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S. African lawmakers opposes monopoly in issuing of visas

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S. African lawmakers opposes monopoly in issuing of visas

Visas

The decision to extend the contract is in direct violation of the Public Finance Management Act and relevant regulations on procurement within competitive bidding processes, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs said in a statement.

The committee said it would write a letter to the Minister of Home Affairs, Siyabonga Cwele to review the contract with the Dubai-based VFS Global.

VFS Global, which manages visa and passport issuance-related administrative and non-discretionary tasks for a number of governments.

Parliamentary spokesperson, Malatswa Molepo, said South African lawmakers would like to hear from Cwele about the possibility of going out on an open tender process.

Also his plans to build capacity within his department to quickly process visa applications.

The minister will be expected to respond to the committee within a week, to ensure that the matter is dealt with before Parliament rises.

The initial contract was entered into in 2010 and nine years down the line, the department continues to renew a contract with only one company, said Molepo.

South African lawmakers have over the past year raised concerns about the VFS contract, calling the contract a systematic and deliberate creation to support a monopoly.

Monopoly, that is surely not good for broadening of economic participation and impede entry for smaller companies within the field.

“It is even more concerning that the department has extended the scope of work of VFS to establish services in countries it did not have previously,” said Committee Chairperson, Hlomani Chauke.

It also raises concerns about the legitimacy and bona fides of the contract, Chauke added.

The monopoly in the issuing of visas has drawn wide criticism from home and abroad.

Such monopoly has lead to few processed visa applications in key tourism markets such as China, Nigeria and India, seriously impacting the numbers of tourists coming into South Africa.

Foreign

South Sudan’s minister of East African Affairs dies

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South Sudan’s minister of East African Affairs in the current unity government, John Luk Jok has died, a government spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday.

Michael Makuei Lueth, minister of information and broadcasting, described the deceased as a liberator and scholar who helped write the country’s Constitution in 2011.

“It was this Tuesday morning when I received a telephone call and informed that brother John Luk Jok has passed on. So it is true that it has happened,” Makuei told Xinhua in Juba.

He said there was no official confirmation of the cause of the death.

“We have lost a great man who contributed a lot in a liberation struggle and after liberation. He had ever been a servant of people, and with his death, we have lost a great man,” said Makuei.

(XINHUA)

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Namibian gov’t condemns brutal killing of African-American citizen in United States

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Namibia has expressed deep outrage and condemned the brutal killing of George Floyd by U.S. police that took place in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the United States.

Namibia’s Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation in a statement issued Tuesday said it has been following with great concern the events surrounding the death of George Floyd.

The Namibian government has since expressed its solidarity with the African-American sisters and brothers and has called on all to exercise restraint in venting their legitimate and justified anger.

“Racism is a crime against humanity and should have no place in any society anywhere in the world,” Namibia’s deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said in the statement.

Nandi-Ndaitwah meanwhile called on the government of the United States to deploy all efforts at ensuring that the rights and human dignity of all its citizens, including in particular the African-Americans and all other minorities are upheld, respected and protected under law.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Nigerian newspaper decries African American glass ceiling

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Blacks in the United States are unable to reach their full potential because of a glass ceiling created by whites, according to an article in a Nigerian national newspaper.

The article in This Day, under the title “The Mindless Murder of George Floyd,” asked, “Why are many blacks targeted in needless killings by the white cops? What crime have they committed? Is it a crime to be black? What happened to diversity and inclusiveness?”

African American George Floyd was killed after a white police kneeled on Floyd’s neck for about eight minutes until he stopped breathing.

In a video, the victim was heard saying “I can’t breathe” while three other police officers stood by.

The incident has triggered protests against racism in the United States, forcing curfews to be declared in several parts of the country.

Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat called on authorities in the United States to intensify their efforts to “ensure the total elimination of all forms of discrimination based on race or ethnic origin.”

(XINHUA)

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S. African ruling party deplores racial discrimination in United States

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The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has deplored rising racial discrimination in the United States, calling for “an amicable solution” to the current racial impasse.

“While we note the action taken by American authorities in charging one of the officers who was caught on camera kneeling on an unarmed (George) Floyd, it is equally concerning that incidents of police brutality against African American citizens are on the increase,” the party said in a statement available to Xinhua on Tuesday.

The cascade of recent cases involving police brutality against black Americans “has sharpened the focus on inescapable realities that American society places a perilously low value on black lives,” the ANC said.

The Black Lives Matter movement, formed in 2013, highlighted the scourge of racial killings in the U.S. by organizing marches and demonstrations in response to the killings of black men and women by the police, said the ANC.

“It’s deplorable that almost 70 years since racial segregation was abolished in America, people of color are still routinely slaughtered for the color of their skin,” the party said.

The ANC fought and defeated racial supremacy and will not be cowered to remain silent in the face of the lynching of black people wherever they manifest, the party said.

The ANC urged the South African government to engage with the American government through established diplomatic channels to diffuse racial tensions and build social cohesion among different races.

(XINHUA)

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South African healthcare company cross-lists on Rwanda Stock Exchange

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South African healthcare company RH Bophelo (RHB) on Monday cross-listed on the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE) as it ventures into East Africa.

Pierre Celestin Rwabukumba, chief executive of the RSE, said in a statement issued here that the listing signals the diversification for investors in Rwanda and the region.

“This is a double plus and a major milestone to the nascent Kigali International Financial Center in its formation stage. It sends another message out there, that we can achieve capital formation from Africans, by Africans and for Africans,” Rwabukumba said.

Quinton Zunga, chief executive of RHB, said the company was excited by its position as the first private equity from outside the region to be listed on the young market.

“We believe this will provide investment opportunities to thousands of Rwandans and other regional investors willing to invest in the stock market since it now makes it convenient to invest in the company right here in Rwanda,” Zunga said.

As a healthcare centered investment company, RHB‘s goal is to make cross-listing part and parcel of its expansion strategy, he said.

The RHB is the ninth company to list on the Rwanda market and the first cross-listing from outside the East African region, according to the RSE.

(XINHUA)

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Metro

COVID-19: South African-based firm donates palliatives to vulnerable in FCTA

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A South African Real Estate Investment Company based in Nigeria, Novare, has donated palliatives to the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to help vulnerable communities cushion the effect of COVID-19.

Head of Legal of the company, Mr Chineme Onuoma, while presenting the items on Monday in Abuja, assured that the company would continue to support the FCT and Government of Nigeria in the fight against COVID-19.

The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that the items donated included 100 bags of 50kg rice, 245 cartons of indomie noddle, 100 cartons of spaghetti, 100 cartons of vegetable oil and 75 cartons of tomato paste .

He commended the steps taken by the administration to manage the pandemic in the territory.

Onuoma revealed that aside the provisions of palliatives to underserved communities, Novare had approved four months rent-free period, beginning from April 2020 to July 2020 with the intention to extend if necessary for its tenants.

“Particularly those tenants providing non-essential services as described by the Federal Government.

“Each of Novare’s mall accommodates over 60 tenants, having Shoprite and Game as its anchor tenant, with over 600 direct employees and well over 2, 000 indirect employees in each mall, including suppliers of the different goods and products sold by the tenants at the mall.

“To ensure that jobs and livelihoods are protected, starting from those closest to it, Novare, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, has so far approved four months rent-free period, beginning from April 2020 to July 2020.

“The rent-free concession granted to tenants have helped to keep their various businesses afloat, thus alleviating the financial burden on these tenants.

“This financial assistance enables the tenants to channel the income they generate to payment of staff salaries and sustaining their respective supply chains.

“This effectively reduces unemployment, which would have been the consequence if tenants were unable to survive this period,” Onuoma said.

He also stated that the firm had expressed commitment to observe all laid down protocols by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), on the prevention of the spread of the virus particularly within its facilities and to educate and sensitize the public in line with government directives.

Receiving the items, FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, commended the thoughtfulness of the firm especially in supporting the vulnerable with palliative items.

Represented by Prof. Muhammad Usman, her senior Special Assistant on Administration, Aliyu also appreciated the company for putting measures in place to ensure job sustainability.

The minister, who stressed the need for collaboration in the battle against COVID-19 pandemic, assured that the items would be distributed to underserved communities.


Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Ekemini Ladejobi (NAN)

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Protests over killing of African American held in Dublin

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Two separate protests were held here on Sunday over the brutal killing of an African American in the United States, reported Irish national radio and television broadcaster RTE.

One was held outside the United States embassy in Ballsbridge, an area in Dublin where many diplomatic missions are located, while another was carried out outside the official residence of the U.S. ambassador to Ireland inside Phoenix Park, the largest public park in the country, according to the report.

About 100 people took part in the protest outside the U.S. embassy, said the report.

Photos carried by the report showed that people of different colors gathered at the main entrance of the U.S. embassy, holding up placards and shouting slogans.

Slogans written on the placards include “I can’t breathe,” “Black Lives Matter” and “Justice for George Floyd,” said the report.

The report didn’t mention the number of people protesting outside the official residence of the U.S. ambassador to Ireland, nor did it mention the names of the organizers of the two protests.

Both protests were peaceful, said the report.

George Floyd was an African American who stopped breathing after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for minutes. In a video, the victim was heard repeatedly begging the police officers around him “I can’t breathe.”

The incident has triggered violent protests against racism in the United States, forcing curfews to be declared in many parts of the country.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

I Can’t Breathe: U.S. police brutality against African Americans

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The police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old black man, in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota on Monday evening has sparked waves of outrage across the United States.

For the fourth straight night following the death of Floyd at the hands of a white police officer while in custody, thousands of demonstrators have poured into streets in multiple U.S. cities to denounce the police brutality and racial discrimination.

The latest instance of police violence has once again brought the public attention to the racial divide which has kept tearing the U.S. society apart. (Xinhua/Wang Ying, Michael Nagle, Angus Alexander, Marcus DiPaola, Bao Dandan, Gu Xingnan, Yin Bogu, Jim Vondruska, Dane Iwata)

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Backgrounder: U.S. police brutality against African Americans

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The police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old black man, in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota on Monday evening has sparked waves of outrage across the United States.

For the fourth straight night following the death of Floyd at the hands of a white police officer while in custody, thousands of demonstrators have poured into streets in multiple U.S. cities to denounce the police brutality and racial discrimination.

The latest instance of police violence has once again brought the public attention to the racial divide which has kept tearing the U.S. society apart.

The following is a list of major racial riots between police and African Americans in recent years.

On June 19, 2018, Antwon Rose Jr., a 17-year-old African American teenager, was shot three times in the back by an East Pittsburgh police officer in Allegheny County as he fled a car suspected to be involved in an earlier shooting on that day.

Rose’s death sparked days of demonstrations in Pittsburgh demanding justice before his funeral, as protesters questioned police officer Michael Rosfeld‘s use of deadly force.

On Sept. 20, 2016, Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old African American, was fatally shot by police in the city of Charlotte in North Carolina, southeastern United States, sparking protests by African Americans against racial discrimination and injustice by police.

On Aug. 13, 2016, a confrontation between police and protestors turned violent in Milwaukee in the midwestern U.S. state of Wisconsin, after a police officer killed an armed 23-year-old African American trying to escape from two police officers who had stopped his car.

In April 2015, Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American, died in a Baltimore hospital after he was arrested for possessing what the police alleged to be an illegal switchblade.

Gray’s death sparked protests and riots in the city in northeastern United States. One year later, U.S. prosecutors dropped all charges against six police officers accused in the arrest and death of Gray.

On Aug. 9, 2014, 18-year-old African American Michael Brown was shot dead by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, sparking over two weeks of unrest and clashes between protesters and law enforcement in the town where most of the population are black.

On July 17, 2014, a cellphone recorded an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe” when a New York officer held him in a chokehold before his death in police custody. Garner’s last words were the same ones Floyd spoke as the officer knelt on his neck before he died.

Almost five years later, federal prosecutors said the officer who caused the death of Garner would not face criminal charges.

In July 2012, protestors clashed with police over two separate shootings in the city of Anaheim, southern California. Manuel Diaz, 25, and Joel Mathew Acevedo, 21, who were claimed by the police as gang members, were shot dead by police officers.

Protesters set fires, smashed windows and threw rocks at officers. The riots ended with 24 arrests and several injuries.

(XINHUA)

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