Minister Gigaba proposal for birth registration is counterproductive – South Africa

The DA notes with concern the announcement made by the Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, that as at the end of December next year all parents of children not registered within 30 days of their birth will have to undergo a stringent process to ascertain the child’s identity, including appearing before a committee to give evidence.

As such, I will be making submissions to the Minister outlining why this proposal will not work and why it will essentially undermine his department’s efforts to make child registration easier.

This comes after Minister Gigaba announced that parents who register their child’s birth beyond 30 days of the child’s birthdate will have to endure an “agonising” screening process to verify their child’s identity before they will be granted a birth certificate.

This announcement appears to be a development on the announcement made by the Minister in his budget speech that parents will be fined for not registering their children within 30 days of their birthdate.

The Minister’s announcement is bizarre given that a recent reply to a DA parliamentary question revealed that only 159 of the 389 online child registration systems available at healthcare institutions are fully functional.

The Minister would do well to direct his efforts towards making sure that healthcare institutions have the necessary, fully functional equipment to make child registration easier rather than making it difficult for parents by imposing penalties for a system that is woefully failing at the Minister’s hands and not as a result of the parents.

This proposal doesn’t take into consideration the hospitalisation of mothers beyond 30 days after giving birth due to child birth complications or mothers in rural areas who do not have easy access to registrations points.

The DA therefore calls on Minister Gigaba to provide clarity on the following:

  • What this “agonising” process will entail;
  • Whether the Department is going to conduct regulatory impact assessments of these processes;
  • Who will serve on the proposed birth registration committees and how these committee members will be selected; and
  • How much this process will cost the taxpayer?

Last month the Minister announced that the Department of Home Affairs was going to halt the implementation of regulations pertaining to unabridged birth certificates until a full regulatory impact assessment was conducted. The DA contends that Minister Gigaba must apply the same compromise to this latest proposal.

The Minister must not seek to implement new regulations and processes, while the systems of his Department remain broken.

Statement issued by Haniff Hoosen MP, DA Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, October 8 2014

UK citizens, traveling on diplomatic and official passports must now apply for visas to visit SA. – South Africa

Pretoria – Holders of British diplomatic and official passports must apply for visas before travelling to South Africa, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Thursday.

“As from 1 September 2014, the department began implementing the visa requirements for British diplomatic and official passport holders. This was reciprocal action on our part,” he told reporters in Pretoria.

“Ordinary passport holders such as tourists will remain unaffected by this new requirement. The British government, in 2010, announced visa requirements for all South Africans – ordinary, official, and diplomatic.”

He said Pretoria had tried in vain to “persuade” London officials to at least exempt officials when they visited the country.

“We therefore decided that we would reciprocate as is an international principle. We still have exempted the ordinary passport holders of Britain,” he said.

British officials, if they want to travel to Pretoria, are now required to approach the South African mission.

“They are required to present themselves at the South African High Commission in London. Like everybody else they must apply in person and we will interview them. We will grant them a visa if we deem it necessary.

“Visiting South Africa is not a foreigner’s right [but] a privilege granted to a foreigner by the South African government depending on whether we are satisfied about the purpose of your visit,” said Gigaba.

He said government had been “lenient” on British officials because their visa applications were free of charge.

South Africa hoped to engage further with the British government on the visa debacle in the hope of reciprocal scrapping of visa requirements.

“We would like a situation where the British would heed our request for them to re-introduce a visa exemption for South Africans but we are certainly not on our knees,” said Gigaba.

Adopting Lentili – our newest family member

In June, one of our Account Managers travelled to Kenya and visited the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

We adopted a baby elephant!

At the heart of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s conservation activities is the Orphans’ Project, which has achieved world-wide acclaim through its hugely successful elephant and rhino rescue and rehabilitation program. The Orphans’ Project exists to offer hope for the future of Kenya’s threatened elephant and rhino populations as they struggle against the threat of poaching for their ivory and horn, and the loss of habitat due to human population pressures and conflict, deforestation and drought.

To date the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has successfully hand-raised over 150 infant elephants and has accomplished its long-term conservation priority by effectively reintegrating orphans back into the wild herds of Tsavo, claiming many healthy wild-born calves from former-orphaned elephants raised in our care.

Here are some of Lentili’s details.  We will be keeping you updated on her progress at the orphanage.

Gender  Female Date of Birth  Saturday, July 07, 2012
Location Found  Ol Lentille Conservancy
Age on Arrival  18 months old
Comments on Place Found  Found on her own with no other elephants in sight
Reason for being Orphaned  Reason Unknown

On October 5th Ol Lentille Rangers on routine patrol sighted an abandoned baby elephant calf, estimated to be 18 months old. There were no other elephants in the area, and the fate of her mother remained unclear. The Rangers were posted on 24 hour follow-and-observe duty.

Update of Lentili’s progress
Most of the orphan females show this to varying degrees, all that is except little Lentili. Poor Lentili seems to lack any maternal instincts and has absolutely no concern for the younger more vulnerable elephants. She doesn’t like the little babies suckling on her ears and has no patience for their clumsiness or playful behavior. She rarely plays with the babies or lets them climb on her for fun like so many of the other older elephants do. She will even resort to giving them a hard push if they bump into her which quickly alerts Arruba who will rush to protect them from grumpy Lentili. No doubtLentili will develop a maternal nature and will one day take care of her own wild born babies, but for now she is quite happy being a baby herself and is in no hurry to grow up!Arruba, however, is quite the opposite of Lentili and has taken it upon herself to watch over the youngest babies. She is always quick to come to their aid, whether protecting them from a pushy elephant or from troublesome warthogs.
It seems that Lentili is pretty independent and not very social at the moment.  Hopefully her time at the orphanage will help her with the social issues.
If your organisation or if you are interested in adopting please visit www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org.

New Service Launch: Health Insurance for Expats

Simplifying Health Insurance for Expats in Africa

Having faithfully served our clients for over two decades by providing insightful and essential relocation, immigration, settling-in assistance and more across Africa, Relocation Africa is now proud to announce a new partnership that will enable us to serve you even better!

A partner you can trust

We have joined forces with Pacific Prime, the world’s leading brokerage of health insurance coverage for expatriates, to offer unparalleled options for comprehensive individual, family, corporate, and travel medical protection. Themselves celebrating 15 years of providing the best possible insurance coverage options and pricing to more than 100,000 expatriates around the globe, we believe that Relocation Africa’s collaboration with Pacific Prime is going to be a great partnerships offering benefits to our clients.

Given the huge number of variables involved in relocation to and living in Africa, and the unfortunate scarcity of high-quality medical facilities on much of the continent, it is reassuring to know that there are health insurance plans available that will guarantee you have access to exceptional medical care when needed, no matter where you may travel to.

Superior experience and coverage

As an expatriate-focused company, they understands the various situations you may encounter while in Africa, and knows how to address the standards of care and assistance you require, even when they are not the norm in your area. The medical coverage provides access to routine, emergency and specialist healthcare, round-the-clock customer assistance, claims help, advice from in-house medical professionals, and activation of air-ambulances when needed to ensure that policyholders are safe in the face of any emergency. As countless happy customer testimonials attest to, this level of service places them head and shoulders above other expat insurers.

Through their long track record of excellent service, they have proven to be our worthy counterpart in the expat medical insurance industry. We feel this partnership is a fantastic addition to Relocation Africa’s continued pursuit of ever-improving service and offerings.

Compare your options… all in one place

As a broker, Pacific Prime has spent years building strong working relationships with dozens of the best international health insurance providers in the world. So the level of coverage you get through them is exactly the same as other direct-purchase customers, only it comes with Pacific Primes signature customer service for free!

Because Pacific Prime has the power of numbers on its side, every policy’s price is guaranteed to be equal to or less than purchasing the coverage on your own from the same insurer. Since Pacific Prime works for its customers, not the insurance companies, their advisors will take the time to explain the pros and cons of any policy you are interested in. So, when you are ready to make a purchase, you can be confident you are making the decision that is best for you.

Contact Rene Stegmann on rene@relocationafrica.co.za for more information on Health Insurance Covering Africa.