Archive from July, 2018
Jul 31, 2018 - Uncategorized    No Comments

A litany of errors that led to Manus refugee`s `preventable` death

The death of an Iranian asylum seeker from an infection contracted on
Papua New Guinea`s Manus Island was preventable, an Australian coroner
has ruled, in a report that identified a multitude of bureaucratic
bungles and healthcare inadequacies.
Hamid Khazaei, who was 24, died when his life support was switched off
at a Brisbane Hospital in September 2014, twelve days after he had
gone to a clinic at Australia`s asylum seeker detention centre with a
simple infection in his leg.
In a 131-page report, the Queensland Coroner, Terry Ryan, identified
several systemic flaws in the healthcare provided for those detained
by Canberra on remote islands in the Pacific.
Among the flaws was the fact the clinic at Manus, an equatorial island
in the north of PNG, did not have the antibiotics needed to treat
tropical infections, and a series of delays in transferring patients
who need hospital care off the island.
Mr Ryan found Australia`s Department of Home Affairs needed to enforce
new policy that put the clinical needs of detainees first, and called
on the federal Attorney General to establish a new framework to ensure
independent judicial investigations of deaths in Australia`s offshore
detention system.
`I am satisfied that if Mr Khazaei`s clinical deterioration was
recognised and responded to in a timely way at the [detention centre]
clinic, and he was evacuated to Australia within 24 hours of
developing severe sepsis, he would have survived,` Mr Ryan said.
A Litany of Errors
Hamid Khazaei was born in Iran in 1990. He grew up, served 18-months
of military service, and then worked as a salesman in Tehran.
But in mid-2013, according to evidence in the coroner`s report, he
found himself in a conflict with a cleric. Fearing torture and
imprisonment, he paid to be smuggled from Iran to Indonesia.
In August 2013, he set off from Indonesia in a rickety boat, the
Gadsen, bound for Australia, where he hoped to claim asylum.
But under Australia`s strict immigration laws, any asylum seeker who
tries to reach the country by boat will be denied resettlement, no
matter how dire their circumstances, and will instead be flown to
detention centres in Nauru or Papua New Guinea.
The hardline policy, which was introduced in 2013 by Labor Prime
Minister Kevin Rudd, and then tightened by the Liberal governments of
Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull, has been heavily criticised by human
rights groups, refugee lawyers and even the United Nations, which has
said it violates international refugee law.
But it has popular support in Australia, where immigration –
especially by boat – has proved a flashpoint issue, and where both
parties remain committed to the policy in some shape or form.
Mr Khazaei`s boat sailed head-first into the newly-reintroduced
policy, and when it was intercepted by Australian authorities, he was
taken to Christmas Island. As a single man, Mr Khazaei was then flown
to detention on PNG`s Manus Island.
Mr Khazaei died after contracting an infection at Australia`s
detention centre on Papua New Guinea`s Manus Island. Photo: supplied
There, he was detained with hundreds of other men, mostly from the
Middle East and Southeast Asia (Families, women and children were
detained on Nauru). By all accounts, Mr Khazaei was a quiet, yet
popular, man who drew no trouble.
He was fit and healthy, according to accounts contained in the
coroner`s report. But on 23 August 2014, he presented to the detention
centre`s medical clinic with what appeared to be a routine infection
of a cut in his leg.
The clinic at the time was run by the multinational company, IHMS.
Doctors gave him some antibiotics and kept him in the health centre
for observation. But over the course of the next day, he developed a
fever, body aches and chills. His blood pressure slowed to what
doctors said was a worrying level.
After 36 hours, Mr Khazaei`s condition continued to deteriorate, and
the doctors repeatedly requested that he be urgently transferred out
of Manus for hospital treatment, saying there was a spare seat – and a
supervising doctor – on a flight to the capital, Port Moresby that
afternoon.
That flight was missed because the request was ignored for several
hours and then refused before approval was finally granted to take Mr
Khazaei, who was now semi-conscious and septic, to Port Moresby`s
Pacific International Hospital.
Australia`s hardline immigration policies have been controversially
and widely protested, but they enjoy bipartisan support at the
political level.
`There was a number of significant flaws in the arrangements for Mr
Khazaei`s transfer from the [detention centre], including a lack of a
documented approval process, resulting in a missed opportunity,` Mr
Ryan said in his findings.
When Mr Khazaei arrived at Pacific International Hospital, a private
institution, the neglect continued.
He was wheeled into the emergency department, where he was left
largely unattended behind a curtain. `Despite him being so unwell,
there seemed to be absolutely no sense of urgency from the … staff,` a
nurse told the inquest.
`It seemed the staff at the PIH either did not realise how ill the
patient was, or if they did, they did not know what to do,` she said.
Later on the evening of 26 August, the decision was finally made to
intubate Mr Khazaei and move him to intensive care. But the intensive
care unit was up a level, and there was no internal lift at the
hospital. To move him would involve wheeling him up a steep ramp
outside, which was impossible in heavy rain.
Mr Khazaei would remain in intensive care for several more hours until
the rain stopped.
Mr Khazaei was then misdiagnosed with pulmonary oedema, or excess
fluid in the lungs which, according to one doctor who gave evidence,
required `basically the opposite medical management` of septic shock
and multiple organ failure, which is what Mr Khazaei had.
Finally, IHMS managed to rally a team of Australian physicians who
were in Port Moresby for an Australian Federal Police (AFP) programme.
That team arrived at the PIH and took over treatment. One of the team,
in his evidence, said they did not know where Mr Khazaei was, found no
records of his past treatment or condition, and when they finally
found him in the corner of the Intensive Care Unit, monitor alarms
were going off but no one was attending to him with any urgency.
The bag helping Mr Khazaei breathe was broken, and one of his
intravenous lines was inserted beside his vein, not in it.
Just after 10pm that night, Mr Khazaei went into cardiac arrest. The
AFP team stabilised him and made the call for an urgent medivac to
Australia, which happened just after midnight.
On August 27, Mr Khazaei arrived at Brisbane`s Mater Hospital. He was
unresponsive. He was declared brain dead five days later and, on 5
September, his life support was switched off.
`Mr Khazaei`s death was preventable,` said Mr Ryan. `His death was the
result of the compounding effects of multiple errors rather any
significant action or inaction.`
`This included the failure to ensure the Manus Island Regional
Processing centre had antibiotics available to safely treat [his] leg
infection, the failure to adequately detect and report a severely
deteriorating patient, inadequate clinical care and processes …
ineffective processes for the transfer … and the unfortunate
expectation that adequate and intensive critical care could be
provided at Pacific International Hospital.`
Australia`s Responsibility
In his finding, Mr Ryan found that Australia had sole responsibility
for Mr Khazaei`s care and for the failures that led to his death,
recommending that the standard of treatment for detained asylum
seekers be brought up to Australian standards.
`It is incumbent on the Australian government to implement sustainable
systems for the delivery of health care that meet the requisite
standard,` he said.
In his eight recommendations, Mr Ryan said doctors should have greater
control of patient transfers to hospital care in Australia, not Border
Force or Home Affairs department bureaucrats.
Since its revival in 2013, there have been twelve deaths in either
Manus Island or Nauru. Mr Ryan said all deaths in offshore detention
should be investigated by an independent judicial process similar to
that for Mr Khazaei.
Amnesty International`s refugee researcher, Kate Schuetze, said Mr
Khazaei`s death is the most thoroughly investigated of Australia`s
offshore detention deaths, largely because Mr Khazaei died in
Brisbane, so his death fell under the Queensland coroner`s jurisdiction.
`Many of the cases that have happened, the other deaths that have
happened on Manus on Nauru … there hasn`t been the same level of
justice or accountability,` said Ms Schuetze.
Looking to the future, Mr Ryan said further deaths in offshore
detention would be prevented by moving to a place where healthcare
standards are higher, such as Australia or New Zealand.
`However, I acknowledge such an approach is highly unlikely in the
absence of a fundamental revision of the broader policy framework,` he
said.
The United States has agreed to take up to 1,250 refugees from Manus
or Nauru, but only a few hundred have been resettled so far.
New Zealand has offered to take 150, but that`s been rejected by
Australia. Canberra is adamant none of the refugees will resettle
there, but no one else has offered to take them.
And the situation on Manus Island itself has changed since 2014, too.
The detention centre has now closed, and the refugees have been forced
into what are called `transit centres` in the main town, Lorengau.
The health provider, IHMS, no longer provides treatment, and the
responsibility has been transferred to Pacific International Hospital
in Port Moresby.
`We have people currently languishing in a very dangerous situation
when it comes to their healthcare,` said Ms Schuetze. `Those steps
have to take place by the Australian government for these
recommendations.`
`If the Australian government cannot provide a comparable level of
medical care, they really need to end offshore processing and bring
those people here as a means of preventing further deaths,` she said.
In a statement, IHMS said it would `consider and respond` to the
coroner`s recommendations.
The Department of Home Affairs said it was reviewing the coroner`s
findings.

Jul 31, 2018 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Is raising $100 billion possible?

Leaders of the BRICS nations gathered in South Africa last week for
the 10th summit of the grouping that accounts for more 17% of global
trade, Chairman of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) Board,
Ms Busi Mabuza reflects on the importance of the event and its role in
the country’s ambitious drive to secure investment of $100-billion
over five years.
Our complicated background
In South Africa we are inclined to think of ourselves as entirely
unique in terms of our history of struggle and the continuing
challenges we face nearly a quarter a century after we attained our
political freedom. As we mark in 2018, the centenary of the birth of
Nelson Mandela, we can surely be forgiven for pausing to celebrate
with pride at least a few of our characteristics that make us uniquely
South African.
Are we different?
This sense of being different has become more acute in recent years as
the trajectory of our democratic politics has put our democratic
institutions to the test. And yet, South Africa’s institutions of
governance remain robust and continue to advance the fundamental
interests of human development, freedom, transparency and democracy.
We continue to defy those who have predicted imminent catastrophe for
more than two decades now.
Global challenges
On the other hand, the steady erosion of the post-second world war
global consensus, the rise of populism, anti-migration sentiment and a
trade war among developed economies provides for a different
perspective on our South African challenges. Our people still see the
best as yet to come while others mourn for their past.
BRICS nations on different trajectory
In fact, the BRICS nations as a group continue to move in a different
direction to much of the developed world, particularly with respect to
trade and investment. Intra-BRICS trade, for example, has more than
doubled from ZAR204-billion in 2010 to ZAR462-billion in 2017.
SA Investment target $ 100 billion
The centre piece of this drive is President Cyril Ramaphosa’s target
of $100-billion in new investment over five years. The President will
emphasise to our BRICS partners and other heads of state that South
Africa’s investment proposition for foreign investors remains a
powerful one.
Special envoys
He has put in place a team of Special Envoys on Investment, who are
setting about meeting with significant businesses and leaders from all
over the world to promote investment towards meeting the $100-billion
objective.
The Role of the dti â€` Invest SA
In practical terms, South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry
(the dti) is leading efforts to create an enabling environment for
investment and trade. The department has established a relatively new
entity, Invest SA, as one-stop facility to assist potential investors
with the procedures required to meet regulatory requirements to grow
the economy and create jobs.
Special Economic Zones
In addition, there is a broad range of incentives for investors and
support services available in the country’s Special Economic Zones.
Beyond the often-shifting tides of global macro-economic fortunes,
South Africa maintains core characteristics that investors can count
on in a more uncertain world.
We have a growing middle class and an affluent consumer base that
underpin excellent returns on investment. South Africa is still
abundantly endowed in precious metals. We are the world’s leading
producer of platinum group metals and the sixth largest producer of
gold with world renowned underground mining expertise.
Even as Africa continues to rise, South Africa is a diversified
African economy with the best manufacturing and leadership as a
services destination.
SA’s Global Presence
For evidence of this status, we can turn to multinationals for whom
South Africa is the location of choice. Global corporates continue to
reap the benefits of doing business in South Africa which has a
supportive ecosystem as a hub for innovation, technology and fintech.
In terms of a key aspect of investor interest and concerns, South
Africa remains number one in Africa and highly rated globally for a
regulatory framework and judicial system that protects investors. The
country’s commercial and legal practices are in line with those in the
rest of the developed world.
Indeed, we are already widely known for our sophisticated banking
sector which has a major footprint in African countries. This
underpins our status as the largest financial hub in Africa, with the
JSE the continent’s largest stock exchange by market capitalisation.
Our world-class physical and technology infrastructure is targeted for
ongoing investment and expansion that will enhance levels of investor
comfort in a very practical manner.
African Continental Free Trade Area
The conditions are especially favourable for investors seeking to
benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The
AfCTFA will boost intra-Africa trade and create a bigger market of
more than billion people on a continent with a GDP of $2.6-trillion.
The keys to unlock industrial development are thus available to
investors seeking long-term opportunities with stable returns.
State Owned Entities â€` any hope?
In terms of state-owned entities, which are of particular concern to
investors, it has been most encouraging to note the significant
progress made in stabilising the governance structures and thus
placing these enterprises on a sound path to recovery. The South
Africa government’s commitment to the efficient management and optimal
performance of its state-owned entities is demonstrated through the
various initiatives aimed at strengthening governance models and
improving compliance to ensure adhere to the principles and practices
of good governance as envisaged in the public finance management acts.
SA’s Open Budget
The Open Budget Index, an index that independently rates the
transparency of government budgeting processes, ranked South Africa at
number two out of 102 countries evaluated. This is testimony that as a
nation we are committed to high levels of transparency and a
public-sector governance model that ensures democratic accountability.
In a similar vein, the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index ranks
South Africa 22nd in the world for investor protection, while Business
Monitor International’s 2017 Trade and Investment Risk Report puts us
at the forefront in terms of comparatively low investment-related
risks in the region.
This means that South Africa’s sound institutional framework, which is
built on the robust foundation of a constitutional democracy,
positions the country favourably as we work to enhance and maintain
business confidence.
SA on the front foot?
Any investor should in my view be pleased by the palpable fresh energy
and renewed optimism among the country’s friendly and inviting people.
We hope investors will be encouraged and reassured by our choice to
live on the front foot, in the certain knowledge that the arc of our
history bends resolutely towards a better life for all.

Jul 31, 2018 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Renewable energy �` power to the people �` jobs for the people!

Clanwilliam’s first retail shopping centre, which opened at the end of
June, is an example of how renewable energy is aiding economic
development in small towns with limited access to the national grid.
This is according to Dominic Wills, CEO of SOLA Future Energy, whose
company installed a solar photovoltaic (PV) system that provides the
additional power for the Cedar Mill Mall that Eskom can’t supply.
During the connection application, the parastatal indicated that it
was able to supply only 250 kVA of continuous power due to constraints
on the grid. However, to get the project off the ground, the mall’s
developers, Noble Property Group, needed at least double what Eskom
was able to approve: 500 kVA.
“The solution was to utilise the substantial roof space on the mall to
install a solar PV and lithium-ion battery system to provide the
additional power,” explains Wills.
Thanks to the solar PV and battery system, electricity can also be
supplied to the mall independent of the central grid. This will make
the centre resilient to power outages, which often plague small,
remote municipalities.
“In addition to providing power to the grid and off-grid, the exciting
potential of solar PV technology is that it can provide solutions that
supplement the grid. This technology is deployable in rural settings,
where electricity connections are often limited,” Wills adds.
The shopping centre, which is expected to create 300 permanent jobs,
promises to be a boon for traders, economic activity and job creation
in the town.
The solar PV system is expected to save the mall 1.1 million kWh
electricity per annum, resulting in a 982 tons carbon emission saving
for at least 25 years.
During 2016, it was estimated that 80 MW solar PV was installed on
rooftop projects in South Africa, a figure 10 times higher than 5
years before.
Over the past 5 years we have seen solar PV take centre stage as one
of the most affordable, reliable and deployable forms of energy in the
world. The expansion of the rooftop market �` particularly in South
Africa �` has meant that businesses can benefit from clean, cheaper
energy now more than ever before. Added to this, the development and
accessibility of storage solutions now means that completely off-grid,
or supplemented grid options, are now available. These developments
have taken place rapidly, and continue to change the face of
available energy options in the world. It will be exciting to see what
the market brings in the next 5 years.

What happened on Facebook’s nightmare conference call that wiped out almost R2 trillion in market value in 90 minutes

• Facebook stock dropped a whopping 24% after it announced its second quarter financial results on Wednesday.
• The plunge came after Facebook executives announced that the company expects a significant slowdown in its revenue growth in the years ahead.
• Here’s what happened during the disastrous conference call with analysts that saw Facebook value fall by as much as $148 billion (R1,95 trillion), almost half of South Africa’s GDP in 2016.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a new feel-good statistic on a conference call with financial analysts on Wednesday: some 2.5 billion people — a third of the world’s population — now use at least one of Facebook’s products each month.
But that staggering statistic wasn’t enough to distract investors from the bad news the company had to share — it expects significantly decreased revenue growth rates and operating margins in the years ahead.
The proof was in Facebook’s stock, which during the call was down as much 24% from its price at the close of regular trading. In fact, the call with Zuckerberg and his colleagues only made things worse for Facebook, in terms of its share price.
An hour before the call started, Facebook announced disappointing second quarter financial results. The company missed Wall Street’s expectations on both revenues and its number of daily and monthly active users.
Its stock fell more than 8% on that news. But it stayed relatively steady after that, at least until the call started and David Wehner, Facebook’s chief financial officer, started discussing the company’s financial outlook. Wehner warned that Facebook expected its revenue growth to slow from the 42% pace it posted in the second quarter and its operating margins to fall from 44% in the period.
“Looking beyond 2018, we anticipate that total expense growth will exceed revenue growth in 2019,” he said. “Over the next several years, we would anticipate that our operating margins will trend towards the mid-thirties on a percentage basis.”
Facebook’s stock really fell off during the company’s earnings call
During the call, Facebook’s stock dropped precipitously. Within minutes it was down 15%, then 18%, then more than 24%. At the stock’s lowest point, more than $148 billion of the company’s value — significantly more than the entire market cap of IBM ($134 billion) — had been wiped out. That is 42% of South Africa’s 2017 GDP.
Facebook’s shares rebounded later, but at the time of this writing, they still remained deep in the red, at a little over 20% down.Yahoo Finance
Three key factors are driving Facebook’s expected revenue growth decline, Wehner said. First, Facebook is battling currency headwinds. Its overseas revenue got a boost in dollar terms as the dollar appreciated against other currencies last year. But the dollar’s decline this year will reduce the dollar value of Facebook’s foreign revenue.
Second, the company is placing more emphasis on Stories, the packages of posts and photos users can share with their friends that generally disappear after 24 hours. The company doesn’t yet make as much money from Stories as from its news feed and other features on its site.
And then there’s an increased focus on privacy and security, which Zuckerberg had previously warned could harm the company’s profitability. New options that Facebook is offering users to opt out of certain data collection — inspired in part by a new privacy law in Europe — could lead to less advertising revenue.
Facebook’s expected decline “is beyond anything we’ve seen”
As analysts pounded Facebook executives on the call about the company’s expected deterioration in its financial results, its stock continued to sink. Towards the end of the call, a Jeffries analyst seemed astonished at the scale of the growth slowdown, saying it “seems the magnitude is beyond anything we’ve seen.”
Wehner warned analysts not to expect the company’s financial results to get better anytime soon.
The company will likely be posting sub-par operating margins for “several years … more than two, less than many,” he said.
It’s a staggering drop-off for Facebook, and flies in the face of Wall Street’s expectations. Earlier in the day, its stock had hit a new all-time-high of more than $218 a share. A few short hours later, that already seems like a distant memory.

SA field guide training an ideal fit for international students

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the South African tourism industry will continue to contribute positively to the economy year-on-year. As such, programmes targeted at young, international students making their way to the country for upskilling has become renowned.

Field guide training, which has become a forerunner in the tourism industry job market is one such programme which exposes students to the wild and enables them to learn about guide principles, animal behaviour, biomes, climate, as well as hospitality in the game lodge industry. Bushwise Recruitment, a post-matric training academy provides students with the opportunity to explore the best that South Africa has to offer.

Academy founder, Sophie Niemann says it’s their international student in-take that has remained steady since 2012 – and through its vast industry network, assists with securing employment for its graduates at some of the country’s most prestigious lodges.

“The fact that students from outside SA are coming here to further their education in this niche industry is wonderful. It bodes so well for tourism in our country and places South Africa on an international stage. Further, it demonstrates that Bushwise is recognised as leaders in this industry as well,” says Niemann.
Developing SA ambassadors

Although securing employment for South African students remain the academy’s first priority, Niemann says international graduates make an equally positive contribution to the industry outside of the country, despite not being employed here. “The knowledge that international student’s gain during the programme develops them into South African ambassadors who would easily be able to articulate the beauty of our natural resources and the enriching experiences tourists can have here. It’s also the stepping stone for their careers in international conservation.”

Niemann adds that many of Bushwise’s international students also go back home and engage in public discussions on their experiences in South Africa and the value of studying towards this qualification in a country well-known around the world for its wildlife.

“The fact that we have these men and women from all over the world are coming here for a purpose, achieving that and going back home and promoting not only the programme but the country as a whole is wonderful, and continues to build SA’s reputation globally, which is exactly what we need as a nation needs.”

Jul 26, 2018 - Uncategorized    No Comments

What happened on Facebook`s nightmare conference call that wiped out almost R2 trillion in market value in 90 minutes

• Facebook stock dropped a whopping 24% after it announced its second
quarter financial results on Wednesday.
• The plunge came after Facebook executives announced that the company
expects a significant slowdown in its revenue growth in the years ahead.
• Here`s what happened during the disastrous conference call with
analysts that saw Facebook value fall by as much as $148 billion
(R1,95 trillion), almost half of South Africa`s GDP in 2016.
________________________________________
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a new feel-good statistic on a
conference call with financial analysts on Wednesday: some 2.5 billion
people �` a third of the world`s population �` now use at least one of
Facebook`s products each month.
But that staggering statistic wasn`t enough to distract investors from
the bad news the company had to share �` it expects significantly
decreased revenue growth rates and operating margins in the years ahead.
The proof was in Facebook`s stock, which during the call was down as
much 24% from its price at the close of regular trading. In fact, the
call with Zuckerberg and his colleagues only made things worse for
Facebook, in terms of its share price.
An hour before the call started, Facebook announced disappointing
second quarter financial results. The company missed Wall Street`s
expectations on both revenues and its number of daily and monthly
active users.
Its stock fell more than 8% on that news. But it stayed relatively
steady after that, at least until the call started and David Wehner,
Facebook`s chief financial officer, started discussing the company`s
financial outlook. Wehner warned that Facebook expected its revenue
growth to slow from the 42% pace it posted in the second quarter and
its operating margins to fall from 44% in the period.
`Looking beyond 2018, we anticipate that total expense growth will
exceed revenue growth in 2019,` he said. `Over the next several years,
we would anticipate that our operating margins will trend towards the
mid-thirties on a percentage basis.`
Facebook`s stock really fell off during the company`s earnings call
During the call, Facebook`s stock dropped precipitously. Within
minutes it was down 15%, then 18%, then more than 24%. At the stock`s
lowest point, more than $148 billion of the company`s value �`
significantly more than the entire market cap of IBM ($134 billion) �`
had been wiped out. That is 42% of South Africa`s 2017 GDP.
Facebook`s shares rebounded later, but at the time of this writing,
they still remained deep in the red, at a little over 20% down.Yahoo
Finance
Three key factors are driving Facebook`s expected revenue growth
decline, Wehner said. First, Facebook is battling currency headwinds.
Its overseas revenue got a boost in dollar terms as the dollar
appreciated against other currencies last year. But the dollar`s
decline this year will reduce the dollar value of Facebook`s foreign
revenue.
Second, the company is placing more emphasis on Stories, the packages
of posts and photos users can share with their friends that generally
disappear after 24 hours. The company doesn`t yet make as much money
from Stories as from its news feed and other features on its site.
And then there`s an increased focus on privacy and security, which
Zuckerberg had previously warned could harm the company`s
profitability. New options that Facebook is offering users to opt out
of certain data collection �` inspired in part by a new privacy law in
Europe �` could lead to less advertising revenue.
Facebook`s expected decline `is beyond anything we`ve seen`
As analysts pounded Facebook executives on the call about the
company`s expected deterioration in its financial results, its stock
continued to sink. Towards the end of the call, a Jeffries analyst
seemed astonished at the scale of the growth slowdown, saying it
`seems the magnitude is beyond anything we`ve seen.`
Wehner warned analysts not to expect the company`s financial results
to get better anytime soon.
The company will likely be posting sub-par operating margins for
`several years … more than two, less than many,` he said.
It`s a staggering drop-off for Facebook, and flies in the face of Wall
Street`s expectations. Earlier in the day, its stock had hit a new
all-time-high of more than $218 a share. A few short hours later, that
already seems like a distant memory.

Refugee management is not a simple task

2018-07-22 – City Press
Terry Bell’s report, “Skilled Personnel: smuggled, exploited in SA” (City Press, July 15 2018), sheds light on refugee management complexities that are often simplified in self-serving diatribes.
A typical example is Claire van den Heever’s “Humanitarian in appearance, inhumane in reality” (City Press, July 15 2018), which is far-fetched to say the least. South Africa does more with its limited resources in the service of all of humanity.
Bell’s report offers a rare glimpse of the push and pull factors ejecting individuals from their countries. He exposes, through the eye of a Pakistani trader, how people are trafficked, smuggled and exploited.
Without analysing who migrates, why, how and at what cost, it’s easy to downplay sacrifices and humanitarian efforts made by countries like South Africa. We learn that the trader was already in Mozambique before crossing the border, without papers, which were “arranged” later by his handlers. He left Pakistan not because of a well-founded fear of persecution.
We are reminded of grounds for qualifying for refugee status in Van den Heever’s recycled invective accusing us of inhumanity for seeking to test each claim to refugee status. This is prescribed by law, which the department of home affairs implements with applicable agencies and organs of state.
The trader is duped by some unscrupulous character enticing people to migrate to South Africa with no well-founded fear of persecution.
Though not the only factor, I suppose this should illuminate why South Africa’s refugee system is under pressure, adversely affecting the processing of applications of genuine asylum seekers.
The asylum system is not a failure. Far from it. Improvements continue to be made to capacitate refugee offices and staff. Think of the resources going into the new Desmond Tutu Refugee Reception Centre, which features an automated booking system that should help in addressing waiting time while curbing fraud and corruption.
The World Bank’s recent report on migration puts South Africa as a destination six times higher than any country in the southern African region. That alone speaks volumes about the humane character of the refugee system South Africa provides in comparison to any other country in the region, where the right to work is extended even to asylum seekers, as well as a non-encampment policy, freedom to move and benefit from social services.
Last month, the department announced the reopening of the refugee office in Port Elizabeth, which promises adequate accommodation for applicants with legitimate claims. Like the Desmond Tutu Refugee Reception Centre, it has a streamlined process, baby-changing stations and multiple ablution facilities. There’s provision to also accommodate the standing committee for refugee affairs, appeal board hearings and immigration inspectorate facilities.
Regarding the Cape Town refugee office, plans have commenced to comply with the court order. There’s a budget allocated and funding for filling of key posts. The new automated booking system has been rolled out in Cape Town, and signs of relief to the ever-growing asylum-seeking population in the city are already showing.
In November, an improved refugee travel document was introduced as part of the roadmap towards the integration of refugees into society. This document satisfies international standards and, in fact, it would be interesting to pause and determine how many UN member states have met this significant milestone before criticising us.
The Refugee Amendment Act that was assented to in December seeks to enhance the protection regime by, among other things, allowing applicants to receive fast and improved services. It allows for legally qualified members of the Refugee Appeal Board to determine matters individually at the discretion of the chairperson, and for flexible employment of any number of appeals authority staff to deal with volumes of cases.
The need for a border management authority was mooted in 2009 for integrated and efficient management of the country’s ports of entry and the borderline. Cabinet formally resolved on its establishment in 2013. It endorsed its vision in 2014. Home affairs, with other government departments and agencies, was given the task of carrying out this decision. Before approval by the National Assembly in June last year, there was extensive engagement on the Border Management Authority Bill within government, the National Economic Development and Labour Council and broader society.
Isn’t it ironic to complain that borders are “porous” while opposing initiatives for enhancing immigration and border control? There were platforms for public consultation. The system of exploitation and cheap labour is sustained by corporates and by some among us who are prone to cry foul in pursuance of their own selfish interests.
Managing migration is a societal issue. Thus, the new white paper on international migration advocates for a whole of government and society approach, and outlines roles of national, provincial and local government.
There is political will. In the broader scheme of things, this became clearer last year when Cabinet approved a new business case for the repositioning of home affairs. It said, inter alia, that the department must be positioned within the security system of the state to enable it to deliver its full mandate as a critical enabler of inclusive economic development, national security, effective service delivery and efficient administration.

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