Daily Archives: June 20, 2016

Address by Minister Gigaba at the Department of Home Affairs World Refugee Day event at the Catholic Archdiocese of Johannesburg

Programme Director,

The UN High Commission for Refugees Regional Representative,

Archbishop Buti Tlhagale,

Honoured guests,

We gather today to commemorate World Refugee Day in difficult times.Globally, awareness of, support for, and integration of refugees has been one of the most difficult international policy issues.Too often, governments and citizens have shrank away from their legal and moral duty to offer refuge to those fleeing war and persecution in their home countries.

The poorest countries host the largest refugee populations, while the richest countries host the fewest.In 2014, developing countries hosted 86% of all refugees.This failure to share humanitarian responsibility for some of the world’s most vulnerable citizens, has been thrown into stark relief by the unwillingness of many European governments and citizens to accept asylum seekers fleeing devastating conflict and desperate circumstances, mostly but not exclusively from Syria.

While the challenges associated with refugees may be new for many Europeans, they are sadly not for us as Africans.According to UNHCR, 26% of the world’s approximately 14 million refugees are in Sub-Saharan Africa.This number has been steadily increasing in recent years.But refugees are not numbers or statistics.

Refugees, as we are reminded by the people who have spoken here today, are people like you and me, precious human beings with ideas, hopes and dreams.They are people with identities, cultures and histories, and most importantly, they are people with futures if we can provide them with the support that we would expect if we were in their position.

Refugees are resilient and productive, they can contribute much to our societies and economies if they are allowed to.

Since 1998, South Africa has had one of the most liberal asylum seeker management regimes in Africa, and indeed the world.Our commitment to help refugees is driven by our historic experiences as victims of oppression and state violence, our constitutional values and our international commitments.

Our efforts to address the human cost of war and instability actually begin with our foreign policy.Since 1994, South Africa has been absolutely committed to contributing to the peace, stability and development of Africa.

Our foreign policy seeks to contribute to a better Africa and a better world.Through our steadfast support and positive engagement in the African peace and security architecture, we hope to resolve and prevent the conflict and instability which force people away from their homes in the first place.

In terms of our asylum seeker regime, we are proud to be one of the few African countries which receives large volumes of asylum seekers, which does not have an encampment policy.

An unintended consequence of our liberal asylum regime has been that migrants who are not genuine refugees but are seeking economic opportunities have used it to attempt to regularise their stay in South Africa.

The sheer volume of applications from these migrants has placed an enormous burden on the refugee status determination process, which has disadvantaged genuine asylum seekers by delaying their decisions, in the past taking years where they should take no more than 6 months.

Resolving the strain on our asylum seeker system will require new policy proposals, improved operational efficiency, and support from partners such as UNHCR.

In terms of policy, this month we are releasing for comment a Green Paper on International Migration.

One of the issues which it will address are policy options for managing migration from and within Southern Africa.By better managing regional migration we hope to reduce abuse of the asylum application system.Work is also under way to improve our refugee policies.

One of the things we know is that refugee status determination decisions must be concluded timeously for the system to work for asylum seekers.

Our immigration and asylum seeker management officials have done tremendous work to get to the point where we are now reaching status decisions within the target period in most cases.

We are poised to construct a backlog project which we hope we will be supported on by relevant stakeholders.

We have to restructure asylum seeking to ensure that genuine refugees are assisted and have access to our Reception Centres.Hence we are committed to constructing a Reception Centre in Lebombo.We are modernizing these centres with appointment and queue management systems to reduce inconveniences to asylum seekers as well as minimizing opportunities for corruption.

We call on the UNHCR to ensure that there is an integrated and shared registration process for all refugees and asylum seekers.

This is necessary, not only to grant the fundamental right to an identity particularly for children in refugee situations, but also to address the growing concern among nations that the asylum process may be misused by persons and groups intent on unleashing harm to the host nations.

Xenophobia is not endemic to SA but is a pernicious ill afflicting many societies, which may reflect insufficient social integration and public education.It is important that we raise awareness in our programmes about the unique plight of refugees, our responsibilities to one another, and the value that refugees bring to our country.

We remain steadfast as a country in our commitment to host and protect refugees.The vast majority of South Africans are supportive of refugees.We must ensure that we do not fall into the temptation seen in too many societies, of blaming refugees for pre-existing problems.

South Africa will always rise to the occasion in supporting Africans and others in distress, even as we partner with our sister countries in addressing the root causes of that distress.

Source: Department of Home Affairs

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant to lead a SA delegation to the 105th Session of the World parliament of labour

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant will this weekend lead a tripartite South African delegation to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) meeting at the International Labour Conference (ILC), held every year in Geneva, Switzerland. Oliphant is also expected to chair sessions/committees of this year’s event.

The 105th Session of the ILO’s ILC is held under the theme: “Building a future with Decent Work”. The Conference is held annually in the month of June. This year’s gathering will be held from 30 May to 10 June. It will bring together Government, Employers’ and Workers’ representatives from 187 member States to discuss a series of world of work issues including:

� Decent work for peace, security and disaster resilience

� Decent work in global supply chains;

� as well as the impact of the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization

� and also consider amendments to the Code of the Maritime Labour Convention and review the report of the Director-General on poverty.

The Conference is composed of a plenary and of technical committees. The plenary sits in the Assembly Hall of the Palais des Nations. The Conference opens and closes in plenary sitting.

The World parliament of labour as the Conference is often called performs several main tasks such as:

” The Conference also supervises the application of Conventions and Recommendations at the national level.

” The crafting and adoption of international labour standards in the form of Conventions and Recommendations.

” Examining the reports which the governments of all member States are required to submit, detailing their compliance with obligations arising out of ratified Conventions, and their law and practice in respect of Conventions and Recommendations (ratified or not) on which reports have been requested by the Governing Body of the ILO.

” Examine the Global Report prepared by the Office under the follow-up procedure required by the Declaration.

” The ILC offers a forum where social and labour questions of importance to the entire world are discussed.

” The Conference also passes resolutions that provide guidelines for the ILO’s general policy and future activities.

The South African delegation to the ILC conference will also include the Department of Labour’s Director-General, Thobile Lamati; Department of Labour Deputy Director-General of Labour Policy and Industrial Relations, Virgil Seafield and senior officials of the department from various business branches. The South African delegation is expected to also include delegates from organised business; and organised labour.

The ILO was founded in 1919 as a specialised agency of the United Nations to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men. Its a tripartite structure gives an equal voice to workers, employers and governments to ensure that the views of the social partners are closely reflected in labour standards and in shaping policies and programmes. The agency’s main aims are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues.

The organisation is currently pursuing 2030 Agenda, which embraces the three dimensions of sustainability – economic, social and environmental. It has 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will build on the progress achieved under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) . It was formally adopted by world leaders gathering at a United Nations special summit in September 2015 in New York.

The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development puts people and planet at its centre and gives the international community the impetus it needs to work together to tackle the formidable challenges confronting humanity, including those in the world of work.

The tenth Director-General of the ILO Guy Ryder from the (United Kingdom) is expected to deliver the closing address on the last day of the conference.

Source: The South African Department of Labour

Government registers progress in implementing the Nine Point Plan

Government is making steady progress in the implementation of the Nine Point Plan to reignite growth and create jobs, which was announced in the 2015 State of the Nation Address, as part of implementing the National Development Plan.

The plan focuses on areas such as energy, tourism, agriculture, boosting SMMES, science and technology, industrialisation, transport and others.

Some of the progress made thus far is as follows:

Energy

The drafting of the Integrated Energy Plan, which represents the overarching energy policy that has been under development since 2012, when Cabinet approved the commencement of the public consultation process, is continuing. Once completed, it will provide answers to various questions our country has been grappling with regarding our country’s energy future.

As part of this year’s Youth Month commemoration, the Department of Energy (DoE) is marking the great strides made by the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme towards the development and empowerment of the youth. Fifty two percent of total job opportunities in this programme have gone to the youth so far.

The energy contribution of independent power producers is expected to grow to approximately 7 000 MW in 2016, while private investment in the programme currently exceeds R194 billion. The DoE will announce the preferred bidders from the first bid submission for domestic coal projects in July 2016. The bids will have a combined capacity of 900 MW at an investment of R45 billion, rolled over the next 4 years.

The Biofuels Regulatory Framework will be submitted to Cabinet during this financial year. It will outline how the nascent biofuels industry will be financially selected and supported. The blending of biofuels reduces the impact of fuel emissions on our people.

The nuclear energy expansion programme remains part of the future energy mix. The procurement plan for 9 600 MW nuclear build programme will be implemented at a pace informed by what the country can afford.

The DoE has worked on facilitating the gas-to-power programme. The exploitation of our country’s indigenous gas (coal bed methane and shale gas) as well as the regional natural gas resources must be seen in the broader context of regional integration.

Solar Water Heating has taken off, with contracts placed for the supply of the first 9000 baseline systems. The next step is to commence with the training of local communities in the installation of the systems, with a specific target being the youth, women and other designated groups.

The electrification programme has made remarkable progress in increasing access to electricity in South Africa by connecting over 6.7 million households between 1994 and March 2016. As of February 2016, access to electricity stands at 88% since 1994.

Tourism

The Travel and Tourism sector in general attracted capital investment of R63 billion in 2015 and contributed R118.6 billion directly. This primarily reflects the economic activity generated by industries such as hotels, restaurants, leisure activities, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services (excluding commuter services). This progress generated 703,000 jobs directly in 2015 (4.5% of total employment). The total contribution of Travel and Tourism to employment, including wider effects from investment, the supply chain and induced income impacts, was 1.5 million jobs in 2015, which is 9.9% of total employment.

Agriculture

With regards to financing for agriculture, the Land Bank is making progress. Internal governance and control processes at the Land Bank have improved considerably as reflected in unqualified audit opinions since the 2012 financial year and reduced non-performing loans which now represent approximately 5.5 percent of the now significantly larger loan book, down from 22.5 percent in 2009.

The loan book has expanded from R16 billion in 2008 to approaching R40 billion to date. About R2.5 billion or 6.5 percent of the loan book is devoted to development loans compared to no investment eight years ago.

The cost to income ratio has dropped from 82 percent in 2011 to around 58 percent currently, and the Land Bank Group posted a profit of R352m for the year ended 31 March 2015.

The process of transforming the Land Bank into a strong development finance institution that plays an even bigger and more effective role in rural and agricultural development will be accelerated and deepened. The Ministers of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as well as Rural Development and Land Reform will work closely with the Minister of Finance, who chairs a committee of the three Ministers, to ensure better alignment between the policy objectives of their departments and the activities of the Land Bank, whose executive authority is the Minister of Finance.

Science and Technology

The Department of Science and Technology recently launched the country’s first Bio-Manufacturing Industry Development Centre (BIDC) in Pretoria. The centre supports SMMEs involved in bio-manufacturing by enabling them to exploit market opportunities. Currently the BIDC is supporting 19 enterprises of which 16 are owned by black entrepreneurs, including 10 black women-owned enterprises. 55 permanent and 171 temporary jobs have already been created, with 54 interns trained. Companies incubated at the BIDC have access to ready-to-use bio-manufacturing facilities, support in research and development laboratories. The initial phase will result in the creation of permanent and temporary jobs with the economic impact projected at R250 million per annum in the next five years.

Unlocking SMME’s, Cooperatives and Township enterprise potential

A total of 117 Black women owned enterprises have been supported through the Co-operative Incentive Scheme to the value of R35.9 m, while 325 Women owned enterprises were supported through the Black Business Supplier Development Programme to the value of R45.2million.

The Department of Small Business Development has provided support to 992 informal retailers and 45 informal trader organizations in the past financial year nationally. Of these, 559 were women-owned and 213 were young traders.

The Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) and Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) are now co-located in all nine provinces. For the 2015/16 financial year, 29 co-location points were established. This is intended to greatly improve the ability of SMMEs and Co-operatives to access the services provided by these agencies.

Industrial Policy Action Plan and Investment Promotion

President Zuma has welcomed the recent investments which have been announced in the country. These include the investment by Toyota for a new Toyota Hilux and Fortuner manufacturing plant in Prospecton, Durban. This was made possible through the support provided by the Department of Trade and Industry which has attracted investments of over R25 billion in the automotive industry in the past five years. This investment will support more than 4 000 jobs with total employment in the plant already exceeding 8 000 jobs.

Toyota injected of R6.1 billion investment into South Africa’s manufacturing industry and the country’s local vehicle production. BMW has also announced the construction of a R6 billion a new, state-of-the-art body shop. The expansion will enable BMW to produce and export the next generation of the BMW X3. This demonstrates that the Rosslyn Plant is highly competitive within the global BMW production network both in terms of cost of production and quality.

In another investment, the Minister of Trade and Industry recently launched a R100 million Dursots & All Joy Tomato Processing Plant in Modjadjiskloof near Tzaneen. Dursots has embraced supplier development as a mechanism to encourage 15 black emerging famers into the value chain.

To support the upgrade and expansion of the rail locomotive programme, Gibela Rail Transport consortium has commenced building a one billion rand factory at Dunnottar in, Ekurhuleni. The factory will be utilised to manufacture trains for PRASA.

Aberdare Cables launched its new production line in Pietermaritzburg. The production line will produce cables for PRASA and Transnet locomotive build programme.

The Investments InterMinisterial Committee which is chaired by the President continues its work, supported by business, to remove obstacles to doing business in the country.

Operation Phakisa: Boosting the Ocean Economy and Tourism

Within the oceans economy, Government continues to ensure that it creates an enabling environment to promote and attract investments, either through an enabling policy regime and legislation or by providing incentives. Over the last 18 months, approximately R17 billion in investments had been attracted, creating approximately 4500 jobs. Within the Marine Transport and Manufacturing Focus Area, substantial investments in the port infrastructure had been committed by Transnet, through Transnet National Ports Authority.

Within the Aquaculture sector, ten aquaculture projects had been implemented. This secured investments totalling R444 million from Government and Industry, creating around 521 jobs (23% women and 66% youth) and a projected production of 2901 tonnes.

Rural Development – New Projects launched

On 10 May 2016 the President officially handed-over the state of the art Beaufort West Youth Hub to the Kwa-Madlankosi community in the Western Cape. The Hub is part of the Department of Rural Development and Land reform programme of revitalizing rural towns. An amount of R52 million was invested in the project which is now being used by the young people in the community, to acquire skills training in various fields, as well as using it for sports and recreational activities.

On 21 May 2016 the President handed over compensation for land as part of Phase 1 of the settlement of claims on the Kruger National Park. A total of R84 million was awarded to six communities, three from Limpopo, and three from Mpumalanga. In terms of land area this portion measured 318 748 hectares. Due to the status of the Kruger National Park been a flagship of South African National Parks, cabinet took a decision in 2008 not to restore any of the land within the park to claimants. The claim is settled in two phases with phase one being the financial compensation and phase two in the form of projects aimed at ensuring the communities continue to benefit in the longer term from business opportunities within the Park.

In empowering these communities, a one per cent community tourism fund has been generating approximately R6.5 million per annum for community beneficiation. The beneficiation scheme is done in partnership between the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, the Department of Environmental Affairs and SANParks as the management authority for national parks. A total of 813 claimant households will benefit from this settlement.

On the 26th of May the Women in Maize project was launched. This is an agricultural empowerment initiative under the Department of Small Business Development in partnership with South African Breweries and the Agricultural Research Council. The programme seeks to empower 5000 women-in-maize farming cooperatives over the next five years, increase inclusion of women owned cooperatives in SAB’S supply chain, develop skills of women farmers, improve food security and stimulate local economies by increasing local economies by procuring from local farmers.

On 5 April the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform rolled out the One Hectare One Household programme in Ganspan rural settlement, Jan Kempdorp. This initiative seeks to promote conditions which enable the previously disadvantaged individuals, communities and target groups to obtain security of tenure on land for sustainable livelihoods. Land is made available on the basis of “institutionalised Land use right”. Use Right Certificates (URC’s) are issued to landholders to be able to use as collateral when they seek loans from financing institutions, particularly state-owned development finance institutions.

Work is being done in all segments of the Nine Point Plan, as part of implementing the National Development Plan.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa

PEX Report: Index ‘Up’

The ‘Al-Quds Index’ of the Palestine Exchange closed Monday trading at 501.12 points, up by 1.09 points (0.22%) compared to the last trading session, according to the PEX daily report.

A Total of 1,277,966 shares were traded with a value of $2,144,328.04 executed during 230 transactions.

Shares of 19 companies were traded; share price increased in five companies whereas decreased in five companies.

Top five gainers: AIG by (7.14%), APIC by (5.47%), PRICO by (1.96%), QUDS by (0.87%), and PALTEL by (0.2%).

Top five decliners: JPH by (-3.72%), WASSEL by (-1.37%), NCI by (-0.95%), PEC by (-0.85%), and ISBK by (-0.76%).

Source: Wafa

Department of Labour hosts stakeholder engagements with various sectors on employment equity (EE) implementation

The Department of Labour in partnership with the Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) is to embark on engagements with business leaders from the various sectors. This follows the continued slow pace of transforming the South African labour market, where designated groups are still confined to the lower levels of the workplace.

Following the recent release of the 16th CEE Annual Report, Labour Minister, Mildred Oliphant promised that the Commission for Employment Equity will embark on engagements with business leaders of the various sectors.

The aim of the sectoral engagements is to consult business leaders or their representatives (managers, human resource officers, EE officers among others) on employment equity issues. The CEE is interested in establishing challenges that employers face in employment equity implementation and strategies so as to overcome them.

The Commission for Employment Equity is a statutory body established in terms of section 28 of the Employment Equity Act. Its role is to advise the Minister on any matter concerning the Act, including policy and matters pertaining to the implementation of the EE Act.

After 18 years of the Employment Equity Act, the top and senior management positions in the workplace are largely still occupied by white people.

The first in a series of engagements will start on 23 June 2016 with the Retail & Motor sector. The first engagement will be held at Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre, Boksburg, in Gauteng Province from 09:00am-14:00. More engagements will be held in July and August 2016 with sectors such as Manufacturing, Finance, Catering & Accommodation, Mining & Quarrying, Wholesale, Construction, Transport, Educational Institutions and Local Government. The stakeholder engagements ends in September.

All engagements will include Sector Education & Training Authority (SETA) and trade unions operating in that sector. Nine of the 10 planned engagements will be held in Gauteng with the exception of one that will be held in Cape Town. Venues of the other engagements will be confirmed in due course.

Source: The South African Department of Labour