29 South African artists repatriated from Turkey

In a statement released on Saturday, the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation announced the repatriation of 29 musicians and artists who were stranded in Turkey.

According to the statement, “the group was meant to fly home, when flights were grounded due to the coronavirus pandemic.”

“These artists are said to be from disadvantaged backgrounds and were unable to afford the airfare on a Turkish Air flight that was flying to South Africa on 22 May 2020,” it goes on to say.

The artists were part of a group of 93 South Africans granted approval to board a flight to South Africa arranged by the Turkish Government to airlift its Nationals stranded here and in neighbouring countries. “They arrived last night and were taken to a government facility for mandatory quarantine.”

Transformation in Transportation through IoT

How far have you imagined the development of technologies? Have you ever thought of automatic driving car in your childhood?
Few sci-fi movies might have created some imaginations, but who had thought IoT and AI would make it possible.
The holistic development of technology has changed the outlook of every sector. Healthcare, houses, towns are among things which are becoming smart along with the human race. The transportation sector is also benefiting from these changes to brush itself as more modernized and smart.
The transportation sector is evolving every day and thanks to IoT service providing companies which are inducing smartness to this industry.
The transportation sector has been offering safer, faster, cleaner and comfortable drives, and now IoT has taken the responsibility to make it smart.
As per the survey, global smart technology would touch $262 billion by 2025, and this would not be just financial success for manufacturers but would add a realistic approach to the expectations of users.
Don’t believe it? Read the blog to know how IoT would transform the transportation sector in years.

Coronavirus | States to clear operation of international flights

Stranded passengers told to register with Indian missions, download Aarogya Setu App
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has issued a Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) for private aircraft and charter operations on international sectors in view of COVID-19 pandemic. However, the flights would be allowed subject to the clearance from the respective State/Union Territory Governments.
The new guidelines follow the instructions of the Ministry of Home Affairs permitting private aircrafts and international charter operations to bring back many Indians who had travelled to different countries before the lockdown on various purposes – employment, tourism, business studies etc – and were stranded there.
Going by the SOP, passengers intending to undertake travel should register with the respective foreign missions giving all details prescribed by the Ministry of External Affairs. The cost of travel would be borne by the travellers or their employers/hiring firms or any other entity.
Asymptomatic only
Only asymptomatic passengers would be allowed to travel after they sign an undertaking that after landing in India, they would undergo COVID-l9 related protocols/guidelines issued by the Government of India (Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and the Ministry of External Affairs) and the State/UT Government concerned.
All passengers would be advised to download Aarogya Setu app on their mobile devices. They would also have to sign an undertaking in the format prescribed by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare furnishing information on their health status, countries/places visited in the last 28 days, place of stay in India and other contact details.
Other instructions on board were that the flight crew members should wear masks while in the cockpit/crew rest area and change their masks at regular intervals in case of long and ultra-long-haul flights. There would be no sale of any item on board in order to minimise interaction of the crew with passengers.
No entertainment
There would be no newspapers/magazines or other non-essential loose items to be carried on board. In-flight entertainment would be switched off to minimise touch on aircraft surfaces. Also, there would be no or minimum catering (pre-packed cold meals/snacks – depending on the duration of flight).
Emergency protocol
In case of an ill passenger or a passenger showing COVID-I9 symptoms such as fatigue cough, high fever etc., the passenger would be isolated from the others and a dedicated crew in complete protective gear be assigned to handle the case. A specific area of the aircraft would have to be reserved as a quarantine area for handling possible in-flight emergencies.
Asked if any request was received from any airline, a senior official in the Tamil Nadu government said no such request was received till late on Wednesday. Experts would be consulted before taking a decision on allowing international flights, the official said.

Zambia probes Chinese clothes factory murders

Police in Zambia have arrested three people suspected of murdering three Chinese nationals, dragging the bodies into a factory and setting it alight.
Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo has promised a full investigation into Sunday’s “barbaric” crime.
It took place at the Chinese-owned Blue Star clothing factory.
The attack comes amid a controversial crackdown in the capital, Lusaka, on Chinese businesses accused of discriminating against Zambians.
There has also been tension over reports that Chinese factory managers have been forcing employees to sleep at work to stop the spread of coronavirus, the BBC’s Kennedy Gondwe reports from Lusaka.
Zambia has reported 920 cases of Covid-19.
The Chinese embassy in Zambia said the killings were “appalling and vicious acts of violence”.
Police say the motive for the attack, which took place in the Makeni suburb of the capital, is unclear.
One of those arrested had fled to the city of Ndola some 310km (192 miles) north of Lusaka, police spokesperson Esther Katongo told the state-run ZNBC broadcaster.
Impromptu raids on factories
For the last few weeks, Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa has been leading an operation to close Chinese-owned businesses, including barber shops and restaurants, after locals complained about discrimination.
He has also been sharing posts on Facebook, including videos, of his impromptu raids on Chinese-owned factories where workers are allegedly being mistreated.
In one video, he confronts Chinese managers at a truck assembly plant about their policy of detaining workers and orders them to allow the Zambian workers to go home.
Mr Sampa, who is a ruling party member, has not commented on the killings.
He has clashed with the government over his operation against Chinese firms.
However, the mayor has accused his colleagues of not taking seriously the reports of discrimination against Zambians, our reporter says.
‘This is anarchy’
According to China’s state-run Global Times news site, Sunday’s attack was likely to have been prompted by Zambians who misunderstood the good intentions of some Chinese firms that have recently been prohibiting employees from going home after their shifts in response to the coronavirus crisis.
“This is interpreted by locals as an invasion of freedom,” the Global Times quoted a Chinese person living in Zambia as saying.
Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Malanji has sought to reassure foreign investors that they are welcome in the southern African nation.
“This is something regrettable… this is anarchy and this government will not tolerate anarchy,” he said on Tuesday.

What South Africans leaving the country for essential travel should know

South Africans who are considering to travel to countries of work or study will need to show the relevant documents before it is approved.
This follows Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s announcement over the weekend that South Africans who work and study abroad can return to the countries where they are based from June 1, 2020.
Motsoaledi, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the National Coronavirus Command Council, approved essential travel for South Africans who want to return to countries where they are based. Home Affairs said South Africans can only depart for work, study, family reunion, take up permanent residency or receive medical attention. No leisure travel will be permitted.
Advocate Bongani Bongo from the Home Affairs Committee shed some light on the procedure on the Breakfast with Refilwe Moloto show on Cape Talk. Bongo said that when the coronavirus pandemic started to surface around the world, the department received many calls from South Africans living abroad who wanted to return home.
“A lot of these South Africans living abroad came back home, but due to the difficulty to travel outside our borders, they had to remain in South Africa. They now have the opportunity to go back to their country of work, study or join their families abroad or receive medical treatment,” he said on the show.
He said Home Affairs will facilitate the process. He said South Africans needs to produce proof that the country they are travelling to have opened its borders. This also applies to connecting flights to other countries.
He explained: “If you want to go to London via Qatar, you must produce something that says that you will land in Qatar on your way to London. The traveller will have to produce all these documents before the permission is granted for them to go.”
The department said those wishing to return to the countries where they reside should have the following:
(a) A copy of their valid South African passport
(b) A letter confirming their admissibility under the current circumstances from the embassy or other diplomatic/consular representative of the country they want to travel to. If returning by road or connecting via flights, the proof submitted needs to include permission from each transiting country.
(c) Proof of means of travel such as air or bus tickets and the intended date of departure.
“South Africans who fall in these categories and satisfy the criteria can send an email to Covid19travel@dha.gov.za.”
The department said an email would be sent to travellers who meet the criteria to enable them to proceed with their travel arrangements.
People applying as a group can send one email with the supporting documents for each member of the group.

26 scientists among 150 Indians returning home from S Africa this week

JOHANNESBURG, May 20: Twenty-six Indian scientists stranded in South Africa’s Cape Town due to the coronavirus lockdown will be heading back home this week.
They had been on a mission to Antarctica and stuck in South Africa three months ago after the imposition of the lockdown.
The scientists are among around 150 Indian nationals who will be returning home on a South African Airways (SAA) flight that will leave Johannesburg on Friday for Mumbai and Delhi.
Indian Consul General in Johannesburg, Anju Ranjan, said over 1,000 Indian nationals had registered for the flight.
Passengers had to be vetted by the Indian mission based on a criteria set by the South African Department of Home Affairs.
“We had to select priority passengers depending on their need,” Ranjan said in a Facebook broadcast.
The diplomat said those left out are likely to be repatriated on an Air India flight under the Indian government’s Vande Bharat mission.
“People who are going back on this flight include 26 scientists from India who were stuck in Cape Town after they returned from a mission to Antarctica,” Ranjan said.
“They were here for the past three months, so this was a priority for us to send them back to India,” the official said.
Ranjan said 93 members of the ISE Cruise who were stuck in the coastal city of Durban were also a priority for them.
Others approved for the flight are those who are ill or on a temporary tourist visa.
Ranjan said the ticket price for the one-way flight was 15,000 rands, which was fixed by the SAA and the Indian government had nothing to do with it.
The fare, which is almost thrice the normal ticket price, has to be paid by the passengers themselves.
An Air India flight can be expected in phase 3 of the Vande Bharat mission in June as there is no fixed date for it yet, Ranjan said.
Currently, the mission in phase 2, the official added.
“Many people who could not pay could not be accommodated on the flight. I feel very sorry for them, but we can have some say and discounts when we get our own flights, so I just want them to wait patiently and not feel disheartened,” Ranjan said. (PTI)

Some South Africans repatriated from Wuhan now want to go back

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has revealed that some of the South African citizens repatriated from Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak began, have requested assistance to return to the Chinese province.
The group of 112 citizens, which included students, was the first successfully returned to South Africa as the globe grappled with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor told journalists during a virtual media briefing that Dirco had spent far less than it had anticipated on the project.
She said while Dirco was continuing to repatriate South Africans stranded across the globe, it was not willing to help those it had brought back home, who now wished to return to countries they had been repatriated from during the lockdown.
“In that first group from Wuhan, some wish to return, and we said to them it cannot be at the cost of government,” Pandor said.
“Some of them are government-sponsored students. We have said their sponsors must address it, this is something Dirco can’t help with,” she added.
She said government had no means to facilitate those who wanted to return to the country for a short while.
“We are not assisting you to come back for a short period then return to the country where we repatriated you from,” said Pandor.
Not more than R10m spent on repatriating citizens
Pandor said her department had estimated it would require R90 million. However, no more than R10 million had been spent, which she credited mostly on companies who reached out to assist government.
“We have had very good support from the private sector, with provision of jet fuel from Sasol, which has helped with a number of a million of litres,” Pandor said.
She added many of those repatriated had been able to cover their own travel costs, as most already had flight tickets but were left stranded.
“Most were ticket holders, and we were able to transfer their tickets to airlines available to provide transportation.”
Pandor said in some cases citizens were able to hitch rides at a reduced cost from cargo planes either coming to collect or drop off goods in South Africa.
Can’t compel Saudi Arabia to open borders
The minister also said the country was aware of the plight of South Africans who were in the country when the lockdown was implemented in March, who need to return to their jobs and families in other countries.
Pandor said her department was in discussion with numerous governments, as well as the departments of home affairs and transport, to facilitate the safe return of those South Africans to those countries.
When asked if there were countries not willing to discuss allowing non-citizens to return, Pandor said Saudi Arabia was not willing to open its borders.
She also said there had been some challenges with the United Arab Emirates.
“You can’t compel countries to take back persons. They will not open borders because they are compelled to do so by the South African government,” Pandor said.
“If a government says it’s in a deep lockdown, we cannot compel it,” she continued.
The minister said offenders who were recently released from Brazilian prisons for drug trafficking, were not part of the category of citizens being focused on at the moment, referring their case to the South African mission in that country.