Nissan South Africa to Invest R3 Billion to Build New Model Locally

The South African arm of Nissan will spend R3 billion equipping its local plant to build the Japanese carmaker’s new Navara model, the unit’s boss said on Wednesday.

Capacity at Nissan’s plant in Rosslyn, near Pretoria, will increase by 30,000 units in the first phase, Mike Whitfield, managing director at Nissan South Africa said, while the plant’s permanent headcount will increase by 400.

“Today, we’re able to announce that the Nissan South Africa Rosslyn facility will build the entire model range Nissan Navara for both local and export (markets),” Whitfield said at an event to announce the investment.

While production operations elsewhere will also build the new Navara, a pick-up, Nissan South Africa will supply the local and continental market.

Whitfield said his unit had to beat other global Nissan production operations to win the right to produce the Navara – a victory for his unit and also South African President Cyril Ramaphosa ahead of elections in May.

Nissan South Africa’s Rosslyn Plant.

Ramaphosa, who was at the event on Wednesday, is trying to secure $100 billion in investment into South Africa within five years.

While he has had some success, he is contending with a sluggish economy and a legacy of corruption and mismanagement, knocking confidence in Africa’s most industrialised economy.

Ramaphosa said Nissan’s investment marked a “milestone” in his drive and was a vote of confidence in South Africa.

In common with many global carmakers, Nissan doesn’t currently have any significant production operations in sub-Saharan Africa outside South Africa, which it entered in 1963 and is the only substantial market for new cars in the region.

However, Nissan and many rivals are hoping that will change. A number have recently opened or committed to open plants elsewhere, including in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.

 

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

Home Affairs Staffer With a Difference, Nosipho Mkhupheka, Receives Compliments

Nosipho Mkhupheka is a public servant who has set tongues wagging for all the right reasons.

The unassuming home affairs official has earned the praise of many people after news of her work ethic made its way to Facebook.

Mkhupheka, a chief administrations clerk at the department’s offices in Scottburgh, stayed behind after normal working hours to assist about 40 people who could not be helped during office hours.

She is setting the bar high for other public servants.

One of those she helped was Facebook user Marius Botha who then sang Mkhupheka’s praises on his social media page.

The post read: “I want to thank Mrs Mkhupheka for her unselfish and exceptional service beyond the call of duty.

Nosipho Mkhupheka.

“This wonderful lady works at the Department of Home Affairs, Scottburgh. Today at 16:00, all her colleagues left their workstations and went home. Mrs Mkhupheka stayed and helped 40 customers with a smile!!! You are my hero. South Africa needs more people like you. Thank you. We salute you.”

Mkhupheka was alerted to the trending post by her sister while she was in church. Her children also kept calling to let her know she was trending on Facebook.

“They kept on calling to tell me I was trending and I was asking my sister what is ‘trending’. It was the first time I even heard of the phrase ‘trending’. I was so confused,” she told Vuk’uzenzele.

Reflecting on the attention she has received since the Facebook post, Mkhupheka said February 8 was a normal day for her as she always stays behind with some members of her team to ensure that those who were already in the queue when the office closes are helped as well.

Her exploits caught the attention of home affairs minister Siyabonga Cwele who paid her a special visit at her workplace. Mkhupheka said even though she was excited and shocked by the visit, it was also humbling. “Even though I was shocked, I was very excited that people recognise my work.”

During his visit, Cwele commended Mkhupheka for her dedication.

“Ms Mkhupheka is one best example of the thousands of home affairs officials who are dedicated to serve our people with a smile. When I arrived, the office was full and she was still assisting our citizens. The people who were there at the time I arrived said they appreciated her work,” said Cwele.

 

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].

Home Affairs’ Rejection of Foreigners’ Applications Costs Millions in Litigation

The South African Supreme Court of Appeal recently threw out the department’s defense of its actions, describing them as ‘unconscionable … deliberately obstructive and dilatory’.

Delays and wrongful rejections by certain officials in SA’s home affairs department are resulting in unnecessary court cases that waste resources and cost the country millions.

As specialists in helping foreign clients to secure the necessary visas and permits to live and work in SA, De Saude Attorneys has seen more than its fair share of court appearances. Frustratingly, most of these should not be necessary at all.

Most court cases stem from the wrongful refusal of applications or delays in processing applications, which can push back outcomes for years. Appeals against wrongful refusal can take years more to process, leaving applicants without status in the interim and driving them to court.

These lawsuits are costly for everyone concerned since home affairs must allocate its already stretched resources to go to court. The cost per case can run into hundreds of thousands of rand, and with home affairs defending a reported average of 50 cases per week, the total costs to the state are staggering.

Challenging this situation, De Saude Attorneys and Visa One went to the Western Cape High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal earlier this year, arguing that “the department has, for years now, failed at a structural level to determine applications made to it in any reasonable or lawful time period, including … 473 applications the applicants now bring before this court”.

We noted that even simple applications to the department can take years to be resolved, if they are resolved at all. We therefore sought to compel the department to comply with its obligations in terms of the constitution and applicable legislation.

Describing the department’s stance on litigation as “deliberately obstructive and dilatory”, the Supreme Court of Appeal said its approach was “unconscionable, especially coming from a state department”. The department’s appeal against the high court finding in favor of De Saude and Visa One was dismissed with costs.

September 19, 2017. Pinetown Home Affairs . Picture: THULI DLAMINI

While this was a noteworthy victory, the challenge will remain as long as the department continues to operate in such a way that litigation becomes the only way for applicants to get a fair hearing.

The principles of “batho pele” (people first) require government officials to be polite, open and transparent and deliver good service to the public, and there are many dedicated home affairs officials who take this to heart. Unfortunately, some adopt an obstructionist attitude and do not appear to focus on public service, or indeed the country’s economic development.

According to recent procedures implemented by VFS on instruction of home affairs, foreigners may not file more than two appeal applications (regardless of whether the first two refusals are wrong) and may not file any appeal application later than the 10 working days provided (regardless of the reasons for the late filing). In practice, this still means that if an applicant has received two refusals — even if these refusals were incorrect through no fault of their own — they have no further avenue for appeal.

Normally, if circumstances beyond the applicant’s control have precluded them from filing their application within the 10 days allowed, condonation for late filing would be requested and would be granted where such good cause could be proved.

For example, where an applicant has fallen seriously ill during the preparation of his appeal application or lapsed into a coma immediately upon taking receipt of the negative decision against him, they cannot reasonably be expected to personally submit an appeal application within the 10 days allowed for such submission. But the department’s new policy could mean refusal, even when good cause can be proved.

The applicant against whom a wrongful decision has been taken twice is left with no recourse but to approach the court to have the matter lawfully adjudicated, and the department’s own position appears to be that these applicants should approach a court for assistance. This appears to encourage litigation and will no doubt result in an additional onslaught of court cases involving the department, to the severe detriment of all parties involved.

An already overwhelmed, understaffed and underfunded department should not invite legal action against itself in this manner, particularly when this could be easily avoided by allowing the adjudicator to exercise his or her authority to grant condonation on a case-by-case basis.

 

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].

Opinion: Home Affairs Needs Attention

Various ward councillors and officials in the Randburg area held a site visit at the Randburg Department of Home Affairs on 8 April.

There they met with the management of the department to discuss the current state of the facilities.

In the past year, ward councillors worked hard to improve the parking area for visitors to the department. “There is still no proper waiting area for those who are coming to apply for their IDs, birth and marriage certificates,” said Ward 104 councillor Mike Wood.

Constituency Head Kate Lorimer said, “This particular home affairs covers a vast area of Johannesburg. We are all aware of how low the morale of the staff members are at the Randburg Home Affairs, and it tends to provide an unhappy experience for those coming to apply for various documents. There is an important project that needs to be undertaken by the government to upgrade this very busy Home Affairs.”

Wood continued, “In ward 104, I and my fellow ward 102 councillor David Potter are working hard to get this facility sorted out. Home Affairs have been in the press lately for all the wrong reasons, and this one is a prime example. The toilets and the kitchens are in a diabolical state, and the Department of Home Affairs needs to step up to the plate. The working conditions for staff leave a lot to be desired.”

Wood stated that the main aim of the visit was to see how facilities could be upgraded for both staff and visitors to make sure that the experience of coming to home affairs is a pleasant one for all.

Wood also said that there is a budget to improve both the Roodepoort and Randburg departments, but nothing has come to fruition as of yet.

“We need to start with improving the basics, for instance, waiting areas and abolition facilities. The services themselves are good, so good in fact that more and more people from the surrounding areas are making use of this home affairs and not ones closer to them,” Wood added.

During the meeting with home affairs officials, any plans to upgrade the facilities would take place during this financial year.

“Unfortunately, as ward councillors in this regard, we don’t have the power to physically handle the matter ourselves, and all we can do is push the Department of Home Affairs itself to take action.”

Member of the Provincial Legislature in Gauteng Makashule Gana added, “Another important issue to raise is the fact there are over 3 500 identity documents waiting to be collected. With huge elections just around the corner, we urge the community to collect their IDs to make sure they can vote on voting day.”

 

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].

Why Some South Africans are Moving to Mauritius, and How Much it Costs

The fast-growing and crime-free island nation of Mauritius is a good alternative for high net worth South Africans, says Brenthurst Wealth.

Speaking via the group’s ‘Strictly Business’ podcast, Gavin Butchart, a financial director at Brenthurst Wealth, said that Mauritius is good country for investors looking to diversify, particularly due to it’s attractive tax bracket with individuals and companies paying 15% – with no dividends tax, capital gains tax or estate duties.

The podcast discussed Mauritius, its advantages as an investment destination, as a place to live, and what South Africa can learn from the fastest growing African economy.

Citing a world bank report, Butchart, who lives in Mauritius, said that the country ranks highly for ease of use for doing business.

Advantages of moving to Mauritius include, economic growth, good schooling, low crime rates, and is politically stable, Butchart said, noting also that the country’s unemployment rate is below 7%.

To gain permanent residency, a person would need a minimum of $500,000 (R7 million). “That will get you permanent residency,” Butchart said.

He noted that there are additional means of entering the country – namely a retirement non-citizen permit, and a foreign investor permit.

Popular avenues of investment for foreigners looking to invest in Mauritius, and obtain residency, include:

  • Occupation Permit (OP) – a combined work and residence permit that allows foreign nationals to work and reside in Mauritius through an Initial investment of $100,000 in a business activity that should generate an annual turnover of at least MUR2 million (circa $58,000) for the first year and cumulative turnover of at least MUR10 million for the subsequent two years.
  • Residence Permit (RP) – a residence permit that allows foreign nationals to reside in Mauritius through the acquisition of a residential property under the Property Development Scheme (PDS) when he/she has invested more than $500,000 or its equivalent in any freely convertible foreign currency.
  • Permanent Residence Scheme (PRS) – foreign nationals investing more than $500,000 into the Permanent Resident Investment Fund (PRIF) for a period of 10 years are eligible for permanent residence, along with their spouse and children under 18 years of age. For children over 18, an additional deposit of $100,000 per person is required.
    Butchart said that homes prices vary depending on the island. He stressed that non residents are only able to buy into property development schemes.

According to Theo Pietersen, Seeff’s MD in Mauritius, the island country has become highly sought-after by local property buyers, some for residency purposes, but increasingly for holiday/second homes, retirement and relocation.

“Mauritius is fast becoming a second home for South Africans and with the recent changes in the Mauritian government’s property investment legislation, it is now a lot easier to invest in residential and commercial property on the island and there is an increased amount of developments available for SA buyers to invest in, both residential and commercial,” he said.

He added that the country now boasts top-class infrastructure including an excellent banking sector, strong economic growth and a favourable investment and tax climate and is regarded as one of the easiest places to do business in.

Pietersen said that property on the island is also regarded as an excellent investment and if you invest early, you can generally benefit from excellent capital growth.

However, there are limited opportunities to invest, especially in prime seafront developments, he said.

Pietersen said that finance is available from both South African banks as well as in Mauritius at interest rates of 7% to 9%, but with 40% cash deposit requirements.

He added that South Africans tend to invest between MUR 6,500,000 and MUR 20,000,000 which equates to approximately R2,628,000 to R8,100,000.

 

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: Guillaume Baudusseau [1], [2].