Ramaphosa to look into South Africa visa rules

12 August 2015

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa would chair a new inter-ministerial committee on immigration regulations, President Jacob Zuma said yesterday at a media briefing at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Zuma was giving an update on progress since his State of the Nation Address, which he delivered on 12 February in Parliament in Cape Town.

The committee will examine concerns about South Africa’s amended visa regulations. Ministers in the departments of Tourism, Home Affairs, Social Development, Trade and Industry, and Small Business Development are on the committee.

Under the immigration legislation amendments, which came into effect in June, South Africans and foreign nationals travelling to and from South Africa with children under the age of 18 are required to produce unabridged birth certificates. This was effected in terms of its commitments to safeguard the best interests of children and prevent child trafficking, according to government statements.

In addition, Zuma said a strategic Cabinet meeting in late July had focused on the points of the National Development Plan. The nine-point plan consists of:

  • Revitalisation of the agriculture and agro-processing value chain;
  • Advancing beneficiation (adding value to our mineral wealth);
  • More effective implementation of a higher-impact Industrial Policy Action Plan;
  • Unlocking the potential of small, medium and micro enterprises, co-operatives, township and rural enterprise;
  • Resolving the energy challenge;
  • Stabilising the labour market;
  • Scaling up private-sector investment;
  • Growing the Ocean Economy; and
  • Cross-cutting areas to reform, boost and diversify the economy.

There are five of these cross-cutting areas, namely: science, technology and innovation; water and sanitation; transport infrastructure; broadband rollout; and state-owned companies.

The government was making progress in many areas, Zuma assured the media, saying an update on Operation Phakisa would be given on 13 August.

Operation Phakisa is based on Malaysia’s Big Fast Results Methodology, through which that government achieved significant government and economic transformation in a very short time. Using this approach, they addressed national key priority areas such as poverty, crime and unemployment.

The approach was adapted to South Africa, and to highlight the urgency of delivery it was renamed to Operation Phakisa – “phakisa” means “hurry up” in Sesotho. It is a results-driven approach, involving setting clear plans and targets, on-going monitoring of progress and making these results public.

Zuma explained that the government was also looking inward for solutions to problems concerning economic growth. “South Africa’s economy, just like many economies, continues to struggle with growth and momentum,” he admitted, adding that the electricity crisis was the main obstacle straining the economy.

State programmes included 92 projects for renewable energy, such as hydro, gas and coal. “This will add 6 327 megawatts to the grid.”

He asked for the help of the private sector in paying off debt of R100-billion owed to municipalities, and also pleaded with people to play an active role in curbing attacks on police officers. “Attacks on police are an attack on the state and the nation.”

The public was urged to identify those who attacked police officers. A total of 55 police officers have been killed since January, and an annual service for them will be held at the Union Buildings on 6 September.

Source: ENCA live streaming