Archive from March, 2013
Mar 18, 2013 - Business Permit, General    No Comments

P&G announces massive new investment in South Africa

The Procter and Gamble Company (P&G) has announced a significant new investment of more than R1.6 billion in South Africa. The substantial expansion of P&G’s local manufacturing operations was announced by Dimitri Panayotopoulos, the company’s vice chair in charge of global business units, at a press conference held jointly in Johannesburg with the Department of Trade and Industry.

This new investment comes on top of P&G’s existing investment of R500 million in a manufacturing plant for Pampers nappies in Johannesburg. Built in 2009, the Pampers plant attracted a further R6.6 million of investment from suppliers and created hundreds of jobs in South Africa.

Panayotopoulos said that P&G’s new investment would create a new multi-category production unit that will operate according to the highest sustainability standards. The multi-category unit will manufacture a range of products, among them detergents and feminine hygiene products, for local and export markets.

“We aim to make South Africa P&G’s manufacturing hub for the markets of Southern and East Africa,” said Panayotopoulos. “Our global strategy is to maintain our strong momentum in developing markets. Africa in general and South Africa in particular—as the largest African economy—are thus of key importance to us. As in all developing markets, our business here in Africa will remain focused on leading brands that improve health, hygiene and household care, as well as substantial social investment programmes that uplift underprivileged families and communities.”

The investment expansion announced today is expected to create over 500 additional jobs at P&G. Construction of the new plant is expected to commence in 2014 with production expected to commence in 2016 or early 2017. The location of the site will be announced once all the preparations have been concluded.

In line with P&G’s global commitment, the new facilities will pursue the globally recognised LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. It will also follow P&G’s global 77-point plan that takes a holistic view of the sustainability footprint of its operations. The new plant will be built on a green field site which the company will acquire in the near future and will become one of the largest P&G facilities in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, welcomed the announcement as “a further example of confidence by leading manufactures in the future of South Africa”. He said, “Since it entered the South African market, P&G has contributed to creating environmentally and socially responsible economic growth, and in particular, more South African jobs”

The event was also attended by David Constable, Chief Executive Officer of Sasol Limited. “Sasol, primarily through our operations in Europe and North America, has been one of P&G’s principal suppliers for over five decades. For the past 10 years, we have strengthened our strategic partnership and are increasing our commercial and technical collaboration efforts. Sasol is delighted that P&G is looking to expand its presence in South Africa. We believe that, together, we can contribute positively to the downstream manufacturing sector of the South African economy”, said Mr Constable.

SA – the Good News 

Mar 18, 2013 - Business Permit, General    No Comments

SA’s major banks remain resilient

SA’s major banks remain resilient

Thursday, 14 March 2013

The financial results of South Africa’s four major banks (Absa, FirstRand, Nedbank and Standard Bank) for the year ended 31 December 2012 have remained resilient amidst the recent global economic turmoil, according to a report issued by professional services firm PwC today.

Tom Winterboer, PwC Financial Services Leader for Africa and Southern Africa, says: “Despite having weathered the economic uncertainty, the major banks will find it difficult to return to previous levels of profitability as a result of regulatory challenges, such as compliance with revised Basel II.5 rules that have been phased in from 1 January 2012 and two of the major credit agencies revising the country’s outlook from stable to negative.

“However, South African banks still have some of the strongest capital levels worldwide and we expect the major banks to remain resilient and continue to produce solid financial results in the coming quarter.”

After two years of higher range double-digit profit growth, underlying aggregate earnings rose by 11.3% to R47 billion during 2012 (2011: R43 bn). “In contrast to previous years, the major banks’ results varied significantly this year, as each bank faces its own set of challenges and focused strategies begin to play out,” says Winterboer.

These are some of the highlights from PwC’s South Africa Major Banks Analysis Report: Growing in an uncertain world. The report analyses the results of South Africa’s major banks for the year ended 31 December 2012.

Good credit growth has resulted in an increase in net interest income of 11% (R105 bn) year-on-year, and continues to contribute significantly to the bottom line. “Banks have managed to continue growing their net interest margin, despite the stable, low interest rate environment and changes made to the composition of the balance sheet.”

Growth in earnings during 2012 was further enhanced by increased non-interest revenue (NIR) of 13.7% (R102 bn). NIR is largely driven by fee and commission income, which represents 70% of the total for the second half of 2012, up from 68% in the first half of the year. “This remains a highly competitive area in which the major banks are focused on widening the net and banking the unbanked. In so doing, the banks are finding innovative ways to reach their customers.

“We have also observed a strong trading performance from the banks’ African trading operations, given the strong economic growth being experienced in many of the rest of African countries,” comments Winterboer.

Fair value income continued to remain volatile and was down 16% on the first half of the year. Banks’ concerns about the European sovereign debt and a fiscal eruption in the US, as well as concerns about fluctuations in equities and commodities markets had an effect on trading conditions, states the report.

Looking at credit growth, gross loans and advances increased by 5.7% from the previous period. All of the major banks reported robust credit growth, with total growth in card lending for 2012 amounting to 27.4% (2011:2%), while other unsecured lending grew 19% (2011: 12.4%).

Combined total advances growth for the year of 5.7% was supplemented by a 9.5% decline in total non-performing loans (NPLSs). This was largely driven by a continued improvement in the retail credit experience of the major banks.

Not much growth has taken place in home loans (up 0.4% to R833 bn) and corporate and investment banking lending portfolios (up 4% to R882bn). Banks have commented on their strategies in these two sectors with the new capital and liquidity ratios introduced by Basel III having a significant influence.

Credit loss ratios continued to reflect heightened stress in the retail market as the overall combined ratio deteriorated slightly to 1.2% at the end of 2012 (2011:0.9%) as a result of a 36% increase in income statement impairments.

Compared to the prior period, banks’ operating expenses increased by 11% (R119 bn), while total operating income increased by 12.4% (R207 bn). Consequently, their combined cost-to-income ratio remained relatively flat at 56.5% for the second half of the year. Salaries, which continue to represent roughly half of the total expense bill, grew at a rate of 10.6% annually. Winterboer says that tight headcount management remains a priority for management teams, although this continues to be balanced with the need for ongoing investment in human resources in the rest of Africa. “IT spend also continues to be on the increase as banks seek to implement new systems replacing legacy systems”.

The major banks reported aggregate return on equity (ROE) of 15.8% in 2012 (2011: 16%). “Banks’ ROE’s are transcending to an era in which 15-18% is considered the upper band for South Africa, says Winterboer. Combined headline earnings grew to R43 billion, an increase of 8.9%, from the previous financial year (R40 bn).

All of the major banks continued on the positive path of increasing total qualifying capital and reserve funds. Overall, the major banks have all indicated that the transition to the higher capital requirements of Basel III, effective from 1 January 2013, should take place without significant deterioration in regulatory capital levels. “This well-capitalised status is a long-standing credit to the South African banking sector, both for the banks’ overall prudent capital management practices as well as for the strong regulatory capital regime adopted by the regulator over the years.”

On the positive side, South Africa’s large banks are strong, well capitalised and performed soundly with good revenue growth. “However, containing or reducing costs will remain a priority for banks. This will also be affected by the cost of regulatory challenges and continuing core banking IT enhancements,” says Winterboer.

“The focus on Africa is starting to pay off, but it is coupled with significant executive management attention and investments being made. Execution will continue to be the differentiating factor, both with regard to strategy and the optimal utilisation of capital – not only in the form of financial resources, but also human capital.”

SA – the Good News via PWC

Mar 17, 2013 - General    No Comments

Countries exempt from South African Visas PASSPORT HOLDERS WHO ARE EXEMPT FROM VISAS FOR SOUTH AFRICA

Countries exempt from South African Visas PASSPORT HOLDERS WHO ARE EXEMPT FROM VISAS FOR SOUTH AFRICA SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE The citizen who is a holder of a national passport (diplomatic, official and ordinary) of the foreign countries / territories / international organisations listed below are not required to hold a visa when reporting to an immigration officer for an examination at a South African port of entry, subject to the terms and conditions set out in this list, including inter alia the intended period of stay in the Republic. The holder of a national South African passport, travel document and document for travel purposes. The citizen who is a holder of a national passport (diplomatic, official or ordinary) of the following countries / territories / international organisations is not required to hold a visa in respect of purposes for which a visitor`s permit may be issued or by virtue of being a person contemplated in section 31(3)(b) [accredited in SA] for an intended stay of 90 days or less and when in transit: African Union Laissez Passer Andorra Argentina Australia Austria Belgium Botswana Brazil Canada Chile (only ordinary passport holders) Czech Republic Denmark Ecuador Finland France Germany (except in diplomatic staff due to assume duty at the Embassy and Consulates of Germany in SA) Greece Iceland Ireland Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Liechtenstein Luxemburg Malta Monaco Namibia (only ordinary passport holders) Netherlands New Zealand Norway Panama (only ordinary passport holders) Paraguay Portugal San Marino Singapore Spain St Vincent & the Grenadines Sweden Switzerland Tanzania (90 days per year) Trinidad & Tobago (only ordinary passport holders) United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland British Islands Bailiwick of Guernsey and Jersey, Isle of Man. British Oversees Territories namely: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena and Dependencies (Ascension Island, Gough Island and Tristan da Cunha), Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, the Sovereign Base Areas of Cyprus South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the Turks and Caicos Island. United States of America (except in diplomatic staff due to assume duty at the Embassy and Consulates of the USA in SA) Uruguay Venezuela Zambia (90 days per annum) Zimbabwe The citizen who is a holder of a national passport (diplomatic, official and ordinary) of the following countries / territories / international organisations is not required to hold a visa in respect of purposes for which a visitor`s permit may be issued by virtue of being a person contemplated in section 31(3)(b) [accredited in SA] for an intended stay of 30 days or less and when in transit: Antigua and Barbuda Bahamas (only ordinary passport holders) Barbados Belize Benin Bolivia Cape Verde Costa Rica Cyprus Gabon Guyana Hong Kong [only with regard to holders of Hong Kong British National Overseas passports and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passports] Hungary Jordan Lesotho Macau [only with regard to holders of Macau Special Administrative Region passports (MSAR)] Malaysia Malawi Maldives Mauritius Mozambique Peru Poland Seychelles Slovak Republic South Korea Swaziland Thailand Turkey Agreements have also been concluded with the following countries for holders of diplomatic and official passport holders. Citizens who are holders of diplomatic, official and service passports of the following countries do not require visas in respect of purposes for which a visitor`s permit may be issued or by virtue of being a person contemplated in section 31(3)(b) [accredited in SA] for the period indicated and transit: Albania (120 days) Algeria (30 days) Angola (90 days) Belarus (90 days) Bulgaria (90 days) China (PROC) (30 days) (only diplomatic passport holders) Cyprus (90 days) Comoros (90 days) Croatia (90 days) Cuba (90 days) (diplomatic, official & service) Egypt (30 days) Ghana (90 days) Guinea (90 days) Hungary (120 days) India (90 days) Ivory Coast (Cote d`Ivoire) (30 days) Kenya (30 days) Mexico (90 days) Madagascar (30 days) Morocco (30 days) Mozambique (90 days) Namibia (30 days) Paraguay (120 days) Poland (90 days) Romania (90 days) Russian Federation (90 days) Rwanda (30 days) Slovak (90 days) Slovenia (120 days) Thailand (90 days) Tunisia (90 days) Vietnam (90 days) Notwithstanding this Schedule, a foreigner whose visa exemption has been withdrawn shall comply with the visa requirements until notified by the Department that his or her visa exemption has been re-instated by the Department on petition or of its own accord. Visas are not required by passport holders of Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Malawi who are entering the Republic as commercial heavy-duty vehicle drivers provide their visits do not exceed 15 days and on condition that they can produce a letter confirming their employment with a transport company on entry. The same principle applies to Zimbabwean commercial heavy-duty vehicle drivers, except that their sojourn may not exceed 30 days at a time. The afore-mentioned does not apply to commercial heavy-duty vehicle drivers who transport goods for a South African transport company. Such drivers must be in possession of a valid work permit. Staff members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) who travel on SADC laissez-passers are exempt from visa requirements for bona fide official business visits up to 90 days and transit. The following categories of the UN as well as their spouses, dependent relatives and other members of the households are exempt from visa requirements when visiting the Republic for periods not exceeding 90 days for purposes for which a visitor`s permit may be issued, and for official business purposes and transits and when accredited for placement at a UN mission in the Republic for the duration of their accreditation, provided they are in possession of the relevant letters or identification documents to identify themselves at ports of entry as personnel of an UN agency. Holders of United Nations Laissez-passers Volunteers attached to the UN Persons involved in any United Nations agency Persons performing services on behalf of the UN Members of military forces attending any military related matters with the South African National Defence Force are exempt from visa and study permit requirements, irrespective of their duration of stay provided they are in possession of letters of invitation from the SANDF as well as letters of consent from the military force of which they are members.

Mar 17, 2013 - General    No Comments

Johannesburg – A white South African family has lost their court bid for asylum in the US, the Sunday Times reports.

Johannesburg – A white South African family has lost their court bid for asylum in the US, the Sunday Times reports. The family, a couple with two children originally from Durban, claimed they were in danger in South Africa because another family member had been racist and his victims wanted revenge. “This is not about black versus white. It’s about them being specific targets of retribution from victims of another person’s racism,” the family’s lawyer Errol Horwitz told the newspaper. He said the family’s paternal grandfather had allegedly abused his employees at a construction company in South Africa. His daughter-in-law testified in US courts that, as a result of his alleged racism, her dog was poisoned, human faeces thrown at their home, she was threatened, and her daughter was the victim of an attempted kidnapping. However, this week, a request for a new appeal hearing was turned down by three judges of the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Previously the court had ruled that since the grandfather had retired, there would be no credible threat against the family. The family has spent 15 years involved in various court actions to try and gain asylum. Horwitz said the children were likely to gain US residency through other legal avenues. However the parents were now “effectively undocumented migrants. The family is devastated by this decision.” – Sapa

Mar 2, 2013 - General    No Comments

House prices on the increase

The average house price has increased by over five percent in the past year, bond originator ooba announced on Monday.

“The property market is gaining confidence and we expect property prices to continue to show positive nominal price growth for the year ahead,” the company said in a statement.

The average house price reached R894,510 in January 2013, up 5.2% from R850,589 in January 2012.

The market was driven by first time home buyers. “First time home buyers continue to drive the market, with over 51% of ooba’s applicants in January being first time buyers.

“The average house price for first time buyers was up 5.5% year on year to R686,452 and up 3.2% month on month to R665,167.”

The current market conditions were supported by lower interest rates coupled with property price inflation and improved lending policies.

SA – the Good News via SAPA

Mar 2, 2013 - General    No Comments

Names of those convicted of corruption to be published

Names of those convicted of corruption to be published

Monday, 25 February 2013

The Department of Justice and Reconciliation plans to publish the names and details of those people convicted of corruption in pamphlets, newspapers and through radio advertisements, among others, the Minister of Justice and Reconciliation Jeff Radebe said on Sunday.

Radebe said freezing orders and forfeitures, which were also public knowledge, would also be published.

“We want to ensure that the public is conscious about what has happened, because sometimes when people talk about corruption, when we say ‘32 people have been convicted’, it’s just a number. But if you can attach a number to actual persons, you will understand that this fight against corruption, we do it in a very meaningful way,” he explained.

Radebe said since the setting up of the anti-corruption task team in 2010, 237 people had been arrested. Of these, 32 people have been convicted, two acquitted and the cases of the remaining 203 accused are still before court.

Criminal assets of 59 persons to the value of R816 million have been frozen, with nearly R78 million in assets already forfeited and returned to the state, he said.

The task team has also recovered three farms valued at a total of R59 million which were lost through corruption. Another five farms worth a collective R74 million had been frozen and would be recovered soon.

He said good progress had been made with the national government’s intervention in Limpopo and that the task team was investigating 39 criminal cases involving fraud and corruption – including those involving 29 persons and four companies.

He said 87 people were alleged to have benefited from more than R5 million from corrupt activities and freezing orders had been obtained against 32 people.

Radebe said the use of freezing orders was an important weapon to prevent those involved in corruption from benefiting from ill-gotten gains while their cases were being finalised.

Turning to violence against women and children, Radebe said since the re-establishment of Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offences unit in 2010, prison sentences totaling over 36,000 years, including 695 life imprisonment sentences, had been handed down.

Across the country the unit now has 176 offices attached to police clusters, he said. Forensic social workers have been appointed who will assist police with investigating crimes against children and provide expert evidence court.

Radebe urged community members to come forward and report crimes of violence against women and children.

The number of backlog cases has been brought down from 34,926 or 17.4% of all cases as at the end of March last year, to 29,604 or 16.2% of the outstanding roll of cases by the end of December last year.

In November 2012, a survey revealed that 40% of people in South Africa felt that government was tackling crime – this was an increase of 8% from November 2007. “The survey … indicates people satisfaction in that we are doing something about it, not that we have solved all our country’s crime problems…” he said.

SA – the Good News via SAnews.gov.za

 

Mar 2, 2013 - Citizenship, General    No Comments

Speaking Notes for Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor – Following the Briefing to Media on Thursday 31 January 2013

Good morning to all the ladies and gentlemen of the Media.

This is the first time we meet this year, so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a successful and prosperous 2013 although the year is getting rather old and I am sure you’ve been very active but let my good wishes go with that activity for this time

What we are hoping to do today is really to focus primarily on the matter of the unabridged birth certificate which we will now been issuing on the spot to all South Africans. As I indicated when we met last year, we are going to be implementing the new Citizenship Act, and as provisions and this one of more important activities associated with that new act.

One of our main functions as a department is to issue secure credible and accurate birth certificates and ID documents to all the people of South Africa.  And many ofyou who know our history, know that for the majority in this country the issue of identity and particularly possession of official documents for communities that were oppressed was a particular neglect of the former apartheid state.

So, our creation of National Population Register and all the endeavours were put  toward that, are designed to overcome this history, and ensure that every person in our country is secure in terms of their identity and has the appropriate documents that allow them to live a normal life as it exist in any society in the world.

We under took as part of this process of enhancing our national population register a review of Birth and Death Act of 1992 as well as the Citizenship Act of 1995.  And this process of review culminated in the amended South African Citizenship Act of 2010.  We are now to a point where we are ready to implement the amendments.

And I am pleased to announce and ask you to help me in announcing to the people of South Africa, that from the 4th of March 2013, the Department of home affairs will end the practice of issuing abridged birth certificate and will only issue unabridged birth certificates to parents of new born babies.

Now, in some countries, they speak of abridged birth certificate and an unabridged one is called a full birth certificate.  We call it unabridged in South Africa, andessentially what that means is unabridged birth certificate contains the details of the child, mother, father and their identity numbers.  This is the new practice that we will be putting in place.

The current abridged that is the short form birth certificate suffers from the following failures and defects in terms of what we are seeking to achieve.  It is easy to reproduce illegally, you can copy it fairly easily, it contains only the name and   IDnumbers of the new born baby and the mother, doesn’t have the other parent recorded on the certificate and of course it increased the creation of additional paper records when we are trying to move as a department to a paperless department, we are trying to use technology more and more appropriately.  Trying to reduce the number of papers persons have.  So, we don’t want people to have the abridged birth certificate, then when they wish to insert the father’s details they  come back to get the unabridged birth certificate then they have two certificates difficult to find we have loads of records far too much paper so we are trying to create this new paperless environment.

We also use to take rather long to issue this certificate and we now want to move to a speedier process.  So with the new certificate, the unabridged which will be issued on the spot, we will be ensuring that we improve our turnaround times and that we ensure speedy efficient and accurate service delivery.  Something we really striving to achieve as the department.

We will of course issue the certificates at no cost to the parents. It will be more secure and reliable with added security features and information.  It will contain particulars of both parents as well as their identity numbers.  It will support our efforts to create a paperless Home Affairs, since only one document will be issued per birth.

The previous certificates meant we have parents coming back to Home Affairs in order to get unabridged birth certificate as I said,  and what would happen it will a long queues and then again it was just a difficulty and an irritation for our clients.

It will also help us to have a more secure national population register because of the security improvements we are then more confident that actually we are not going to get persons registering person not born in South Africa altering the certificates and data on it.

We are able to move to this new process of unabridged birth certificates as result of our current IT modernisation project which is aimed at enhancing service delivery levels, through the modernisation of our systems.

I really want to move us to a digital environment as a department, because I think the advent of a fully modern technology based ,department will assist the department of Home Affairs improving a great deal of its service delivery achievements and putting us in a top rank of departments that use technology effectively .

We hope that in the next weeks, you will agree to work with us as partners in order to support us along with our stakeholder forums and our officials throughout the country in embarking on a   public awareness campaign, to inform and educate everyone about this new unabridged birth certificate.  We would like you to put out there this information, and this is why we’ve called you and those of you who write a really good story will work with you on a media campaign.

(Demonstration of certificate)

Then, we will have a certificate with information of one of the parents if it is the choice of some parents that they don’t wish to have the names say of the father or some other details.  It will also have much more information than we have on the current birth certificate.

Then you may have a case of orphans who may not have parent records availableand who are now adopted by the new set of parent or guardian, this form will be used for them.  So this will be the look of the certificates that will form part of the media campaign that we are going to initiate in the next few weeks leading up to the 4th of March.

We would like all South Africans to be aware of these changes, our stake holder forum and all the communities in which we have them will be running an advocacy campaign on our behalf.  We will utilise the media as well, in order to assist us so that it is not a surprise to any person that may have this changes.

Thank you very much.