South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) hosted a webinar with representatives from the UIF to give an update on the latest UIF issues and queries. You can view the recording here.

Closure of April and May applications

The closure of April and May applications has not yet been announced, but the intention is to close these applications by the end of July. The final decision on this matter will be communicated by Makhosonke Buthelezi, Director of Communication and Marketing UIF.

To ensure that your April and May applications are attended to, Allan Ragavaloo, Director of Provincial Support UIF, advises that you submit your April and May applications should have been completed by, 30 July.

If applications are closed for April and May, this means that no new applications will be accepted, but any applications that are in the system, whether they have been denied due to an error or are pending payment for some other reason, will all still be processed.

Incorrect data in the system

The online portal is being configured to allow employers to rectify incorrect data themselves. This functionality is expected to be live on 10 August.

Employers will then have the opportunity to update or correct data related to monthly salaries, leave income, and lockdown period dates.

Bank verifications

The online portal is also being configured to provide a specific reason for failed bank verification to help applicants rectify incorrect data, e.g. when the bank account does not match with the enterprise number (for entities registered with the Department of Trade and Industry); or ID number or passport number (for sole proprietors or domestic workers).

Bank verification with verifying banks is an automated process that takes anywhere from 24-48 hours.

Bank verification with non-verifying banks, or for entities without an enterprise number, ID or passport number, occurs manually by sending details to the respective bank via ABSA. This process will be improved by involving the National Treasury to match accounts with entities/individuals. If the National Treasury does not find a match, details will then be sent to the respective bank.

If verification fails, applicants can change the details in the system. However, once banking details have been verified, they are locked in the system.

Blocked account

Users with blocked uFiling accounts will be receiving a letter from UIF Risk Management explaining the steps for unblocking an account.

Beginning a UIF claim, still linked to TERS

If you are an employee who has received TERS but now must apply for normal UIF (due to retrenchment), you must be removed from the TERS system before applying to UIF. (The system currently picks up on an employee’s ID number and will not allow an employee to have more than one application in progress at the same time.) Email viwe.gqoli@labour.gov.za to assist in unblocking your access to UIF.

Password reset

An account is blocked after three incorrect password entries. If you are unable to reset your password, send an email (subject: password reset) to viwe.gqoli@labour.gov.za, including your mobile number to answer security questions over the phone.

For many months, our Tourism Industry has had to deal with the cataclysmic effects of a Government lockdown to stem the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. The measures have been at an astounding cost to the livelihoods of a passionate tourism workforce and tourism businesses that have been built over many years of toil and sacrifice.

This is about more than numbers and statistics. This is about more than bums in beds and seats. It is about a community of dedicated and committed people who love to share their home with others.

The events in the past few months, indeed the past week, have been devastating. Understandably, you will expect a visible and escalated reaction instead of the structured engagement we are pursuing.

We ask you to keep the faith and trust that there is nothing more urgent and important that has our focus than reopening tourism in and to South Africa, as quickly as possible, as safely possible.

SATSA CEO David Frost explains why it’s important to keep the faith and stay the course. Click on the video below to view the clip.

Amidst this looming devastation, there has been a tidal wave of businesses calling on Insurers to do the right thing and pay out business interruption insurance claims. An incredible amount of media, lobbying and legal work has been undertaken by various stakeholders, including SATIB.

Despite calls for legal action, it has always been abundantly clear to us that pursuing the legal route is a long game the Tourism and Hospitality sector can ill afford. We know many businesses need immediate relief, not at the end of a protracted legal battle.

We’ve pushed hard to persuade Insurers to offer a compromise settlement in the form of a hospitality relief fund, offering data-driven evidence of the cruel and devastating impact that COVID-19 has had on tourism and hospitality businesses and their staff, as well as the imminent massacre of jobs in the sector.

So it warms my heart to tell you that all that work, all the appeals and the lobbying has yielded a positive result.

We engaged until late last night with two leading Insurers who have both acknowledged the industry’s pleas and have agreed to create Interim Relief for their tourism and hospitality clients, available immediately to policy holders subject to certain criteria.

Read more

Join the Inbound Recovery Strategy team for an update on all the work behind the scenes to ensure that South Africa is Travel Ready. We’re on hand to share the strategy, how exactly we propose it is rolled out and to answer your questions.

Date: July 30
Time: 15h00
RSVP: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_HAjfnh6jQKKwikfXrTvmVg

Please send your questions to communications@satsa.co.za

SARS has published the COVID-19 Small Business Tax Relief Measures.

This leaflet is a quick reference to the draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill, and Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill to help Small, Micro, or Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) with their claims, should they wish to benefit from them.

In order to qualify for the COVID -19 Tax Relief, an SMME must meet the following criteria:

1. Have a good Tax Compliance Status (TCS)
2. Conduct trade during the year of assessment ending on, or after 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, and has a gross income of R100 million or less
3. The gross income must not include more than 20% in aggregate of interest, dividends, foreign dividends, royalties, rental from letting fixed property, annuities and any remuneration received from an employer.

Please click here to view the full document.

SATSA will keep you updated with new information as and when it becomes available.

People returning to South Africa may now apply to self-isolate for a fixed period rather than staying in quarantine facilities provided by the state. This was gazetted by the Department of Health on 17 July 2020.

The gazette stipulates that all persons entering the Republic through any point of entry must be subjected to screening at the point of entry, and may be placed under mandatory quarantine for a minimum period of 14 days. Self-quarantine will be considered on the condition that an application is made to the Director-General of Health (quarantine@health.co.za) at least 72 hours before the start of the journey and that the place of self-quarantine complies with set criteria.

The application must be supported by the following:

(a) Particulars of the place and address where self -quarantine will take place;
(b) written declaration committing to all conditions for self-quarantine;
(c) copy of Identity Document or Passport;
(d) contact details where the applicant may be reached for the duration of the quarantine period; and
(e) details of his or her itinerary for the last 30 days.

To qualify for self -quarantine or self-isolation, the applicant must have the following:

(a) Separate well-ventilated bedroom with a bathroom and toilet, or a residence that is not shared with persons who are not subject to quarantine;
(b) meals served in the room in disposable utensils or utensils that are separate and are washed properly, if there are persons who are not subject to quarantine;
(c) support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries;
(d) a thermometer that will allow him or her to measure his or her temperature daily;
(e) access to the internet and a phone that will enable the daily reporting of symptoms;
(f) access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she require medical advice or care; and
(g) a contact number where he or she can be reached during the period of self – quarantine or self -isolation.

Where approval for self -quarantine has not been granted, or it has been determined that the person has failed to adhere to the self -quarantine conditions, such a person will be placed at in a state identified quarantine facility.

An exemption of quarantine can be obtained under exceptional circumstances.

More information is available in the published gazette.

The City Lodge Hotel Group (CLHG) has been working hard behind the scenes to strip out single-use plastic from guest bedrooms. In a bold move, the group, together with its South African supplier The Bespoke Amenities Company (TBAC), is launching an all-new range of bathroom amenities, including a Zero Bar. These will be available across all five hotel brands – Fairview Hotel (Kenya), Courtyard Hotel, City Lodge Hotel, Town Lodge and Road Lodge – in what is a first for a South African hotel group, and among the first in the world.

The new guest amenities range includes the Zero Bar collection produced by TBAC. Standard products will include:

All products are now packaged in Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified cardboard packaging that is completely recyclable. If guests choose not to recycle the packaging, however, it poses no threat to rivers, oceans and landfills. The Zero bars also reduce the carbon footprint of the supply chain, as previously the liquid products meant trucking water around the country.

Other products available on request from reception will include:

As stock of the existing amenities runs down in hotels, it will be replaced with the new environmentally-friendly range.

Guests will be encouraged to take their amenities home with them and a Zero Bar “Bar Saver” may be purchased at reception if needed. Just think, no more liquids to declare at airline check-in counters and reduced weight of hand luggage!

The group has 62 hotels in six countries in East and Southern Africa offering 8070 rooms to business and leisure travellers. In its bid to “cut the nonsense”, as Bruce Turner, MD of TBAC puts it, here is how much “nonsense” CLHG will have cut from landfill per year in future:

– PET bottles: 688 201 units
– Flow wraps: 1 364 954 units
– Plastic tubes: 67 829 units
– Boxed accessories (non-FSC board) 53 142 units

That’s a staggering 2 141 434 units less of plastic in South Africa’s landfills each year.

Andrea Anderson, general manager: operations at CLHG, says: “We are very excited to take this huge step in sustainability to benefit the planet and believe we are the first hotel group in the country to go this particular route. The new bathroom amenities range leapfrogs over alternative solutions, such as dispensing systems, and reflects the latest thinking in sustainability. It also adds a bold, fun and fresh element to the guest’s in room experience. This is just one of several sustainability initiatives that CLHG is involved in. We invite guests to come on this journey with us.”

Bruce adds, “City Lodge Hotel Group had a desire for an alternative to plastic-intensive amenities and we came up with a groundbreaking solution. We care for our country, our guests, our company and our environment with which we have been entrusted by future generations. Above all, we care for people. In these important areas our core values and those of City Lodge Hotel Group are aligned. This collaboration to launch a range of environmentally-friendly guest amenities means less plastic on bathroom counter tops and beaches. Together, we have made it easy for guests to make a difference.”

CLHG takes sustainability seriously:

Energy: In 2019, the group rolled out a large-scale solar panels project at 25 hotels at cost of R20m, with a combined energy output of approximately 1.45 megawatts of power or 10% of the entire group’s energy requirements.

Cage-free eggs: In January 2020, the group announced its commitment to move to 100% cage-free eggs throughout its operations by 2025. This will include shell eggs, liquid eggs and processed products that contain eggs. The group has partnered with Humane Society International-Africa (HSI-Africa) on its journey towards offering eggs and egg-products sourced in a more welfare-friendly manner across all of its hotels, affecting some 1.4-million eggs consumed per year.

Plastic: In addition to the new amenities range being launched, the group is rolling out hydration stations at its hotels offering a free alternative to plastic water bottles. Filtered, magnesium-enriched water is now available for all guests.

If there is one thing that the current global COVID-19 crisis has taught humankind, it is that much can be accomplished when you take a moment to be still and revaluate what is important in life. We have been forced to quieten the day to day busyness and learnt how to live in the moment, how to become fluid and flexible and recreate yourself in order to survive, to roll with the punches, and to hopefully come out on the other side – STRONGER…..more determined….and still clinging on to that glimmer of HOPE. Great strides in conservation can be made by taking a step back, observing, and simply allowing Nature to speak. If you can understand the language of Nature, you can turn this knowledge into powerful drivers of positive change.

Despite the world in lockdown critical elephant research is STILL taking place. For those of you that are stuck at home or missing Africa and the bush, we are offering you the opportunity to participate in a unique live conservation experience. Front row seats from the comfort and safety of your home, the opportunity to see the elephant experts in action. You will get to see first hand all that is involved from the initial tracking to the immobilizing and fitting of the collar on one of Elephants Alive’s iconic elephants, all while helping conservation professionals make a difference in protecting and studying these magnificent creatures.

In just a few weeks, the Blue Sky Society team along with the professionals from Elephants Alive and wildlife vets will be part of an extraordinary virtual elephant collaring operation in the Hoedspruit area. The bush echoes with stories told by generations of gentle giants that roam these grasslands; stories infused with age-old wisdom; stories that must be preserved.

We will be joining a stellar team of experts from wildlife and conservation bodies who have dedicated their lives to listening to these stories and responding in ways to save and protect these majestic beasts. The collaring date will be confirmed when we have received the permit. The team will spend a morning collaring elephants in the Hoedspruit area. We will collar one elephant but if more funds are raised, we can repeat the operation. We are also hoping to raise enough funds to feed a few of the wildlife communities in rural areas adjacent to some of these pristine wildlife spaces. You can help us to achieve this by supporting this initiative.

Each ticket is per device so this means that you can purchase one ticket which will give you, your family, and/or friends the chance to be a part of this experience provided you all watch off the same device together.   We only deal with the professionals so this virtual collaring will allow guests the opportunity to see how things roll out on the ground while being able to interact and ask the wildlife vets questions in real-time.  This is a first for us and I think a first for conservation. So we are truly excited about bringing the work we do with fellow South Africans and the rest of the world!

Please see the event details below: 

Date: 8th August 2020

Time: We will have two time slots 8am to 11am for our first Elephant Collaring of the day and then 14h30 to 17h00 for our second. This allows us to cater for all viewers across different time zones.  This is South African Time (UTC+2) ). Your ticket will allow you access to watch both collaring’s.

Tickets: Click here to buy a ticket (If you would like to gift someone with a ticket just let me know and  I will happily assist you 😊)

Donate: If you would prefer to simply make a donation of your own amount, please use the ticket link and select the donation option on the ticketing page, Every donation helps us get one step closer to making this happen and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support.

Share The Love: Should you wish to help us by spreading the word about our event and what we do, please connect with us on social media (Facebook & Instagram) or forward this mail onto your fellow elephant lovers!

You can watch a video from a collaring we did in March pre-lock down to give you an idea. https://youtu.be/plzp1rqsEXo

Why collar?

There are several critical reasons why we need to raise funds to collar elephants in this area:

Scientific researchAs with everything in life, the best decisions are knowledge-based. Similarly, safeguarding and preserving Africa’s elephant population is heavily dependent on quality data. Experts must be able to monitor the animals’ movements and migration routes. The elephants we will be working with cross man-made borders between the various Private Reserves to the west of the Kruger National Park. How does this impact on water and food access, how do the elephants’ journeys overlap with different land-use practices across the mosaic of Protected Areas and how best do we protect the animals and humans under these circumstances? The answers are based on scientific research i.e. crucial data that the collars will provide.

Collars help prevent conflict between elephants and people: Human-wildlife conflict is an age-old dilemma. The collars provide experts with critical data, which help them make life-saving decisions so that people and elephants can co-exist in harmony. Fully understanding jumbo behaviour and movement will fuel significant, impactful decision-making and intervention measures. The collars provide real-time data so rangers, for example, can move in if necessary, with rapid response teams and herd the animals away if they wander too close to communities or valuable infrastructure. If an animal is injured or stationary for too long the transmitter will show researchers that the animal has not moved, and they can immediately send in the response team to go and see what is happening.

Influencing policy: Three countries make up the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area. Data gathered from the elephant collars will be channelled to key policy- and decision-makers in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa as the animals can wander over wide areas. This will facilitate greater cross-border collaboration resulting in more impactful conservation efforts

There is much riding on our elephant-collaring mission. YOU are invited to help us save lives (elephants and people) within this precious area of exquisite natural beauty.

**PLEASE NOTE that this is a Blue Sky Society Trust fundraising initiative. To collar elephants is not an easy or cheap task but is very necessary. Each collar costs approximately R 90 000 per collar which includes 2 years data, then there are wildlife vet, filming, marketing , helicopter expenses and a administration fee. We aim to raise enough funds to collar 3 Elephants. We are also hoping to reach our target as we would like to assist a few rural communities adjacent to these wildlife areas with food parcels in this time of devastation in the world.

THE SPECIALIST TEAMS:

BLUE SKY SOCIETY TRUST

Blue Sky Society Trust is an independent non-profit organisation in Africa dedicated to conservation, wildlife protection, community upliftment, and ecotourism in the continent. We believe that every act of kindness can have a positive ripple effect, and even the smallest contribution can make a big difference. Our mission is to protect, preserve, and improve life for people, wildlife, and communities in need. Our vision is to identify and manage projects that people, and companies can support by giving their time, expertise, ideas and much needed funds. www.blueskysociety.org

ELEPHANTS ALIVE

Elephants Alive represents a South African based NGO consisting of a small but impactful team who have consistently placed research-based information on the table to help managers best protect elephants throughout Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park and beyond. We have extensive experience collaring elephants and networking with other NGOs to achieve what is best for elephants. Having deployed close to 200 collars throughout Southern African since 1998, we represent a very experienced and professional team. Elephants Alive, together with wildlife vets have collared many elephants with Blue Sky Society Trust. The elephants that we have collared are functioning as trailblazers, showing us how, where and when we should be connecting Protected Areas across the landscape. We look forward to the opportunity to discover more corridor-moving elephants. www.elephantsalive.org

WILDLIFE VETS

WildlifeVets came to be after Dr Cobus Raath left the Kruger National Park and started a private practice in the lowveld of Mpumalanga in the mid-90s. After having accrued over 30 years of wildlife veterinary and capture experience, Dr’s Joel Alves and Ben Muller joined the team in 2018 and 2017 respectively to bring together a great blend of experience and energy. Besides predominately having a focus on conservation work within the lowveld, WildlifeVets has a large footprint in other countries both in and out of Africa, in the last three years having successfully carried out operations in Malawi, Tanzania, Mozambique and the Republic of Congo. Wildlifevets continues to strive to have a multi-dimensional approach to conservation and veterinary science and thanks to a fully equipped operation, are capable of carrying out any scale of conservation project. www.wildlifevets.net

PAINTEDDOG TV

Founded in January 2019 by Brent Leo-Smith and Wium Dörnbrack, Painted Dog TV is a technology driven wildlife and conservation film production company. With over 30 years of combined wildlife, conservation and film-making experience, and based in the wild heart-land of South Africa bordering the famous Kruger National Park, Painted Dog TV is perfectly positioned and equipped to keep pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a wildlife media company in Africa. www.painteddog.tv

Continuing on from our discussions around reimagining the value chain, SATSA convened another think-tank including leading DMCs, direct sellers and accommodation representatives to unpack the issue of cancellations, protecting the monies within the value chain and transparency around tourism funds used for conservation.

If you missed the Reimagining the Value Chain think-tank’s guiding framework on dealing with deposits and how to save the forward book, click here.

Cancellations

Cancellations remain a critical pressure point that must be solved if the Tourism Sector is to navigate the immediate negative impact of COVID and thrive in a post-COVID world. This guiding framework around Cancellations is important if we are to position South Africa and its Tourism Sector as travel friendly and trustworthy and generate demand. As we compete with other destinations, we must demonstrate a willingness to meet the traveller, who is prepared to take the risk of travelling, halfway. We must also put the cancellation risk into perspective – not everyone who books, will book to cancel.

Click here to view the Guiding Framework around Cancellations

Protecting Money in the value chain

A third and key pressure point within the value chain, in times of COVID-19 and beyond, deals with Protecting Money in the Value Chain, which is essential if South Africa is to be viewed as tourism friendly and trustworthy. What can we as role players in the tourism value chain do to protect the traveller’s money when it is in the tourism value chain? However, it goes beyond peace of mind around flexible deposit and cancellation policies. It’s about the security of the customer’s money in the value chain if the money has to be refunded. The Industry has a responsibility to ensure that the monies are protected on behalf of the customer.

Click here to view the Guiding Framework around protecting money in the value chain

Transparency on deposit split between conservation and tourism

South Africa’s key tourism assets are its communities and conservation. The stranglehold that COVID-19 has placed on tourism, and its ability to fund conservations and communities, now threatens the very tourism assets on which South Africa is so reliant. As well as community livelihoods, the lack of income and increased poverty leads to increases in environmental crime. This coupled with constraints on anti-poaching measures and security spending due to equivalent total erosion of entrance fees and revenue for SANParks and other reserves, creates a huge challenge for conservation. It is essential that, in future, there is transparency in terms of how deposits are split between conservation and community vs tourism, so that some money remains in the value chain to fund conservation and communities.

Click here to view the Guiding Framework around transparency on deposit split between conservation and tourism

A new virtual meeting platform for the travel trade was launched on the 9 July to fill the void left by the cancellation of all the African travel trade shows.

OurAfrica.Travel 2020 set out to connect African suppliers such as hotels, lodges, activity operators and inbound operators with global buyers, via pre-scheduled one-on-one, face-to-face virtual meetings.

“We have been overwhelmed by the response from exhibitors and buyers to participate in this affordable opportunity to reignite and reunite Africa with the world. Some of the first supporters of OurAfrica.Travel 2020 included recognized names such as New Frontiers, Escape & Explore, Wilderness Safaris, Triumph Travel, Singita, Red Carnation Hotels, Jamala Madikwe, Mosaic Lagoon Lodge, Onguma, Chiwani Safari Camps, Time+Tide, Rovos Rail, and we now have over 150 exhibitors registered from countries across Africa” said Storm Napier.

All exhibitors who are participating have invited their local and international buyer partners – tour operators, travel agencies and MICE organisers who sell Africa. Some of the first invitations sent to buyers across the globe were by partners such as New Frontiers, Triumph Travel, Inspirational Places, Atmosphere Marketing, Kartagener Associates Inc. (KAI) and Africareps, to name but a few.

Buyers participation in OurAfrica.Travel 2020 is free, easy and convenient. Once a buyer signs up to participate using this link, they are admitted to the virtual platform and can begin networking with exhibitors. Buyers who have signed up to date include Private Safaris Switzerland, Swain Destinations, Swagman, FTI Touristik, Lusso and The Africa Adventure Company.

The virtual ‘travel show’ takes place across three different geographic regions and within three different times zones. The idea is that Africa will be available during the working hours of that specific geographic region to accommodate those buyers.

MEETING DATES OurAfrica.Travel 2020

  • 11 – 13 August: Australia, New Zealand & Asia Pacific (3 days) 02:00 am – 10:00 am CAT
  • 17 – 21 August: North America, South America & Canada (5 days) 16:00 pm – 01:00 am CAT
  • 24 – 28 August: Europe, United Kingdom, Ireland & Africa (5 days) 09:00 am – 18:00 pm CAT
  • Global Saturdays – 15, 22 and 29 August 09:00 am – 18:00 pm CAT

(‘Global’ dates will allow for overflow appointments that could not be accommodated within the exhibition schedule)

A small team of well-known travel industry experts are the driving force behind the OurAfrica.Travel 2020 initiative. Rudi Wagenaar and Allie Hunt (Inspirational Places) have joined forces with Storm Napier (Atmosphere Marketing) in their mission to ‘take Africa to the world’.

‘We are travel ready. This forum has been created as a gathering of the most passionate, determined and resilient people across the travel industry. In the wake of the pandemic, we want to re-unite, re-connect and re-commit by establishing new relationships and help exhibitors and buyers to do business’, Hunt says.

The number of exhibitors will be limited, with participation fees from only R899 (early-bird payment by 15 July 2020), on a first-come, first-served basis. On-line calendars to book appointments open on 1 August 2020 and exhibitors will be able to upload marketing collateral and browse all buyers.

For buyers, participation in OurAfrica.Travel 2020 is hassle-free and affordable, with no travel costs and free admission for up to three persons per company, and R249 per person thereafter.