Archive from March, 2015
Mar 19, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

South Africa: Home Affairs Pays Tribute to Minister Chabane

SAnews.gov.za (Tshwane)
17 March 2015
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has paid tribute to the late Minister of Public Service and Administration, Collins Chabane, saying that he was a hard-working and dedicated South African patriot.

“He was of a brilliant mind and had a calm demeanour amidst any storm no matter how turbulent they would be. Minister Chabane was a hard-working and dedicated South African patriot and his dedication to the people of our country was remarkable.

“His death is a tragic national loss, particularly because among others, he had a very methodical and analytic mind and therefore his contribution to our processes of social transformation was remarkable,” said Minister Gigaba.

On his visit to the ZSP centre in Midrand on Tuesday, the Minister wished the Chabane family strength during this difficult time.

Minister Chabane and his two protectors, Lesiba Sekele and his colleague Sergeant Lawrence Lentsoane, were killed in a car crash in the early hours of Sunday on the N1 in Limpopo. They were involved in a collision with a truck.

Government through Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, announced on Sunday that Minister Chabane will be afforded an official funeral.

A memorial service will be held on Thursday while the Minister will be laid to rest on Saturday.

Mar 12, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Eskom suspends CEO ahead of inquiry into utility

Mar 12 2015 10:22 Matthew le Cordeur – Fin24
Cape Town – Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi announced on Thursday that CEO Tshediso Matona has been suspended as well as three senior executives and a full independent inquiry is to be launched into Eskom.
Tsotsi told media at Megawatt Park that the four executives – including Matona, finance director Tsholofelo Molefe, group capital executive Dan Marokane and technology and commercial executive Matshela Koko – were suspended so that an inquiry could take place with unfettered access to Eskom.
The inquiry, whose members will be selected in coming days, will have full access to the suspended executives.
The inquiry will investigate the poor performance of generation plants, delays in bringing the new generation plant on-stream, high costs of primary energy and cash flow challenges.
“I believe this crisis and the suspensions at Eskom have everything to do with massive cost and time overruns at Medupi, Kusile and Ingula,” EE Publishers MD and energy expert Chris Yelland tweeted. “South Africans should brace for announcements by the Eskom board of massive further cost overruns at Medupi and Kusile in the days ahead.”
“There is nothing sinister happening,” said Tsotsi, who said he was just the messenger. “This is a fact-finding inquiry … which will last for three months.”
“If in the process of this fact-finding process we find that there is improper conduct, then we will have to address those things,” he said. “But we are not setting out with that in mind.”
Replacements announced
One of the current non-executive board members, Zethembe Khoza, will take over as interim CEO.
The other replacement executives were Nonkululeko Veleti (Finance), Abram Masango (Group Capital) and Edwin Mabelane (Commercial and Technology).
The interim replacements “have been with organisation for a long time and will continue business continuity,” said Tsotsi.
“The scope won’t focus on structural change, but could have the potential to recommend that as its outcome,” he said. “The role of the shareholder supports this exercise.”
“The shareholder has no role, beyond supporting the need for us to do this.”
“Have we lost confidence in the current CEO? The answer is of course not.”
“There is no investigation. [This] implies an attitude of mind that there is blame to be associated here, hence we need to investigate culpability. There is no culpability here. It is to get facts and to help us think more clearly and address more succinctly the problems the organisation is facing.”
“There is no crisis.”
“The issue of the war room is not an inflexible environment. It is not just focused on Eskom. There are other energy issues that are dealt with in the war room. Eskom does attend the war room and does continue to give input into the war room. We must strive for alignment with the ideas that come out of the war room.”

Mar 12, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Zimbabwe: Zim Must Clean Up Immigration Process

10 March 2015
By Nick Mangwana
A nimble, adaptive, responsive and flawless bureaucratic machinery is needed, not only in the practice of immigration or tourism but in all Zimbabwe’s spheres of civic service delivery.
“Low hanging fruit” is one of Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi’s favourite metaphors.
He uses it to describe the value of tourism to Zimbabwe all the time.
If low hanging fruit means easily attainable targets not requiring a lot of effort, then this minister might be onto something here.
A clever hungry person always goes after the low hanging fruit first and only seeks the ladder to access those at the apex of the tree when those easily accessible fruits have all been picked.
The problem with low hanging fruit is that if it is not picked it rots first.
One of the key things to improving tourism is to have as little red tape as is possible when it comes to visitors applying for Visas.
When visiting Zimbabwe, countries are classified in mainly three categories.
Category A are those countries whose nationals do not require a Visa to visit Zimbabwe.
Category B are those countries whose nationals will pay at the port of entry to gain a Visa into Zimbabwe. Category C are those countries whose nationals would need to apply for Visas before travelling.
Interestingly there are a lot of countries in what is going to be known as Cat C hereinafter.
Included in this category are a lot of African countries, Middle Eastern and South Asian countries as well as European countries.
Since the advent of mass migration and when the complicated term Diaspora entered our word-stock Zimbabweans for whatever reasons have found intermarriage quite easy to embrace.
There is therefore a lot of families that have married into ethnic groups that fall into Cat C nationals. Whether it is flexibility or lack of cultural deterrents or just being open-minded, there is tendency to try a lot of different things (including strange meats) Zimbabweans have shown a penchant for marrying liberally.
The problem starts when that Zimbabwean tries to bring that alien and their children to Zimbabwe for family visits, ethnic tourism or whatever other reason.
It is at this point that one will discover that Zimbabwe has adopted a new Visa system. Visas are no longer applied for at Zimbabwean Embassies. All Cat C visitors to Zimbabwe are supposed to apply for visas online at www.evisa.gov.zw.
The e-visa system is a very noble idea in principle, the only caveat is that it has to work. So, does it? Hell no. One goes through the site well, register, get login details; etc. Once granted these one is just supposed to log in and complete the application.
This system was rolled out in order to simplify the process and make it easily accessible as well as save that journey to the embassy for consular services.
But like all ill-thought through, ill-planned and ill-managed systems, it does the exact opposite.
It has become a pain in a delicate part of the anatomy for Zimbabwe’s visitors.
Firstly, the site is rarely accessible. Something to do with bandwidth not being available and other technical mumbo jumbo the visitor is least interested in.
Secondly, on the very rare occasions when it is available it is lethargic, languor-inducing and just comatose. The enduring potential tourist will persevere with it miraculously finish the process.
Finally they submit the application. Bang! It just vanishes into a dark cyberspace. No confirmation, no acknowledgement, nothing back. Not even a message to say your application is being processed. No email is sent back. Nothing.
The applicant then resorts to Google to seek the HQ number. Buy a phone card or whatever else expensive venture one does to make an international call. The civil servant who believes they should be paid a bonus at the end of the year does not pick up the phone.
The phone rings off the hook and one can spend the whole day in this exercise in futility.
Then the next thing is the frustrated tourist now revved up and wants to vent. An angry call is placed to the embassy. There the frustrations come out, sometimes in unprintable expletives.
The embassy staff is clueless.
They were taken out of the equation without any consultation and have not been given access to the system as well. They refer the applicant back to Harare. Out of desperation, if there is a Zanu-PF chapter in that country, say Zanu-PF-UK then another call is made there and all sorts of stereotypes come out.
The nonsense they read. The bungling they hear about. The exaggerations and gross misinterpretations.
But hang on, they have just lived the experience.
The Zanu-PF chapter brings them no joy as well. They are told that the issue will be raised with their principals. They tweet about it and use pejorative hashtags on Zimbabwe.
Henceforth, whenever they see something about visiting Zimbabwe they put in nasty reviews and kaput, the low hanging fruit has just rotted.
Zimbabwe cannot afford to tie its low hanging fruit to bureaucratic bungling.
A soulless and tired bureaucratic red tape can only be a bane for Zimbabwe’s economic progress and an insult to the national dignity.
Those writing negative things about Zimbabwe are already more than those highlighting the positives.
But it would be a disservice to the country to wrap oneself is a wool ball of deceit and preach an “it is well message” when clearly nothing is.
Somewhere, somehow someone is messing up their job. There is a need to remind that person that their messing up their job has far reaching consequences for the whole economic system of Zimbabwe.
One should never under-estimate the power of the word of mouth. Countries have been destroyed by rumour mongers.
But with the advent of the internet, globalisation and social media, reputations are easily destroyed and bad ones easily proliferated. Everyone should work together to restore Zimbabwe’s.
Zim-Asset identifies technology as a key driver to the attainment of sustainable socio-economic progress. This type of clumsy implementation of a key national project cannot not be allowed to happen.
Immigration is the face of a country. When South Africa was hosting the World Cup, a flawless immigration control was one of the key things they implemented. They realised that obstacles to a desire to visit a country would be a blight to their reputation.
Zimbabwe’s current Visa application process has become a barrier to economic progress.
A cursed bottle neck to what should be the country’s core competence. The system should strengthen the economy rather than be an albatross on the country’s neck.
Promoting tourism through an efficient immigration practice is a smart and easy way to create employment. There is enough empirical evidence to suggest a causal link between a good immigration practice and a developed tourism practice.
A developed tourism practice has an amplified value of employment and the economic growth through the supply chain in what is called the multiplier effect.
In December 2014, a large number of visitors cancelled the tickets they had booked to Zimbabwe. They were going to visit Zimbabwe’s premier resorts. Some also intended to take members of the family in Zimbabwe along. There are three types of tourism that suffered just as a result of the ineptitude of the Department of Immigration in Zimbabwe.
The Domestic Tourism suffered because the domestic tourist who was going to visit the resort and boost the economy as well as inspire a neighbour, colleague or another relative to aspire to do the same was thwarted. The Diaspora tourism was affected because the individual in the Diaspora who moved up the social ladder by emigrating and can now afford to visit parts of Zimbabwe which he could not in the past who also now have a family they want to show-off to the beauty of their motherland was impeded.
Then the International Tourism through the frustrated tag-along spouse who now holds a negative view of the country they married into and now believe everything they read about in The Telegraph or seen on BBC and himself has been converted into a purveyor of bad tidings.
Sometimes Zimbabweans are their own worst enemies. The country cannot afford a one step forward and three backwards approach.
A nimble, adaptive, responsive and flawless bureaucratic machine is needed.
Not only in the practice of immigration or tourism but in all Zimbabwe’s spheres of civic service delivery.
Zimbabwe’s potential to become an economic giant is turning into a banal cliché until and unless every Zimbabwean starts putting their minds into what they are doing and apply themselves diligently to the work at hand.
The self-defeating implementation of sound policies has gone on for way too long.
The country cannot afford to continue to shoot itself in the foot and being the author of its own tragic misfortune.

Mar 9, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Steyn City to invest another R50bn for next phase

Mar 06 2015 13:27 Matthew le Cordeur – Fin24

Security at Steyn City includes high tech CCTV, intrusion detection technology, a security nerve centre, access control technology, bobby’s on the beat and a plethora of trained security guards. (Photo: Supplied)
Cape Town – If investors fear putting money into a new-age city on the banks of low-income communities, then the billions invested in creating Steyn City and developing the surrounding areas ahead of the estate’s launch should quell that concern.
Steyn City Properties, who launched the estate on Thursday, have so far invested around R6.5bn in building infrastructure in and around the state-of-the-art kingdom. The developers plan to invest another R50bn in the next phase. This will fund junior and senior schools, two top-tier shopping precincts, a business park, a medical centre, a retirement home and a private bus service.
The property group and estate is named after Douw Steyn, the billionaire South African insurance entrepreneur who made his bucks through SA-based Auto & General and UK-based Compare the Market.
With an estimate net worth of over R10bn, Steyn’s R250m mansion called Palazzo Steyn, overlooks the Nicklaus design golf course in the new 810ha property north of Fourways in Johannesburg.
A stone’s throw away from Steyn’s house, a range of unique luxury homes and apartments are being completed, including a modern pad for Steyn City CEO Giuseppe Plumari.
Buy your piece of Steyn
If you’re in the position to part ways with R17m, then you could own a ready-made Steyn City home, fully designed and fitted with state-of-the-art technology and appliances. At the same time, you could simply just rent a flat for around R10 000 a month.
Steyn City chief operating officer Gary Lees took Fin24 on a tour of the new “city” that had been well-rehearsed to impress the big media turnout.
Humming along in a six-seater golf car, we witnessed ceramic artists designing underground murals, gym bunnies showing their worth in an open air gym that traced up the estate, horse riders prancing about, golfers practising their putting skills, an ice-cream truck serving delicious treats, guineafowls scurrying off into wild olive trees and a human nest overlooking the imposing beauty of the estate.
A ready-made city
The security and telecommunications systems, which will have a high-powered nerve centre, will eclipse anything else seen in the country and even includes a powerful nerve centre. It also has a world class Fibre-to-the-Home network that is light years ahead of standard copper cable offerings. And you have the freedom of choosing your own service provider to plug into the system.
No need to fear load shedding, as they have installed two bulk gas storage farms and promote the use of solar power for all homes. The lights (including LED street lights) and internet connectivity, they say, will stay on when the rest of the lights in the country go out.
The ecology of the estate is diverse, and to date, 100 000 trees have been planted (24 000 wild olive, 43 000 bush willow, 33 000 white stinkwood) with 746 000 plants currently in the nursery. The long-term aim is to plant one million trees, two million shrubs and 50 million ground cover plants by the time Steyn City reaches completion.
Down to business
The first phase of the development that launched this week saw the completion of 93 apartments and 19 clusters, with a further 45 clusters to be built off plan. In addition six show homes have been completed and 220 freehold stands have been released onto the market that will allow owners to build their own homes.
Wynand du Plessis, who heads up Scad (Steyn City Architecture and Design), said they don’t want the estate to look like a golf estate with one standard design. Residents will be able to build their homes according to their preference from a selection of architectural styles including: contemporary, Thesen Island, barnhouse and sandstone clad French chateau.
One, two and three bedroom apartments at Steyn City range in size from 74m2 to 149m2 with a starting price of R1.650m up to R3.9m. 25 ultra-luxury apartments with 350m2 of floor space, 100m2 to 120m2 patios and a 2m x 3m plunge pool go for R13.9m.
Cluster range in price from R6.2m to R8.4m and include mostly four bedroom options, with an average floor size of 350m2 on stands varying from 400m2 to 600m2.
There is also an array of freehold stands with a starting price of R2.3m and range in size from 800m2 to 1 300m2 all the way through to expansive 4 000m2 fairway and river frontage stands in the region of R12m to R16m.
Lees said the show houses that are fully equipped would go in range of R17m.
Steyn City hopes to offer levies below the normal cost at other estates, as the investment by Steyn has ensured that the first occupants don’t pay for being early adopters. Then, as more people enter the estate, economies of scale will allow for that rate to remain low, said Lees.
Golding’s verdict
Dr Andrew Golding, CEO of Pam Golding Property Group which is jointly marketing the resort’s residential properties with Steyn City Properties, said that the mixed-use development is a pioneering and bold project, the likes of which have never before been seen in South Africa.
“This multi-billion rand project is a boom for the local economy and indicates just how much faith investors now have in the rapidly growing Gauteng residential development property market.”
“Steyn City is a completely new lifestyle concept,” he said. “In recent years, we have seen that many people want to return back to more traditional village forms of living, but with all of the conveniences of a modern lifestyle.
“There has been a growing demand for attractive, upmarket properties that offer total convenience combined with a sense of community and serenity,” he said. “Steyn City is an innovatively designed space that meets a myriad of needs and we believe that it has a fantastic future.”

Mar 6, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Court lambasts Home Affairs Department for treatment of asylum seeker

Ernest Mabuza | 26 February, 2015 – Times Live
It described as deplorable the treatment of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) citizen Christian Bolanga, who fled to South Africa in 2005.
On Tuesday, the Durban High Court reviewed and set aside the decision of the department’s refugee status determination officer (RSDO) who dismissed Bolanga’s application for refugee status in 2006.
It also set aside the Refugee Appeal Board’s dismissal of Bolanga’s appeal in 2012.
Acting Judge Guido Penzhorn declared that Bolanga was a refugee entitled to asylum and ordered Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba to issue to Bolanga a written recognition of refugee status within 10 days.
Bolanga applied to the high court in 2012 to review the appeal board’s decision to refuse him asylum.
While the minister of home affairs filed a notice to oppose the review, he did not file any opposing papers.
In his judgment on Tuesday, Penzhorn agreed with Bolanga that the appeal board was not properly constituted when it heard and dismissed Bolanga’s appeal.
He also disputed the appeal board’s finding that Bolanga was unlikely to be targeted by the authorities or the rebel party, the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC).
“The test is whether there is a ‘reasonable possibility of persecution’ which must be considered in all the circumstances of the case,” Penzhorn said.
Penzhorn said on the evidence before him, Bolanga’s claim must be accepted as genuine.
The judge decided not to refer the matter back to the RSDO for reconsideration because of prejudice to Bolanga.
He said it had taken Bolanga 10 years to get this far, and were it not for the fact that he had been legally represented, he did not know how long the matter would have taken.
Penzhorn said he did not know how many thousands of refugees in similar situations were being subjected to the same treatment as Bolanga by those to whom the law had entrusted their fate.
“How many have been waiting ten years, fifteen years perhaps, or have simply given up?”
Bolanga welcomed the judgment while the Department of Home Affairs could not be reached for comment.
In his affidavit before the court, Bolanga, a pastor, stated that his persecution began in late 2000 in the Equateur province of the DRC where he preached to the rebels not to fight.
MLC objected to his pacifist stance. He was repeatedly tortured by the MLC rebels in an attempt to stop him from preaching.
He escaped to another city where it was assumed he supported the ruling party under President Joseph Kabila. When Bolanga refused the ruling party’s request to recruit for it, he was accused of being a spy for MLC leader Jean-Pierre Bemba and was arrested and imprisoned. He first escaped to DRC capital Kinshasa before fleeing to South Africa.

Mar 6, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

How to balance security with economic development

March 4 2015 at 08:00am
By Jeff Nemeth – Business Report – IOL.live

WHILE governments seek to create and protect jobs for their citizens, as well as secure international borders, they are under constant pressure to produce economic growth. In order to grow, industry scarce skills often have to be imported from foreign countries.
The challenge facing policymakers is how to employ South Africans, while keeping the economy on the cutting edge.
During my years of service at the Ford Motor Company I have come to feel at home as an expatriate in several host countries around the world, including Taiwan, Japan and South Africa. As a result, and over the years, I have become well acquainted with the different processes involved with industrial immigration.
For the past five years my family and I have lived in South Africa – an experience we have learned a great deal from and enjoyed very much.
The experience was enhanced because we felt the gates were open and the warmth and hospitality of South Africa and its people eased our transition.
Disheartening
Although it has become second nature to my family and I, for many first-time expats, the procedures can be quite disheartening, and as a result many countries ultimately lose out on valuable international experience and expertise because of it.
In May 2014, South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs announced the launch of new, stricter immigration regulations to tighten the inflow of foreigners into South Africa. These stricter laws have ultimately caused a steady stream of international specialists – who bring skills, technology and development to South African companies – to slow to almost a trickle.
Increasing globalization means corporations are not only competing within the same borders but with every other company in the rest of the world.
One of the best ways to create a more enabling environment for business growth, investment and global competitiveness is to improve the ability of advanced skills brought into the country.
The government states that its goal is to improve security, while fostering economic development. Controlling the inflow of undesirable and harmful elements into the country is vital, but the method may come at a major cost to the economy.
In South Africa, infrastructural development has been identified as a national priority to grow the economy, create jobs and work towards alleviating poverty.
In response, the local automotive industry is aligning to global trends – city planners are driving the development of smart cities, smart vehicles and smart roads.
The objective is far less congestion, far fewer accidents and the introduction of autonomous (self-driving) cars, buses and trucks.
To make this work, global expertise has to be aligned; and plans between countries (especially a continent as diverse as Africa) must converge.
To ensure that all economies, developed and developing, move as one with an integrated global strategy, we need to ensure that experts and technicians are able to move freely between markets to spread their valuable knowledge. The challenge with the new immigration laws is that they make it much more difficult for expatriates looking to contribute.
Where labour can easily be sourced locally, it makes sense to protect jobs and develop indigenous talent. However, when the productivity of a particular organization can be dramatically improved by introducing someone from outside, we need to make it easier to bring these people in, not harder.
At the very least, special provisions need to be considered and debated in cases where people with rare skills in critical industries are looking to enter the country.
Granted, it would make little sense to merely bring in an external expert for a limited time, working in isolation at a high fee. Skills transfers from expats to locals needs to be central to such exchanges and continuous interaction between two countries should be a priority.
At Ford, in order to stay on the cutting edge, we often bring in highly skilled expats, who have advanced knowledge, experience and wide exposure to international business conditions. Often we “double-up” for certain positions to ensure these expats work closely with the local candidate who has demonstrated potential for advancement into senior management.
It goes beyond skills development – it’s about promoting local, previously disadvantaged people into leadership positions.
However highly skilled, smart and experienced an expat may be, he or she will never fully understand the unique cultural makeup of South Africa. In order to reach more customers, the company needs local people who have an intimate understanding of the market we serve.
Competitive
For the economy and company to become truly competitive we need to work hand-in-hand with the government, both here in South Africa and in our various markets, to come to a mutually beneficial outcome. In particular, the impact of strict immigration policy on businesses should be fully interrogated and alternatives need to be considered.
Legislators across government departments need to come together to develop a holistic policy framework to address the core issues, which are economic development and security.
Occasionally objectives may seem to be in competition, however the goal is the same for all parties.
One ministry may wish to increase foreign direct investment, another may want to implement restrictive labour regulations and another onerous ownership rules. These departments need to sit down and find a way to reach a common ground.
For instance, if South Africa is to become a true launching pad for multinationals into the rest of Africa, we need to be able to easily employ people from countries in East, West and Central Africa, if we wish to partner with these markets.
Innovative strategies need to be devised to ensure that people offering valuable skills feel they are welcome contributors to the advancement of their host countries.
We need to be open for business rather than closing the gates.
Regional free trade agreements are gaining momentum on the continent, but these need to be supported by measured De-regulation in areas that would benefit economic development.
Jeff Nemeth is the chief executive of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.

Mar 6, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

UK allows South African man facing deportation to stay with wife and child

03 Mar, 2015 by Katy Scott – The South African
South African Michael Engel lost his appeal to stay in the UK with his British wife, Natalie and their daughter, Nyana in December 2014. Engel was told that he would be deported back to South Africa as his wife did not meet the minimum £18,600 a year salary threshold.
He said that they had given up hope, but a new legal team advised them to cancel their old application and start again with a new application, reported the BBC.
Home Office has now issued a new visa, allowing Engel to stay in the UK for 30 months. Natalie posted the following to Facebook after receiving the news:
Immigration laws introduced in 2012 require British citizens with foreign spouses earn £18 600 a year, and £22, 400 if the couple has a child.
These immigration laws were introduced in 2012, and apply to all British citizens. These thresholds intend to put an end to foreign spouses being reliant on UK taxpayers for support, according to a Home Office spokesperson.
In 2014 Natalie Engel’s interior design business brought in £19 786, a “minimal” amount according to the immigration tribunal panel. Michael Engel’s income does not count toward the threshold.
Independent think-tank the Migration Observatory revealed that approximately 43% of British works did not earn enough to sponsor a non-EU spouse.
Engel told the BBC: “It is a massive massive relief, you wouldn’t believe it. We cancelled the appeal and made a fresh new application.
“We were doing the wrong things before but this time it was quick, we waited six weeks or so and got the result. We are all so happy

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