Archive from July, 2016
Jul 29, 2016 - Business Permit    No Comments

Home Affairs on police rescue of Malawian children from human trafficking

Home Affairs on police rescue of Malawian children from human trafficking
27 Jul 2016 – SA News
The Department of Home Affairs has welcomed the arrest of three people in Rustenburg, North West, on charges of human trafficking following the rescue of 57 Malawian children and young adults by police officers, over the weekend.
The vigilance of the South African Police Services in this regard is commendable. It goes to show why the department has all along raised alarm about this heinous crime calling on all to support government’s efforts to combat it, for the sake of the vulnerable, especially children, who are likely to fall victim to unscrupulous people.
The documentation of children may be perceived by some as unimportant and inconvenient however it plays a critical part in giving children identity and the rights that come with it. Those who are privy to the modus operandi in modern slavery and human trafficking know that documentation, or lack thereof, is where exploitation begins.
Birth certificates that share with officials the legal guardianship of a child should not be undermined. They play a critical role in eliminating possibilities for our ports of entry to be negligent or implicit in child trafficking.
Government at large cannot make it easy for those who partake in this inhumane criminal enterprise.
Home Affairs will continue to work relentlessly with other law enforcement authorities in combating human trafficking and other contravention of South Africa’s immigration law.
The department has recently announced several measures to improve the management of movement into and out of the country, including the establishment of a Border Management Agency and the launch of the Green Paper on International Migration, which should lead to the development of a more comprehensive policy. As it modernises its systems and processes, Home Affairs will continue to support the improvement of security and safety of citizens and other nationals in the country.
The three undocumented persons were arrested after the truck they were driving in was pulled over by two police constables who were on routine patrol duty, and found on inspection, 57 people, including children, from Malawi, in the truck.

Jul 29, 2016 - Business Permit    No Comments

SA a ‘fire sale’ for tourists after rand rout

Jul 26 2016 – Fin24
Johannesburg – Tourists are flocking back to South Africa’s game parks, beaches and vineyards as a weaker currency and easing of visa rules make holidays cheaper and more accessible.
The number of visitors to South Africa from outside the continent increased by 19% over the five months through May, the Tourism Ministry said on July 20.
The surging popularity among travellers from markets including the US and Germany can be largely attributed to a weak rand, according to the head of Africa’s largest hotels and casinos company, Tsogo Sun Holdings.
“South Africa is on an absolute fire sale,” Tsogo chief executive officer Marcel Von Aulock said in an interview in Bloomberg’s Johannesburg office this month. “We’ve always been a cheap destination relative to international markets,” and the falling currency has taken that to extremes, he said.
South Africa’s international tourism boom represents a rare note of optimism in an economy hampered by an unemployment rate of 27% and projected by the SA Reserve Bank not to grow this year amid low commodity prices and after the worst drought in more than a century.
The rand is the third-worst performer against the dollar among 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg over the past 12 months, having declined 12%, and reached record lows against both the US currency and euro earlier in 2016. While the currency had firmed to R14.3125 against the dollar as of 08:34 on Tuesday, that’s still weaker than its level in November.
The government has softened rules introduced in 2014 that required travellers from countries including China to apply for visas in person, hurting demand in one of its fastest-growing tourism markets. For prospective visitors from China, for example, that meant an often lengthy and costly trip to either Beijing or Shanghai.
Those restrictions, together with a condition that visitors accompanied by children must present a detailed birth certificate, contributed to a slowdown in international tourism arrivals in 2015.
With visas now easier to obtain through tour operators, Chinese numbers were 50% higher in May than a year earlier, while those from India increased by 37%, according to the Tourism Ministry.
“Those markets will recover quite quickly, I think, and will continue to grow,” Von Aulock said.
While the birth-certificate rule has been relaxed, the entry requirements for children remain vague enough to deter some families, said Mmatsatsi Ramawela, CEO of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa. And although overseas tourist arrivals in 2016 to date are up from the past two years, they are still only the highest since 2013, according to Statistics South Africa data.
Events like the International Aids Conference in Durban this month have increased the number of visitors, and concerns that terrorist attacks have made Europe more dangerous are also diverting traffic to the southern hemisphere, Ramawela said.
City Sightseeing, which operates hop-on-hop-off city tour buses, has sold more tickets in Cape Town this year and has had to add vehicles and drivers on some days, according to general manager Paul Nel.
Additional direct flights to the city have helped traffic, he said, with Emirates adding a third daily service between Cape Town and Dubai earlier this month.

Jul 26, 2016 - Business Permit    No Comments

Namibia to clarify issue of Namibian citizenship

Namibia to clarify issue of Namibian citizenship
25th July 2016 – Southern Times
Windhoek – Children born by non-Namibian parents, who are on temporary residence permits, will no longer be allowed to register as Namibian citizens unless both parents are permanent residents in the country, according to Home Affairs Minister Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana.
Iivula-Ithana tabled Namibia Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament last week that seeks to amend the Namibian Citizenship Act of 1990 to make clear the meaning of the term ordinary resident in relation to the acquisition of Namibian citizenship by birth of a person born in Namibia by parents who are not Namibian citizens.
In her motivation speech, Minister Iivula-Ithana said the amendment has been necessitated by a new development in interpretation of the constitutional provision pertaining to citizenship by birth, particularly the interpretation of the term ‘ordinarily resident’ that appears in Article 4 of the Namibian Constitution.
Article 4 of Namibian Constitution, speaks about Acquisition and Loss of Citizenship. According to Article 4 (1), “the persons shall be citizens of Namibia by birth: (a) those born in Namibia before the date of Independence whose fathers or mothers would have been Namibian citizens at the time of the birth of such persons, if this Constitution had been in force at that time; and (b) those born in Namibia before the date of Independence, who are not Namibian citizens under Sub-Article (a) hereof, and whose fathers or mothers were ordinarily resident in Namibia at the time of the birth of such persons”.
However, the Bill proposes that the term “ordinary resident”, in relation to the acquisition of Namibian citizenship by birth by reason of being born in Namibia after the date of Independence by a father and mother who are not Namibian citizens, exclude parents on employment permit, visitor’s entry permit and parents who are refugees at the time of birth of the child.
Iivula-Ithana said since the term ordinary resident or residence is neither defined in the Constitution nor in the Namibian Citizenship Act No. 14 of 1990, it has been left open to interpretation.
“The open to interpretation nature of this term can be seen by the different opinions and rulings of the Attorney General, High Court and Supreme Court. It is ideal to have the situation like this; in fact, it is catastrophic, it causes implementation problems,” she said.
Iivula-Ithana said the fact that the Supreme Court did define what ordinary resident/ordinary residence means just indicates that it does not mean permanently resident, and a number of factors must be considered.
She said once the Bill becomes a law, it will be easy for the officials to determine ordinary residence when it means permanent residence because one would need to present a certificate for the permanent residence issued in terms of the Immigration Control Act of 1993.
“I am aware that the Constitution prohibits our deprivation of citizenship to the extent that we render people to be stateless.
I do however hasten to add that in many cases these children would not be otherwise stateless as they ought to follow the non-Namibianship of their parents. Additionally, as citizens by birth they would be entitled dual citizenship which result in double allegiance,” she said.
Currently, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration is only issuing birth certificates indicative of citizenship by birth to children born by foreign parents who are holders of permanent residence permits.
Those permit are issued in terms of the Immigration Control Act No. 7 of 1993. Those born to foreign parents on employment, study or visitor’s entry permits and refugees were issued with non-Namibian birth certificates reflecting that they are born in Namibia but are not citizen by birth.

Jul 25, 2016 - Business Permit    No Comments

British Government Fails To Track, Deport Ninety Percent of Released Foreign

British Government Fails To Track, Deport Ninety Percent of Released Foreign
24 Jul 2016 – Breitbart
Thousands of foreign prisoners due for deportation have been released into the community without being tagged, Theresa May has admitted, leaving the door wide open for their abscondment. In a letter sent while she was Home Secretary, Mrs May admitted that fewer than one in ten were being monitored.
The letter, sent last month to Keith Vaz, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee while Mrs May was still Home Secretary, revealed that all of the offenders were “subject to ongoing deportation action.” Mrs May added: “We do not give up trying to deport these individuals.”
However, she confirmed that just 493 out of 5,789 “foreign national offenders” released from prisons into the community had been issued with “radio-frequency tags” to enable police to monitor them, the Telegraph has reported.
In 2007 the government was forced to hand out compensation to foreign prisoners who were held beyond the end of their sentence while deportation orders were considered. Consequently the authorities now release the prisoners back into the community to await deportation proceeds.
But the pace of deportations is currently laboriously slow, with as few as 102 foreign nationals being deported over the 16 months between February 2015 and June 2016, down from a peak rate of 5,613 in 2008/09. There are currently around 10,000 foreign national prisoners in British jails.
Mrs May said she hoped the rate would improve “as new practices and procedures become established across Europe”.
The figures hark back to a 2006 scandal in which it emerged that 1,013 foreign national prisoners had been released into the community without efforts made to keep tabs on them. The scale of outcry over that revelation caused the then Home Secretary Charles Clarke to lose his job.
But in her letter, Mrs May admitted that ten years on, 26 of the original 1,013 foreign offenders were still unaccounted for.
Mr Vaz said: “The utter failure to improve the management and removal of foreign national offenders has been lamentable.
“Despite firm commitments to improve, and a massive ten-fold increase in resources, the system appears to be totally dysfunctional.
“It is simply unacceptable that our allies in Europe and elsewhere are seemingly obstructing the transfer of their citizens, who have committed serious offences, back to their own countries.
“Regardless of Brexit, until the UK leaves the EU, the commitments made by Member-states must be honoured.
He added that with fewer than 10 percent of offenders tagged, there was a “clear risk of absconding.
“Given that 26 of the foreign national offenders who went missing when Charles Clarke was Home Secretary are still missing, one can only fear that the Home Office has not learnt any lessons from its past failures,” he concluded.
In January last year, the Committee of Public Accounts found that close to £1 billion had been spend on thousands of foreign criminals in the UK in the year between April 2013 and March 2015.
It noted findings by the National Audit Office that One in six – or 760 out of 4,200 – foreign national offenders (FNOs) living in the community had absconded. The figure included 58 ”high harm” individuals missing since 2010.
It was also revealed that the Home Office had been forced to pay out £6.2 million in compensation payments to 229 foreign national offenders, thanks to delays in dealing with cases since April 2012. The offenders were handed an average of £27,000 each.

Jul 21, 2016 - Business Permit    No Comments

Zim-Zam univisa ‘coming soon’

Zim-Zam univisa ‘coming soon’
19 Jul 2016 – Tourism Update
According to Chilala Mayanda Habasimbi, Zambia Ministry of Tourism Acting Principle Tourism and Development Research Officer, the univisa between Zimbabwe and Zambia will soon be implemented.
The univisa between Zimbabwe and Zambia, successfully piloted between 2014 and 2015, will soon be fully implemented, according to Chilala Mayanda Habasimbi, Zambia Ministry of Tourism Acting Principle Tourism and Development Research Officer.
“We are hoping soon. I can’t give you an exact date because Zambia is going into elections but I’m hoping everything moves quicker, despite the elections,” said Mayanda Habasimbi. “The memorandum of understanding is almost cleared.” He said there was a need to see how the project could continue forward following the ending of the pilot project on December 31, 2015.
Francis Ngwenya, President Zimbabwe Council of Tourism, said he hoped it would be implemented quite urgently. “But unfortunately it is something that has to be signed off on both sides of the Zambezi River, and it’s not just the ministries of tourism but also for the immigration counterparts to sign off.
“The last time we followed up, there was an agreement but it’s now a matter of getting the paperwork and the signatures.”
Thomas Dhliwayo, Operations Manager – Jenman Zimbabwe Safaris, said operators were told that the univisa project had been resumed at a tourism meeting two weeks ago. “Immigration officials are now just waiting for the visa stamps and, once started, we will be updated.”
Zambian Minister of Tourism and Arts Jean Kapata said last year that the initial univisa project between Zimbabwe and Zambia had been very successful and it would be extended <> to other SADC countries including Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique.
However, it’s unclear when Botswana will be added to the univisa. “When the initial univisa was launched in Zambia and Zimbabwe, we were under the impression that, within six months or less, Botswana would be the first of the SADC countries to join and also become part of that,” said Ngwenya. Mayanda Habasimbi said the univisa between Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana would depend on the authorisation of all three countries and was unable to say when talks with Botswana would begin.
“We would love to have Botswana, and we believe there’s also interest shared by Angola to be included, but we haven’t had any information that there’s an agreement to that,” said Ngwenya.

Jul 21, 2016 - Business Permit    No Comments

Brexit’s effect on SA tourism

Brexit’s effect on SA tourism
Jul 19 2016 – News24
Johannesburg – The United Kingdom’s recent vote to leave the European Union coupled with the UK leadership race have had a major impact on the pound.
However, experts are divided on how this will impact the local tourism industry. Some are saying that with the weaker Sterling, UK tourists will opt to travel to South Africa in order to take advantage of a weak rand. Others have said that the current situation will result in a decline in the number of tourists from the UK with those that do travel outside the country spending less money.
Pierre Roux, group financial manager for Premier Hotels & Resorts, agrees that UK tourism to South Africa will drop and believes that as a result of the weaker pound, South Africa will see more tourists from countries with stronger currencies such as the dollar and euro.
“Despite this, we will not be able to make up the loss of the Sterling we have come to expect from the UK which is our number one international inbound tourism market according to Stats SA’s Tourism and Migration April 2016,” he explains.

“It is our hope that more countries with solid currencies will see South Africa as an attractive tourism destination and that by visiting our shores in bigger numbers, they will positively impact the rand.”
In his view, the weak rand bodes well for local tourism as it makes exploring one’s own country a more viable option than travelling internationally.
“Furthermore, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom has said the government had ring-fenced R110m to spend on supporting domestic tourism this year and would be working with the private sector to try to make domestic travel more affordable for South Africans. The combination of these will result in an increase in domestic tourism and consequently stimulate the local economy,” says Roux.
“In the coming months, we will have clearer picture of just how Brexit has affected the local tourism industry.”

Jul 18, 2016 - Business Permit    No Comments

Doc’s red tape drama

Doc’s red tape drama
2016-07-11 – The Witness
Pietermaritzburg – A specialist paediatric doctor who says she has helped reduce the mortality rate of infants at Grey’s Hospital over three years, is leaving for Holland after her application for a critical care permit was granted three days before her work permit expired.
Dr Afke Robroch, one of only four such specialists in KwaZulu-Natal, left her family and life in Holland to work in South Africa in 2013, thinking she would spend the remainder of her life here.
However, Robroch is now having to leave the country and head home.
“I waited two years to be registered with the Health Professions Council of SA [HPCSA] before coming to South Africa,” she said.
“It was quite a struggle, but I was persistent and adamant that I wanted to work as a doctor in this country.”
Robroch said she quit her job, packed up her life and moved to Pietermaritzburg in 2013, commencing work as a paediatric specialist in critical care.
While working with critically ill children, she was also involved in outreach programmes, travelling to either Lady¬smith or Newcastle once a month to help build the skills of other doctors.
“When I moved here, I thought this is where I would stay forever,” she said.
“I love my work. I am passionate about it and my skill is extremely scarce.”
In 2014, Robroch applied for a critical care permit at the Department of Home Affairs, hoping to continue her work at Grey’s.
However, she discovered later, when her application was rejected, that she had received the wrong paperwork.
This happened a few more times until she thought she had all the correct papers in September 2015.
“I finally sent everything in. However, my application was rejected because I was missing one document that I had in my possession, but was told I did not need it.
“I asked if I could send that in and appealed the case, but they said there was an 11-month backlog and the appeal would only be looked at in October 2016.”
Robroch said she then tried to extend her work permit and asked Edendale hospital for an endorsement letter in January, to send with her application.
“I received the letter in April, and by then it was too late.
Her work permit expired on July 1 and the new permit was processed on June 28, after she had booked tickets back to Holland and accepted a job at a hospital there.
“I struggled for two years. E-mails were sent weekly to the department.
“It was not my wish to go back to Holland; it was a forced decision.”
She said that only three critical care paediatric specialists would be left in the province when she left.
“I have been at Grey’s every day. I love my job and knowing I have to leave is incredibly sad and frustrating,” she said.
With 40 critically ill children admitted to the hospital each month, Robroch said she had helped bring down the paediatric death rate at Grey’s.
Health Department spokesperson Sam Mkhwanazi said: “Employer-employee contractual relations are confidential and treated as such, unless required by law to deviate from this.”
The Home Affairs Department did not respond to questions.
Robroch is currently in the country on a tourist permit and leaves for Holland on August 9.