South Africa on track to break emigration records in 2018

The high number of people currently leaving the country means that South Africa is currently on track to break emigration records.
This is according to UK visa solutions experts, Move Up, who said that they’ve seen a 22% increase in South Africans interested in relocating to the United Kingdom (UK) over the past two years.
Speaking to 702, legal and financial manager at Financial Emigration Jonty Leon says there has been a huge increase in citizens deciding to leave the country after last year’s announcement by Parliament that there would be a change in tax laws.
He said other contributing factors include education, and a lack of job opportunities.
“The political instability. Looking at the recent comments on land expropriation without compensation, that is all major factors which are pushing South Africans to leave South Africa,” he said.
According to recent data, the UK is by far the most popular destinations for South African immigrants.
Talking to BusinessTech in June, immigration consultants Breytenbachs explained that the United Kingdom has always been a very popular destination for South Africans who decided to move overseas.
“This can probably be found in the fact that it is relatively easy for South Africans to adapt to the English way of life. South African businesses also tend to find their feet relatively easy, and easily adapt to the way business is done,” it said.
“This, together with the fact that there is a large South African community settled in the UK, and the relative ease to commute between the two countries, make the UK a popular immigration destination for South Africans.

Gigaba must appear before inquiry on Gupta naturalisation next week

2018-09-04 – News24
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba must appear before the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs next week for an inquiry into the naturalisation of members of the Gupta family.
The committee set aside three days next week – Wednesday to Friday – to hold the investigation into the process followed in the naturalisation of the Guptas.
The committee has concluded the initial phase of the inquiry, the collection of all relevant information and has identified gaps which need to be clarified by certain people to help the committee make a decision, according to a statement from committee chairperson Hlomani Chauke on Tuesday.
The committee has resolved to call the following people to give evidence – the MEC for the North West department of education and sports development, the head of department of the North West department of education and sports development, former home affairs director general Mkuseli Apleni, former home affairs employee GC Christians and Gigaba.
Any additions to the list will be determined by what information is received from the initial hearings.
The committee considers it crucial for the identified individuals to attend the hearings and will request the Speaker to summon those that are not prepared to appear.
“This matter has been in the public domain without resolution for too long. The committee is thus intending to bring this matter to finality,” said Chauke.

Knysna Tourism officially closes its doors

01 September 2018 – Tourism Update

Knysna Tourism has taken the decision to close its offices, as Wesgro takes over the tourism promotion and destination marketing of the region, commencing November 1.
Knysna Tourism’s Board of Directors have decided to close its offices with immediate effect, following Wesgro’s meeting with Knysna Municipality on Wednesday, where it was agreed in principle that the Agency would take over the constitutional mandate for tourism promotion and destination marketing of the region, from November 1.
The agreement follows a series of engagements with Knysna Municipality and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, who initially requested Wesgro to assist with the delivery the mandate.
A non-negotiable condition from Wesgro in responding to this request from the Municipality is that the service is to be delivered with the support of the tourism industry of Knysna. The Agency has urged the existing Knysna Tourism Board to formally align with the Knysna Accommodation Association so that a fully representative industry advisory board can be constituted.
It is Wesgro’s intention that the relationship with this board will be governed by an MoU that will be signed between Wesgro and the industry, parallel with the Service Level Agreement (SLA) the agency would sign with the municipality. Both documents are currently being finalised.
Knysna Tourism was registered as a non-profit company, and began as the Knysna Publicity Association, founded during a public meeting on May 9, 1927. More recently, it evolved into a destination marketing organisation which received the bulk of its funding from the Council of the Knysna Municipality, which in turn assigned the company with the task of fulfilling its (the Municipality) constitutional requirement to promote tourism to the region.
According to Knysna Tourism Chairperson, Elmay Bouwer, the SLA between the Municipality and Knysna Tourism ended on June 30, and with no further funding committed for Knysna Tourism to continue operating, the acting Municipal Manager at the time requested that Knysna Tourism NPC become a service provider to the Municipality. This was to enable the Municipality to give interim funds to Knysna Tourism for the period until Wesgro takes over the tourism function on November 1, when the SLA between the Municipality and Wesgro will commence.
“On August 1, as requested, Knysna Tourism submitted a budget for operating costs to the Municipality, and kept the offices running in good faith, but no funding has been received to date. Yesterday, the Knysna Tourism Board made the decision that it was not acting responsibly by operating without the guarantee of any funding from the Municipality,” added Bouwer.
Numerous negotiations took place between the Municipality and the Board of Knysna Tourism regarding interim funding of the Knysna Tourism offices while a solution was being sought. Owing to broken undertakings by the Municipality, the Board, however, believes that the Municipality has negotiated in bad faith.
Despite recent additional financial contributions from members, Knysna Tourism is no longer able to fund continuing operations. The company’s directors have a duty in terms of the Companies Act 2008, to avoid trading in contravention of the Act. The Board therefore feels that it has no option but to order the doors of the tourism body to officially close.
According to Bouwer, the Municipality has now taken over the responsibility of running the Knysna Tourism offices themselves until November 1, and there will be a full handover by the Knysna Tourism board.
Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris commented: “We intend on signing a three year contract with the municipality in the upcoming weeks. We will aim to start delivering against this contract from November 1 – as per our mandate set out in the Wesgro Act. This will be similar to the tourism, trade and investment contracts we deliver against for municipalities like the City of Cape Town, Drakenstein and Saldanha Bay.”
The local tourism promotion work for Knysna and Sedgefield will be delivered on the ground from Knysna by a reconstituted team of staff. The intention is for the team to be led by an existing senior Wesgro staff member, who will relocate from Cape Town to Knysna to take up this designation.
Once the contracts are signed, the first order of business on November 1 will be to ensure the tourism office at 40 Main Road is open and ready to sell the destination as part of a renewed effort by the tourism industry, the municipality and Wesgro to promote Knysna as a destination and all its offerings.
“We believe we will be able to introduce a pilot initiative in the town from the beginning of November, subject to the finalisation of a contract with the municipality,” said Judy Lain, Wesgro’s Chief Marketing Officer for Tourism. “This contract will in no way affect delivery of our existing long-standing mandate to promote Western Cape tourism and, with it, every region, town and attraction across the province.”
James Vos, MP and Shadow Minister of Tourism for the DA, told Tourism Update that Wesgro had a very comprehensive marketing network, and could certainly contribute to Knysna from a strategic destination marketing enhancement point of view.
“Effective destination marketing and ensuring that tourism offerings are market ready are key considerations for any successful tourism growth strategy. Undoubtedly, Wesgro’s track record and outstanding performance to market the province and certain locations as destinations of choice for various purposes provide massive advantages. It is important that the existing tourism network in Knysna forms part of the strategy going forward to market Knysna for both leisure and business tourism opportunities. I believe that Knysna has incredible tourism potential to advance business trading, and achieve market exposure of services and products,” added Vos.
In closing, Bouwer said: “The board is excited about working with Wesgro to market Knysna as a destination, and we are looking forward to capitalising on their expertise and knowledge of the industry as well as their international contacts

Home Affairs Ministry responds to the new e-passport tender corruption allegations

02 September 2018 – Lusaka Times
The Ministry of Home Affairs has disassociated itself from the speculation and allegations circulating on social media relating to corruption surrounding a tender for technical and financial proposals for the e-passport production through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) procurement, and that this tender has already been awarded.
In a statement released to the media by Chifuta Nephas, the Public Relations Officer Ministry of Home Affairs, the allegations that the tender has already been awarded to a Belgian company as false, malicious and unfounded, and therefore, to be treated as mere speculations.
Below is the full statement
The Ministry of Home Affairs wishes to inform the general public that in order to improve security and conform to the international Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standard, Government is migrating from machine readable to electronic passports.
In line with this decision, a tender for technical and financial proposals for the e-passport production through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) has been floated. This tender seeks to solicit participation from all reputable companies with financial and technical capacity to facilitate migration from machine readable to e- passport.
The tender was floated in accordance with the Zambia Procurement regulations which guide and regulate all public procurement.
The Ministry wishes to disassociate itself from the soeculation and allegations circulating on social media relating to corruption surrounding this procurement and that this tender has already been awarded to a Belgian company as false, malicious and unfounded, and therefore, to be treated as mere speculations.
Arising from that, the Ministry urges all interested companies to respond to the solicitation before the due date for possible consideration.

Mauritius citizenship and passports for sale

2 September 2018 – Tourism Update

Buy your way to Mauritius citizenship.

Mauritian Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Pravind Jugnauth, has announced that Mauritius will offer citizenship and passports to foreigners, for a fee of US$1m (€859 645) and US$500 000 (€429 820) respectively.
The decision was announced in the island’s 2018 budget speech, and forms part of measures to increase the country’s funds, as the government plans to increase its budget expenditure by 5% to US$3.8bn (€3.27bn) in the 2018/19 fiscal year. For an additional US$100 000 (€85 965) each, foreigners applying for citizenship can also apply for dependants and spouses. “The first scheme will offer foreigners the opportunity to obtain Mauritian citizenship provided they make a non-refundable contribution of US$1m (€859 645) to a Mauritius Sovereign Fund. For their spouse and dependants, they will have to make an additional contribution of US$100 000 per member of family,” said Jugnauth.
Passports for dependants and spouses of individuals applying for passports, will come with a price tag of US$50 000 (€42 982) per passport. But applicants will only be considered if they meet various criteria required by the government.
The scheme is being opposed by opposition politicians who see this move as reducing their nation to a commodity.

MPs grill home affairs over delay in reopening refugee centres

MPs grill home affairs over delay in reopening refugee centres
29 August 2018, Iol
Parliament’s watchdog on home affairs is seeking answers as to why the department has not opened its two refugee reception offices.
Cape Town – Parliament’s watchdog on home affairs is seeking answers as to why the department has not opened its two refugee reception offices.
On Tuesday, MPs grilled the department on the refugee reception office and why they had failed to open the offices in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. This was despite a court ruling to open refugee centres.
“Once public works hands over the tender installation, then we as home affairs can come in and do our installation of equipment and furniture, this process will take eight weeks to do,” acting director-general at home affairs, Thulani Mavuso, said.
The department has constantly maintained it was waiting on the Department of Public Works to provide suitable office accommodation.
MPs gave home affairs officials a grilling on what progress the department had made so far.
Advocacy groups The Scalabrini Centre and the Somalia Association of South Africa have recently decided to bring forward contempt of court proceedings against the Department of Home Affairs.
The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) found the department’s decision to close the refugee reception office to new applications for asylum unlawful and irrational, and ordered the department to reopen and maintain a fully functional office in the Cape Town metropolitan area by March 31.
It further ordered the department provide monthly reports on its progress in complying with the order.
The Nbaya case, launched in 2015 through the Legal Resource Centre on behalf of asylum seekers, relates to the renewal of the permits of asylum seekers at the refugee reception office.
This should happen even if they lodged their applications at other refugee reception offices around the country.
In this case, the Western Cape High Court found that the department’s policy of refusing to renew asylum permits from other offices was unlawful and ordered it to renew the permits of asylum seekers residing in Cape Town or to be informed of any decision relating to his or her application through the Cape Town refugee reception office.
“We never had a problem supplying monthly reports, we have concluded a discussion with the two groups to supply a report this week,” Mavuso said.
Portfolio manager of Public Works Reggie Ncobo said: “We have commenced with the procurement process, there were two options explored as a procurement model which the regional office has identified as state owned property in Maitland.
“The idea is for permanent and interim and thereafter we will be advertising a tender process.”
The department said the refugee centres would be opened next year.

Indian arrivals into SA: why have numbers dropped?

Indian arrivals into SA: why have numbers dropped?
29 August 2018 – Tourism Update

We unpack the reasons behind a decline in arrivals from India in 2018

Statistics SA has released the arrival numbers for the first half of 2018, showing a decline in key markets. Among those, India has seen a 3.5% decline in arrivals this year compared with the same time last year. Tourism Update approached a number of industry experts to find out why, and how the market can overcome this.
According to the trade, there are two main factors behind this decline:
The Cape Town water situation
Collin Thaver, MD of Southern Africa 360 says: “The water situation was the first turn-off for visitors this year.” This is reiterated by Trevor Hewett, owner and CEO of African Pride Tours who says: “We received a lot of bad publicity over the Cape Town water situation. Indians tend not to go into detailed explanation over issues; they make instant decisions and book late. They’ll say, ‘There’s no water in Cape Town. We’ll go somewhere else.’ I have received confirmation from a number of agents that this is a reason behind the decline.”
Hewett adds that a number of large tour operators have taken South Africa off their brochures: “They are not certain, and their consultants are not certain about the situation and they would rather not sell something they are not certain of.”
Savio Pereira, Southern Africa 360’s India-based Sales Director adds: “Whilst a fair amount of work was done to quell the negative publicity, the market was not entirely convinced and perhaps decided to play it safe.”
Neliswa Nkani, SA Tourism’s hub-head for the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia region, told Tourism Update: “We need to put the same amount of effort into reassuring the trade that we did to warn them about the situation. Things have improved. Our focus now should be in allaying the fears of potential tourists, communicating that the situation has drastically improved and that we are far better off now.”
Nkani points out that news about rain is real-time, and should be communicated as such. “If the situation is better now, we must tell people now. It does not help our cause to broadcast old figures of dam levels. We are at over 60% dam levels at the moment, the trade must know this.”
Difficult visa requirements
Industry experts agree that strict regulations and the increasing difficulty in obtaining a visa for South Africa has contributed to the decline in arrivals from India. Pereira says: “The visa issue is an ongoing concern. There is always a spike in the duration required to process the visa during the peak travel months. Whilst lack of proper documentation has been cited as a reason for delays, agents insist that this is not always the case. As Indians are generally last minute bookers, it adds to the pressure of obtaining visas in time.”
Hewett explains that, although visa processing has shown some small improvements in India, the perception that it is difficult to obtain a visa is holding South Africa back. “It is a matter of educating both the trade and the consumer. We have a stigma attached to us that we are a difficult destination, with ideas that kids could get turned away because of visa issues, so the child-visa issue has not gone away. The ease of obtaining adult visas has largely gone away, but the market is not aware of it.” He adds: “Documents required in addition to your passport when travelling are a challenge. In a relatively third-world country like India, they are not that easy to obtain. Tourists will say ‘what is an unabridged birth certificate? Do we even have such a thing? We’ll rather go somewhere else’.”
Thaver explains further that, as a package destination, strict enforcement of visa requirements for Botswana is putting tourists off visiting the two countries at once. Currently, Indian travellers require a visa when visiting Botswana, obtainable at only a handful of offices in India.
Hewett further believes that unrest and protests are adding to the perception that South Africa is not a desirable destination. “We, as a country, are not doing ourselves any favours. Any day there could be unrest in Hout Bay or on the road to Numbi Gate or other key tourist areas and this is having a harmful effect on tourism.” He adds that the effect of negative word-of-mouth information can also be a factor for tourists when choosing a destination.
Thaver has seen a slight uptick in interest and bookings for October and November. “This is in line with the trend we had last year as Diwali, or the ‘Festival of Lights’, is a big travel period for Indian clients.” However, he also notes with concern that the honeymoon and family bookings for the December and January period are not as strong as before. Pereira agrees. “We expect to see a gradual growth in numbers beginning from around October and touching a peak in April or May and onwards. Also, a large percentage of travellers who bypassed the destination this year would be expected to reconsider in the next.” Hewett reiterates that bookings remain flat at the moment, anticipating that those prospecting for business out of the Indian market will receive answers of “we’ll wait and see if the water and visa regulations improve.”
In terms of rectifying this decline, the trade believes there are a few key aspects to be addressed. Pereira suggests that campaigns must target the Indian market to promote the destination. “The focus of the campaign needs to be on educating and re-enforcing to the trade as well as to the consumer that there is no water problem, South Africa is safe and tourism stakeholders are open for business as usual. The key message being that all is OK,” he says.
Hewett agrees: “We need to educate and recreate the interest in us as a destination.”
Nkani, who was appointed to the region on June 1, has a number of plans in place for the Indian market. She hopes to improve the digital exposure of South Africa to the Indian market. “We will be hosting bloggers later this year who will contribute to the exposure online of South Africa as a destination. We will also be making use of short films and video clips used across social media to help grow our presence online. This will also help Indians see South Africa through an Indian person’s eyes, and not just from our point of view. Growing an online presence also helps create maximum exposure within a constrained budget because we will be able to reach far more people than at physical meetings.”
Nkani also notes that a direct flight between South Africa and Mumbai would greatly help, explaining: “The perception is that South Africa is very far away. A direct flight would make travel palatable.”