SOUTHERN AFRICAN MIGRATION PROJECT

Migration News - December 2000

 

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DECEMBER - Click on the country titleabove the headlines for the entire article.

Regional:
Major investment in Lubombo SDI
Progress in implementing COMESA free trade zone
Impacts of COMESA free trade zone

Angola:
525,000 Angolan refugees inaccessible to humanitarian aid
Angolans drown en route to South Africa
EU to assist Angolans in Zambia
UNHCR says 300,000 Angolan refugees abroad

Botswana:
Botswana has shortage of medical personnel
New fees for foreign students
Government asks China for physical therapists
Foreign trade banned from Francistown market

DRC:
60,000 new refugees head to Zambia
Soldiers seek asylum in Zambia
UNHCR revises refugee figures

Lesotho:
Foreign contractors arrested

Mozambique:
Border opened for Christmas
Mozambicans under attack outside the country

Namibia:
Situation critical for refugees in northern Namibia
Refugee demands for schooling leads to riot
Namibian manufacturing industry under siege from South Africa
Chinese nationals murdered
Extradition trial of Namibians in Botswana
Abducted Namibians returned home

South Africa:
Refugees aid homeless South Africans in Langa
SAHRC releases damning report on treatment of migrants
Lindela centre criticised
Home Affairs ignores SAHRC recommendations
Angolans drown entering South Africa
Child sex workers and immigrants arrested
Debate over brain drain
Teachers claim xenophobia in law suit

Tanzania:
Foreign academics and experts attacked

Zambia:
Zambia increases security along DRC border
Zambia/Botswana Joint Commission
Zambia and Zimbabwe clash over free trade
Zambia requests repatriation of soldiers from Zimbabwe
Unprecedented refugee influx from DRC
Additional 50,000 refugees enter Zambia
Refugee crisis deepens
240,000 refugees in Zambia from Angola and DRC
Zambia reinforces border with Congo
UNHCR claims refugees wish to return to DRC
Zambia and Zimbabwe avert trade conflict

Zimbabwe:
Supreme court rules that dual citizenship legal
Judges reject Mugabe's efforts to strip whites of citizenship
Mugabe threatens to expel whites
Farm workers from other countries lose jobs
4,000 doctors and nurses leave Zimbabwe
Brain drain to UK
Brain drain escalates

Regional

Major investment in Lubombo SDI (SundayTimes, 03/12) - The governments of SA, Swaziland andMozambique have announced tourism investment opportunities worthR1-billion in the unspoilt Lubombo region. Billed as having thepotential to become one of the southern hemisphere's top touristdestinations, the region sprawls across southern Mozambique,eastern Swaziland and northern KwaZulu-Natal. It includes theunique Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, which was declared a WorldHeritage site last year. The Lubombo Spatial DevelopmentInitiative (LSDI), a joint venture between the three countries,was established three years ago to transform the beautiful butneglected region into a tourist venue. At a function in Sandton,Johannesburg on Thursday night, the governments of the threecountries invited proposals from local and foreign business forinvestment projects. Developments envisaged include new beach andlake resorts, boutique hotels and game lodges. Bidders will haveto send in their written "expressions of interest" tobe considered for the projects. The three governments say theywant to attract individuals, groups and companies withappropriate tourism experience. The projects are located in sixnodes - three of which are in the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park,two in Swaziland and one in Mozambique. The first phase of theLSDI has focused on a number of infrastructural projects tofacilitate private sector investment. These include: * Thesigning of agreements by the three states to harmonise themanagement of land and sea resources, streamline border controlsand eradicate malaria. * A R211-million upgrade of the N2 roadfrom Richards Bay to the Swazi border. * The construction of anew "spine" road - worth about R234-million - throughthe Lubombo tourist area, from Hluhluwe, via Ponta Do Ouro Node,to Maputo. * Substantial investment in tourism infrastructuresuch as game-stocking, gamefencing and key access roads andservices. Speaking at the project's launch, Mozambican TourismMinister Fernando Sumbana Jnr said: "We deliberately delayedthe announcement of individual investment opportunities until wewere satisfied that the basic conditions for development were inplace. Now we are in a position to launch these investmentopportunities in the secure knowledge that a solid platform fordevelopment is in place." Sumbana said the three countrieswere currently discussing the issue of border controls and visas.An important announcement on this issue would be made within thenext few months, he said. Visitors to Mozambique havetraditionally complained about difficulties in obtaining visas.However, Sumbana said this would change following hisgovernment's announcement last week that visas could now bebought at any of the country's border points. "We have alsoimproved several border facilities and created new posts at KosiBay and Goba," he said. Speaking at the same function, SADeputy President Jacob Zuma told an audience of potentialinvestors that over R630-million had already been spent oninfrastructural development in the region. The SA government,Zuma noted, had recently published a number of regulationsgoverning the Greater St Lucia Wetlands. "They consolidateand formally proclaim the park, and establish a dedicatedbusiness-friendly authority for the area. "It is thisauthority that issues the first phase of tourism tenders beinglaunched today and establishes a secure framework for thefuture," Zuma said. The new body, called the Greater StLucia Wetlands Park Authority, is an autonomous body set up tofacilitate private-sector investment and to assume responsibilityfor conserving the park's World Heritage status. Regulationsgazetted last Friday also provide for the formulation of anIntegrated Development Management Plan which will guide theenvironmentally sound development of the park and identifypotential development sites. Environmental and Tourism MinisterValli Moosa recently announced that the Greater St Lucia WetlandPark would be restocked with elephant as part of a long-term planto turn the area into a "Big Five" game reserve andinternational tourist destination. Zuma said investmentopportunities being offered by Mozambique and Swaziland wereunique and would add value to the overall diversity of theLubombo investment portfolio. "They reinforce regionaltourism circuits and linkages to both established and emergingdestinations such as the proposed Greater Kruger TransfrontierPark, Maputaland and the Swazi Highlands," he said.

Progress in implementing COMESA freetrade zone (Times of Zambia, 08/12) - Vice presidentChriston Tembo has asked Comesa to set up Free Trade Area (FTA)implementation taskforces in all member states to addressproblems that have arisen since all tariff barriers were removed.Lieutenant-General Tembo also directed that the taskforces shouldgather information on productivity levels and the competitivenessof key industries and advise their governments accordingly. Hewas speaking at the opening of the tenth Council of Ministersmeeting at the Comesa secretariat in Lusaka yesterday. 'Genuineconcerns regarding the effect of the FTA do exist. Among them arethe issues of low industrialisation and lack of competitivenessin some of our economic sectors. We shall need to address them ifwe have to make irreversible progress towards our goal,' he said.Gen Tembo said such an organisational arrangement would helpallay some of the concerns. And in order to present FTA as asuccess story, Comesa should strive to streamline all borderactivities particularly in processing certificates of originwhich Gen Tembo suggested should be decentralised. He also calledfor the establishment of border information and Comesa countersat points of entry to assist the business community. On theimmediate benefits, Gen Tembo said the region was witnessingincreased interest from the business community, the volume oftrade was on the upswing while goods meeting the Comesa rules oforigin criteria were moving freely across the borders. And Comesasecretary-general Erastus Mwencha said there was a serious lackof information causing concern over the FTA which needed to beaddressed. Mr Mwencha noted the continued foreign exchangeconstraints in the region which were an impediment to increasedtrade and suggested a revisitation to the currency convertibilityprogramme. He further called on Comesa to begin preparing animplementation plan for the initiate dialogue with the EuropeanUnion (EU) over the Cotonou Agreement. He warned member statesnot to relax because the phasing out of non-reciprocal tradearrangements would lead to intense competition to Comesaproducts.

Impacts of COMESA free trade zone(Zimbabwe Independent, 22/12, Harare) - Africa's firstFree Trade Area (FTA) has raised the threat of dismantlingindustries in member countries which have guaranteed the freemovement of goods and services in the region as well as theremoval of tariff barriers, the Zimbabwe Independent establishedthis week. But analysts said there was hope of full integrationif members committed themselves to fully rally behind the FTA.Zambia, whose capital is home to the Common Market for Easternand Southern Africa (Comesa) which launched the PTA last month,is already licking its wounds from the venture aimed at boostingregional ties. A Zambian company, Amanita, which produces oil andmealie-meal, is reported to be in the process of closing itsfactories next year because it had become less viable for it tocontinue producing from that country. It intends to import fromthe Zimbabwean market instead. "Regional cooperation shouldnot destroy what is already there," said Fred-dyChawasarira, chief executive of Zimtrade, Zimbabwe's exportpromotion body. "We need to harmonise the industrialdevelopment strategy. That was not addressed in the ComesaPTA." Analysts said competition, rather than co- operation,stood out as the single major threat to an agreement that markedthe first step to full regional integration by the year 2025."The notion of competition with each other has tostop," said Danny Meyer, a businessman and president of the76-member African, Caribbean and Pacific Chamber of Commerce."Each country in the grouping should identify its strengthsand support others. If there is no co-operation, this is doomedto fail," said Meyer. On launching the Comesa Free TradeArea on November 1, the nine countries that signed the agreement- Djibouti, Egypt, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Sudan,Zambia and Zimbabwe - immediately scrapped all tariffs andallowed the free movement of goods and services among themselves.Zambian wheat millers are now looking into importing flour fromZimbabwe because the landing price undercuts Zambian flour. NickDean, wheat chairman of the Zambia National Farmers' Union, toldthe Independent from Zambia: "I understand that some of thelarge Zambian wheat millers are also looking into this trade (ofimporting Zimbabwe flour) as the Zimbabwe flour is cheaper (atthe official exchange rate) than they can produce local flour. Asthis opportunity has only come about since the introduction ofComesa (PTA) on November 1. I am afraid details are stillsketchy." He said Zimbabwe flour is transported by trucksfrom Harare to various towns in Zambia via the Chirundu borderpost. Some of the flour may be consigned as being in transit tothe Democratic Republic of Congo. "The one import that wasreported to us was 145 tonnes," said Dean. Chawasarira saidas the PTA progressed, the issue of harmonisation of industrialdevelopment was likely to come to the fore. "The danger isif one country sees itself not benefiting from the agreement andpulls out, and that should not happen," said Chawasarira. Amonth before the launch of the PTA, a competing free trade dealwas implemented by 11 members of the Southern African DevelopmentCommunity (Sadc), which includes the continent's economicpowerhouse, South Africa.

Angola

525,000 Angolan refugees inaccessible tohumanitarian aid (Sapa-AFP, 08/12, Luanda) - At least525,000 Angolans who fled the fighting in their country areencircled by warring factions in areas too remote to be targetedby humanitarian groups, aid workers said in Luanda on Friday.Most of the regions are situated along international boundariesin the east and south of Angola. Government troops re-opened sixmain roads after a large-scale offensive against rebels of theNational Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), yetthe routes remain so insecure that NGOs in fact operate onlyalong coastal roads. Seventy percent of all foodstuffs and othergoods provided for war survivors therefore have to be supplied byair. NGOs warn that food security, which came under repeatedthreat in 2000, will be further undermined in 2001, due to lowagricultural productivity and insufficient spending power, theaid workers said. The food crisis could deepen in 2001 due topoor soil quality, shortages in government-provided tool stocksfor peasants, and general lack of technical support for farmers.Sixty percent of Angola's 3.9 million displaced people and 40percent of permanent residents in large cities already sufferfrom undernutrition, said aid workers. UN aid agencies and NGOslaunched a joint appeal late in November to obtain 201 million USdollars (226 million euros) worth of international emergency aidin 2001 to benefit 3.8 million Angolans who were forced toabandon their villages. Now 1.9 million of these depend entirelyon international hand-outs, and 400,000 live in NGO-administeredcamps. A government campaign designed to curb dependence on aidand backed by Western NGOs set up camps on the outskirts of largecities, where 187,000 are now involved in activities to attainself-sufficiency. Another 520,000 villagers joined their parentswho are permanent residents in large cities, saturating alreadyoverpopulated cities and worsening poverty there. Angola's civilwar between government troops and UNITA rebels has raged almostuninterrupted since the country achieved independence fromPortugal in 1975.

Angolans drown en route to South Africa(Irin, 13/12, Johannesburg) - An attemptby 13 Angolans to enter South Africa by swimming across theOrange River near Namibia's southern border town of Noordoewerended in tragedy with eight of the men drowning, 'The Namibian'said on Wednesday. Police spokesman Chief Inspector HophniHamufungu said the drowning took place on 1 December at a farm atNoupoort near Noordoewer. The incident occurred after theAngolans sought to cross into South Africa through the borderpost at Noordoewer but were unable to do so because they did nothave visas. The Angolans initially wanted to go to South Africavia the official border post but Namibian immigration officialsadvised them to return to Windhoek to get visas, but theyapparently ignored this request and managed to sneak into SouthAfrica where their illegal presence was detected. Namibianimmigration officials detained one of the Angolans because he didnot have valid documentation and was in the country illegally.The other 13 were again told to travel to Windhoek or to Luandato obtain visas for South Africa. Instead of heeding this advicethey paid a Namibian at Noordoewer to ferry them across theriver.

EU to assist Angolans in Zambia (AllAfrica, 09/12) - The European Commission (EU) said thisweek that it would give an estimated US $1.76 million inhumanitarian assistance for Congolese and Angolan refugees inZambia. The EU's Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) announced in astatement on Tuesday that the money would support relief effortsof four partners: WFP, MSF-Netherlands, the International RedCross Federation and Dan Church Aid. ECHO said that the focus ofits support for Congolese refugees was the new Kala camp inZambia's North Western province. Kala has been established todeal with a continuing influx of people. The funds are being usedfor various measures relating to the setting up and management ofthe camp, and to help provide health facilities. More than 8,500recently-arrived Angolan refugees were receiving help in the formof temporary shelters, water and hygiene facilities, domesticequipment and transport.

UNHCR says 300,000 Angolan refugeesabroad (Pana, 13/12, Luanda) - Some 350,000 Angolanscontinue to enjoy refugee status abroad, particularly inneighbouring countries, according to UNHCR data, quoted by theofficial Angolan news agency (ANGOP) in Luanda. The agency saysthat nearly 170,000 refugees were identified in the DemocraticRepublic of Congo, 200,000 in Zambia, while various regions ofthe world host fewer numbers. It UNHCR the figures public Mondayin Muanda during the presentation of a book depicting thesituation of Angolan refugees in the world, coinciding with thecommemoration of 50 years of its humanitarian work. There arenearly 12,000 refugees in Angola from various countries plus some1,000 asylum-seekers settled in camps in rural and urban areas,according to the UN data.

Botswana

Botswana has shortage of medicalpersonnel (BOPA, 06/12) - Botswana is running short ofnurses and doctors because most of them are going overseas forgreener pastures, Kgalagadi MP Lesedi Mothibamele hassaid.Mothibamele said the United Kingdom (UK) was leading therest in absorbing Batswana nurses. He was addressing kgotlameetings at Inalegolo and Phuduhudu in Kgalagadi North recently.He said the government was determined to train Batswana so thatthe country could become self-supporting in the field of nursing,but upon graduation they leave for greener pastures in developedcountries. Residents complained that allowing a single nurse toman a clinic was unrealistic because in the absence of themedical officer there was usually nobody else to help patients.Mothibamele told residents that the orphanage programme was notbeing managed properly because some orphans were not gettingtheir rations. He also talked about gender issues, which includedviolence against women. He urged them to prepare for next year'spopulation census, saying it was essential that they were countedbecause development planners needed such information whenallocating scarce resources. He warned Kgalagadi youth aboutHIV/AIDS, saying youth were the most affected group. He advisedthem to use condoms or abstain. Residents told the MP that theyneeded telephones, electricity and accommodation for civilservants. They further said Basarwa should be given tents sincethey had no permanent houses or huts. Headman of Phuduhudu,Masimong Phori told the MP that the nurse stationed in thevillage needed assistance because she could not cope with theworkload.

New fees for foreign students (BOPA,11/12) - Cost recovery fees will be introduced witheffect from January 2001 for all foreign students, educationminister George Kgoroba told Parliament last week. Kgoroba, whowas answering a question from Okavango Member of ParliamentJoseph Kavindama, said cost recovery fees for citizen studentswill be effected after extensive consultation. He said once costrecovery measures were introduced, structures would be put inplace to ensure no Batswana were denied access to education. Headded that Botswana is the only country in southern Africa whosepractice of free education extends to all residents withoutexception. "We are also concerned about the escalating costof education which is consuming 27 per cent of the nationalbudget and of indications that the upward trend is likely tocontinue," he said. National Development Plan Eight and theRevised National Policy on Education have challenged the Ministryof Education to achieve a measure of cost effectiveness and costrecovery to ensure that the nation can contain the everincreasing cost of education to sustain the gains made towardsmaking education accessible. Kavindama had asked the minister toconfirm whether there were plans to re-introduce school fees. Hewanted the minister to say whether such a step would not denymany Batswana access to education.

Government asks China for physicaltherapists (BOPA, 18/12) - Health minister Joy Phumaphisaid she has asked the Chinese government to help Botswana withphysiotherapists. "Once this manpower is available, we shallbe able to deliver improved care in physiotheraphy,"Phumaphi said when answering a question from Kgalagadi Member ofParliament Lesedi Mothibamele. Phumaphi said the need for theestablishment of physiotheraphy units in all primary hospitalsexists but the major constraint is the scarcity of trainedphysiotherapists to the extent that even referral hospitals donot have the required numbers. She said the Department of PrimaryHealth Care Services, under which primary hospitals fall, hasonly one physiotherapist who is attached to the rehabilitation ofpersons with disabilities programme. "My ministry recognisesthe need to develop this area of medical care," she said.Mothibamele had asked the minister whether she would considerestablishing a physiotheraphy unit in all sufficiently equippedprimary hospitals to reduce the number of referral cases toPrincess Marina and Nyangabgwe hospitals. Answering anotherquestion ‹ from Moshupa Member of Parliament Maitlhoko Mooka‹ Phumaphi said her ministry is developing briefs to be usedin the design of primary hospitals, including the one to be builtin Moshupa. She explained that the briefs were being developedbecause contrary to earlier expectations, the new primaryhospitals are not going to be a replication of the previousdesigns for primary hospitals. This has been necessitated by thefact that flaws occurred in the current designs. The developmentof briefs will be complete two months into the New Year. Phumaphisaid completion of the briefs will be followed by tendering forconsultants to do the design which will take about three monthsto; the actual design, another 12 months; and it is anticipatedthat construction of a primary hospital in Moshupa would startduring the second quarter of 2002. Mooka had asked her when theconstruction of a primary hospital in Moshupa will commence.

Foreign trade banned from Francistownmarket (BOPA, 29/12) - The Francistownfull council has adopted a motion calling on the BOCCIMmanagement in Francistown not to allow foreigners to trade at theflea market. Tabling the motion Councillor Themba Mguni saidBatswana were complaining that they could not make businessbecause they were competing with traders whom they purchase goodsfrom. Councillors said the establishment of a flea market was agood idea but the influx of foreigners would defeat the goodpurpose. Interviewed by BOPA, the BOCCIM northern region manager,Norman Moleele said "the market regulations are thatpreference is given to Batswana. They are allowed 90 percent ofthe space at the flea market while the remaining space is leftfor interested people." Moleele said it was unfortunatebecause Batswana make bookings late, adding that it was entirelyupon the citizens to fill all the spaces provided. He explainedthat registration for stalls starts as early as 7.00 am onSaturdays and Sundays. The full council meeting also referred totown planning committee a motion requesting the council todesignate, pave and maintain taxi/combi stop bays in all routesin the city and to kerb the road sides. The meeting was told thatthere was no provision for deputy chairpersons of committees, andthat televisions placed in clinics were meant for healtheducation and nurses have no time to watch because of the longqueues of patients. Councillor Mguni had asked the healthdepartment to investigate allegations that the introduction oftelevisions in council clinics was causing delays to patients ascouncil staff finds solace in television programs neglectingpatients.  

DRC

60,000 new refugees head to Zambia(Business Day, 06/12, Geneva) - Up to 60000 refugeesfleeing fighting between government and rebel forces inDemocratic Republic of Congo have reportedly fled to Zambia inless than a week, the United Nations refugee agency saidyesterday. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) saidmore Congolese could join the outflow as fierce battles continuedaround Pweto in Katanga province, which has changed hands severaltimes in recent days. Only 10000 refugees were confirmed to havearrived in the northern Zambian border town of Chiengi by Monday,but the Lusaka government estimates 50000 more could be scatteredin the woods and surrounding villages, according to UNHCRspokesman Kris Janowski. "There may be more coming, asfierce fighting continues between government and rebelforces," Janowski said. Nearly 500 Congolese soldiers, whoarrived among the civilian refugees, have been disarmed byZambian authorities and are being accommodated separately, theUNHCR said. The rebels said on Monday they had captured theheavily populated town of Pweto one of the most significant blowsyet to a fragile peace deal because it is a clear violation of aceasefire accord signed in Lusaka in mid-1999. The refugees arebeing transferred from Chiengi to a camp at Kala, to which UNHCRsaid it was rushing staff and supplies.

Soldiers seek asylum in Zambia (Sapa-AFP,22/12, Kaputa) - About 200 Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) soldiers have deserted the government forces and asked forasylum here, a Zambian government official said Friday. Thesoldiers have renounced their military status after being forcedinto Zambia earlier this month by the Rwanda and Ugandan backedrebels who want to oust DRC President Laurent Kabila, Kaputadistrict administrator Emmanuel Chileshe told AFP. "Thosewho have renounced their status have been separated and taken toanother camp away from the other soldiers," said Chileshe,who runs this town on Zambia's far northern border with the DRC.More than 3,000 DRC soldiers have crossed into Zambia this monthafter the rebels kicked them out of the DRC towns of Pweto andPepa, both near the Zambian border. The soldiers are now underZambian military guard. "We are tired of fighting. We had nocontacts with our family, and the government has kept us for manyyears in the bush," said Mulonda Mtoloki, a 25-year-old whohas deserted the DRC military. He said he had decided to renouncehis military status after fighting for Kabila for three years,because the war in his country was getting out of hand and thathe wanted to go to school. But he said he would not like therebels to take over his country. Mtoloki said DRC-allied forceshave suffered heavy casualties under the latest offensive byRwandan-backed rebels, who are reportedly heading toward the DRCtown of Mulilo near the Zambian border. An undisclosed number ofRwandan soldiers who were fighting alongside DRC rebels have alsofled into Zambia, military sources here said. The army sourcescould not say how many Rwandan soldiers had entered Zambia, andZambian soldiers guarding the refugee camp here refused to allowAFP to go inside to check the reports. "We have some Rwandansoldiers here also though very few. We disarmed them and they arein the camp with other soldiers," one Zambian soldierdeployed at the DRC frontier said. Meanwhile, Zambia iscontinuing to beef up security at the DRC border, with moretroops arriving Friday, a senior military official said oncondition of anonymity. Zambi has now deployed a full battalionalong the DRC border, and the official said more troops may besent if DRC soldiers continue to pour into the country. A few DRCsoldiers are believed to have been hiding in villages along theborder but have started surrendering themselves to Zambianauthorities. But some soldiers camped out in the villages refuseto allow Zambian troops to disarm them, a military official said.Zambian President Frederick Chiluba has said he fears the runawaytroops could bring the war on to Zambian soil.

UNHCR revises refugee figures (IRIN,22/12) - The total number of refugees in Zambia fleeingrecent fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is nomore than 25,000 a UNHCR emergency officer in northern Zambiatold IRIN on Wednesday. Contrary to media reports that up to60,000 Congolese refugees had crossed into Zambia in the pastmonth, UNHCR's Jacques Franquin, speaking from Kawambwa innorthern Zambia, close to where refugees have been crossing, saidthat the numbers were much less. "There are about 15,000civilian refugees in villages around the border town of Chiengi,and around 9,000 in Kaputa, further east," Franquin said. Headded that there were reports of another 2,000 refugees in theZambian town of Sundu, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika."Most of those who crossed to escape fighting in theCongolese border towns of Peta and Pweto are staying withrelatives on the Zambian side, we are not feeding them and mostwant to stay where they are with a view to returning to the DRCwhen security improves," Franquin told IRIN. He added thatno more refugees were crossing because the rebels had now closedthe border. According to UNHCR only 1,700 refugees will beprocessed and sent to Kala refugee camp, which already houses10,000 refugees. The Zambian Red Cross are reportedly responsiblefor warehousing and food distribution at Kala and Medecins SansFrontier (MSF) are taking care of health and nutrition as well assanitation and the physical layout of the camp. The refugeescrossed into Zambia following fierce fighting in the DRC betweenRwandan-backed rebels and government soldiers over Pweto, andwith Pweto in rebel hands, DRC's second city of Lubumbashi couldbe next. "The rebels are clearly doing well on the ground,and have sent a clear message to DRC President Laurent Kabilathat they a formidable force, they could now advance onLubumbashi," Claude Kabema of the Centre for Policy Studiestold IRIN. "Although Kabila's troops are quiet wellequipped, their moral seems low if they just turn and run,"said Kabemba. He added that the exodus of Zimbabwean troops alsocalled into question their presence in the DRC conflict."Zimbabwe says its only in the DRC to defend strategicplaces, and not to fight, and here we have them failing to defendPweto," said Kabemba.

Lesotho

Foreign contractors arrested (Mopheme/TheSurvivor, 08/12, Maseru) - Two employees of MohaleTunnel Contractors (MTC) were arrested and appeared brieflybefore the magistrate court on charges of illegal immigration andcontravening of the labour laws of Lesotho. The two, AndrewThomas Tuson, a Zimbabwean national and Peter O'Berg known onlyto have been recruited from the Natal Province of South Africa,could face arrest or deportation if found guilty. Their arrestfollowed a tip-off to the police, who handed the case over to theMaseru CID police for further investigation. They have since beenreleased on bail while their travel and other documentation intoLesotho is been held. According to information in possession ofMopheme, Tuson entered Lesotho using an emergency travel documentthat allowed him to cross into Botswana, which was applied forearly October this year. The document is valid for two months.Mopheme sources also alleged that the two men did not have properdocumentation as relating to work permits and residence permits,that is why the Criminal Investigation Department was called in.In an attempt to contact the employers of the two, based in theMohale Camp, on the phone, Mopheme reporter was referred to thepersonnel department which was not helpful. The man who spoke onbehalf of the company, refusing to give his names said he couldnot discuss such matter over the telephone and was not evenprepared to discuss further on how the newspaper could meet withhis office. The two bail birds have since been reported to havelodged a case with another law firm against the governmentclaiming back their passport passports and other documents whichhave been confiscated by the court. It was not clear whether thetwo have gone back to work, and attempts to meet with theirlawyer advocate Thabo Makeka were not successful, as he was notavailable in the office. There has been been an outcry especiallyin the Highlands Water projet, whereby local Basotho feel theyare sidelined by contractors in preference of foreigners, who aresometimes even allged not to be having good working relationshipswith their local counterparts. In several instances the localhave even been reported to have made blokades during massengagements with the Lesotho Highlands Water Project constructionof the Mohale dam reaching the peak of engineering activity.

Mozambique

Border opened for Christmas (Pana, 09/12,Maputo) - Mozambican authorities have decided to openthe Ressano Garcia border post on the frontier with South Africa,for 24 hours a day during the coming Christmas and new yearseason. A press release from the Mozambican customs service saidcustoms, immigration and the Interior Ministry in co-ordinationwith their South African counterparts, had decided that theRessano Garcia border should be open for 24 hours a day fromMonday to 11 January 2001. The post had formerly only been opened06.00 to 19.00. The release says the additional hours wouldfacilitate the movement of tourists visiting Mozambique,Mozambican miners returning home from the South African goldmines for the Xmas period, and other travellers. At the mostintensive period, expected to be 21 to 25 December, all busescarrying travellers into Mozambique will pass through immigrationformalities at South Africa's Komatipoort airport. At the border,the buses will be taken straight to a customs station forclearing the passengers' personal belongings. These facilitatingmeasures do not apply to commercial importers, whose goods willbe cleared at the border as normal. Small scale importers,transporting goods with a customs value of up to 500 US dollars,will be attended between 06.00 and 19.00, but should arrive atthe border before 18.00. Anyone importing goods valued at over500 dollars will be attended to between 06.00 and 15.00 between18 and 20 December, between 06.00 and 18.00 on 21 and 22December, but only between 06.00 and 12.00 on 23 December.Customs officials says these measures are being taken "toavoid the congestion that normally occurs during the festiveseason".

Mozambicans under attack outside thecountry (Pana, 27/12, Maputo) - The Director ofMozambique's National Migrant Institute, Jose Mambule, saidMozambican communities abroad had not been neglected. "Inthe last years the situation of services to Mozambican migrantshas improved," Mambule said Wednesday in Maputo, where hewas attending the annual meeting of the General Consuls andConsul Attaches. There were reported cases in 2000 of Mozambicanmigrants being either killed or tortured abroad. Notable was thecase of Alberto Adriano, who was reportedly beaten to death bythugs in Dresdau, in Germany. There was also the reported settingof dogs on illegal migrants by a group of South African police inSprings, in the outskirts of Johannesburg, as part of a trainingexercise. Mambule, however, said there were proper channels forthe resolution of the migrants' problems World-wide, which shouldbe adhered to.

Namibia

Situation critical for refugees innorthern Namibia (The Namibian, 01/12) - TheUNHCR said in Windhoek yesterday it had made the appeal to donorsand to foreign embassies resident in Namibia. In addition to theUNHCR, aid organisations such as the Namibia Red Cross Society(NRCS) and the World Food Programme (WFP) made an urgent appealfor humanitarian assistance during a donor briefing at the end oflast week. "The appeal comes in the aftermath ofapproximately 5 000 refugees who arrived at Osire in the lastthree months. The 5 000 refugees have not been sheltered nor dothey have kerosene for cooking owing to a critical shortage offunds," the UNHCR stated. UNHCR representative in NamibiaHesdy Rathling has informed donors and foreign embassies that thepopulation at Osire Refugee Camp "has dramatically shot upfrom about 12 000 in July this year to 16 500 bymid-November". Due to Angola's perpetual war the number ofrefugees at Osire has increased from 2 700 in December 1998 to 5233 in October 1999 and has now tripled to about 17 000."The increase in the population is beyond the initialprojected 12 000 by the end of this year. This unexpectedadditional influx, which occurred within a space of three months,has placed the UNHCR and its implementing partner, the NRCS, in aserious financial dilemma," stated the UN refugee agency.WFP has given assurances that there is enough food untilmid-December but with the present rate of the influx theavailability of food cannot be guaranteed. As a result therefugee camp, overcrowded to five times its official capacity,urgently needs at least 500 more family pit latrines becauseexisting facilities have clogged up. And, although the NRCS saysthere are adequate water points at present, there is concern thatmore water facilities should be installed to avoid a potentialwater crisis early next year. "Although the NRCS isconfident of a sufficient supply of high quality water in theorder of 17,45 litres per person per day, the rate at whichrefugees are arriving in the country makes it impossible toguarantee a continued steady supply," stated theorganisation. Apart from the scarcity of tents and kerosene forcooking food the capacity of the clinic at Osire has beenstrenuously overstretched and more medical personnel andadditional medical equipment and drugs are needed to combatpossible disease outbreaks. "In addition, and owing to theinflux, the camp is experiencing a high birth rate of at least ababy a day. This situation is exerting tremendous pressure onclinic facilities and personnel," it stated. Fidellis Swai,the Senior Regional External Relations Officer at the refugeeagency's regional office in Pretoria, told The Namibian this weekthat lack of funds has prompted the financially-constrainedorganisation to limit the scope of its operations in the region.He said the humanitarian organisation has even scaled down on theprovision of non-food items and is now mostly concerned withfeeding refugees.

Refugee demands for schooling leads toriot (The Namibian, 05/12, Windhoek) - Pandemonium brokeout at the Osire refugee camp yesterday when hundreds of studentsbesieged the local office of the United Nations High Commissionerfor Refugees (UNHCR) to demand scholarships in order to study atNamibian schools. Police opened fire, shooting into the air, todisperse the crowd. They arrested 36 demonstrators and beefed uptheir presence by 400 per cent, according to witnesses. ChiefInspector Hophni Hamufungu, the chief of Police liaison, said thedemonstrators went into the office of the UNHCR field officer and"pushed him around" after learning that three out of 56applications for study grants were rejected. However, a source atthe camp said that the trouble began after more than 800 highschool hopefuls, out of more than 1 000 who had applied forgrants to pay school fees, discovered they were unsuccessful.Hamufungu said the Police were called to the scene. Thedemonstrators hurled stones at them and the Police fired shots inthe air causing the crowd to flee. He said the 36 have beencharged with assault, trespassing and "obstructing Policeofficers in the execution of their duties". The Policecalled in reinforcements from Otjiwarongo because the crowd atOsire was bigger than the Police presence. A witness said somepeople ran into the bush after Police in camouflage uniform weredeployed "all over the camp". "It ishelter-skelter around here. People are running away. There arenow 100 well-armed Police, and they are usually not more than20," said the witness. Another witness claimed thedemonstrators peacefully approached the UNHCR field officer whorefused to give them a hearing and promptly called the Police todisperse the crowd. A student, who was among the demonstrators,said the Police had beaten them but did not elaborate. "Thestudents-to-be only wanted to demand scholarships. We feel thateducation is a right for anybody. We want our children to go toschool," the witness said. There are reportedly more than3,000 students in pre-primary and primary schools as well as inadult education at the Osire camp. The exact number of studentswho would like to study from grades 10 and higher could not beestablished. There is no secondary school at Osire, which nowhouses over 17 000 refugees, more than five times the figure thatthe camp can officially accommodate.

Namibian manufacturing industry undersiege from South Africa (Pana, 06/12, Windhoek) -Namibians' rejection of locally manufactured products inpreference to those from neighbouring South Africa was straininglocal manufacturers to compete with bigger and better companieswhich produce at a reduced rate, a local business executive said.In an overview of the manufacturing sector, Jaco Venter, of theAssociation of Namibian Manufacturers, said on Tuesday 2000 was ayear of mixed fortunes for most manufacturers. "Althoughmany of our local manufacturers claim that they will be reportingfair growth in both throughput and turnover, there are those whowill end the year with a negative growth in operationprofits," he said. Without exception, he added, themanufacturers are both concerned about the low levels ofdisposable income in specifically the far north, but also inother areas of the country. "Many feel that credit sales onclothing and furniture are too accessible without considering theaffordability to the consumer," Venter said, adding thatloan sharks or informal financiers utilise the situation to theiradvantage, creating an ensnaring spiral of debt. He said"multinational chains are substituting retailers, with theeffect that the profits generated are not reinvested locally andleave Namibia in favour of their income statements in theRepublic of South Africa (RSA)." Historically, Namibia drewheavily on the formerly protected manufacturing sector of SouthAfrica, and to date the country still imports more than 73percent of its consumer products from there. The established RSAmanufacturers are thus often in a strong-arm position, withtechnology and skills acquired long before the global village'seffect became apparent. "In fact, there are still enormousprotection measures built in through import duties, in which wepartake under the Southern African Customs Union agreement,"he said, adding that typically, Namibia cannot source rawmaterials at the best prices on the world market withoutincurring heavy import duties. "Namibia still has no propermeans of preventing dumping from other countries outside andinside the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region,and experience has taught us that many RSA manufacturers willcontinuously suppress prices in Namibia to prevent the localmanufacturer from gaining market share," he said.Furthermore, advertising and promotions of established RSAproducts take place as part of a marketing plan designed forSADC, while local Namibian manufacturers have to rely on othermeans of production promotion. Venter further accused many RSAmanufacturers of seeing the Namibian market only as a naturalextension of their local market, and bringing retail chain storeshere, which create a barrier of entry to the Namibian market."Pricing of consumer products is often done at themultinational retailer's RSA office, averaging distribution coststhrough SADC and making it very difficult for the Namibianmanufacturer to compete in our local market with its vastdistances," he noted with concern. Venter suggested that theNamibian Tender Board still does not differentiate enough infavour of local manufacturing, thus making it difficult forbusinesses to survive and to become role-players in the Namibianand southern African economy.

Chinese nationals murdered (The Namibian,08/12) - Police spokesman Chief InspectorHophni Hamufungu said late yesterday that no arrests had beenmade yet as the search for the person or people who had shotOshakati shop owner Li Wen Hui and an employee, Wang Fushan,continued. Some US$25 000 in cash which is suspected to have beenstolen from the two murder victims has also not been retrievedyet. The Police have offered a N$20 000 reward for informationleading to the arrest of the Chinese nationals' killer(s). Thetwo men are suspected to have been killed between Saturday andMonday. They left Oshakati, where Li owned the Golden China Shop,on Saturday on their way to Windhoek. They never arrived at theirdestination. On Monday, their red Nissan Sentra vehicle was foundparked in the veld some 22 km from Tsumeb on the road toGrootfontein. Li's body was locked in the boot of the car. He hadbeen shot in the head. On Wednesday, a cyclist on the same roaddiscovered Wang's body next to the highway further on the way toGrootfontein, some 15 km from the scene where Li had been found.Wang apparently died from a gunshot wound to the chest. Hamufunguhas appealed to anyone with information which could lead to thearrest of the killer(s) or with knowledge of persons withunexplained large amounts of US dollars in their possession tocontact the Police.

Extradition trial of Namibians inBotswana (The Namibian, 08/12) - Theextradition hearings, which have now failed to get off the groundon six occasions since first being called before Magistrate AnnaMathiba in the Gaborone Magistrate's Court on August 30, are setto come up in court again on December 21. However, according toBotswana's Assistant Attorney-General, Lizo Ngcongco, it is notexpected that the court would then proceed to hear Namibia'sextradition request either. Ngcongco said yesterday'spostponement was agreed on in order to give the NamibianGovernment an opportunity to reply to "the formidable bundleof documents" that the 14 Namibians in detention in Botswanahad filed to oppose being returned to Namibia to stand trial. Hepointed out that the high treason suspects had had more thanthree months' time to prepare and file court papers to oppose theextradition requests. "The onus now shifts to the Republicof Namibia," Ngcongco said, explaining that the NamibianGovernment would now also have an opportunity to study thevoluminous filed court papers of the 14 and in turn file repliesto it. The papers of the 14 have been filed from December 1, withthe last submitted to the court on Wednesday, Magistrate Mathibawas told. The 14 were again represented by defence lawyer TengoRubadiri yesterday. Four of the 14 - Puteho Obbicious Matengu,Danbar Tumisa Muswena, Chris Samuele Mushanana and Francis KavetuKarufu - face a charge of high treason only in Namibia. Chargesof high treason, together with additional charges of illegallypossessing an AK-47 machine gun and ammunition, are faced byanother eight members of the group - Claasen Johan Kawana,Thaddeus Muzamai, Mutoiwa George Kabuko, Samulandela KennedyTelamo, Jones Brownson Kache, Devil Moa Kabo, Alfred KakenaLikunga and David Nalisa Mumbone. Kabo, who is reported to beill, was again not at court yesterday. Mumbone is also accused ofhaving committed a robbery, allegedly when he and other CapriviLiberation Army (CLA) members were fleeing from Namibian securityforces after the secessionist attacks at Katima Mulilo on August2 last year. Two members of the group, Richard Musupali Sithaliand Ivan Masole Kakena, would also face charges of murder,illegally possessing both an AK-47 and a G3 automatic rifle, thepossession of ammunition and the unlawful possession of an RPG 7rocket launcher and its ammunition if they are extradited. Theyare accused of having been involved in the killing of CLAdeserter Victor Falali near a claimed rebel camp at Libulibu inthe Linyanti area at the end of October 1998. That was shortlybefore hundreds of Caprivi residents joined an exodus of allegedsecession sympathisers to Botswana.

Abducted Namibians returned home (Pana,29/12, Rundu) - Some 40 Namibians abducted by suspectedAngolan UNITA bandits in Kavango earlier this year, were Fridayreturned to Namibia after being rescued by members of theNamibian Defence Force (NDF) at Mavinga, southern Angola.Namibian News Agency (NAMPA), also reported that more than 400rescued Angolans were handed over to the Angolan Armed Forces(FAA) at Calai town by the NDF operatives Friday. KavangoRegional Governor Sebastiaan Karupu commended the NDF members,saying 15 of the 40 Namibians had already arrived in Namibiawhile the others were being expected. "It is something to behappy about as these people will join their families in differentconstituencies of the region to celebrate the New Year aftersuffering in the bushes," Karupu said. Immigration PrincipalOfficer for Kavango, Mascar Kashembe, who went to receive thefirst group of freed Namibians, was quoted as saying that thepeople were abducted from various villages in the region,including Mbambi, over 160-km west of Rundu. Some ammunition andrifles were also reportedly captured from the rebels during theoperations.

South Africa

Refugees aid homeless South Africans inLanga (Cape Argus, 02/12) - In a selfless gesture,refugee women last week put on their aprons and cooked up a stormto help feed the many people left homeless by the fire thatdevastated the Joe Slovo settlement in Langa. The fire whichswept through the shanties last Sunday claimed six lives,destroyed 900 shacks and left an estimated 4 000 peoplehomeless. The refugee women, some of whom have just arrived inthe country after fleeing their war-torn villages, stepped in tohelp because they said they knew only too well what it felt liketo lose everything. Nzwaki Mshengu, manager of Catholic WelfareDevelopment's refugee programme, Bonne Esperance, said the womenfelt it was their duty to respond because they had had first-handexperience of the trauma of having a home, clothes and food oneday and nothing the next. She said that even though there hadbeen numerous incidents of xenophobia - some of which hadresulted in loss of life - in Langa, the women had adopted acaring attitude toward their new neighbours. "The wheel goesround. Today it's you, tomorrow it could be me," she said. Arefugee from Uganda, Immaculate Stuurman, said the disaster hadtouched her and brought back memories of when she had losteverything and been left destitute. "I know that sometimesthere is a hatred towards us and people feel that we are stealingtheir jobs. But we should pull together to help one another andbridge the gap. "How can you turn your back on a child thatis crying from hunger or a woman who has no place to go?" Arefugee from Sudan, Alice Kumu, said: "A disaster is adisaster and sometimes you may think you don't have enough togive but it is never too little to share. There is always enoughto go around." Zanele Huna of Catholic Welfare Developmentsaid some of the refugees had just arrived in the country afterjourneys of thousands of kilometres and were still coming toterms with their own experiences and being separated from theirfamilies. However, when asked if they would assist, the refugeeshad not hesitated for a moment and were more than willing to helpthe victims of the fire, Huna said.

SAHRC releases damning report ontreatment of migrants (Sapa, 08/12, Johannesburg) - Thetreatment of migrants in South Africa is the subject of a SouthAfrican Human Rights Commission report to be released inJohannesburg next week. In a statement on Friday, the HRCexpressed "critical human rights concerns" at practicesrelating to the treatment of migrants - illegal or otherwise."The recently publicised attack by members of the East RandDog Unit on three suspected illegal migrants once againdemonstrated the vulnerability to abuse and exploitation of thosewho have the misfortune of being in South Africa illegally,"the HRC said. The report, due on Tuesday, is the second in twoyears dealing with the issue of migrants. The first was releasedin March last year and focused on the arrest of suspectedillegals. Titled "Lindela - at the cross-roads for detentionand repatriation", the new report covers mainly conditionsof detention, compliance with constitutional standards indetention, and the role of the private sector in the advancementand protection of human rights. The commission said the reportalso dealt with the response to the HRC's previousrecommendations. "It represents a significant contributionto ensuring that the treatment of migrants in South Africa, aphenomenon that will increasingly test our commitment to humanrights, is in accordance with the imperatives of the Constitutionand is sensitive to the leading role we have sought to take onhuman rights issues internationally."

Lindela centre criticised (Sapa, 12/12,Johannesburg) - Physical conditions had improved at theLindela repatriation centre but little else had changed for thebetter for illegal immigrants detained there, according to the SAHuman Rights Commission. SAHRC Commissioner Jody Kollapenreleased a report on the centre on Tuesday. He said the reportwas a follow up to a study released in March last year. Kollapencommended Dyambu Holdings, the company running the facility, formaking the upgrades, but said much still remained undone at thecentre situated between Krugersdorp and Randfontein on the WestRand. "The report finds that Dyambu has a duty of care toits detainees and must respect constitutional and internationalhuman rights standards, regardless of its status as a privatebody," Kollapen said. He was also pleased that the companywas now actively co-operating with the commission to furtherimprove standards and conditions. In contrast he described as aserious cause for concern the lack of response by the Departmentof Home Affairs to the first report and the draft of the currentone. "I wish to categorically state that the commission isdisappointed at the inertia of the department," he said. Hesaid the first report merely elicited a letter from thedepartment saying it would implement its recommendations - butnothing more. Home Affairs asked for more time to respond to thedraft of the second report, but no response had yet beenreceived, Kollapen said. The commission found that corruptpractices and abuse of power was still rife at Lindela as well asat other detention and repatriation facilities. Kollapen said theapproach was still that illegal immigrants - and South Africansmistaken as such - had no rights and could be abused at will andwith impunity. Examples of the abuse of power included the use ofvague criteria for judging immigration status, such as height,the location of vaccination marks, linguistic ability and theassumed origin of surnames. Detainees were also randomlyassaulted, subjected to degrading treatment and woken up at nightfor security checks. The investigation process at Lindela wasalso perfunctory and "took only a few minutes," withthe burden of proof on the detainee and not on the Home AffairsDepartment. An attempt by Dyambu to establish a complaintsprocedure for detainees also failed because of a lack of interestby department officials, Kollapen said. Another cause for concernwas the department's disregard for a High Court interdictordering it not to detain persons for longer than 30 days at thecentre without permission of a high court judge. In September, 37people were found to be unlawfully held at the centre inviolation of the interdict. Kollapen said the SAHRC wanted topursue a constructive dialogue with Home Affairs "and notrun to the courts all the time." The commission hoped thedepartment and Dyambu would now fully implement therecommendations of both reports, particularly the establishmentof an independent judicial inspectorate along the line of thepolice Independent Complaints Directorate mandated to regularlyinspect the camp and call the department and Dyambu to account.Kollapen saidthe department should also issue proper guidelinesto its staff and to the SA Police Service on the handling ofillegal immigrants.

Home Affairs ignores SAHRCrecommendations (Business Day, 13/12) - Legislation onthe arrest and detention of undocumented migrants should beamended to include a set of minimum standards, the SA HumanRights Commission said yesterday. Releasing the commission'sreport on conditions at Lindela repatriation centre at a newsconference yesterday, commissioner Jody Kollapen said the companycontracted to operate the centre, Dyambu Holdings, had improvedthe physical conditions dramatically. Kollapen found, however,the home affairs department had not responded to the commission'srecommendations. The investigation was conducted during Septemberand December last year and the commission met both bodies todiscuss the findings, recommendations and possible solutions.Both institutions were given an opportunity to comment on thereport. The commission recommended that the burden to prove thata person resided illegally in the country should be on thedepartment and that the department should ensure that the 30-daylimit for detention should include the number of days a personhad spent at prisons as well as in Lindela. The report said thedepartment had not taken any major steps to clarify what were therecognised specific rights of people detained under the AliensControl Act. Kollapen said visits by researchers to Lindela foundthat the contract between the department and Dyambu did notfulfil national and international regulations for the detentionof undocumented migrants. These included access to legal advice,regulations for discipline and security and the establishment ofinternal and external inspectorate systems. During a visit toLindela last year, the commission found that there were 16immigration officers who were dealing with as many as 600arrivals and deportations a day. "There is further evidencethat most immigrant officers are not sufficiently trained to dealwith cases that do not follow standard procedures in theapprehension process," report author Emma Algotsson said.She said most officers were not trained to make decisions aboutasylum and unclear documents and referred all those cases to afew, overloaded senior immigration officers. People at Lindelawho claimed they were asylum seekers were not given theopportunity to apply for asylum as was the policy. The commissionheard that immigration officers at Lindela had repeatedly askedfor training, not only on handling asylum applications, but alsoon dealing with all situations. There was at present no outlinedtraining schemes for the officers, the report said. Theresearchers also that found detainees at Lindela were frequentlytreated violently. "A security guard once hit a man in theface without paying attention to the fact that he was beingobserved by the researcher," the report said. The reportsaid according to detainees, most violence occurred at night whenno one was there to observe the situation. Kollapen said thatmost people detained at Lindela were reluctant to lodgecomplaints because it meant they would have to stay there longerwhile a hearing was underway.

Angolans drown entering South Africa(Independent Online, 13/12, Windhoek) - An attempt by 13Angolans to enter South Africa on Monday by swimming across thedeep and fast-flowing Orange River near Namibia's southern bordertown of Noordoewer ended in tragedy when eight of the mendrowned. Namibian police spokesperson Chief Inspector HophniHamufungu confirmed the drownings on Wednesday. The incidentoccurred after the Angolans sought to cross into South Africathrough the border post at Noordoewer, but were unable to do sobecause they did not have visas. Five Angolans managed to reachthe South African side. They were rounded up and sent back toNamibia where they are temporarily being held by immigrationofficials. Hamufungu said that as the Angolans had not breachedany local immigration laws and their presence in Namibia wasstill legal they would not be charged with any crime.

Child sex workers and immigrants arrested (IndependentOnline, 16/12) - A total of 25 prostitutes under the ageof 16 were arrested in an Operation Crackdown initiative at twoJohannesburg hotels on Friday night, police said on Saturday.Inspector Mary Martins-Engelbrecht said the arrests took placeduring raids at the Europa Hotel in Hillbrow and theRosettenville Hotel in Rosenttenville. She said 13 adultprostitutes were also arrested in the raids, which were conductedby about 50 police officers assisted by members of the defenceforce. Sixteen illegal immigrants were also arrested and a28-year-old man for car theft, dealing in drugs and for being inthe country illegally. Police also confiscated two unlicensedfirearms, two cellphones and six fake identity documents.Martins-Engelbrecht said the child prostitutes were taken to aplace of safety and the prostitutes and illegal immigrants weretaken to the Hillbrow police station. She said notices ofprosecution were served on the owners of the two hotels."The Johannesburg police plan on embarking on more raids onJohannesburg hotels and other places notorious for childprostitution in order to crack down on the illegal trade,"Martins-Engelbrecht said.

Debate over brain drain (News 24, 20/12,Cape Town) - Approximatelya fifth, or (16%), of South African graduates want to leave thecountry either permanently or only for a few years, a recentlypublished Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) study found.Only one third of the people, who are planning to go overseas,are contemplating emigrating. Senior HSRC researcher, YvonneShapiro said The Graduate 2000 study, which canvassed morethan 7 000 respondents aged between 20 and 65, showed there was alight at the end of the emigration tunnel. "The exodus ofexperts (people who hold at least a degree) is not as high as weinitially thought. Most graduates leaving the country plan toreturn. Their expertise is therefore not lost forever," shesaid. Eighty two percent of the respondents said they were notintent on seeking even temporary employment outside South Africaand nearly a third stated categorically they would settlepermanently in South Africa. The questionnaire, however,contained no specific question on this topic. The well-timedresearch, which comes shortly after the publication of a book onSouth African emigration patterns by Dr Johann van Rooyen, isseen as one of the first reliable indications of the extent ofthe exodus of South African expertise. In his book, The NewGreat Trek: The Story of South Africa's White Exodus, VanRooyen claims that many more South Africans are emigrating thanofficial figures actually reflect. The HSRC study revealed thatjust over half (52.6%) of respondents who wanted to go overseas,indicated they simply wanted to spread their wings for a while.In total, 40.3% intend seeking temporary work, and another 12.3%wish to study. On the other hand, 34.4% of the respondents whosaid they are going overseas, intend staying there permanently.Of those proposing to look for work overseas, only 12% of thembelieve that they will work in a field different to that in whichthey are trained. Approximately 40% of respondents who indicatedthey intended settling overseas were not sure how long they wouldstay. A third believed they would return to South Africa withinfive years. Van Rooyen describes the increasing emigration ofwhite South Africans as a "very alarming aspect" of thecountry's transition to democracy. He regards the wholesaleemigration as a new Great Trek which is threatening to turn intoa flood. According to Van Rooyen’s book, the number ofemigrants is at least twice as high as the official figures of 8200 for 1998 and the approximately 9 000 of 1999. He claimsofficial figures are unreliable because many people don’ttell the authorities they are emigrating, preferring to say theyare only going overseas temporarily. The 55 000"official" emigrants who left South Africa since 1994,could, according to his book, be as many as 165 000 (and 1.1million, even 1.6 million since 1945 instead of 545 642).Research has shown that emigration has already cost the countryR8.4 billion in lost income tax, and another R285 billion inpotential contributions to the gross national product.

Teachers claim xenophobia in law suit(Business Day, 20/12, Gauteng) - Judge President BernardNgoepe yesterday intervened in a case involving 15 foreignteachers, demanding the case be heard by a full bench includinghimself and two others. The exact reasons the judge consideredthe case worthy of his attention are unclear, but the teachers'claims of xenophobia in the Northern Province educationdepartment received national attention. The high school teachers,from Ghana and India, lodged an urgent application in thePretoria High Court on Monday. They asked that the department,which employs them be compelled to support applications to renewtheir work permits. It is customary for the department to writean annual letter asking the home affairs department permissionfor the teachers to work in SA another 12 months. Last month, thedepartment asked that the 15 be allowed to stay until December 6this year. The teachers believe they are being discriminatedagainst because the department changed their status frompermanent to temporary without consultation, then ruined theirchances of renewing their work permits for next year withoutreasons. Several teach subjects like economics, accounting,business economics, maths and science areas in which SA pupilsperform extremely badly compared with other countries. The casewas called on Monday and postponed for a day to give thedepartment a chance to respond to the application. When thelawyers for both sides appeared in court yesterday, they weredirected to Ngoepe's chambers. The teachers said Ngoepe informedthe lawyers he had requested the case file and would receive thedepartment's opposing affidavit on Friday. Ngoepe said theapplicants should file their reply next Wednesday and the casewould likely be heard by a full bench the following day. Thedepartment's lawyer confirmed this. The teachers were unhappyabout the postponement, saying they would suffer "tremendousprejudice" as a result of the delay. They said they weredelaying leaving the Bushbuckridge area to visit their homecountries in case they were refused re-admittance to SA. Theuncertainty was also affecting their plans for the new year sincefailure to grant their application would result in them losingtheir jobs and their rights to live in SA. Sources who asked notto be named presented differing arguments for Ngoepe'sintervention. One said he may have seen the case as havingimplications for valuable foreign teachers throughout thecountry. As such, he may have wanted to handle the casethoroughly. Northern Province education MEC Edgar Mushwana deniedhis department was xenophobic. He said the province was involvedin a rationalisation programme to fill permanent posts at schoolsand temporary posts were being cut. In 1996, the 15 wereconfirmed as permanent employees after a Constitutional Courtruling.

Tanzania

Foreign academics and experts attacked(Pana, 22/12, Dar es Salaam) - Whether Tanzania shouldcontinue to depend on expatriates even in the fields where itsnationals have proven competence is the question naggingacademics at the University of Dar Es Salaam. As they ponder thequestion, the University dons blame policy makers and donors overtheir failure to properly local experts in various reformsundertaken by the government. "Talk of any reforms, we havethe capacity, but surprisingly the government and donors are notmaking effective use of our experts", complained MarcellinaMvula-Chijoriga, acting director of the university's consultancybureau. Briefing journalists during the institution's media day,Mvula-Chijoriga accused the government and the donors offavouring foreign experts, even for jobs which could be performedby Tanzanian professionals. "Foreign is not always the best.Many foreign experts do not know the issues at stake and some ofthem are not as experienced as we are. That is why they come upwith recommendations that are not implementable", sheargued. "Human capital is very expensive. How do you trainsomebody to Ph.D. level and fail to make good use of him? It'sbetter not to train the person at all," Mvula-Chijorigapointed out. Her colleagues too shared the view that the samepeople in government who talk about local capacity building werenot inclined to engage nationals. More than 400 Ph.D. holderswith specialisation in wide- ranging disciplines work at thebureau, which is a commercial consultancy firm.

Zambia

Zambia increases security along DRCborder (Sapa-AFP, 06/12, Lusaka) - Zambia is to beef upsecurity along its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC), as increasing numbers of soldiers and civilians fleeviolence in that country, Home Affairs Minister Peter Machungwasaid Wednesday. The wave of armed soldiers and civilians pouringinto Zambia from the DRC poses a security risk in Northern andLuapula provinces, Machungwa told journalists. "I havediscussed with the minister of defence to see if we can increasethe presence of our security personnel in the areas,"Machungwa said. He said Zambians living near the border should beassured that government was addressing the situation. Zambianmilitary sources here said an undisclosed number of Zimbabweansoldiers, who fight alongside DRC President Laurent Kabila'sforces, have crossed into Zambia after fleeing a rebel offensive."Actually, they have out-numbered the Zambian soldiers inthe area and they have refused to be disarmed," a militarysource told AFP. The Zimbabwean embassy in Zambia said it has notyet received a full report on the incident. Machungwa declinedeither to confirm or deny the information, saying Zambia'sforeign ministry would issue a statement after completingbilateral consultations on the issue. Meanwhile, more than 40,000DRC civilian refugees have fled to Zambian villages and ruralareas along the border, United Nations High Commissioner forRefugees (UNHCR) spokesman Kevin Shimo said. "It isenvisaged that if the current trend of arrivals does notstabilise, it is expected that this group would eventually moveto the refugee camp," Shimo said, adding that the currentflow of refugees was a result of new fighting in the DRC towns ofPepa and Pweto. In the last three days, more than 10,000 DRCrefugees have crossed the border to seek refugee, another UNHCRofficial said.

Zambia/Botswana Joint Commission(Dispatch Online, 06/12) - The challenge of theZambia/Botswana Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) of Cooperationwill not be measured in terms of how many meetings it has held,but in how successful it facilitates its projects,said BotswanaForeign Affairs Minister Lt. General Mompati Merafhe in LusakaWednesday. “We will be judged by our success in jointlypromoting tourism and investment to our countries, and in ourcooperation in the fight against the scourge of HIV/AIDS amongothers,” Merafhe said.The Zambia/Botswana JPC Eleventhsession will discuss how it will facilitate trade flows,transport and communications, and how it will enhance thecapacity to fight diseases. Merafhe said the JPC should be seenby the people as an instrument which not only gives practicalexpression to the common vision and ideals the two countriesshare, but also as a building block for regional co-operation.“Our vision as SADC or any other regional entity will remaina distant dream if countries cannot, at bilateral level, worktogether for mutual benefit,” he said. And Zambia ForeignAffairs Minister Kelly Walubita said the session would build onthe achievements of past sessions and develop bilateralcooperation to higher levels. Walubita observed that in the areaof transport and communication, a joint committee of officialsfor the proposed Kazungula Bridge Project has played a positiverole in developing the project. So far, the initiation of afeasibility study is underway. Walubita expressed gratitude tothe Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) forproviding technical assistance to the project. Once the bridge isconstructed, it will facilitate more efficient movement ofpeople, goods and services between the two countries. With thelaunch and implementation of the Southern African DevelopmentCommunity (SADC) Trade Protocol, it is believed that this willfacilitate and enhance trade among member states even atbilateral levels. This will be due to envisaged reductions oftariffs and non-tariff barriers. “With the coming into forceof this protocol, this Commission has the task of ensuring thatbiliteral trade cooperation between our two countries isincreased for mutual benefit,” said Walubita. Meanwhile thesession is expected to come up with a definitive position on howto finance participation in each other’s trade fairs, whichhas been under review for some time.

Zambia and Zimbabwe clash over free trade(Sapa-AFP, 07/12, Lusaka) - Zambian farmers threatenedThursday to file a formal complaint against Zimbabwe formaintaining trade barriers that were supposed to fall under a newregional free trade zone. Zimbabwe has kept its system ofrequiring import permits for wheat and maize, despite the freetrade area launched almost two months ago by nine members of theCommon Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), FarmersUnion of Zambia president Ajay Vashee told AFP. Zimbabwe'sparastatal Grain Marketing Board has also prevented Zambianexporters from sending maize meal, a staple food, into Zimbabwe,Vashee said. "We only hope that Zimbabwe will address thisissue, failure to which we are launching an official complaint toCOMESA secretariat," Vashee said. The complaint would be thefirst filed under the new trade area, which was launched onOctober 31, with the goal of allowing the free movement of goodswithin the member countries. The Millers Association of Zambiahas also complained that Zimbabwean wheat farmers were sellingtheir crops at below the cost of production, giving them anunfair trade advantage that would result in Zambian productslosing out on the market. The two countries are due to discusstheir trade differences at a December 11-12 meeting in Harare,Zimbabwean high commissioner to Zambia, Tirivafi Kangai, told thestate-owned Times of Zambia. "There are problems on bothsides. Zimbabwean exporters are also complaining of diffcultiesin exporting their product to Zambia. However, we are having ajoint permanent commission in Harare where we will look at theseproblems," Kangai told the paper. Zambia still has itssystem of import licenses on dairy and poultry products, whichalso goes against the COMESA agreement, Kangai said. Zambia andZimbabwe are among the nine countries that joined the free tradearea, aimed at removing all trade barriers on imported goodsproduced within member countries. The agreement is the first ofits kind in Africa. The other members of the free trade area areDjibouti, Egypt, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius and Sudan.

Zambia requests repatriation of soldiersfrom Zimbabwe (Pana, 07/12, Lusaka) - Zambia hasrequested Zimbabwe to repatriate its soldiers who crossed intoits territory from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where theywere supporting President Laurent-Desire Kabila's troops againstrebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda. "Yesterday (Wednesday),I summoned the Zimbabwean High Commissioner to Zam bia anddiscussed with him the urgent need for his government torepatriate the soldiers back to Zimbabwe," foreign ministerKeli Walubita told journalists Thursday. About 10,000 soldiershave fled into Zambia in the past few days through L uapula, inNorthern Province, to escape the intense war in Pepa and Pweto inthe DRC's Katanga Province. Walubita did not reveal how manyamong these were DRC or Zimbabwean soldie rs but confirmedPresident Robert Mugabe's government had been asked to repatriateits troops. The Rally for Congolese Democracy announced that ithad captured Pweto two days ago. According to Walubita, Zambialacks the capacity to handle such a huge inf lux of soldiers.Consequently, Lusaka has appealed to the United Nations, theInternational Committee of the Red Cross and the rest of theinternational community for urgent additional assistance. Theminister said it was clear that efforts of the Zambian governmentand the UN High Commissioner for Refugees were not adequate andrequi red to be supplemented. According to the refuge agency,some 50,000 civilians had also entered Z ambia and are settled invillages near the common border with the DRC. UNHCR's actingrepresentative, Martin Bucumi, said that about 500 refugees weretransferred Thursday to Kala camp in Northern province. Walubitasaid that the refugees, including the fugitive soldiers, had nowout-numbered the local residents in border villages. "I wishto assure all concerned that the Zambian government has disarmeda ll soldiers and separated them from civilian refugees.Arrangements are being made to repatriate the soldiers to theircountry," he added. Walubita welcomed Tuesday's signing inHarare of the agreement by parties in the DRC conflict todisengage their forces. He appealed to Jean-Pierre Bemba'sMovement for the Liberation of the Cong o, which did not sign, tojoin the other parties to sign the agreement as soon as possible.

Unprecedented refugee influx from DRC(Times of Zambia, 08/12) - GOVERNMENT yesterday askedthe international community to help contain the unprecedentedinflux of refugees fleeing intensified fighting in the DemocraticRepublic of Congo (DRC). Troops have meanwhile been sent toLuapula where the situation is reported to be volatile followingthe pile-up of more 50,000 Congolese refugees including thousandsof fleeing soldiers.At a briefing to confirm latest developmentsin the DRC conflict, Foreign Affairs Minister Keli Walubita saidschools in the area have been taken up to accommodate the fleeingrefugees. The minister said the local community could be affectedif the influx was not halted. Among those who have sought refugein Zambia are armed DRC and Zimbabwean soldiers. He said awritten appeal for assistance to United Nations Secretary GeneralKofi Annan has been sent through the UN office in Lusaka andhoped Mr Annan will respond in the affirmative. Allaying fearsthat the armed fleeing soldiers could disrupt peace in Zambia, MrWalubita said armed combatants have been disarmed and separatedfrom civilian refugees. Arrangements are currently being made torepatriate the soldiers to their respective countries. 'Theinflux of refugees is overwhelming. It is clear that the effortsof the Zambian Government and that of the UNHCR are not adequateand require to be supplemented. 'We have to this effectapproached the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC),the UN and the international community and to humanitarianorganisations for additional assistance,' he said. Mr Walubitareiterated Government's continued efforts in searching for peacein the DRC and expressed happiness at the recent signing of thesub-plans for the disengagement of forces. He also appealed tothe Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) to join the other partiesby signing the sub-plans. The fugitive soldiers running away fromthe war following heightened skirmishes between the rival forcesin Pweto and Pepe towns in Congo, were said to be harassingvillagers at the border. 'This is the price Zambia has to pay inits efforts to bring about peace in neighbouring countries,' hesaid. Defence Minister, Chitalu Sampa said more soldiers had beendispatched to the border area. Mr Sampa said Government was incontrol of the situation and guaranteed safety of its citizens.'We have a duty to provide security to our people and that iswhat were doing,' Mr Sampa said. He did not disclose the numberof troops for security reasons. 'I am sure that we have sentenough of our soldiers but if need arises we will still sendmore,' said Mr Sampa. More than 50,000 Congolese refugees andsoldiers fleeing the war in DRC had entered Zambia throughLuapula in the past 48 hours. Mr Sampa said that Government nowhad to contend with the task of looking after the soldiers whowere not a responsibility of the United Nations High Commissionerfor Refugees (UNHCR). 'We are getting some difficulties becausethe number of soldiers who have run away is growing and we haveto look after them,' the minister said. He, however, noted thateven with scanty resources at its disposal, the ZambianGovernment still had an obligation to look after all theasylum-seekers with the help of organisations like the UNHCR.Asked to confirm reports that Zimbabwean troops were among thesoldiers who have fled the fighting in the DRC, Mr Sampa said theinformation was still being verified. And Finance Minister KateleKalumba has expressed concern at insecurity in Chienge districtdue to the heavy presence the Congolese soldiers, ZIS reports. DrKalumba who is area member of Parliament toured the area anddescribed the situation as tense and people were now living infear. He also said the number of refugees was increasing and thatthey had run out of food. The minister said he had to use hispersonal money to buy mealie meal for some refugees from Congo.He directed the provincial leadership to ensure that the Presstours the area to high- light the volatile situation in Chienge.He told the deputy provincial permanent secretary Martin Kaomathat it was important that the media covered the area to bring tothe attention of Government about the happenings in Chienge.

Additional 50,000 refugees enter Zambia(Irin, 09/12) - The intensification of fighting in thesoutheastern province of Katanga early this week, in which ajoint RCD/Rwandan army force took control of the town of Pweto onLake Moero, has caused some 50,000 Congolese refugees to fleeinto the Luapula and Northern Provinces of Zambia, according tothe UNHCR. About 500 of these 50,000 people had opted to applyfor refugee status, with the rest either wanting to be assistedto proceed to the southern DRC city of Lubumbashi and theremainder to be allowed to settle in and around Zambian villageswhere they have relatives or friends, it said. In addition to 547soldiers of the DRC army, the Forces armees congolaises (FAC),who fled into the Kaputa area of Zambia in the past four weeks,the new arrivals in Zambia as a result of this week's clashesincluded up to 600 DRC soldiers, who had already been disarmed bythe Zambian security forces and were being assembled in Chiengitownship, the UNHCR stated. Twenty kilometres or so away fromChiengi, however, there was reported to be up to 3,000 soldiersof the DRC army, of , who were still to be disarmed and moved tothe township. Armed forces crossing the border from DRC intoZambia and who refuse Zambian military injunctions to disarm,constituted a potential danger to refugees in the region, UNOCHAreported this week. The Zambian government - which has beenkeenly involved in the DRC peace process - is looking for adviceand assistance from the international community on the matter ofdealing with soldiers entering the country having fled theconflicts in the DRC or Angola.

Refugee crisis deepens (Times of Zambia,09/12, Lusaka) - Donors yesterday held an emergencyconsultative meeting with the United Nations High Commissionerfor Refugees (UNHCR) to review the worsening refugee crisis inLuapula Province. The meeting was convened to update the donorcommunity on the latest intensified refugees flows into Zambiafollowing renewed heavy fighting in Pweto, DR Congo. The meetingwas attended by representatives from Japan, Norway, Britain,United States, China Sweden the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark,France, India the EU. UNHCR deputy resident representative MartinBucumi said an additional 700 refugees had entered Zambia atKaputa yesterday. This brings to about 60,000 the number ofrefugees who had poured into the country since last week. Thenumber was likely to swell in a few hours due to the intensifiedcontinued fighting. Mr. Bucumi said about 4,000 refugees had beendispatched to other camps. By press time 500 were still willingto be moved to designated camps. He said there was urgent needfrom the donor community to fund the operation. And Norwegianambassador to Zambia Halvard Lesterberg has called on the donorcommunity to financially assist the Government in coping with therefugee problem. In a separate interview, Mr. Lesterberg saidZambia had done a lot in the obligations towards refugees andneeded more support. He said he would submit a report to hisgovernment and await their recommendations over the issue.

240,000 refugees in Zambia from Angolaand DRC (Pana, 14/12, Lusaka) - As the UN HighCommissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) commemorates its 50thanniversary Thursday, UNHCR resident representative in Zambia,Oluseyi Bajulaiye, has expressed deep concern at the elusivepeace in the Democratic Republic of Congo, saying that this hasdiminished the prospects for the repatriation of refugees to theDRC. In a press statement, Bajulaiye described 2000 as adifficult and trying year for the agency with the continuedinflux of refugees from Angola and the DRC. "As a result ofthe increasing numbers of refugees, demand on resources has alsoincreased. Despite coming to the end of the year and millennium,the peace process in DRC has not taken root, diminishing theprospects for the repatriation of refugees to DRC," he said.Bajulaiye commended Angolan president Jose Eduardo Dos Santos forthe recent amnesty granted to Unita fighters. He, however, saidthat more could be done and encouraged all parties to the war inthe two countries to work for peace, adding that the onlysolution to the refugees problem was a lasting peace. Some 21,000Angolan and 17,000 DRC refugees have fled into Zambia in the lastsix months following intensified fighting in the two countries.Zambia is hosting 240,000 refugees, mainly from neighbouringAngola and DRC, settled in various refugee camps with othersliving with the their kith and kin in Zambian villages and towns.UNHCR said more than 200 ex-combatants who were settled inSolwezi, North-Western Zambia, were recently moved to Ukwimi,Eastern province together with 478 refugees to join theirex-combatants families. Zambian president Frederick Chiluba in apress statement released Wednesday night on the eve of the UNHCRanniversary said the ever-increasing number of refugees calls fora new approach to the problem. Chiluba noted that in recentlythere has been a proliferation of internal armed conflicts,particularly on the African continent which he said has led tomassive displacement of both civilians and combatants themselvesover the continent, a situation he said must be avoided at allcosts. Chiluba called on the international community,particularly the richer countries, to deliberately increase theirfunding to UNHCR so as to enhance its operations particularly onthe African continent, which has a severe refugee crisis. Chilubasaid a new relationship should be forged between the UNHCR,governments and various stakeholders to improve and sustainrefugee protection principles.

Zambia reinforces border with Congo(Sapa-AP, 19/12, Lusaka) - Zambia sent troopreinforcements to a remote northern province to protect villagersfrom hundreds of marauding Congolese soldiers who fled the civilwar in their country, officials said Tuesday. After clashes withCongolese refugees over several days, Zambia disarmed about 3,700Congolese soldiers and placed them under heavy guard in fourschools around the lakeside border town of Nchelenge, saidTimothy Kazembe, a spokesman for Zambian military mediators inthe two-year Congo civil war. Congolese fighters who ran from arebel offensive to capture the strategic southeastern Congolesetown of Pweto earlier this month outnumbered Zambia's garrison inthe Luapula province bordering the Congo, he said. With fugitiveCongolese soldiers infiltrating local communities after stashingtheir weapons, Zambian troops were on "high alert" inthe border district, Kazembe said. Many Congolese soldiers werebelieved to be masquerading as civilian refugees who fled thefighting in Congo. The United Nations refugee agency in Zambiasaid Tuesday about 15,000 Congolese refugees entered Zambia inthe past two weeks, joining some 60,000 who streamed across theborder in the first week of December. Refugee officials estimatedthen that some 6,000 Congolese and allied fighters - including300 Zimbabwe troops - were among that first influx of fugitives.That influx was the biggest flood of refugees from the Congo.Zambia had previously given refuge to about 40,000 Congolesefugitives. Kazembe said there were "several days ofresistance" from Congolese soldiers before they weredisarmed. He gave no details of casualties, whether there wasloss of life or the number of Zambian reinforcements beingdeployed in the border province. The weapons captured from thefugitive soldiers included rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tankgrenades, machine guns and Kalashnikov assault rifles, Kazembetold reporters. Congolese rebels took up arms in August 1998 withthe backing of Rwandan and Ugandan troops, accusing CongoPresident Laurent Kabila of mismanagement and inciting hatredbetween the region's Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups. Kabila isbacked by troops from Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The rebelshave been working their way westward along the border withZambia, from Lake Tanganyika toward Lubumbashi, Kabila's homedistrict and the country's second largest city. An agreed trooppullback from Congo's front lines has been overshadowed by newfighting along Congo's southern border with Zambia, where theCongolese army and their allies launched fresh attacks, a Rwandanofficial said Tuesday. The Rwandan-backed rebels were poised totake the southernmost Lake Tanganyika port of Muliro to deprivethe government of a launching pad for a new offensive, saidPatrick Mazimhaka, Rwanda's presidential foreign policy adviser.Mazimhaka said Congo government fighters and Rwandan Hutumilitia, who fled into Zambia when the rebels took Pweto, havebeen crossing back into Congo to launch fresh attacks.

UNHCR claims refugees wish to return toDRC (Sapa-AFP, 21/12, Kawambwa) - Most of the refugeesin Zambia who have fled fighting in the Democratic Republic ofCongo over the last two weeks want to return to the DRC, anofficial with the UN refugee agency said Thursday. The majorityof the 15,000 documented refugees have asked to be sent to theDRC's second city of Lumbumbashi, John Tabayi told AFP. Therefugees fled into Zambia after Rwandan-backed rebels took overthe DRC towns of Pweto and Pepa, said Tabayi, who heads theUnited Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) operationshere. Lumbumbashi, in the southern DRC near the Zambian border,remains under the control of DRC government forces, but is about600 kilometers (360 miles) south of the refugees' hometowns."These people from Rwanda have taken over our country. Theyare not Congolese but Tutsis," Nkoi Kabwe, a 33-year-oldautomobile mechanic who fled his home told AFP. Some refugees inKawambwa said they were forced out of their country by Rwandansoldiers who threatened them with mass killings. UNHCR estimatesthat 300 refugees enter Zambia every day, mostly from Pweto andPepa. As many as 40,000 are believed to be staying in Zambianvillages along the border, without contacting the refugee agency.The refugee camp in Kawambwa, 1,100 kilometers (660 miles) northof Lusaka is only equipped to shelter about 11,000 refugees.Zambia has deployed additional troops along its border with theDRC. Some 3,700 DRC soldiers are believed to have crossed theborder, causing insecurity in villages along the frontier. Fivebuses carrying about 80 soldiers each arrived at the borderThursday. The two-year-old war in the DRC has dragged incountries around the region. Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe havedeployed troops to prop up DRC President Laurent Kabila againstrebel movements backed by Rwanda and Uganda.

Zambia and Zimbabwe avert trade conflict(Financial Gazette, 21/12, Harare) - Zimbabwean andZambian government officials have headed off a trade disputewhich threatened to escalate into a tit-for-tat confrontationover their exports. Zimbabwean industrialists said this week thatthe two sides had tried to talk over some of their differences inLusaka earlier this month and during further negotiations inHarare last week. Zambian and Zimbabwean companies are tradingaccusations that each side is imposing non-tariff barriersagainst the other despite the launch in October of the CommonMarket for Eastern and Southern African States (COMESA) freetrade area. The barriers are said to include border bureau-cracy,restrictive permits, non-publication of trade information, slowprocessing of documentation and an imposition of complex customsclearance rules which ostensibly prevent Zimbabwean poultry anddairy products from entering Zambia. On the Zambian side, theMillers' Association of Zambia and the Zambian National Farmers'Union (ZNFU) complain that their exporters are being denied anopportunity to export wheat and maize into Zimbabwe and thatimport licences demanded by Zimbabwe's Grain Marketing Board areagainst COMESA's free trade rules. This had resulted in the ZNFUthreatening to lodge a formal complaint with the COMESAsecretariat against Zimbabwe. An official of the Confederation ofZimbabwe Industries (CZI) said this week that governmentofficials from the two countries had met earlier this month toiron out these contentious issues. "The meetings, which wereheld in the Zambian capital Lusaka, were attended by the Ministryof Industry and International Trade, the Ministry of Agriculture,ZimTrade, the Department of Customs and Dairibord ZimbabweLimited," CZI trade economist Wilson Chabata told theFinancial Gazette. "During these meetings, the Zimbabweandelegation was informed that although Zambia is worried by sometrade restrictions that they allege Zimbabwe is imposing onZambian exports, they were however not imposing countervailingmeasures against Zimbabwean goods." He said the Zambiansinsisted they had just invoked import permits on all agriculturaland agriculture-based products, which they had not been applyingfor a long time. The Zambians said the permits were across theboard and were not specific for goods coming from Zimbabwe."The situation of Zimbabwean exports has been exacerbated bythe absence of a bilateral trade protocol that would haveguaranteed easier access of Zimbabwean products into the Zambianmarket," Chabata said. "On the other hand, Zimbabwealso impressed upon the Zambians that there were no barriers thatZimbabwe was imposing to restrict the entry of Zambiangoods." The two sides resolved to study each other's importand export procedures and inspect the supply chains of theconcerned products and their production facilities in order toascertain their conformity to international standards. Chabatasaid Zimbabwe's Department of Veterinary Services was expected tovisit Zambia shortly to inspect the facilities there to ensurethat Zambian products entering Zimbabwe were not returned."The Zambian Department of Veterinary Services is alsoexpected to visit Zimbabwe shortly to inspect our facilities inorder to ensure that our goods won't be returned on entry intothe Zambian market." The claims of non-tariff barriers werealso discussed at a joint commission meeting of the two nationsin Harare last week, which also covered several other tradeissues. According to a draft resolution from the meeting, a tradeand customs committee is expected to discuss non-tariff barriersbefore the end of March 2001.

Zimbabwe

Supreme court rules that dual citizenshiplegal (The Herald, 01/12) - The full bench of theSupreme Court issued a consent order compelling theRegistrar-General (RG) to extend Ms Robyn Anne Carr’spassport, which had expired, within 30 days of application forextension. It also ordered the RG to pay the costs of the case."It is hereby declared that the right of the applicant underthe Constitution of Zimbabwe to protection of freedom of movementhas been contravened by the respondent (the RG)," saidJustice Ahmed Ebrahim. He said although the order was a consentone, the court would give its reasons for granting it in duecourse. A Government spokesman said in a statement the State waswaiting to study the order and hoped the court would make itavailable as soon as possible. "But based on what has beenreported it is another attempt by the courts to allow dualcitizenship through the backdoor," the spokesman said. MsCarr’s passport expired this year and she applied forextension, but the RG’s Office declined to extend it on thebasis that she had not renounced her British citizenship underBritish law. She then made a constitutional application to theSupreme Court arguing that the refusal by the RG to grant her apassport breached her right of freedom of movement and inparticular the right to enter and leave Zimbabwe. Ms Carrrenounced her British citizenship according to Zimbabwean law.Britain does not accept this form of renunciation and this led toher application. Several thousands of other people are in thesame position as Ms Carr, having either had British citizenshipor a claim to British citizenship and renouncing it underZimbabwean law. Some judges are believed to be in the sameposition as well and this led to the RG, Mr Tobaiwa Mudede, toask Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay and Justice Nicholas McNally,the two most senior judges of the Supreme Court, to recusethemselves from hearing the matter because they were "deemedto have lost Zimbabwean citizenship in the same manner as theapplicant". The two were replaced by retired Supreme Courtjudge Justice Roger Korsah and High Court judge Justice MohamedAli Adam, who heard the matter with Justices Ebrahim, SimbarasheMuche-chetere and Wilson Sandura. Appearing for Ms Carr, AdvocateAdrian de Bourbon asked whether a person who complies withZimbabwean law should lose her Zimbabwean citizenship simplybecause other governments did not recognise that as validrenunciation. "The Zimbabwean Government and Parliament isconcerned with making laws that are sufficient for purposes ofZimbabwe. The fact that the British government does not recogniseher (Ms Carr’s) renunciation matters not," he said.Advocate de Bourbon said his client had met all the requirementsof the Zimbabwean Citizenship Act when she renounced her Britishcitizenship. For the RG, Advocate Adam Kara said Ms Carr had beenusing a British passport to travel in Europe but the judges saidthat was not the argument of the RG who was saying no newpassport would be issued to a person who had not renounced theirforeign citizenship in terms of laws of countries they would becoming from. Advocate Kara said he had been informed by the RGthat the Zimbabwean Citizenship Act would soon be amended so thatthose applying for local citizenship would renounce their foreignstatus under the laws of the countries they would be coming from.The Government intended to amend the law in 1994 but the courtheard that it went through the first reading in Parliament butwas not brought back to the legislature. Legal experts and MrMudede said the order meant that people living in Zimbabwe couldhave dual citizenship until the law is amended. Ms Carr was bornin Zambia and came to Zimbabwe as a British citizen at the age offour in 1971. In 1992 she applied for Zimbabwean citizenship,which was duly granted in June 1995. She renounced her Britishcitizenship in terms of the Zimbabwean law and handed over herforeign passport to the RG’s Office before applying for aZimbabwean one, which was processed in 1995. When it expired thisyear, she approached the RG’s Office for renewal but wasdeclined the extension on the basis that she had not renouncedher British citizenship under that country’s laws. In hisopposing papers, Mr Mudede denied that his office was deprivingMs Carr of her freedom of movement, saying she was no longer acitizen of Zimbabwe and was, therefore, not entitled to aZimbabwean passport. He said she did not avail herself during theone-year grace period to effectively renounce her Britishnationality in terms of the British Nationality Act and continuedto hold a Zimbabwean passport in violation of the law prohibitingdual nationality.

Judges reject Mugabe's efforts to stripwhites of citizenship (Business Day, 08/12, Harare) -Attempts by President Robert Mugabe to strip 30000 of Zimbabwe's70000 remaining whites of their citizenship because they may havea claim to foreign passports ended in abrupt failure yesterdaybefore a specially comprised bench of black judges. The move islikely to enrage the ruling Zanu (PF) party whose militants lastweek stormed the Supreme Court in a protest against allegedpro-white bias. Manchester-born Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay andAppeal Judge Nicholas McNally, also British-born, excludedthemselves from Wednesday's sitting of the five-member SupremeCourt, Zimbabwe's highest tribunal, because the registrargeneral, Tobaiwa Mudede, said they were among those who hadforfeited Zimbabwean citizenship. They were replaced for thecrucial constitutional test case by Zimbabwean-born high courtjudge Mahomed Adam and retired judge Roger Korsah, a Ghanaian.They joined three of the regular appeal judges: Ahmed Ebrahim,Simbarashe Muchechetere and Wilson Sandura. In August, registrargeneral Mudede had told Robyn Anne Carr that she was not entitledto renew her Zimbabwean passport because she might be able toclaim a British passport by descent. She had renounced her claimto British nationality under a 1984 act of the Zimbabweanparliament, but had not renounced under British law, Mudede said.Ebrahim and Muchechetere noted that Mugabe's government hadtabled legislation in 1994 to try to force those who had claimsto foreign citizenship to renounce this under the foreigncountries' laws, but had dropped the bill before passing it,apparently because it was considered impractical. The billamounted to an admission by Mugabe's government that those whorenounced their British citizenship under Zimbabwean law had doneso effectively, the judges ruled without retiring to consider averdict, as is usual. Adam Kara, appearing for the government,agreed to Mudede being ordered to renew Carr's passport within 30days, after being told by the judges of the weakness of thegovernment's legal position.

Mugabe threatens to expel whites(Indepenent Online, 03/12, Harare) - In an apparentrejection of Nigeria's and South Africa's pleas that PresidentRobert Mugabe obey his own laws, state media reported on Sundaythat Mugabe has warned whites that they risk expulsion unlessthey stop fighting his land reform plan in court. State radioreported Sunday that Mugabe a day earlier had warned whitecommercial farmers of expulsion if they continue their courtbattle against his planned seizure of 3 000 white-owned farms.The land is to be redistributed among landless blacks, accordingto the government's plan. In a report from the same event - atree-planting ceremony in an eroded tribal area near the capital,Harare - the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper quoted Mugabeas saying: "I urge farmers to drop the nonsense of fightingthe land issue in the courts, as that will make us even moreangry. If the farmers cannot be harmonious ... then we will askthem to leave our country harmoniously." Nigerian PresidentOlusegun Obasanjo and South Africa's Thabo Mbeki met Mugabe onThursday. After the 2,5-hour meeting, Obasanjo said he and Mbekihad urged Zimbabwe to follow its own laws when seizing land forredistribution. Zimbabwe's highest court, the Supreme Court, hasdeclared the government land resettlement programme illegalbecause the seizures are not performed in accordance withlegislation passed by Mugabe's ruling party in April. Thatlegislation requires the government to evaluate the value of andpay for improvements, such as roads and irrigation, made to landit seizes. Owners must also receive a three-months notice of theseizure. The government has also ignored two High Court ordersend ruling party militants' illegal and often violent occupationsof about 1,700 white-owned farms. The occupations, described byMugabe as a justified protest against unfair ownership of land bywhites, began in February. About 4 000 white farmers own a thirdof Zimbabwe's productive land, where about 2 million farm workersand their family members live. About 7,5 million live on theother two-thirds. Obasanjo told reporters he warned Mugabe thatimbalances in land ownership could only be resolved if legalprocesses were followed. "What Zimbabwe should do isstrictly follow the law that is already in place," he said,adding that the unrest and economic problems caused by the landissue could spill across borders. He also said he had been askedmediate between Mugabe and Britain, the former colonial power,over compensation for white land owners -descendants of colonialera British settlers - whose farms were being nationalised. TheSunday Mail reported that Mugabe said Britain had given up itsefforts to obstruct Zimbabwe's land reform programme."(Zimbabwe's) government is now moving on an irreversiblecourse of acquiring land and redistributing it to the peopleacross all the rural provinces," the paper quoted Mugabe assaying. Mark Malloch Brown, administrator of the United NationsDevelopment Programme warned on Friday after talks with Mugabethat donors would not finance reforms until laws were obeyed andviolence stopped. Zimbabwe is facing its worst economic crisissince independence in 1980. Farm occupations have cut productionof tobacco and other export crops, and most foreign loans havebeen halted. Hard currency shortages have led to acute shortagesof gasoline.

Farm workers from other countries losejobs (Financial Gazette, 14/12, Harare) - Thousands offarm workers from Zimbabwe's neighbours Zambia, Malawi andMozambique who have worked and lived in this country for yearsbut are now threatened by the land invasions may soon becomehomeless because their governments are reluctant to repatriatethem, it has been learnt. The Financial Gazette this week heardthat countries such as Zambia were reluctant to take backnationals who had stayed and worked on Zimbabwean farms fordecades but now want to return home after losing their jobs. SomeZambians who have spent the best part of their lives on localfarms said authorities in Lusaka recently told them to seekZimbabwean citizenship because they were no longer consideredZambian. Zimbabwean commercial farms employ more than 450 000workers, most of them migrant workers from Mozambique, Zambia andMalawi. Thousands of the workers have either already lost theirjobs or will lose them and their homes as the governmentintensifies its controversial fast-track land reform programme toconfiscate white farms to settle Zimbabwean peasants. Thegovernment is targeting more than 3 000 farms for theresettlement scheme. Steven Sakala, 43, a Zambian who spent thebest part of his adult life on Zimbabwean farms, said authoritiesin Lusaka had advised him to seek Zimbabwean citizenship becausehe had stayed outside Zambia for too long. He said most of hisZambian colleagues also faced the same predicament and found itdifficult to convince Zambia's Home Affairs Ministry to grantthem back their citizenship. "There is no way we can beZimbabweans because we have never renounced our Zambiancitizenship," Sakala told the Financial Gazette. Sakala'sidentity card shows that he originated from Chief Mwanyawantu'sarea in the Chipata district of Zambia's Eastern Province. He andhis family worked for several years on farms around Karoi inMashonaland West. Some of those affected said they were born inZambia, Mozambique or Malawi and crossed the border to work onfarms while others were born in Zimbabwe of foreign parents.Although some of them have acquired Zimbabwean national identitycards, they said they still maintained links with relatives athome and wanted to go back now because they had no future underthe government's land reforms. Some ZANU PF politicians havehowever indicated that some of the farm labourers could beresettled on the seized farms. The Zambian high commission inHarare refused to comment. Joel Sele, a diplomat with theMozambican embassy in Harare, said most of the migrant workersfrom his country came into Zimbabwe of their own volition so itwas not his government's responsibility to follow them to findout how they were living. "These people came here on theirown so it is their responsibility, not that of the government. Ifthey want help, they should come to us and we will send themback," he said. An official at the High Commission of Malawisaid the embassy was concerned about the fate of displacedMalawians in Zimbabwe and was seeking ways of helping them."We are watching the situation closely and gettinginformation on the extent of the problem," the officialsaid. All the three embassies could not say how many of theirnationals worked or stayed on Zimbabwean farms and how many wouldbe affected by the closure of the farms.

4,000 doctors and nurses leave Zimbabwe(Sunday Times, 17/12) - Zimbabwe's ailing health sectorhas been hit by a massive exodus of doctors and nurses over thepast four years, writes Dingilizwe Ntuli in Harare. More than 4000 doctors and nurses have left the country over the past 16months. Health Minister Dr Timothy Stamps said Zimbabwe had beenlosing an average of 20% of its health care professionals everyyear to other countries. Zimbabwe has about 6 000 nurses and 2500 doctors, with about 80 doctors and 300 nurses graduatingevery year. He said each of the country's five major hospitalsloses about 24 senior nurses and three doctors every month,leaving them in a desperate situation. Each of these hospitalshas about 250 nurses and 70 doctors. Most emigrating healthworkers go to Britain, followed by South Africa and Botswana.Britain, Dr Stamps said, used its stronger currency to lurepoorly paid Zimbabwean health professionals, leaving thecountry's major hospitals manned by a skeleton staff, who arefailing to cope with the influx of patients - most of whom areHIV/AIDS sufferers. His government, he said, had been trying topersuade Britain to stop recruiting Zimbabwean health workers buttheir pleas had been in vain. "We look set to continuelosing our workers and that might lead to the collapse of theentire health sector." British Foreign Office spokesmanRichard Woods told the Sunday Times from London that Britain wasnot actively recruiting health workers from Zimbabwe. "Theyapply for jobs in Britain, and if they are recruited and satisfyimmigration laws, we will not deny them entry into thecountry," said Woods.

Brain drain to UK (Independent Online,16/12, Harare) - Zimbabwe is losing thousands oftalented professionals crucial to its future. President RobertMugabe's reckless policies are sending thousands of"born-frees'' - the black elite educated after the beginningof majority rule in 1980 - into exile, principally in Britain.The black brain drain - drawing professionals in their twentiesto Britain, the United States, South Africa and Australia - isfar more serious for Zimbabwe than the widely reported exodus ofwhite farmers, say economists. Those leaving, at an estimatedrate of five a day, include doctors, nurses, engineers, lawyersand journalists. Given that Mugabe, a former teacher, gaveZimbabwe's 12.7 million population some of the best education inAfrica in his first 10 years in power, the exodus is a disasterfor the country. Record Aids rates mean it needs its 14 000nurses more than ever, but they are clamouring to leave. Theprospect of a job in Britain - any job - is tantalising in acountry where trained nurses with families can no longer makeends meet on their monthly salaries of up to Z$10 000 (about R1362). At Beverlino's pizzeria in Harare, Brian, Ruben, Remi andFlossie - all black professionals in their twenties - spendanother evening swapping stories about friends who have left."The new way to do it is via Egypt," says Brian, anaccountant. "It is easier to fly through a transit pointthan to arrive in London on the direct flight.'' He tells of afriend who got to Montreal before immigration authorities turnedher back for not having enough funds for the six-month holidayshe claimed she was planning. "As soon as you have a'deported' stamp in your passport, you've blown it,'' Remi says,"because there is a three-year waiting list for passportshere.'' On the other hand, adds Flossie, it takes a good threeyears to save up the air fare. Ruben, who works at the reservebank, said he would leave as soon as he had raised the money."One friend, who is in London now, sold everything -television, table, chairs - leaving only a mattress on the floorfor his wife to sleep on. We really have nothing to lose."The idea is not to leave for ever. You go as a tourist,disappear into the woodwork, work for two or three years and sendmoney home, then come back and buy a house.'' In last week'sSunday Mail, a pro-government newspaper, columnist Garikai Mazarawrote of a trip from north London to Victoria station: "Wewere talking in Shona and forgot to check the name of the stationas we approached it. "Assuming the black woman next to uswas English-speaking, we asked her in English for help and, toour surprise and joy, she answered in Shona. London can aptly bedescribed as Little Harare. The presence of Zimbabweans becomesmore pronounced in Brixton, the Mbare of London.'' Mbare is apoor township on the outskirts of Harare which provided much ofthe capital's labour before unemployment hit 40 percent andinflation 56 percent. Though the emigration trend is clear andall urban professionals know someone who has decided to leavesince the Movement for Democratic Change failed to unseat theruling Zanu-PF party in the recent elections, the extent of theexodus is only now being revealed. Zimbabwe's Central StatisticalOffice shows registered emigrants doubled in the first six monthsof this year to 3 299, compared with the similar period in 1999.But most people who leave, white or black, do not register theirdeparture: they need to escape currency controls and leave theiroptions open. Thousands are leaving, and the Daily Telegraph lastweek said MDC supporters in Britain are being harassed andfollowed by agents of Zanu-PF. Strive Masiyiwa - the 39-year-oldmillionaire who brought an independent mobile-phone service,Econet, to Zimbabwe - has moved to South Africa because he fearsfor his safety and considers his home country's business climatetoo uncertain. And the celebrated singer Thomas Mapfumo moved tothe US after his songs were banned and "guys in darkglasses'' began lining the back row at his concerts.

Brain drain escalates (Financial Gazette,21/12, Harare) - A Sign of the times in Zimbabwe thesedays proclaims: "Household Contents For Sale: FamilyLeaving". Most of those putting their possessions under thehammer are white Zimbabweans and their exodus has been wellpublicised in the past 12 months. But even more worrying and lessremarked upon, economic commentators agree, is the "blackbrain drain", the loss of thousands of young blackprofessionals who increasingly feel that Zimbabwe has little tooffer them. It is estimated that 500 Zimbabweans emigrate eachmonth and, according to the Central Statistical Office, about 3299 people emigrated in the first six months of this year. Thisis double the number of people who left the country in the sameperiod in 1999. It was not possible to ascertain this week howmany of those leaving the country were black Zimbabweans, butexperts said they were likely to make up a significant percentageof emigrants. In addition, official statistics do not reflect thelarge number of blacks leaving Zimbabwe on the pretext of goingabroad for study or being on holiday and subsequently looking forwork. "Basically, there are a lot of blacks leaving thecountry," Employers' Confederation of Zimbabwe presidentJoshua Nyoka told the Financial Gazette this week. "But wedon't have accurate figures that show how many there are."It's difficult to say because when some people leave acompany, they don't necessarily say they are going out of thecountry." Sectors that have been affected by the black braindrain include medicine, where a large number of doctors andnurses are leaving Zimbabwe every month. Qualified nurses, whoearn about $15 000 a month after being certified to practice, areleaving mostly for the United Kingdom (UK), although anincreasing number are also emigrating to countries such as NewZealand and Australia. "Over the last 10 years, we havetrained 1 200 doctors and out of that number, we have got only360 practising in the country," Nyoka said. "Medicinehas been severely affected, especially with highly qualifiednurses leaving the country." Other black professionalsvoting with their feet are engineers, lawyers, accountants,academics and those working in the banking sector, especiallycorporate bankers. Most are heading for South Africa or the UK -statistics show that Zimbabweans top the list of deportees fromthe UK, with 47 being sent home from London every month.Countries such as the US, Ireland, Canada and Australia are alsobeing targeted by Zimbabweans, many fearing the return ofpolitical violence in the run-up to presidential elections in2002. The commentators said the main reason for the exodus ofblack professionals was the economic crisis and the perceptionthat as long as ZANU PF remains in power, the future for mostworkers is bleak. "Quite a diverse group of skilled andprofessional people are leaving and the major reason they areleaving is the economic crisis," Zimbabwe National Chamberof Commerce research economist James Jowa acknowledged. Mostworkers' salaries have been sharply eroded by stubbornly highinflation, which has dramatically forced up the cost ofaccommodation, basic foodstuffs, transport, school fees and otheressentials. But as living costs soar, the workers' salaries haveremained virtually stagnant because most companies, themselvesbattling to survive Zimbabwe's economic crisis, cannot afford tokeep raising them. With Zimbabweans earning a minimum $2 500 andmost less than $20 000 a month, their foreign counter-parts beginto look much better off and emigrating the wisest option, theanalysts said. In Britain, for instance, doing a menial job canearn a worker a minimum 3,60 pounds ($288) an hour or 576 pounds($46 080) a month. With the local currency continuing to fallbecause of the huge inflation differential between Zimbabwe andits main trading partners such as the UK, this may seem like afortune to others who forget that they have to spend most of thatmoney where they live, in this case the UK. "Way back in1993, a school leaver in Belgium would earn about 24 000 Belgianfrancs a month for doing an ordinary job and now they must beearning 30 000 to 40 000 Belgian francs," said Collen Gwiyo,secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Banking and Allied Workers'Union. "When you convert that into Zimbabwe do-llars, it's alot of money." Nyoka said: "With inflation and otherproblems, an executive can't afford to buy a car or a house ofhis own but if he goes to South Africa at a middle-level salary,he can buy both. "A lot of people have children at school oruniversity and they can't afford to pay their fees. That'sanother reason people are leaving in order to secure supposedlybetter education outside the country." The result, theanalysts said, is a skills shortage that is beginning to be feltin several sectors and is likely to worsen as more Zimbabweansquit the country. As more young people get the opportunity tostudy outside the country after high school, there is the riskthat many will not return to Zimbabwe because of fear that theywill either be unable to find work or make ends meet. "Wehave children who are going to the US, UK and Canada to study butthey are not coming back because they feel there are noopportunities," Nyoka said. "We are basically trainingpeople for other countries." Jowa said: "We find thatmost blacks leaving the country are professionals or skilledworkers. When they leave, this is a big loss of productivity tothe country." With most companies expected to record lossesin the next few months and many on the verge of collapse, forcingthem to rationalise operations and retrench workers, there is notmuch the business community can do to retain the skilled workers.Political chaos The analysts said professionals were often notemigrating because of adverse working conditions, but because ofZimbabwe's economic and political chaos which companies could donothing about. "There is very little the companies can dogiven the fact that some of the problems that workers are runningaway from are not necessarily caused by industry," Gwiyosaid. Jowa added: "The only thing that companies can do isimprove working conditions but under the current circumstances,they can't do that. "They have to be able to offer packagesthat make up for the uncertainty in the country and not many cando that. The situation will continue to worsen as more and morepeople leave, which is unfortunate because Zimbabwe is known forits highly-educated labour-force." The analysts saidZimbabwe was in a Catch-22 because it needed skilledprofessionals to help turn the country's economy around but mostprofessionals would only return to the country if the economyimproved. This is expected to slow down the economy's recoveryfrom the worst crisis it has faced since independence 20 yearsago, driving even more professionals, black and white, out."We need these people for the recovery to take place but atthe same time these people will not come back until the economyimproves and this is going to slow down the recovery," saidKingdom Financial Holdings' economist Howard Sithole. Nyoka said:"The danger is that if we don't retain these people, theremight not be anyone left to care when the economy recovers."

 

This page waslast updated on 28 March 2005.