Ministerial team to examine new immigration rules – Cabinet Phumla Williams | 11 June 2015

Also issues raised by Fitch Ratings are receiving govt’s attention at the highest level

Statement on the Cabinet meeting of 10 June 2015

1. Implementation of key government programmes

1.1. Cabinet was appraised on the outcomes reports for the fourth quarter(January-March 2015). It was satisfied on the progress that has been made in the implementation. Members of the Executive will undertake media and stakeholder-engagement activities to unpack the progress made in the implementation of the fourth quarter outcomes. Details will be communicated as soon as this schedule is finalised.

1.2. Cabinet welcomed the selection of 13 renewable energy producers during the fourth window of government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme. These renewable energy producers (solar and wind power energy) will supply an additional 1 084 megawatts in support of the national grid and thus help the country to move closer towards a long-term sustainable energy supply.

1.3. Cabinet welcomes the 2013-2014 Local Government Audit Outcomes and applauds the performance of municipalities that showed a consistent improvement in almost all aspects of municipal-audit outcomes. An overwhelming 96% of auditees (municipalities and municipal entities) submitted their financial statements on time, which is a major improvement from 93% in 2012/13 and 78% in 2007/08.

The report recognises that a concerted effort was made to address irregular expenditure. Notable is the significant increase in the number of municipalities and municipal entities with unqualified audits from 30 in 2012/13 to 58 in 2013/14, with only seven in 2007/08 pointing to a steady trend towards good governance and sound financial management.

Auditees with financially unqualified opinions now account for 76% of the total local government expenditure budget of R315 billion. This means that almost eight out of every 10 rand spent by local government is spent by entities with financially unqualified statements.

Of the 335 municipalities and entities audited, 102 improved, 194 remained constant, 27 regressed while two were new and 10 were still outstanding. This reinforces more efficient and accountable basic service delivery in line with the ‘Back to Basics’ approach. Cabinet welcomes that as part of the Back to Basics Strategy, special attention will be given to the 50 municipalities that received disclaimed audit opinions, particularly the 25 that received disclaimed opinions for the past five years.

Cabinet also expresses its concern over those municipalities that continue to employ unqualified people and thereby undermine good governance practices. The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, working with the municipalities, will expedite the process of resolving these issues.

2. Key Cabinet decisions

2.1. Cabinet approved the Strategic Turnaround Plan of the South African Post Office (SAPO). This plan has assisted in diagnosing the root causes of problems and also identified key strategic interventions to turn the entity around. A new business model is being developed to reduce over reliance on mail business and move towards a balanced revenue mix. Cabinet is confident the strategy will move the SAPO forward. The Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, together with the management of the SAPO, will hold a special media briefing to unpack the plan.

2.2. Cabinet approved that the feedback received on South Africa’s initial report on the implementation of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (2000-2013), be tabled in Parliament. This report was received from the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Cabinet endorsed the governance mechanisms to ensure an integrated, coherent and participatory approach to the implementation of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in compliance to the constitutional rights of children.

Submission of South Africa’s report is in line with international treaty laws and obligations. This report also serves as a barometer on how the nation is progressing on upholding children’s rights and well-being.

3. Cabinet’s position on current issues

3.1. Cabinet commends the successful hosting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa in Cape Town last week, which reaffirms that the country is a world-class international destination for high profile events. WEF Africa provided a platform for government to showcase South Africa as an investment and business destination, which is critical to meeting the objective of the National Development Plan (NDP).

Cabinet also welcomes the significant role played by the media sector in ensuring that information from this critical event was carried across various platforms to allow issues to resonate with South Africans.

South Africa’s credit rating at BBB by Fitch Ratings reaffirms that the country remains open to foreign investment and further demonstrates government’s commitment to prudent fiscal management. Meanwhile, the issues raised by Fitch are receiving government’s attention at the highest level.

3.2. Cabinet welcomes the launch of the Media Landscape 2014 – Celebrating 20 Years of South Africa’s Media, which captures various aspects of the inspiring past 21 years in which media have played a critical role. Each chapter considers the media landscape from 1994 and reflects on how far we have come, while considering future challenges. Most of the stakeholders agree that much has been achieved in this discipline.

Cabinet urges those in the media, academia, civil society and government to read Media Landscape 2014, which provokes informed debate and discussion on the 20 years of the media in a democratic South Africa. The publication offers an objective and honest account of the country’s media sector. In the drafting process it fostered strong collaboration between government and the media industry, through leaders and civil society organisations.

3.3. Cabinet affirms its confidence in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to effectively execute its duties as mandated by our Constitution despite the recent change in its leadership.

The NPA remains steadfast in its work, and has the relevant structures and systems in place to continue to promote a crime-free society. In 2014 the organisation improved its conviction rate at all court levels with 93.6 per cent (273 641 cases) at district courts, 76 per cent (27 246 cases) at regional courts and 88 per cent (911 cases) at all high courts.

3.4. Cabinet welcomes the release of the first South African Stigma Surveyfocusing on attitudes around HIV and AIDS and TB at the 7th South African AIDS Conference, which is currently underway in Durban. The Stigma Survey, which is the largest in the world, provides practical and innovative actions and programmes to counter stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and TB.

3.5. Cabinet welcomed the success of Child Protection Week (CPW) and reiterates that our children are a bedrock of our country’s future and urges communities to protect them against neglect and abuse. Furthermore, Cabinet conveys its gratitude to all government agencies, civil society and social partners who are working tirelessly even beyond CPW to sensitise communities on protecting our children.

3.6. Cabinet welcomes the strong turnaround at Telkom in which government is a major shareholder, owning a 40% stake. The company’s turnaround has led to strong growth in revenue and a dividend for the first time since 2011 of 245 cents.

3.7. Cabinet was appraised with the implementation of the recent immigration legislation amendments and the immigration regulations of 2014, including the requirements for travelling with children through South Africa’s ports of entry, which came into operation on 1 June 2015.

Cabinet has however noted the views expressed by various sectors. In order to hear these views, Cabinet has resolved to set up a team of Ministers from both the economic and security clusters.

The team is expected to discuss and engage with the concerns with the aim of finding ways to address the unintended consequences brought about by the implementation of this regulations. This team will be convened by Minister Malusi Gigaba.

In addition, the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Migration will also continue with its work to relook at all the aspects relating to migrants that are in the country. This work will assist to provide synergy between migration and our laws.

4. Upcoming events

4.1. President Jacob Zuma will attend Youth Day celebrations on 16 June 2015 at the Tshwane Events Centre, Gauteng under the theme: “Youth moving South Africa forward”.

The President will also conduct a Siyahlola visit to the Tshwane University of Technology South Campus at Soshanguve, Gauteng on 23 June 2015. This monitoring visit will focus on initiatives and interventions implemented to improve the lives of our youth and empower them to better participate in the economy of our country.

Cabinet calls on young people to take advantage of opportunities offered by government programmes such as the Community Works Programme, which demonstrates how partnerships make a difference to community infrastructure and services, and also grows work opportunities into sustainable jobs due to the transfer and development of skills.

Through the National Youth Development Agency, more young people are also being brought into the mainstream economy through their programmes that provide support to young entrepreneurs.

4.2. South Africa will join the continental-wide celebrations on 23 June 2015 to mark Africa Public Service Day under the theme: “The Role of Public Services in Women Empowerment, Innovation and Accessible Service Delivery”. The NDP also identified enhancing the capability of the State as being critical to achieving Vision 2030. Since 1994 the country has also made great strides with the representation of women in senior management positions in the Public Service, which was at 39.8 per cent in March 2014.

4.3. Cabinet calls on all South Africans to join government on World Refugee Day, 20 June 2015, in reaffirming the country’s international commitment to treat all refugees with dignity. As a signatory to the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention and as a country that cherishes human rights, we have an obligation to protect the basic rights of refugees within our borders. In many instances these are vulnerable men, women and children who have been forced to flee their homelands and have done so with great courage, strength and determination.

4.4. The Department of Home Affairs, together with other government departments and agencies, will launch Operation Pyramid on 19 June 2015 at Skukuza, Mpumalanga under the theme: “Working together for safe and secure borders”. Operation Pyramid will better coordinate and align government’s and its agencies’ border projects, programmes and interventions. This transitional initiative will be operational until the scheduled establishment of the Border Management Agency in 2017. The secure, effective and efficient management of the cross-border movement of people and goods will be done in a manner that is consistent with the country’s national development priorities.

4.5. The 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter, which will be marked on 26 June 2015, will be used to demonstrate progress made towards realising its ideals, and to show alignment between government policies and this historic document. The Freedom Charter is a foundation on which our world acclaimed Constitution is based; today it gives effect to the country we are building through our policies and programmes.

5. Appointments

All appointments are subject to the verification of qualifications and the relevant clearance.

5.1. Mr Zacharia Isak Modise as the National Commissioner of Correctional Services.

5.2. Ms Bernedette Muthien as the Deputy Director-General of Gender Mainstreaming at the Department of Women.

Statement issued by Ms Phumla Williams, Acting Cabinet Spokesperson, June 11 2015

Cabinet’s reaffirmation of immigration rules welcome – DHA Mayihlome Tshwete |

11 June 2015

Dept says ministerial team will look at matters of implementation, seek a balance between SA’s economic and security needs
Home Affairs welcomes Cabinet’s reaffirmation of Immigration Regulations

11 June 2015

The Department of Home Affairs welcomes Cabinet’s reaffirmation of the Immigration Regulations and, in particular, the requirements for traveling with children through South Africa’s ports of entry.

In order to amplify consultation for compliance between the Department of Home Affairs and key stakeholders in the aviation, tourism, travel and hospitality sector, Minister Malusi Gigaba will convene a Ministerial team comprising both the security and economic clusters.

Among others, the Ministerial team will look at matters pertaining to the implementation of the Immigration Regulations with a view to seek a balance between South Africa’s economic development as well as security needs.

The move to establish the Ministerial team will add to efforts aimed at addressing administrative issues that may have been experienced when the requirements for traveling with children through South Africa’s ports of entry were implemented on 1 June 2015.

The Department of Home Affairs believes the Immigration Regulations will minimize the vulnerability of children traveling in and out of the country. To this end, the Department of Home Affairs has received overwhelming support and encouragement from ordinary South African families who welcome moves to protect the well-being of children.

Statement issued by Mayihlome Tshwete, Department of Home Affairs, June 11 2015

New immigration rules must be put on hold – James Vos James Vos | 12 June 2015

DA MP says there is a real risk of the ministerial task team becoming a glorified talk-shop without any teeth

Visa regulations must be suspended pending outcome of Inter-Ministerial team

Malusi Gigaba

Malusi Gigaba

In light of government’s decision to set up an Inter-Ministerial team to address the “unintended consequences” caused by the new visa regulations, Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, must immediately suspend the regulations in order to prevent any further collateral damage from occurring. This follows yesterday’s announcement by Cabinet that an Inter-Ministerial team will be set up by Minister Gigaba.

The decision to implement an Inter-Ministerial team is not enough – Minister Gigaba must immediately suspend the regulations pending the outcome of the Inter-Ministerial team. Moreover, the exact composition, mandate, and powers of this team must be made clear.

I will therefore today write to Minister Gigaba, requesting he immediately suspend the regulations, and provide the exact terms of reference of the Inter-Ministerial team, including the following:

By which date will the team be formed;

What is its exact mandate;

Who are its members;

What is this team empowered to do; and

Will a composite finding be made, and by when.

The risk of this becoming a glorified talk-shop without any teeth is a real one, and must be avoided. The Inter-Ministerial team cannot function as a red herring while the red tape of visa regulations continues to strangle industry and jobs.

We call on the Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, to back this call to avoid any further damage to our country as a destination for trade and travel.

The DA believes government must always act honestly, transparently and in the best interests of all South Africans. Government has tacitly admitted that the regulations are having adverse effects – they now have a duty to mitigate such effects. Suspension of the regulations is the only way to achieve this.

Statement issued by James Vos MP, DA Shadow Minister of Tourism, June 12 2015

Top strategies to identify and deal with “expat fatigue”

Camel fatigue

Expat fatigue isn’t one of those things like the stomach flu, where you know it when you’ve got it. If it were, it would be fairly obvious how to identify and deal with it. Instead expat fatigue has this sneaky habit of flying under the radar.

If your excitement for being in a new place has ever taken a nose dive into intense frustration or listless exasperation, you may be experiencing expat fatigue.

Sure, expat fatigue is expected and natural outcome of adapting to a new place. Left unchecked, however, this may be a form of self-sabotage. When you allow yourself or your loved ones to get consumed by expat fatigue, you hijack the very sense of adventure that inspired your expatriate life in the first place. What is really at risk? The expatriate assignment, important relationships and one´s own happiness. These are high stakes.

I don´t want this to happen to you. That is why I am going to share with you the ins and outs of expat fatigue so you can know what it is, be able to spot when it starts creeping in and have a handful of strategies at your fingertips to be able to deal with it successfully.

Name the Beast

Road rage on the way home from work. Refusal to learn the local language. Religiously stirring up evening cocktails. Gut-wrenching homesickness. On their own, none seem to point in an obvious direction, but when you recognize the name of the beast you are facing, you are better able to cope with it. Dr. Dan Siegel of Mindsight calls this strategy, “Name it to tame it.” By knowing the signs of expat fatigue, you are better positioned to get out of it.

Let me share with you my “name” for expat fatigue so you can get on with taming the beast.

Expat fatigue is intimately woven with the process of adapting to a new culture. It may begin with culture shock, that initial discomfort or disorientation when you are in unfamiliar waters. This initial blow to the system is just one of the many steps along the winding and bumpy road of adaptation. After the jolt of the unfamiliar fades, cultural fatigue may set in. You can think of it as the long-term impact of being in a culturally different environment. David L. Szanton’s often quoted definition gets at the heart of this:

Cultural Fatigue is the physical and emotional exhaustion that almost invariably results from the infinite series of minute adjustments required for long-term survival in an alien culture. (1)


David Szanton goes on to name the demanding nature of suspending our default responses, including how we evaluate something, and the tiring effort required to constantly adapt our approach. Szanton is straightforward, “conscious or unconscious, successful, or unsuccessful [this process] consumes an enormous amount of energy leaving the individual decidedly fatigued.”

Throw this hefty extension of energy upon a layer of fatigue from the cyclical nature of expat life (i.e. prepare to leave, say painful good byes, pack, leave, arrive, unpack, meet new people, adjust, find a routine – rinse and repeat), and voilà! You´ve got expat fatigue.

Tame the Beast

If you want to deal with expat fatigue effectively, you will want to have laser-like focus. Cross-cultural psychologists Ward, Bochner, and Furnham (2) help us simplify the complex process of adapting to a new or unfamiliar cultural environment by breaking it down to the ABCs (Affect, Behaviour, and Cognition).

A is for Affect: Pay attention to your feelings.

What to look out for: Take note when you feel confused, anxious or feel isolated. You might experience the overwhelming desire to simply be somewhere else or catch yourself flipping out at relatively minor incidents. Be careful if you notice these red flags appearing at an increasing frequency. Pay attention if your body is screaming at you in the form of sleep or digestive problems, or a dramatic loss of appetite. Letting any of these tendencies go may lead down a dangerous path to depression.

Try this: I hate to state the obvious but taking care of your health and well-being should be your top priority. This means enough rest, exercise and excellent nutrition. Seems simple enough, right? It’s not. Think of how many people struggle with eating well and sleeping enough in a non-expat context!

• Focus on your health so you can regain strength and clarity. It is imperative.
• Try slowing down how quickly or intensely you dive into the unfamiliar.
• Be creative in building “safe havens” of familiarity once a week.

Who knows! Adding in time to eat comfort foods on the sofa with a feel-good movie may be just what you need.

B is for Behaviour: Pay attention to your actions.

What to look out for: When we are in a new cultural context our “natural” behaviour may not always fit in. You know this when you come across as awkward or even inappropriate. (Arg…I hate it when that happens!). This can be draining on so many levels. What is simple for the locals (say, driving in erratic traffic and waiting in line at the bank or even greeting people) ends up requiring a huge extension of your patience or effort. Going through your days feeling like you are always “messing up” or that everything you do is a momentous challenge takes a toll.

It is time to take note when you notice a dramatic change in your self-confidence or assertiveness. Maybe your leadership style suddenly includes “giving up” or “giving in.” You may even find yourself privately making insulting comments about the locals (especially in the car!). A downslide in work performance, refusal to speak the local language or a gradual yet increasing dependency on alcohol are all signs to watch out for.

Try this:

  • Seek to understand the “whys” behind local practices
  • Seek out credible resources to increase your cultural understanding.
  • Identify low-risk opportunities for you to try out new behaviours and get feedback.
  • Take detailed notes of what you are learning (such as new words in the local language or the best way to negotiate at the market). Refer to these often to celebrate your progress.


C is for Cognition: Pay attention to your thoughts.

This is hands down the most complex and least straightforward aspect. You may start feeling worn down and not be able to identify exactly why. Keep in mind that when you are in the middle of adapting to a place that is significantly different from your familiar stomping grounds, you may discover that the way you see the world, how you see yourself or the groups that you belong is being challenged.

What to look out for: You suddenly notice that how you have typically seen yourself is not how others see you – and it troubles you. Maybe you go from thinking of yourself as middle-class to being seen as rich, from being an American to called a “foreigner”, from a colleague on equal footing to someone of lower (or higher) status.

Shifts like these can spur emotions like guilt, shock, confusion or even frustration.

Try this: Know that when you start grappling with big topics like identity, nationality, poverty, injustice, equality, and generally “what is right and wrong”, it is a sign that you are developing.

• When something new is being presented to you, find out how you can learn from it.
• Take the opportunity to learn more about your own culture. What are my main values? My core assumptions? What did I see as “normal” that isn’t shared by my new community?

Expat fatigue is a mirror of resilience

If you are feeling the effects of expat fatigue, it is time to seriously think about your current level of resiliency. Don´t get close to the breaking point.

Instead, ask yourself these 3 important questions:

• What isn’t working anymore that needs to change?
• What strategies am I using right now that are unhealthy in the long run?
• What is one small thing I can do this week to make things a bit better?

Now it is your turn. What is the number one thing that brings you down the most about expat life? Share it in the comments section of my blog.

Sundae Schneider-Bean is an intercultural specialist, coach and trainer based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (West Africa) who helps individuals and organizations meet their toughest intercultural challenges with clarity, strength and wisdom.

Living Abroad News Articles

 ‘Not all diplomats understand new visa rules – EWN – 3 June 2015

Provincial officials say the new policy has derailed an Indian tour group’s plans to travel to the country.

CAPE TOWN – Western Cape Economic Development MEC Alan Winde said it has become evident not all South African diplomatic officials stationed abroad understand the new visa regulations.

Provincial officials said the new policy has derailed an Indian tour group’s plans to travel to the country after a child in the group wasn’t granted a visa because of confusion around the unabridged birth certificate requirement.

This is despite the fact that both parents’ details appear on an Indian passport.

Winde said it’s up to Home Affairs to ensure all officials are up to speed with the new rules.

“Home Affairs need to establish that every single one of our embassies and consulates are up to speed, double check that everybody understands what the process is.”

Minors from visa-exempt countries are required to have an unabridged birth certificate when entering the country.

IMPACT ON TOURISM

On Monday, the tourism industry described the new regulations as impractical and an extra burden which will lead to disinvestment.

It affects tourists who want to travel to South Africa as they must now personally visit South African embassies abroad while minors need an unabridged birth certificate.

Single parents will also need to provide affidavits of consent from absent parents when travelling with a child.

The Home Affairs Department’s Mayihlome Tshwete said there have been concerns over unabridged birth certificates, but this has now been resolved.

“We’re able as a government and as home affairs to now read birth certificates that are not translated.”

The South African Tourism Services Association (Satsa), which represents more than 1,000 companies, said it will consult members and decide how to challenge the new regulations.

Satsa’s David Frost said the new regulations mean chaos.

“People in Bulgaria are totally oblivious to this and when they arrive in Frankfurt, South African Airways (SAA) asks them, ‘Where is your birth certificate ‘and they don’t have any. They have a prepaid non-refundable holiday and they’re put on a plane and sent back to Bulgaria.”

He said the tourism industry will suffer severely.

At the same time, some role players in the tourism industry are considering challenging the new visa regulations in the courts.

Frost said, “I think they are making it up as the go along. There is no best practice internationally. We are the only country in the world that is introducing this and you would think if it was such a light bulb moment more sophisticated countries that have been dealing with child trafficking for many years will go down this route. This is actual lunacy.”