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Staying home with Home Affairs

If I were one who updated his Facebook status, I would write, “Howard Feldman is feeling proud”. Proud because South Africa, from June, will be on the front lines in the global fight against child-trafficking. It’s method’s are crafty and not to be underestimated. Because from June, it will basically be impossible for any child person under the age of 17 to leave or enter the country. Unless he is armed with a suitcase full of documents that Home Affairs will never be able to provide.

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HOWARD FELDMAN

 

Of course, given the porous nature of our borders (other than the ones at O R Tambo) where pretty much armed only with a sturdy pair of shoes and inflated water wings, one can enter and exit as many times as one desires, the new laws do seem to be, well a bit ambitious. Add to the fact that as well-intentioned as the new requirements might be, without an efficient Home Affairs Department to pump out the required documents at lightening speed, there is little possibility of this whole unfortunate decision ending in tears.

I have a son who is teetering dangerously on the edge of turning 17. The application for his ID Book was done almost a year before this event so as to allow us ample time before we need to apply for his learner’s licence. Nine months later and around 20 calls to Home Affairs, we have achieved nothing other than an admission that the application seems to be “Missing in Action”. To put that in perspective, in the same nine months, my wife and I could have made a whole new baby person, fully functional, with all working appendages. In that time all Home Affairs has been able to do is to tell us that they moved offices, that something got lost and that, well they are sorry (but don’t really mean it). That’s pretty dismal and more than a little scary as this is the same department that is about to hold the entire travel industry to ransom.

The document required for a traveling couple with children is an unabridged birth certificate. Which is lovely if you have one. The documents required for a single parent travelling with a child is the birth certificate (unabridged) and a signed affidavit that has been notarised by a notary. For happily married parents this is an irritation and one that will no doubt cause some frustration in the marriage (because I know I would leave it to the last minute, much to my wife’s annoyance). But for a single parent where the separation might not be amicable, or the other partner unknown or deceased, this requirement can present tremendous difficulty and pain. And, it’s not a once-off document, as it has to be fresher than four months, or apparently it will go bad, like cheese and yoghurt. And no one wants that.

The requirement to have it notarised is particularly shrewd. This cunning move will no doubt eliminate scores of child traffickers as the on duty policeman at any of our police stations will no doubt scour the documents before stamping the “ Notarised” stamp that he protects along with his shield and weapon. It would seem that in their wisdom, our Minister Malusi Gigaba has left no stone unturned.

Of course we can say goodbye to a multitude of tourists coming to South Africa. With the red tape now required and the confusion that will follow, it will be little wonder if anyone dares to test to the system, when the consequence is leaving a disappointed 6 -year-old at home simply because his birth certificate that was in French but now translated was abridged. And if it wasn’t, then perhaps a gendarme didn’t notarise it. Simply put, Somalia now seems easier to get to.

Of course we want to eliminate child trafficking. Of course no one wants anyone to steal our children. And of course, if our borders were actually secure and if we had an efficient Home Affairs and if it wasn’t so confusing all this would be a lovely idea. But they aren’t and we don’t and it is. And one doesn’t need to be particularly prophetic to know what is going to follow, and there is simply not chance that its going to be pretty.

 

 

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SA Jewish Report is looking for a journalist

The SA Jewish Report is looking for a journalist, who is passionate about and hungry for news and who writes both news and features beautifully.

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The applicant must to be tech savvy, comfortable online, on social media and in a newsroom. The applicant must have at least five years’ experience as a journalist and a relevant degree. Please forward your CV and an introductory letter to the editor, Peta Krost Maunder on editor@sajewishreport.co.za.  

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Apologies

On the wrong page at the wrong time

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The SA Jewish Report wishes to apologise to Dr Yossi Unterslak, a specialist gynaecologist and reproductive medicine assistant at Vitalab, whose face and title was in an advert on the page three of our Rosh Hashanah edition this week. The advert just happened to be on the same page as “Johannesburg doctor guilty of unprofessional conduct”. I wish to place it on record that Dr Unterslak was on that page advertising his participation in Torah Talks and has absolutely nothing to do with the story about the doctor on the page.  The SA Jewish Report apologises to Dr Unterslak for any harm or unpleasantness that derived from the advert being on this page.  – Editor

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Jewish Guild Orchestra reaches out through sweet sound of music

A musical tour around the world was presented to residents of Golden Acres, Sandringham Gardens and members of Second Innings last Sunday by the Jewish Guild Orchestra.

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MARGOT COHEN

Jewis Guild Orchestra

Professor Brian Buch who conducts the orchestra and is also its musical director, had his appreciative audience clamouring for more. The Jewish Guild Orchestra, although founded in 1944, has still been able to retain its fresh sound. It okays a wide range of light classical pieces and its repertoire last Sunday ranged from the operetta Gypsy Baron by Johan Strauss to the all-time Neapolitan favourite, O Sole Mio.

Expenses of the orchestra are met by its 35 members themselves; they derive no income from its activities. The orchestra was named after its original sponsor, the Johannesburg Jewish Guild which no longer exists. Its founder was the late Dr Solly Aronowsky who served as musical director for 46 years. Its current leader is Dr Bernard Caplan.

The orchestra provides support for amateur musicians, irrespective of race or religion, to develop their skills to perform in public and to enhance their appreciation of music. It also plays to audiences who would not otherwise have access to light classical music, such as residents of old aged homes, the Red Cross, Hospice and the Cancer Association.

“One of our objectives is to provide performances through which we are able to assist various charities or to promote music appreciation among scholars,” says Buch.

“We welcome new players,” says Buch. “We need female vocalists, string and brass players. We need players who are at grade 6 level.”

* For further information, contact Dr Buch on (012) 348-8653 or 071-633-0869

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