Jun 28, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Home Affairs faces 50 new lawsuits every week

Home Affairs faces 50 new lawsuits every week
27 June 2017 – IOL

Johannesburg – The Home Affairs Department is being slapped with about 50 cases of litigation on a weekly basis, deputy director-general for institutional planning and support Thulani Mavuso said.
Now the department is hiring legally qualified people who will be placed in the directorates of immigration affairs and civic services to monitor and act quickly on litigation-related issues.
“On a weekly basis we have to respond and instruct state attorneys to defend matters. Some of them are opportunistic litigations,” Mavuso said.
He made the comments after department offices in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, were closed when the sheriff of the court attached its goods last month.
This was after a foreign national took the department to court for wrongful arrest and was granted a default judgment of R150 000, which the department is now seeking to rescind.
It has been reported in the past how the department wasted millions in taxpayers’ money on court battles.
The department had revealed in a parliamentary reply that it spent R46.3 million on legal costs in 2011/2012, and R21.3m was spent in the previous financial year.
In 2014, out of 404 judgments that were granted by the courts, 385 were made against the detentions of illegal foreigners at the Lindela Repatriation Centre in Krugersdorp or failed asylum seekers who filed judicial reviews against such rejections.
Mavuso said there were instances where people fly into OR Tambo International Airport, only to be met by lawyers, ready to take the department to court.
“It is quite bad in a sense that those opportunistic litigations, actually in the area of immigration, are quite huge,” Mavuso said.
“The same applies when people are arrested for fraudulent documents or documents that are invalid and then taken to Lindela,” he added.
“You have lawyers who make Lindela a hunting ground for those cases,” he said.
Mavuso also said the high volume of litigation was creating huge administrative issues in the department.
“People use the law to say these are their constitutional rights and we need to defend the cases. Sometimes we defend things which are actually a waste of money.”
Deputy director-general for civic services Vusumuzi Mkhize said the capacity of the department was being strengthened.
“We recently created posts for the core business in immigration and civic to have a legal person to deal with any matter relating to ligation,” Mkhize said.
When the department presented its budget to Parliament earlier this year, it noted the lack of capacity in its legal services, risk management, information services, financial management and counter corruption and security services.
Its 2017/18 annual performance plan said there was a phased restructuring of staff according to a plan proposed by a consulting firm to increase the proportion of specialists and prioritise posts.
Political Bureau

Jun 28, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Industry reacts to Rwandan permit increase

Industry reacts to Rwandan permit increase
27 Jun 2017 – Tourism Update
Rwanda’s permit hikes may be in response to the surge in high-end tourism development.
The recent doubling of Rwanda’s gorilla permits from $750 to $1 500 has resulted in concerns from some operators over the potential impact of the increase.
For Debbie Addison, Director of Wild Frontiers, the permit increase means “turning a dream into something that may be unattainable for people who really want to see gorillas in their natural habitat”.
Betty Jo Currie, Founder of Currie and Co Travels shares a similar view. “I’m sad to see a continuing polarisation between ‘haves and have nots’. This will clearly affect people for whom this is a bucket list item but who were travelling on a budget.”
Addison and Currie say although the increase is high, some guests are not concerned. They say their clients are concerned about value rather than cost and will continue to book gorilla trekking experiences. But Addison adds that some travellers have been “put off by the more expensive permit price”.
She says it is rare for guests to book Rwanda on its own. “Sadly very few guests book Rwanda as a destination in its entirety. I believe a lot of guests went there as it was an easy add-on to Kenya and Tanzania’s ‘big game’ safaris. Most of our bookings to Rwanda are ‘in and out’ gorillas.”
An indirect motivation behind the increase may be the rise in luxury operators building in Rwanda. Addison says: “The new lodges’ price points attract clientele that can afford the $1 500 permit.” Currie agrees: “I suspect that rather than being behind the fee hike, the new luxury lodges have proved to the Rwandan government that the market will support a fee increase.”
However, even though some businesses may be able to absorb the price increase, it is likely to have a negative effect on middle and lower range tourism options. “The lodges, the local operators, even the staff working directly with gorillas (trackers/porters etc). As the volume of people (tourists) now able and willing to enjoy this activity may reduce, this will likely have a knock-on effect throughout the industry,” says Addison. “If numbers of guests trekking reduce, so will the share of local income from those guests. Curios, porters, staff working in tourism in the area will start to feel the reduction as we move into low season this year, and into 2018.”
Addison says this could be positive for Ugandan tourism. “Uganda offers a more ‘rounded’ safari experience, and generally people will go there to see primates, birds, game, and culture and spend up to 10 days or more, taking in the country and its offerings. With Uganda recently confirming prices at $600 for the next two years, I believe that the country will pick up business from Rwanda.”

Jun 27, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

5 ways Cape Town and Western Cape plan to maintain investor confidence

5 ways Cape Town and Western Cape plan to maintain investor confidence
Jun 25 2017 – Fin 24
Cape Town – After engaging with stakeholders, the Western Cape’s investment agency Wesgro has set out five ways in which investor confidence can be maintained in Cape Town and the Western Cape after SA’s recent credit ratings downgrades by ratings agencies.
The five ways are:
Communication

An aligned communications plan must be established across the Western Cape to counter negative perceptions about investing the region.
Brand building
Cape Town’s brand as a world-class investment destination must be built through the City of Cape Town’s “Invest Cape Town” initiative.
Tourism
More than 70 tourism, trade and investment promotion missions abroad must be conducted by Wesgro in 2017 to sell the region as an investment destination and help local businesses to access international markets.
Project Khulisa
There must be a doubling-down on Project Khulisa, the Western Cape government’s economic strategy, to ensure policy certainty.
Investor Centre
A new investor centre must be launched in conjunction with the InvestSA initiative of the Department of Trade and Industry, as a collaborative one-stop shop for investors into Cape Town and the Western Cape.
“While challenging, the current economic situation offers opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs. The cost of imports will increase and we’re also seeing a rise in demand for consumers wanting to know the full value chain of their products,” said Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde.
“These trends provide a space for local entrepreneurs to package their products with authentic stories being the unique selling point. We know the weakening rand will also make our tourism offering and our agri-processed exports more competitive.”

Jun 26, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Over 90% of Home Affairs’ offices closed on Saturday

Over 90% of Home Affairs’ offices closed on Saturday
24 June 2017 – Timeslive
Over 90% of the Department of Home Affairs’ offices were not operating on Saturday‚ despite a settlement agreement reached with trade unions just over a week ago‚ the department confirmed.
Over 90% of the Department of Home Affairs’ offices were not operating on Saturday‚ despite a settlement agreement reached with trade unions just over a week ago‚ the department confirmed.
“The Department of Home Affairs has established that over 90% of its offices are not operating today due to insufficient staff numbers that turned up to work as part of the settlement agreement with the Unions.
“The Department wishes to take this opportunity to apologise to the public for the inconvenience caused and put it on record that it is disappointed by these developments as they are not in line with the spirit of the agreement and the resolutions of discussions that took place up to Friday‚” the department said in a statement. It appealed to the “union leadership to prioritise resolving this matter urgently as agreed with the unions during negotiations”.
“The Public Service Commission‚ the unions and the Department believe quality service delivery to our people is of utmost importance in line with our values.
“We are hopeful this matter will be resolved amicably soon because the public deserves a better service from all of us‚” the department stated.
A planned nationwide strike by Home Affairs’ office workers‚ scheduled to have begun last Monday‚ was called off after the department agreed to withdraw a circular compelling its staff to work on Saturdays without overtime pay.
This was after months spent by unions and the department in various courts‚ including the Constitutional Court‚ in a bid to resolve the issue.
It was not immediately clear why the majority of workers failed to pitch up for work on Saturday after having reached an agreement with the department.
TimesLIVE

Jun 26, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

MPs call for Gigaba testimony after home affairs minister, DG fail to appear

MPs call for Gigaba testimony after home affairs minister, DG fail to appear
20 Jun 2017 – Mail & Guardian
On Tuesday, a parliamentary portfolio committee was set to grill Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize and director general Mkuseli Apleni over alleged malpractice in the naturalisation of Atul Gupta and his family. However, Mkhize and Apleni failed to appear, citing a schedule conflict.
The absences stand as only the latest episode in the state capture saga.
Last Monday, documents released by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) purportedly showed that former home affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba broke protocol when he waived residential requirements to grant the Guptas naturalised citizenship. Gigaba has since denied any misconduct, insisting “the whole process [was] handled by the book in terms of our laws”.
Unable to proceed with the committee’s agenda, MPs clashed in a series of heated exchanges.
Democratic Alliance and EFF members appeared to align as an opposition bloc, pushing back against multiple attempts by the ANC to postpone the meeting and its scheduled testimony.
The EFF’s Hlengiwe Hlophe asserted: “As members of the committee, we’re being told that even the DG is not coming … we were assured on Monday that the DG [would] be here to brief us.”
The discussion quickly shifted to whether the Parliamentary body could call Gigaba to explain his actions. Demands for answers were met with a sharp rebuttal from committee chairperson Lemias Mashile. He insisted: “No, we’ve got no jurisdiction over him, he’s now the minister of finance. A person like him can only be invited if we’ve got an inquiry … we don’t have an inquiry, so we can’t invite him now.”
Hlophe responded by accusing Mashile of “defending” Gigaba and stonewalling the state capture probe.
In an apparent bid to ease tension, ANC member Maesela Kekana called for solidarity in the body’s pursuit of justice.
“For sure as all of us as members of this committee, we are not here to compromise our integrity. We are not here to defend anybody. I propose let us make sure that we summon the minister and the previous minister and the DG to come … They must know they [are accountable] here.”
Despite initial objections from Mashile, the committee agreed to call Apleni, Mkhize and Gigaba for testimony in a week’s time.

Jun 26, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

SA promises to improve processing of refugees on World Refugee Day

SA promises to improve processing of refugees on World Refugee Day
20 June 2017 – Times Live

South Africa has offered hope for refugees and asylum seekers‚ promising to digitise its systems to make their lives easier.
Home affairs deputy minister Fatima Chohan said the department would soon be introducing biometric smart cards for refugees‚ similar to the new identity cards for South African citizens.
At an event hosted by the department at Durban’s Playhouse Theatre‚ Chohan said that South Africa had processed two million asylum seekers since 1998.
“If you compare that the fact that the whole of Europe‚ 27 countries‚ have processed four million people during this latest crisis‚ you can see what a challenge this has been for us‚” she said.
She added that not only did South Africa have a record low number of asylum seekers last year but a record number of 35‚000 were processed.
“We have changed the way we process asylum seekers. We have gone digital and it has improved our efficiency. This means that more refugees are able to access assistance and services‚” she said.
She said the hope is that the biometric card for refugees will start being issued from Thursday this week.
“It ends potential for fraud as every aspect is processed electronically‚” she said.
This comes as the United Nations Refugee Agency on June 19 – the day before World Refugee Day on Wednesday – released its annual Global Trends study. The report found that 65.5-million people were “forcibly replaced” worldwide by the end of last year.
“On average‚ 20 people were driven from their homes every minute last year‚ or one every three seconds‚” the agency said.
Syria was the largest producer of refugees for the seventh straight year – but it was the 737‚404 people displaced in South Sudan that pushed the numbers up even more severely last year. Children make up half the world’s refugees.

Jun 26, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

ALERT: Home Affairs services hard-hit due to ‘insufficient staff’

ALERT: Home Affairs services hard-hit due to ‘insufficient staff’
2017-06-24
Cape Town – The Department of Home Affairs confirms that over 90% of DHA offices are closed on Saturday due to insufficient staff numbers, which Home Affairs says is not inline with the recent settlement agreement with the Unions.
This comes after the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) and the Public Servants Association (PSA) threatened to down tools due to working conditions at Home Affairs.
The DHA issued a statement apologising to the public for the “inconvenience caused”, saying it is “disappointed by these developments as they are not in line with the spirit of the agreement and the resolutions of discussions that took place up to Friday, 23 June”.
The DHA has confirmed to Traveller24 the incapacity is not expected to affect passport control for those travelling internationally – but specifically front offices, facilitating ID, Passport and birth registrations as well as collections, including visas.
This comes ahead of one of our busiest periods in the year – the school winter holidays starting at the end of June.
Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni says the dispute relates to ongoing issues within the department, also relating to front offices’ working hours implemented in 2015.
The unions were determined to register a strike if demands are not worked out “favourably for its
The strike planned for Monday 19 June was called off following the DHA’s withdrawal of measures to force its staff to work on Saturdays without paying them overtime, but offering them a specified timetable of time off in lieu instead.
It has taken months of negotiation to resolve issues ongoing issues within the department, relating to front offices weekend working hours implemented in 2015 and the restructuring of time off in lieu instead of paid overtime.
Following the DHA’s withdrawal of the “circular introducing the shift system” it now has 10 days to review the process.
The Department is appealing to the union leadership to prioritise resolving this matter urgently as agreed with the unions during negotiations. “The Public Service Commission, the unions and the Department believe quality service delivery to our people is of utmost importance in line with our values,” says the Department.
“We are hopeful this matter will be resolved amicably soon because the public deserves a better service from all of us,” adds the Department.

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