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Nelson Mandela Bay to host major tourism conference: SATSA 2018 Conference

Nelson Mandela Bay to host major tourism conference: SATSA 2018 Conference

L-R: Dewald Nieman, Eastern Cape Chapter Chairperson; Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism CEO, Ms Mandlakazi Skefile and SATSA Chief Executive Officer, David Frost at the recent Eastern Cape chapter meeting and conference venue site inspections. Nelson More »

IMF delivers SA a vote of confidence

IMF delivers SA a vote of confidence

The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook say the onset of a new political leadership in SA has reduced policy uncertainty The IMF has given SA a vote of confidence, revising its growth projections, but also warned that More »

Gender row sees Mark Lamberti resign as Imperial CEO

Gender row sees Mark Lamberti resign as Imperial CEO

Mark Lamberti has resigned as Imperial CEO‚ following an adverse judgment in the case brought by fired employee Adila Chowan‚ whom he called a “female employment equity candidate”. Imperial has promoted its chief financial officer‚ Osman Arbee‚ More »

Key witness in case against Nigerian pastor shot at in PE

Key witness in case against Nigerian pastor shot at in PE

PAMELLA Mabini, the woman who is one of the key witnesses in the case against a Nigerian pastor charged with human trafficking and the rape of young girls, was threatened and shot More »

Nelson Mandela Bay residents cry out for jobs as IDP and Budget meetings continue

Nelson Mandela Bay residents cry out for jobs as IDP and Budget meetings continue

IDP and Public Participation meetings currently under-way continues to draw crowds hungry for accelerated service delivery, job creation and crime reduction. The meeting held recently held in the Chatty Community Hall was no different. Hundreds of residents More »

 

Tag Archives: South Africa

Acsa’s 35% tariff cut means cheaper air travel in 2017

Could 2017 be the year for cheaper air travel in SA? We can only hope so.

The anticipated outcome for tariff adjustments for Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) for 2017 seems to support this outlook.

Acsa confirmed it will be decreasing aircraft landing fees, aircraft parking fees and the passenger service charges by 35.5% as of 1 April 2017.

The new tariff decision, determined by the independent industry Regulating Committee and published in the Government Gazette on 29 December 2016, will see a reduction in airport charges of 35.5% for the 2017/18 financial year –  however nominal this means cheaper air tickets.

The new passenger service charges (with prior year passenger service fees) are as follows and include VAT:

– Passenger service charge per departing domestic passenger: R82 (R127);

– Passenger service charge per departing passenger for an airport within Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia or Swaziland: R169 (R263)

– Passenger service charge per departing international passenger: R223 (R346).

Bongani Maseko, the Chief Executive of Airports Company South Africa says, “We are happy that this process has finally concluded, and all role players in the industry can now have regulatory certainty.”

While there are a number of taxes influencing the cost of air travel tickets, the most expensive of all and unaffected but these Acsa decreases is the fuel surcharge – priced in dollars, as are airline overheads and almost always sees Rand-based operators at a disadvantage.

Aircraft landing fees and aircraft parking fees vary according to the maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of an aircraft and length of stay. Both sets of charges vary further according to whether the flight originated within South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana or Swaziland or outside of South Africa.

FlySafair Head of Sales and Distribution Kirby Gordon welcomed the decrease saying, ” This is excellent news for South African flyers and the economy as a whole.”

“Overall pricing of tickets is a complex issue where we need to consider a number of factors. Fuel alone can account for 40% of direct costs, so our exposure to the rising price of oil and a weakening rand tends to have a stronger influence on fares. That said, the decrease in these tariffs is great and is a saving that we will most certainly seek to pass onto our customers,” says Gordon.

“There’s no doubt that the reduction in this tariff is excellent news for the industry and the consumer collectively.”

5% increase from 2018

But travellers should keep in mind that Acsa also confirmed these charges will again rise by 5.8% in the 2018/19 financial year and 7.4% in the 2019/20 financial year.

For 2016 Acsa reported a profit of R1.9bn. The state-owned enterprise’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) was up 7.1% to R5.2bn. It also showed revenue increased 6.8% to R8.3bn as a result of the introduction of new routes, growing passenger numbers from Europe and Asia and the performance of its non-aeronautical operations.

Acsa has had a number of development initiatives in the pipeline, including the re-alignment of the runway and terminal improvements at Cape Town International Airport (expected to commence in 2017) and the addition of aprons at OR Tambo.

According to Fin24 Acsa has developed a capital expenditure programme of R4.9bn from 2017 to 2019. A “major part” of the funding is to be generated internally and R800m of the funding will be sourced through debt”.

A deleveraging strategy has helped the organisation pay off its debt, “with the trend in borrowings receding, similarly in interests on costs”. The report states Acsa debt is at R9.8bn and R2.9bn is due in the next 3 years, from 2017 to 2019. In the past five years, Acsa paid off R7bn of its borrowings.

“It is important to note that the Final Permission is in line with Airports Company South Africa’s expectations and what was proposed to the Regulating Committee. We anticipated this outcome for some time, and factored it into our financial and business planning,” says Maseko.

– Traveller24

Governments are not doing enough to stop wildlife crime

A scathing new report shows that key countries affected by wildlife crime have failed to halt poaching and illegal trafficking of endangered animals as a result of widespread corruption and inadequate law enforcement, thus putting increasing numbers of species at risk of extinction.

Many promises, too little action

Wildlife crime – a multi-billion dollar a year business run by large international syndicates – remains a high-profit, low-risk venture, largely because of inaction on the part of governments who have publicly committed themselves to end the crisis but have failed to turn their obligations into effective results. That’s the key finding of a newly released report by the Environmental Investigation Agency.

The report investigates the extent to which 15 countries at the centre of the global wildlife crime pandemic have implemented the provisions of the 2014 London Declaration on Illegal Wildlife Trade to which they are signatories.

While the governments, including that of South Africa, have put in place much of the legal and administrative infrastructure, including laws and special investigative, prosecuting and enforcement units, and while they have established intergovernmental bodies, treaties and mechanisms, much of this machinery is not being employed efficiently to stem the tide.

As a result, “many commitments made on paper have not been translated into action”.

Legislation may provide for very punitive sentences for wildlife crimes, but the full force of the law is only rarely brought to bear and the imposed penalties are frequently not severe enough to deter other poachers and traffickers. In very few instances is the full suite of laws available to prosecute these crimes, including money laundering and freezing of assets, employed to bring about the strongest possible sentences.

The report demonstrates that widespread government corruption is one of the biggest problems. With the exception of Botswana, the USA and the UK, all of the countries investigated scored below 50 on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index which ranks governments on a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). What’s more, “although all 15 countries have legislation that criminalises corruption and have anti-corruption units or mechanisms, there are very few cases reported publicly in which corrupt officials associated with wildlife crime have been prosecuted”.

The findings indicate that the countries have not done enough to raise awareness of wildlife crime or to reduce the demand for illegal wildlife products. By not destroying seized stockpiles of poached and trafficked wildlife parts and products and by maintaining legal domestic markets, many actually promote continued demand and provide opportunities for the laundering of these goods.

SA: Some progress, but…

With regards to South Africa’s efforts to eradicate wildlife crime, the report acknowledges progress in several areas, noting, for instance that hundreds of magistrates, prosecutors and border officials have received training in wildlife issues and that there has been an increase in the number of arrests, convictions and stronger sentences.

Many problems remain, however. “Provincial and federal wildlife enforcement agencies are under-funded”, especially those in the important provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga, while the functioning of the National Wildlife Crime Reaction Unit “has been hindered due to lack of resources and co-operation from provincial authorities and police”. The Environmental Management Inspectorate remains without a prosecutorial mandate and substantial differences between provincial wildlife laws create “numerous loopholes which undermine effective law enforcement”.

Perhaps most troubling is the fact that the country ranks low on the corruption index (44) indicating that bribery and fraud among officials is a major problem. This is exacerbated by the fact that “there is no effective anti-corruption strategy within the police and the DEA [Department of Environmental Affairs] is also lacking a specific anti-corruption programme”.

The report highlights another issue that gets little attention in the media: South African laws provide scant protection for non-native species, including tigers.  This is particularly worrying as “a minimum of 280 captive tigers are held in 44 facilities” and there is a “growing trade in tigers and their parts and products from South Africa”. Between 2006 and 2015, “212 live tigers, 25 tiger ‘trophies’ and 20 tiger skins” were exported from South Africa, raising concern over the possibility that tiger bones are being laundered into the legal market as lion bones.

It’s time for action

The report identifies a number of priority actions which the countries need to take urgently by issuing the necessary “directives assigning political and financial resources to combat wildlife crime”.

Key actions include:

– Addressing legal loopholes and strengthening law enforcement, as well as the investigation and prosecution of wildlife crime, by providing sufficient resources and funding.

– Making sure that wildlife crime is prosecuted using laws which carry the highest possible sentences.

– Investigating and prosecuting government officials linked to corrupt practices.

– Closing domestic markets for threatened species and destroying stockpiled wildlife products.

– Researching and implementing “professional, targeted demand reduction campaigns”.

– Traveller24