SA Tourism to close one of its country offices?

SA-Tourism-to-close-one-of-its-country-offices-800x400Tourism Update understands that SA Tourism will close its Italy office at the end of May, although SA Tourism has denied this. “At this point there has not been any decision taken by SA Tourism to close any office,” the organisation said in a statement. From 2014 to 2015 there was a 10,6% decline in Italian tourists visiting South Africa, with 52 377 arrivals in 2015 compared with 58 614 arrivals recorded in 2014. Italy is South Africa’s fifth biggest source market in Europe. In 2015, South Africa recorded 407 415 arrivals from the UK; 256 646 arrivals from Germany; 128 436 from France; and 121 880 from The Netherlands.

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Immigrant children denied access to school

On 13 January, irate parents in Diepsloot West accused Muzomuhle Primary School and the education department of discriminating against their children because of their foreign national status.

A month later, a district school official spoke to GroundUp on condition of anonymity. The official, who fears reprisals for talking to the media, said between 30 and 40 children were turned away because they were not South African.

“Their documentation was not in order,” said the official. “You’ll find that because parents are illegally in this country, they forge documents just to be able to get their children into a school. You’ll get applications where there are two children with the same birth certificate and ID numbers.”

The official said such desperate measures were taken by parents when their asylum status lapsed or they had not been granted new work permits. “In Diepsloot, there are many undocumented [people] and they bring their children with them to this country while they are trying to survive.”

Muzomuhle Primary is used as the central point through which all school admissions for the area are processed. According to the school official, the school asks for the child’s birth certificate, the parents proof of residence and proof of asylum or work permit.

In January, News24 quoted Zimbabwean national Donias Tshuma. He said that his asylum status expired in October 2015 and that attempts to live in South Africa legally were hampered by officials at Home Affairs demanding bribes.

Acting spokesperson for the Gauteng Department of Education, Oupa Bodibe, said district officials had confirmed with the department that each rejected student was asked to get proper paperwork in place, and to reapply when admissions opened again for 2017. Admissions for 2016 are now closed.

Bodibe could not immediately provide figures for how many children were turned away from the schooling system because of documentation problems. Nor did the department know how many of the rejected students had managed to find school placement elsewhere this year or if their parents were successful in gaining the proper documentation for school next year.

“Remember, if you are here illegally, as a department, we can’t do anything to assist you as that perpetuates the problem,” he said.

But an attorney in the Strategic Litigation Unit at Lawyers for Human Rights, Wayne Ncube, said the Constitution was clear that children have a right, regardless of documentation or legal status in the country, to gain admission in a school.

“The policy applies equally to nationals and non-nationals,” he said. “Not following the precepts of the department of education is not a basis on which the child should be expelled from the school.”

Ncube encouraged the parents to contact a suitable aid organisation to assist them with challenging the school district decision. He said the decision appears to be unconstitutional.

“This is not to say that the issue of the legal status of the parents in South Africa should not be addressed. It should be, but perhaps from the efforts of another department in government.”

Ncube said, “What has become very clear is that such decisions should not be taking place particularly in dealing with children. Children should always come first. I am sure that this issue is something that can be resolved if they (the parents) get the right assistance from an equipped organisation or law firm.”MuzomuhleHigh-20160215-BenitaEnoch

Africa’s big cities offer investors hope

pregnant africaJohannesburg – Africa’s biggest economies have been hammered by the collapse in commodity prices over the past 18 months, but there are still investment bright spots to be found.

In cities such as Lagos, Nairobi, Accra, Kinshasa and Johannesburg, growth remains robust and investors are prospering in the retail, financial services, technology and construction sectors. This means investors can now readjust their strategy for Africa. Instead of taking a view on the continent as a whole, or choosing one country over another, they can seize opportunities city by city.

Sub-Saharan Africa is urbanising faster than anywhere else in the world and city dwellers have more money to spend.

“In the current economic environment, investors want areas where success is proven, growth is strong and will remain strong. Big African cities give you that,” said Jacob Kholi, a partner at Abraaj, a private equity firm with $9bn (R143bn) under management.

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Integration In Africa: How Visa-Open Is the Continent?

africaIntegration is the new phenomenon that is taking up the world stage with countries across the globe realizing that when nations pool their resources together they can experience immense growth and security.

One major player in any integration is immigration. Immigration is a factor that not only allows the movement of goods and people but it is also a mover of factors of production.

Recently, Africa has embarked on the amalgamation of various national departments especially among regional blocs like East Africa Community (EAC) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

In a bid to evaluate how integration and particularly visa openness in Africa, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has released a report that shows that despite African nations pushing for integration, the continent largely remains closed off to African travelers.

The African Visa Openness Index indicates that on average Africans need visas to travel to 55% of other African countries, can get visas on arrival in only 25% of other countries and don’t need a visa to travel to just 20% of other countries on the continent.

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The rise of internet veg box schemes in sub-Saharan Africa

5009Online grocery startups in Kenya, Rwanda and Gambia help farmers cut out the middleman, but challenges such as low internet access may hinder profitability.

Growing up on a farm in central Kenya, Winston Wachanga witnessed the piles of fruit and vegetables that perished after never making it to a market.

Later with a tomato farm of his own, he experienced the same struggle of farmers across the country trying to find a buyer. “We have so much produce but accessing customers is difficult. We don’t have capacity to get produce to market and we end up being exploited. It becomes frustrating,” he says.

To solve this gap, Wachanga set up online delivery company Kitchen Soko. In less than a year he has built up a network of 80 local farmers in Kenya whose produce is delivered in a box straight to the customer’s front door. Customers can find out exactly which farm the produce has come from.

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