Mkuseli Apleni, director-general of South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs, has submitted his resignation. He is scheduled to leave the department at the end of July.

Key points:

  • Apleni played a key role in shaping a number of immigration policies in recent years, including the development of a white paper in 2017 that called for a points-based system for work permits and a national training scheme.
  • Malusi Gigaba, the Home Affairs minister, announced the resignation Monday, saying DHA remains committed to “taking to their logical completion” the key projects “that were unfolding with Mr. Apleni as (director-general).”

Background: South Africa has seen a number of recent personnel changes in the higher reaches of the DHA, including President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to put Gigaba back atop the department in February. Apleni had worked in DHA since 2009 and was appointed as director-general in 2010. Gigaba credited Apleni with playing a central role in the “comprehensive review of South Africa’s international migration policy,” which led to the publication of the white paper in 2017.

BAL Analysis: While it is not yet clear what direction Gigaba and a new director-general might take at the DHA, Gigaba did release a statement saying the department would continue to work toward implementing the policies that Apleni helped shape. The landscape will become clearer in the coming weeks and months as President Cyril Ramaphosa’s new government, including the DHA, continues to set out priorities related to immigration. BAL produced a backgrounder in March of 2017 on South Africa’s proposed changes. The backgrounder is available here.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and J Fetting Inc. in South Africa. For additional information, please contact

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