SOUTHERN AFRICAN MIGRATION PROJECT
Migration News - November 2000
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Click Here for Press Reports on Court Case Involving Dog Attack on Immigrants
New trans-frontier conservation area established
New regional police code following brutal dog incident in SA
Commentary on implications of COMESA
New road in three-country Lubombo SDI
Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa conclude Orange Riveragreement
Angolan refugees cross into Congo
Angolan refugees starving in refugee camps
Botswana to crack down on undocumented migrants
South Africans purchase Hyundai plant
Waverley may relocate to Botswana
Botswana and Zimbabwe to facilitate movement
UN estimates of displacement in DRC
Nearly 200,000 Angolan refugees in DRC
Over one million displaced in DRC
Lesotho attracts foreign investors
Crime wave blamed on refugees
Nurses emigrate to UK
Condemnation of SA police brutality
Mozambique and South Africa discuss deportations
New visa rules to promote tourism
Teenage girls abducted to South Africa
Namibia introduces road entry fees
Minister of Home Affairs under attack
Dispute over border with South Africa
NGO seeks to repatriate San refugees from Botswana
Contempt of court case against Home Affairs ministers
Plans to relocate refugees to affect San negatively
Calls for stricter border controls
Brochure to promote immigration launched
Increased security along Angolan border
Rwandans arrested as undocumented migrants
Osire refugee camp overcrowded
Some 800,000 foreign tourists visit western cape in 1999
Burundian refugee assaulted in Pretoria
Immigration from Germany increases
SA-Swaziland border post blockade
Report that Buthelezi may resign
Commentary on the brain drain
UK may require visas for South Africans
Visa frustration for South Africans travelling abroad
Report recommends import of IT skills
Arrest for assaulting migrants from Zimbabwe
Company tries to reverse brain drain
Impact of brain drain on local labour market
ANC MEC calls for restrictions on emigration
Call for measures to halt medical brain drain
Mbeki speaks on mining industry's role
Police include deportations in crime figures
Police implication Nigerians, Zimbabweans in fraud schemes
Recruiting of skilled South Africans for Australia
South Africa journalists expelled
Chief seeks refuge in South Africa
Swazi ministers speak about migration impacts
South African journalists arrested
Major company relocates to Malawi and Zimbabwe
Chief harassed by Congolese soldiers
UN warns of refugee disaster
Report on sex workers in Lusaka
Soldiers flee to Zambia from DRC
DRC soldiers held in prison
Zambia to issue ID's to refugees
Survival strategies of Angolan refugees
Foreign investors criticised over employment conditions
More refugees arrive in Zambia every week
Confusion over COMESA rules for small cross-border traders
Unita soldiers flee to Zambia
Expatriates under fire for conniving with officials
Clashes at Beit Bridge border post
Beit Bridge quiet again
Zimbabwe has 3,000 refugees from DRC
New trans-frontier conservation areaestablished (The Herald, 29/11) - A huge conservationarea and regional tourist attraction of 100 000 square kilometreshas been established where Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambiquemeet. The three countries have signed an agreement to establishthe combined Gaza-Kruger-Gonarezhou trans-frontier conservationarea, the largest such area in the world. The agreement wassigned in South Africa on November 10 by the Zimbabwean Ministerof Environment and Tourism, Cde Francis Nhema; the South AfricanMinister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Mr Moosa Valli;and Mozambiques Minister of Agriculture and RuralDevelopment, Mr Helder Monteiro Muteia. Briefing journalists inHarare yesterday, Cde Nhema said Zimbabweans should bracethemselves to take advantage of opportunities arising from theformation of the park. "The countries involved in theproject would jointly market the park, and animals will now movefreely," said Cde Nhema. The three countries are nowfinalising the finer details of the agreement such as thescrapping of visa requirements. The park is also expected to havean organ co-ordinating its marketing within the region andinternationally. Cde Nhema said the combined park would alsocreate opportunities for further collaboration, new investmentsand the promotion of sustainable use of natural resources.Culturally, the trans-frontier conservation area will unify localcommunities, whose cultures and traditional land areas have beendivided by national borders. The combined park will become thebiggest trans-frontier conservation area in the world, stretchingover 100 000 square kilometres. "For Zimbabwe, with all thebad publicity going on, this development is also a vote ofconfidence from South Africa and Mozambique," said theminister. The areas covered in the Gaza-Kruger-Gonarezhoutrans-frontier are in Mozambiques Gaza province (66 000square km), Zimbabwes Gonarezhou and adjoining areas (10000 square km) and South Africas Kruger National Park andadjoining areas (22 000 square km). Cde Nhema said surroundingcommunities would benefit from the megapark through theactivities of Campfire to discourage poaching. He said thetourism industry was now getting a lot of inquiries from thetourist markets than was the case during the run-up to theparliamentary elections when confidence in the industry hit itlowest ebb.
New regional police code following brutaldog incident in SA (African Eye News Service, 20/11, Blantyre)
Commentary on implications of COMESA(Zimbabwe Mirror, 17/11) - The launch of the CommonMarket for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) Free Trade Area(FTA) in Lusaka, on October 31, heralded the dawn of a new erafor the sub-region and the continent as a whole. COMESA comprises20 countries, nine of which agreed to eliminate duties, tariffsand trade barriers in order to stimulate economic development andintegration among themselves. The rest of the countries havecommitted themselves to achieve the same in the short-term.COMESA has a total population of about 400 million people,three-quarters of whom live well below the World Bank povertythreshold of US$1 a day. The grouping has a total gross domesticproduct (GDP) of US$166 billion and real GDP and populationgrowth rates of 3.2 and 2.2 percent respectively. The Table belowindicates the size of the COMESA economy. Egypt has the largesteconomy followed by Kenya, Zimbabwe and Angola. Egypt is thebiggest exporter followed by Angola, Zimbabwe and Kenya. Egypt isalso the biggest importer followed by Kenya and Zimbabwe. COMESAtotal exports and imports in 1998 stood at US$23 billion andUS$45 billion, respectively. The regions intra-trade isUS$4.2 billion, and is estimated to grow at the rate of 20percent per annum. However, this is too small when compared toother advanced regional blocs of the world. This reflects theconstraints in production, trade and consumption patterns. Hence,the new dawn is expected to stimulate production and tradepatterns leading to reduction of poverty among the poorest in theworld.
The decision by nine countries to establish a FTA is a giantstep towards creating a single economic bloc on the continent.This consolidates the process of regional economic integrationand co-operation by deepening trade flows and market integration.This leads to higher levels of production, development andprosperity. Most COMESA member states are individually too smallto achieve economies of scale in their production. Single marketimproves market access while reducing the cost of production.Reduction in tariffs, duties and trade barriers is therefore apowerful stimulus to economic growth and development, which thencreates opportunities for maximising the use of factors ofproduction. This is likely to enhance production efficiency andcompetitiveness in COMESA. The adoption of the StructuralAdjustment Programmes (SAPs) by most COMESA member countriessince the 1980s has failed to increase production and trade.There is evidence to suggest that some degree ofde-industrialisation has taken place on many SAPs implementingstates. This has also discouraged the flow of private foreigndirect investment (FDI) in the entire region, hence the lowlevels of investment. In fact, the regions gross domesticinvestment has fallen consistently during the past few yearswhile there has been a huge increase in COMESAs externalindebtedness over the years. Indeed, COMESA is one of the mostheavily indebted and impoverished regions in the world. Tradeliberalisation and the general economic deregulation have notbenefited industrialists and citizens. Trade patterns remainunchanged, and are mostly in favour of the fast dwindling formalsector. With the shrinking economic base, many citizens arejoining the informal cross border trade sector, which despite allunfavourable laws, regulations and policies, remains resilient toregional economic integration and co-operation agenda. However,the loose and uncohesive nature of the COMESA indicates morechallenges that might derail benefits likely to accrue to theregion. But this does not underestimate the significance of thisFTA. The mere fact that less than half of COMESA member stateshave endorsed the idea has a psychological impetus to the futuresocio-economic and political gains of COMESA. Of the countrieswhich endorsed the idea, Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, Sudan, Zambiaand Zimbabwe have more intra-trade within the group than suchcountries as Djibouti, Malawi and Madagascar. On those still toendorse, only Angola, DRC and Ethiopia have significant tradewith the group. This shows that the region is not yet ready toconfront threats of globalisation as well as reducing povertylevels. The situation has been worsened by the withdrawal ofTanzania just a month before the launch. But available data showsthat the country imports more from COMESA than it exports. Thepolitical instability has negative impact on integration and theissuing of a single passport and the relaxation of visarequirements in the region, particularly among the warringnations. It is sad that five member countries Angola, theDemocratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Eritria and Ethiopia are directly involved in armed conflicts. Some members ofgroup are directly or indirectly fighting each other, as is thecase in the DRC war. This raises the question whether COMESA isready for a FTA. Both goods and factors of production areunlikely to move freely in the region if the conflicts persist inthe region. Other areas that call for urgent attention includethe flow of information on trade opportunities among memberstates, and the simplification of documentation required to movegoods between COMESA countries. Maybe the group should adopt asingle customs document if regional integration is to deepen. Inthis connection, it is imperative to make COMESA rules of originmore relevant, practical, understandable and usable. It is alsosad to note that countries like Uganda, Seychelles and Namibiawant guarantees that protect their industries before endorsingthe FTA agenda. This means that some member states are not yetready to face stiff competition from fellow member countries, letalone the rest of the world. It appears that there is fear tolose revenue and/or factors of production flight to other fellowmembers. Also, Namibia and Swaziland are members of SACU, andthat binding means that they can not eliminate duties, tradebarriers and tariffs without the consent of SACU.
COMESA has to grapple also with all sorts of non-tariffbarriers and the simplification of COMESAs rules of origin.This is more challenging in the short-to-medium term. While somemember states have foreign currency problems, it is thedevaluation policies that have met stiff resistance from thepolitical leadership who fear that the worsening ofsocio-economic environment may result in social upheaval. This ismore so in net-importing countries like Zimbabwe, where anydevaluation policy has resulted in price spiral. It is importantthat countries liberalise import licences in order to allow fastmovement of goods between them. For example, the introduction ofa COMESA carrier license would allow commercial goods vehicles touse one valid license throughout the entire region. This leads toless red tape, and helps in the fight against corruption, whichhas affected trade flows in the past. Transport and communicationinfrastructure, which is underdeveloped in the region, isunlikely to sustain the anticipated increase in production andtrade volumes. The above maybe worsened if the visa requirementsremain too controlled. The governments must also reduce customsand bureaucratic procedures at the border crossing so as to allowfast movements of goods between countries. All the same, COMESAFTA comes right in time when the region is in urgent need offoreign investors. The large market and abundant naturalresources that include mineral wealth, fertile and undulatingland and tourist attractions, coupled with free mobility offactors of production are some of the factors that might lure FDIinto the region. But, the region on the other hand, needs toimprove relations among its members. Conflicts in COMESA areunsustainable and may dent the future viability of the new dawnin the sub-region. If the region is to achieve full integrationwith a common currency by 2025, then more energy should gotowards cementing the objectives of the COMESA FTA.
New road in three-country Lubombo SDI(Pana, 09/11, Gaborone) - Three southern African states- - Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa -- have signed anagreement in Windhoek, Namibia, to establish the Orange-SenquRiver Commission. The state-owned Botswana Daily News Thursdayquoted Namibian agriculture, water and rural development ministerHelmut Angula as saying the agreement "will seal a jointcommitment to work together in the development of the OrangeRiver for the benefit of all in the respective basinstates." The minister added that the agreement "is theculmination of fruitful negotiations." The commission willdevelop a comprehensive perspective on the Orange Basin and studythe present and planned future uses of the river system anddetermine the requirements for the flow monitoring and floodmanagement. It will also will be required to advice thegovernments on technical matters concerning the equitable andreasonable utilisation of the waters of the basin. The signatorystates share the Orange River, which is reputed to be the largestwater course system south of the Zambezi River. The maintributaries of the Orange River are the Molopo in Botswana, theMalimabatso in Lesotho, the Fish in Namibia and the Vaal in SouthAfrica.
Angolan refugees cross into Congo(Sapa-AP, 07/11, Geneva) - Several thousand new Angolanrefugees have crossed into Congo, where relief workers are havingproblems getting aid supplies to them, a U.N. official saidTuesday. Kris Janowski, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissionerfor Refugees, said he was unable to give a figure for the numberof refugees who have crossed into Congos South Bandunduprovince because of the difficulty of reaching the remote borderregion. Several thousand out of an estimated 18,000 peoplewaiting .. have actually crossed the border, Janowskisaid. He said they were scattered in villages on the Congoleseside of the border, but none have moved onto theestablished camps which already house 10,000 refugees fromAngola. This worries the local authorities, whoprefer that the refugees, who may include sympathizers or evenformer fighters of Angolas UNITA rebel movement, be housedin official camp sites. The refugees have been waiting onthe border at Kahemba, fleeing renewed fighting in AngolasLunda Norte province. Efforts to bring aid and relief workers tothe refugees from the Congolese capital, Kinshasa, continue to behampered by a shortage of fuel, Janowski said. There are around170,000 Angolan refugees in Congo and 180,000 in Zambia. Manymore are displaced inside Angola. The Angolan government andUNITA, a Portuguese acronym for the National Union for the TotalIndependence of Angola, began fighting after the southwestAfrican country gained independence from Portugal in 1975. Thecivil war restarted in December 1998 following four years ofuneasy peace.
Angolan refugees starving in refugeecamps (Sapa-AFP, 06/11, Solwezi) - The more than 50 000 refugees staying at a UNHCR-runcamp in northwestern Zambia are facing severe food shortages, arepresentative told visitors last week. "We are given foodrations to last for only 15 days," refugee leader MarioNjamba said during a visit to the Maheba camp by westerndiplomats and journalists on Friday. "It is very difficultespecially for new arrivals to look for their own food when therations run out," Njamba said, calling on the UN World FoodProgramme (WFP) to increase the rations. Maheba, one of Africa'slargest refugee camps, shelters mainly refugees from neighbouringAngola. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)representative Oluseyi Bajuliye told AFP during the visit:"We will try to see if we can increase the food rations butwe are having lots of constraints." He added that therefugees at Maheba were being encouraged to be self-reliant andeach family has been given land to grow their own food instead ofdepending on relief handouts. Each family is allocated an averageof 2.5 hectares of land, Bajulaiye said. The Maheba refugeesettlement is some 100km from Solwezi, which is more than 530kmnorthwest of the Zambian capital Lusaka. Zambia currentlyshelters more than 220 000 refugees, mostly from Angola and theDemocratic Republic of Congo.
Botswana to crack down on undocumentedmigrants (Mmegi/The Reporter, 13/11, Gaborone) -Botswana will be tough on illegal immigrants and crimesassociated with immigrants like smuggling, President Festus Mogaesaid in parliament on Monday during his state of the nationaddress. "Modern forms of communication and technology haveturned the world into the 'global village' which has, in turn,resulted in porous borders where anything and everything can besmuggled. "The type of organised criminal behaviour whichthe world has witnessed in the recent days is " immigrantsmuggling." The solution is not to seal the borders but toapply such appropriate and humanly deterrent measures as todiscourage this behaviour, especially in the days of severecommunicable diseases," Mogae said. The new measuresunveiled on Monday are aimed at fore-stalling the influx ofillegal immigrants into the country of about 1.5 million,especially from the impoverished countries north of ZambeziRiver. Tensions have erupted recently between locasl and illegalimmigrants who are accused of theft, upsurge in murders and rapecases and disadvantaging locals over job opportunities. Last yearalone, 12,343 illegal immigrants - over 90 percent of themZimbabweans - were repatriated following a big "moppingexercise" by the Department of Immigration and the PoliceService. "Between January and June this year, we repatriated7,661 illegal immigrants and the majority of them wereZimbabwean," Chief Immigrantion Officer, Kgosientsho Selekasaid, adding that "as of Zimbabwean there has not been anyimprovement." "We repatriate them, and within two-to-three weeks they are back because of the economic situation intheir own country," Seleka said. Others illegal immigrantsare from countries, such as, Bangladesh, Britain, China, Ghana,India, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Pakistan, South Africa,Sierra Leone, Tanzania,Namibia and Zambia. At the height of theexercise President Mogae said the "country can not affordthe illegal immigrants, especially at the high number they areentering the country. "We are a small economy and we can notafford the number in which they come. We are going to intensifyour efforts to locate them but at the same time liberalise ourimmigration laws to encourage people to come into the countrylegally," Mogae has said. "The relaxation of tradebarriers world-wide has contributed to a massive movement ofpersons and goods into and out of the country. Due to thesedevelopment some existing border posts have proved to beinadequate and need to be upgraded," Mogae said in hisaddress. The proposed measures included some of the borders beingopened 24 hours to allow free movement of people and theupgrading of the security forces in the law enforcement trainingthrough the International Law Enforcement Academy (ALEA) of theUnited States of America courses which will be introduced at thenewly completed Botswana Police College. The objective of ALEAcourse are among other things, to improve training andinstitution building assistance to combat trans-national crimesincluding terrorism, narcotics trafficking, finance crimes, cybercrimes, illegal firearms, trafficking and migrant smuggling andthe training will be open to officers from other parts of thecontinent. Initial attempts by government to lock -up illegalimmigrants to be tried before they are repatriated to theircountries of their origin backed-fired on the Gaboroneadministration. The move worsened congestion in the country's 21prisons sprawled across the country. "At the moment we havea bilateral agreement with Zimbabwe that is citizens berepatriated immediately upon arrest. We could not keep them inour prisons because they are already full beyond capacity, and itis expensive to maintain these people when they are inprison," he said. He said that if the country had thefacilities they would prosecute them, " but the problem cutsacross all sectors like the Attorney General Chambers, the courtand the prisons department." However, Mogae pointed out thatBotswana is " committed to granting asylum to genuinepolitical refugees in the furtherance of our obligations asstipulated in the UN ( United Nations) and OAU ( Organisation ofAfrican Unity) conventions on refugees. "We consider thisnot only as a peaceful and humanitarian act, but also as a moralobligation to those of our fellow brothers and sisters who areless fortunate than ourselves. Botswana is currently home to over3000 refugees, Mogae said in his state of the nation address.
South Africans purchase Hyundai plant(Pana, 08/11, Gaborone) - A consortium of South Africanmotor manufacturers Wednesday bought Motor Company of Botswana orMCB Hyundai plant in an auction, which saw local investors loseout. The facility, which is composed of body assembly plant,paint shop and final assembly plant, went for 7.2 million USdollars to a consortium from Kimberley city. The two-year-oldplant was valued at 26 million dollars. "We are happy tohave taken the plant and we are going to use it to assemble carsin Kimberly," City of Kimberley Manager Mac Makume said. Thenew plant to be established in Kimberly would produce about200,000 cars per annum, which will be exported to various marketsaround the world. "We are currently speaking to various carmanufacturers and it is too early to name the people that we aretalking to," Makume said. While the relocation of the plantis sure to create more employment in Kimberley, the Botswanastaff who were working at the plant have been left jobless."This will help us to create employment in Kimberly, whichat the moment has a high rate of unemployment. There is nothingthat we can do about the employees at MCB plant who are doing thefinal orders," Makume said. He added that attempts to forgea deal with the Botswana government to buy both the plant and theproperty to sustain jobs at MCB have collapsed "which meansthere is nothing that we can do" but to take the machineryaway. According to the terms of the auction agreement, which wereread to the bidder, the new owners will have to remove themachinery from Botswana by 31 March 2001 or immediately after thecurrent employees at the MCB plant finishes with their orders.The collapse of the Hyundai motor dealership in South Africa,which rendered the Gaborone plant redundant, left three securedcreditors in Botswana looking at a loss totalling to 254 millionpula (1 US dollar = 5.5 pula). The creditors were thegovernment's investment arm, Botswana Development Corporation(119 million pula) and two Dutch banks Ambro and FMO (135 millionpula). It is not yet clear how the three secured creditors aregoing to share the money raised through the auction. Meanwhile,the 70.2-million-pula MCB property - which is sprawled over40,210 square metres - was won by Charles Sheldon of PremierProjects who will pay 27.5 million pula for it. The deal sparkedcontroversy between Premier Projects and other propertycompanies, which accused Sheldon of fronting for BotswanaDevelopment Corporation or BDC. "Sheldon is doing it for BDCand he was given an open cheque to raise the prices as much as hecould," one of the leading property owners in Botswana wholost the bid after offering to take the property at 2.5 milliondollars said. Sheldon denied the charges. The sale of the plantnot only represented a huge financial loss to Botswana but italso marked the collapse of a venture that was revolutionisingthe country's economy. At its peak, the plant ensured that motorvehicle exports made a significant contribution to Botswana'sforeign exchange earnings, mainly dominated by diamonds and beef.
Waverley may relocate to Botswana(Dispatch, 03/11, East London) - Waverley Blankets hasbeen offered an 80 percent rebate on its entire wage bill for thefirst three years to relocate to Botswana, managing directorJorrie Jordaan revealed yesterday. This wouldtranslate into a R16 million a year saving for the textile group-- an incentive that would be "near impossible to passup", he said. Waverley announced on Wednesday that it waswithdrawing from South Africa due to increased labour andproduction costs, as well as the negative impact of illegalimports and textile dumping. Dumping refers to selling importedproducts at below the selling price in the country of origin, andat a price much lower than what it costs to manufacture locally.The announcement of Waverley's imminent closure sparked a flurryof activity this week, with Economic Affairs MEC EnochGodongwana, the Centre for Investment and Marketing in theEastern Cape (Cimec) and the Border-Kei Chamber of Business allweighing in to try and stop the move. In an interview yesterdayafternoon, Jordaan said he was "open to all and anydiscussion" on Waverley's future. However, it would bevirtually impossible for South Africa to match or better theincentive package offered him by the Botswana government."At the end of the day it all comes down to economics.Waverley is on a sound financial footing, and that is how we wantto keep it. "We are not prepared to let increased costs anda diminishing market erode this company." Godongwana,meanwhile, has promised a government crackdown on illegal textileimports into the region, and has already been in contact withTrade and Industry Minister Alec Erwin and Ebrahim Patel, generalsecretary of the South African Clothing and Textile Workers'Union (Sactwu). "This is a matter of great concern to us,not only insofar as Waverley is concerned, but also what it meansto the rest of the textile industry in this province,"Godongwana said. "Illegal imports, where they do occur,undercut domestic manufacturers to such an extend thatprofitability becomes endangered, putting jobs at risk." TheEastern Cape region is believed to be among the hardest hit byillegal textile imports, with the East London harbour one of themain entry points for these products. Closure of the Waverleyfactory here will cost the region at least 860 direct jobs.However, the devastating impact of the move will reverberatethroughout the province, Cimec head Mcebisi Jonas said. "Youlose 860 jobs in East London, but the impact of those job lossesis felt throughout the province, especially in the mostimpoverished areas such as rural Transkei and Ciskei, whichsupplies the labour and relies to a great extend on the wagesgenerated by these jobs." Sactwu estimates than 10000workers have been retrenched so far this year. This brings toalmost 30000 the number of textile and clothing manufacturingjobs lost since the beginning of 1999. Sactwu media officerRachel Visser said yesterday the union's regional representativeswere in meetings with affected workers to assess the situation."They are being fully briefed.''
Botswana and Zimbabwe to facilitatemovement (Pana, 03/11, Gaborone) - Botswana and Zimbabwehave expressed satisfaction by the excellent relations and co-operation particularly in combating cross-border crime by theirdefence and security services. The state-owned Radio Botswanareported that the view was expressed said at a meeting of thepermanent commission on defence and security in Victoria Falls,Zimbabwe. It said the two sides emphasised the importance ofusing new techniques to fight crime and underscored the need toexchange intelligence related to contraband goods. Theyre-affirmed the need to facilitate the movement of people, goodsand services across the common border. According to the radio,the commission expressed concern about developments that threatenregional stability and security, saying that they hinder economicprogress and regional integration. The meeting condemned JonasSavimbi's UNITA rebel movement for waging a senseless war on thepeople of Angola. The two countries re-asserted support forconcerted efforts to effect sanctions against UNITA. It expressedconcern on delay in implementing the provisions of the Lusakacease-fire agreement on the conflict in the Democratic Republicof Congo. Meanwhile, traditional leaders in Botswana living alongthe common border with Zimbabwe have called for increased borderpatrols to curb rising crime in their villages. They expressedconcern at the increase in livestock rustling, burglaries andshop-breaking. Recently, rustlers stole cattle from Botswana anddrove them into Zimbabwe after cutting through the border fence.
UN estimates of displacement in DRC(News24, 15/11, Kigali) -A prolonged two-year war, widespread abuse of power and banditryhave displaced more than 1.6 million Congolese, subjecting themto hunger, violence and destitution, a top UN aid official saidon Wednesday. In a bleak report on eastern Democratic Republic ofCongo where renewed fighting between rebels and government troopshas forced an additional 630 000 people to flee their homes,regional UN humanitarian affairs co-ordinator Charles Petriecalled for "a more sophisticated and tailored humanitarianresponse" to help local authorities promote justice andcheck cycles of impunity. "The wars have accelerated theimpoverishment of the people on a vast scale. Dilapidated roadsin places compounded by insecurity have contributed to theisolation of regions and has rendered delivery of humanitarianassistance and basic economic life difficult if notimpossible," Petrie said in the report made available to TheAssociated Press. He said that in addition to the million peopledisplaced since August 1998 when rebels backed by Rwanda andUganda took up arms against President Laurent Kabila, another 630000 people have fled their homes in the last three months in theNorth and South Kivu regions on the Rwandan and Ugandan borders,in southern DRC as well as in northwestern Equateur Province. TheUS-based International Rescue Committee has estimated that 1.7million people died in the 22 months since the war began ineastern DRC. Most of the deaths were the result of untreatedendemic and epidemic illnesses, displacement and acceleratedpoverty. "The appearance of warlords, wide-scale abuse ofpolitical power including incitements to commit genocide,horrific abuses of human rights, the criminalisation of economicactivity and the proliferation of general banditry, within acontext of large scale impunity, are but a few of the elementsthat define the socio-economic environment that has emerged overthe last decade," Petrie said of the region of greatagricultural potential that served as the breadbasket of theBelgian Congo. Eastern DRC is home to at least three rebelmovements, backed by Rwandan and Ugandan troops, and an array ofpro-government militias allied with Rwandan and Burundian Huturebels fighting to oust the governments of Rwanda and Burundifrom bases inside DRC. Kabila is backed by the armies fromZimbabwe, Angola and Namibia. All the warring sides signed apeace agreement a year ago, which has since been blocked byKabila's refusal to authorise the deployment of a 5 537-strong UNmission with a mandate to oversee a cease-fire and the withdrawalof foreign troops from DRC. Areas that traditionally produced asurplus of food are now food insecure, Petrie said, and farmershave turned to the exploitation of minerals, which in the shortterm earn them a modest income, but in the longer term isrendering the communities less and less self-reliant andeventually more vulnerable. Eastern Kasai, for instance, wherediamond exploitation was the principal economic activity evenbefore the war, is in economic crisis as the fighting has cut theprovince off from the rest of the country, he said.
Nearly 200,000 Angolan refugees in DRC(Irin, 10/11) - The DRC government has told the UNHCRthat an estimated 18,000 Angolans fleeing intensified fighting inAngola's Lunda Norte province will be allowed to cross intoKahemba in the DRC. Kahemba already hosts 10,000 Angolans who hadfled during earlier stages of the conflict. Some refugees arereported to have crossed in the past few days, but there are nofirm estimates on numbers; the rest of the group has been waitingfor several days on the Angolan side of the border, waiting tocross, UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski told a press briefing on 3November. There were also reports of more Angolans fleeing to theDRC in a separate area, some 250 km west of Kahemba, Janowskisaid. Local village chiefs were speaking of 10,000 new arrivalsthere, which - if confirmed - would increase the number ofAngolan refugees in the DRC's southern Bandundu province to closeto 50,000, he added. The DRC hosts some 170,000 Angolan refugees,a figure which could quickly rise to over 200,000 if the latestinflux continued, Janowski added. Thousands displaced fromShabunda Some 27,000 people, displaced by fighting in Shabunda,near Bukavu, have descended on the town of Kalima and remainthere without any humanitarian assistance, according to a reportby the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)in Kinshasa. It noted that only religious workers were operatingin the area, which continued to serve as a battleground betweentroops of the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie(RCD-Goma) and militias from the Mayi-Mayi and Interahamwe. TheWorld Food Programme in Bukavu had been forced to suspend itsinterventions because of a lack of resources, OCHA noted.However, some 12,955 families have returned to villages aroundKalonge, where security has been restored.
Over one million displaced in DRC(Sapa-AFP, 09/11, Goma) - More than a million peoplehave fled their homes in the parts of the east of the DemocraticRepublic of Congo (DRC) under rebel control, a UN official saidThursday. According to our latest estimates, we have640,000 people displaced in Nord-Kivu (province), 450,000 inSud-Kivu, which makes a total of nearly 1.1 million, saidCharles Petrie, who is in charge of the UNs coordinationbureau for the east of the country. Rebels backed by Rwanda andUganda have been fighting the government of President LaurentKabila since 1998 and now control vast swathes of territory inthe north and east of the country. The Rwandan-backed CongoleseRally for Democracy, one of three rebel movements fightingKabila, controls Nord-Kivu and Sud-Kivu. Officials in Marchput the number of people displaced in the area at half a million.More than 50 percent of these people have been forced toleave their homes since the beginning of the summer, Petrie said.More than 20 percent of people living in Nord-Kivu have fledtheir homes since the beginning of the rebellion, according to ahumanitarian report published Thursday in Goma. Insecurity in thetwo provinces has grown recently due to attacks by militias loyalto Kabila, notably Rwandan Hutu Interahamwe, Burundian Huturebels and tribal Mai-Mai militias. Petrie said these militiassometimes attacked civilians directly. Out of 640,000 peopledisplaced in Nord-Kivu, only 360,000 have access to humanitarianaid, the report said. Kabila has support from Zimbabwe, Angolaand Namibia.
Lesotho attracts foreign investors(Sunday Times, 12/11) - A growing number of foreigncompanies are showing interest in investment opportunitiesdesignation by the US government as one of the least developedcountries. enjoy special trading benefits in As such, it willterms of the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act. The Act, whicheffect last month, affords duty-free and came into quotafreeaccess to the US market for a wider range of qualifyingsub-Saharan countries. The access, for products from 34 eightyears, provides African products price advantages over many otherinternational suppliers. In the significant competitive SADCregion, Lesotho, Tanzania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, andZambia have been SA, Botswana, Malawi, designated as and Zimbabwefailed to meet the criteria outlined in the Act. To qualify, abeneficiaries, while Swaziland country economy; economic policiesto reduce poverty; a rule of law, and it must abide by has tohave a market-based internationally recognised worker rights.Realising that due to their economic underdevelopment some of thecountries would be unable to exploit the benefit, the US congressenacted a special provision that allows least developedcountries, such as Lesotho, to export goods made fromthirdcountry raw materials for the first four SA and other yearsof the eight-year period. countries which do not meet the samecriteria as Lesotho can only from their own raw material exportgoods to the US made or sourced from the US. Mpho Malie,Lesotho's Marketing, says a growing number of Minister ofIndustry, Trade and foreign companies have shown interest in"The interest has grown tremendously, especially his countryas a result of the Act. from Asian companies 100-millioninvestment deal with a Taiwanese company which involved intextile. We recently signed a is to set up those who have alreadyinvested here are now expanding their businesses," a denimmill and two factories. "Even says Malie. For thesecompanies, the Act means they can source raw material fromanywhere in the world, manufacture goods in Lesotho at a lowprice, and export them to the US duty-free. Due to the growingdemand, the government is considering amending its landlegislation to allow foreign companies to own private land inLesotho. At the moment many of them operate from plots granted onlongterm lease by the Lesotho National Development Corporation.Lesotho's unemployment rate is estimated to be between 40% and45% and investment in the government hopes that foreign directtextile sector will mean more jobs for the country of justLesotho relied on SA mines for over 2-million people. In thepast, jobs, but with retrenchments becoming the hard-pressed tofind new avenues for norm in the industry, the country iseconomic survival. While prioritising embarked on a drive to getlocal businessmen, who are FDI, the government has also mainlyconcentrated in involved in the development of the manufacturingsector. transport and services industries,
Crime wave blamed on refugees (AfricanEye News Service, 08/11, Blantyre) -
Nurses emigrate to UK (Pana, 15/11, PortLuis) - The Mauritian Nursing Association Wednesdaylamented that health services in the country faced a severeshortage of nurses due to poor salaries and turnover of trainedmanpower over the years. Association chairman Francis Supparayenrevealed that in the past three years, some 523 young people"(joined) the service while 300 (left) on grounds ofretirement or change of job." In a memorandum to the HealthMinistry, he claimed that at least 500 Mauritian nurses had leftthe service to emigrate to England. "There, they do the samejob for better salaries standing around 1,500 to 1,800 poundsmonthly or between 60,000 to 70,000 rupees," he said.According to him, the profession no longer attracts young peoplebecause of the poor conditions of service and poor salaries."A nurse (in Mauritius) gets 13,000 rupees monthly after 30years of service and his first promotion after 25 years,"Supparayen said. He recalled how the Health Ministry failed torecruit the 1,000 nurse-students it needed during a recentrecruitment exercise, when just 300 persons showed interest tojoin the service.
Condemnation of SA police brutality(Pana, 09/11, Maputo) - The Mozambican government hasstrongly condemned the brutal and racist attitude of a group ofSouth African police officers who set dogs onto detained illegalmigrants, believed to be Mozambicans, as part of a trainingexercise. The incident occurred in 1998 at the Springs police dogtraining unit, and came to light because the police actually tooka video of the scenes, apparently for their own entertainment.The video was shown on channel three of the South AfricanBroadcasting Corporation Tuesday, and on the main news ofMozambican Television Wednesday night. The footage containedscenes of shocking violence as the white policemen concernedrepeatedly set their dogs on the helpless black immigrants. Thedogs mauled and tore at the flesh of the suffering migrants, whowere screaming for mercy. Every now and then one of the policemenwould join in, striking or kicking the captives. It is believedthat one of the immigrants died from the wounds inflicted by thedogs. Mozambican Television invited Labour Minister Mario Seveneto watch the video. Afterwards he declared "the images wehave seen are abominable, horrible. It's an assault against humanrights," he said. He thought it "incomprehensible andunacceptable that policemen can still behave like this at a timewhen apartheid no longer exists in South Africa." "Thisshows that there are still people in South Africa who, despitethe demise of apartheid, still have apartheid in theirheads," he added. Sevene said he had instructed theJohannesburg delegation of his ministry to ascertain whether thevictims were indeed Mozambicans. He added that the Mozambicanauthorities were also asking the South African government"what specific measures are being taken, because we knowthat it is this sort of thing that damages the relations betweenthe Mozambican and South African governments." "We haveinsisted that the South African government should take drasticmeasures to deal with this sort of situation," Sevene said."The South African government is receptive to our requests,but it seems that in some areas they are not in control."The labour ministry delegate in Johannesburg, Pedro Taimo, who iscurrently in Maputo, told the Mozambican news agency that he wasconvinced the three men attacked by the dogs were indeedMozambicans. He said his delegation became aware of the incidenttwo years ago. Since then, he had been trying to ascertain thenationality, identity and whereabouts of the victims, but withoutany success. Taimo said a similar incident had occurred inNelspruit in August. This involved not the police, but privatesecurity guards, who set dogs onto two Mozambicans, one of whomsubsequently died. The labour ministry had hired a lawyer to takeup this case, and Taimo said it should go to court 1 December. Hewas optimistic that the court would convict the security guards.
Mozambique and South Africa discussdeportations (Pana, 08/11, Maputo) - SouthAfrican authorities have promised to put an end to irregularitiescommitted towards Mozambicans in the country, particularly whenit comes to their deportation or at the end of their workcontracts, the Maputo daily, Noticias, reported on Tuesday. AMozambican delegation, headed by Deputy Labour Minister AdelaideAmurane, has been in SA since last week's meeting with policeofficials, and with representatives of Mozambican migrants, andvisiting farms employing Mozambicans in Kwazulu-Natal province.According to Pedro Taimo of the Labour Ministry, one of theissues discussed with the SA authorities has to do with the factthat when Mozambicans are to return home, they are issued onlywith a copy of identification papers, which is not accepted byother police or military as a valid document. In this process,some of the Mozambicans, through extortion, end up losing theirbelongings. "In the meeting that the deputy minister hadwith officials of the SA Interior Ministry it was agreed that theoriginal document will be given to the Mozambican citizen and theSA police will keep the copy," Taimo explained. "It wasalso agreed that the military commander, who also attended themeeting, will instruct his men to respect the documents issued bythe police", he added. On the other hand, the Mozambicanauthorities committed themselves to strengthen the patrolling ofthe common border, particularly in Maputo province, to crack downon illegal immigration.
New visa rules to promote tourism (Pana,04/11, Maputo) - Mozambique is introducing a newprocedure, whereby visas can be issued at border posts, as ameans of facilitating the entry of tourists into the country.Before now visitors obtained entry visas from Mozambicanembassies or consulates abroad. Under the new regime announced bythe Tourism Ministry Saturday, an entry visa will cost 300,000meticais (about 18 US dollars) paid at the entry point. It isrenewable with 150,000 meticais. However, the new procedure,approved by the Mozambican Cabinet, will only come into effectafter publication in the "Boletim da Republica," theofficial gazette. Tourism Minister Fernando Sumbana said theimplementation of the new system will start at those border postswhere the technical conditions for issuing visas already exist.It will then be gradually extended to other posts as and when theappropriate conditions are created. The Interior Ministry hasbeen charged with the task of identifying those posts where themeasure can be introduced immediately. The Tourist FacilitationCommission is to meet next week to discuss further detailsrelated to the implementation of the new visa system.
Teenage girls abducted to South Africa(The Namibian, 30/11) - Investigatorsfrom the South African Police were yesterday dispatched to theEast Rand, 25 kilometres east of Johannesburg, to trace theshacks where two school girls abducted from Namibia wereallegedly held as sex slaves for over two months.
Namibia introduces road entry fees(Namibia Economist, 30/11) - In terms of NamibiasAct 18 of 1999, the Road Fund Administration (RFA) may imposeroad user charges to provide sufficient funding to achieve a safeand economically efficient road sector in the country. Theprinciple for this system is based on the recovery ofinfrastructure costs as provided for in the SADC Protocol onTransport, Communication and Meteorology.Visiting privately ownedvehicles, transporting goods or used for tourism purposes;vehicles imported into Namibia both second hand and new;diplomatic vehicles, foreign registered rental vehicles; vehiclesbelonging to foreign governments except those entering Namibiafor emergency purposes; and any foreign registered vehicleforming part of a combination vehicle, will have to pay a CBC.Certificates will be issued for every entry into Namibia. From 1December 2000, the new system will be implemented at Buitepos onthe border with Botswana; Ariamsvlei and Noordoewer on the borderwith South Africa, and Oshikango on the border with Angola.Africon in conjunction with Arti Tech JV, the agent for the RFA,will collect the entry fees, issue the CBC certificates at theborder posts, and handle all administrative matters.
Minister of Home Affairs under attack(The Namibian, 29/11, Rundu) - Home Affairs Minister Jerry Ekandjo's list of people whoare supposed to be "security threats" and set fordeportation faces further discredit as his contempt of court casereaches a climax today. Last week TheNamibian revealed that Ekandjo had declared a man who died morethan a year ago, and who is buried in a Windhoek cemetery, as aprohibited immigrant who should be deported. This week moreinformation has emerged highlighting the ineptitude of theMinistry's intelligence gathering on possible threats to internalsecurity. Windhoek lawyer Dirk Conradie confirmed that two of hisclients have been included on the list even though Home Affairsrecently renewed their residence or work permits. The renewalswere granted only four days after Ekandjo sent a letter to theoffice of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugeesasking for help with their deportation. Ekandjo has said the 18people on the list were "Unita activists, sympathisers andsoldiers as well as foreign nationals from Angola, Rwanda andBurundi who are considered to be a security threat to theRepublic of Namibia". Conradie said his clients, believed tobe Kigesa Mbarure Vincent and Justine Nzabandora from Rwanda,were friends of Angolan government ministers. He added that hewas puzzled as to why the Ministry had named them on a list ofUnita soldiers, activists and sympathisers." "Myclients have got the freedom to move in Angola. They are notinvolved in politics," said Conradie. The lawyer said he hadbeen personally assured by a senior official in the Ministry thattheir permits were issued after a thorough screening.""If they were a security threat the Ministry would not haveissued them with the permits," he added. Conradie hasalready contacted the Ministry to obtain clarity on behalf of hisclients about their inclusion on the list. The Namibian has alsolearnt that five other people have approached lawyers to contesttheir appearance on the list of people of posing a threat tosecurity. They are Ngeve Raphael Sikunda, Linus Tjieva,Alundjenius Kosta, Antonio Benedito Tchindjamba and Oscar KaleyMundombe. Toni Hancox of the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC)confirmed the five came to her after they read in the newspaperthat their names were on the list. "We are assistingthem" to find out "what is going on", she said.The man topping the list, Deo Wabalinda Gahizi, was declaredpersona non grata even though he died last year. Judge PresidentPio Teek is expected to rule today on whether Ekandjo is guiltyof contempt of court after the Home Affairs Minister defied acourt interdict ordering the release Jose Domingos Sikunda.Sikunda has been declared persona non grata and faces deportationafter living in Namibia for more than 20 years. Sikunda has beenopen about his links to Unita, even declaring that he representedthe Angolan rebel movement whose leader Jonas Savimbi has beendeclared a war criminal by southern African leaders.
Dispute over border with South Africa(Pana, 22/11, Windhoek) - South Africahas warned Namibia to respect the Organisation of African Unity'spolicy of respecting colonial borders and maintaining peacefulneighbourliness. The warning came in the wake of a continuingborder dispute over the Orange River, which separates the twocountries. Namibia claims that the border should be in the middleof the river while SA believes the boundary should be the deepestpart of the river. President Thabo Mbeki is believed to havepersonally informed his Namibian counterpart, Sam Nujoma, thatthe Orange River border was on the northern high water mark andnot in the middle of the river. A spokesman for the foreignministry told Pana by telephone on Tuesday that the decision wastaken by the SA cabinet in July and had since been communicatedto Namibia. However, in Windhoek, Foreign Affairs Information andBroadcasting Minister Theo Ben Gurirab said that he was not awareof any such communication from Pretoria. The minister said he wasrather surprised by the news of SA's position on the border,adding that the Constitution of Namibia was explicitly clear thatthe southern boundary of Namibia is the middle of the orangeRiver. "It is against the letter and spirit of the Namibianconstitution," he said. The southern African foreignministry spokesman, who preferred to remain anonymous, said theborder issue had been discussed on several occasions in meetingsbetween the two countries but he was not aware of any decisionfrom his government which had ever accepted the middle of theriver as the border. "There might have been tentativeagreements to look into the matter, but nothing concrete.Namibia, as a member of the OAU, should adhere to the policywhich requires all member countries to keep and respect colonialborders," he added. Gurirab said negotiations to demarcateand delimit the boundary started way back in 1991 with theprevious SA government and they were very much forthcoming on thedemarcation and delimitation and delimitation of the riverboundary. After SA's first democratic elections in 1994, thenegotiations continued with President Nelson Mandela's governmentand ultimately resulted in an agreement. The result was thatofficials from the two countries initialled the agreed text at atechnical level. A statement issued by his office later describedthe sudden change of SA's stand as a memory lapse. In late 1999,the International Court of Justice at the Hague ruled in favourof Botswana in a border dispute of a tiny Island of Kasikili onthe Chobe River following a protracted wrangle on which side ofthe border the island belonged. Ruling in favour of Botswana, thecourt had determined that the boundary was on the deepest side ofthe river.
NGO seeks to repatriate San refugees fromBotswana (Pana, 22/11, Gaborone) - ANamibian-based NGO is currently locked up in negotiations withBotswana for the repatriation of 200 refugees of San (Basarwa orBushmen) origin, press reports said on Tuesday. According to theprivately owned Botswana Gazette newspaper, the Working Group ofIndigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (WIMSA) has assertedthat a majority of the refugees at the Dukwi camp are beingharrased and are suffering from TB. WIMSA's regional director,Axel Thoma, reportedly told the newspaper from Windhoek:"Lots of rumours abound and I understand a lot of people aresuffering from tuberculosis. However, I cannot comment further onthis issue as I have never been to Dukwi Refugee Camp." Headded that there are two groups of Basarwa in Dukwi. The firstgroup consists of those who want to be repatriated to Namibiawhile the second group want to remain behind. Thoma told theGazette that the Basarwa refugees sent a message to WIMSA thatthey want to be return to Namibia. "The problem is thatthose who want to be repatriated are being harassed andintimidated. Authorities in Botswana, we are told, tried toseparate them but they seem to have failed. I am in the dark asto who should be responsible for these kind of activities,"he said. The paper reported that WIMSA has requested the help ofthe Botswana council of churches to facilitate a meeting betweenNGOs in Shakawe Botswana and Caprivi in Namibia to speak toBasarwa people in Dukwi. WIMSA intends to repatriate the Basarwato Namibia before the end of the year. Recently, WIMSA with thehelp of both the Namibian and Botswana governments, repatriatedthe sick Kxoe (Basarwa) chief who came to Botswana during theCaprivi Strip disturbances two years ago. The chief, who is stillin hospital, wanted to be buried among his people in case ofdeath. Not too long ago the Basarwa from various groups insouthern Africa met under WIMSA in Gaborone and voiced theirconcern about the plight of the kith and kin in Dukwi. Theyclaimed their people are being harassed in Dukwi and the troubledCaprivi Strip. They also said that in Caprivi they are in dangerof mines planted by Angola's Unita rebels.
Contempt of court case against HomeAffairs ministers (The Namibian, 21/11) -
Plans to relocate refugees to affect Sannegatively (The Namibian, 21/11) - The Government's plans to relocate an estimated 17 000refugees from Osire to M'kata village near Tsumkwe could derailcommunity-based game management projects and destroy the forestthat provides most of the !Kung people's food needs.
Calls for stricter border controls (Pana,18/11) - The Head of Immigration in Namibia's Capriviprovince, Richard Masule, has called for strict border patrolsalong the Zambezi river to curb illegal border crossings byforeign nationals into the country. Masule said illegalimmigrants are arrested every month and that something should bedone to end the illegal influx. National news agency NAMPA quotedhim as saying the illegal immigrants were mostly fromneighbouring Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania and Democratic Republic ofCongo.
Brochure to promote immigration launched(Pana, 15/11, Windhoek) - Namibia's Home AffairsMinistry Wednesday launched a brochure to serve as an informationtransmission belt between the ministry and tourists, potentialbusinessmen and women, holidaymakers, ordinary visitors and thosewho wish to study in the country. Home Affairs PermanentSecretary Niilo Taapopi said the brochure will address, amongother things, how and where to enter Namibia, as well as who issupposed to work, reside, study in or transit through Namibia.Many people remain unaware of the country's immigrationprocedures and requirements, he added. "One of the mainreasons why we decided to come up with this publication isbecause we have been observing that much has been said about theachievements of other governmental departments, and little issaid about immigration," Taapopi said. But immigrationofficers are there to facilitate entry into and exit fromNamibia, he said. "Not only that, they are also responsiblefor monitoring the activities of illegal immigrants, to arrestthem and to prepare all logistical arrangements and to lawfullydeport all authorised and verified illegal immigrants by theImmigration Tribunal, to their countries of origin," headded. Copies of the brochures will be distributed at all borderposts, learning institutions, Post Offices and other strategicplaces, including Namibia's High Commissions and Embassiesthroughout the world. A total of 500 brochures have been printedfor the first distribution, and more will be printed soon oncethe demand has been established. Deputy Director of Immigrationand Border Control Nkrumah Mushelenga said the department plansto introduce a quarterly newsletter soon. The newsletter wouldsupplement the brochure, as information contained in the brochuremay need to be updated.
Increased security along Angolan border(Sapa-AFP, 13/11, Windhoek) - Namibia has stepped upsecurity along its northwestern border with Angola after UNITAguerrillas raided a paramilitary camp last week, killing apoliceman while losing two men from their own ranks, police saidMonday. Two UNITAs were shot dead and we suspect more maybe wounded because we found lots of blood on the scene,Chief Inspector Angula Hamulungu told AFP.Four Special FielForce members were injured, one of them seriously in themortar and grenade attacks in the early hours of Friday morning,he added. Police said a group of between 32 and 35 guerrillasof the National Union for the Total Independence of Angolalaunched a mortar attack on the base, one of several strung outbetween Divindu and and Kongola, a 200-kilometre (120-mile)elongated strip known as the Western Caprivi. These guysattacked the camp with some mortars, hand grenades and AKs(assault rifles). The first mortar killed one of ourconstables, Chief Inspector Hieronymus Goraseb, regionalcommissioner of the Caprivi region, told AFP. Hamulungu said twobodies, one clad in green fatigues and the other in tatteredcivilian clothes, were found at the scene. No guerrillaswere captured, but the Angolan army has been asked to launch afollow-up operation, police said. About 75 people havedied and more than 1,500 have been wounded, 130 of whom who havelost limbs to landmines, since Angolas armed forces weregiven permission by Namibia a year ago to pursue their UNITA foesfrom Namibian soil. Goraseb was quoted in the local media assaying that anti-tank mines had been discovered under astormwater bridge along the Trans-Caprivi Highway that runs alongthe Namibian-Angolan border. The UNITA guerrillas also damaged atelephone line some three kilometres (about two miles) away fromwhere they attacked the police camp, Goraseb said. This stretchof road has been the scene of several attacks on passingmotorists, including that of a French family in early January inwhich three children were killed. But attacks have decreasedmarkedly since Namibian authorities deployed armed escortsbetween Divundu and Kongola. UNITA and the ruling PeoplesMovement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) have been at warsince independence from Portugal in 1975, with the MPLA last weekrejecting a UNITA set of peace proposals that included setting upa transitional government, the depolitisation of the army andpolice and increased press freedom. Luanda, pressing for anall-out military solution, instead insisted the rebels had to laydown their arms, while UNITA threatened to make Angolaungovernable in retaliation.
Rwandans arrested as undocumentedmigrants (Pana, 12/11, Rundu) - Namibian Immigrationofficials Sunday confirmed the arrest of three Rwandan nationalsat Mururani checkpoint on the Rundu-Grootfontein road, said to beon their way from Katima Mulilo to Windhoek. PrincipalImmigration Officer for the Kavango region, Mascar Kashembe, toldth4e Namibian news agency, NAMPA that the three men were arrestedfor entering the country illegally and failure to reportthemselves at Katima Mulilo. The men are expected to betransported to Rundu for further investigation. Meanwhile, NAMPAhas reported that more Angolans are reporting themselves to theNamibian authorities in their search for refugee status, whilesome are said to be fleeing their villagers in southern Angoladue to starvation. In October, more than 200 illegal aliens weredeported from Namibia to their countries of origin after atribunal hearing in the Ohangwena region determined theirdeportation, the agency added. It said the foreigners, themajority being Angolans, were intercepted in different parts ofthe country during joint operations by Namibian law enforcementagencies.
Osire refugee camp overcrowded (TheNamibian, 06/11) - Overcrowdingat the remote Osire Refugee Camp that now houses close to 17 000refugees, mostly people fleeing from Angola's perennial conflict,is the main reason authorities want to relocate the exiles to anew site. The Ministry of Home Affairs,with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and theNamibia Red Cross Society, is scouting for a new site toestablish a camp where some or all the refugees will berelocated. Home Affairs says that with close to 17 000 refugeesOsire is filled to five times its capacity. Elizabeth Negumbo,the Commissioner for Refugees in the Ministry of Home Affairs,told The Namibian: "The reason [for shifting the camp] isthe overcrowding and we are doing a feasibility study to seewhere we can relocate them." "We are trying to seeexactly where we can relocate them," she said, adding that asite had been identified some 200 kilometres from Grootfontein.Asked if the Ministry of Home Affairs expected the arrival ofmore refugees from Angola, Negumbo replied: "We cannotanticipate the arrival of more refugees because their arrivalsare dictated by the prevailing conflict in their owncountry."
Some 800,000 foreign tourists visitwestern cape in 1999 (CapeBusiness News, 30/11) - The Western Cape attractedapproximately 800 000 overseas tourists in 1999, a 4% increasesince 1998. This fact emerged at the launch of the Western CapeTrends Card, a joint initiative of the Western Cape Tourism Board(WCTB) and Grant Thornton Kessel Feinstein. "The Trends Cardwill provide those involved in the travel and tourism industryand investors with essential statistics regarding the nature andextent of the international and domestic tourism industry"said Faye Reagon, head of Information and Research at the WCTB."It will enable anyone involved in tourism to gain a correctperspective of the industry, allowing them to make considereddecisions about investment and marketing opportunities in theWestern Cape." "It is estimated that the tourismindustry in the Western Cape accounts for approximately ninepercent of the Gross Regional Product and employs nine percent ofthe Province's formal workforce," said Gillian Saunders,Principal, Grant Thornton Kessel Feinstein, Hospitality, Leisureand Tourism, speaking at the launch. Last year, 53% of alloverseas tourists to South Africa visited the Western Cape,approximately 800 000 visitors. The average length of stay was 7to 8 days and they spent in total around R9,7 billion she said.Close to 4,7 million domestic holiday makers visited the Provinceand stayed an average of 9,5 days -the highest average stayamongst all nine provinces. Most international visitors to theWestern Cape are currently from the United Kingdom, whichgenerates 27% of our overseas tourists, and Germany (14%). Therest of Europe (excluding Scandinavia, France and Netherlands)accounts for 31% of foreign arrivals, and North America 13%. Theexpected areas of growth in overseas tourists are China, Indiaand Eastern Europe and Russia she said. "Nine of the 11 toptourist attractions in South Africa are located in the WesternCape which highlights the importance of this Province in respectof South Africa's international tourism industry," saidSaunders. "Though South Africa as a whole has enormouspotential," said Saunders, "the Western Cape has thegreatest potential of becoming a leading tourism destinationamongst both domestic and international tourists."
Burundian refugee assaulted in Pretoria(The Star, 29/11) - A Burundian refugee seekingresettlement out of South Africa by the United Nations wasassaulted by security officers and police at the UN building inPretoria, on Wednesday before being arrested. Bigirimana Osumanisaid he came to South Africa two months ago as a refugee, fleeingthe ongoing civil war in his country. He settled in a flat inTroyeville, Johannesburg, but was forced to move to Pretoriaafter his wife and brother were allegedly attacked by what hesaid were Tutsi rebels sent to assassinate him. Osumani, alieutenant for five years with the Hutu rebels, said he fearedfor his safety and that of his family in South Africa, and hadgone to the UN building on several occasions to request that hebe resettled in another country, such as Mozambique. He said theUN promised to relocate him and his family to Cape Town, but herefused the offer because a friend of his, who was relocated tothe city by the UN, was killed there and his brother stabbedthere. On Wednesday he was again prevented from entering the UNbuilding, where he was seeking an audience with the local highcommissioner for refugees. Later a scuffle ensued as police triedto force him out of the building. A Pretoria News reporter and aphotographer were harassed by policemen. A UN official, NhlanhlaNgubane, who witnessed the incident, said he was worried aboutthe behaviour of the policemen inside the UN building. He said itwas not the organ isations policy to deal with matters inthat fashion. The UN is not allowed to quash news or tointimidate journalists from doing their job, he said.Outside the country. Mengesha Kebede, a representative of the UNhigh commissioner for Refugees in South Africa, said his officewas approached by Osumani a few months ago, claiming he had beenattacked and would like to be resettled. "We drew him to thefact that in terms of common crime, the authority rests with thenational police service, and that we could only sympathise withhim, he said. Kebede claims that Osumani came back a fewweeks later and assaulted a security officer while trying toforce his way into the UN building. He said they gave Osumani thebenefit of the doubt and gave him an option of relocation to CapeTown instead, but he turned down the offer. When aske.d forcomment, Pretoria police spokesperson Captain George Francis saidhe did not know anything about the incident.
Immigrationfrom Germany increases (Business Day, 15/11) -
SA-Swaziland border post blockade
Report that Buthelezi may resign (SundayIndependent, 18/11) - Mangosuthu Buthelezi, theincreasingly alienated and disgruntled minister of home affairs,is believed to be close to quitting the government of PresidentThabo Mbeki. Buthelezi, caught between the rock of the ANCgovernment and the hard place of traditional leaders, hasconfided to several close colleagues recently that he cannot seea role for himself in the government for much longer. After the11th-hour cancellation of Mondays special parliamentarysession, called to enact an amendment to the Municipal StructuresAct to try to accommodate traditional leaders, the politicalposition of Buthelezis lnkatha Freedom Party is weaker thanever. Meetings of the traditional leaders and the IFP nationalcouncil this week will determine how each body approaches theDecember 5 elections. Our leader [Mangosuthu Buthelezi] isdefinitely considering quitting government if President Mbekidoes not make good on his earlier promises that the powers of theamakhosi would be guaranteed before the December 5 elections cantake place. He has previously voiced his displeasure at theway former president Nelson Mandela had handled the question oftraditional leaders and is not prepared to accept the same kindof treatment from Mbeki, a highly placed source in the FRtold The Sunday Independent. But other IFP sources admitted thatButhelezi has no place to go politically. In effect, thecancellation of Mondays session at the last minute,ensuring that no law is changed until after the new localcouncils take office, leaves the IFP election campaign in somedisarray, with only 16 days to go before the poll. In some areasit has not been possible to make candidate selections, becausethat would have been an insult to traditional leaders who werewaiting for progress on their powers before agreeing toparticipate. Overall, the FR may still win most of the ruralcouncils expected to fall into its camp, but the total number ofvotes for the IFP nationally will drop substantially. That willbe interpreted as a decline in support for the FR. At the toplevel of the FR, several options have been discussed. One is thatButhelezi leave the government, but that FR ministers stay in thecabinet. The Reverend Musa Zondi, an FR MP widely tipped as arising star, may be proposed for a cabinet seat to replaceButhelezi. There had been a plan for FR MPs to walk out ofMondays special parliamentary session as a mark of theiranger at the failure of the amended bill to address their primaryconcerns. Now even that option has been removed. Parliament willnot sit until next year, well after the elections. The billwas, in any event, an insult to our intelligence, said oneFR source. In fact, the constitution does not allow traditionalleaders to have significant municipal powers. Buthelezi hadproposed a constitutional change, to add, after Traditionalauthorities may function the words as a localgovernment structure. Unless that is done, traditionalleaders cannot receive significant powers beyond culturalmatters. Buthelezi also wanted to see a system in which councilscould be made up of an equal number of elected leaders andtraditional ones. His frustration has been building up for sometime over two issues in particular. The first is that he has seenhimself as a mediator between the traditional leaders and thegovernment, and the second is that his efforts as minister ofhome affairs have been constantly challenged in the cabinet, aswell as by a director-general appointed by the ANC. The lnkathaFreedom Party, along with the Congress of Traditional Leaders ofSouth Africa and the national house of traditional leaders, haddemanded guarantees from the government that the powers of thechiefs would not be undermined by the new municipal structures.When it became clear that this had failed, Buthelezi called aspecial meeting with other senior IFP leaders in Ulundi onFriday. According to the sources Buthelezi was angry becauseinitially Mbeki had promised to discuss the bill before it wentto the public hearings and on to parliament. The controversialbill was the last straw for Buthelezi after his unsuccessfulattempt to pass the immigration bill last month. This wasconsidered the most important piece of legislation of his term inthe cabinet. The traditional leaders will meet in Pretoria onMonday, where Buthelezi is expected to tell them about hisfrustration at the delays in finding an amicable solution. Thecontroversial Municipal Structures Second Amendment Bill waswithdrawn on Friday afternoon by Frene Ginwala, the speaker ofthe national assembly.
Commentary on the brain drain
UK may require visas for South Africans(The Mercury, 14/11) - Home Affairs Minister MangosuthuButhelezi says he has received reports that the Britishgovernment is considering requiring South Africans to have visasto enter the United Kingdom. After talks with his Britishcounterpart, Immigration and Asylum Minister Barbara Roche, inLondon on Tuesday, Buthelezi said he would understand the reasonfor such a measure. However, he was also mindful of the closehistoric ties which had united South Africa and Britain and herecognised their value for our mutual growth anddevelopment. Buthelezi said he had received reports thatthe British government was concerned about the effectiveness ofcontrol by the department of home affairs at Johannesburginternational airport. We are ready to receive your adviceand open discussion on how we can best meet our mutual needs, inspite of the drastic financial constraints in which we findourselves having to operate he said. The minister said hefelt compelled to do whatever he could to ensure that thecountries grew closer together. This was in spite ofshort-term difficulties which might arise out of the presentmovement ... between South Africa and the United Kingdom, whichmight be addressed through the imposition of entry visas.At present, visas are not required for South African passportholders visiting Britain. The British government offers youngSouth Africans holiday working visas to find short-termemployment. Buthelezi said South Africans had appreciated theseworking visas and he said draft legislation in South Africa madeprovision for similar visas to be available to young Britishpeople who wanted to work in South Africa. The British highcommission in Cape Town said no comment had been received yet.
Visa frustration for South Africanstravelling abroad (Business Day, 13/11) - Theincreasing number of South Africans seeking visas to traveloverseas during the upcoming holiday period is leading to longqueues and longer waits for visas to be issued. Adding to thefrustration for would-be travellers are the rules and regulationsmany overseas countries have in place to prevent illegalimmigration. The US consulate in Johannesburg is presentlyprocessing about 450 visa applications daily. Normally it handlesabout 150. At the Netherlands embassy the number of visas issuedvaries form 50 to 60 a day and the number is increasing, says anembassy spokesman. For travel to the US the months of November,December, May and June are the busiest for issuing visas.Although the visa regulations of some countries might appear tobe strict, they are to prevent the increasing number of illegalimmigrants who enter countries on tourist visas. Both the US andthe Netherlands require proof of financial security such as abank statement from young adults before issuing a visa. They alsorequire a letter confirming the person's employment. In the caseof the Netherlands, if proof of financial stability cannot begiven, the person being visited has to write a letter saying thatthey will support the traveller financially. Meanwhile, Australiahas become a target for illegal immigration. There was asubstantial increase in the number of people attempting to gainentry in Australia in 1998-1999. Migration officer Andrew Durstonsays many people enter the country without the necessaryauthority, work without approval, overstay visas periods or usefraudulent entry documents. The Australian government iscommitted to prevent people from entering the country withoutauthorisation. Compliance of visa conditions are monitored andenforced. The Canadian embassy has had a 10% increase a year forvisa applications in the past three years. No complaints havebeen received from the public about poor service. The USconsulate has not tightened up visitor visa applications as itapplies a world standard when issuing visas, says a spokeswoman.Every application is treated the same way. "People should beaware of the requirements when applying for a visitors visa atthe US consulate around the world. Absolute requirements are theapplication fee of R355, depending on the exchange rate, a validpassport and photographs," the spokeswoman says. Visitorshave to demonstrate to the consul that they have binding ties totheir home country, like owning a house. Proof of financialsecurity is required to show that the costs associated with thetrip, and the purpose of the travel, will be covered. The USauthorities deny young adult visitors visas if they are mobile,still starting their careers and are being drawn by potential jobopportunities . "If people were denied entry for the firsttime, they should not give up, but be persistent until they aregranted entry," the spokeswoman says.
Report recommends import of IT skills(Sapa-INet-Bridge) - South Africas skills shortagein the information technology (IT) sector is so severe that thecountry needs to take steps to import qualified personnelfrom abroad, according to a framework document on developing anInformation and Communication Technology (ICT) strategy for SouthAfrica. The document was a joint initiative by the Canadian andSouth African government which started in 1995 under the auspicesof the South African Information Technology Industry Strategy.The document expressed concern that the South African labormarket was finding it difficult to supply skilled ICT work meetthe rising demand. IT placement agencies have agreed and havesaid that they have had difficulty getting skilled staff forcertain senior positions. Itex, an IT Skills ResourcingConsultancy, had found that often it was unable to find skilledcandidates in certain categories, such as project management andexperienced systems analysts. Royd Frith, a consultant at Itex,said that in such cases the company would try to recruit someonefrom abroad or train an existing staff member. However, trainingan individual within the company, although an ideal to reach for,was not always feasible since the IT sector was changing sorapidly. Specialist skills were sometimes needed immediately andthe firm could not wait until a staff member was trained, saidFrith. He said that more South Africans were taking their skillsabroad and getting lucrative packages compared to foreign skillscoming into the country. A good visual basic developer forinstance, would earn between 35,000 pounds to 40,000 pounds peryear, while in South Africa the same person would be hard pressedto earn 15,000 rand a month, said Frith. The brain drain waslikely to escalate he said, especially to Britain-where thecountry was considering changing its immigration laws to recruitcertain skills, and IT has been specifically mentioned, he said.The exchange rate made it extremely difficult to recruit fromoverseas, he said, but it works well for South Africans to goabroad. The JCT strategy noted that a highly skilled workforce iscritical to meet its goals of using JCT to enhance economicgrowth, create jobs, and contribute towards social upliftment andempowerment. It proposed various ways of developing skillslocally, through education and training, internships, youthprogrammes and retaining skills through commercial and socialincentives. In so far as recruiting skills from abroad, thestrategy looks at ways of improving South Africas abilityto compete for skilled workers. It proposed the following:
-Involve employers in the selection of skilled immigrants toensure the skills are not available locally.
-Make it easier for South African universities and technikons torecruit highly talented foreigners to faculty positions thatcontribute to the development of South Africa.
-Make it easier for foreign nationals studying in South Africa tobecome permanent residents, particularly in areas that buildcompetence for South Africa to be world leaders.
-Require professional regulatory bodies to fast trackthe accreditation of immigrants in regulated occupations thatwill leapfrog South Africa.
-Make prior learning, assessment and accreditation part of thereview process for skilled workers applying to immigrate to SouthAfrica, especially where the prior learning contributessignificantly to building local expertise. While the bulk of thestrategy document was broad and ambitious, areas such as therecruitment of foreign labor would be simple to implement.However, the strategy could not be properly implemented unlessthe South African government gave its co-operation by addressingimmigration issues. Foreigners coming to South Africa have runinto difficulties attaining visa and work permits and there werecases where highly killed specialists were deported. Furthermore,the government had spent millions on litigation due to theabsence of migration legislation, according to the DemocraticParty. Despite the governments rhetoric on addressing thoseissues, politicking between the African National Congress and theInkatha Freedom Party is yet again delaying the release of theWhite Paper on international migration which took 19 months todraft.
Arrest for assaulting migrants fromZimbabwe (Sapa, 12/11) - Four people including securityguards are to appear in the Louis Trichardt MagistratesCourt on Monday following two alleged incidents in which fourillegal immigrants from Zimbabwe were assaulted. NorthernProvince police spokesperson Captain Ronel Otto said on Sundaythat both incidents happened on Monday last week. In the first,two immigrants were allegedly picked up between Vivo and Alldays,locked in a room and assaulted with broom sticks, boots andfists. They reported the matter to Louis Trichardt police onWednesday. In the second, a similar sequence of events allegedlytook place near Vivo and the victims laid a charge at Waterpoortpolice station on Thursday. The arrests took place on Thursdayand on Sunday.
Company tries to reverse brain drain(Business Day, 9/11) - EMDSGroup, a multinational company which specialises in theinternational recruitment of graduates and early careerprofessionals, has launched an SA arm specifically to attractSouth Africans working abroad back to their motherland. JaniceGobey, former head of human resources at Investec, heads the SAdivision of EMDS and will attend its Africa managers' forum inLondon from November 16 to 18. SA companies such as Absa and SABreweries, and companies with divisions in SA such as BP, arerepresented at the by-invitation-only EMDS forums where more than600 employers worldwide are matched with applicants. The forumconcept is not to be confused with a career fair, she says.Applicants who attend the forums are preselected. "The issueof the brain drain has always been a great concern for me, and Iam pleased to be able to get involved in reversing some of thedamage," Gobey says. "When you meet SA graduatesoverseas, many are homesick and waiting for the right opportunityto come home again." While global mobility is aninternational phenomenon, another trend that has seriousimplications for SA is the "raiding of top candidates bydeveloped countries", she says. The population growth indeveloped countries is decreasing, forcing those countries tolook elsewhere to find a solution to the talent crunch. With thevoluntary emigration of SA's skilled workforce, the increasingdrop-out rate at local universities and the effects of AIDS, theresult is a critical shortage of top-calibre candidates."Research shows that within two years, all SA graduates areabsorbed into the economy," she says. Having a dedicatedconsultant working in SA to repatriate South Africans means EMDSwill be able to connect many more South Africans abroad withlocal employers, says Gobey. The November Africa managers' forum,previously an annual event, is the second one scheduled for thisyear. EMDS arranges interviews beforehand, but candidates canalso book interviews at the forum with other participatingorganisations they are interested in, and avail themselves ofvarious company presentations, workshops and networkingopportunities. EMDS estimates that more than half the candidateswho attend their events receive at least one job offer. TheAfrica managers' forum has been running for four years and hashelped a number of African and SA employers attract Africancandidates who are either working or studying overseas back toAfrica and SA, says EMDS UK consultant Sarah Roe. "The forumis an excellent way for employers to reverse the brain drain andhire top-calibre African candidates who want to return to theirhome countries." EMDS says it has more than 2 000applications from African candidates for the next Africamanagers' forum. All candidates invited to attend will have beenpreselected for an interview by at least one employer. Asparticipating organisations pay a once-off fee to take part, andnot a success fee per candidate, it can be a cost-effective wayof complementing recruitment strategy. "In addition, anorganisation has an excellent opportunity to brand theirrecruitment process and target potential clients," says Roe.
Impact of brain drain on local labourmarket (Business Day, 9/11) - At first glance employment trends over the past fewyears tell us nothing surprising. Aggregate employment grew atlow levels, with the informal sector being a job creator and theformal sector a job shedder. A racial breakdown, however, shows adisturbing trend. While the employment of black (African,coloured and Asian) workers either remained constant or increasedmarginally, employment among whites declined by about 90000 jobs.Given the skills-biased nature of employment changes in the SAlabour market, and the fact that these overwhelmingly benefitwhite workers, this is a startling and unexpected result. Is thisreflecting the fact that unemployment levels among whites haveincreased significantly? This is a conclusion one would betempted to arrive at on the basis of casual observation. Thedata, however, does not support this, given that unemploymentamong whites in this period increased by fewer than 5000 workers.The main reason for the drop in white employment levels has to bethat fewer whites are now part of the local labour force. Thesection of the economically active population that is whiteactually declined by about 85000 workers. There can be only twopossible reasons: early retirement or emigration. In the case ofearly retirement, this may reflect the spate of voluntaryseverance packages and other public-sector transformationstrategies. That was probably necessary to transform the sectorin higher-level occupations. The other reason emigration is adifferent issue that does raise serious economic concerns.Informal knowledge and personal experiences tell us there hasbeen significant emigration of skilled individuals from SA to thedeveloped world the "brain drain". Determining the sizeof these flows is notoriously difficult. It is essential that wederive accurate estimates of these emigration flows to determinewhat constraint this poses in a labour market that already facessevere skill shortages. One of the key data problems is thatStatistics SA (which in turn collects its data from the homeaffairs department), only measures the extent of self-declaredemigration. Needless to say, the numbers represented here are agross under-estimate of actual skilledworker emigration. Stats SAestimates indicate, for example, that between 1994 and 1997 about20000 economically active individuals left SA. A more ingeniousmethod of estimating emigration though, involves going to therecipient countries, which often keep better data than the sendercountries. A recent study by the SA Network of Skills Abroad(Sansa), based at the University of Cape Town, estimates thatbetween 1994 and 1997, the number of workers going to five selectdeveloped country economies totalled about 33000. Given thatthese five countries capture about 77% of all emigration from SA,one can arrive at a "guesstimate" of total labour forceemigration between 1994 and 1997 of 43000. Dwell on this figure,because it is important in the context of our labour market.Recall that employment of whites in this period fell by about90000. Close to half of this employment decline among whites wasbecause these individuals were emigrating. Placed in a context ofserious skills shortages at the top-end of the labour market, andof growing wage premiums for skilled workers, this is a worryingtrend. It means that the population sector where the country'sskills are concentrated, for now, is also that with a very highpropensity to leave the country permanently. The brain drain,then, must be recognised as one of the most serious labour-marketconstraints this economy faces. Large declines in labour forceparticipation and employment are reported among whites in the 16to 24 and 25 to 34 age groups. This may typify the nature of theemigration exodus that of young white graduates who at thebeginning of their working life are leaving the country. Thecountry's key skills reservoir located, for historical reasons,primarily among white workers is being rapidly depleted.Individuals who are retiring can be reintegrated into theworkforce, and indeed many have opted back into the labour marketthrough various forms of short-term employment. Those emigrating,however, pose a completely different problem for the domesticeconomy. In terms of policy intervention a few issues need to bedealt with. First, Stats SA, in conjunction with the home affairsdepartment, should set up formal agreements with recipientcountries to gain access to all the data required to monitor ourannual levels of emigration. Then we should be able to determinehow many individuals emigrated, where they emigrated to, why theydid so, what their occupations were and so on. It should not bethe job of researchers intermittently to try piece togetheremigration figures from secondary sources. It is far tooimportant an issue for government not to get involved in. Flowingfrom this would be a series of issues that need to be injectedinto policy debate. We need to link the notion of emigration tothe skills shortage in the labour market. Not only do we need toencourage the development of a wider base of skilled workers, butwe also need to focus on the fact that the existing base ofskilled individuals is showing a high propensity to leave SA. Itis necessary to examine the factors underlying individuals'decisions to emigrate. Scant evidence is not enough. An extensiveprofile of all emigrants is the first step in trying to stem theflow. Finally, there can be no doubt that, to match the outflowof skilled people, we need to act more vigorously to attractnon-SA skilled workers into the country. This is clearly notoccurring systematically. In many cases it could be argued we arediscouraging the entry of skilled foreign labour. Attracting suchindividuals from the rest of Africa and other developingcountries is essential if we are going to begin to counter thecurrent skills gaps in the economy and the future shortages thatwill occur through emigration.
Bhorat is director of theDevelopment Policy Research Unit at the University of CapeTown.
ANC MEC calls for restrictions onemigration (Business Day, 9/11, Durban) -
Call for measures to halt medical braindrain (Business Day, 09/11) - SA Should develop strategies to keep young doctors inthe country instead of spending scarce resources training them tobenefit foreign nations, Deputy President Jacob Zuma said onSaturday. Zuma said the country was facing a huge problem ofdoctors leaving on completion of their studies to work abroad.The question we need to ask ourselves again is what are wedoing to ensure that the recruits we bring into our system areones that are most likely to stay in the country and serve theirpeople. are we producing the type of doctor who isthe patriotic cadre so desperately needed to play a leading rolein the transformation within the medical field? Zuma wasspeaking at the 50th anniversary of the University of NatalMedical School, which was on Saturday evening renamed the NelsonR Mandela School of Medicine during a ceremony in Durban.We have the choice to continue to spend valuable resourcestraining doctors to benefit foreign nations or to developstrategies to ensure that we train doctors for our ownnation. Zuma said reports indicated that the number ofAfrican medical students who qualified for entry into medicalschool was extremely low. In this regard the medical school faceda challenge to bring more African doctors into the system. Hesaid government also needed to develop programmes to bridge thegap. In the face of emigration of our newly qualifieddoctors and a shortage of doctors in rural areas, we need todeliberately identify and recruit students, who show potential,from targeted areas of our country particularly ruralareas. Zuma warned that if the country failed to trainenough African men and women in the medical field history wouldjudge us harshly. The medical school was the firstand only medical school until the 1970s to train black doctors African, coloured and Indian. The school has trained morethan 3 000 doctors, among them Dr Mamphele Ramphele, Dr BenNgubane (Arts and Culture Minister), Dr Malegapuru Makgoba (Headof the Medical Research Council), Dr Frank Mdlalose and Dr AyandaNtsaluba (director-general for the Department of Health). Formerpresident Nelson Mandela, who was the guest of honour, said hewas confident that the school would continue its contribution tothe medical fraternity in the country. He said he was honoured tohave the school named after him. Mandela gave the schoolpermission to use his name and on Saturday night revealed the newname plaque. Mandela was one of about 1 200 guests who attendedthe celebration. He said obtaining democracy in SA was not theend of the struggle. The struggle has now taken on a newform. Democracy only means that we share theresponsibility, he said. Mandela said SA would not surviveas a nation and its children would not have a future if lifethreatening illnesses such as HIV/Aids were not eradicated. Aidsand poverty, he said, was threatening the SA society. He alsowarned that SA would not be able to compete in the global worldwithout professionals, such as doctors.
Mbeki speaks on mining industry's role(Pana, 08/11, Cape Town) - PresidentThabo Mbeki said on Tuesday that the mining industry shouldassist the government in its fight against unemployment andpoverty. "I believe that a sunrise industry, such as mining,cannot but pledge by word, and demonstrate in action, that it isprepared to play its role to address this common nationalproblem," he told the Chamber of Mines in Johannesburg. Hesaid the mining industry, the workers, the managers and theshareholders as well as the state have a possibility to embark ona road that will help to decide where South Africa should go andhow easy that walk will be to a new reality. "It can beargued with justification that the challenge has never been morepressing than it is today, that we unite as a people to endunemployment and therefore radically reduce the levels of povertyin our country," he added. Mbeki said that South Africa'sfuture depends on the levels of education and training of all itspeople and its capacity to integrate within the modern globalsociety of rapid technological and scientific development."In this regard, we have to devote more resources to issuesof research and development, including the training and retainingin our country of the scientists, engineers and technicians weneed to move ourselves decisively into the ranks of the developedcountries of the world," he said. He paid tribute to themining companies and all those who work in the sector for thecontribution they are making to the strengthening andreconstruction of the economies of many sister African countries."Nevertheless, I would like to plead that we work in thesecountries as equal partners with the African peoples in whosecountries we conduct mining, without arrogance and committed tothe vision of African development and shared prosperity," heemphasised. He said his government is determined to work witheverybody in the mining industry in a spirit of co-operation, toensure that everybody, both inside and outside our country,benefits from a vibrant South African and African miningindustry. "What we do must communicate to the rest of theworld the message that we constitute an industry that knows andcarries out its responsibilities to the societies in which itearns its profits and generates wages and salaries; that valuesthe humanity, the rights, health and safety of its workers; thatprotects the environment; and, that recognises the leading roleit has to play in helping to pull the poor and underdeveloped,especially in Africa, out of poverty and underdevelopment,"Mbeki said.
Police include deportations in crimefigures (Sapa, 06/11, Pretoria) - A total of 4522 suspects had been arrested for seriouscrimes in the police's Operation Crackdown in the Pretoria areaover the past seven months, area commissioner Joel Zwane said onMonday. These included 12 for murder, 23 for rape, 12 for drugdealing and 522 for assault, he said in a statement. Nearly 400illegal immigrants were also netted from April to October. Itemsconfiscated included 374 firearms, 4 112 rounds of ammunition,149 vehicles, 82.8kg of dagga, 176 cellphones and 127 soundsystems. Zwane called on people to mark their property and recordserial numbers. "Several stolen items recovered cannot bereturned to their lawful owners because they cannot beidentified." The operation would continue until the end ofApril 2003, he said.
Police implication Nigerians, Zimbabweansin fraud schemes (Woza Internet, 06/11, Johannesburg) - TheSA Police Service (SAPS) has warned the public againstinternational fraud schemes which target unsuspecting businessmenand the public. One fraud scheme, according to availableinformation, involve Zimbabwean nationals, while Nigeriannationals are behind the so-called Nigerian 419 fraud scam. Themodus operandi of the Zimbabwean swindlers is that peopleclaiming to be legitimate businessmen from Zimbabwe phoneunsuspecting SA businesses to ask for help in setting up localbusiness operations. The swindlers normally insist on speaking totop people such as the CEO, and will quote names of crediblepersons or organisations (such as the chairman of an organisationthe potential victim is affiliated to or had business dealingswith) as references. The Zimbabweans then offer a plausiblereason for involving the victim in assisting them withlegitimately exporting high-value, low-volume goods such astantalite or gemstones from Zimbabwe to South Africa. The policewarn that the swindlers often ask for assistance in issues likefinding suitable warehousing facilities, reception of legitimateshipments, and securing authentic documentation and paperwork. Ithas been established that while the first meeting between theswindlers and their unsuspecting victims will typically takeplace in a public place such as a hotel lounge, follow-upmeetings at which victims are shown samples of goods in questionare held in parking areas of shopping complexes. "At thismeeting you will be required to make a deposit of, for example,R25 000, for which you will be promised several returns. Anargument will then ensue during which you will be subjected tothe classic good cop/bad cop dialogue," the police say. A"compromise" may eventually be reached by them,agreeing to a substantially reduced deposit. It is at this pointthat the victim may realise that he/she is alone against three orfour swindlers in a relatively secluded area. The SAPS havepleaded with the public in general not to fall for the swindlers'tricks since they make all the right references as far asconvincing their potential victims that they are legitimatebusiness people. They will also emphasise their need for areputable business partner, thereby enhancing their credibilityin your eyes. The Nigerian 419 scam The police also warned thepublic against the so-called Nigerian 419 fraud scheme, whichinvolves transferals of money from one account to another. Thepolice say that despite numerous warnings against the scheme,people are still falling victims to the "unscrupulousfraudsters". The most recent cases reported to the policeindicate that these con artists claim to be from "prominentpolitical offices in Lesotho". Victims are targeted atrandom through circulars or unauthenticated fax messages. If theintended victim expresses an interest in a particular deal, he orshe is requested to forward a variety of documents whichgenerally includes blank company letterheads that have beensigned by the intended victim, blank invoices, telephone/faxnumbers, and banking details aimed at effecting transfers of themoney into the victim's bank account. The SAPS said that a SouthAfrican citizen was recently contacted by a person claiming to befrom the Lesotho Tender Board, and who wanted to grant the SAcitizen a tender for a road project. The South African went toLesotho, where he discussed the tender with the fraudsters. A fewdays later they phoned him again, telling him that his tender hadbeen accepted and that he had to come in to meet the officials ofthe department of local government, bringing with him a depositin cash. The same day a person pretending to be from thedepartment of finance in Lesotho also contacted the victim forhis bank account details because they were "preparing"the tender guarantee and order. On receiving the deposit from thevictim, the victim was issued with the following documents - acertificate of approval from a governmental department, and acertificate of guarantee from the African Development Bank. A fewdays later the victim discovered that the telephone numbers givento him of the African Development Bank were incorrect and thatthe bank was no longer in Kenya but in the Ivory Coast. Neithercould the people from Lesotho who had phoned him and to whom hehad paid a deposit be found. The police caution the public alwaysto be cautious about financial transactions with any organisationbased outside the country. The public is urged to phone CrimeStop at 0800 11 12 13, or the Interpol National Central Bureau'sfraud desk at (012) 339 1886, as soon as they encounter peopleoffering them suspicious business deals.
Recruiting of skilled South Africans forAustralia (Mail and Guardian,02/11) - I am at the Il Pavignione, on the 10th floor ofthe Michelangelo hotel at Johannesburg's property hotbed,Sandton. Excuse me for stating the obvious, but this place dripswith opulence. Not just the credit-fuelled kind found a fewfloors below us at the Sandton City shopping mall, where thecountry's upper- middle-class and overnight celebrities displayan insatiable urge to live beyond their means. Up here theseriously wealthy have gathered to examine investment andimmigration opportunities in Australia. They are at ease withtheir affluence and conscience; they are pricey without being tooostentatious and instinctively cagey. The seminar room we are incan squeeze in 100 people. This evening, about 80 seats have beenmade available to allow for breathing space. Upon registrationthe gentleman in attendance, Erick, recognises me from my call tobook a place. It is probably because I am the youngest or maybebecause I am one of two black people attending. Either way, Istand out. The audience just about fills up the room. It is aninteresting mix of the old and the new upper class. There aremany white couples. The men look like they are at the peak oftheir careers. There are also a few white men who appear to be atthe autumn of a life of luxury built on inheritance and thebenefits of apartheid, clearly attending to prepare forretirement in Oz. Thenthere is a breed that looks set to define the new face of thesuper rich: young Indian males. The few who have made it tonightare either with partners or in small groups. In my row are twowho look too young to afford property in Australia and too hip toconsider living among kangaroos in the excessively pale,sometimes uninspiring colonial outpost down under. The presenterof the seminar, Margaret Jurca, is a very interestingproposition. Her accent suggests she is an east European nativeand she later tells us she has lived in Australia since 1969. Shehas made a name for herself as an international propertyconsultant over the past 16 years. She comes with a primerecommendation as the Wespac Businesswoman of the year for 2000.She has impeccable credentials and has been coming to SouthAfrica for the past four years. How interesting. When I speak topeople in academic and business circles they tell me howdifficult it is - thanks to the Department of Home Affairs - tobring skilled people to help them. Yet here is a woman, withvirtually a free pass into the country (the last time she washere was six weeks ago) whose sole mission is to entice ourwealthiest and, debatably, most talented individuals away. Shedoes so with what would be smooth talking were it not for heraccent and zeal. One thing she did was to crush my view thatAustralia is uninspiring. The first half of a 75-minute sessionwas dedicated to investment opportunities, and her place ofchoice is the Gold Coast in North Eastern Australia. From aneconomic perspective the place is a gem: it is hardly the size ofJohannesburg but has A$20-billion investment committed to it. Ithas just witnessed the opening of the $5000-a-night Versacehotel. It has an eight-lane, $750-million highway linking it toBrisbane and in 2005 it will be the world golfing capital with 71golf courses. Yet for all this apparent lustre, the audience isimpressed but not inquisitive, thus preventing me from asking thequestion I had all evening: Do they need semi-cheap labour?Gardener, dishwasher, caddie? Anything. The second half of thesession on migrating proves livelier. Jurca starts by noting:"It is easy to adjust to life in Australia because we driveon the same side of the road, we speak the same language [sincewhen?]." But hang on, I've heard this one before. Oh, Ieavesdropped on Jurca reciting the mantra to the hip Indians. Shethen gives us what sounds like a history lesson from 2030:"When South Africans first migrated to Australia, theysettled in Perth [on the West Coast] then they realised that itis isolated and then they made their way inland." Thequestions flow thick and fast, with one old man inquiring withexasperation: "When can I move in?" What I can say isthat South Africans primed for emigration - or those preparing alanding pad by investing abroad - appear to have grown morediplomatic in explaining their plans. "It's a beautifulcountry, it's got great potential, but just look at the Aidsthing," was one offering. Get ready, Australia, for anotherbatch.
South Africa journalists expelled(Reporters sans frontieres, 20/11, Paris) - In a letteraddressed to Suibusiso Glamini Prime Minister of Swaziland,Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters without borders, RSF)protested against the expulsion on 14 November of Themba Molefeand Pat Seboko, respectively journalist and photographer of theSouth African daily, The Sowetan. Robert Menard, SecretaryGeneral of RSF, reminded the Prime Minister that "the rightto inform and to be informed is guaranteed by the UniversalDeclaration of Human Rights". He further called thegovernment of Swaziland to sign and ratify the InternationalCovenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the AfricanCharter on Human on People's Rights. According to the informationcollected b RSF, Themba Molefe and Pat Seboko were arrested at acheckpoint on the road between Mbabane and Lobamba, where theyplanned to attend the court hearing of Mario Masuku, the leaderof the People United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), an illegalpolitical organization, on 14 November. They were questioned fortwo hours by members of the security forces, who thoroughlysearched them and their car. After two hours, the two journalistswere escorted to the border with South Africa and reportedly toldnever to return. In a separate incident on 7 November, four SouthAfrican journalists were harassed and threatened withdeportation. For more information, please contact Anne-CharlotteDommartin at the Africa desk at + 33 1 44 83 84 84 or by e-mailat firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief seeks refuge in South Africa(African Eye News Service, 17/11, Mbabane) - The seniorSwazi prince who plunged Swaziland into its present politicalturmoil by trying to seize two peasant villages, appears to havefled the kingdom in fear of his life. Prince Maguga Dlamini,blood brother of Swaziland's absolute monarch King Mswati III, isbelieved to have fled to South Africa after nurses at localgovernment hospitals threatened to withhold medical treatment.Swazi media reported that Prince Maguga immediately dischargedhimself and crossed the border into South Africa for treatmentfor severe diabetes and anaemia. Royal palace spokesmen, PaulShabangu, refused to comment and also refused to disclose the64-year-old prince's whereabouts. Prince Maguga becameSwaziland's most publicly despised figure after he evicted twopopular chiefs and an estimated 200 families in central Swazilandlast month, forcing many of them to seek political exile in SouthAfrica. The eviction of the chiefs, Mtfuso Dlamini and MlibaFakudze, led to an unprecedented popular uprising among Swazilandpeasants who live on communal "King's Land" nearManzini and normally revere King Mswati. Prince Maguga, who hasno prior claim to the disputed land, clamped down on criticism ofthe eviction orders by sending in the army to forcefully evictthe families at midnight on October 14. The families were herdedinto government trucks by armed soldiers and dumped in an openfield without shelter or water 100km away. King Mswati's palacespokesmen warned the families would only be allowed to return ifthey publicly apologised for defying Prince Maguga and sentcattle as compensation. The peasants refused, instead taking tothe streets along with Swaziland's increasingly militant unions,student organisations and banned political parties in anunprecedented wave of civil disobedience. Chief Fakudze hasmeanwhile sought political asylum in South Africa, and was joinedin hiding in Secunda in Mpumalanga by Chief Mtfuso last weekafter royalists allegedly began making death threats. "Therural uprising and rejection of Prince Maguga, who is the directbrother of King Mswati, is a shift in Swaziland's nationalpsyche. It indicates a new democratic impulse, almost as if theywant to elect their chief," said anthropology student SiphoVilakati. King Mswati is in ritual seclusion for the sacredIncwala kingship rites and has yet to comment on the uprising,but palace officials said this week royal authorities could notinitially believe that peasants were resisting Prince Maguga wereserious. "We all thought they would apologise when got coldor hungry," he said. International human rights and labourgroups have slammed the Swazi authorities for the evictions,carried out in defiance of a High Court injunction. The sufferingof the evictees and subsequent violent police crackdown onsympathisers have sparked calls for the dilution of royalauthority and the institution of a multi-party democratic system.Chief Mtfuso's uncle, Isaac Dlamini, was one of those evicted andthis week recounted the impact on his family. "Imagine aneight-month-old asthmatic child being loaded on to the back of apolice truck at the crack of dawn," an outraged IsaacDlamini said. "We lost everything, and were forced to leavewith only what we could carry. Who would expect me to clap myhands for the government after what it did to my family?"Prince Maguga was admitted to Mbabane Government Hospital lastmonth for treatment of diabetes and anaemia. He asked to bedischarged after nursing staff reportedly threatened to give hima dose of his "own medicine" by denying him medicalattention and evicting him from the hospital. "Our membersare very upset about the evictions because some of the affectedpeople are colleagues or relatives," Swaziland Nurses'Association secretary general, Julia Ziyane, said. "However,they would not have harmed him," she added. Prince Maguga isno stranger to controversy. In 1982 he reportedly made the peopleof KaMkhweli give him 54 goats as compensation for the death ofhis father, King Sobhuza II. In 1986 he ordered the people ofKaMkhweli to give him 10 head of cattle to show that they werestill loyal to him as their emissary. The prince was appointed bySobhuza to be the emissary of the people of KaMkhweli andMacetjeni whenever they wanted to make representations to theking. In the past few years he has been extracting presents fromthe two communities, but has failed to place their requestsbefore the king. The prince was once promised that he was goingto be the next king after the death of Sobhuza.
Swazi ministers speak about migrationimpacts (Swaziland Government, 10/11) - PrimeMinister Dr Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini says migration has bothpositive and negative effects in society. Dr Dlaminimade these remarks when he officially opened an internationalseminar on problems of migration at the Royal Swazi SunConvention Centre, this week."Most surveys suggest thatmigrants, even illegal ones, bring many benefits to their hosts -skills, knowledge culture, cuisine. Immigrant traders bring goodsand services, the fruits of which are often spent locally. Oftenforeigners, for example in mining, perform tasks that localscannot or will not do, thus enriching the economy and culture ofthe host country as well as that of their home country,"said Dr Dlamini. The Premier said if however migration is leftunchecked it could lead to overcrowding in urban centres,increase in crime, unemployment problems for locals and corruptedcultures. "Illegal immigration tends to drive down wagelevels as exploiting employers pay low rates to non-unionisedforeign workers without any risk of being reported to theauthorities," said Dr Dlamini. He said less wealthycountries with high unemployment rates, large influxes ofmigrants can place a serious burden, and eventually overwhelm,the economy and social services infrastructure of the hostcountry. "There are cases of immigrants specialising in thetrafficking of drugs and arms. There are so many so-called asylumseekers greener pastures. The result is often overreactionleading even to hostility towards immigrants," said thePrime Minister. He said that for many years, people have takenpart in extensive migrations from one country to another insearch of a better life, whether for economic, political orsocial reasons. "The development of affluent industrialisedsocieties such as the United States and the United Kingdom mightnever have taken place but for the mass migrations eachexperienced at different times in the past two millennia,"said Dlamini. He added that richer countries attract inhabitantsof poorer neighbours especially where there are significantdifferences between the standard of living within a given region.If, as in this region, there are no oceans to cross and lorriesand buses ply a regular route along the main connecting roads,borders become somewhat porous. Controlling human flows becomesextremely difficult.
SADC co-operation fruitless ifmigration issues not addressed - Shabangu - Foreign Affairsand Trade Minister, Albert Shabangu says mutually beneficialco-operation within the Southern African Development Community(SADC) would reduce the effectiveness of the Community if issueson migration management were not addressed. "Thequestion of fostering Regional Co-operation and integration inSouthern Africa is not new. In fact, according to Article 5 ofthe Treaty of SADC one objective of SADC is to develop policiesaimed at progressive elimination of obstacles to the freemovement of capital and labour, goods and services, and of thepeople of the region generally, among Members States," saidShabangu. Minister Shabangu was speaking yesterday at the RoyalSwazi Sun Convention Centre when he officially closed a seminaron migration. Minister Shabangu said that to address the issue ofthe movement of people, SADC has already initiated a draftprotocol on the facilitation of movements of persons within SADC,which is currently being reviewed by SADC Governments. He saidthat the draft protocol on the movement of people within theregion is done in order to discover the best modalities ofrealizing smooth migration movements that will enhance unity."The pace at which we are able to move towards concludingthe draft protocol, clearly demonstrates the timidity of themember states; a timidity which arises from fears if borders wereto be opened. When first drafted, the protocol was on freemovement of people. It is now on facilitation of movement ofpeople," said Shabangu. Minister Shabangu said this protocolis faced with problems since in most cases, migration is fromeconomically disadvantaged areas towards better or perceivedbetter ones. Even within nations, migration tendencies followsimilar broad patterns. "Added to this broad-trend, are thesocial ills of crime; drug trafficking, car theft and manycross-border problems. As a result of all these, it isunderstandable when national boundaries are viewed at points ofseparation as opposed to points of unity; national borders aresometimes viewed as gates of potential undesirable flows insteadof positive points of free movement," said the minister. Headded that migration and the general direction it follows, isoften related to the realities of economic and socialdevelopment. Minister Shabangu said he noted with appreciationthe topics the seminar was able to cover. Topics that werediscussed, among others, include the rights and obligationsrelating to Refugees; Government Structures and InternalCo-ordination and Co-operation; Research, Information and DataExchange.
South African journalists arrested(African Eye News Service, 07/11, Mbabane) - Swazilandspecial branch police briefly detained and searched foreignjournalists in the Kingdom on Tuesday while dispersing a handfulof pro-democracy protestors in the capital Mbabane. The SwazilandFederation of Trade Unions (SFTU) protest at Mbabane's bus rankat 10am was declared illegal by police on Monday night.Protestors had intended to hand a petition to Prime MinisterSibubiso Dlamini demanding that absolute monarch King Mswati IIIrevoke a 1973 ban on free political activity and create aninterim multi-party government. SFTU, which staged a large rallyin neighbouring South Africa on Sunday after similar protestswere banned in Swaziland, also demanded urgent amendments to thecountry's industrial relations laws, and the reinstatement of tworural chiefs and their subjects who were forcefully evicted lastmonth. Other key demands include calls for the still confidentialfindings of an unpopular Constitutional Review Commission to bescrapped in favour of a broader-based transparent constitutiondrafting process. Protests last month were disrupted when riotpolice fired tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators. Thegovernment also closed the University of Swaziland andinterrogated arrested a number of youth leaders during briefdetentions. An estimated 2 000 Swazi unionists, nurses, teachers,students and Swaziland 's banned opposition crossed the borderand drove 120km to Nelspruit to draft the petition. PrimeMinister Dlamini took large adverts on State radio, televisionand the country's only daily newspaper on Tuesday warning thatall further meetings or protests were banned and said governmentrejected any resolutions taken outside of Swaziland. A network ofpolice roadblocks on all major routes into Mbabane and a heavyarmy and special branch presence at the city's bus rank kept themajority of the expected thousands of protestors away. Soldiers,wearing full battle kit, circled the bus rank, while armouredvehicles and reinforcements were marshaled in side streets. SFTUsecretary general Jan Sithole was also detained briefly at one ofthree police roadblocks on the major Mbabane/ Manzini highway andhad still not arrived to lead the protest by 12:30am (noon). Onlyan estimated 100 curious passersby were still at the bus rank bynoon, but union spokesman Musa Dlamini insisted the march wouldproceed as soon as Sithole arrived. "We experiencedtechnical difficulties due to the roadblocks, but the march willproceed," said Dlamini. Plainclothes policemen targetedforeign media, demanding passports, press cards and attempting tosearch their vehicles "for petrol bombs". Mbabaneregional special branch commander, Superintendent Jomo Mavuso,told journalists from South Africa's Mail & Guardian andregional news agency African Eye News Service (South Africa) thatthey were being monitored and should immediately leave Swaziland."You are being watched everywhere you go. We will follow youuntil you leave the country. You insult Swazis and show norespect. You must all leave now," he insisted.Superintendent Mavuso also attempted unsuccessfully to searchmedia vehicles and retain journalists' passports.
Major company relocates to Malawi andZimbabwe (Times of Zambia, 30/11) - Government regretsAmanita Group's decision to close down its milling plants andrelocate to Zimbabwe and Malawi saying the action is premature asthe 2001 budget has not yet been presented. In an interview inLusaka yesterday, Commerce, Trade and Industry Deputy MinisterNorman Chibamba appealed to Amanita Zambiana to reconsider thedecision and allow established channels to address theirconcerns. Mr Chibamba said it would have made business sense forAmanita Zambiana to relocate after the budget was known and afterseeing that their concerns were not addressed. Mr Chibamba saidthe company should have made representations to the MillersAssociation of Zambia or the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU)but initial indications showed that no official complaint onwheat or flour imports was made. 'The action is premature and asGovernment we would appeal to Amanita to reconsider itsdecision,' he said. He said Government did not take pride inseeing companies close and if there was evidence of dumping, theMinistry of Commerce, Trade and Industry was ready to take up thematter with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Comesa. And ina separate interview, Commerce, Trade and Industry MinisterWilliam Harrington said the Comesa secretariat was investigatingthe case involving Amanita and that Government would assess theneed for intervention depending on the outcome of theinvestigations. Amanita Zambiana managing director Diego Casilliannounced last week that his company was closing down its threemilling plants in Lusaka and Mazabuka because of competitionbrought on by the Comesa FTA. Mr Casilli said the millingindustry had lost K1,000 per kg on flour protection as Zimbabweanflour imports were coming into the country at zero duty. Amanitais relocating the wheat milling plants to Zimbabwe and maizemilling plant to Malawi. Comesa has since challenged thedecision.
Chief harassed by Congolese soldiers(Times of Zambia, 30/11) - FugitiveCongolese soldiers raided Chief Kaputa's palace, ransacking theorchard and haranguing the chief's wife on Tuesday evening.Kaputa district administrator Emmanuel Chileshe said yesterdaythe renegade soldiers billeted themselves on the chief's fruittrees and ate all ripe mangoes. Mr Chileshe said soldiers hadbecome uncontrollable and were terrorising villagers. The chief'swife who tried to reason with the troops received unpleasantremarks. 'We have no problem with the civilians and I commend theUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for theirsupport to the refugees, but the soldiers are a nuisance and athreat to security. 'People have stopped going out into thefields for fear of being attacked by the hungry Congolesesoldiers,' Mr Chileshe said. He said that the villagers wererequesting his office to act by repatriating the soldiersimmediately. 'The situation here is bad. Authorities should comeand see what is happening for themselves,' Mr Chileshe said. 'Myappeal is that Government should step up the arrangements toremove these people from the area as soon as possible,'' the DAsaid. In response to the crisis yesterday, Home Affairs MinisterPeter Machungwa said Government was making arrangements torepatriate the soldiers to DRC. Dr Machungwa warned that theState would not condone any violent acts by the fugitivesoldiers. The law of the land would be applied fully to curtailthe banditry. The soldiers have since been disarmed. 'We do notcare whether one is Congolese or not, the law will be applied onanyone disturbing peace and security in the area,' the ministersaid from Lusaka. He said if the police were understaffed, theyshould ask for reinforcements to contain the volatile situation.'The police, army and the special division are all there and theymust be in control of the situation,' he said. The State hadalmost exhausted procedures before taking the soldiers back toCongo. Recently Defence Minister Chitalu Sampa also assured theState would soon repatriate the run-away soldiers after all thenecessary procedures were finished. .Belligerents in Congoconflict have agreed to withdraw troops from that country. At ameeting attended by all parties in Lusaka yesterday, The JointMilitary Commission (JMC) approved the disengagement of troopsfrom the war-torn country. The agreement has been described as amessage of hope on the Lusaka peace process to the DRC. The JMCappealed to the UN to send observer mission to monitor thewithdraw of troops from occupied areas.
UN warns of refugee disaster (Sapa-DPA,27/11, Lusaka) - If intensified fighting in theDemocratic Republic Of Congo (DRC) reaches the town of Pweto, itwould cause a refugee di in Zambia, a U.N. official warnedMonday. Between 50,000 and 100,000 refugees could flee to Zambiaonce Pweto -close to the Zambian border - falls, said Kelvin Sinformation officer for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.The moment Pweto falls, we expect a disaster here in Zambiaas far as the refugee situation is concerned, he said.Judging from the current trend of refugees entering Zambia fromthe Democratic Republic of Congo through Kaputa distric between5,000 and 10,000 were expected in the coming days, Shima said.Meanwhile the Zambia Red Cross and the UNHCR appealed to thegovernment to make a public statement about the fate o DRCsoldiers who fled to Zambia last week. Officials of the twohumanitarian organisations said the DRC soldiers refused todenounce their military status and were ad to the growing refugeepopulalion in Zambia. Kelvin Chiposwa, general secretary of theZambia Red Cross, said that although the soldiers had since beendisarmed and k under guard at an empty warehouse in Kaputa and atthe towns police station, all is not well becausethey have been involv illegal activies. He said the RedCross alone was transporting between 300 and 400 refugees a dayto the Mwane refugee camp, where numb had now reached 25,000. Sincelast Wednesday, the Red Cross has been using three trucks and abus to transport refugees from Kaputa to Mwange c on a dailybasis, he said. The Red Cross and the UNHCR were planningto transport new arrivals to the newly-opened Kala refugee campin the Kawambwa district. Home Affairs Minister Peter Machungwasaid the government "might consider" repatriating theDRC soldiers.
Report on sex workers in Lusaka (ThePost, 21/11) - According to the Strategic Framework2001-2003 released yesterday by the National HIV/AIDS/STD/TBCouncil, commercial sex workers in Lusaka and outside have sexwith an average of seven partners a night. It also says there are17,000 full time sex workers in major tourist locations, highwaysand trading towns in Zambia. "If all the 17, 000 commercialsex workers outside Lusaka and spread throughout the country wereto engage in sex with seven clients every day, then 119, 000 sexacts occur nightly, 3.57 million sex acts every month and 42.840million annually," read the document in part. Among some ofthose cited as being involved in illicit sex are truck drivers,migrant workers and crossborder traders. On truck drivers, thereport estimates that each truck driver and assistant could haveup to 60 sexual partners per month or 720 per year. "DarFarms International, one of the largest trucking companies inZambia lost 39 out of 144 drivers to AIDS in the last threeyears," read the report. The document which has since beenadopted by the government notes that Zambia's external publicdebt which will remain high at unsustainable levels for at leastfive more years, will have an effect in the fight against thespread of HIV/AIDS. "The analysis concluded that even withstrong financial policies, the avoidance of non-concessionalborrowing, and full use of well established debt reliefmechanisms, Zambia's external public debt would remain high atunsustaniable levels for at least 5 more years," read thedocument. It states that Zambia's initiative to seek exceptionaldebt relief and to explore alternative debt swap mechanisms areessential to the government's overall ability to mount aneffective and sustainable response to the current HIV/AIDSpandemic. On the prevalence of HIV among adults by province,Lusaka is still leading with Copperbelt in the second slot.North-Western Province is the last and safest with HIV prevalenceof 11.0 per cent. On the future impact of AIDS in Zambia, thecouncil notes that although the population will grow, the rate ofgrowth is expected to decline as a result of AIDS epidemic."Life expectancy at birth currently estimated at 37 years in1998 could drop even further," read the document in part."The proportion of households caring for orphans willincrease significantly beyond the 72 per cent observed in1996." On young girls, the council notes that approximately1.75 million girls in Zambia are vulnerable to HIV and this isdue to a host of socio-cultural and economic factors.
Soldiers flee to Zambia from DRC(Financial Gazette, 16/11, Lusaka) - At least 300government soldiers have fled renewed fighting in the DemocraticRepublic of the Congo into neighbouring Zambia over the past fewdays, Zambia's defence minister said yesterday. Chitalu Sampasaid that the Congolese soldiers entered Zambia through theKaputa district, nearly 700 km (440 miles) northwest of thecapital Lusaka. Sampa said Zambian security officials weredisarming the Congo troops before they were allowed to cross.Regional officials said there were still several dozen Congolesesoldiers across the border who were reluctant to give up theirguns. "No country can allow a foreign soldier to enter infull uniform and armed," Sampa said. "These men havebeen arriving in our country in the last few days. They are hereseeking refuge. We treat them like ordinary refugees, that's whatthey are," he added. The Congolese soldiers were being heldin police stations in the Kaputa area for screening before theycould be moved to camps further from the border. Several hundredfighters from wars in Congo and Angola have fled to Zambia inrecent weeks as the fighting in the two countries hasintensified. The UN refugee agency UNHCR has opened a new campfor former combatants in eastern Zambia.
DRC soldiers held in prison (Irin, 14/11,Johannesburg) - More than 250 government soldiers fledthe Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) into the Kaputa districtof Zambia's Northern province at the weekend, UNHCR told IRIN onTuesday. "As far as we know, 256 combatants have crossedinto Zambia since Friday," Kelvin Shimo, a UNHCRrepresentative in the Zambian capital Lusaka, said. "Thesesoldiers are being held in prison until they renounce theirmilitary status and officially seek asylum, until then the UNHCRcan do nothing with these men." A Zambian police spokesman,Lemmy Kajoba, confirmed to AFP on Monday that the troops werebeing held in custody in northern Zambia. Shimo said that whenand if the soldiers become refugees, they would be moved toUkwimi in Zambia's Eastern Province, where the government and theUNHCR have created a special camp for ex-fighters from Angola'sUNITA rebels and for some DRC soldiers. Zambian police said theyhad confiscated weapons, including AK-47 rifles, from the DRCsoldiers and that they would be stepping up security in the areawhere the soldiers crossed into the country. The state-owned'Times of Zambia' newspaper reported on Monday that the soldiersfled into Zambia after rebels launched a fresh offensive aroundthe town of Kalemie in eastern DRC, about 250 km south of theBurundi capital Bujumbura. The newspaper quoted districtadministrator Emmanuel Chileshe in Kaputa district as saying thatthe situation is causing concern because the soldiers are hungryand could start looting in an area where the food situation isalready bad. Kaputa district has in recent months faced an influxof refugees and soldiers fleeing the civil war in the DRC.
Zambia to issue ID's to refugees (Pana,10/11, Lusaka) - The Zambian government, in agreementwith the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, is to issueidentity cards to asylum seekers eligible to stay in urban Zambiain a move aimed at boosting data collection and curbing crimeamong the immigrants. UNHCR Resident Representative in Lusaka,Oluseyi Bajulayi, said Zambia is among the first countries in theworld where the system of registering refugees will be fullyoperational. In June 1999, at the height of the Kosovo crisis,American computer magnate Bill Gates of Microsoft donated eightfield kits for the registration of Kosovo refugees in Albania andMacedonia. But due to the spontaneous return of the Kosovorefugees, the facilities were never used. The registration kits,worth 150,000 US dollars, have now been transferred to Zambiawhere authorities had complained about refugees deserting theirsettlements in rural areas for the bright lights of Lusaka andother urban centres. Bajulayi noted that under the 1951 RefugeeConvention only a handful of refugees are authorised to reside inurban centres, subject to strict criteria. They includepossession of work permits and those requiring temporaryresidence in urban areas for security, medical, family orresettlement reasons. Peter Mwamfuli, Permanent Secretary in theHome Affairs Ministry, said the kits would help the Zambiangovernment set up a reliable data base for statistical anddemographic information for planning purposes. The registrationof individual refugees is also expected to enhance the process ofverifying genuine refugees in urban centres for easyidentification of the criminally minded ones. Police have in thepast accused some refugees from Angola and the DemocraticRepublic of Congo of engaging in violent crimes with weaponsbrought into Zambia from their war-torn countries.
Survival strategies of Angolan refugees(Sapa-AFP, 08/11, Maheba Refugee Camp, Zambia) -
Foreign investors criticised overemployment conditions (The Post, 08/11) - Governmentshould go beyond verbal warnings and take immediate actionagainst some new investors who continue to flout the country'slabour laws and subject workers to slave conditions, PermanentHuman Rights Commission (PHRC) spokesperson Lavu Mulimba hasadvised. Mulimba said while the Commission welcomed recentpronouncements by cabinet ministers warning of stern actionagainst employers who contravene Zambia's constitutional andlegal provisions governing minimum conditions of employment, itfelt government had yet to act upon these reports. He said theCommission was welcome to new investment as a critical input tojob creation and generation of added wealth but that exploitativeconditions of work do not achieve these objectives. Mulimba saidthe PHRC would continue urging government to take necessarymeasures to guide investors and act against those violatingworkers' rights. He said widespread media reports allegingimposed slave conditions on Zambian workers suggest that manyinvestors have taken to displaying flagrant violations ofZambia's constitutional human rights standards governingemployment and conditions of service. Mulimba observed that inthe wake of the country's economic liberalisation, many newinvestors were taking advantage of the high poverty levels toapply slave conditions on Zambian workers. Government has not yetmade a definite standard on casual and contract employment andother bad working conditions despite saying often that they wereagainst it. Earlier this year, labour minister Edith Nawakwi saida tripartite working committee comprising representatives fromgovernment, the employers body and labour force had been set upto look into the issue.
More refugees arrive in Zambia every week(Irin, 08/11) - Around 12,000 Angolan refugeeshave been forced to flee across the border into Zambia since theend of September, UNHCR's spokesman in Lusaka told IRIN onTuesday.
The majority have crossed into northwestern Zambia to escapeinsecurity in the Cazombo area of Angola's eastern Moxicoprovince. But new arrivals, mostly woman and children, are alsotrudging into western Zambia. "Their condition is stablealthough they are exhausted," UNHCR's spokesman Kelvin Shimosaid. Between 150 to 200 refugees arrive in Zambia each week, headded. The majority of Angolan refugees in Zambia are shelteredin Maheba, 700 km northwest of the capital Lusaka. The camp ishome to 50,000 people - both new arrivals and old caseloadrefugees that have fled the long-running civil war between theAngolan government and UNITA rebels. According to news reports,conditions in Maheba are basic, with shortages of medicines in asmall clinic that lacks both electricity and piped water. Aclinical officer at Maheba was quoted this week as saying thatmalaria kills at least 10 people a week in the camp. Shimo,however, told IRIN that the refugees entitled to food assistance- those in the country for less than two years - were receivingadequate supplies. "We try at all costs and by all means toensure that the refugees get their standard requirements,"he said. "There may be cases where you find that smallcommodities run short, but that's just for a day or two."
Confusion over COMESA rules for smallcross-border traders (Pana, 07/11, Lusaka) - The CommonMarket for Eastern and Southern Africa, or COMESA, plans to carryout an awareness campaign to educate small scale traders inZambia and Zimbabwe on the operations of the Free Trade Area(FTA) as a way of clearing misunderstandings over tariffs. COMESApublic relations officer, Mweusi Karake, explained in LusakaTuesday that even though the Free Trade Area was in place,cross-border traders would still have to pay local taxes onprescribed goods at the common Zambia-Zimbabwe border checkpoint.Karake was speaking after COMESA secretary-general, ErastusMwencha, and Zambian minister of commerce, trade and industry,William Harrington, rushed to the border Monday to clear a muddlethat had arisen at the check-point known as Chirundu, over theimplementation of the FTA launched by COMESA in Lusaka a weekago. Referring to the tension that flared up between the traders,who were refusing to pay duty to customs officials, Karake saidthe contentious issue has now been cleared. He admitted thattempers had run high at the weekend over a misunderstandingbetween cross-border traders and revenue collectors that thelaunch of the FTA would abolish taxes. Zambian traders refused topay tax insisting that goods bought from FTA member countrieslike Zimbabwe did not attract duty while customs officersinsisted otherwise. "Like everything new, this is somethingwe all have to learn. Apparently our friends, the cross-bordertraders, never understood that local duties will still stand andthat rules of origin will apply," Karake observed. He addsthat apart from holding seminars and workshops, for cross-bordertraders, COMESA will also put up posters and brochures atcheck-points that will outline the rights of traders as well asthe rights of country tax collectors like the Zambia RevenueAuthority. Egypt, Sudan, Djibouti, Kenya, Mauritius, Madagascar,Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe are the nine member countries of theCOMESA that launched the FTA last Tuesday in Lusaka after theyreduced their customs tariffs to a zero-rating. Except for thefriction at Chirundu, COMESA has reported no adverse effects ofFTA launch at other Zambian checkpoints.
Unita soldiers flee to Zambia (Times ofZambia, 03/11, Lusaka) - More than 40 suspected AngolanUnita rebels, fleeing a government offensive, have crossed intoZambia and a further 100 and their sympathisers are due toarrive. Security officers have since recovered two AK47 riflesfrom the fleeing rebel fighters who entered Zambia via ChiefLukubi's area in Lukulu, Western Province at the weekend. Therest of the rebels arrived without firearms which they abandonedin the bush. Their colleagues were reportedly trailing behind. ATimes correspondent who went to the border area on Monday saw oneof the soldiers with a rank of captain, but could not communicatewith him due to language barriers. The soldiers told localvillagers that they were fleeing their bases which had beenoverrun by MPLA forces in major losses Unita had suffered inrecent weeks. The other arrivals expected in the coming days arenon-combatants but supporters of Jonas Savimbi's Unita. MostUnita supporters are yet to be repatriated to Lukulu boma whichis 230 kilometres from the border. It takes seven days to walkthrough the bush to the boma, and transport is a major problem. Aheadteacher of a local school who pleaded to remain anonymoussaid most run-away Unita supporters settled near the border andoccasionally went back to their homes to collect food. A Zambiansecurity man said he suspected there were more weapons hidden inthe bushes and a probe had been launched. Some genuine refugeesare co-opted into the food for work programme by local NGOs tomitigate the food shortage they face before they are taken on bythe United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Thenearest refugee camp is Mayukwayukwa in Kaoma. Meanwhile, unknowngunmen on Sunday afternoon killed a 32-year- old man in ChiefLukubi's Chilabwa village, 150km west of Lukulu boma. The slainman was identified as Oliver Namuchana. He died at Lukundukorural health centre where he was rushed after the shootingincident on Monday. Lukulu police officer- in -charge ChisalaMwiinga confirmed the incident and said police had launchedinvestigations. Mr. Mwiinga said Mr. Namuchana was shot on theleft rib by the gunmen. Circumstances under which he was killedwere yet to be established. Locals said they could not rule outinvolvement of bandits from Angola. A team of policemen wasdispatched to the area for investigations yesterday. Previouslyvillagers have experienced attacks from Angolans who steal theirlivestock and property. Zambian soldiers have been deployed inmost parts of the vast border between Zambia and Angola inWestern and North -Western provinces. Unita and the MPLA havebeen engaged in a bloody civil war since independence fromPortugal in 1975.
Expatriates under fire for conniving withofficials (Zimbabwe Independent, 24/11) - Zimbabweanprofessionals working in the local government and publicconstruction ministry have embarked on a campaign to have theirexpatriate workmates deported, for allegedly violating laws ofthe country by conniving with senior government officials in theaward of multimillion public contracts, the Zimbabwe Independentestablished this week. A document stating the misdemeanours ofthe expatriates was sent to the Chief Immigration Officer, aMukahanana, the Public Service Commission and thePresidents office. The expatriates under fire from theircolleagues include four Kenyans, one Camerounian, a Bulgarian andone from Bangladesh. According to document in the hands of theIndependent, the professionals argue that their expatriatecolleagues were working with directors in their departments(names supplied) to award government contracts to a clique offavoured construction and architectural firms on condition that apart of the shares would be remitted to them. The directors areaccused of going out of Zimbabwe many times a year to conductinterviews for professionals at the expense of locals some whomare out of employment because of the streamlining of suchdepartments in local authorities. One of the expatriates fromBulgaria is said to have gone on holiday in May 2000 and is yetto report for work although her leave was supposed to end inJune. The Bulgarian was a chief architect in the Ministry. On thecontrary, the professionals, argue a Zimbabwean architect, HlahlaMuthloka, had a memo written recommending her dismissal after shefailed to turn up for work for a week. The director of personnelin the Public Service Commission, a Chigwamba refused to commentis referring this paper to the secretary of the commission whowas said to be out of her office.
Clashes at Beit Bridge border post(Herald, 17/11) - Police yesterday used teargas todisperse a crowd of demonstrators who had barred South Africanpublic transport operators from entering the country throughBeitbridge, as route wars flared up again at the border town.Reports from Beitbridge said employees of at least five local buscompanies, joined by dozens of other taxi operators, ordered someSouth African registered buses and minibuses back to theircountry. Coming less than a month after similar clashes at theborder post, yesterdays incident was reportedly sparked offby allegations that South Africans were hostile to Zimbabwean busoperators servicing routes in that country. The Zimbabweans werealso protesting that the South Africans were chewing up a hugechunk of their market and therefore threatening their continuedsurvival in the transport industry. Police spokesman, ChiefSuperintendent Wayne Bvudzijena, said the Support Unit had beendeployed to remove the demonstrators from the border post, asthey had become riotous. "We cant stop people fromdemonstrating, but when they become riotous and disrupt otheractivities, then the police will move in as they will be breakingthe law," said Chief Supt Bvudzijena. All the trapped buseswere released after police intervened. There were no details onwhether the police had made any arrests by late yesterdayalthough the situation was said to be still tense at the borderpost. Before being forcibly dispersed, the protestors were wavingplacards, one of them written: "We can carry our ownpassengers". Most Zimbabwean buses turn around at the borderpost and therefore rely on passengers who drop off there fromHarare or South Africa. However, in recent months, many SouthAfrican buses proceeded to different destinations in the countryfollowing the signing of bilateral transport agreement betweenthe two countries. The development resulted in many localoperators, who were hitherto turning around at Beitbridge,failing to get business while those who travelled to Johannesburgwere allegedly harassed by the South Africans. The demonstration,which took Beitbridge residents and travellers alike by surprise,started as early as 5:30 am when the border post opened forbusiness. Crew members from Tenda, the Zimbabwe United PassengerCompany, Chigubu, Ganyani bus companies and other operatorsservicing routes from Beitbridge barricaded the Customs entrygate. Passengers were trapped in between and brisk business wasreported from pushcart operators as other passengers opted todisembark to find other means of transport. Private motoristsremained largely unaffected by the demonstration although vehiclemovement was reduced to a snails pace. An official of theNew Limpopo Toll Bridge said the demonstration did not affectprivate motorists and heavy haulage trucks. Mr Rochford Munjoma,an operator along the route, said his Desert Hawk coaches werecaught up in the demonstration as they were accused of sidingwith the South Africans in taking away business from thelucrative route. He criticised Beitbridge police for allowing thedemonstration, saying the decision was costly to the transportbusiness. On October 21 we erroneously reported that a Munoruramabus had been shot at in an ugly incident involving route wars inJohannesburg. Any alarm or inconveniences caused by the articleto passengers, their relatives and operators of the bus areregretted. It was another local bus that was involved in theincident and not Munorurama, which also plies the same route.
Beit Bridge quiet again (Herald, 17/11,Beitbridge) - The situation at Beitbridge border postyesterday returned to normal, with South African buses beingallowed to cross into Zimbabwe without interference fromdemonstrating Zimbabwean bus operators and their supporters. Thesituation on Wednesday was tense as over 1 000 bus operators andtheir supporters prohibited all South African long distance busesand minibuses to cross the border into Zimbabwe in retaliationagainst alleged unfair treatment by their South Africancounterparts. Rumours that were doing the rounds in the townyesterday morning, that South African immigration officials wererefusing to clear Zimbabwean buses crossing into that countrywere denied by the Beitbridge principal immigration officer, MrDennis Chitsaka. "We are in South Africa for a meeting todaywith our South African counterparts and we never heard anythingof that nature," he said. He said the Beitbridge border postwill remain open round the clock for 10 days as from December 14next month until Christmas eve so as to facilitate the movementof travellers for the festive holiday this year. Beitbridgeimmigration offices had enough manpower to handle the influx oftravellers round the clock. There could be a need to deploy morecustoms and excise officers only.
Zimbabwe has 3,000 refugees from DRC(Zimbabwe Standard, 05/11, Harare) - The resumption ofhostilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is likelyto result in an influx of refugees to Zimbabwe, a United Nationsofficial has said. John Adu, head of the United Nations HighCommissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Zimbabwe, told The Standardlast week that the number of refugees was set to risedramatically as a result of renewed fighting in the DRC. Zimbabwecurrently has 3 000 refugees and the number is likely to doublesoon if the Lusaka peace process was not implemented urgently,said Adu. Asylum seekers in Zimbabwe are kept at the Tongogararefugee camp in Manicaland and Adu said the camp was beingexpanded because of the expected rise in the refugee population."The refugee population is definitely on the increase andthis is because of the renewed fighting in the DRC. Most refugeesare from that country as well, although some are from othercountries," said Adu. Before the outbreak of fresh fightingin the DRC, Zimbabwe would admit between 80 and 100 refugees amonth but because of the renewed fighting, Zimbabwe is nowexpected to admit between 200 to 250 asylum seekers, Adu said. Inthe light of the expected increase, the UN- HCR on Tuesday held aseminar in Nyanga for officers from the department of immigrationand other government officials. Said Adu: "Our objective isto create awareness by training relevant government officials inZimbabwe on pertinent aspects of the Zimbabwe Refugees Laws, theprocess of seeking asylum and the country's Immigration Act as itrelates to asylum seekers in Zimbabwe." Earlier this month,Sadc leaders met in Mozambique to explore ways of implementingthe Lusaka peace agreement. The leaders also agreed in Mozambiquethat warring parties in the DRC were to retreat further fromtheir current positions. It is, however, not clear how theagreement would be implemented when the rebels, who are expectedto abide by the agreement, were not represented at the meeting.
This page waslast updated on 28 March 2005.