases that the systematic act of stripping millions of black South Africans of their citizenship was one of the most pernicious policies of the apartheid regime, which left many as foreigners in the land of [their] birth, Lawyers for Human Rights welcomed the ruling.

Speaking to Daily Maverick, LHR’s Legal Consultant for Statelessness, Palesa Maloisane, said: “LHR is happy that the court has agreed to order the DHA to ensure a just and fair process that is in line with the Constitution and the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, particularly because ID blocking can result in statelessness as it effectively strips affected individuals of their citizenship and dignity.”

Maloisane added that the organisation hoped that the judgment would be seriously considered by the department and inform the swift resolution to LHR’s client’s cases, particularly when children are involved.

“The case is a great success and first step in enabling all those affected to begin getting their lives and dignity as citizens back. Many clients have waited patiently for a resolution and will hopefully have the opportunity to access services that are crucial to citizenship and part of their daily lives,” Maloisane said.