Archive from September, 2019

KZN Health withdraws circular on foreign doctors

KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu says the department has decided to withdraw a circular stating that the hiring of foreign doctors would be put on hold.
The Africa News Agency earlier reported that the internal circular released last week was signed by acting head of Health, Musa Gumede.
Gumede said the decision was taken to prioritise South African doctors trained in Cuba.
Simelane-Zulu says she has decided to do her own investigation into the matter.

“The fifth administration had taken a policy decision to put on hold the employment of any foreign national doctors on the basis that KwaZulu-Natal was faced with unemployed young doctors,” said Simelane-Zulu.
“For the department to absorb or incorporate all the doctors in the system, they had to make a decision to open up all the spaces that were there.”
The MEC says the circular was not discussed or agreed upon by the sixth administration.
“It must be taken by the MEC, but it must importantly the decision must go through the Provincial Executive Council, which it has not. As a result, we have instructed the HOD to withdraw the circular until all relevant stakeholders have been consulted,” she said.

‘She does not know him': How to get a fraudulent marriage annulled

‘She does not know him': How to get a fraudulent marriage annulled

What to do if Home Affairs fails you?

In 2012 when my cousin went to register to vote , she was told that she was married and her surname was even changed. She then went to Home Affairs and gave them all supporting documents , including an affidavit , to say that the marriage was conducted fraudulently and she does not know him.
She was then told that the marriage was annulled. Earlier this year when she went to register to vote my cousin was again told that she is married. They asked again for all documents, she submitted new documents and the ones she submitted in 2012 . Ever since then, Home Affairs is giving her the run around for the last few months .
She is currently heavily stressed and cannot apply for the new smart ID or renew her driver’s license. All Home Affairs can tell her is that he is a Pakistani.
We would appreciate any advice or help in my cousin getting her life back together.
Concerned Cousin
Dear Reader,
We can completely understand why your cousin is incredibly stressed and frustrated – she probably feels like she is constantly hitting a brick wall of red tape and empty promises. Of course, it’s going to be very difficult for her to carry on with her life without dealing with this fraudulent marriage weighing her down.
Sadly, fraudulent marriages are quite common in South Africa, and many women across the country are sent from pillar to post trying to solve the issue (it’s even been reported that some women have been trying to dispute alleged fake marriage for over a decade!).
In early 2019, it was reported that the Wits Law Clinic would bring class action lawsuits against the Department of Home Affairs on behalf of five women who have been unable to nullify their “marriages”.
Of course, aside from the emotional and financial implications, a fake marriage can have far-reaching consequences, such as not being able to register the births of children or getting birth certificates; racking up bad credit ratings; not being able to marry someone else legally; being denied an ID or drivers licence renewal; and not being able to access any grants- to name a few.
In terms of a possible solution, it’s important to double check that your cousin submitted all the correct documents. Judging by your question, it seems that she did do this multiple times, but just to make sure, use the following as a guide (we’ll offer another solution, too).
According to the Department of Home Affairs spokesperson, David Hlabane, a person who wants to annul a fraudulent marriage must:
• Submit a sworn statement from the South African Police Service that states they have no knowledge of the existence of the marriage.
• Submit ten specimen signatures and a copy of their ID document.
An investigation into the matter should then be carried out. During the investigation, the Department will check for the existence of a marriage register and scrutinise the office in which the alleged marriage was conducted.
In the event that a register does exist, the investigators will compare the signatures on it to the specimens submitted. If there is a discrepancy, the matter will then be referred to a court.
If the above process continues to go nowhere, it is well within a citizen’s right to approach the Public Protector for assistance, and if that proves to be futile, there is the Presidential Hotline.
This is a dedicated hotline for anyone who sought assistance from a government department, province, state organisation or municipality. State departments are bound by the Constitution to carry out their functions and duties transparently and efficiency.
Should they fail to do this, South Africans can hold these departments accountable for not upholding their rights.
Presidential hotline
Tel: 17737 (1 PRES)
Fax: 086 681 0987 /012 323 8246
As you can see, this can be a complicated and tricky ordeal to remedy, so if possible, get a lawyer to assist you and have your back, should you have questions.
But it is also worth noting that while the Wits Law Clinic hasn’t indicated when the case of the five women they are representing will go to court, they have stated that other women who are facing this issue must reach out for assistance by emailing or calling 011 717 8562.

Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s message against xenophobia

IFP president emeritus and traditional prime minister to the Zulu nation, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, met with the community to quell tensions in light of recent xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals on September 8 2019. Below is his full speech.
Johannesburg, September 8 2019
I come here today not as a politician, but as an elder. There is a terrible quarrel in our nation with foreign nationals who are living amongst us. Lives have been lost and property damaged. There has been looting and burning and violence. While all this is happening, the world is watching, and we are being judged.
I must speak very bluntly to my fellow South Africans, not to take sides, but to quell the tensions with the voice of truth.
What we have seen in the past few days is unacceptable. The attacks on foreign nationals and their businesses are purely xenophobic. It is a violation of human rights and a violation of our Constitution. Our Constitution enshrines the right to freedom from all forms of violence. That right applies to everyone in South Africa, whether citizens or not.
We cannot allow this to move in cycles. It is not the first spate of attacks; but it must be the last
Mangosuthu Buthelezi
I understand the tensions, the complaints and the anger. I understand that there is validity to the complaints, on both sides. I also understand that wrongs have been committed by both sides. This has not come out of nowhere.
But there is a saying in Zulu that you cannot slaughter all the sheep because one sheep has transgressed. In a situation of conflict, it is dangerous to tar everyone with the same brush. Even where there are valid complaints against an individual, we cannot take the law into our own hands. Looting and destruction of property is a crime, full stop. Assault is always wrong.
Don’t think these things have no consequences. This violence has diplomatic and economic ramifications. We have hundreds of thousands of South Africans living in countries throughout Africa. We have businesses and companies operating across this continent. We have vital trade relations within the African Union and within SADC, the Southern African Development Community. South Africa is not an island.
There will be sanctions against us for what we are doing. It started with the Zambian Football Association cancelling a soccer match against Bafana Bafana. Then Nigeria announced a boycott of the World Economic Forum on Africa being held in Cape Town. But as I feared they would, sanctions quickly turned to retaliation.
Already South African-owned companies in Nigeria have been targeted for looting and vandalism. MTN has had to close all its stores to protect staff, while the police stand guard at Shoprite stores. On Thursday our diplomatic missions in Abuja and Lagos were forced to close after threats were received. President Buhari has announced a visit to South Africa to speak to President Ramaphosa
We need to stop this thing in its tracks before serious action is taken against us. Do we really want to escalate into international conflict?
feel ashamed. As Africans we are making ourselves a laughing stock in the rest of the world. Because the world knows what we seem so quick to forget: Africans are brothers and sisters.
In every family there are quarrels and squabbles. But the way we are behaving is shooting ourselves in the foot. We are making the name of South Africa a swear word on the continent.
This is not the first time we have had a spike of xenophobic attacks is our country. In 2008 and in 2015 lives were lost and livelihoods destroyed as communities went on the rampage against foreign nationals. I went then, too, to the communities and townships, and I spoke as I am speaking now.
But now my words are somehow different. The sentiments have not changed, but there is a sense of urgency because I fear what will happen if we fail to extinguish this fire.
The IFP has formally asked the Speaker of the National Assembly to call an urgent debate in parliament, not just to condemn xenophobia, but to hear what the state intends to do to swiftly end the violence.
We cannot allow this to move in cycles. It is not the first spate of attacks; but it must be the last.
We have been facing the rising problem of undocumented migration ever since 1994. I served as the first Minister of Home Affairs in a democratic era. For ten years my department grappled with this, trying to find a way to balance human rights with the good of the country.
I was struck even then by the number of undocumented Africans within our borders, especially from Zimbabwe, and the implications this had for our ability to create social and economic justice for South Africans. But when I pointed out our porous borders and said they need to be guarded, some people actually accused me of xenophobia, saying it was because I didn’t go into exile.
If anyone knows what our African brothers sacrificed for the sake of our struggle, it is I
IFP’s Buthelezi
Many of the countries whose citizens were coming to South Africa had given sanctuary to our political exiles during the struggle for freedom. Being an Anglican myself, I received a letter from the Anglican Bishop of Mozambique, Bishop Dinis Sengulane, lamenting that I was not helping his people who were flocking to South Africa.
These accusations were painful, and quite misplaced. Because if anyone knows what our African brothers sacrificed for the sake of our struggle, it is I. I went myself to Zambia and Tanzania in 1974, to thank President Kaunda and President Nyerere for giving sanctuary to all our exiles. Earlier this year, I again visited His Excellency Dr Kenneth Kaunda in Zambia, and he spoke touchingly about the risks they took on our behalf. Let me quote him directly. He said:
“Prince Buthelezi, we first met in 1974 here in Lusaka when I was a leader of a young independent nation of Zambia and was honoured to be leader of the frontline states which were all newly independent states. We hosted South African political exiles and freedom fighters. (It) was a huge risk to our own freedom as a nation. Financially we could not afford this task, since Ian Smith had closed the borders for us to transport goods through Rhodesia. The security risk was enormous on our people as the apartheid regime in South Africa was becoming more and more vicious. But we had to do that historic duty for the freedom of black people. I am a very proud man that we did this and all God’s children in South Africa… are free today.”
Friends, this is our own history. African countries like Lesotho, Swaziland, Nigeria, Zambia and Tanzania took huge risks on our behalf. Is this how we repay them?
I am not saying that anyone should be able to live in South Africa if they come here illegally, or if they are illegally running a business. If they are committing crime, they are criminals like any South African would be a criminal for doing the same thing. But we cannot adopt the attitude that Africans have no right to come here, and no right to be here, if they come through legitimate channels.
I know that even this is controversial. I remember visiting Geneva for a meeting called by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. As South Africa’s Minister of Home Affairs, I discovered that many people who claim to be refugees are not refugees in the legal sense of the word. Yet due to various and very real problems in their countries, they are forced to try their luck in South Africa.
Through immigration legislation, I sought to protect South Africa, closing the door to undocumented migration while opening it to the skills our country so desperately needs. There is, for instance a shortage of doctors in South Africa, and with our failing health care system we need to welcome professional doctors from Nigeria and other countries.
I still regret the irrational hostility towards my Immigration Act when I brought it to the Cabinet of President Mbeki. We moved in the wrong direction as a country and we never resolved the rising tensions. It’s time to do that now, before it is too late.
We dare not forget or disregard all that was done for us by African leaders like His Excellency President Olusegun Obasanjo. As a member of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group, General Obasanjo revealed to the world the real conditions of our people under apartheid. He supported us in our stand against the regime’s plan to deprive us of our citizenship.
In fact, on the very day that Transkei took so-called independence, President Obasanjo arranged for me and my wife to be in Nigeria so that I could avoid attending Transkei’s independence ceremony. General Obasanjo invited me to Nigeria again this year, where I delivered a lecture in celebration of his 82nd birthday.
This is one of the giants of Africa. What are we doing to his people?
I have been a guest of President Hastings Banda in Malawi. I was received by His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie in Ethiopia. In Addis Ababa I was received by the Under-Secretary of the OAU, Dr Peter Onu. In Liberia, President Tolbert bestowed upon me a National Order, The Knight Commander of the Star of Africa. And when the OAU bestowed a posthumous award on my mentor Inkosi Albert Luthuli, I accompanied MaNokhukanya Luthuli to Maseru to receive the award from His Majesty King Moshoeshoe II.
If we turn our despair, our anger and frustration against our brothers, we will start a feud that can only end in tragedy
Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Our struggle is tied to the struggle of these countries throughout Africa. They fought colonialism just as we did. And they sacrificed to see us liberated. So when I say that we are one family, I am speaking the truth. Just recently, when my wife passed away, His Majesty the King of Lesotho paid a visit to my home to comfort me.
We are brothers in Africa.
Yes, South Africa is struggling economic hardship. Our country is in crisis. The cry of our people has not fallen on deaf ears. But if we turn our despair, our anger and frustration against our brothers, we will start a feud that can only end in tragedy. We are fighting our own family.
Friends, I am a Christian. I believe what the Bible says. It says, quite clearly:
“When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt…” (Leviticus 19 v 33 and 34)
“Let them live among you wherever they like and in whatever town they choose. Do not oppress them.” (Deuteronomy 23 v 16)
“Do not take advantage of a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether that worker is a fellow (citizen) or a foreigner residing in one of your towns… Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice.” (Deuteronomy 24 v 14 – 17)
“Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner.” (Deuteronomy 27 v 19)
“Do not oppress… the foreigner… Do not plot evil against each other.” (Zechariah 7 v 10)
I cannot put it more clearly. This is not my instruction, but God’s. Let us be led by our moral conscience.

Is it time for a blanket amnesty for illegal foreigners living in South Africa?

The South African government ought to reallocate the funds it uses for orchestrating deportations and running overcrowded jails to the empirical research necessary to understand the collective value of foreigners, including illegal foreigners, to the South African economy.
The manner in which the recent raids and arrests of foreigners in Johannesburg took place smacks of bureaucratic toxicity. Those arrests in early August constituted an unwise onslaught in a fragile and tense climate of socio-economic suspicion and recrimination. Their bald brutality reflected a South Africa sans its constitutional promise of fair administrative justice, begging more questions about who we are as a nation than dousing the flames of illegal immigration.
South Africa is not alone in having high numbers of illegal foreigners. The United States, with its 327 million inhabitants, was estimated to have 11.3-million undocumented immigrants in the country in 2016. Germany, the world’s second most popular migration destination (after the United States) was home to approximately 370,000 illegal immigrants in 2016, out of a population of 83 million. In the same year, there were just under one million unauthorised foreigners living in the European Union’s 28 member states. Every country carries its cross of illegal immigration.
The latest United Nations estimates put South Africa’s population at 58 million. The number of foreigners living illegally in this country may be as high as 10% to 15% of the population. But the very notion of illegal foreigners not only concerns people who are without visas or permits issued in terms of our immigration legislation. The issue is complicated, as there are several different categories of illegality. Some are in possession of fraudulently obtained or fabricated visas, permits or identity documents. Others have legitimate visas but have contravened their terms, such as people who are in possession of work visas permitting them to work for a particular company, but who are employed by another. Another group consists of people who have entered South Africa lawfully — in possession of valid visas — but whose visas have lapsed and not been renewed.
Then there are foreigners that have entered South Africa unlawfully, not via regulated ports of entry. There is yet another category: those that arrive through official ports of entry illegally, particularly at Beit Bridge, where bribes are paid to facilitate the continuous entry and exit of people as “legal ghosts”. At other border posts, including airports and harbours, this illicit flow might be facilitated, instead, by criminal syndicates.
In the early 1990s, before the first democratic elections, a vast number of foreigners entered the country masquerading as locally born, but unregistered children of South African parents — particularly people from countries such as Tanzania, Kenya and Botswana, who could pass as “Bantu-appearing” — and had their births registered fraudulently by Department of Home Affairs officials who were either unsuspecting or did so corruptly. This category of illegal foreigner — many of whom have been residing in South Africa for the last 25 years with South African families, South African properties, assuming important positions (sometimes with assumed names) and running their own businesses as ordinary South African citizens — constitutes a class of impostors that is impossible to undermine. South Africa’s population register is polluted and probably always will be.
There exists, then, a matrix of different circumstances in which foreigners reside in this country illegally on different grounds. Regardless, the number of undocumented or otherwise illegal foreigners is far too high for South Africa to address. Our government does not possess the bureaucratic means to deal with this pool of illegal foreigners in a systematic, constitutionally compliant, and efficient manner.
Remedial measures contained in our immigration legislation simply do not function efficiently. Immigration officials tasked with the operation of such systems are too corrupted, overwhelmed, and under-educated to manoeuvre our immigration legislation levers properly. Illegal foreigners who come forward voluntarily to regularise themselves — even those with minor children or spouses who are South African citizens — find it tantamount to impossible to do so in any manner which can be described as reasonable and fair. Applications for regularisation (the so-called Form 20 applications) take far too long and are dealt with by different immigration inspectorates around the country in ways that are inconsistent with our law. Refusals to grant such authorisation to illegal foreigners to remain here in order to acquire new visas suffer death by administrative delay. In many cases, endeavours by foreigners to purge their illegal status are nullified by governmental inertia.
This has gone on for long enough. Now is the time to implement a national amnesty for illegal foreigners. This is the only plausible solution to a challenge of this scale, and South Africa’s fiscus stands to benefit immensely from such an approach. Consider that South Africa has spent close to R1-billion in the last five years on deporting undocumented migrants from the Lindela Repatriation Centre in Krugersdorp alone. Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, recently revealed that this expenditure excludes the numerous daily deportations that take place when foreign nationals are intercepted within close reach of one of our borders, handled instead by 800 border inspectors. In this same five-year period, approximately 2,500 buses were hired to transport undocumented migrants back to their home countries, according to the Minister, who admitted that “no matter how hard the inspectors work on deportation, the deportees often return immediately”.
How much does it cost the government to operate the Lindela Repatriation Centre, not to mention the cost of enforcement and incarceration? While we shoulder these enormous costs, there exist many hundreds of thousands — and perhaps as many as millions — of illegal foreigners who make a valuable contribution to the South African fiscus by the sweat of their brows, their skills, their entrepreneurship, employment of South Africans, and the support they provide to South African children and spouses. These benefits cannot be ignored simply because an individual is not in possession of a formal document issued by the Department of Home Affairs that allows them to physically sojourn and to work in this country. This is a country of law, like any other, but it is also a country of law enforcement failure. The failure is the root cause of illegal migration.
The South African government ought to reallocate the funds it uses for orchestrating deportations and running overcrowded jails to the empirical research necessary to understand the collective value of foreigners, including illegal foreigners, to the South African economy. Funds should be allocated, too, towards properly understanding the human rights framework provided by our Constitution for dealing administratively with all people, including illegal foreigners. Budgets must be reallocated to the development of a system for documenting illegal foreigners — including capturing biometric data, thereby assisting with crime prevention — and building a database of South Africa’s inhabitants, regardless of whether they are illegal or legal. This would forensically assist the apprehension of criminals, while also providing information to enable us to understand who lives in our country.
The only possible way to avoid the xenophobic treatment of foreigners — which arises, quite simply, from a lack of knowledge — is to understand who these foreigners are and exactly what they are doing within the borders of this country.
The very same scheme that has successfully legalised nationals from Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and Angola should be expanded into a far-wider reaching programme. South Africa has benefited enormously from documenting nationals from these three countries, not least from the formalisation of tax collection among these groups. Just as amnesty programmes regularised the stays of Basothos, Zimbabweans and Angolans, adding them to the population register in the process, so a similar scheme could be rolled out systematically for all unauthorised foreign nationals within an agreed period of time.
Inconsistent applications of our law and selective enforcement are not the answer. While law enforcement officials are well aware of the depth of unlawfulness within our communities, they turn a blind eye most of the time, and selective enforcement invariably falls flat on its face. There have been murmurs from the Department of Home Affairs about the need to “strengthen legislation in order to stem the easy flow and settlement of undocumented migrants”. For any legislative mechanism to operate effectively, it must be operated and applied by a bureaucracy that itself has the requisite skills and knowledge and motivation to do so efficiently and lawfully. Without this, such mechanisms stall.
If the custodians and administrators of such legislation are corrupt, ignorant and ineffectual, legislation is a toothless chicken. One could acquire the most advanced aeroplane that technology can devise, but without a pilot who knows how to fly the plane, it is a Sisyphean mission, doomed to fail. South Africa’s immigration control and enforcement is an abysmal failure. As Minster Motsoaledi himself recently wrote, “without a concerted effort to improve governance, this problem will never go away”. Let us not talk about legislative aeroplanes; let us talk about pilots. The time for a national amnesty for illegal foreigners is now

Ramaphosa tells Japanese investors SA ‘hard at work’ simplifying visa regime

South Africa is “hard at work” reviewing its visa regime to smooth access for foreign investors and businesspeople, President Cyril Ramaphosa has told Japanese investors.
Ramaphosa was addressing a South Africa-Japan business forum in Yokohama on Wednesday morning. The president is in Japan to participate in the seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development.
Onerous visa regulations have been cited as an impediment to increasing investment in South Africa, which Ramaphosa hopes to leverage to boost South Africa’s struggling growth rate.
Visa regulations were also ncited as a hindrance to growth in new policy paper released on Tuesday by National Treasury.
“The tightening of visa regulations is out of step with a global move towards an easing in visa requirements,” said treasury in the 77-page document. “Countries are typically making it easier for tourists to travel, and South Africa risks falling behind.
Free trade
As he did at the G-7 meeting in France earlier in the week, Ramaphosa said the adoption by 55 countries of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement was for an opportunity for investors.
“The African Continental Free Trade Area will require world class infrastructure, and the continent is investing significantly in large, cross-border infrastructure projects,” he said.
These includes projects as diverse as liquid natural gas fields in Mozambique, new ports and rail lines across Southern Africa, and pan-African iron and steel initiatives.”
The president pitched South Africa as a natural entry point for Japanese firms in Africa.
“South African firms have decades of experience working on the continent, and are ideally positioned to assist new and established investors in Africa. As the most diversified economy on the continent, South Africa has the skills, resources and manufacturing capability to help drive the development of productive infrastructure in Africa, and enable the participation of global partners like Japan.”

Home Affairs annulled over 1,000 fraudulent marriages in 2018/2019

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi was speaking at Constitution Hill where the department held a marriage policy dialogue on Friday.
JOHANNESBURG – Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said his department has annulled over 1,000 fraudulent marriages this financial year alone.
Motsoaledi was speaking at Constitution Hill where the department held a marriage policy dialogue on Friday.
Gender experts and human rights groups have gathered to find ways of strengthening South Africa’s marriage legislation.
South Africa currently has three laws that govern its marriage legislation and Motsoaledi is working with various sectors of society to ensure a new policy is formulated, which does not only protect citizens but also doesn’t discriminate against various groups.
“So, this has resulted in some disparities in some instances even confusion as to which type of marriage can be legally recognised or not.”
Motsoaledi said of the over 2,000 fraudulent marriages reported to the department since April last year, only about 400 were found to be legitimate.
“We found that 1,150 were indeed fraudulent and we did annul them.”
Motsoaledi said government was working to finalise this new marriage policy, which would be taken to Parliament in 2021 after an extensive consultation process.

Mboweni’s new plan to boost growth and create a million jobs

Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni has called for a series of “deliberate and concerted actions” to raise SA’s moribund GDP growth rate by up to 3% per year in a new 77-page page economic policy paper.
The document Economic Transformation, Inclusive Growth and Competitiveness: Towards an Economic Strategy for South Africa was published on National Treasury’s website on Tuesday evening with little fanfare. The finance minister has asked the public to submit comments by September 15.
“This paper is a detailed examination of the structural reforms that can reverse the downward trend in South Africa’s growth potential and competitiveness,” said Treasury in an accompanying statement.
According to Treasury, SA’s current economic path is unsustainable with the country facing the triple threat of stagnating economic growth, rising unemployment and high inequality. SA has been experiencing low GDP growth rates for most of the past decade. In the first quarter of 2019, the economy contracted by 3.2%, the largest quarter-on-quarter drop in a decade. Stats SA is set to announce SA’s GDP growth figures for the second quarter on next week. If the economy again contracts, SA will enter its second recession within two years.
While the National Development Plan calls for sustained economic growth of 5% to decrease inequality, the country’s projected growth rate for 2019 has been repeatedly downgraded to around 0.7%.
“The bulk of the interventions are realistically executable in the medium term, and include reforms in the telecommunications, agriculture, services, and transport industries. Short-term interventions are important as they lay a foundation for other reforms, while long-term interventions address competitiveness,” the report said. Over time, the combined effects of the interventions could create over one million job opportunities, states Treasury.
Sell coal-fired power plants?
The report called for the modernisation of network industries such as energy, transport, and telecommunications to make them more competitive. While these industries underpin the economic health of a country, the paper argues that a lack of competition, tardy government action, poor regulation and outdated infrastructure mean they have become impediments to economic growth.
The paper argues that debt-laden power utility Eskom – facing a declining pool of customers and rising tariffs – should consider selling coal-fired power stations to raise R450bn, roughly the size of its debt. The stations would then sell electricity back to the power utility at a predefined tariff.
“Restructuring the electricity sector will limit the fiscal and economic risk that Eskom poses and support economic transformation through more entrants into the electricity space,” states the paper.
The paper also calls for an easing of regulations governing who can sell electricity to the grid. “Consideration should be given to regulations and legislation to enable households and firms to sell the excess electricity they generate through rooftop solar PV systems”.
In the ICT sector, the paper argues that spectrum should be allocated through an auction, “with provisions for effective rivals, conditions for universal service and access, and a small set-aside for a wholesale open access network”. It also calls for the roll-out of broadband to underserved areas via a more competitive telecoms sector and lower data prices.
Barriers to entry, reducing red tape
The document states that large and established firms are continuing to dominate SA’s economy and the country’s employment dynamics, creating barriers to entry to new players.
“New firm entry and effective rivalry among existing firms can generate significant consumer welfare benefits,” it states.
Treasury has called for reducing red tape, boosting access to development financing for small businesses, and possibly exempting small businesses from the extension of collective bargaining agreements.
“The Red Tape Impact Assessment Bill, which was rejected by parliament on procedural grounds, could be revisited,” it states. “The proposed bill requires all departments and self-regulatory agencies to reduce red tape by 25 per cent over five years’.
To ensure that the state pays suppliers on time, the paper suggests that late payments to small business could possibly have interest added.
Transforming agriculture, boosting tourism
The paper states that SA’s agriculture sector receives less government support than those of global peers, and calls on government to implement policies to help unlock “inclusive, labour-intensive economic growth” in agriculture.
Proposed policies including better agricultural insurance, the upgrading of state extension services, making land tenure rights secure, and enabling easier access to finance and export markets.
If successfully implemented, these policies could help smallholders and emerging farmers “transition to higher-value agricultural commodities and can play a major role in reducing poverty and strengthening rural development”.
The paper also calls for a loosening of SA’s visa regulations, saying these should be amended to ensure a “better balance between security concerns and the growth of the tourism sector”.