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South Africans are not welcoming to foreign nationals, summit hears

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The South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional, Public, Human Rights and International Law (SAIFAC) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Tuesday held a summit at the Constitution Hill to explore if South Africans were welcoming to refugees as stipulated in the White Paper.

South Africa’s asylum and refugee system is under pressure: in recent years, South Africa has become one of the top ten refugee-receiving countries, mostly from elsewhere in Africa. Quite unusually in the global south, it conducts individual refugee status determination, resulting in more than 90% refusals.

The system itself is slow, and inefficient. Worsening levels of xenophobic violence and other forms of intolerance towards foreign nationals has further aggravated the already desperate plight of these people.

SAIFAC argues that what is written in the 2017 White Paper on International Migration is not the reality that asylum seekers are experiencing. It promises better living and working systems – instead there is a notion of discrimination, segregation and “othering”.

The panel included an array of world-class experts in the field: Fatima Khan (Refugee Rights Unit, University of Cape Town); Ruvi Ziegler (University of Reading); Faith Munyati (Lawyers for Human Rights); Loren Landau (African Centre for Migration Studies, University of the Witwatersrand) and it will be chaired by Cristiano D’orsi (University of Johannesburg).

The first speaker DR. Fatima Khan, the Director of the Refugee Rights Unit, said: “They want us to view refugees as people we as South Africans should fear just because they do not have legal documents that permits them to be in the country.

“My argument is that for example in the Musina asylum office … out of the 20,000 people that applied, not even one of them were granted the asylum.

“The system is slow and unjust and once you are caught in SA without the legal document you get arrested. South Africans are not welcoming to foreign nationals. The government and the people are very hostile towards foreign nationals,” lamented DR. Khan, who is also an attorney of the high court in South Africa.

SAIFAC has a suggested solution on how South Africans as the host could have less pressure when it comes to dealing with foreign nationals that will be able to be self-reliant and that is through a new program the “Global Impact”.

“South Africa needs a financial helping hands globally so that that funding can be used in order to have proper health care systems, education opportunities and other important basic needs. “ DR. Khan added.

However, Prof. Loren Landau, the Director of the African Center for Migration and Society had a different view.

“I will speak from a social science point of view and not from a legal one and I will counter argue what DR Khan has said about South Africans not welcoming refugees that seek asylum,” said Landau.

“We are more welcoming than any other country in the world. The challenge is the socioeconomic issue that we are facing of unemployment and poverty.

“If you look at the stats refugees are doing way better than the South Africans, they have better jobs, health care system and they can afford the best houses.

“Yes the asylum system is not well structured and they are denied access to certain things and are harassed by the police if they are found without the legal documentation, however I think that maybe we are asking the wrong question if we ask if South Africans are welcoming or not.”. said Landau.

Minah Malakoane from the department of Home Affairs said: “We are facing a huge problem at the home affair. Our duties is to visit schools and hospitals in order to inform mothers that once they have given birth they need to come to home affairs with proper documents so that we can make birth certificates.

“I hear someone saying that at home affairs we are denying to give the mothers a birth certificate, that is not true. We can’t give a mother the birth certificate while they themselves their documents are not in good state and are fraudulent documents and when you ask them they say their husbands asked them to come to South African and give birth.”

The one-day summit, organised with the support of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, agreed to lobby government on the matter and to consider implementing the “global impact”.

African News Agency (ANA)

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Undeterred by summit collapse, Moon vows closer North Korea ties

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SEOUL — South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Friday his government plans to discuss with the United States the possibility of restarting joint inter-Korean economic projects to induce nuclear disarmament from North Korea.

Moon’s comments during a nationally televised speech came a day after a high-stakes nuclear summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un collapsed over what the Americans saw as excessive North Korean demands for sanctions relief in exchange for limited disarmament steps.

The breakdown is a setback for Moon, whose desire for closer relations between the Koreas hinges on a nuclear breakthrough between the United States and North Korea.

While Moon has prioritised stabilizing relations with the North amid the larger nuclear negotiations, his dovish approach has caused disagreements with Washington, which sees economic pressure as its main leverage with Pyongyang.

“I vow to help usher in an era of a peace-driven economy on the Korean Peninsula,” said Moon, who preaches that South Korea should be in the “driver’s seat” in international efforts to deal with the North.

However, if the nuclear negotiations derail, Moon could potentially face a serious dilemma over whether to continue to engage with the North or join another U.S.-led pressure campaign against it.

In a speech in Seoul commemorating the anniversary of a 1919 Korean uprising against Japanese colonial rule, Moon made a nationalistic call for inter-Korean cooperation, which he says would drive progress in negotiations between the United States and North Korea.

Moon said he would “consult” with the United States on resuming operations at an inter-Korean factory park in the North Korean border town of Kaesong and restarting South Korean tours to the North’s scenic Diamond Mountain resort. It’s impossible for Seoul to resume the projects under the current U.S.-led sanctions against the North. Moon also proposed the creation of a joint economic committee between the Koreas aimed at developing the North’s crippled economy, which he said would be possible with progress in the North’s denuclearization.

“We will closely communicate and cooperate with the United States and North Korea so as to help their talks reach a complete settlement by any means possible,” he said. “Progress in inter-Korean relations will lead to the normalization of North Korea’s relations with the United States and Japan, expanding into a new order of peace and security in Northeast Asia.”

While Moon had been expected to make ambitious new proposals for engagement with the North during Friday’s lavish ceremony in downtown Seoul marking the centennial of an admired historical event, his speech ended without major announcements or fresh plans on inter-Korean economic activities. Moon spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom did not give a definite answer when asked whether the breakdown of the Hanoi forced Moon to modify his proposals.

Moon said the United States and North Korea still made “meaningful progress” in Hanoi as conversations between Trump and Kim Jong Un would have “enhanced mutual understanding and built more trust.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in Manila, Philippines, on Friday that the North Koreans demanded “full” sanctions relief in talks in Hanoi, contradicting North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho who disputed that account and said that the North asked only for partial relief.

“These are global demands for the denuclearization of North Korea and we are anxious to get back to the table so we can continue the conversation that will ultimately lead to peace and stability and a better life for the North Korean people and a lower threat, a denuclearized North Korea,” Pompeo told reporters.

There had been hopes in Seoul that Trump and Kim would reach a deal that meaningfully reduces North Korea’s nuclear weapons capability and softens sanctions against Pyongyang, which would give Moon more room to push his ambitious ideas on inter-Korean engagement. Aside of restarting the Kaesong factory park and South Korean tours to Diamond Mountain, the Koreas also aspire to reconnect their railways and roads.

The collapse of the Trump-Kim talks shows Seoul’s expectations for quick sanctions relief were clearly unrealistic considering the wide gap that remains between Washington and Pyongyang over sanctions and disarmament steps.

Moon has desperately tried to maintain an impression that things are headed toward the North’s denuclearization, trying to keep hard-liners in Washington at bay and a positive atmosphere of dialogue alive. That could become much harder to do if the United States and North Korea struggle to put their negotiations back on track and amid growing doubts on whether Kim would ever voluntarily deal away an arsenal he may see as his strongest guarantee of survival.

While Moon focuses predominantly on North Korea issues, critics say huge problems are being mishandled at home, including a decaying job market, falling birth rates and deep age, gender and political divides. Hwang Kyo-ahn, former South Korean prime minister and leader of the conservative Liberty Korean Party, criticized Moon for overselling a “rosy fantasy” on the North’s denuclearization and that people’s hopes are now turning into uneasiness.

“South Korea loses the most from the Hanoi summit ending without agreement,” said Alison Evans, an analyst from IHS Markit. “Without progress on North Korea, Moon’s domestic agenda becomes his only metric of success for voters, who have already criticized his administration for failing to deliver on economic metrics such as unemployment.”

Moon had hoped to follow the Trump-Kim meeting with his own fourth summit with Kim, preferably in Seoul, a prospect that now looks murkier.

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POLITICS

France and SA to work together to strengthen multilateral relationship

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Pretoria – French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has told South Africans, “France and South Africa will work together to reduce inequality in the world and threats to democracy.”

Le Drian and Minister for International Relations Lindiwe Sisulu clearly enjoy a strong rapport.

“My dear Lindiwe, I have such admiration for your parents who played an enormous part in the liberation of this country,” Le Drian said.

“France and South Africa have common commitments to multilateralism and we want to work together to strengthen multilateralism, especially in the UN Security Council,” Le Drian said.

Relations between France and South Africa have grown in recent years, particularly since the election of President Emanuel Macron, who is a strong proponent of multilateralism.

Le Drian participated in the SA-France Forum for Political Dialogue on Thursday in Pretoria. It is the first time the Forum has been elevated to the Ministerial level, giving greater impetus to the strengthening relations.

Minister Le Drian, who spent 44 years in the French Socialist Party, has previously said that multilateralism is in crisis and that the disintegration of international relations is a reality. It is Le Drian’s view that there is an obsession of the big powers with developing areas of influence, which leads to instability and crisis.

“Multilateralism is only effective if the most powerful accept to use power in lawful frameworks,” Le Drian had said at the Council on Foreign Relations in 2017.

But contrary to France’s defence of multilateralism and the rule of law, Le Drian claimed earlier this month that the Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has the right and legitimacy to organize new elections.

Agreements were signed during the SA- France Forum in the fields of basic and higher education, space cooperation, and biodiversity. The SA National Space Agency will work with France’s Centre National d’etudes Spatiales, and SANParks with Reunion National Park.

South African officials have hailed the fact that under the education agreements students from technology universities in South Africa will be taken to France, trained, and will return to work in universities in South Africa.

Le Drian has a packed three-day program which includes meeting some of the 400 French companies based in South Africa. These companies directly employ over 37,000 local South Africans. Le Drian will visit Sain-Gobain in Midrand which is empowering South African workers in the field of energy saving technologies, providing jobs, training, and skills transfer.

In Cape Town, the Minister will visit an NGO in Khayelitsha called Waves and will announce a grant of R1.58 million from the French Development Agency.

Le Drian will also visit the NGO Jumo which allows Africans to benefit from micro-loans to complete their projects. The French Development Agency has invested US$3 million in Jumo.

No visit to the Mother City would be complete without a visit to Robben Island. This is Le Drian’s first ever visit to South Africa and Robben Island will be a highlight.

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NEWS

Eskom Senior GM to appear at State Capture Inquiry

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Jabu Mabuza

On Monday, Chairperson of the Eskom board, Jabu Mabuza gave evidence that demonstrated how some Eskom executives shared confidential Eskom information with Gupta associates.
Acting Senior General Manager at Eskom’s Primary Energy Division, Daniel Mashigo, is expected to appear before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on Tuesday morning at 10 in Parktown, Johannesburg.

On Monday, Chairperson of the Eskom board Jabu Mabuza gave evidence that demonstrated how some Eskom executives shared confidential Eskom information with Gupta associates.

He said the purpose of this was to assist the Guptas and their associates to secure commercial opportunities at Eskom.

Mabuza challenged 15 individuals including former Eskom boss Brian Molefe, Matshela Koko, and former board chairperson Ben Ngubane, among others, to appear before the commission.

Mabuza said former Eskom executive, Matshela Koko, faced charges related to the sharing of classified Eskom information, which led to the appointment of McKinsey for the top engineers programme.

He said former Eskom Chief Financial Officer Anoj Singh shared information about a R1.7-billion Absa guarantee for Tegeta with former Regiments boss and Gupta associate, Eric Woods.

Mabuza said former legal head, Suzanne Daniels, approved for Eskom to pay over R1 million in legal fees for former Eskom board chairperson, Ben Ngubane for matters related to his tenure at the SABC.

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