World without borders for those who are worthy

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Even though one can never have global citizenship as a birthright, the fact that investors who obtain secondary citizenship in countries where they have investments can then access as many as 130 other countries without a visa really takes us closer to becoming a world without borders.

Many business people are set to get a good shot at global citizenry through Arton Capital, a Dubai-based firm specialising in international immigration, which launched its first office on the African continent in Cape Town on Tuesday.

Arton Capital has pooled 10 countries to participate in its global citizen programme, ranging from islands in the Caribbean to the Mediterranean region and members of the EU.

An investor who has assets in Cyprus, for instance, can have unrestricted rights to live, work and study throughout Europe. And if an investor has further investments in one or more countries in the Caribbean, then he or she can have unrestricted access to Canada, the US, Hong Kong and the Middle East region, giving the investor practical access to crucial economic regions.

Different governments have used these special immigration provisions strategically to ensure that foreign investments are channelled to the areas they want and on the terms that suit them.

To qualify for citizenship, investors have to choose one of the prescribed investment options, which include subscription to government bonds, ownership of residential property of a certain value or the transfer of a minimum sum of money to certain sectors of the economy.

The Portuguese golden visa scheme, which was launched in October 2012, has reportedly attracted a stream of wealthy Chinese and e306.7 million (R4.6 billion) into that country in the past year alone.

The downside is that not every aspiring business person can access the benefits of global citizenship, which is still exclusively for wealthy people and families.

Canadian citizenship requires a personal net worth of C$1.6m (R15.6m), the Caribbean economic citizenship programme requires $1m (R11m), while most European countries require a personal net worth e1m.

To every citizen, his worth.

Platinum strike

After six weeks, even the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has had to do a Pontius Pilate.

“Given that parties still remain far apart at this stage, the CCMA has decided to adjourn the process to give all parties an opportunity to reflect on their respective positions,” the CCMA said yesterday.

This comes after platinum producers rejected the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union’s (Amcu’s) feeble offer to reduce its demand on Tuesday. About 70 000 Amcu members have downed tools since January 23 in support of a demand for a R12 500 minimum wage.

The question is: how much longer will the strike continue and what losses will be incurred?

It is clear that Amcu wants to make a statement and a name for itself through the strike, which has gone beyond a game of brinkmanship to a fight for survival by its participants.

Mining companies say they have been crippled by the strike and yesterday they quantified the impact of the strike, including losses in production and revenue thus far. Impala Platinum said it had lost R2 billion in revenue and about 90 000 ounces of platinum output since the strike started. Lonmin said it would miss its full-year target to produce at least 750 000 ounces of the precious metal. Anglo American Platinum said it was losing 4 000 ounces, or R100m in revenue, a day as its Union and Amandelbult mines grounded to a halt.

Amcu had clung to its demand until it announced on Tuesday that it would “give breathing room” to the producers, who now have three years in which to meet the R12 500 demand.

However, late on Tuesday, employers maintained that the wage demand remained unaffordable as it translated into a 29 percent annual increase, sending prospects of an agreement out the window.

Now starts the survival of the fittest.

Edited by Banele Ginindza. With contributions from Londiwe Buthelezi and Dineo Faku.


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