Browsing "Research Permit"

Nigeria suspends Emirates flights over COVID-19 tests

ABUJA, March 22 (Reuters) – Nigeria suspended the airline Emirates from flying into or out of its territory last week after the carrier imposed additional COVID-19 test requirements on passengers from the country, the aviation minister said on Monday.
Emirates said last week passenger flights to and from Nigeria had been suspended until further notice in line with government directives, but did not give details.
Aviation minister Hadi Sirika told a news conference that the airline had demanded passengers from Nigeria undertake three COVID-19 tests within 24 hours, leading the government to suspend its operations, with the exemption of cargo and humanitarian flights.
“To make us go through three tests within 24 hours does not make sense. Since they insist, their operations remain suspended,” Sirika said.
Last month Nigeria lifted a suspension of Emirates airlines flights imposed after the carrier sought additional COVID-19 tests for passengers from Nigeria.
In addition to requiring a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test before flying from Nigeria, the airline added an extra requirement of having a rapid test four hours before departure.
www.samigration.com

Government prioritises wealthy investor visas

Money talks if you want permanent residency in Australia.
There has never been a better time for rich foreign investors to buy residency in Australia, after the federal government quietly pushed ultra-wealthy applicants to the front of the line.
An internal document released under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act reveals that in August last year, then-Immigration Minister Alan Tudge directed the Department of Home Affairs to prioritise investor visas over nearly every other type of visa applicant.
The direction, which became effective on September 1, ordered that foreigners willing to invest $5 million or more in Australia be conferred number one status, granting them a fast-track to permanent residency (PR).
The decision places ultra-rich individuals on hallowed footing shared only with two other visa types: those filling the most desperate critical skills shortages the country is facing, as well as internationally-recognised professionals, artists, athletes and academics with an “outstanding” record of achievement.
Home Affairs employees were instructed to secondarily assess those investors willing to stump up $1.5 million or more along with other Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) visas before considering any other visa applications.
The impact has been both immediate and spectacular.
According to a separately obtained document, BIIP visa approvals jumped tenfold to hit almost 750 in September and haven’t faltered in the months since.
Investors to help spur the recovery
The reshuffle confirms the government’s preference for wealthy applicants over other demand-based visa streams.
It speaks volumes given pandemic 408 visas, which are designed to maintain essential personnel in “critical sectors” like healthcare, are now considered secondary to investment.
The decision demonstrates a renewed focus on wealthy investors, who are estimated to have contributed some $1.3 billion to the local economy last year.
The Department of Home Affairs said the growth in the program is “to support Australia’s post-COVID-19 recovery by maximising its economic contribution”.
“[Significant investors] help inject additional funds into the Australian economy including into higher risk investments that support emerging enterprises, the commercialisation of Australian ideas and research and development which is a key aspect of economic recovery,” a spokesperson said.
Australia is not alone in rolling out the red carpet to the rich.
Since the wake of the global financial crisis (GFC), everyone from indebted economies like Portugal and international hubs like Dubai began using visas and residency to woo the wealthy.
Closer to home, New Zealand has leveraged its coronavirus credentials, along with its peace and stability, to promote itself as a destination for the rich.
Scores of Silicon Valley billionaires swapped America for Aotearoa when the pandemic kicked off last year, with the two-island nation offering versions of Australia’s visas for $NZ3 million and $NZ10 million respectively.
However, it has also drawn a line in the sand after Jacinda Ardern’s government rejected a proposal to offer 2,000 visas for $50 million a pop.
“We don’t want people paying for passports,” she said.
Inside the investor migration into Australia
As part of the push, the Australian government doubled the annual cap for investor visas from 6,800 last year to 13,500.
Even with quarantine and flight caps, which have frustrated the 40,000 Australians stranded overseas, visa demand looks set to exhaust the extra supply.
In questions submitted to it, Home Affairs stated that “the majority of the 2020-21 program places” would be allocated to the backlog of applications.
Not that the pandemic hasn’t also helped drive new demand, according to property platform Juwai IQI, which helps investors from China buy property in countries like Australia.
“In the 2019-2020 year, we had more than 1,500 applicants, higher than either of the previous two years,” chairman and co-founder Georg Chmiel said, noting the biggest investors predominantly come from the one region.
“China and Hong Kong account for 88.5% of all Significant Investor Visas that have been granted. Two other Asian countries, Malaysia and Vietnam, are also in the top five.”
Despite the influx of applications, immigration lawyers reported approvals were being finalised in just four months, with the Home Affairs office receiving $1.2 million to help it process BIIP places.
Previously, the same approvals have taken up to two years.
“Processing resources have been redirected from the general skilled migration visas, which do not create jobs, to [significant investor] visas,” Melbourne lawyer Lily Ong said, noting 30,000 other visa places had been cut as part of the shuffle.
It came as part of an overhaul of the visa program implemented during Tudge’s tenure, including increasing the threshold for business innovation visas to a minimum of $1.25 million.
“These changes will maximise the economic contribution of these high value investors to get the best possible outcome for Australians,” Tudge said in a ministerial announcement at the time.
It followed a December review which proposed a range of adjustments, including potentially doubling the $1.5 million investment threshold for regular investor visas and incentivising foreigners to invest in regional Australia.
Property the biggest winner
However, for all the talk of innovation and business investment, it is the property market that may receive the lion’s share of foreign attention.
Juwai IQI processed 1,500 applicants last year, enough to snap up one-sixth of all investor visas alone. With many Chinese applicants lured by the stability and lifestyle, according to Chmiel, there’s clearly a strong appeal in investing in Australia property in a rising market and becoming a resident.
“Releasing a flood of wealthy investment visa holders into the capital city housing markets could be a boon for vendors of property above $5 million in price,” he said.
“Instead of coming into the market spread out over the next year or two, many are coming all at once.”
The impact of that is already apparent, according to real estate agency Kay & Burton’s international division, as permanent resident visas are also granted in record time.
“Since last year I have had at least five or six clients who literally just got their permanent residency, and there are a few more pending… they weren’t expecting it to come so quickly,” Melbourne-based agency partner Jamie Mi, said, noting some clients are going shopping with upwards of $5 million in affluent suburbs like Toorak.
Permanent resident status, available to visa holders after four years, allows buyers to snap up property without having to fork out exorbitant fees.
“Another client came to me three days ago. They haven’t got their PR [permanent residency] yet, and if they buy now they would have to pay the stamp duty and get FIRB approval. Based on the $6 million to $8 million value they are looking at, that would mean paying the government a half million in fees,” Mi said.
“If you get your permanent residency, that half million dollars lets you get more value in the best suburbs. So, with the faster visa processing, we have an immediate increase in demand in these key suburbs
www.samigration.com

Home Affairs plans to go ‘paperless’ in South Africa – here are the changes you can expect

Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi says that his department is working on a number of tech-focused features, with plans to take some services digital.
Answering in a recent written parliamentary Q&A, Motsoaledi said that the department will also introduce a number of changes which are aimed at increased identity security for citizens.
“The department has partnered with the Department of Health (DoH) to ensure that each child is allocated with a birth certificate on the spot, by registering birth at health facilities.
“This will curb identity theft from the onset as an ID number gets allocated and remains with the child for life. The primary purpose is to ensure a credible population register, not vulnerable to theft and fraud.”
With ‘live capture’, Motsoaledi said that the department is able to identify applicants through online verification which has a direct interface with the Home Affairs National Identification System (HANIS) to identify persons through biometrics.
“Furthermore, during the collection of smart identity cards, online verification is also performed to ensure that the correct enabling document is handed over to the appropriate clients.”
Motsoaledi said that the South African Smart ID card and passport also have enhanced security features.
“The department is moving away from paper to a paperless environment. The department is thereby progressively phasing out the manual application process,” he said.
“In addition, in terms of the Departments’ Information Security Policy, a model was built around proactive risk assessment and risk management where all users responsible for registering and capturing births and identity-related applications within the domain of the organization, are assigned with biometric fingerprint authentication, to detect and hold users accountable for fraudulent activities.”
Services available
Home Affairs announced the resumption of a number of services under South Africa’s level 1 lockdown at the start of March.
This comes after several services were temporarily suspended due to concerns around Covid-19 transmissions.
The following services are now available:
• Births registration;
• Re-issuance of births certificates;
• Late Registration of Birth (LRB) for learners and pensioners only;
• Death registration;
• Applications temporary identity certificate (TIC);
• Collection of identity cards or documents;
• Applications and collection of passports for those who are exempted to travel;
• Applications for identity (Smart ID) cards or documents for matriculants only;
• Re-issues of Smart ID cards and identity documents;
• Registration and solemnization of marriages;
• Amendments and rectifications;
• Late Registration of Birth (LRB) for all categories;
• Applications and collections of passports for all categories.
“We urge everyone who visits our offices to observe social distancing, sanitise their hands regularly and to wear their masks properly, covering their noses and mouths,” Motsoaledi said.
“Nobody will be allowed into our offices if they are not wearing their masks properly,” he said.
www.samigration.com

Department of Home Affairs continues to flout refugee court orders, year after year

Home Affairs still does not serve new applicants in Cape Town despite a Supreme Court of Appeal ruling that says it must reopen and maintain a fully functional refugee reception office.
Still no functional refugee reception office in Cape Town nor evidence of future progress.
Nearly two years have passed since the Department of Home Affairs promised to open a Cape Town Refugee Reception Office (CTRRO) once again, and nearly a decade has passed since it decided in 2012 to stop processing new asylum applications in Cape Town.
In a judgment on 30 August 2012, the Western Cape high court ordered Cape Town Home Affairs to start serving new applicants again. The judge said the cost to Home Affairs of assisting newcomers was negligible compared to the harm done to them.
The court said delaying implementation of the court order would cause grievous harm to asylum seekers. While undocumented, they would be subject to arrest and deportation.
Yet Home Affairs proceeded to drag the matter through the courts until in September 2017, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruled that Home Affairs must “reopen and maintain a fully functional refugee reception office in or around the Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality by 31 March 2018.”
Home Affairs sought leave to appeal from the Constitutional Court but this was refused. This means the SCA ruling is final.
In January 2019, GroundUp reported that Home Affairs, which by then was already in contempt of the court order, said a site in Maitland had been identified by the Department of Public Works and the proposed date for the office to be occupied was 1 June 2019, according to the Legal Resource Centre (LRC).
In July 2019, the LRC requested Home Affairs submit a detailed plan for the new office, including updated timelines and the reason for missing its June deadline.
Last week, Petra Marais, attorney at LRC, said Home Affairs had sent reports every three to six months, instead of the monthly reports ordered by the Supreme Court of Appeal in 2017.
Marais said, “The last report received from Home Affairs for the period of August 2020 to January 2021 advised that Home Affairs together with the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure has put out another tender during 2020 for new premises for the CTRRO, and from the bids received have now identified a premise in Epping.”
“The LRC has not received updated timelines nor a list of tasks completed during this time. From the reports filed by Home Affairs we were notified that the reason the previous premises fell through was that the landlord could not deliver on all the requirements set by Home Affairs. The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure thereafter advised Home Affairs that the tender process has ‘restarted from scratch’. We were given no reason as to why the tender process had to restart since the Department received five tenders from its 2018 bid, and therefore had four more tenders to consider.”
Marais said the reports filed by Home Affairs “still fail to provide us with timelines, adequate direction and sufficient information for why the Department is not complying with the SCA order”.
Despite various announcements by Home Affairs, refugees and asylum seekers have been struggling to access services for almost a decade now, and the situation became worse when the pandemic struck.
At present, Home Affairs in Cape Town only renews asylum documents and refugee statuses for people who originally applied in Cape Town.
With lockdown in March last year, services were suspended and Home Affairs declared an automatic renewal of documentation. At present, asylum seeker permits that expired, or were due to expire during lockdown, are valid until 31 March 2021.
Last year, the Scalabrini Centre said it is concerned about the number of refugees and asylum seekers with expired documents, and that the Department of Home Affairs has not made public any plans about dealing with the disruption caused by Covid-19.
GroundUp has tried to get comment from Home Affairs spokesperson Siya Qoza and media manager David Hlabane since 17 March.
www.samigration.com

Motsoaledi’s smoke and mirrors crusade against immigrants is at odds with basic human rights

The standard definition of the ‘noble lie’, a concept originated by Plato in his ‘Republic’ published in 375 BC, is a myth or untruth purposefully and knowingly propagated by the ruling class to maintain social harmony or to advance an agenda. Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is a master of it.
Lies told by politicians in South Africa tend to be believed or dissed, but alas, hardly ever scrutinised to find their hidden meaning.
Often, these political narratives become the pretext for paradigmatic ideological change and new legislation. South Africa’s immigration and citizenship systems are about to change fundamentally. No formal announcements have been made. No official press releases have been circulated. But Home Affairs Minister Dr Pakishe Aaron Motsoaledi has been making some strange and interesting statements in the national media recently that may well be strands of the growing noise of change.
The Public Protector’s investigative report on then home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba’s granting of citizenship to some of the Gupta family members was published on 7 February 2021. Immediately thereafter, Motsoaledi was interviewed by Jane Dutton on eNCA.
Motsoaledi indicated that South Africa’s immigration system, especially permanent residence, will be reviewed because it is just a step away from citizenship. The nexus between immigration and citizenship and the need to sever it was first articulated in the White Paper on International Migration adopted by the Zuma Cabinet in 2017. The white paper formulates the policy principle as follows:
“There should be no automatic progression from residency to citizenship in law or in practice. That is, the process of granting residency (short term and long term) and citizenship will be delinked. A points-based system will be used to determine whether the applicant will qualify for a short-term or a long-term residence visa. However, the number of years spent in the country will not qualify a person to apply for naturalisation. The process of granting residence and citizenship status should allow strategic and security considerations and the national priorities of South Africa to be taken into account.”
So, the white paper argues, permanent residence and citizenship must be delinked, and this would occur through the replacement of permanent residence status with a long-term temporary visa. In this way, foreigners, who are sometimes a source of organised crime, will be more carefully managed and South Africa’s borders and sovereignty will be more effectively safeguarded.
The notion that foreigners are a burden to our society and a source of crime has been espoused on numerous occasions by Motsoaledi. In a Human Rights Watch article published in 2020 on xenophobic violence, Motsoaledi was quoted as saying that most foreigners are not here as migrants but as criminals and that is why they remain undocumented.
In 2018 when Motsoaledi was health minister, he suggested that foreign nationals were behind the overcrowding of South Africa’s public health system. The executive director of Amnesty International South Africa, Shenilla Mohamed, worriedly responded he should “stop this shameless scapegoating of refugees and migrants” and should “stop fuelling xenophobia with these unfounded remarks”.
Nothing was made of Motsoaledi’s outing by these international human rights watchdogs for his prejudice against foreigners, other than to have him appointed home affairs minister. The irony in this appointment was never the subject of any real contention. Motsoaledi was a minister in both of Zuma’s Cabinets and was obviously a participant in the ideological discussions around the white paper and its doctrinal stance on refugees and migrants and the need for radical immigration policy interventions which it purports to contain. His disposition is hardly surprising.
In the Dutton interview, Motsoaledi said that he had already decided that the separate Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees Acts are causing serious problems and havoc in South Africa’s courts and therefore they should be combined into a single act of legislation. This, he says, has been accomplished by quite a number of democracies.
This is an astounding revelation. Actually, no such mischief has been caused by these three separate pieces of legislation. Motsoaledi purposefully uses the word havoc to describe an untenable (non-existent) conflict wrought by the separation of these acts in order to discredit the existing legal order. Our courts have not entertained any such conflagrations. Rather, the deluge of litigation in our courts in this context relates mostly to the advanced dysfunction of the Department of Home Affairs in its administration of those acts. This is a classic noble lie, designed to sow discord with the existing paradigm, loosening its roots and eventually unplugging it.
The problem confronting Motsoaledi is how he is to deal on the public record with the fact that far too many senior officials responsible for the administration of Home Affairs’ functions are corrupt and that their machinations were responsible for the granting of citizenship to the Guptas.
As for democracies that have combined immigration, citizenship, and refugee affairs into a single legislative instrument, they exclude Austria, Canada, Brazil, Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, Spain, Netherlands, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, and the US. The reason these democracies have not sought to do so is that they cover separate areas of policies, each administered by different bureaucratic levers, which cannot be combined on a practical level. Those democracies have sought to keep these areas separate to prevent the sort of havoc Motsoaledi speciously ascribes to South Africa’s present legislative architecture.
Again, this idea of combining our three acts of Parliament to bring a stop to a fictitious havoc is another lie, but a useful one. Motsoaledi attempts to stem the flow of unbridled blame and finger-pointing of civil society and our apex courts at Home Affairs into a different direction: that the way Parliament has chosen to legislate in these areas of immigration, citizenship and refugees since at least 1949 is discordant with international best practice, disharmonious, and should thus be replaced with a new ideological paradigm for dealing with foreign nationals.
Dutton asked Motsoaledi how the new system will protect people who want permanent residence or citizenship. He responded that his new system will protect, not individuals, but the law and procedures, and the “the integrity and the sovereignty of our country”. He then added that corruption has led us to this point. But the minister’s utterances, while sounding intellectually and politically so profound, are false flags.
The Public Protector’s report concluded that Home Affairs officials misled Gigaba with their flawed submissions to support the granting of citizenship by early naturalisation in terms of Section 5(9)(b) of the Citizenship Act to Ajay Gupta and family members. Those officials included the then director-general, the deputy director-general, and a chief director, but their culpability did not inquinate the minister.
Motsoaledi’s suggestion that his new paradigm will protect the integrity of the law and South Africa’s sovereignty, not individuals, turns out to be nothing more than an irrational mumble of words. Law is not an automaton making independent decisions, decoupled from human actors, as if it existed in some imagined levitating bubble. Officials of the public administration, subject to those values contained in Section 195(1) of the Constitution, are empowered by legislation to carry out various functions. This is how legal systems work in every constitutional democracy, no less Home Affairs within our Bill of Rights.
The problem confronting Motsoaledi is how he is to deal on the public record with the fact that far too many senior officials responsible for the administration of Home Affairs’ functions are corrupt and that their machinations were responsible for the granting of citizenship to the Guptas. The wholesale resignation, suspension and arrest of senior Home Affairs officials for corruption continues unabated. The truth is that nothing Motsoaledi and his policy advisers will do in the rewriting of the legislative script could ever erase the risk of administrative malfeasance and moral pollution which has for so long punctuated Home Affairs, and other government departments.
There is one more question Motsoaledi should answer: how will his new system of regulating the influx and status of foreigners be safeguarded against himself, as the propagator of the noble lies of Home Affairs’ ideological revolution?
www.samigration

Motsoaledi’s smoke and mirrors crusade against immigrants is at odds with basic human rights

The standard definition of the ‘noble lie’, a concept originated by Plato in his ‘Republic’ published in 375 BC, is a myth or untruth purposefully and knowingly propagated by the ruling class to maintain social harmony or to advance an agenda. Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is a master of it.
Lies told by politicians in South Africa tend to be believed or dissed, but alas, hardly ever scrutinised to find their hidden meaning.
Often, these political narratives become the pretext for paradigmatic ideological change and new legislation. South Africa’s immigration and citizenship systems are about to change fundamentally. No formal announcements have been made. No official press releases have been circulated. But Home Affairs Minister Dr Pakishe Aaron Motsoaledi has been making some strange and interesting statements in the national media recently that may well be strands of the growing noise of change.
The Public Protector’s investigative report on then home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba’s granting of citizenship to some of the Gupta family members was published on 7 February 2021. Immediately thereafter, Motsoaledi was interviewed by Jane Dutton on eNCA.
Motsoaledi indicated that South Africa’s immigration system, especially permanent residence, will be reviewed because it is just a step away from citizenship. The nexus between immigration and citizenship and the need to sever it was first articulated in the White Paper on International Migration adopted by the Zuma Cabinet in 2017. The white paper formulates the policy principle as follows:
“There should be no automatic progression from residency to citizenship in law or in practice. That is, the process of granting residency (short term and long term) and citizenship will be delinked. A points-based system will be used to determine whether the applicant will qualify for a short-term or a long-term residence visa. However, the number of years spent in the country will not qualify a person to apply for naturalisation. The process of granting residence and citizenship status should allow strategic and security considerations and the national priorities of South Africa to be taken into account.”
So, the white paper argues, permanent residence and citizenship must be delinked, and this would occur through the replacement of permanent residence status with a long-term temporary visa. In this way, foreigners, who are sometimes a source of organised crime, will be more carefully managed and South Africa’s borders and sovereignty will be more effectively safeguarded.
The notion that foreigners are a burden to our society and a source of crime has been espoused on numerous occasions by Motsoaledi. In a Human Rights Watch article published in 2020 on xenophobic violence, Motsoaledi was quoted as saying that most foreigners are not here as migrants but as criminals and that is why they remain undocumented.
In 2018 when Motsoaledi was health minister, he suggested that foreign nationals were behind the overcrowding of South Africa’s public health system. The executive director of Amnesty International South Africa, Shenilla Mohamed, worriedly responded he should “stop this shameless scapegoating of refugees and migrants” and should “stop fuelling xenophobia with these unfounded remarks”.
Nothing was made of Motsoaledi’s outing by these international human rights watchdogs for his prejudice against foreigners, other than to have him appointed home affairs minister. The irony in this appointment was never the subject of any real contention. Motsoaledi was a minister in both of Zuma’s Cabinets and was obviously a participant in the ideological discussions around the white paper and its doctrinal stance on refugees and migrants and the need for radical immigration policy interventions which it purports to contain. His disposition is hardly surprising.
In the Dutton interview, Motsoaledi said that he had already decided that the separate Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees Acts are causing serious problems and havoc in South Africa’s courts and therefore they should be combined into a single act of legislation. This, he says, has been accomplished by quite a number of democracies.
This is an astounding revelation. Actually, no such mischief has been caused by these three separate pieces of legislation. Motsoaledi purposefully uses the word havoc to describe an untenable (non-existent) conflict wrought by the separation of these acts in order to discredit the existing legal order. Our courts have not entertained any such conflagrations. Rather, the deluge of litigation in our courts in this context relates mostly to the advanced dysfunction of the Department of Home Affairs in its administration of those acts. This is a classic noble lie, designed to sow discord with the existing paradigm, loosening its roots and eventually unplugging it.
The problem confronting Motsoaledi is how he is to deal on the public record with the fact that far too many senior officials responsible for the administration of Home Affairs’ functions are corrupt and that their machinations were responsible for the granting of citizenship to the Guptas.
As for democracies that have combined immigration, citizenship, and refugee affairs into a single legislative instrument, they exclude Austria, Canada, Brazil, Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, Spain, Netherlands, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, and the US. The reason these democracies have not sought to do so is that they cover separate areas of policies, each administered by different bureaucratic levers, which cannot be combined on a practical level. Those democracies have sought to keep these areas separate to prevent the sort of havoc Motsoaledi speciously ascribes to South Africa’s present legislative architecture.
Again, this idea of combining our three acts of Parliament to bring a stop to a fictitious havoc is another lie, but a useful one. Motsoaledi attempts to stem the flow of unbridled blame and finger-pointing of civil society and our apex courts at Home Affairs into a different direction: that the way Parliament has chosen to legislate in these areas of immigration, citizenship and refugees since at least 1949 is discordant with international best practice, disharmonious, and should thus be replaced with a new ideological paradigm for dealing with foreign nationals.
Dutton asked Motsoaledi how the new system will protect people who want permanent residence or citizenship. He responded that his new system will protect, not individuals, but the law and procedures, and the “the integrity and the sovereignty of our country”. He then added that corruption has led us to this point. But the minister’s utterances, while sounding intellectually and politically so profound, are false flags.
The Public Protector’s report concluded that Home Affairs officials misled Gigaba with their flawed submissions to support the granting of citizenship by early naturalisation in terms of Section 5(9)(b) of the Citizenship Act to Ajay Gupta and family members. Those officials included the then director-general, the deputy director-general, and a chief director, but their culpability did not inquinate the minister.
Motsoaledi’s suggestion that his new paradigm will protect the integrity of the law and South Africa’s sovereignty, not individuals, turns out to be nothing more than an irrational mumble of words. Law is not an automaton making independent decisions, decoupled from human actors, as if it existed in some imagined levitating bubble. Officials of the public administration, subject to those values contained in Section 195(1) of the Constitution, are empowered by legislation to carry out various functions. This is how legal systems work in every constitutional democracy, no less Home Affairs within our Bill of Rights.
The problem confronting Motsoaledi is how he is to deal on the public record with the fact that far too many senior officials responsible for the administration of Home Affairs’ functions are corrupt and that their machinations were responsible for the granting of citizenship to the Guptas. The wholesale resignation, suspension and arrest of senior Home Affairs officials for corruption continues unabated. The truth is that nothing Motsoaledi and his policy advisers will do in the rewriting of the legislative script could ever erase the risk of administrative malfeasance and moral pollution which has for so long punctuated Home Affairs, and other government departments.
There is one more question Motsoaledi should answer: how will his new system of regulating the influx and status of foreigners be safeguarded against himself, as the propagator of the noble lies of Home Affairs’ ideological revolution?
www.samigration

Smart cities promote best practice in urban sustainability

According to Carshif Talip, expertise leader, Urban Planning and Land Infrastructure at Zutari, a ‘smart city’ is much more than a city that is digitally enabled and brimming with technology. It is a city that leverages innovation to achieve its desired outcomes, Talip says, and here innovation does not necessarily mean only technology.

“A smart city is a city where opportunity, amenity, safety, resilience, inclusivity and prosperity are imperatives, and innovation across financing, design, construction, operations and governance is embraced by all stakeholders to achieve these imperatives,” says Talip.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in his State of the Nation Address on 11 February that the masterplan for the proposed Lanseria Smart City had been completed in November last year and is now available for public comment. The project is a joint initiative of the Presidency, the Office of the Gauteng Premier, Tshwane, Johannesburg and Mogale.
Smart cities and sustainability

The fact that innovation is such an integral part of smart cities makes for a natural fit between smart cities and sustainability, according to Talip. The emphasis on digital platforms also enables data collection, and the availability of large data sets is one of the first steps towards optimisation. “While there are benefits in chasing low-hanging fruit, I believe that a more holistic approach is the more appropriate first step.”

Talip asserts it goes without saying that proper planning is the answer to rapid urbanisation, inadequate infrastructure and polarised development. What is equally important is an integrated approach, as with the Lanseria Smart City. “A siloed approach, whether that be across the various spheres of government, the private and public sectors or even within a municipal entity itself, needs to be eliminated if we are to be successful,” urges Talip.

Each stakeholder needs to have their role and contribution clearly defined and have the necessary resources to deliver. Finally, a measure of agility and fluidity needs to be built in, he says.
According to Paragon Group director Henning Rasmuss, the new Lanseria Smart City revealed during this year’s SONA is just ‘papering over the cracks’…
Adaptable to change

“Planning, in essence, is designing a path based on a predicted future. If that future changes, and one just has to look at how unpredictable 2020 was due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the plan needs to be sufficiently adaptable to respond to change,” stresses Talip.

In terms of the impact of Covid-19 on future urban planning requirements, one positive outcome has been that flexible working arrangements are now possible, he notes: “The need for large swathes of office space will certainly be challenged, and tenants will demand more flexible arrangements from their landlords.” While there will always be a brick-and-mortar component to retail, there is certainly a move towards online retail, says Talip. These two phenomena could challenge planning concepts like centralising commercial areas, and even the concept of what a CBD looks like.

“This might have a profound impact on what cities look like in the future,” argues Talip.

Supply chain disruption

Another more subtle impact of Covid-19 has been the disruption of global supply chains. What will be interesting to see in the long term is if governments around the world – who anticipate more severe pandemics in future – shift towards self-reliance rather than global imports, he says.

Therefore, governments might consider reigniting primary and secondary economic sectors such as mining, agriculture and manufacturing. “Should this happen, we could expect shifts in urban migration that could impact planning requirements,” predicts Talip

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