Items filtered by date: Friday, 20 September 2019

In spite of the peace initiative, a number of travel agents told one of our correspondents that Nigerians were not buying tickets to South Africa, except for special reasons.

I haven’t sold tickets to Johannesburg for two weeks – Agent

“I have not booked a single ticket to Johannesburg in the last two weeks,” a travel agent, who did not want to be named revealed.

“Nobody is going there at the moment. It is as if there is a total boycott except it is extremely important. Since the problem between Nigeria and South Africa began, the only people travelling are those that had booked their flights long before now and students that need to return to school and have no choice but to resume,” the agent said.

Another Lagos-based agent said the situation had degenerated to the point that special travel packages that were put together for tourists to the country had either been cancelled or diverted to some other destinations as people were no longer interested.

Nigerian tourists changing destinations from SA to Dubai

According to the agent, Nigerian tourists are changing their vacation destinations to Dubai, Mauritius and other places.

“There are people with pending tickets that have requested change of airline or destination. Even people scheduled to travel; some have said they no longer want to travel to South Africa,” he said.

Findings show that South African Airways, which operates daily flights between Lagos and Johannesburg, has been affected.

South African Airways enjoys a near monopoly on the route being the only airline that offers direct flights from Lagos to Johannesburg; other airlines on that route such as Kenyan Airway and Rwandair have to get to Nairobi and Kigali respectively, before taking off to Johannesburg. The airline, when contacted, declined to comment on the issue.

I left SA when attacks became frequent – Mother of two

Meanwhile, a woman who was among those evacuated on Wednesday shared her experience, saying that she decided to leave South Africa when the attacks became frequent.

The single mother of two, Ololade Atere, from Oyo State, said her nail studio was destroyed in the recent xenophobic attacks.

Atere said, “My experience was bad. I was into fixing of nails and one day I got a call that my shop had been destroyed. I decided to come home because the violence became too much and I couldn’t keep running with my two kids.

“I lived in South Africa for five years, but I have no plans of going back. I am tired of the violence. I have to be safe. I am home now. I have to find a job or business.

“I left Nigeria when I was pregnant. The intention was to have my baby, have some travel experience and return. I wanted to come back after I had my first baby but people convinced me to stay. But now, I have had enough.”

S’Africa said my children were its citizens – Mother

Atere said she was supposed to be among the first batch of Nigerians to return, but was stopped at the airport.

“They said I couldn’t travel with my kids because I gave birth to them in South Africa and they are citizens,” she said.

She added that she was made to swear an affidavit before she was allowed to bring the children with her to Nigeria.

‘I left my child in S’Africa’

Another returnee, who identified himself as Uchenbi, told the News Agency of Nigeria that South Africans harboured hostility towards Nigerians.

He stated, “South Africans are angry at Nigerians for no reason and would blame them for whatever reason they deem fit.”

Uchenbi, who was in South Africa for 12 years before he returned to Nigeria on Wednesday, said he left his child in South Africa, while she was sleeping.

The man, who is married to a South African, said his wife would have suffered, if he had been killed in South Africa.

S’African police didn’t probe my husband killing – Woman

Another returnee, Blessing Chioma, accused the South African police of inaction when her husband was killed in 2012.

Chioma said, ”I’m coming from South Africa, Johannesburg; I was married to a Nigerian, but South Africans killed him during the xenophobic attacks. I reported the case to the police, they know about it; they look for the guys, but you won’t know them because they come in groups, so nothing was done; the case is closed,” she said.

”Since then I’ve been coping with the children, but I returned them to Nigeria because I was no more meeting up in training them. So they’re here now in Nigeria; I came back to take care of them, but we came with nothing because they burnt our shops.”

 

Source: Nigerian Eye

Published in Travel & Tourism
A federal judge has ordered a temporary injunction against California’s first-in-the-nation law requiring candidates to disclose their tax returns for a spot on the presidential primary ballot.
 
This constitutes an early victory for President Donald Trump but, the decision will undoubtedly be appealed by state officials.
 
According to reports published by dpa, U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr. said he would issue a final ruling by the end of the month but took the unusual step of issuing the tentative order from the bench.
 
He said there would be “irreparable harm without temporary relief” for Trump and other candidates from the law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in July.
 
England spent much of the court proceeding on the question of whether a longstanding federal financial disclosure law preempts any additional rules that a state could impose.
 
The federal law, known as the Ethics in Government Act, or EIGA, was originally passed in 1978 and applies to a range of top federal officials.
 
Trump has filed the annual report, most recently in May, which provides an overview of his finances.
 
“Do we even need to get here if EIGA preempts (the new California law)?” England asked attorneys for the state. “Is that it?”
 
The hearing in a Sacramento courtroom consolidated arguments made in five separate lawsuits filed since Senate Bill 27 was enacted into law.
 
Attorneys on both sides noted that timing is tight on the legal challenge: Under provisions of SB 27, candidates must submit tax returns no later than Nov. 26 to be eligible for the March 2 primary.
 
Roque de la Fuente, who filed one of the lawsuits and was a minor-party presidential candidate in 2016 after failing to win support in the Democratic Party, said he supports some limited, voluntary tax return disclosure.
 
“I don’t think it should be mandated by the state,” de la Fuente told reporters outside the courtroom.
 
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who as chief elections officer was named a defendant in the lawsuits, said he would wait to see the written ruling before deciding whether to appeal.
 
“We remain firm in our belief that SB 27 is constitutional and provides invaluable transparency for voters as they decide who will hold the most powerful office in the United States,” Padilla said in a statement.
 
Jesse Melgar, a spokesman for the governor, said Newsom believes the California law seeks to ensure full transparency.
 
“These are extraordinary times,” Melgar said. “States have a legal and moral duty to restore public confidence in government and ensure leaders seeking the highest offices meet minimal standards.”
 
Trump sued in August to block implementation of SB 27. His attorneys told the judge the California law would unfairly force the president to give up his right of privacy to keep his tax returns confidential in order to participate in the March 2 statewide primary.
 
California Deputy Attorney General Peter Chang told the court that states already have their own, unique primary election rules, and that SB 27 not only affects the chief executive of the nation, but also of California. “This is what the voters need to elect their executives,” he said.
 
But Thomas McCarthy, an attorney representing the president, told the judge the U.S.Constitution sets out rules for running for the nation’s highest office that are “fixed and unalterable” by individual states. He said California voters may have an interest in a presidential candidate’s tax returns, but the state “cannot try to inform” voters beyond the basic information.
 
England seemed to suggest there could be reasons to rein in electoral rules that leave presidential candidates scrambling to provide different information in different states.
 
“Wouldn’t that create a hodgepodge of laws around the country?” he asked.
 
The California law requires any candidate for president or governor who seeks a spot on the statewide primary ballot to give state officials copies of IRS tax forms from the last five years of filings.
 
After personal financial information is redacted, copies of those documents would be made available for public inspection.
 
The law does not apply to any candidates seeking office other than president and governor, including those vying for seats in the California Legislature or Congress, and it would have no effect on the November general election.
 
In practical terms, should Trump be kept off the primary ballot, he would still have the opportunity to receive votes for president in the fall as the Republican Party nominee.
 
Democratic state Sen. Mike McGuire of Healdsburg, the author of SB 27, said Thursday that his bill was nothing more than a ballot access requirement similar to those already in existence.
 
“I think the judge got this one wrong.
 
”Transparency is the foundation of accountability.
 
”This issue of releasing tax returns is bigger than any one candidate or any one president,” he said.
 
California elections officials confirmed Thursday that no presidential candidates have submitted tax returns yet to comply with the new law.
 
Though some Democratic presidential candidates have made portions of their tax returns public, the five-year standard under SB 27 would require additional disclosure for many of those who hope to have their name on the California ballot.
 
Thursday’s face-off in federal court capped a tumultuous week for the relationship between Trump and California.
 
The president’s two-day visit to the state focused on private campaign fundraisers but included a trip to the U.S.–Mexico border and a threat to sanction San Francisco over what he called “tremendous pollution” brought on from the city’s homelessness problems.
 
Trump is only the second president since 1976 to refuse requests for public review of his tax returns.
 
While the practice became routine in most elections, it has also been voluntary.
 
The new law also applies to candidates for governor, elections in which tax disclosure has been far less consistent.
 
Newsom, however, allowed reporters to inspect five years of his tax returns in 2017.
 
California’s new election law is just one fight being waged by the president to keep his tax returns out of the public eye.
 
On Thursday, his attorneys also sued to stop a New York state law that would give House Democrats access to Trump’s state tax returns.
 
Published in Bank & Finance
Former President of El Salvador, Elias Antonio Saca  has been sentenced to two years in prison for bribery, the country’s attorney general’s office said on Thursday.
 
Saca, 54, who is already serving a 10-year prison sentence for misuse of public funds and money laundering, was found guilty of having offered $10,000 to a court employee to obtain information about a case against him, the attorney general’s office said.
 
He pleaded guilty in both cases and sought to reduce his prison term.
 
According to media reports, judge was yet to decide whether the two years would be added to his existing sentence.
 
The convict was a former businessman who ruled the Central American country from 2004 to 2009.
 
He was detained in October 2016 during his son’s wedding.
Published in World

China’s telecom giant Huawei has unveiled its Mate 30 Series, the world’s first second generation 5G smartphone, in Munich Germany.

The unveiling on Thursday was done by Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group.

According to Huawei, the new generation smartphone, which is equipped with all new Kirin 990 5G SoC processor and comes in six different colors, is the first to integrate processing units and a 5G modem on the same chip using the 7nm+ EUV (extreme ultra-violet) process.

The integrated quad-camera setup includes the SuperSensing Cine Camera, a dual main camera system designed for top-quality photographic and videographic results, said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group.

Huawei runs R&D centers in Germany, France and the UK

Huawei is reported to invest at least 10 to 15 percent of global revenue in R&D each year. And the Chinese giant has invested altogether more than 17 billion dollars in R&D in the last 10 years.

Published in Telecoms
The National Industrial Court in Port Harcourt on Wednesday threw out a request by a former Ecobank Nigeria staff, Millicent Makililo that she be paid gratuity when she did not serve the bank for mandatory 10 years that qualifies her for same in accordance to the bank’s policy.
 
Hon. Justice Zaynab Bashir declared on the claim for gratuity, “the Claimant has woefully failed to prove that she has worked for the Defendant for a period of 10 years and therefore is not entitled to gratuity. Consequently, relief two fails and is accordingly dismissed.”
 
The court however, ordered the defendant to pay to the claimant the sum of N173, 926, being the outstanding balance of N343, 926-04 to be paid as salary in lieu of notice of termination within 10 days.
 
According to the Judge, the termination letter served Millicent Makililo was wrongful and ordered payment of complete salary in lieu of notice of termination within 10 days.
 
The claimant had approached the court claiming among others for a declaration that the purported termination letter served on her by the defendant dated the 3rd day of May 2017 was null and avoid and a declaration that she is entitled to be paid the sum of N9,053,317.72 as gratuity having worked for the defendant for a period of ten (10) years.
 
The claimant was employed by the defendant on June 17, 2008, as an Executive Assistant, confirmed on 2nd June 2009.
 
She said that to her greatest surprise, the defendant terminated her employment in a letter dated 3rd day of May 2017 without any reason whatsoever contrary to natural justice and Ecobank policy.
 
She averred that the defendant was dodging from the claimant clocking 10 years in service with Ecobank, a situation the defendant did not want the claimant to achieve by their own gimmick and calculations.
 
The claimant added that out of the sum of N343.926.04 which is her basic salary per month, the defendant in paying her one month’s salary in lieu of notice, paid only the sum of N 169,954.52.
 
The defendant averred that though there is a gratuity scheme, it is for employees who had worked for 10 years at the time of leaving the employment and that the claimant did not work up-to 10 years, urging the court to dismiss the suit as wholly lacking in merit.
 
Counsel to the defendant contended that from the handbook, no provision for one month’s basic salary in lieu of notice and that what the parties contracted for in terms of termination of the contract of employment was one month notice or one month salary in lieu of notice.
 
Delivering the Judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Zaynab expressed thus “I have taken a further look at the provision of paragraph vi of exhibit C2 which is the contract of employment and find that the Defendant was to pay ‘one month’s salary in lieu of notice’. There was no use of the word ‘basic’ or ‘gross’ to qualify the said salary.
 
“The court is in no position to input the word ‘basic’ or ‘gross’ to the phrase ‘One Month’s salary’ in the absence of such express provision in the contract of employment than what will be paid as salary in lieu of notice is ‘basic’ salary.”
Published in Bank & Finance
Friday, 20 September 2019 06:25

DStv price cuts across Africa

MultiChoice is reducing the price of DStv by up to 37% in various African countries, but it is uncertain whether it will extend this to South Africa.

The company recently informed subscribers in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique that their DStv subscription prices would be reduced from 1 September 2019.

Monthly DStv and GOtv subscription fees across East Africa will be slashed to make the service more competitive against streaming services.

MultiChoice Africa told TV with Thinus that not all markets where it operates would have the same price changes.

MultiChoice Uganda, for example, will reduce monthly DStv subscription fees by up to 30%, while Kenyan subscribers will see price cuts of between 5% and 37%.

“Each country has different cost structures influenced by local dynamics such as inflation, content costs, foreign exchange rates, local taxes and overheads,” said MultiChoice Africa’s head of corporate affairs Reatile Tekateka.

“We’ve done a lot of research into what pay-TV costs in other parts of the world and we believe that our DStv and GOtv services offer good value for money in the countries in which we operate,” she said.

MultiChoice Kenya said the price cuts “will grant more of our customers access to the complete world of exciting entertainment channels at a lower price”.

MultiChoice South Africa responds

MultiChoice’s senior manager for corporate communications Benedict Maaga told MyBroadband that they review their DStv prices once a year when they do their business planning.

“Our prices for the new year are announced before 1 April,” Maaga said.

“The price of DStv Premium in South Africa compares favourably with the pricing in other African countries.”

 

Credit: MyBroadband

Published in Business

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was heckled during the recent funeral service of Zimbabwe’s erstwhile leader Robert Mugabe. It was easy to guess why. When he stood to speak, Ramaphosa apologised for weeks of violence in his country targeted at non-national Africans.

Immediately after this apology, heckling turned into cheers. His apology, a stroke of ingenuity, defused the tension. But it didn’t answer the key question that philosopher and political theorist Achille Mbembe once asked in relation to xenophobic violence in South Africa:

When we say ‘South Africa’, is ‘Africa’ an idea or simply a geographical accident?

Pan-Africanism

To many, the answer appears pretty obvious: recent events that have seen people baying for the blood of “foreigners” makes the meaning of Africa in South Africa meaningless.

Importantly though, xenophobia is not a uniquely South African phenomenon. Nor is it simply a question of violence against non-national Africans. It is the consequences of the historical burden that colonialism has bequeathed the continent. This refers to colonially determined borders.

These borders separated African people into different nationalities. They were maintained after Africa’s independence. This spawned nationalisms. Xenophobia is the function of the contests of these nationalisms. As the British social scientist Michael Billig explains in his book, Banal Nationalism,

the triumph of a particular nationalism is seldom achieved without the defeat of alternative nationalisms and other ways of imagining peoplehood.

Xenophobia negates the spirit of pan-Africanism, especially its laudable ideal that Africans share a mutual bond regardless of their geographical location.

That xenophobic incidents are increasing in post-apartheid South Africa is unexpected. In its formative years as a democracy since 1994, the country had assumed the leadership of the African Renaissance cause. It was championed by former South African President of Thabo Mbeki who advocated pan-African “cohesion of economics, culture, growth and development”.

Mbeki eloquently stated that, for African countries to assert their influence in global affairs, their governments should

(forego their) “atomistic nation-state, zero sum sovereignty, and recognise their interdependence”.

Why then do impulses of aggressive patriotism exist in the post-apartheid South Africa? Shouldn’t this pan-African disposition have foregrounded the term “Africa” in “South Africa” as an idea. Shouldn’t it even have shaped the country’s nation-building and state formation project?

South Africanness and Afrophobia

Xenophobia and pan-Africanism are antinomies. They have opposite implications on state formation and nation-building.

Xenophobia is a function of insularity – lack of interest in others’ culture, outside one’s own experience. South Africa’s insularity was facilitated by the fact that it was a pariah state for many years. The apartheid system’s strong border control played a role, too. The country internalised the intolerance of difference. This explains its social disorientation, suspicious of foreigners as “unknown others”.

In many instances, non-national Africans are the primary target of this suspicion. They are, therefore, more likely to be on the receiving end of xenophobic violence.

An appropriate term for this is afrophobia. This is the dehumanising of people of African descent, and in the diaspora, because of their physiques, colour of their skins and behaviours.

The post-apartheid project of nation-building is the by-product of the contradiction of insularity agitating for “South Africanness”, and the African Renaissance as an all-embracing crystallisation of the consciousness of the whole of Africa’s people.

A system of organising society in which individual rights and freedoms are protected, and the markets are left to their own devices, spawned insular nationhood. This trumps the pursuit of a common African identity. It is because of this that, as the socio-economic grievances of the nationals increase, largely because of the economy’s poor performance, nationalism morphs into jingoism. The non-nationals become scapegoats.

Often, the consequences of this, as laid bare in the streets of Gauteng province, are pernicious.

Unfortunately, because of this, South Africa’s moral authority, which it earned after it became a democracy by playing a prominent role in Africa, is at stake. Hence its government is at pains to accept that xenophobia exists, and that it has been on the rise in the post-apartheid South Africa.

Of course, in some instances this phenomenon is opportunistically used to obscure the criminal activities of some non-national Africans in the country. But the suggestion by some in government that attacks on foreign nationals are sheer criminality rather than xenophobia is not cutting ice.

Some South Africans also became the victims in retaliatory attacks.

Coupled with calls that South Africa should be shunned, all these beget a cycle of internecine hostilities. These fracture economic, political and social relations.

Unfortunately, dissociation is not a solution. It’s a cop-out. If South Africa were to become a pariah state – again – whose interest would be served, and to what end? Wouldn’t it be those who, in the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, negotiated the rules about the scramble for Africa?

Their borders that balkanised Africa continue to stoke interstate acrimony. The xenophobic flare-ups in South Africa should be understood as the cumulative effect of this historical burden.

What needs to happen

Ramaphosa sent special envoys to the countries whose citizens were mostly affected by xenophobic violence – Nigeria, Niger, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia – to mend relations. This is a good diplomatic gesture.

However, this shouldn’t simply be a charm offensive, but instead a deliberate pursuit to give meaning to the term “Africa” in “South Africa”, which has waned after Mbeki’s presidency. South Africa should reclaim its leading role in Africa’s renaissance.

Re-imagining the future of Africa requires true commitment to pan-Africanism, anchored in the African philosophy of ubuntu (humanism), which decrees that

I am because we are.

The pan-Africanism spirit shouldn’t be fostered only in the African leadership and diplomatic circles, and used for political expediency. It should be part of the psyche of society and become a lived daily experience.

Xenophobia is a function of attitude. It thus requires the intervention of social institutions, such as universities, to mainstream pan-Africanism as a philosophy in their curricula and teaching.

It is important to shape the characters of students, who are future leaders, to understand that human co-existence is not a function of nationality, but of humanity. This should be part of the decoloniality agenda in Africa.The Conversation

 

Mashupye Herbert Maserumule, Professor of Public Affairs, Tshwane University of Technology

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Published in Opinion & Analysis
  1. Opinions and Analysis

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