Archive from June, 2017
Jun 13, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Gigaba pushed through Guptas’ SA citizenship – EFF

Gigaba pushed through Guptas’ SA citizenship – EFF
2017-06-12 – News 24
Cape Town – The EFF says it has received reliable information that whilst Malusi Gigaba was minister of home affairs, he unduly granted the Gupta family South African citizenship.
In a letter dated 2015-01-22, Mr GG Hlatshwayo, on behalf of the Director General, “correctly denied” the Guptas South African citizenship stating that they “did not comply with the requirement in terms of section 5(1)(b) of the South African Act 2010″, the EFF said in a statement on Monday.
Hlatshwayo indicated that the Guptas “did not have five years of physical residence in the Republic of South Africa”, the statement says.
The application for naturalisation was therefore unsuccessful and the Guptas were advised to make another attempt on December 23, 2015, “provided [they] do not exceed 90 days outside South Africa for every year in the five years preceding [their] new application and comply with requirements as prescribed in Citizenship Act, Act 17 of 2010 as amended”.
A few months later, Gigaba, in a letter dated 2015-05-30, wrote to the Guptas, granting them, what he terms, “early naturalisation”.
Gigaba states that “after careful consideration of the matter, I have decided by the powers vested in me under section 5(9)(a) of the South African Citizenship Amendment Act, 2010 (Act no 17 of 2010), to wave the residential requirements in regards to your application for naturalisation and grant you early naturalisation”.
The EFF is taking the matter to court.
Department of Home Affairs spokesperson David Hlabane said the department would have to check on the claim before commenting.
”We need to go back to our files with our team to check and verify the information that you require, and then we will be able to respond.”

Jun 13, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

#GuptaLeaks: Delhi Daredevils staff member contacted Guptas for SA visa assistance

#GuptaLeaks: Delhi Daredevils staff member contacted Guptas for SA visa assistance
2017-06-12 – Daily Maverick and News24
Leaked emails show that a visa application for somebody connected to the Delhi Daredevils cricket team was expedited when the side made it to the semi-finals of the Champions League T20 tournament in South Africa in 2012. But only after he had contacted Ajay Gupta directly
Much has been written about Malusi Gigaba’s time as home affairs minister. Particularly, how a senior Gupta employee, Ashu Chawla, repeatedly asked officials to fast-track visas to benefit Gupta businesses. Now, further leaks show that these officials were pulling favours, even before he took up the post.
The Gupta family’s love for cricket is well known. Their company Sahara had key sponsorships at a number of South Africa’s most loved cricket grounds. More details of their relationships with cricket officials will be revealed at a later stage.
But this particular incident is about more than cricket. It once again asks serious questions about the influence the family has been able to wield at a number of South Africa’s government institutions – and under whose watch it happened.
This story is about a senior official with an Indian Premier League (IPL) team who contacted Ajay Gupta directly when South Africa hosted the now defunct Champions League T20 in 2012.
The tournament, that shifted from India to South Africa, took place in May that year and the qualified teams knew months beforehand that they would need to follow due process. Yet, it appears a gentleman by the name of Amrit Mathur, using a private email with a Delhi Daredevils signature, saw no need for such protocol – having friends in high places.
The only Amrit Mathur linked to the Delhi team is the COO. On October 17, 2012, seven days before the Delhi Daredevils were due to play the Highveld Lions in the semi-finals of the tournament, he sent an email to Ajay saying: “Need your help to get a visa quickly for SA for the CLT 20. Can I get in touch with some official in the High Commission in Delhi ?” [sic]
‘Appreciate your help to expedite grant of visa’
The next day, Mathur also emailed Ronica Ragavan, who at the time was Oakbay’s financial director, saying: “Appreciate your help to expedite grant of visa.”
He adds: “I would ideally like to travel to South Africa night of Saturday 20th October. Let me know the way forward, specially if I have to contact someone in Delhi after you have put in a word. [sic]”
Chawla requested a few documents, and within a couple of days, Mathur’s visa was granted, with a note that it was ready for collection from “security at embassy not VFS”. VFS is the intermediary for visa applications.
After his return from the tournament, Mathur again emailed Ajay, thanking him for his assistance.
It is not clear from the email correspondence how the two know each other. However, the family did play a key role in bringing the IPL to South Africa in 2009. It seems Mathur knew that the Guptas had friends in high places.
These timelines paint a curious picture. The request was made just a few weeks after Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma abandoned her post as minister of home affairs to take up the African Union job. Naledi Pandor was running the department at the time.
Scorpio contacted both Mathur and Gupta spokesperson Gary Nadioo to request comment. Neither responded.

Jun 12, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Pupils register for school with health passports

Pupils register for school with health passports
2017-06-09 – The Namibian
EDUCATION permanent secretary Sanet Steenkamp yesterday said some schools were registering children who only had baptism certificates or health passports to ensure that they are not left out.
It is government policy that children must have a birth certificate to register for school, but in certain circumstances exceptions have been made.

The Namibian found out during a visit to Ovitoto recently that some children do not have birth certificates, and some schools accepted them on the basis of health passports or baptism certificates.

Some parents from the Okandjira settlement complained that their children were deprived of various services due to a lack of national documents.

They said the biggest hurdle they experienced when applying for birth certificates for their children was providing information about the absent fathers of the children.

Undja Kaandjo (38), a resident of Okandjira, said she has six children, one of whom was registered for school using a health passport.

She said getting a birth certificate for her child has been difficult because his father is in prison.

Kaandjo added that the lack of documents has also made it difficult for her other children to get government social grants.

Another villager, Beverly Tjombe (25), who is the mother of three children, said she encountered a similar problem as two of her children are orphans, while the third was fathered by an Angolan, who left the country.

“I once thought of getting my father to sign the documents in the place of the child’s father so he could get a grant, because things are so difficult for us,” she lamented.

Omatako councillor Israel Hukurua said he knows of children who have been trying to get social grants from the gender ministry, but did not have the correct documents.

“Some parents do not even have ID cards themselves, which makes things even more difficult. These problems have been raised with the relevant authorities,” he stressed.

Otjozondjupa education director Simon Tsuseb said he is not aware of instances where children have been registered with baptism certificates or health passports.

“Parents must have birth certificates to register their children, and that is the official policy,” he said, adding that in other cases, there could be exceptions.

Steenkamp said schools were accepting other documents to avoid having children unnecessarily deprived of education.

“We can register with a baptism certificate or a letter from the headman so that the child is not deprived of education,” she explained.

Steenkamp said parents should ensure their children have documents by the time they reach high school.

“Only children who are older than nine years would require special permission from the permanent secretary to attend school,” she said.

Home affairs spokesperson Sakeus Kadhikwa said the parents can get their children national documents even without the details of the fathers.

“We do not send people back just because of that, and those fathers in prison can write declarations that they are the fathers,” he stated.

Kadhikwa said the ministry’s outreach programme through mobile teams has been greatly affected by budgetary constraints, but they do have teams in the regions to disseminate information to educate people.

Earlier this year, home affairs launched the e-birth notification system, which is a collaboration between the health and home affairs ministries, allowing new births to be registered sooner.

Jun 12, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Home affairs wary of looming strike by staff

Home affairs wary of looming strike by staff
News | 8 June 2017

ANA Reporter

Pretoria – Home Affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni on Thursday announced that his department had been served with a notice to strike by unions representing front office staff.
“If this strike is to take place, it would interrupt mandatory services home affairs provides to citizens as enjoined by the Constitution of the Republic. Thus, as home affairs, we are deeply concerned by threats of a labour strike, ahead of one of our busiest periods in the year, that is, the school winter holidays.
Ahead of the holidays, the number of client requests for travel documents shoots up as families prepare for the long break,” Apleni said as he addressed a media conference in Pretoria.
Apleni said the home affairs employees had resolved to take to the streets in relation to an ongoing dispute over working hours for the front office staffers.
These are the offices which receive and process requests for various services from South African citizens and other clients. If the strike happens on June 19, it would continue indefinitely.
“The notice to strike was received from unions on Tuesday, subsequent to the regrettable failure of conciliation, which was meant to resolve the dispute, especially over provision of services to citizens on Saturdays. The D-day for the strike is June 19,” said Apleni.
“It should be noted, Saturday work was implemented since 2004. Between 2004 and 2010, we paid overtime which was not sustainable. From 2010 to 2014, a day-off was granted for Saturday work, with officials allowed to take a day-off on any day of the week. That dispensation posed serious challenges. Officials tended to take different days in the week, resulting in the department perpetually operating on limited personnel.”
Apleni said a proposal was tabled, which offered that the home affairs staff be granted a day-off on Wednesdays for every Saturday worked, to curb the challenge of limited personnel in the department.
“We are not in a financial position to consider and accede to the demand for overtime pay. Thus, we presented the alternative settlement proposal, for officials to receive a day off on Wednesdays, so that they do not work for 6 days a week, and remain within 40 hours,” he said.
Apleni cautioned that if the strike happened at home affairs, it would hurt service provision.
“Our people have no alternative for home affairs services. Therefore there is a need for us to find a speedy and amicable solution, ensuring we become even more relevant, accessible and responsive to the needs of the people,” he said.
Conciliation efforts have been held at the General Public Service Sector Bargaining Council pursuant to the Constitutional Court’s directive that the dispute be referred for conciliation.
Apleni said in the absence of an agreement with the employees, staff were mandated to continue with their set working shifts, including the Saturday duties. “We shall not intimidate anyone, and have not, in this entire process, intimidated anyone, as alleged by unions.
“Neither will we be found wanting on labour rights and protection of all officials, those who are unionised and those who are not unionised, with all their rights and choices protected as per laws of our democratic country. All we ask is for reason to prevail, for responsible conduct to guide all actions, ensuring the public and all of our citizens do not lose confidence in our services.”

Jun 8, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Controversial German directive passes with reduced sting

Controversial German directive passes with reduced sting
6 Jun 2017 – Tourism Update
The EU package travel directive was passed into German law last week.
The German travel trade were taken by surprise late last week when the controversial EU package travel directive (PTD), expected to drag on for some months yet, was passed by the German Bundestag.
On a positive note, German travel and hospitality associations were successful in removing and amending the most detrimental regulations contained in earlier versions, despite a lack of unity in their ranks.
The directive passed through its second and third reading in the early hours of June 2, in a process that took less than two minutes, reports Reinhart Mecklenburg of AfroSales Tourism Marketing Services. The new national law comes into effect on July 1, 2018.
In its original form, the directive threatened to entrench the power of Germany’s dominant tour operators, reintroduce exclusive agreements which have been banned in the country since 1994, and force retailers to take on the liabilities of tour operators.
“The first reaction by Germany’s travel trade associations waivers between ‘Not nice, but at least better than the original draft issued by Brussels’ and ‘Let’s go ahead and live with this admin monster’,” commented Mecklenburg.
A laudable reaction, he said, came from the country’s largest travel agents’ alliance, Quality Travel Alliance (QTA), which lost little time in announcing that its legal experts would draw up a detailed information bulletin for its 8 000 retail travel agency members. QTA will also provide substantial online and offline training for counter staff.
“In terms of the working relationship with the Southern African hospitality industry, not much changes,” states Mecklenburg. “The heavy administration onus is 100% on the German agent.
“One aspect that might be of common interest is the fact that outbound tour operators may increase published selling prices by 8% up to four months prior to the date of travel.

Jun 8, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

March arrivals up 6% but top market dips

March arrivals up 6% but top market dips
Tourism Update – 6 June 2017
Arrivals from the United Kingdom dipped in March.
Arrivals from the United Kingdom to South Africa dropped 8% year-on-year in March, while year-to-date arrivals from the UK are down 0.19%. The growth in overseas arrivals has also slowed when compared to January and February.
This is according to according to the latest figures from Statistics SA.
Total arrivals from the UK for March 2017 were 45 203, compared to 49 095 in March last year.
Overseas arrivals were up 6% year-on-year for the month of March. This compares to 10% year-on-year growth in February and 14% year-on-year growth in January.
Other markets that showed significant growth year-on-year in March include France, Germany and the US, with arrivals from France up 46% year-on-year, and arrivals from the US and Germany nearly 7% and 3% respectively.
Arrivals from New Zealand have continued to dip, with a year-on-year decline of 34% in March. Other overseas markets that showed year-on-year declines in March included Norway and Denmark, down 32% and 10% respectively. Arrivals from China were down 14% year on year in March. This compares to a 27% dip in February.
Brazil has continued to rebound with arrivals in March up 144% year-on-year. Arrivals from Brazil are up 141% year-to-date.
Arrivals from India have started showing growth, after declines in January and February. Arrivals from India were up 12% year-on-year in March. This compares to year-on-year dips of 5% and 11% in January and February respectively.

Jun 8, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Dear Tony Gupta, I Have Top Secret Clearance … “Kindly find attached copy of my resumé and note that I have been vetted by SSA for top secret clearance and awaiting my evaluation.”

Dear Tony Gupta, I Have Top Secret Clearance …
“Kindly find attached copy of my resumé and note that I have been vetted by SSA for top secret clearance and awaiting my evaluation.”
02/06/2017 13:14 SAST | Updated 02/06/2017 15:17 SAST
• Pieter du Toit Deputy Editor, HuffPost South Africa

Jaco Marais/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA MAY 31: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): President Jacob Zuma tables the Presidency budget vote in the National Assembly on May 31, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. Zuma has reiterated government’s commitment to secure energy certainty for the country. (Photo by)
A senior official at the Department of Home Affairs in Cape Town sent Rajesh “Tony” Gupta his CV — and a certificate declaring he has top secret clearance.
According to copies of emails to which City Press has access, Sagie Mudley, head of inspectorate (immigration) in Cape Town, sent a message to Gupta on the morning of November 27, 2015 saying: “Kindly find attached copy of my resumé and note that I have been vetted by SSA (State Security Agency) for top secret clearance and awaiting my evaluation. If you require any further information and clarity please don’t hesitate to call me”.
Rajesh Gupta, the younger of the Gupta brothers, emerges as quite a power-broker in much of the correspondence. It appears he played the role of fixer between Atul Gupta, companies in the Oakbay Group, and government departments like home affairs and the presidency, often being the primary contact in correspondence.
According to Nomzamo Mnyaka, a chief director at home affairs, Mudley is in charge of immigration at Cape Town International Airport. Mnyaka was listed as a reference on Mudley’s CV sent to Gupta, and told HuffPost South Africa Mudley “is a good civil servant who has never had any trouble”. Mudley describes himself as “a highly-motivated public service professional, skilled in administration, networking and relationship development”.
Mudley again emailed Gupta less than two months later, seemingly triumphant after his top secret clearance was approved: “Dear Sir: please find attached security clearance. Thank you.”
Attached to the message to Gupta is a confidential security clearance certificate, issued by the Department of State Security, with a clearance number and signed by CM Mavata, director: domestic branch. There are also two letters by Mavata, both addressed to the provincial home affairs manager confirming Mudley’s top secret clearance.
The Guptas have in the last week been accused of trying to influence immigration officials unduly. Various emails indicate that they have tried to have associates and friends receive preferential treatment from home affairs.
Mkuseni Apleni, home affairs director general, wasn’t immediately available for comment. He did however earlier confirm to 702’s Barry Bateman that the department was investigating all allegations pertaining to the department.