Today's Big Stories

Panic as unabridged birth certificate visa regulation deadline looms

Image: thesouthafrican.com

Panic as unabridged birth certificate visa regulation deadline looms

There have been a series of comments by the airline industry around new regulations that will see people having to provide unabridged birth certificates for every child that enters and leaves South Africa. One will also have to provide an affidavit from a parent, if that parent is not travelling with the child. The new regulations are due to come into force on Monday and they are part of a new regime that sees people coming here also having to provide their fingerprints to a South African Embassy or Consulate – before coming here. Last week on the Midday Report, the Home Affairs Department defended the new regulations, while in Parliament today, Home Affairs Director General Mkuseli Apleni has defended them again. Country Manager for Virgin Atlantic South Africa, Liezl Gericke:

The various industry associations have all been lobbying and trying to get government to inform about when the task teams for implementing this will happen. There has been no details on any meetings around this and we only got Standard Operating Procedures on Monday.

Meanwhile, Tlali Tlali is the spokesperson for South African Airways – the airline that more than likely brings more passengers to South Africa than any other:

At the time when we first became aware of these regulations, SAA took the necessary steps to ensure that all our staff are prepared to implement this change. We have conducted extensive training and there will be full compliance come the 1st of June.

While Parliament this morning Home Affairs DG Mkuseli Apleni held a briefing on the implementation of these regulations to the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee. EWN Parliament's Gaye Davis:

These regulations were supposed to have come into effect on the 26th of May last year and then they agreed to postpone that by a year; this has expired and it all kicks in on Monday. Apleni said that it was estimated that 30 000 minors are trafficked into South Africa every year and this was challenged in Parliament, with it being pointed out that the figure is from a misquoted report by an NGO.

Etolls, your licence disc and insurance claims

There has been some discussion over the last few days about whether you need to have an up to date and valid licence disc to be able to claim from insurance. It is a discussion that has more than likely been sparked by the announcement that you will not be able to renew your lisence disc if you don’t pay e-toll bills. Manager at the South Africa Insurance Association (SAIA), Dawie Buys:

As an association, we are very concerned about this announcement, although we don't have a viewpoint on this at this stage, as we need to consult on it. We should have a position in a week or two. But from a policy point of view, normally the policy would hold that the driver must licenced and the car being driven must be roadworthy; it's a bit of a grey area and the government still has to change the law to give the authority to hold the disc.

SA to change drinking age from 18 to 21

The Department of Trade and Industry has now formally gazetted a proposal that would change our drinking age from 18 to 21. Deputy Director General for the Consumer and Corporate Regulation Division (CCRD) at the DTI, Zodwa Ntuli:

The President established a committee with Ministers that would come up with proposals. It is proven in research and studies that when younger people start drinking earlier, they have serious problems with alcohol later. It is going to be a challenge to implement, as it does depend on the traders to identify.

South African GDP figures show slow growth

Our GDP figures are out and show that our economy grew by 1,3% quarter on quarter in the first quarter of this year and by 2,1% year on year. Chief Economist and Head of Research for the Standard Bank Group, Goolam Ballim:

It is disappointing on many levels and it points towards challenges in unemployment and poverty alleviation. The dependence on electricity in industries such as manufacture, mining has been an issue, along with industrial strike in these sectors.

Bid for President Zuma's release of Farlam Report intensifies

Confirmation on Monday that lawyers for the miners killed and hurt in the Marikana shootings in August of 2012 have now lodged legal papers demanding that President Jacob Zuma release the findings of the Farlham Commission of Inquiry into those killings. That bid is being supported by the organization Right 2 Know Campaign, whose spokesperson is Murray Hunter:

We haven't taken a decision to explicity support this action taken by the injured miners. It's now been more than 50 days since the President has received the Farlam Report on the Marikana shootings and while it sits with him, there are many unanswered questions which remain. The injured miners are also concerned that the deadline is approaching for them to submit any civil claims for any damages made in Marikana, because they had a three year window to do so, while the President sits with the report.

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