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SA President Visits Home Affairs Head Office

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the Home Affairs head office in Tshwane recently, as part of his commitment to promote good governance and professionalism in the public sector. Click here to view the video.

On the back of bilateral talks with Nigeria, the President visited a Department of Home Affairs to ensure that asylum seekers were treated properly.

The department had been accused of being slow to issue asylum or other documentation, forcing foreign nationals to live as illegals.

Ramaphosa addressed staff and senior managers at Home Affairs in Tshwane.

“We are about to demonstrate to South Africans and the world that Home Affairs is at that top-level when we introduce the e-visa system which is world-class by any means that you can describe. But at the same time, the people of our country and the rest of the world will be expecting Home Affairs to continue to push the boundaries and push the limits and demonstrate that it can do even better than what we are doing now,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa met with his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday during a state visit.

The presidents of the continent’s two biggest economies reached 32 bilateral agreements following the gathering.

While Ramaphosa said that the recent xenophobic violence did not represent the values of either country, Buhari urged his citizens living in South Africa to adhere to the law.

Ramaphosa said South Africa and Nigeria agreed to elevate their co-operation to presidential level to revive relations that were battered by the recent violence.

Flight expenditure for undocumented migrants

Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi confirmed that R8 956 713.41 has been spent on charter flights and/or airlines by his department to deport undocumented migrants for the period April 1 to August 31 this year.

The minister made the revelations in a parliamentary reply to a question asked by DA MP Joseph McGluwa.

McGluwa asked Motsoaledi about the details of the charter flights and airlines as well as the total amount paid in respect of the deportations in both the 2018/19 financial year and since the start of April this year.

For the 2018 to 2019 financial year, R33 070 629.90 was spent on flights for the deportation of undocumented migrants.

DA MP Adrian Roos asked Motsoaledi whether he would engage with the executive mayors of metropolitan municipalities to conduct raids to combat illegal immigration.

To this, the minister replied that he “… has engaged with municipal structures on matters of migration and will do so on a continuous basis”.

“Joint and special operations to combat illegal migration are planned and conducted by law enforcement agencies at national, provincial and local level through inter-governmental security structures. All metro municipalities are represented in local security, provincial and national structures such as the provincial joint operational structures and the national structure,” Motsoaledi added.

 

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Sources: [1], [2], [3]. Image sources: [1], [2].

South African President’s 5-Point Plan to Tackle Gender-Based Violence

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday announced a five-point emergency plan to put a halt to gender-based violence during an extraordinary joint sitting of Parliament.

The five points are prevention, strengthening the criminal justice system, enhancing the legal and policy framework, ensuring adequate care, support and healing for victims of violence and strengthening the economic power of women.

The plan will be implemented over the next six months.

1. Prevention

“In implementing our prevention measures, we must recognise that violence against women is not a problem of women. It is a problem of men,” Ramaphosa said.

This part of the plan entails the following measures:

  • A mass media campaign that will target communities, public spaces, workplaces, campuses, schools and recreational spaces like taverns. The focus will be on men’s groups and formations, youth at risk and offenders inside prisons.
  • Women’s rights and gender power relations will be part of Life Orientation in the school curriculum.
  • Gender-sensitivity training for law enforcement officials, prosecutors, magistrates and policymakers. Those who are found in breach of their responsibilities in this regard will be held to account.
  • Train and deploy prevention activists to all of 278 municipalities. They will engage in household visits and community interventions focused on changing harmful social norms.

2. Strengthen the criminal justice system

“This is to ensure that justice is served, perpetrators are held to account, survivors do not suffer secondary victimisation, and the law acts as a deterrent,” Ramaphosa said.

It includes the following measures:

  • Directing resources to improve the functioning of sexual offences courts, Thuthuzela care centres, and the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Investigation Units of the SAPS;
  • Funding has already been approved for the establishment of an additional eleven sexual offences courts over the next financial year; and
  • The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development will clear the backlog of criminal cases for rape and other forms of gender-based violence through the establishment of special courts, hiring additional court staff and clearing the backlog at forensic labs.

3. Enhance the legal and policy framework

“Since the advent of democracy, we have enacted several laws and undertaken a number of programmes to tackle gender inequality in our society, to promote human rights and to enable effective action against gender-based violence,” Ramaphosa said.

“In many respects, however, these measures have fallen short of what is needed to confront the severity of the challenges we face.”

The measures to improve the legal and policy framework are:

  • Proposing a range of legal and regulatory reforms to Parliament to strengthen the response of the State to gender-based violence and to ensure that all crimes against women and children attract harsher minimum sentences.
  • Engaging with the judiciary on the role that it can play in supporting the national effort to end gender-based violence to ensure abusers, rapists and murderers know that they will be caught and punished. The State should oppose bail for suspects charged with the rape and murder of women and children and those who are found guilty of such crimes should not be eligible for parole.
  • Strengthen programmes to rehabilitate offenders and youth at risk. Finalise legislation like the Victim Support Services Bill, which will strengthen support for GBV programmes and services.
  • Ramaphosa called on all parliamentary committees to prioritise these areas of legislative reform and ensure that we have effective legislation in place without delay.

4. Ensure adequate care, support and healing for victims of violence

Measures in this part of the plan are:

  • Standardising the framework for funding civil society organisations working with survivors of gender-based violence;
  • Providing post-rape training for healthcare providers and lay counsellors who provide care and support to victims and survivors;
  • Working with the private sector, concerned individuals and other institutions to substantially increase the number of Thuthuzela care centres across the country from the current 54 to over 100 by 2025;
  • Meet with representatives of the private sector to discuss the establishment of a Gender-based Violence and Femicide Fund to increase support to survivors, including persons with disability and the LGBTQI+ community;
  • As drug and alcohol abuse fuel gender-based violence, the Department of Social Development has been tasked with increasing the visibility of substance abuse awareness and education and prioritising funding for more treatment facilities; and
  • Resource the gender-based violence framework in universities and colleges, which will include the establishment of gender equity offices in these institutions. Ramaphosa will meet the universities’ vice-chancellors to come up with initiatives that are focused on what should be done at institutions of higher learning.

Improve the economic power of women

“Women are often hostages in abusive relationships because of poverty and unemployment. Young women, in particular, are vulnerable to exploitation from older men with financial resources. By tackling unequal economic power dynamics we can reduce the vulnerability of women to abuse,” Ramaphosa said.

5. This will include the following measures:

  • Prioritise women when it comes to access to employment, training opportunities and procurement of services, and call upon the private sector to do the same;
  • Reach the target to set aside 30% of the value of its procurement for women-owned businesses, and to progressively increase that to 40%;
  • Prioritise support and training for women engaging in small business and informal sector activity, and call on established business to be part of this effort;
  • All government departments will be expected to adhere to gender-responsive planning, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation; and
  • Improve collection and analysis of data to monitor our GBV programmes.

Comments from other political parties

The EFF‘s Veronica Mente noted that there was no quick fix to the problem. “Our only help is successful policing, prosecuting, tough sentencing and working prisons. We will stay with this problem forever, as long as we do not fix these systems,” she said.

IFP MP Liezl van der Merwe commended Ramaphosa’s initiative and pledged her support. But she noted that following previous high-profile murders of women such as Anene Booysen, Karabo Mokoena and toddler Courtney Pieters, the government had pledged action – but to no avail.

Van der Merwe said that in announcing the interventions outlined in his address, Ramaphosa had shown that he had the courage to act. However, what remained to be seen was whether the government had the courage to govern, the courage to do what was right and the courage to save the nation from becoming a failed state.

“To date, the disjunction between what our women endure and what our government does in response has been alarmingly inadequate,” she added.

ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe

called for harsher punishments for rape, saying that to help send a clear message that the justice system is serious about fighting gender-based violence, rapists should be denied bail and parole.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa complimented Ramaphosa’s announcement, saying that the president spoke like a commander-in-chief.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane has called on political party leaders to cast aside their differences and recognise the severity of the gender-based violence crisis consuming South Africa.

“Let us make the dignity, respect and safety of women and girls in our society our number one priority,” he said. He said it was tragic was that few perpetrators were ever arrested and prosecuted, resulting in a conviction rate for rape of just 5%.

Maimane called on parents to set a better example to their sons. “We must raise them to respect girls and women as their equal. We must show our boys, through all our actions, what is right and what is wrong,” he said.

Children should be taught about consent at school, he said, adding that Kenya had achieved dramatic results with a “No Means No” programme in their schools. “We need to introduce similar consent classes in our own life orientation curriculum,” said Maimane, adding that culture, tradition or religion should not be allowed to offer a hiding place for those who commit such acts.

Maimane said the existing legislation was not up to the task as the act dealing with domestic abuse was 20 years old and out of touch. The DA leader proposed that parliament establishes an ad hoc committee to investigate the systemic causes of gender-based violence and to map out long-term solutions.

To watch the National Assembly session, click here.

 

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Sources: [1], [2], [3], [4]. Image sources: shi zhao [1], [2].

South African Presidential Land Advisory Panel Delivers Final Report on Expropriation

The presidential expert advisory panel on land reform and agriculture has detailed the circumstances under which expropriation without compensation could be applicable in its final report which was tabled in cabinet last week.

The report was released at a media briefing on Sunday. Not all panel members agreed with all the recommendations,

The panel was appointed in September 2018 to support the work of the Inter Ministerial Committee on Land Reform and to advise it on a broad range of policy matters associated with land reform, including restitution, redistribution, tenure security and agricultural support. The independent panel’s report is merely advisory and the government can pick and choose which recommendations to implement.

Parliament’s constitutional committee was tasked with amending section 25 of the constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation. It was agreed that the constitution would be amended. The policy of expropriation without compensation became the policy position of the governing party after its adoption at the ANC’s 2017 December national conference.

Dr Vuyo Mahlati, chair of the panel, said the panel had offered a proposal for a constitutional amendment, as it may be necessary in limited circumstances.

She said the state was already empowered to expropriate land, but it required just and equitable compensation.

She said there were different views about the necessity of amending the constitution, and that the majority of the panel had advised that compensation may be zero in circumstances that require this.

The panel’s report itself gives details as to the circumstances in which expropriation without compensation could be applied.

The report said that expropriation without compensation was understood to be one of several targeted land acquisition strategies, and that it may commence immediately under specified conditions identified for “nil” compensation, including but not limited to: abandoned land; hopelessly indebted land; land held purely for speculative purposes; land held by state entities and not utilized; land obtained through criminal activity; land already occupied and used by labor tenants and former labor tenants; informal settlement areas; inner city buildings with absentee landlords; land donations (as a form of expropriation without compensation); and farm equity schemes.

The panel’s understanding was that nationalization was not allowed under the constitution.

The full report can be viewed here.

 

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Plans for South Africa’s New e-Visa System

A new digital system for visa applications is on the cards for October.

The e-visa is part of government’s overhaul to make it easier for tourists to travel to South Africa, as well as for companies to acquire employees with scarce skills. President Ramaphosa made the commitment during his State of the Nation Address last Thursday.

“We’ll make good on our ambition to more than double international tourism arrivals to 21 million by 2030,” Ramaphosa said. “This will be achieved through the renewal of the country’s brand introducing a world-class visa regime and a significant focus on key markets.”

Ramaphosa’s commitment has been well received by business, but the industry says more is needed. “We welcome the fact that he said we’ll put in place a world-class visa system,” said Banking Association of SA CEO Cas Coovadia.

“What we would have liked him to say was that current visa system that’s impeding tourism will be suspended immediately.” Tourism accounts for about a tenth of the economy and employs about 1.6-million people.

The latest data shows an increase of more than 4 percent year-on-year in April. Home Affairs says the new visa system will enable investment. The department further stated that the visa system should also make it more efficient to admit people with scarce skills and it won’t compromise the country’s security.

“We’re now at the stage where we’re doing functional testing, once that’s done we’ll do a proper pilot with a few countries,” said Home Affairs Acting Director-General Thulani Mavuso “Once that’s completed we’ll go into production.”

Currently, citizens from 59 countries don’t need to apply for a visa to visit South Africa and this figure is set to increase soon. Tourism is a major impetus for growth and job creation and the e-visa will hopefully make travelling here easier.

 

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

SA President Ramaphosa Has Announced The Country’s New Cabinet

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the 28 individuals who have been chosen to form the country’s new cabinet. The President said he had reduced the Cabinet from 36 to 28 as part of his plans to reconfigure the state.

Mergers, Gender, and Age

Some departments have been merged such as Trade and Industry, which was combined with Economic Development; Higher Education and Training combined with Science and Technology; Environmental Affairs combined with Forestry and Fisheries; Agriculture combined with Land Reform and Rural Development, and Mineral Resources combined with Energy. Human Settlements has been combined with Water and Sanitation while Sports and Recreation combined with Arts and Culture.

Ramaphosa said that half of the ministers are women (making good on his promise of a balance of men and women in the new cabinet), and that there are now a number of young people in cabinet positions. Ramaphosa said his appointment of young people was part of his fulfilment of his commitment to give young people roles of responsibility. “This is part of a generational transition in which we are creating a pipeline of leaders to take our country further into the future,” he said.

The African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) is pleased that half of the president’s new Cabinet are women. ANCWL’s general secretary Meokgo Matuba said: “As disciplined as we’re, we still have further consultation and engage with those who are deployed various spheres of government to get to align our role in dealing with socio-economic challenges that we’re faced with as a country.”

Ramaphosa’s announcement follows weeks of speculation about who would be included and who will be left out from the previous cabinet. He has also faced tough pressure to appoint a scandal-free cabinet which does not include individuals who have been tainted by allegations of corruption.

Notably, Deputy President David Mabuza has retained his position, after initially delaying his being sworn in as an MP so as to report to the ANC’s Integrity Commission on matters concerning his conduct. Mabuza supported Ramaphosa in his initial bid for the Presidency in 2017.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was appointed to the portfolio of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. She competed with Ramaphosa for ANC leadership in 2017.

Pravin Gordhan has been retained as Minister of Public Enterprises. The move came despite the fact that Gordhan has still not been legally “cleared” by the court after Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s adverse finding against him last week. Gordhan has lodged an application for a court review of the protector’s report, but there has been no decision yet. Ramaphosa’s move may indicate confidence in Gordhan, and a rejection of Mkhwebane’s assessments.

Office Holders

The office holders can be seen in the table below.

Surprise Appointment

Interestingly, GOOD party leader Patricia de Lille has been appointed a Minister in the ANC’s new cabinet. After a protracted debate with the DA in the Western Cape, former Cape Town Mayor de Lille formed the GOOD party not long before the 2019 general election, and won seats in both the National Assembly and the Western Cape Provincial Parliament.

de Lille has pledged to “continue the struggle for dignity and fairness for all South Africans”. In a short statement after her appointment on Wednesday night, the GOOD party leader said she was humbled to have received the call from president Cyril Ramaphosa to serve in his Cabinet.

She said her new post would enable her to continue fighting for an accountable and compassionate government. “On President Ramaphosa’s election to the Presidency last week I pledged GOOD’s constructive support for turning South Africa around.

“This support we will wholeheartedly give, but I will be joining President Ramaphosa’s executive with open eyes and ears as a representative of good South Africans of integrity who love their country and demand better of their leaders,” said de Lille.

Responses

The reappointment of finance minister Tito Mboweni and minister of public enterprises Pravin Gordhan has been positively received by the market, with Ramaphosa also ditching controversial figures such as Nomvula Mokonyane and Bathabile Dlamini.

Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader Mmusi Maimane said that there was very little to inspire in the line-up. “This is a Cabinet that looks the same actors playing to the same script, they’ve just been reshuffled along the deck and our focus now is to refine our plan, a plan that will bring us jobs”.

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema is not impressed with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet for a number of reasons, including stating that it is still too large. Malema said, “There was no way [The President] was going to reduce cabinet because he wants to balance factions. He must appease everyone so that there is no war declared against him”. Malema was referring to the notion that factions within the ANC aligned with former President Jacob Zuma, including those in Parliament and those at Luthuli House, as well as organizations that the ANC consults on such decisions (which include the South African Communist Party and trade union COSATU) all have their own agendas and attempt to influence the President.

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)’s response was lukewarm. Member of Parliament and spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said that the only real surprise inclusion in the new Cabinet was the inclusion of De Lille. “It’s safe to say the only surprise is Patricia de Lille, for the president to get an opposition member into the Cabinet,” Hlengwa said.

Promises from the President

At his inauguration on Saturday, Ramaphosa admitted that the journey ahead was not easy. He faces expectations for a clean-up of corruption which has engulfed a number of government departments and crucially state-owned enterprises.

“In recent times, our people have watched as some of those in whom they had invested their trust have surrendered to the temptation of power and riches. They have seen some of the very institutions of our democracy eroded and resources squandered. The challenges that we face are real. But they are not insurmountable,” Ramaphosa said.

The President also faces the tough battle of dealing with social economic issues that have plagued the country including rising unemployment and an under-performing economy. There is also the issue of a lack or poor service delivery in many parts of the country.

In his announcement on Wednesday, Ramaphosa said revitalising the economy is key while also ensuring that the public purse is kept in check. He said a reconfigured State is a process and journey and that combining the various departments was part of the process.

Ministerial Benefits

Ministers are slated to earn R2,401,633, while Deputy Ministers are expected to cost taxpayers R1,977,795 each in the 2018/19 financial year. Deputy President David Mabuza is set to earn R2,825,470. For comparison, a normal member of the National Assembly (MP) will earn R1,106,940, while the leader of a minority party will earn R1,309,563.

Had the cabinet been kept the same (at 72 members, with 36 ministers and 34 deputies) the total cost – excluding the President – would have come to R156.5 million. The reduced cabinet will save the country R19.2 million during the financial year.

AfricaCheck reports that some of the major perks include private cars, official vehicles, accommodation, travel expenses, and other expenses.

 

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], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9]. Image sources: [1], [2].