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Concerns about parts of Home Affairs White Paper

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Business Unity South Africa (Busa) has expressed concerns about the potential difficulties that South African-born children of immigrants may face in acquiring citizenship under the recently released White Paper on Citizenship, Immigration, and Refugee Protection.

Busa’s Social Policy Manager Sanelisiwe Jantjies acknowledged the White Paper’s intentions to streamline South Africa’s immigration system but raised concerns about the proposed additions of exceptions to non-refoulement.

Jantjies also expressed apprehension about the administrative complexities and the ability of the Department of Home Affairs to implement the White Paper’s proposed drastic changes effectively.

The White Paper, published on November 10, 2023, outlines a comprehensive overhaul of immigration legislation, including repealing the Citizenship Act and the Births and Deaths Registration Act and introducing a unified piece of legislation encompassing citizenship, immigration, and refugee protection.

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Amongst its key proposals, the White Paper suggests a temporary withdrawal from international agreements such as the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, the 1967 UN Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa.

The White Paper aims to establish a framework for granting residency and citizenship to foreign nationals while safeguarding refugees and asylum seekers in South Africa. The Department of Home Affairs has invited public feedback on the White Paper, with written submissions expected by January 19, 2024.

The White Paper’s public consultation process provides an opportunity for stakeholders to address these concerns and ensure that the proposed changes align with the interests of all South Africans.

Mixed reactions to Home Affairs’ White Paper on Citizenship, Immigration and Refugee Protection:

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