Daily Archives: May 16, 2018

Smart Campaign Reaches Milestone with 100 Certifications in Financial Consumer Protection

The certification of 100 financial service providers, collectively serving more than 42 million low-income clients worldwide, marks major achievement for financial inclusion.

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The Smart Campaign, the leading industry voice on financial consumer protection, housed at the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, announced today that 100 financial service providers (FSPs) have attained Smart Certification, a landmark achievement in responsible financial inclusion.

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion. (PRNewsFoto/Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion) (PRNewsFoto/)

The Smart Campaign works globally to create an environment in which financial services are delivered safely and responsibly to low-income clients. The Campaign launched the certification program in 2013 as a way for FSPs to align their policies and practices with industry-accepted Client Protection Principles, which articulate standards for product design and delivery, prevention of over-indebtedness, transparency, responsible pricing, treatment of clients, data privacy, and complaint resolution. In just five years of offering Smart Certification, 100 FSPs have successfully undergone the rigorous certification process, resulting in greater protection for more than 42 million low-income clients globally.

“Reaching this milestone and seeing the continued interest for certification from a wide range of providers – including fintech startups – is very encouraging,” said Isabelle Barrès, Director of the Smart Campaign. “It demonstrates that protecting consumers and building trust maximizes benefits for both the client and the companies that serve them.”

The certified FSPs are spread throughout Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. The momentum for certification signals that the industry increasingly values client protection not only for the sake of clients, but also because certification streamlines the business practices of FSPs. In a recent survey of certified institutions, 96% of providers agreed that certification helped them better prioritize client protection and 93% noted a clearer alignment between the institution’s culture and its social mission. Another benefit called out by certified FSPs includes increased recognition from clients, regulators, and potential investors. Increasingly, consumer protection is rightfully seen as a business strategy.

The Smart Campaign. (PRNewsFoto/The Smart Campaign) (PRNewsFoto/)

The Smart Campaign will continue its standard-setting and certification efforts with philanthropic support from a wide range of partners. In addition to advancing certification, the Campaign will also work to elevate the client voice in an increasingly digital world, shed light on emerging client risks, and convene policymakers and other stakeholders to effect change at the national level in the countries in which it has certified organizations.

About The Smart Campaign

The Smart Campaign works globally to create an environment in which financial services are delivered safely and responsibly to low-income clients. As the world’s first financial consumer protection standard, the Campaign maintains a rigorous certification program, elevates the client voice, and convenes partners to effect change at the national level. Over 100 financial institutions, collectively serving more than 42 million people, have been certified for adhering to the Campaign’s industry-accepted consumer protection standards. More at www.smartcampaign.org.

About the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) is an action-oriented think tank that engages and challenges the industry to better serve, protect and empower clients. We develop insights, advocate on behalf of clients and collaborate with stakeholders to achieve a comprehensive vision for financial inclusion. We are dedicated to enabling 3 billion people who are left out of – or poorly served by – the financial sector to improve their lives.

www.centerforfinancialinclusion.org

www.cfi-blog.org

@CFI_Accion

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President Cyril Ramaphosa declares a Special Provincial Official Funeral for veteran photographer, Mr Nzima

President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a Special Provincial Official Funeral Category 2 for respected photographer, struggle activist and recipient of the Order of Ikhamanga, Mr Sam Nzima, who passed away on 12 May 2018 in Mpumalanga Province.

Mr Nzima will be remembered for his significant contribution he made through photojournalism during the struggle against the vicious racist regime. Through his lens, he placed the brutality of the apartheid police in the international spotlight.”

Mr Nzima will further be remembered for his iconic photograph of a dying young Hector Peterson which became a symbol of resistance against the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in the black schools. We wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to Nzima family and his relatives. May his soul rest in peace, said President Ramaphosa.

President Ramaphosa has ordered that the National Flag be flown at half-mast at every flag station in the Mpumalanga Province on Saturday, 26 May 2018, the day of the funeral. The Mpumalanga Provincial Government will communicate details of the funeral.

Source: Government of South Africa

EASTERN CAPE AND NORTH WEST PROVINCES STRUGGLING TO SPEND EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT GRANT

Parliament� Under-expenditure of the early childhood development (ECD) grant in the Eastern Cape and North West provinces was highlighted by both the National Treasury and the Department of Social Development (DSD) today.

The Select Committee on Appropriations was told that the Eastern Cape had spent a mere 48.6% of its allocated budget of R56.365 million, while the North West province spent only 62.1% of its allocated budget of R32.686 million during the 4th quarter of the 2017/18 financial year.

The committee heard that the number of children to benefit from the ECD subsidy in the Eastern Cape was set at 11 047, but the actual beneficiaries were 8 420 children. While ECD subsidies should be provided for 264 days, the Eastern Cape only provided services for 209 days and the North West province for 248 days, the committee was told. DSD plans on addressing this by adding the 264 days as a condition of the grants framework.

In terms of upgrading ECD centres, the committee heard that the Eastern Cape had not done any maintenance or upgrades during the 4th quarter, while the North West Province had done a mere 10 of the 48 upgrades that it set out to do.

DSD indicated that one of the biggest challenges of maintaining ECD centres was based on the R100 000 limit towards infrastructure projects, which cannot accommodate the high quotations received from contractors. A number of provinces also blamed the failure in maintenance on the delays in tendering processes, but the committee said that Supply Chain Management (SCM) policy only requires infrastructure projects to go out on tender for projects costing more than R200 000. While DSD plans on increasing the limit on infrastructure projects to R180 000, the committee viewed these as feeble excuses of not delivering.

The committee’s Acting Chairperson, Mr Charel de Beer, said: The ECD grant aims to improve the access of ECD to learners from poor backgrounds, and ensure that ECD centres have adequate infrastructure. Although the grant was only released in the 2017/18 financial year, provinces are encouraged to realise the importance of this grant and the effect of this grant on learners in Grade 1 and beyond.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

Review of visas for Israelis to be raised at Cabinet

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba says he will take proposals to impose more stringent visa requirements on Israelis traveling to South Africa, to Cabinet, for consideration.

This follows a brief meeting with Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel (BDS) at his Parliamentary office in Cape Town on Tuesday.

On Monday, 58 Palestinians were shot dead, and many more were injured, by Israeli snipers in Gaza. The Palestinian demonstrators were raising their disapproval of the US’s decision to move its embassy office from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The massacre has led to widespread condemnations and South Africa recalling its ambassador from Israel just hours after the killings.

In a joint media briefing with BDS representatives after the meeting on Tuesday afternoon, the Minster said he will take the concerns raised to Cabinet.

Obviously, one would need to consult with Cabinet colleagues to ensure that whatever response we give is a well-considered collective response of Cabinet that will ensure that the South African response is not weakened with it being associated with individual actions or responses but it is viewed collectively as a Cabinet response.

We will take forward the issues that are raised in relation to a possible review, either all together or to some limited extent, the visa requirements in relation to the state of Israel and also the issue of people holding dual citizenship who fight in wars that South Africa has regarded as unjust, the Minister said.

While South Africans, under current laws that were enacted during apartheid, need to apply for a visa when travelling to Israel, Israeli visitors can come into South Africa without a visa.

Braam Hanekom, a Board Member of BDS, said recent developments have led them to believe that the South African government was taking the plight of the people of Palestine more seriously.

He said what happened on Monday had sent shockwaves throughout the world and called on government to take firm, solid and unapologetic action to hold the apartheid Israeli government accountable for its actions.

The murder of over 50 people [on Monday], including many children, the cold-blooded massacre of these people using snipers and very sophisticated weaponry, alarmed us all.

It pushed us into action and we are more inspired and feeling pressured to ensure that we put whatever effort we can in holding the government of Israel to account.

He said, about his meeting with the Minister, he had raised the issue of the ease at which Israeli citizens appear to be coming to South Africa with very limited to no visa requirements.

We request the Minister to look into that and see if there is any way that the Minister could make more stringent the visa requirements for Israeli citizens to come to South Africa.

We also raised the fact that there are many people who maintain their South African citizenship while going to Israel as dual citizens and fighting and serving in the Israeli army, murdering and killing people, in what we believe was a mass murder, what we believe is a violation of human rights, he said.

Muhammed Desai, BDS’ national coordinator, welcomed the engagement with the Minister, saying it was a reflection of an engaging government.

There is an interaction, a fruitful interaction between society on the one hand and our own state on the other hand. There is a sense that civil society is being heard and that action is being taken by the South African government and we would like to put it on record that we are grateful for [it].

He said he would like Minister Gigaba to raise their issues at the Cabinet meeting to ensure that what we have put on the table will be realised soon .

Source: South African Government News Agency

Inter-Ministerial Task Team briefs media on progress in implementation of Cabinet decision

Ministers

Deputy Ministers

Directors-General and Heads of other institutions present

Members of the media

Fellow South Africans

Good afternoon to you all,

Thank you very much for joining us for this briefing on progress in the implementation of the Cabinet decision to establish an Inter-Ministerial Committee Task Team (IMTT) on the North West Province.

Introduction

At its meeting of Wednesday, April 25 2018, Cabinet deliberated on the unstable situation that has unfolded in the North West province, and which has affected a number of services, particularly health services.

Following the Cabinet meeting, President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed an Inter-Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) to give urgent attention to matters of governance and risks facing the North West province. The Ministers in the Task Team are; the Ministers of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (Convener); Health; Finance; Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, as well as the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster of Ministers.

Inter-ministerial Task Team

The President has directed the Inter-Ministerial Task Team to:

Conduct an urgent assessment of the state of governance in the North-West Province;

Advise Cabinet on potential risks facing the province;

Provide Cabinet with a comprehensive report on the state of governance in the province. The report should advise on steps to be taken in respect of the Task Team’s findings, and

Remain seized with the North-West matter until all critical issues are resolved.

A Technical Task Team (TTT) of the IMTT, chaired by the DG DPME, comprising the Directors-General (DGs) of the respective IMTT Departments met with the Provincial Heads of Department (HoDs) and the Director-General of the North West Province in preparation for IMTT engagements with the Provincial Executive.

Members of the IMTT visited the North West Province on 04th, 07th and 8th of May 2018 as part of the urgent assessment of the state of governance.

On the 4th and 7th May, The IMTT met with Members of the Executive Council (MECs), led by the Premier, Mr. SOR Mahumapelo.

On 07th and 08th May 2018, the IMTT met with a diverse group of concerned stakeholders in the North West Province.

On the 04th of May 2018, the IMTT visited Mafikeng Provincial Hospital to assess the state of health service delivery, particularly in the context of the strike by members of NEHAWU and the stabilization and support provided by the South African Military Health Services (SAHMS).

The work of the IMTT and its Technical Task Team entailed a diagnostic assessment of the current situation in the North West Province, a preliminary analysis of root causes, an outline of initial remedial interventions and recommendations required to restore normality to the Province. The report also identifies numerous areas where further work is required, prior to submission of a final report on the assessment of the state of governance in the North West Province.

Preliminary report

The Inter-Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) on North West presented a report on its preliminary work to Cabinet on 09 May 2018. The report provided an account of the preliminary work that has been done in the last two weeks.

The report reflected a diagnostic assessment of the situation in the North West Province, covering root causes and remedial interventions required to restore normality to the Province.

Cabinet was satisfied with the progress made by the IMTT in its efforts to stabilise the Province.

Invoking of section 100 (1) of the Constitution

Cabinet took a decision to invoke Section 100 (1) of the South African Constitution, which authorizes national and provincial executives to intervene in provincial administration and local government respectively within certain constitutional constraints. The Constitution states that, when a province cannot or does not fulfil an executive obligation in terms of the Constitution or legislation, the national executive may intervene by taking any appropriate steps to ensure fulfilment of that obligation.

Based on the preliminary findings of the IMTT, President Cyril Ramaphosa has written to the Chairperson of the National council of Provinces notifying her of Cabinet’s decision to invoke section 100 (1) of the Constitution to address the problems in the North West.

The Ministers who have equivalent departments in the province will use this week to assess the findings in relation to specific North West Provincial departments to determine whether to invoke Section 100(1) (a) or Section 100(1) (b). Cabinet will receive the report from the IMTT reflecting recommendations from National departments on the application of the relevant section. The President will then write to inform the NCOP of the full nature of the intervention to meet the constitutional obligations.

The fact-finding remains work in progress, The IMTT is still going through and verifying the information that it received in its consultations with stakeholders. This has to be a meticulous process that ensures that any claims that are made are supported by evidence.

Investigation by law enforcement

Over and above the obvious responsibility of restoring peace to the North West Province, the JCPS Cluster has to conduct further investigations where maladministration and/or corruption are suspected. In areas were glaring contraventions of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) are found, the IMTT is referring the matters to the law enforcement agencies for consideration of criminal prosecutions.

The issues are not insurmountable

The IMTT would like to assure the people of South Africa that it is putting in place the necessary interventions intended to resolve issues and restore normality in the North West Province as mandated by Cabinet.

National government is putting together a capable team of specialist officials who will work closely with the North West Executive to ensure better governance systems and improved services for the people of the province.

Reports on progress will be made to Cabinet on a fortnightly basis in line with the IMTT mandate.

Conclusion

It is regrettable that the people of the North West Province allowed the criminal element to embed itself in their grievance processes through acts of looting and destruction of property. We reiterate our call for our people to be vigilant and reject this opportunism, especially when it affects essential services like public health facilities and shutdown entire communities to register their concerns.

As we conclude, The IMTT would like to express its appreciation to all the officials supporting the ongoing work in the North West Province, especially the executive and senior government leaders of the province for their cooperation.

The IMTT would like to thank the provincial executive led by Premier Supra Mahumapelo as well as senior official in the North West Province for their cooperation in ensuring a smooth fact-finding process. They were always ready to meet with us and answer our questions. This assisted us to meet the Cabinet deadline for submission of the preliminary report.

We would also like to thank the North West community for allowing calm to restore to the province as this makes the work of the IMTT easier. We also thank the officers our security agencies on the ground who continue to provide security to the public and property.

We also extend a special word of thanks to the members of the South African Military Health Services for insuring that our people continue to receive healthcare while the labour impasse within the Provincial Department of Health is being addressed.

Lastly, we thank you members of the media for your interest in keeping South Africans informed about the work that we are doing to assist this province. We will continue to give you updates as the process moves forward.

Source: Government of South Africa