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Relocation Africa’s South African Immigration Interview

Our Immigration Lead, Lynn Mackenzie, recently had the pleasure of speaking to Tracy, our South African immigration partner, about South Africa’s current immigration landscape.

To listen to Lynn and Tracy’s conversation about immigration in the current context, click here to view the recording, or view it below.

We would like to say a huge thank you to Tracy for her insights. We hope you enjoy the recording.

 

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

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

 

Risk of Second Wave of COVID-19 in South Africa as Cases Rise

South Africa faces a high risk of resurging coronavirus infections that may lead to a review by the council deciding on lockdowns after new cases rose by 42% in Western Cape province in the last two weeks, the health minister said recently.

Zweli Mkhize said in a statement that the increase in infections and deaths “will inform the recommendations that the Health Department makes to the National Coronavirus Council”, the body that determines the different levels of lockdown restrictions.

“According to our resurgence plan, we define this significant spike in new cases in the Western Cape as a resurgence,” said Mkhize, adding that nationally infections in the last two weeks had risen 10.7%, which was also a “concerning trend”.

Mkhize said the cause of the spike in the Western Cape was a “super-spreader event” at a bar in southern Cape Town. The popular tourist city was originally the epicenter of South Africa’s first wave of infections.

Africa’s most advanced economy, which also has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the continent at more than 700,000 infections, eased lockdown restrictions to their lowest level in September as the rate of new cases fell.

It also opened its borders to international travelers at the beginning of October after a six-month ban, in what was one of the world’s strictest lockdowns that included restrictions on movement, economic activities and the sale of alcohol and tobacco.

The lockdown cost the country more than 2 million jobs in the second quarter, while the economy shrunk by its most on record.

To track worldwide cases via the Bing COVID map, click here.

 

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

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

New Lock-down Change for South African Schools

Basic Education minister Angie Motshekga has published a new gazette which will allow for the resumption of some sports at South African schools.

The directive states that the following activities are permitted to resume, subject to social distancing, hygiene and safety measures and without spectators:

  • Non-contact sport training;
  • Inter-school non-contact sport matches;
  • Non-contact sport-related activities;
  • Arts and culture school-based activities in schools.

The number of persons in the sporting venues, change rooms or training area, at any given time, must not be more than 50% of the capacity of the venue with persons observing the social distancing requirements.

In addition, schools that compete in inter-school format must adhere to the limitation of:

  • 250 persons or fewer, in the case of an indoor activity; and
  • 500 or fewer, in the case of an outdoor activity;
  • Provided that no more than 50% of the capacity of the venue is used with persons observing the social distancing requirements.

Other regulations include the wearing of face masks expect when playing, the provision of hand sanitisers and the keeping of a register for all participants.

Social distancing rules in classrooms

The resumption of sports comes after Motshekga said that her department will make further changes to the country’s schools as it continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

Motshekga told the SABC that key among these changes will be a review of the social distancing rules in classrooms.

The minister indicated that the current ‘rotation system’, where students alternate days at school, meant that too much learning time was being lost.

Instead, her department is looking at other measures, such as body screens, to get more children into classrooms safely.

“We are looking also at other measures. Other big schools for instance are using body screens not distancing because physical distancing is very expensive for us because it means we have to cut classes in half,” she said.

Motshekga said that schools had to cut out some parts of the curriculum because of the reduced contact time.

To make up for the teaching time lost to the coronavirus lockdown, the department has already trimmed the curriculum nationally. Parts of the 2020 curriculum will be carried over into 2021.

 

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

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

2019 State of Cape Town Central City Report Launched

Published recently, by the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID), the report noted that the Central City “held its own quite remarkably” in the year under review, despite 2019 being “incredibly difficult”, according to CCID board chairperson Rob Kane.

Says Kane: “Stakeholders and investors in the CBD have had to cope with the aftermath of the 2018 drought and subsequent water crisis, ongoing load shedding and a tough economic climate.”

Five-part section on on ‘Surviving Covid-19’

Though the coronavirus pandemic falls beyond the ambit of the SCCR report, a five-part section of the report is devoted to reflections on “Surviving Covid-19” by Wesgro CEO Tim Harris, Economic Development Partnership CEO Andrew Boraine, HTI Consulting CEO Wayne Troughton and economist Brian Kantor of Investec Wealth and Investment and Arthur Kamp, chief economist, Sanlam Investments.

Kane acknowledges the “global devastation” Covid-19 has caused, noting that it “has damaged the Central City’s economy”, but its economic performance means the Central City is well-placed to navigate a path to recovery.

Property evaluation

The SCCR report shows that, according to the City of Cape Town’s 2018/2019 property evaluation, the value of Central City property stands at R44.124bn, and that the total value of property investments in the Central City – recently completed, under construction, proposed or planned – is R13.83bn.

This is broken down into:

  • R1,045,000,000 – A conservative estimate of the value of property completed in the Central City during 2019 but which still has to be officially assessed by the City of Cape Town (seven projects);
  • R3,730,000,000 – The value of property, conservatively estimated, that is under construction (14 projects);
  • R5,196,000,000 – The value of property, conservatively estimated, that is currently in the planning phase (11 projects); and
  • R3,860,000,000 – The value of property, conservatively estimated, that is currently proposed and is expected to begin construction within the next two years (six projects).

The Foreshore precinct has emerged as a key property investment node which is due, in part, to the expansion in 2018 of the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), which achieved a turnover of R277m in 2018/2019. “This world-class venue, which contributed R4.5bn to the Western Cape GGP, was a key driver in 2019 of the Central City’s visitor economy as well as its knowledge and eventing economy, all of which continued to expand in 2019.”

The eighth edition of the SCCR reflects on the bigger picture of the economy of the Central City, looking at property trends, occupancy rates of commercial and residential buildings, retail vacancies, the prominent economies of the Central City and trends in commercial and residential markets.

Among other key findings in the report are that:

For the third consecutive year, Cape Town had the lowest overall vacancy rate of 7. % of the country’s five largest metros. According to the SAPOA Office Vacancy Report (Q4 2019), the city’s vacancy rate compares very favourably to that of Johannesburg (12.5%) and is well below the national office vacancy rate of 11%.

The Central City vacancy rate has continued its gradual decline from a peak of 11.8% at the end of 2018 to 10.8% at the end of 2019 – a decline of 15,127m2 of space available for rent. This is at least partially attributable to the reduction in office space due to redevelopment during 2019.

A new urbanism trend gained traction in South Africa in 2019 in spite of a sluggish housing market, increasing demand for downtown living in the Central City. This has prompted the re-imagining of precincts in the Central City by developers into spaces where homeowners can live, work and play in areas that provide a safe and secure environment with easy access to work. With affordability a major issue for many young professionals, developers are responding with a growing number of studio apartments and co-living units within mixed-use developments. In 2019, small apartments with shared amenities officially became hot property, giving first-time buyers the opportunity to enter the housing market in a desirable city centre.

In 2019, the Central City residential market finally felt the effects of the economic and political headwinds which have dampened activity in the national and regional housing markets in recent years. The distribution of sales across the various price bands was similar to that seen in 2018, with the largest number of sales recorded in the R30,000 – R39,000/m2 category. No sales were recorded in the top price bracket (more than R60,000/m2) last year, while two sales were recorded in 2018.

The report includes separate sections providing a detailed look at key elements of the Central City economy, including:

  • The Art Economy: With Cape Town firmly established as the art capital of Africa, the financial contribution of the creative sector to the Central City economy is undeniable;
  • The Visitor Economy: With three new hotels opening in the Central City in 2019, several mixed-use developments and aparthotels either being constructed or in the pipeline, the CBD’s multi-layered visitor economy continued to expand in spite of a tight economy;
  • The Night-time Economy: There is growing awareness of the potential of the Central City’s night-time economy, but it remains an unexplored resource. A recent research partnership between the City of Cape Town, the CCID and the University of Cape Town will provide a better understanding of the night-time economy of the Central City and how to better use the night as a resource for social and economic development; and
  • The Knowledge and Eventing Economy: The Central City’s knowledge and eventing economy continues to expand every year, driving business into the region as local and international visitors and business tourists stream into the CBD to attend official events and conventions in and around the public spaces in downtown Cape Town.

The report also features a detailed analysis of residential and commercial rentals, and highlights from the CCID’s residential and retail surveys.

 

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

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

President Ramaphosa Urges South Africans to Use the COVID-19 Contact Tracing App. Here’s How it Works

On Wednesday, president Cyril Ramaphosa urged South Africans to use government’s new coronavirus contact-tracing app, which was launched earlier this month.

“I want to make a call this evening to everyone who has a smartphone in South Africa to download the COVID Alert mobile app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store,” Ramaphosa said during his address to the nation. The app has been zero-rated by mobile networks, so you can download it without any data costs.”

Using Bluetooth technology, the app will alert any user if they have been in close contact with any other user who has tested positive for coronavirus in the past 14 days.
“Contact tracing  is an important preventative measure to protect yourself and your close family and friends,” Ramaphosa said, as he announced details about South Africa’s progress to Level 1 on midnight, Sunday.

This will include the opening up of borders to foreign tourists from countries that don’t have high infection rates. These travellers will be asked to install the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app on arrival, Ramaphosa said.

The COVID Alert SA app is available for Android devices on the Google Play store and on the Apple App Store for iPhones, with the South African National Department of Health as publisher.

The small app, 2.1MB on Android phones and 5MB on iOS, promises to anonymously keep track of your contact with everyone else using it over a two-week period, the upper end of the incubation period for Sars-CoV-2. If a user discloses they have tested positive for the coronavirus, everyone in that contact list is notified.

The app uses the exposure notification framework created by Google and Apple for use during the pandemic. “By downloading and using the COVID Alert SA app, you become a part of a powerful digital network of app users who choose to work together for the benefit of everyone in the app community while all enjoying complete privacy and anonymity,” the department of health promises.

“App users understand their exposure to Covid-19 and help others to do the same. We can all work together to curb the spread of Covid-19 and, ultimately, to save lives.” The app is free, and uses only a small amount of data every day to check in with a central server. But it requires the power-hungry Bluetooth radio to be turned on, which makes for some battery drain.

COVID Alert SA does not record your name or location. Instead, every device is assigned a unique code. Using Bluetooth, it shares that code with other phones running the app when the come into range, and records the signal strength (a rough proxy for how close another person is) and date for any such contact.

The range of Bluetooth transmission can vary wildly depending on a range of factors, but is around 10 metres as a rule of thumb. Anyone who tests positive for the coronavirus must type in a PIN number the department of health sends by SMS as part of the notification system for Covid-19 tests.

That triggers alerts other people who were in close proximity, without disclosing the identity of the infected person or any other details. In such a case “[a]pp users are guided as to what to do next to optimise their wellbeing and prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus to others,” says the department of health.

The usefulness of the app will depend on how many people install it, whether they keep their Bluetooth radios turned on, and how quickly they report positive test results.

To track the virus’ stats, visit the Bing live COVID map here.

Let’s all work together to flatten the curve of COVID in South Africa.

 

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

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