The Portfolio Committee on Internal Affairs has welcomed the progress in clearing the backlog of asylum seeker appeals, which currently stands at 133,582.
The committee is hopeful that the project partnership agreement between the Department of Internal Affairs, through the Refugee Appeals Authority of South Africa (RAASA) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, will meet their intended goals and that the RAASA will experience no further delays.
“Removing the backlog of asylum seekers will go a long way towards ensuring the rights of those who are truly in need of protection in South Africa.
Furthermore, it will strengthen South Africa's position in promoting and supporting human rights as advocated by the United Nations,” said Mr. Mosa Chabane, Chairman of the committee.
The committee appreciates the assurance that the four-year project partnership agreement at an estimated cost of R146 784 million will provide the necessary capacity support that RAASA needs to clear the backlog.
While the committee acknowledges that the number of appeals decided since the project was launched remains low, with 450 decisions made and 284 incomplete files returned to DHA, it is hopeful that the appointment of the new RAASA chair will help greatly to promote the project.
The committee welcomed the digitization of all records to improve the adjudication process and reduce the possibility of loss of records.
The committee has urged full digitization to ensure speedy processing and streamlined processes.
In the meantime, the committee welcomes the full reopening of refugee reception offices across the country, with the exception of the Cape Town office which is only awaiting the completion of the new office.
The committee also called for the continuation of online extensions to reduce the volume of clients visiting offices in person.
Meanwhile, the committee received a presentation from the Congolese Civil Society of South Africa on various issues affecting refugees and those seeking refuge in South Africa.
The committee has resolved to raise some of those concerns with the Department of the Interior and, after receiving concrete responses from DHA, will engage with the civil society group.
After a nervous start, the Department of the Interior's (DHA) collaborative effort with the Department of Employment and Labor to recruit 10,000 unemployed young graduates to digitize their paper civic records (DHA) has so far received 85,820 applications and 23,374 have qualified to be evaluated and interviewed.
Esther Tloane, Senior Director of the Department of Employment and Labour: Employer Services, said multiple teams at Job Centers and provincial offices were working hard to screen, verify and ensure qualified candidates are shortlisted ahead of expected interviews.
let them start soon.
The recruitment of the 10,000 unemployed young graduates followed the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa during the State of the Union address in February 2022 that “the Department of the Interior will recruit 10,000 unemployed young graduates for the digitization of their civic records on paper, improving their skills and contributing to the modernization of citizen services” through the Presidential Employment Stimulus (PES).
Launching the contracting project on August 11, Home Secretary Aaron Motsoaledi said the Department has more than 350 million paper civic records relating to births, marriages, deaths and amendments.
The category of records dates back to 1895, which requires care and reliable systems that have tolerance for digitization purposes.
These records are found in all provinces and the bulk of which are in Gauteng, North West and Western Cape. The project is expected to last for a period of three (3) years, from November 2022 to October 2025.
The recruitment campaign will be divided into three phases: Phase 1: will see the recruitment of the first promotion of 2,000 young people unemployed graduates.
This cohort will take office on November 1, 2022.
Phase 2 will see a new recruitment of 4,000 young unemployed graduates.
This cohort will take office in January 2023.
Phase 3 will see a new and final hire of 4,000 unemployed young graduates.
This cohort will take up their duties in April 2023.
Successful young people will receive a stipend ranging from R5,000 for entry level positions to R9,500 for help desk level positions and R14,250 for manager level positions.
This cohort must sign a three-year contract linked to the duration of the project.
Ms. Tloane said that the Department was putting the finishing touches on the process that led to interviews and placements.
She said that to date the Department has received 7,739 inquiries related to the digitization project and 7,523 have been answered.
“In advancing equity, however, I am concerned that we are receiving few applicants from people with disabilities”; she said.
Unemployed youth must be qualified in Information Technology; Management of Documents, Information and Records, obtained from Higher Education Institutions (Universities, Technological Universities, TVETs).
Successful applicants will be subject to suitability checks (citizenship, credit, criminal, and qualification checks) (looks like we'll be doing this feature).
DHA has partnered with the Department of Employment and Labor to use the Department's online recruitment platform called Employment Services South Africa (ESSA).
Potential candidates who meet the criteria should register on the ESSA (South African Employment System) recruitment platform found on the Department's website at www.labour.gov.za and those without internet access should visit the nearest office (Centro Laboral) of the Department of Employment and Labor.
Candidates who are already registered with ESSA do not have to visit Job Centers and can apply for these positions online.
Sixteen people died and 21 were injured in a road accident involving a bus and an ambulance in southeastern Turkey, media reported Saturday.
The governor of Gaziantep province Davut Gul said that the deaths and injuries were sustained “in an accident involving a bus, an emergency team and an ambulance… between Gaziantep and Nizip”.
Local media gave a higher toll than the provisional figure given earlier by the governor, reporting 16 deaths and 21 injuries.
The DHA news agency said an ambulance, a firefighting truck and a bus carrying journalists were hit by a passenger bus.
“Three firefighters, two emergency workers and two journalists figure among the dead,” the Gaziantep governor said.
Photos on DHA showed the back of an ambulance ripped out and metal debris strewn around it.
A Turkish prosecutor on Thursday asked an Istanbul court to dismiss a case into the gruesome murder of Riyadh critic Jamal Khashoggi and transfer it to Saudi Arabia, his Turkish fiancée confirmed.
The development comes as Turkey seeks to thaw relations with Saudi Arabia, which worsened after the 2018 killing of Washington Post contributor Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
"The prosecutor requested, according to the Saudi lawsuit, the transfer of the file to #SaudiArabia and its completion in #Turkey," Hatice Cengiz tweeted after Thursday's hearing in Istanbul's main court.
“The court will seek the opinion of the Turkish Ministry of Justice. #Khashoggi #JusticeForJamal,” she commented.
The prosecutor said, according to the private DHA news agency, that the case "has been dragging on because court orders cannot be executed due to the fact that the suspects are foreign citizens."
On October 2, 2018, Khashoggi, 59, entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul to file papers to marry his Turkish fiancée.
According to US and Turkish officials, a waiting Saudi death squad strangled him and dismembered his body, which has never been recovered.
The assassination sparked international outrage that continues to reverberate, with Western intelligence agencies accusing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of authorizing the assassination.
The crown prince has said he accepts overall responsibility for Saudi Arabia but denies a personal link, with the kingdom saying it was the work of agents gone "rogue".
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at the time that the order to kill "came from the highest levels" of the Saudi government without pointing a guilty finger at the crown prince.
'Insist on justice'
Dissatisfied with the trial in Saudi Arabia, Turkey has launched its own investigation into the murder and put 26 Saudis on trial in absentia, including two close to the crown prince.
In an interview with AFP in February, Cengiz said Turkey must continue to insist on justice for Khashoggi "even if it improves its relations" with Riyadh.
"I don't think it's in anyone's interest to shut it down completely."
Asked if she was disappointed, Cengiz said: "If we look at it from the point of view of realpolitik, (Turkey's position) did not disappoint me", adding that countries were "ruled not by emotions" but by " mutual interests."
But he added: “Emotionally speaking, of course, I am sad.
“Not because my country has made peace with Saudi Arabia and this issue is closing, but ultimately, no matter how fiercely we defend it, at the national level, at the state level, at the president level… now everything is starting to come together. go back to being like before, as if nothing had happened. I am inevitably disappointed by this.”
Turkey, which is recovering from a new economic crisis and seeking foreign investment and trade, has moved closer to regional rivals such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Erdogan said in January that he was planning a visit to Riyadh, which would come at a critical time for Turkey, where inflation is rising to more than 50 percent.
The next hearing is scheduled for April 7.
A joint mega blitz inspection in Joe Gqabi district led by Provincial Chief Inspector Patiswa Mbongwana saw 78 workplaces in the wholesale and retail sectors, various including salons and funeral homes, EPWP and hospitality sectors inspected from 1 to March 4, 2022 focusing on and around Maletswai, Sterkspruit, Ventersdorp, Jamestown, Burgersdorp, Lady Grey, and Barkley East.
The collaboration of the Department of Employment and Labor with the Department of the Interior and the South African Police Services resulted in the issuance of 43 enforcement orders due to breaches of the National Minimum Wage Act and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. Areas of non-compliance range from underpayment of wages, non-payment of overtime and Sundays, non-delivery of pay stubs, attendance records, and employment contracts. The total underpayment is R342,000 and these employers have 14 days to comply, otherwise the employers will be referred for prosecution.
45 undocumented immigrants who are citizens of Lesotho, Pakistan, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Malawi were arrested and detained while 20 appeared before the Maletswai magistrates court on March 2, 2022.
The role of the Inspectors is to educate employers and employees on labor laws while enforcing the National Minimum Wage Act (NMWA); Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), Unemployment Insurance Act (UIA), and Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Act (COIDA) during inspections. The Department of the Interior (DHA) and the South African Police Services (SAPS) were part of the joint operation to examine the legality of foreigners employed in different sectors and the validity of their permits. The Department of the Interior is responsible for enforcing Immigration Law.
“Joint lightning inspections are a mechanism to ensure that employer labor laws and employee rights are not violated. These should not be taken as punitive, but as measures to guarantee decent work," said Nomfundo Douw-Jack.
The Department of Employment and Labor issues a confirmation notice as soon as the compliance order expires after 14 days to all non-compliant employers.
One hundred and sixty four passengers were rescued on Tuesday as passenger plane operated by Pegasus Airline skidded off the runway in the Turkish city of Istanbul leading to the shutting down of the airport temporarily.
The Boeing 737-800 plane arriving Istanbul from Sharjah in the United Arab Emirate (UAE), skidded off the runway on Tuesday, causing suspension of flights at the Sabiha Gökçen International Airport, Istanbul’s second airport.
According to The National, a UAE newspaper, images from the scene saw emergency vehicles surrounding the plane, which was apparently stranded on the grass next to the runways.
All departures from the airport have been suspended, while the incident is dealt with. The DHA news agency reported passengers were evacuated by emergency slides.
Istanbul governor’s office said there were no deaths or injuries and all 164 passengers were safely evacuated, according to DHA.
Several planned departures have been cancelled and arrivals have been diverted to other airports.
The PC747 flight departed Sharjah at 5:15am and arrived in Istanbul on time. Storms and heavy rain have affected the city and transportation since Sunday night.
The official Anadolu news agency said the international airport will be closed until 12:20.
It is the latest incident of a flight coming off a runway to affect Pegasus Airlines, the low cost airline, in Turkey.
In 2018, a Boeing 737-800 skidded off the runway at Trabzon on the Black Sea coast and plunged down the side of a cliff overlooking the sea.
The 168 passengers and crew were evacuated safely.
Turkish coastguard says it has rescued 46 migrants from the Aegean Sea off the coast of Turkey and recovered one body, the coastguard said in a statement on Tuesday.
“They were picked up off the western Turkish district of Kusadasi.
“The location is close to the Greek Island of Samos’’, it said.
The coastguard received an alert about stranded migrants at 4:45 a.m. (0145 GMT) and deployed three boats and a helicopter to the area.
The migrants’ half-submerged boat was spotted and they were rescued at 5:30 a.m.
While the coastguard’s statement did not mention any nationalities, Turkey’s private DHA news agency said they were Iraqi nationals and that several survivors, including women and children were taken to hospital.
Migrants continue to use Turkey as a departure point as they try to reach EU member state Greece.
Turkey accommodates more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees in addition to those from other countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq.
Edited by: Abiodun Oluleye/Ese E. Ekama
Turkish Authorities carried out a series of early morning raids on Friday against academics and members of civil society, DHA news agency reported.
Among those arrested were five representatives of the Anadolu Kultur institute, including the deputy head of the institute, Yigit Ekmekci.
The chairman of the cultural institute, the businessman and intellectual Osman Kavala, was already arrested more than a year ago but has yet to face charges.
He is accused, among other things, of confessing to playing a “role’’ in connection with foreigners in the failed coup attempt against President Recept Tayyip Erdogan in July 2016.
Others arrested on Friday were the dean of a law faculty and a female mathematics professor, DHA reported.
The raids were directed against 20 people, the report said, without clarifying why they were targeted by the authorities.
Since the failed coup in 2016, the Turkish government has clamped down hard on perceived enemies of the state, terrorists, among them academics, journalists and human rights activists.
Tens of thousands of people have been arrested, often for alleged links to the movement of the exiled Islamic cleric, Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan accuses of being behind the coup.
The Anadolu Kultur institute cooperates with foreign cultural institutes like Germany’s Goethe Institute in Istanbul.
Edited by: Abigael Joshua/Abdulfatah Babatunde
A Turkish journalist was handed a suspended sentence of two years and five months in prison on Thursday for insulting Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan, a court ruling seen by Reuters showed.
Husnu Mahalli, a prominent journalist who also writes columns in the opposition newspaper Sozcu, will, however, not be sent to jail due to time already served and as the ruling is up for appeal.
The Turkish court also handed Mahalli a suspended sentence of one year and eight months for insulting public officials.
Mahalli will only serve the less sentence if he commits a crime that requires a prison sentence in the next five years, during which he will be on probation.
“My client has been sentenced due to the expressions he used in his columns, tweets. These should be regarded within the freedom of criticism. We will appeal the sentence,” Mahalli’s lawyer, Ertugrul Aydogan, said.
Mahalli was detained in December 2016 after he accused Turkey of assisting terrorist groups in Syria and called Erdogan a dictator.
He was released in January in 2017 pending trial.
Mahalli defended himself in court, saying he was doing his journalistic duty, a privately-owned Demiroren news agency (DHA) reported.
“I have not insulted the president. I have always addressed him as Mr. President. The word ‘dictator’ is not an insulting word. I demand my acquittal,” he said during his defense, DHA said.
Turkish authorities have detained tens of thousands of civil servants, journalists, soldiers and others following a failed military coup in July 2016.
They have also shut down about 130 media outlets.
Erdogan has said some journalists helped nurture terrorists through their writing.
He said the crackdown was needed to ensure stability in Turkey, a NATO member that borders Syria, Iraq and Iran.
Critics assert that Erdogan had been using the post-coup crackdown to muzzle dissent and tighten his grip on power, charges he denied.
The European Union, which Turkey aspires to join, has also criticised the crackdown.
Edited by: David Onilede/Donald Ugwu
Istanbul, Aug. 8, 2018 Bridges collapsed, hundreds of workers were evacuated from factories, and tonnes of hazelnut crops were swept away on Wednesday as torrential rains lashed Turkey’s Black Sea coast.
The coastal province of Ordu was badly hit.
A statement from the governor’s office said heavy rains caused landslides and more than 100 flash floods.
A total of 715 workers, at a hazelnut farm and a textile factory, had to be moved to safety, the governor’s office said.
The coastguard joined rescue efforts. Helicopters, ambulances and bulldozers were dispatched to several neighbourhoods in Ordu, one of 18 provinces along the 1,700-kilometre Black Sea coast.
Broadcast footage showed people scrambling to higher ground.
One elderly man was rescued from the balcony of his two-storey home in the bucket of a bulldozer.
Cars and houses were underwater.
“We are having a serious disaster in seven of our districts. As many as eight bridges were destroyed,’’ Ordu Mayor Enver Yilmaz told private DHA news agency.
There were no casualties so far, five people were injured.
Haberturk daily reported that 30,000 tonnes of hazelnut crops were washed away in the floodwaters.
Turkey produces nearly 70 per cent of the world’s hazelnuts, according to the Customs and Trade Ministry.
The weather bureau warned that heavy rains will continue overnight through Thursday.
Edited by: Abigael
(NAN) Joshua/Felix Ajide