South African President’s 5-Point Plan to Tackle Gender-Based Violence

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday announced a five-point emergency plan to put a halt to gender-based violence during an extraordinary joint sitting of Parliament.

The five points are prevention, strengthening the criminal justice system, enhancing the legal and policy framework, ensuring adequate care, support and healing for victims of violence and strengthening the economic power of women.

The plan will be implemented over the next six months.

1. Prevention

“In implementing our prevention measures, we must recognise that violence against women is not a problem of women. It is a problem of men,” Ramaphosa said.

This part of the plan entails the following measures:

  • A mass media campaign that will target communities, public spaces, workplaces, campuses, schools and recreational spaces like taverns. The focus will be on men’s groups and formations, youth at risk and offenders inside prisons.
  • Women’s rights and gender power relations will be part of Life Orientation in the school curriculum.
  • Gender-sensitivity training for law enforcement officials, prosecutors, magistrates and policymakers. Those who are found in breach of their responsibilities in this regard will be held to account.
  • Train and deploy prevention activists to all of 278 municipalities. They will engage in household visits and community interventions focused on changing harmful social norms.

2. Strengthen the criminal justice system

“This is to ensure that justice is served, perpetrators are held to account, survivors do not suffer secondary victimisation, and the law acts as a deterrent,” Ramaphosa said.

It includes the following measures:

  • Directing resources to improve the functioning of sexual offences courts, Thuthuzela care centres, and the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Investigation Units of the SAPS;
  • Funding has already been approved for the establishment of an additional eleven sexual offences courts over the next financial year; and
  • The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development will clear the backlog of criminal cases for rape and other forms of gender-based violence through the establishment of special courts, hiring additional court staff and clearing the backlog at forensic labs.

3. Enhance the legal and policy framework

“Since the advent of democracy, we have enacted several laws and undertaken a number of programmes to tackle gender inequality in our society, to promote human rights and to enable effective action against gender-based violence,” Ramaphosa said.

“In many respects, however, these measures have fallen short of what is needed to confront the severity of the challenges we face.”

The measures to improve the legal and policy framework are:

  • Proposing a range of legal and regulatory reforms to Parliament to strengthen the response of the State to gender-based violence and to ensure that all crimes against women and children attract harsher minimum sentences.
  • Engaging with the judiciary on the role that it can play in supporting the national effort to end gender-based violence to ensure abusers, rapists and murderers know that they will be caught and punished. The State should oppose bail for suspects charged with the rape and murder of women and children and those who are found guilty of such crimes should not be eligible for parole.
  • Strengthen programmes to rehabilitate offenders and youth at risk. Finalise legislation like the Victim Support Services Bill, which will strengthen support for GBV programmes and services.
  • Ramaphosa called on all parliamentary committees to prioritise these areas of legislative reform and ensure that we have effective legislation in place without delay.

4. Ensure adequate care, support and healing for victims of violence

Measures in this part of the plan are:

  • Standardising the framework for funding civil society organisations working with survivors of gender-based violence;
  • Providing post-rape training for healthcare providers and lay counsellors who provide care and support to victims and survivors;
  • Working with the private sector, concerned individuals and other institutions to substantially increase the number of Thuthuzela care centres across the country from the current 54 to over 100 by 2025;
  • Meet with representatives of the private sector to discuss the establishment of a Gender-based Violence and Femicide Fund to increase support to survivors, including persons with disability and the LGBTQI+ community;
  • As drug and alcohol abuse fuel gender-based violence, the Department of Social Development has been tasked with increasing the visibility of substance abuse awareness and education and prioritising funding for more treatment facilities; and
  • Resource the gender-based violence framework in universities and colleges, which will include the establishment of gender equity offices in these institutions. Ramaphosa will meet the universities’ vice-chancellors to come up with initiatives that are focused on what should be done at institutions of higher learning.

Improve the economic power of women

“Women are often hostages in abusive relationships because of poverty and unemployment. Young women, in particular, are vulnerable to exploitation from older men with financial resources. By tackling unequal economic power dynamics we can reduce the vulnerability of women to abuse,” Ramaphosa said.

5. This will include the following measures:

  • Prioritise women when it comes to access to employment, training opportunities and procurement of services, and call upon the private sector to do the same;
  • Reach the target to set aside 30% of the value of its procurement for women-owned businesses, and to progressively increase that to 40%;
  • Prioritise support and training for women engaging in small business and informal sector activity, and call on established business to be part of this effort;
  • All government departments will be expected to adhere to gender-responsive planning, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation; and
  • Improve collection and analysis of data to monitor our GBV programmes.

Comments from other political parties

The EFF‘s Veronica Mente noted that there was no quick fix to the problem. “Our only help is successful policing, prosecuting, tough sentencing and working prisons. We will stay with this problem forever, as long as we do not fix these systems,” she said.

IFP MP Liezl van der Merwe commended Ramaphosa’s initiative and pledged her support. But she noted that following previous high-profile murders of women such as Anene Booysen, Karabo Mokoena and toddler Courtney Pieters, the government had pledged action – but to no avail.

Van der Merwe said that in announcing the interventions outlined in his address, Ramaphosa had shown that he had the courage to act. However, what remained to be seen was whether the government had the courage to govern, the courage to do what was right and the courage to save the nation from becoming a failed state.

“To date, the disjunction between what our women endure and what our government does in response has been alarmingly inadequate,” she added.

ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe

called for harsher punishments for rape, saying that to help send a clear message that the justice system is serious about fighting gender-based violence, rapists should be denied bail and parole.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa complimented Ramaphosa’s announcement, saying that the president spoke like a commander-in-chief.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane has called on political party leaders to cast aside their differences and recognise the severity of the gender-based violence crisis consuming South Africa.

“Let us make the dignity, respect and safety of women and girls in our society our number one priority,” he said. He said it was tragic was that few perpetrators were ever arrested and prosecuted, resulting in a conviction rate for rape of just 5%.

Maimane called on parents to set a better example to their sons. “We must raise them to respect girls and women as their equal. We must show our boys, through all our actions, what is right and what is wrong,” he said.

Children should be taught about consent at school, he said, adding that Kenya had achieved dramatic results with a “No Means No” programme in their schools. “We need to introduce similar consent classes in our own life orientation curriculum,” said Maimane, adding that culture, tradition or religion should not be allowed to offer a hiding place for those who commit such acts.

Maimane said the existing legislation was not up to the task as the act dealing with domestic abuse was 20 years old and out of touch. The DA leader proposed that parliament establishes an ad hoc committee to investigate the systemic causes of gender-based violence and to map out long-term solutions.

To watch the National Assembly session, click here.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2], [3], [4]. Image sources: shi zhao [1], [2].

Wealthy South Africans Are Able to Gain EU Citizenship Through Malta

Emigration options for South Africans are fairly limited. Most countries require special skills applied towards applications for specific jobs, or for the applicants to dig deep into ancestral histories.

But when it comes to Malta, the applicants only need to provide cash, lots of it. Unlike ancestral visas, the process of obtaining Maltese residency or citizenship via investment is relatively quick, and awarded largely without prejudice after a due diligence process.

And this is the route many high-net-worth South Africans appear to be following.

The Maltese government offers both residency and citizenship programs, which require applicants to spend and invest millions. Each offer the right to live and work in Malta, easy access into the Schengen Zone as a traveler, and in the case of citizenship, it’s also possible to live and work anywhere in the European Union.

According to residence and citizenship company LIO Global, the application process is relatively straightforward – but it requires applicants to invest a significant amount of cash, or purchase or rent properties in order to obtain residency.

Citizenship requires both cash investments and a property purchase or rental, and a significantly higher non-refundable “donation” to the Maltese government.

The cheap route: R490,000, excluding investments starting at R4.1 million.

The cheapest way to get a Maltese passport is to purchase residency, though even this doesn’t come cheap.

In order to get a Maltese passport via the Malta Residency and Visa Program, South Africans need to pay a non-refundable deposit of approximately R90,000 before anything is confirmed.

If successful, the applicant must then pay an additional flat fee of approximately R400,000.

The direct investment route requires applicants to put at least R4.1 million into government bonds, and leave it untouched for a minimum of five years.

Another way to gain Maltese residency is to purchase or rent property, either in Malta or on the island of Gozo.

In order to qualify, purchased property must have a minimum value of around R5.2 million. The minimum property price in Gozo is slightly less – there, applicants will need to spend a minimum R4.4 million.

If renting, applicants must commit to an annual rental in Malta worth approximately R200,000. In Gozo, the annual rental amount must be approximately R165,000.

Residency status doesn’t require applicants to remain in Malta, and the entire process can be completed in just two physical trips, one to sign the application in the presence of a commissionaire of oaths, and another to submit the residency permit. After this, and the financial commitments, the applicant can enjoy all the benefits from abroad.

The process is also relatively quick – the Maltese government typically turns these applications around in under six months.

Malta is an archipelago in the central Mediterranean, between Sicily and the North African coast.

The expensive route: R10.6 million rand excluding investments starting at R2.5 million.

After the success of the residency program, the Maltese government added a way to purchase citizenship, under the Individual Investor Program.

This comes with the added benefit of European citizenship, which means successful applicants can live, work or travel to any countries in the European Union.

As both Malta and South Africa allow for dual citizenship, this program means South Africans can retain their South African citizenship, too.

Maltese citizenship comes at a significant price, though.

Applicants who pass the due diligence process must make a contribution totally R10.6 million to the country’s National Development Fund.

Spouses and children under 18 who wish to join must pay an additional R408,000 each. And unmarried, financially dependent children between the age of 18 and 26 are also welcome – at a cost of R816,000 each.

The program also requires a five year financial investment of approximately R2.5 million, which is returnable.

Applicants must satisfy some degree of legal residency, and purchase or rent property. If purchasing a property, the applicant must spend at least R5.7 million, and hold onto it for five years.

The applicant can also rent a property for a minimum of five years, instead of buying. This must have a minimum annual value of at least R260,000.

Neither of these properties can be rented out during the five year period.

The application process for citizenship takes approximately one year to finalize. Once approved, applicants must make at least two visits to Malta – including a stay of between two and three weeks during the first year.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Cape Town Mayor Encouraging Capetonians to Vote for the City in the 2019 World Travel Awards

Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato has encouraged Capetonians to vote for their city in the World Travel Awards.

Plato and Mayco Members for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, James Vos and Safety & Security, JP Smith took the cableway to the top of Table Mountain to highlight this campaign during Tourism Month.

Established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward, and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the travel, tourism and hospitality industries across the world, the World Travel Awards are recognized as the ultimate hallmark of industry excellence.

Cape Town is currently the holder of the “World’s Leading Festival & Event Destination”.

At the recent Africa & Indian Ocean World Travel Awards in June this year Cape Town was again voted “Africa’s Leading Festival and Event Destination” for the second consecutive time.

Table Mountain won the title of “Africa’s Leading Tourist Attraction and Cape Town International Airport won “Africa’s Leading Airport”. All three contenders are now in running for the world title at the 2019 World Travel Awards and I am calling on all Capetonians to help us bring home these prestigious awards.

Voting opened to the public on the 12th of September, and closes on the 20th of October 2019.

“We are excited to be in the running once again for this honor and encourage all Capetonians to vote. The nomination is further proof that Cape Town is a world-class destination and with the help of fellow Capetonians we are hopeful that we can retain this title,” said Plato.

“We are certain that awards such as these and our world class attractions will continue to boost tourism, which is a key sector for the City, having created more than 300 000 jobs in total. The tourism sector currently has the highest economic growth and employment potential,” added Plato.

Cape Town International Airport is also in the running to be named the world’s leading airport having taken the “Leading Airport in Africa” title.

Voting can be done on the World Travel Awards website by clicking here.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: John O’Nolan [1], [2].

Land Expropriation in South Africa: Updates After Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee Meeting

The parliamentary ad hoc committee on changing section 25 of the Constitution to simplify expropriation without compensation met recently and mapped out the legislative road ahead for the controversial and important constitutional amendment.

It was the first time the committee met since being reconstituted after the election, a delay the new chairman, Dr Mathole Motshekga of the ANC, took responsibility for.

Although each new parliament is not bound by the decisions of its predecessors, the newly constituted committee will build on the work of its equivalent in the previous parliament. This includes the mandate of the committee, the public hearings which were held in 45 towns and cities across the country, the report of the high level panel chaired by former president Kgalema Motlanthe and the presidential advisory panel on agriculture.

Land issue in South Africa relates directly to the Constitution

Motshekga warned MPs to be circumspect because the land issue relates directly to the Constitution and the current parliamentary process is sure to be weighed by the courts, who will override any improper process. The chairman then proceeded to map the way forward.

Firstly, the committee will hold a workshop of experts to advise it, and Motshekga wants to invite what he calls the best brains in the country to participate. These would include, but not be limited to, Prof. Ruth Hall (UWC), Prof. Ben Cousins (UWC), Prof. Quinton Johnson (NMMU), former judges Albie Sachs, Dikgang Moseneke, Sandile Ngcobo and Johan van der Westhuizen, Adv. Tembeko Ngcukaitobi, the lawyers’ organisations Nadel and the BLA, AgriSA, Khoisan leaders and church groupings.

After the workshop, Parlaiment’s legal services will brief the committee, after which draft legislation will be produced. Although the deadline for the committee finishing its work is 31 March, Motshekga said is should not allow deadlines to paint it into a corner, and that the end of June next year is probably a better target date to finish the process.

Draft legislation to be completed by June 2020

DA MP Dr Annelie Lotriet expressed surprise at the way Motshekga simply followed his own preferences without consultation, and said the DA would, for a start, definitely add more names to the workshop input to strengthen it and make it more representative.

Her fellow DA MP Adv. Glynnis Breytenbach immediately added the names of former President Kgalema Motlanthe and Adv. Wim Trengove, adding that there were more to come.

The Freedom Front Plus’ Dr Corne Mulder said he disagreed with Motshekga’s summation of the current situation, but agreed that a slower and more thoughtful, thorough approach was preferable. In this he was supported by IFP MP Inkosi Elphas Buthelezi.

EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu, however, did not agree with this approach at all. He said too much time was being wasted intellectualising on issues and holding workshops when all that had to be done was decide on the exact wording of the constitutional amendment which the ad hoc committee was bound to implement.

On behalf of the ANC, its MP Mandla Mandela agreed with the slower approach, saying that it was key to the essence of South African democracy that all voices be heard and that the process followed be above reproach.

The committee then adjourned and will now propose names for those experts to be invited to brief it in the workshop planned for the near future.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

The UK Has Agreed to a Post-Brexit Trade Deal with South Africa and Other Countries

Britain has agreed a deal with six southern African countries including South Africa, the continent’s most developed economy, that will ensure continuity of trade conditions after Brexit, the British High Commission in South Africa said on Wednesday.

Political turmoil in the United Kingdom has generated uncertainty over how, when and even if the country will withdraw from the European Union. Its current exit date is set for October 31.

But while the situation has left the future trade relationship between Britain and the EU in doubt, London has been working to minimise the impact of Brexit on other trading partners.

Britain initialled an Economic Partnership Agreement with the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) – comprising South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and eSwatini (formerly known as Swaziland) – and Mozambique on Tuesday.

“This trade agreement, once it is signed and takes effect, will allow businesses to keep trading after Brexit without any additional barriers,” Britain’s International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement.

The agreement is still subject to final checks. But once signed formally, it will mirror the trade conditions the southern African nations currently enjoy with the EU.

Trade between Britain and the six countries was worth 9.7 billion pounds ($12 billion) last year, with machinery and motor vehicles topping British exports to the region. The UK meanwhile imported some 547 million pounds worth of edible fruit and nuts.

Britain has already signed trade continuity agreements with countries accounting for 89 billion pounds of its external trade.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Britain must leave the EU on October 31, but parliament has passed a law compelling him to ask Brussels to delay Brexit until 2020 unless he can strike a divorce deal. Johnson says he will not request an extension.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Adrian Pingstone [1], [2].