Luanda, Harare andWindhoek discuss border security
African ministers discuss of continent's 3.6 million refugees
SADC can control illicit arms trafficking, say South Africanpolice
Refugees in Southern Africa increase to 1.2 million
More Angolan refugees enter Zambia
South Africa seeks assurance about fate ofrefugees
Government dumps 'discriminatory' clauses in Constitution
Marines to patrol Lake Edward
UNHCR to build new camp for refugees
Refugees held over fake documents
Red Cross aids 20,000 in Northern Katanga Province
Government creates committee for return of refugees
Immigration Departmentclaims courts soft on illegal immigrants
Proposals to prohibit foreign land ownership
Supreme court demands legal representationfor Caprivi treason trialists
State should provide legal representation to trialists, saysPityana
One killed, two maimed in cross-border raid
Baster leaders embrace national reconciliation
Return of refugees from Botswana 'in pipeline'
Caprivi high treason suspects fight on for representation
UNHCR to continue to discussdetentions with government
Immigration tribunal orders deportation of 500 illegal immigrants
Do not execute fugitives,Home Affairs tells Botswana
Xenophobic trend still shows little sign of abating
Border posts back to normal after Christmas rush
Border posts still heavily congested
10,000 Zimbabwean labourers forced to leave South African farms
Home Affairs, farmers agree over Zimbabwean farmworkers
Backpackers lobby for working visas
South African Brain Drain is worse than we thought
Another Home Affairs official arrested for corruption
Farmers brace for cross border stock theft
Pretoria, Maputo sign border agreement
Home Affairs official nabbed for fake IDs
Asylum seekers illegally arrested and detained in South Africa,says LHR
Second meeting of South Africa-Mozambique join commission
Masetlha stays as Home Affairs DG
Famine, malaria, rape atrefugee camp
MP blames government over refugees
Refugee figures drop by 50,000, says UN
US governmentdonates $1m to refugees
Citizens abroad area source of wealth
Zimbabweans fight new Citizenship Act
Farmers union tell SADC ministers of worsening crisis
Zimbabwe army completes demining at Mozambique border post
Zimbabwean visitors flock to Canada
Zimbabweans seeking refuge in Canada on increase
Luanda, Harare and Windhoek discussborder security (Angolan Mission to UN, New York, 19/12) - Delegationsfrom Angola, Namibia and Zambia, comprising the tripartitemechanism formed earlier in the year, met in extraordinarysession in Luanda on November 28 to discuss and analyze thesecurity situation along the three countries' respective borders.The meetings came in the wake of recent incidents along theZambian border involving Jonas Savimbi's rebels.On November 9armed groups raided three Zambian villages along the border andshot dead seven Zambian civilians. Although the Zambian presserroneously blamed the incident on the Angolan Armed Forces(FAA), the Angolan Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied any FAAinvolvement. In a communiqué issued after the attack, theministry explained that Angolan troops had occupied a UNITAlogistical and medical base near the border on November 8. FAAofficials immediately notified Zambian officials of their actionsthrough the Angolan military attaché at the Angolan embassy inLusaka, in accordance with practices established by the twonations' joint defense and security commission. Before receivinga response from Zambian authorities, FAA officials observed UNITArebels crossing the border into Zambian territory, and noted thatthey eventually might have initiated the November 9 incident.Both governments stressed that the incidents along the borderwould be resolved amicably and through dialogue. President dosSantos quickly dispatched Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs,George Chicoti to Zambia and Namibia on November 19 with apersonal message for Presidents Chiluba and Nujoma to begin thisdialogue and avert any further misunderstandings or tensionsamong the three countries. All three governments agreed toactivate the tripartite mechanism and resolve the situation."The UNITA rebels have been violating the common boundariesand most times it creates incidents along them. Thus, this[tripartite] mechanism enables the three countries to cooperatefor the restoration of peace," said Vice Minister Chicoti atthe November 28 meeting of the group.
African ministers discuss ofcontinent's 3.6 million refugees (Sapa-AFP, Geneva, 14/12) - Representativesfrom 48 African countries met Friday in Geneva in an attempt tofind solutions to the refugee problem which is plaguing thecontinent, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)announced. The representatives, including 30 ministers, had, overthe previous two days, participated in a ministerial conferenceon the status of refugees organised jointly by the UN body andSwitzerland in the presence of some 150 countries. There are 3.6million refugees in Africa and 9.5 million displaced persons. Incertain areas, refugee crises across the continent have been inexistence for more than a decade such as in the Horn of Africa.The refugees, in a state of forced idleness, have often developeda dependance syndrome towards aid, the UNHCR noted. Such aphenomenon could lead to a level of mistrust developing towardsaid agencies. "We want to look for example at gettinggovernments to agree to emphasise self-reliance, integration andempowerment of refugees in longer term developmentprogrammes," Ron Redmond, spokesman for the HCR stated."Often, refugees are considered a separate category and wewant them to be included in development programmes, so theirproductive capacity can be put to work." THe UNHCR wouldalso like to see refugees moved as far away as possible fromborder areas, and a clear seperation between combatants andrefugees in camps. In this area, participants at the informalmeeting exchanged information from their own countries'experiences, notably in Zambia and the Democratic Republic ofCongo where combatants had recently been successfully removedfrom refugee populations. The meeting, chaired by Zambian DeputyForeign Minister Steven C. Chilombo, stressed the need to rapidlyact on the issue which has assumed urgent proportions. Africatakes up the largest chunk of UNHCR resources representing 35.5percent of the commission's budget or around 300 million dollars(332 million euros). The Horn of Africa heads the aid budget with111 million dollars, followed by 78 million dollars for the GreatLakes region (the area including the eastern Democratic Republicof the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi), 66 million dollars for centraland west Africa, 40 million dollars for southern Africa and sevenmillion dollars for the north of the continent.
SADC can control illicit armstrafficking, say South African police (Sapa, Durban, 6/12) - SouthernAfrican Development Community member countries have the potentialto control illicit arms trafficking and reduce stockpiles ofweapons, the SA Police Services head of detective servicesCommissioner Johan de Beer said on Thursday. Speaking at theweek-long 2nd World Conference on Modern Criminal Investigation,Organised Crime and Human Rights in Durban, de Beer said thatlast year more than 2400 guns, more than 100000 rounds ofammunition and 1639 mortars and mines were destroyed inMozambique alone. During Operation Rachel VII, launched in May,police from Mozambique and South Africa destroyed 1383 weapons,12kg of explosives and 177000 rounds of ammunition. Other warmaterials totalling 2855 units were also located and more than100 arms caches were destroy!til May this year a number of crimecombating operations aimed at curbing vehicle theft, drugtrafficking and firearms, were also jointly performed withNamibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Lesotho, Tanzania, Malawiand Zambia. Large numbers of stolen vehicles, illegal immigrantsand drug dealers were arrested. De Beer said a sub-regionalstructure already existed for joint crime combating operations,but he warned that co-operation was hampered by a lack ofresources, budgetary constraints and capacity within the policeservices. He said international co-operation was the only key tocombat organised crime. Organised criminal groups in the regionwere involved in dealing with counterfeit notes, firearmsmuggling, vehicle theft and hijacking, armed robbery, drugtrafficking and the smuggling of rhino horns and ivory. De Beersaid police services in the area therefore had to deal with awide range of criminal activities, over a vast geographical area."A lot has been done in terms of international co-operationin the Southern African sub-region. It is however clear that muchmore need to be done. "The United Nations TransnationalOrganised Crime Convention needs to be ratified by as manycountries as possible, as soon as possible." Between Januaryand November last year the SA Narcotics Bureau stopped 49 drugdeliveries, 19 of them between Germany and South Africa. Most ofthe deliveries involved cocaine. A further nine controlleddeliveries were done between South Africa and the United States.Cocaine and heroin worth several million rand were confiscated.Drugs busts were also made in Lesotho, the United Arab Emiratesand Brazil. De Beer said the Southern African region wasincreasingly becoming a destination for drugs. Drug laboratorieshave been uncovered in Mozambique and Tanzania.
Refugees in Southern Africa increaseto 1.2 million (Sapa-AFP, Johannesburg, 4/12) - Thenumber of refugees entering Zimbabwe in the first six months ofthe year doubled, while refugee numbers in the rest of southernAfrican rose by around seven percent, the UN High Commissionerfor Refugees (UNHCR) office here said Tuesday. Most of the335,000 refugees in the region were fleeing conflicts in Angolaand the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), said the UNHCRregional director for southern Africa, Ilunga Ngandu. A UNHCRstatement released in Johannesburg indicates the number ofrefugees entering Zimbabwe early this year rose 104 percent, from4,127 to 8,416 people. While the overall total is small -compared to the largest host country Zambia which hosts 263,443refugees - Zimbabwe is currently being battered by its ownpolitical and economic crisis. The UNHCR statement said thesituation unfolding in Zimbabwe had "obliged the office toundertake contingency preparedness for a possible influx ofrefugees from that country". Ngandu declined to expand onthis: "The UNHCR ... follows developments around the globeto be in a position to detect early warning signals and we arefollowing them in Zimbabwe as much as around the globe."There are 1.2 million refugees in the 14 southern AfricanDevelopment (SADC) countries including Tanzania and the DRC,which host some 490,000 and 369,000 refugees respectively."SADC has almost 40 percent of the refugee population inAfrica," said Ngandu. "Today there are close to fourmillion refugees on the continent. Back in 1969 there were only900,000. This means we have four times more refugees than 30years back."
More Angolan refugees enter Zambia (Irin, 10/12) - Morethan 1,000 Angolan refugees have crossed over into Zambia'sWestern province in the last ten days, a spokesman for the UN'srefugee agency told IRIN on Monday. Fidelis Swai, from UNHCR'sregional office in Pretoria, said: "We have seen more than1,000 cross over since about 1 December." He said that thenew arrivals were being housed at a temporary accommodationcentre not far from the main Nangweshi camp, which is about 150km from the Angolan-Zambia border. The Nangweshi camp has reachedcapacity and can not take in any more refugees."Negotiations and consultations between local government,the authorities in Lusaka and UNHCR are still on-going. Obviouslythe establishment of a new camp depends on the availability ofland," Swai said. Humanitarian sources told IRIN that thelatest influx of refugees could reflect Angolan government forcesgaining the upper hand over the UNITA rebel movement. "Therewere reports that UNITA had been preventing refugees fromcrossing over, but now with the government gaining ground peoplemight be able to move about more easily and head towards theZambian border," one source said. Swai told IRIN that therewere more than 270,000 refugees currently in Zambia, the majorityfrom Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
South Africa seeks assurance about fate of refugees(Sapa, Mafikeng, 28/12) - The Department of Home Affairswants an assurance from the Botswana government that two of thatcountry's fugitives being held in South Africa will not be hangedif they are extradited. Home Affairs spokesman Leslie Mashokwetold Sapa that his department was waiting for recommendationsfrom the Department of Foreign Affairs - who were discussing thematter with the Botswana government - before they deported thetwo men. "Home Affairs is ready to deport the two men at anytime." Mashokwe said. "But we are waiting forrecommendations from Foreign Affairs, who have approached theBotswana government for assurance that the two men, as per SouthAfrican constitutional stipulations, will not receive the deathpenalty." The men, Liberty Mhlanga and Jimmy Gaboitaolewe,handed themselves over to the police and requested politicalasylum on October 28 after escaping from Botswana's LobatseMental Hospital and entering South Africa illegally. They arecurrently being held at the Lehurutse Police Station. Mhlanga wasfound guilty by the High Court of Botswana on September 24 on 15charges, including murder, attempted murder, burglary, robbery,unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition, and theft.Gaboitaolewe was on trial on two counts of unlawful wounding andtwo counts of rape. In terms of a recent Constitutional Courtruling - Mohammed and Another vs the President of the Republic ofSouth Africa and Others - the South African government may notextradite, deport, return or expel an alien to another country toface an unacceptable form of punishment. "In this regard theunacceptable punishment referred to is Botswana's policy oncapital punishment," Mashokwe said. - The men's warrant forremoval had expired on Friday, but after an urgent application,Judge Hendler of the Mafikeng High Court ruled that the two mencould be held until the matter had been determined.
Government dumps 'discriminatory' clauses inConstitution (Mmegi/The Reporter, Gaborone, 3/12) - Governmenthas repealed Sections 77, 78 and 79 of the constitution ofBotswana and replaced them with new ones because they wereperceived to be ethnically discriminatory following the findingsof the Balopi Commission. In the amended sections contained inthe draft Government White Paper, Section 77 now reads that thereshall be a 33-strong House of Dikgosi, made up of 30 designatedmembers and three specially appointed members. The new Section 78calls for the establishment of an Electoral College for thepurpose of designating members to the Ntlo ya Dikgosi such as aregional Electoral College for each region and a district collegefor each district. The new section 79 says a person shall bequalified to be designated to be appointed as a member of Ntlo yaDikgosi if he is citizen of Botswana and has attained the age of21 years among others. In the new order of things, the name Houseof Chiefs has been replace with Ntlo ya Dikgosi while theappellation 'chief' has been struck out and replaced with theword kgosi. However, the government has rejected a number ofrecommendations of the Balopi Commission such as the one barringthose with prior active participation in politics from beingmembers of the Ntlo ya Dikgosi. The Commission was institutedfollowing a motion tabled by Sebina/Gweta MP, Oliphant Mfa thatrequested government that in order to promote nation building,the three sections should be amended to render them triballyneutral. Implementation of the recommendations is expected totake effect once requisite law has been passed by Parliament. Therepealed sections spelt out the membership of the House of Chiefsbased principally on the so-called eight major tribes. Section 77said of the old law said there shall be a House of Chiefs forBotswana and that the House shall consist eight ex-officiomembers four elected and three specially elected. Section 78 saidmembers of the House shall be such persons as are for the timebeing performing the functions of the office of chief in respectto Bakgatla, Bakwena, Bamalete, Bangwato, Bangwaketse, Barolong,Batawana and Batlokwa respectively. Meanwhile, Section 79 saidthe elected members of the House of Chiefs shall be elected frompeople performing the function of the office of sub chief in theChobe, North East, Gantsi and Kgalagadi districts.
Marines to patrol Lake Edward (New Vision, Kampala,27/12) - The Government is to start marine patrols onLake Edward to curb illegal fishing by Congolese, the stateminister for fisheries has announced. Dr. Fabius Byaruhanga saidthis recently at Lake Katwe fish landing site, Kasese districtwhile on an inspection tour of the fisheries in the area. He wasresponding to complaints by the fishermen that Congolese use3"-4" nets, which trap immature fish. Byaruhanga saidthe measure was aimed at combating illegal fishing by theCongolese which had partly contributed to the depletion of fishstocks in the lake. He said the lake's boundaries would also bere-instated to avoid trespassing. "We have done this on LakeVictoria against Kenyans who were fishing illegally in our watersand we have succeeded," Byaruhanga said. He expressed thefear that Uganda's lakes would soon be depleted of fish stocksunless urgent measures were taken. He said his ministry wouldsoon embark on a programme to impound and destroy illegal fishinggear and the immature fish in or en route to the markets. On thecurrent low fish catch on Uganda's lakes, he said the Governmentwas considering re-stocking and the introduction of intensivefish farming on the lakes. Byaruhanga was accompanied by thePrincipal Fisheries Inspector in charge of reinforcement, Mr.Samson Nkusi.
UNHCR to build new camp for refugees (Irin, 24/12) - Theoffice of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR) announced on Friday plans to set up a new camp for peoplefleeing the Central African Republic to the neighbouringDemocratic Republic of the Congo. "UNHCR will beginairlifting shelter supplies next week from Kinshasa for theconstruction of shelters for refugees from the Central AfricanRepublic at a new site that it has prepared at Mole, 45 km southof Zongo," Kris Janowski, the agency's spokesman, toldreporters in Geneva. The camp will initially be able to house10,000 people. UNHCR and non-governmental organisations at Molehave already built a water system and health and distributioncentres, as well as classrooms for children, he said. "Withthe additional supplies, transfers of refugees to the site couldbegin before the end of the month," he added. The agencyestimates that some 23,000 Central African people crossed toZongo, northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo, and othervillages along the Ubangui river following a failed coup in theCentral African Republic on 28 May. "Despite the visit atthe beginning of December of a government delegation, and callsto return from President Ange-Félix Patassé, the refugees haveso far not indicated a willingness to repatriate," Janowskisaid.
Refugees held over fake documents (The Monitor,Kampala, 19/12) - Police in Busia last week arrested 22Congolese refugees for reportedly presenting fake traveldocuments and altered refugees' letters to officials of theUganda Customs & Immigration department. A source at BusiaImmigration offices said the Congolese who were fleeing from thewar-torn northern Kivu Province in Eastern Congo were en-route toNairobi where they wanted to seek asylum. The officer-in-chargeof Special Branch Busia, Eriokot Stephen, confirmed the arrestand said the refugees were at the police station. He said he hasnotified his bosses in Kampala and the United Nations HighCommission for Refugees (UNHCR) to crosscheck if these aregenuine refugees because there has been an influx of peopleclaiming to be refugees when they are not. He named some of therefugees as; Nseanzabare Kamani Justin, Mukendi Wa Mulumba Tyty,Butigi A Twani, Bahati Sadiki,Kanzaire Flomen all of Bunagandivision, Ruchuru district in northern Kivu. The refugees toldThe Monitor on Monday they don't want to be resettled in anyrefugee camp in Uganda because they suspect they are beingtrailed by the Congolese security agents.
Red Cross aids 20,000 in Northern Katanga Province(Irin, 14/12) - The International Committee of the RedCross (ICRC) has begun a humanitarian distribution effort tobenefit some 20,000 inhabitants of 39 villages around Kilunga, innorthern Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo(DRC), near the Zambian border, the ICRC reported on Wednesday.Some 3,350 families will each receive a large sack containingseeds, farming implements, cooking pots, cups, a resettlement kitand blankets, as part of the ICRC's "Operation Pepa".An ICRC-operated DC-3 aircraft will be transporting goods betweenKalemie and Pepa, a short distance from Kilunga. "TheKilunga area, which is at an elevation of 2,000 metres andtherefore cold, is inhabited by people who have been on the movea great deal these past three years. They're exhausted," theICRC delegate responsible for northern Katanga province said.Before conflict in the DRC erupted in August 1998, people in theKilunga area worked together on large farms. "These wereemptied by the fighting and pillaging," the ICRC said."As a result, local residents were no longer able to supportthemselves. Some from Kilunga fled to Zambia and have onlyrecently returned, to a life fraught with difficulties," itadded. "When we made our first survey here we found that,apart from anything else, the maize was not growing as it should.The seed was as much as 40 years old," an ICRC agronomistsaid. To enable people to feed themselves, high-quality seedshave to be imported. However, as Kilunga is very isolated, thesupplies must first be shipped from Goma across Lake Kivu toBukavu. There they are transferred to trucks bound for Uvira,where the goods are put on boats heading to Kalemie. "We'redelighted to see the operation under way at last," said oneICRC delegate. "It's important to sow the seeds immediatelysince there is only one growing season in the area, and thatseason is now." The operation should be completed by 25December, the ICRC reported.
Government creates committee for return of refugees(Irin, 4/12) - In coordination with an appeal made onFriday by Central African Republic (CAR) President Ange-FelixPatasse for CAR refugees to return home from the DemocraticRepublic of the Congo (DRC), CAR Prime Minister Martin Ziguelepresided on Thursday over the creation of a "welcoming andreception committee" to "examine the modalities for therepatriation", Centrafrique-Presse news agency reported."I have instructed the government to organise, with theassistance of international organisations, the return of thesecompatriots in dignity and fraternity," Patasse said in anationwide speech to the nation on 1 December, CAR's independenceday. Thousands of people fled during an attempted coup on 28 May,and hostilities that erupted in early November when former armychief of staff Francois Bozize resisted arrest for questioning inrelation to the thwarted putsch. Many of the estimated 15,000 to20,000 refugees belonging to the Yakoma ethnic group who fledBangui across the Ubangui river to the DRC in the wake of the Maycoup attempt have expressed reluctance to return out of fear ofreprisals. Suspected coup mastermind, former president andgeneral Andre Kolingba, is a Yakoma. The committee will be headedby CAR Minister of Justice Marcel Metefara. It will includedomestic representatives from the government, political partiesand civil society, as well as international representatives fromthe UN and embassies in Bangui.
The operation will be conducted in twophases. The first is being conducted in Zongo in northwesternDRC, where many of the CAR refugees have settled, and involves acampaign of informing the refugees of the initiative, registeringthose who wish to return to the CAR, and determining what kind ofassistance will be needed upon their repatriation. The secondphase will consist of establishing a reception area in the portof Bangui, equipped with medical facilities and personnel toevaluate the health of returnees. Transport of refugees will behandled by UNHCR, the UN refugee agency. Security will be handledby a combination of representatives from the CAR police and firedepartments as well as civil police from the UN office in the CAR(known by its French acronym, BONUCA). The first refugees arescheduled to arrive in Bangui on 6 December, where they will bemet by Ziguele. In his speech, Patasse also announced the liftingof a curfew that had been in place following the events of 28May, from 21h00 to 05h00 local time throughout the CAR, "soas not to hurt the economy", he said. Meanwhile, SudanesePresident Omar Al-Bashir, in his capacity as head of theCommunity of Sahel-Saharan States (COMESSA) in Khartoum, Sudan,convened a meeting on Monday to review the ongoing instability inthe CAR. Attendees were reported to have included representativesfrom the CAR, Chad, Libya, Sudan and Zambia, as well as BONUCA.Discussions were expected to continue on Tuesday in the Gabonesecapital, Libreville, under the auspices of the Economic andMonetary Community of Central African States (CommunauteEconomique et Monetaire de l'Afrique Centrale). CAR, a formerFrench colony, has a history of military uprisings, with threemajor rebellions against current President Ange-Felix Patassesince 1996. Last year, the UN ended a peacekeeping mission itsent in 1999 to replace the French-backed African force whichrestored order after the mutinies in the 1990s, but UNSecretary-General Kofi Annan warned in January that peace was indanger.
Immigration Department claims courtssoft on illegal immigrants (The Times, Blantyre, 11/12) - TheImmigration Department has questioned the Police and Prisonauthorities why remanded illegal immigrants are brought to courtfaster than Malawians on even petty offences. ImmigrationRepatriation Officer McBobby Balaza yesterday queried during apanel discussion organised by the Paralegal Advisory Service incommemoration of International Day of Human Rights. He observedthat remanded foreigners enjoy human rights more than Malawianssaying there are many local remandees in state prisons, who havenever been to court, while illegal immigrants have always hadeasy bails which in most cases have ended in acquittals or smallfines. "Everyday we arrest illegal immigrants in the countrywho have to be jailed. Unfortunately, even before ourinvestigations are through, we hear that such such a court hasgiven them bail," he said. Balaza wondered why "our ownchildren, brothers and sisters could not have equal opportunityas foreigners. "Somebody whom you and I know spends severaldays in custody without being taken to court, sometimes evenafter committing very simple cases. Human rights should beenjoyed by everybody despite nationality," Balaza said.Chief Resident Magistrate for Blantyre Slyvester Kalembera, whochaired the panel discussions, concurred with Balaza, and hassince called for an amendment to the Immigration Act."Granting bail to an illegal immigrant is the same as sayingthe act [illegal immigration] is legal. It is lack of sight onthe part of the person granting such bail," said Kalemberawho quickly cited a recent case in which a Pakistani, an illegalimmigrant was given bail by High Court and a court where he(Kalembera is stationed) was only asked to give the bailconditions. At the forum-which was attended by the judiciary,police and prison, human rights NGOs, Immigration and all courtusers-remandees and convicts complained of time length cases taketo be tried by courts. Almost all the remandees who spoke at theforum complained that they have been in prison for very long andhave never been tried. And so did some convicts who aired views.However, Kalembera assured the panelists that all efforts arebeing made by the judiciary to ensure that justice is effectivelydelivered in respect of human rights.
Proposals to prohibit foreign landownership (Irin, 5/12) - This report does notnecessarily reflect the views of the United Nations
Recently released government land reformproposals, which prohibit the foreign ownership of land, havereceived a cautious welcome in Malawi. Like its southern Africanneighbours, Malawi is under great pressure to empower itsimpoverished, mainly rural population. Like its neighbours it islooking at the ownership of land as one way of doing this. In adraft policy released in September, the Ministry of Lands said itaimed, among other things, to "remove most of the pressingland problems that have created tenure insecurity and underminedspeedy and transparent land transactions in Malawi"."In many cases," according to the draft policy,"the inadequacies of existing laws, delays in landadministration, arbitrary applications of the public interestcriteria, constraining inheritance laws and uncertainty regardingthe strategies for dealing with land pressure have all operatedto discourage needed investments and the nation's ability toeliminate poverty and pursue social harmony. "Fundamentalmeasures and processes contained in this National Land Policywill equip Malawi to minimise, if not eliminate the mostconstraining land problems and bring progress and prosperity toall."
The policy, covering a wide range of issuesfrom ownership to inheritance laws, and from land use to thedevelopment of customary land, has generally been welcomed.However, its prohibition of foreign land ownership has raisedsome questions. Harry Potter, of the British government'sDepartment for International Development (DFID) summed up thecommon view when he told IRIN on Wednesday: "Obviously thedevil will be in the detail." According to the policy, whichhas been passed by a cabinet committee but has not yet gonethrough parliament, non-citizens were to be prevented fromacquiring new land from 1 September 2001. "Non-citizens willno longer be allowed to acquire or transfer title to any newfreehold estate not previously owned and legally registered to anon-citizen prior to 1 September 2001," the policy says."Non-citizens currently in possession of freehold estates inMalawi will, in seven years following the coming into effect ofthis policy, obtain Malawian citizenship in order to retain theirfree ownership. Failure to naturalise will automatically triggerexpropriation procedures, which will cause title to the land inquestion to be converted to a renewable leasehold contract withthe reversion to the state. "Subject to the existingtransfer laws, non-citizens already in possession of registeredfreehold assets of publicly traded corporations shall bepermitted to transfer such assets to other non-citizens only whendeemed necessary to preserve the investment value of publiclytraded companies."
Importantly, though, the policy commits thegovernment to buying land and the improvements to it atcommercial rates. Thengo Maloya, Malawi's Minister of Lands, toldIRIN on Tuesday that the policy had not yet come into effect."We have not frozen foreign ownership from 1September," he said. According to Maloya, wide consultationpreceded the draft and its intention was to ensure that Malawianswere involved in the development of the country. He also saidthat if foreign companies had local shareholders they would beable to own land in the country. No limits would be placed onforeign shareholders, he added. "It will depend on thecompany and the Malawian. We would not like to undervalue acompany. We will not insist on percentages. What we are reallysaying is that Malawians must begin to participate in theeconomic activities of their own country," said Maloya. Headded that foreigners (individuals and companies) who hadlong-term leases would not lose their benefits. According to thepolicy: "Only citizens will be permitted the privilege ofowning freehold title in Malawi. Non-citizens interested in sucha long-term stake (freehold in perpetuity) in Malawi should bewilling to pledge their wholehearted allegiance to Malawi bybecoming citizens. Otherwise, access to land for non-citizenswill be construed as purely for residential and investmentpurposes and an appropriate leasehold term determined, guided byinvestment and industry profit requirements."
It goes on to say that with the exceptionof some types of investments, such as mining, forestry and someperennial tree crops such as tea, "most leasehold terms forindustrial and commercial investment purposes throughout theworld generally are for less than 50 years, with renewal clausesallowed. For that purpose, the standard leasehold term for landleased to non-citizens for investment purposes in Malawi willalso be for a renewable term of 50 years or less". Malawi'sland pressures have contributed to increasing poverty in recentyears. With a population of about 9.8 million in 1998, governmentstatistics indicate a density of 170 inhabitants per squarekilometre - one of the highest densities in Africa. Landlocked,with an agricultural economy that accounts for over 40 percent ofgross domestic product (GDP), the majority of Malawians live inthe central and southern regions of the country. And with LakeMalawi covering almost 20 percent of the country, according tothe draft policy: "Malawi has a total of 11.8 millionhectares, of which 9.8 million is land. Agricultural estatesoccupy 1.2 million hectares and the area potentially availablefor agriculture by small farmers is approximately 4.5 millionhectares after adjusting for wetlands, steep slopes andtraditional protected areas."
According to the government's NationalStatistics Office (NSO), about 55 percent of smallholder farmersin Malawi have less than one hectare of cultivable land, whichdoes not meet their basic needs. As a result, says the NSO,"more than half of the population lives below the povertyline of US $140 per capita income per year. "In absoluteterms, the poverty of the country is predominantly rural and isreflected in the below average social indicators. The illiteracyrate is about 56 percent for the overall population. Malnutritionis widespread, and the child mortality rate at 238 per 1000 isamong the highest in the world," says the NSO. Rafiq Hajat,director of the Institute for Policy Interaction, told IRIN thedraft policy raised many questions. "There really isn't thatmuch of a problem in the policy. The major problem is in what itdoes not say," he said. For example, there was concern thatbanks could withdraw loans once ownership was changed fromfreehold to leasehold. The majority of Malawi's tea, coffee,sugar and tobacco estates are foreign-owned. Hajat said thecountry's constitution did not limit the ownership of land tocitizens only. "There is definitely an infringement of aconstitutional right. Section 28 of the constitution of Malawisays that every person shall be able to acquire property alone orin association with others. Subsection 2 of the same section saysno person shall be arbitrarily deprived of property," hesaid. He also pointed to possible administrative problems."The land policy does not address a major bottleneck in theland-based economy here. The Land Act, in section 24, states thatthe government must be told of all transfers of land. It says theminister should approve or reject the transfer of land within 30days. It does not say that if this does not happen in 30 days,the land should be transferred by default. Some transfers at themoment take up to 18 months to get approval," he said. Healso warned that if the process was not well managed, thepolicies could lead to high inflation rates, lower productivity,a general deterioration of the infrastructure and an eventualdecline in the economy. The draft policy, he said, had alreadyhad a negative impact on land prices. He also said thatforeigners were already having their applications for landtransfers turned down.
Daziona Chaponda, an economist with theWorld Bank in Malawi, told IRIN that the policy was still beingdebated widely in the country. He said while there was someconcern, large commercial estate owners were more"interested in the security of tenure and a guarantee thatthe law would prevail in guiding whatever transactions takeplace". This concern, it seems, will determine the amount ofresistance the Malawian government will receive when it finallydrafts a bill to go before its parliament. At the forefront ofeveryone's minds, meanwhile, is Zimbabwe, whose land reformprogramme has contributed to the country's serious and dramaticeconomic decline. "There have been some concerns, but aslong as the discussion is going on in an open way, and it hasbeen encouraging how discussions have taken place so far, then itshould be fine," said Potter.
Supreme court demands legal representation for Caprivitreason trialists (The Namibian, 17/12) -
A three-Judge bench of thecourt had ruled on Friday morning that the Legal Aid Director hasto provide legal representation to the 128. The court's judgementwas unanimous, with Judge Annel Silungwe and Acting Judge PetrusUnengu agreeing with the judgement that had been written byActing Judge Harold Levy. With the judgement, the Caprivi 128scored an important victory in their quest not to have to standtrial on the 275 charges against them without the assistance oflawyers. The Permanent Secretary of Justice, Lidwina Shapwa, hasstated in an affidavit that her Ministry is committed to thegoals of access to the legal system and to justice for all,Acting Judge Levy noted in the judgement. The provision of legalaid to the poor is an important part of this. However, ActingJudge Levy commented, it does not appear from the affidavits ofShapwa and the Acting Director of Legal Aid, Dr Arnold Mtopa,"that this admirable policy of the Ministry is shared by thepersonnel required to carry out the policy". He went on tonote that after 38 of the 128 had applied or legal aid, "nota finger was lifted to process these claims". Stated ActingJudge Levy: "Dr Mtopa and his assistants appear to havestudiously avoided anyone of the applicants and studiouslyavoided fulfilling their statutory duties in terms of the LegalAid Act." Any person before the Namibian courts is entitledto a fair and proper trial, he added. And essential to a fairtrial, is the right to be legally represented. Acting Judge Levyreasoned that the Constitution certainly did not intend that lawscould be made which would entitle the Legal Aid Director torefuse legal aid in a case of treason.
The court was informed that theMinistry of Justice's budget would not enable the Ministry tofinance legal aid to the 128. However, Acting Judge Levyresponded, it is not the Ministry's resources which have to beconsidered. Instead, there is no evidence before the court thatthe resources of the State would not allow the granting of legalaid to the 128, he noted. He went on to find that the change inthe Legal Aid Act, which from October 10 last year removed HighCourt Judges' power to in effect order the Legal Aid Director toprovide legal representation to persons who a Judge thoughtneeded it, in any event could not apply to those of the Caprivi128 who had been arrested and charged before the law change tookeffect. Because it would be unfair to differentiate between themand co-accused arrested and indicted after October 10 2000, headded, everyone of the accused is entitled to legal aid. Thelegal aid director now has to assess each the financial means ofeach of the 128, assess how much money each would need forrepresentation and how many defence lawyers would be needed forthe trial, the court stated. Dave Smuts, assisted by RudiCohrssen, acted for the 128. They were instructed by Toni Hancoxof the Legal Assistance Centre. Government Attorney Erenstein yaToivo argued the case for the Government and the Director. Shewas assisted by Nixon Marcus.
State should provide legal representation totrialists, says Pityana (The Namibian, 14/12) -
One killed, two maimed in cross-border raid (TheNamibian, 14/12) - A group of banditsshot dead Maria Kapande Likuwa (18) after crossing into theKavango Region from Angola on Wednesday morning. As they left,they planted landmines that later blew off the legs of two peopleat a village outside Rundu. The attack, the latest of dozens ofraids in which villagers have been murdered, raped and maimed inthe north-east over the past two years, took place at Katondovillage around 40 km east of Rundu. Confirming the incidentyesterday, Lieutenant Colonel Abed Mukumangeni, the RegionalCommander for the Namibia Defence Force (NDF), said four otherpeople sustained superficial injuries when they accidentallystepped on the mines planted by the bandits as they fled back toAngola. The early morning, cross-border raid involving a handfulof bandits on foot took place between 02h00 and 03h00 onWednesday, said Mukumangeni, who confirmed an initial reportabout the incident that was sent by the National Society forHuman Rights (NSHR). The human rights organisation, quoting theteenager's relative, stated that she was shot in the back anddied on the spot when she tried to escape from the assailants whowere loitering outside her mud-and-thatch house. "The gunmenthen went to a certain Atanasia Hamutenya's hut and robbed her ofblankets and clothes. Before they withdrew into Angola theyplanted several anti-personnel mines, which caused injuries to atleast seven other villagers," it stated. Lieutenant ColonelMukumangeni said among the other items stolen by the bandits weredresses and shoes. He said there had been a lull in cross-borderbanditry activities in the Kavango and Wednesday's raid was thefirst since a group of gunmen attacked a village in the NdongaLinena area stealing 16 cattle in October. The raiders aresuspected to be members of Unita. He said NDF soldiers sent toKatondo at around 10h00 on Wednesday managed to destroy onelandmine in the area. The NDF has dispatched a hot-pursuit teamto Angola to track the bandits responsible for the latestcarnage, said the Regional Commander. He also confirmed that thesuspects were from Angola because they spoke Angolan languages.
Baster leaders embrace national reconciliation (TheNamibian, 13/12) - Leaders of the Bastercommunity and Government yesterday met officially for the firsttime since the community dropped its claims on land at Rehobothand embraced national reconciliation. The meeting took place atState House. Government was represented at its highest level - byPresident Sam Nujoma, Deputy Prime Minister Hendrik Witbooi,Attorney General Pendukeni Ithana, Local Government MinisterNickey Iyambo, his deputy Gerhard Totemeyer, Deputy LandsMinister Isak Katali, Deputy Justice Minister Dr Albert Kawana,and Swapo Chief Whip in the National Assembly Ben Amathila.Kaptein John McNab, who led the Baster delegation, told the mediaafterwards that they went to State House at the invitation ofNujoma. McNab said the meeting cleared the "negativeatmosphere" between the Baster community and the Government.He said the Basters were out to show that reconciliation was"much more than just shaking hands". The Baster leaderscalled on the President to help them solve problems the communityat Rehoboth face - such as the water crisis and alienation ofancestral land. Government invited the Baster leaders to join theCouncil of Traditional Leaders. Plucking a page out of formerAmerican President Abraham Lincoln's book, McNab said "nohouse can be divided against itself". Deputy Prime MinisterHendrik Witbooi told the media that the Basters had been invitedto become part of the wider Namibian family. "The Presidenttold them that his doors are open. He told them to put theirrequests on paper and to forward them to his office. He willcommunicate them to the line ministries," Witbooi said.McNab said they would like to start off on a new footing bybuilding a relationship before making any demands. The Bastercommunity dropped its claims against Government on land atRehoboth in 1997, but expectations of a business boom at thetown, 80 km south of Windhoek, failed to materialise. The June1997 'truce' ended an often bitter seven-year legal dispute overland ownership in the Rehoboth district. The dispute was alsoseen as a a major discouragement to investment in the town. Itled to a drawn out court case which cost the Baster communitysome N$2,5 million. The community's arguments were eventuallydismissed by the Supreme Court. The then Kaptein, the late HasDiergaardt, later threatened to take the issue to theInternational Court of Justice.
Return of refugees from Botswana 'in pipeline' (TheNamibian, 13/12) - Officials from Namibiaand Botswana have held consultative talks over the last fewmonths on the repatriation of hundreds of Namibians who fled toBotswana in the aftermath of secessionist troubles in theCaprivi. Some 2 300 Namibians are housed at the Dukwe RefugeeCamp in Botswana, says Fidelis Swai, spokesman for the UnitedNations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Pretoria, SouthAfrica. In May, about 500 Namibians at Dukwe expressed theirwillingness to be repatriated back to their motherland in a UNHCRexercise. Yesterday the UNHCR official said: "Afterreceiving the request by a group of refugees from the Dukwe Camp,as is the tradition of the UNHCR, we have set in motion a processthat will eventually lead to their eventual return." Swaisaid UN officials have maintained constant touch with both thegovernments of Namibia and Botswana on the voluntaryrepatriation. A tripartite document, involving the UNHCR, Namibiaand Botswana, has already been drafted. But legal drafters haveyet to finalise the proposed agreement. A number of other issuesalso have to be resolved before the 500 refugees can return home.The UNHCR must verify the names of people who have so far comeforward to be repatriated to ensure that they are not beingforced to return home. After verification, the UNHCR will enterinto a tripartite agreement with Namibia and Botswana on therepatriation of the exiles whose flight to Botswana started inAugust 1998. "There are many things we have to considerbefore voluntary repatriation will be set in motion. It is aprocess that takes a lot of time and homework," Swai said.Among issues that need to be addressed are the number of refugeeswho want to be repatriated, funding from the donor community forthe exercise and logistics such as medicine, repatriation kitsand allowances. "When you come (back) to your place after anabsence of so many months or years you need assistance to be ableto stand on your own feet, so we give them materials likeblankets, repatriation kits and so forth," he said. Ministryof Home Affairs officials were not immediately available forcomment yesterday. The relevant people were either on leave orout of the country. In a related development, Namibians continueto flee to Botswana. Swai said 30 Namibians had crossed theborder between June and September. The largest percentage ofrefugees at Dukwe, where up to 4 000 people are housed, areNamibians from the Caprivi. Others are from the DemocraticRepublic of Congo and Angola. Namibians fled to Botswana after asecessionist movement was uncovered in the Caprivi in mid-1998.Some said they left the country because of persecution by thesecurity forces in the north-east. Government denies the claims.The separatist movement launched an armed attack in Caprivi inAugust 1999.
Caprivi high treason suspects fight on forrepresentation (The Namibian, 12/12) - Athree-Judge bench of the High Court is today set to hear a secondday of arguments on an application by 128 men accused in theCaprivi high treason case who are seeking State-funded legalrepresentation. Judge Annel Silungwe and Acting Judges HaroldLevy and Petrus Unengu yesterday adjourned proceedings after DaveSmuts concluded his address to them on behalf of the 128. TodayGovernment Attorney Vicki Erenstein ya Toivo is scheduled toargue Government's case and that of the Director of Legal Aid,who oppose the application. The 128 applicants are asking theHigh Court to order the Director of Legal Aid to provide themwith State-funded legal representation. They are also asking thecourt to order that criminal proceedings against them be stoppeduntil they have been given legal representation. They also wantthe court to declare parts of the Legal Aid Amendment Actunconstitutional. Yesterday's proceedings in the application -which is set to determine if and how the criminal trial of the128 will proceed in the High Court at Grootfontein next year -started with preliminary issues being raised and argued by DeputyProsecutor General Antonia Verhoef. Verhoef submitted that theapplication was in the wrong court and that it should be removedfrom the court roll. The application should instead be heard bythe Judge who is set to preside at their trial, Verhoef argued.She said the court dealing with the criminal case was thecompetent court to hear such an application, since it already hadthe criminal case against the 128 before it, and should not nowbe bypassed. Smuts asked the court to dismiss those points. Heargued that the High Court inherently has the jurisdiction tohear an application like that of the 128. He added that itconcerned not only a stay of prosecution but an application onthe constitutionality of legislation and for the provision oflegal representation. Smuts argued that the change in the LegalAid Act, which came into force on October 10 last year, should inany event not prevent the issuing of a Judge's order that they beprovided with legal aid as the change in the law happened morethan a year after the overwhelming majority of the 128 had beendetained and charged. As a result the legal change could not nowresult in them being denied a vested right to legal aid by way ofa Judge's order to that effect which they had before the time.The Constitution guarantees the right to a fair trial and to bedefended by a legal representative of one's own choice, and alsostates that all people shall be equal before the law, Smutsnoted. When an accused person has to stand trial unrepresentedbecause he is unable to pay for a legal representation and theState claims it, too, cannot foot the bill, this guarantee ofequality before the law is threatened, he indicated. Legalrepresentation is not a luxury, he commented. It is a necessityfor justice to be attained, Smuts said, citing from a UnitedStates Supreme Court decision on the issue: "There can be noequal justice where the kind of trial a man gets depends on theamount of money he has." Smuts concluded by quoting from alandmark South African Constitutional Court judgement which in1995 ruled the death penalty unconstitutional in that country:"Those who are entitled to claim this protection (of theirrights) include the social outcasts and marginalised people ofour society. It is only if there is a willingness to protect theworst and the weakest amongst us that all of us can be securethat our own rights will be protected." Rudi Cohrssenappeared with Smuts on behalf of the 128. Both are instructed byToni Hancox of the Legal Assistance Centre. Erenstein ya Toivowas assisted by Nixon Marcus from the Government Attorney'sOffice. Verhoef is assisted by Public Prosecutors Leonie Dunn andJohanna Amutenya.
UNHCR to continue to discuss detentionswith government (The Namibian, 12/12) - The UnitedNations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Windhoek saysit is concerned about the length of time the 80 suspected Unitarebels have been detained at Dordabis. The agency's spokespersonDavid Nthengwe said yesterday that the UNHCR will continue todiscuss with the Ministry of Home Affairs the future of the 80detainees. "At this stage we can only express concern aboutthe fact the they [the 80] have been in detention for far toolong," Nthengwe said. He said UNHCR will meet officials fromthe Ministry of Home Affairs "not long from now" todiscuss this issue. Nthengwe said last week's meeting was notpostponed "indefinitely", but the date was not yetknown when he spoke to The Namibian.
Immigration tribunal orders deportation of 500 illegalimmigrants (Sapa, Oshakati, 8/12) - An immigrationtribunal at Ohangwena, near Oshakati in northern Namibia onFriday authorised the deportation of another group of about 500illegal immigrants to their countries of origin, the NamibianPress Agency reported on Saturday. Chairman of the tribunal,Labour Commissioner Bro Mathew Shinguandja told Nampa in aninterview that about 95 per cent of the immigrants were fromAngola, with four Zambians and one each from Zimbabwe and SouthAfrica respectively. Immigration officials said the immigrantswere rounded up in Oshana, Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshikoto andOtjozondjupa regions. They were arrested by immigration andpolice officials for entering Namibia without relevant migrationdocuments, overstaying or working in the country without workpermits. The Angolans are to be deported to their country throughthe Oshikango and Mahenene border posts, while arrangements forthe deportation of the Zambians, South Africans and Zimbabweansare underway.
Do not execute fugitives, HomeAffairs tells Botswana (Sapa, Mafikeng, 31/12) - TheDepartment of Home Affairs wants an assurance from the Botswanagovernment that two of that country's fugitives being held inSouth Africa will not be hanged if they are extradited. HomeAffairs spokesman Leslie Mashokwe told Sapa that his departmentwas waiting for recommendations from the Department of ForeignAffairs -- who were discussing the matter with the Botswanagovernment -- before they deported the two men. "HomeAffairs is ready to deport the two men at any time."Mashokwe said. "But we are waiting for recommendations fromForeign Affairs, who have approached the Botswana government forassurance that the two men, as per South African constitutionalstipulations, will not receive the death penalty." The men,Liberty Mhlanga and Jimmy Gaboitaolewe, handed themselves over tothe police and requested political asylum on October 28 afterescaping from Botswana's Lobatse Mental Hospital and enteringSouth Africa illegally. They are currently being held at theLehurutse Police Station. Mhlanga was found guilty by the HighCourt of Botswana on September 24 on 15 charges, includingmurder, attempted murder, burglary, robbery, unlawful possessionof firearms and ammunition, and theft. Gaboitaolewe was on trialon two counts of unlawful wounding and two counts of rape. Interms of a recent Constitutional Court ruling -- Mohammed andAnother vs the President of the Republic of South Africa andOthers -- the South African government may not extradite, deport,return or expel an alien to another country to face anunacceptable form of punishment. "In this regard theunacceptable punishment referred to is Botswana's policy oncapital punishment," Mashokwe said. -- The men's warrant forremoval had expired on Friday, but after an urgent application,Judge Hendler of the Mafikeng High Court ruled that the two mencould be held until the matter had been determined.
Xenophobic trend still shows littlesign of abating (Business Day, Johannesburg, 27/12) - Thexenophobic tendencies of South Africans are showing little signof abating. Three years after the release of figures which showedthat two-thirds felt immigration policies were too soft, newresearch by ACNielsen has thrown up a similar finding. While thefigure from the JanuaryFebruary 1998 survey dropped slightly, 60%of all South Africans still feel immigration laws are not strictenough. This emerged from a survey conducted for Business Day byACNielsen's customised research division, using its Omnibussubscription research service. An area stratified probabilitysample of 2494 households was used, spanning all races and incomegroups and representing 15,9-million, or 91% of all urban adultSouth Africans. In his state of the nation address in February,President Thabo Mbeki committed government to a review ofimmigration laws and procedures, to ease the inflow of necessaryskills into the country. He also said government was committed topushing back "the boundaries of racism and xenophobia".
Judging from the enduring suspicion offoreigners evidenced by this survey, reaching this second goalwill be an uphill battle. Of the 60% of South Africans who feltgovernment erred on the soft side when it came to allowingforeigners into SA to live and work, almost threequarters feltthe immigration laws were "much too soft". Thestrongest opposition to perceived "soft" immigrationregulations is among Afrikaans speakers, as was the case in the1998 survey. More than 55% of Afrikaans speakers felt the lawswere "much too soft". English speakers followed, with45% feeling the laws were much too soft, with Sotho and Ngunispeakers bringing up the rear at 42% and 39% respectively. Peoplein lower-income groups were more tolerant of the laws. Only athird of those earning less than R800 a month felt the laws weremuch too soft, compared with more than half the people earningR4000-R7999, and slightly less than half those earning over R8000a month. About a fifth of the nation felt immigration laws weretoo strict, two percentage points higher than the survey carriedout at the beginning of 1998. Nguni and Sotho speakers showed themost disapproval for the red tape incoming foreigners face.Twenty-three percent and 21% respectively felt the laws were toostrict, as opposed to only 13% of English speakers and 7% ofAfrikaans speakers. Almost 45% admitted they felt "verythreatened" that immigrants would deprive them ofemployment. A further 23% admitted to feeling "alittle" threatened. About half of people earning under R800claimed to feel "very threatened" in terms ofemployment, compared with 35% of those earning over R8000.
The greatest sense of being under threatwas found among those aged 2534 (47%) and 35-49 (49%). Nguni(43%), Afrikaans (47%) and Sotho speakers (50%) felt "verythreatened", compared with only a third of English speakers.On a provincial level, the belief that jobs were under threat wasespecially prevalent in the Northern Province and Mpumalanga, twoprovinces directly in the path of the influx of"aliens" from neighbouring states. In these provinces,57% of people said they felt their jobs were threatened byforeign job hunters. Respondents were asked how government shouldbest decide who can live and work in SA. The criterion thatgarnered the most support ( 44%) was that immigrants must have acertain knowledge or skill. Top earners were more inclined tosupport this criterion.
ACNielsen's managing director of customisedresearch, Dr Anina Maree, speculates that upper-income earnersmore readily support the importation of skills, as they are moreaware of the economic implications for the country. Those livingbelow the bread line tend to take a more self-interested view.The second most cited criterion, supported by a third of SouthAfricans, was that immigrants had to be educated to a certainstandard. Again, top earners were more in support (56%), asopposed to 21% of lowest earners. English and Afrikaans speakerslent most support (55% and 45%), while only 28% of Sotho speakersand 22% of Nguni speakers agreed. The requirement of having a jobmoved up from fourth to third position in the latest survey, witha third saying this was necessary. Just under a third lent theirsupport to the requirement of bringing in a large sum of money,with stronger support from English speakers (37%) and Sothospeakers (34%). The criterion that the person had to be poor andin need of help was supported by only 12%. This charitablefeeling was stronger among lowest pay levels. Finally, that theperson came from a country that helped the African NationalCongress during apartheid, found support from 11% of thepopulation, predominantly among lower-income earners and Nguniand Sotho speakers (on average 15%, compared with the 3% averageof English and Afrikaans speakers). Maree said it was clear themajority of South Africans continued to regard immigrants in asnegative a light as they did three years ago.
Border posts back to normal afterChristmas rush (Sapa, Cape Town, 24/12) - SouthAfrica's border posts were back to normal on Monday after aweekend of congestion as migrant workers and holidaymakersflocked to neighbouring states. "Today we are experiencingnormal flows, with no congestion anywhere," said Departmentof Home Affairs spokesman Leslie Mashokwe. At Beitbridge, thecrossing point into Zimbabwe, queues kilometres long on Saturdayand Sunday tested the patience of commuters to the limit. Formerchief executive of the Gender Equality Commission, ColleenLowe-Morna, said on Monday she simply gave up on a plannedholiday in Zimbabwe after seeing the queues at the bridge. Shesaid when she arrived at 11pm on Saturday, the queue was aboutthree kilometres long, and there were only three officials onduty. When she returned on Sunday morning it had grown to fivekilometres and some 800 vehicles, and it did not appear that thestaffing situation had improved. "We were hearing horrificstories of people taking ten hours to cross the border," shesaid. "We left because we just couldn't wait 10 or 12 hoursto cross a border post. "I doubt if this had beenJohannesburg International Airport and the passengers had beenGerman or Americans, nothing would have been done," saidLowe-Morna, who on Monday afternoon was on her way to holiday inMpumalanga instead. Mashokwe said some 12100 people crossed intoZimbabwe on Saturday, and 12700 on Sunday. He said thebottlenecks occurred partly because people were apparentlyunaware that the post was open 24 hours a day over the festiveseason. "The message had not arrived," he said. Anofficial at the post said on Monday morning the situation was"quiet". Members of the Parliament's home affairsportfolio committee, who visited the post on Monday toinvestigate the complaints of congestion, could not be reachedfor comment. An official at the Lebombo post on the Mozambiqueborder, where the defence force and police were called in overthe weekend to help home affairs staff, reported only"normal traffic" on Monday morning. Some 45400commuters passed through the post on Saturday alone. The officialsaid the post expected a pickup in activity between December 27and January 10, as some 17000 miners returned to Gauteng."But we're used to that number of travellers," he said.Border officials had schedules of when buses were expected, andextra staff would be on duty. At the Caledon River post betweenSouth Africa and Lesotho, police inspector John Tsolo said therewere no queues at all, and travellers were being processedsmoothly. He also expected the pace to pick up when people beganreturning to South Africa on the 27th, and again from January 2.Mashokwe said there had been some congestion at gates on theBotswana border as members of the Zion Christian Church and theIndependent Pentecostal Church sought to cross into South Africafor the festive season. Mashokwe said a home affairs securityofficer, Abel Madonsela, was killed at the Nerston bordercrossing into Swaziland when a taxi deliberately tried to crashthrough the barriers. The driver was arrested. At the Oshoekcrossing, also into Swaziland, the off-duty manager of theMahamba border post was severely injured when a truck crashedinto his car after its brakes failed. Mashokwe said home affairsdirector general Billy Masetlha had threatened strong actionagainst reckless drivers at any border post.
Border posts still heavily congested(Sapa, Johannesburg, 23/12) - Border posts across thecountry were heavily congested on Sunday afternoon with migrantworkers and holiday makers queuing to cross to neighbouringcountries. The busiest was Beit Bridge on the Zimbabwe borderwith traffic stretching more than five kilometres. Border postofficial Isaac Mannie said it was taking on average about twohours per person to cross into Zimbabwe. "It is usually likethis at this time of the year because a lot of people fromdifferent countries such as Malawi and Zambia use this exit pointas it is the nearest," Mannie said. He said the traffic wasexpected to peak in the next few days as more people would becrossing ahead of the New Year. A Messina Shipping clearingagency Debby Joubert, said of all the years, this was thebusiest. She reckoned the traffic jam was a result of trucks andprivate cars using the same lane. She said it was difficult forofficials to travel between the border post and Messina onbusiness errands. She suspected it might be quieter on Sunday.The Lebombo border post between South Africa and Mozambique wasabuzz with people going on holidays. Spokeswoman Thuli Zwane saidthe post had been busy since the beginning of the year. The SaniPass border between South Africa and Lesotho also reported heavycongestion as thousands of Basotho, who work in the miningindustry, travelled home for the holidays.
10,000 Zimbabwean labourers forced toleave South African farms (Sapa/AFP, Johannesburg, 19/12) - Some10,000 Zimbabwean labourers who worked illegally in SouthAfrica's Northern Province have quit the region, and thegovernment has made plans to accommodate the remaining 5,000 fora year, a senior official said Wednesday. "There is a veryserious reduction in their numbers. The farmers (who employ them)are now asking for permission for only 5,000 to stay on,"Billy Masetlha, director general of the home affairs department,told AFP. He said the government has agreed to grant permits forthese workers for between three months and a year as their helpwas of "critical" importance to about 209 farms in theLimpopo valley, in northeastern South Africa, on the border withZimbabwe. "Five thousand is all that is allowed to stay.Their permits will be renewed for three to 12 months, and thenthey will all be phased out by the department of labour," hesaid. The presence of the foreign farm labourers, some of whomhave been in the country for 15 years, has been a bone ofcontention for months between the farmers and the department, andbetween the South African and Zimbabwean governments. Thelabourers' work permits expired in October, and farmers thenunsuccessfully applied for a court order to prevent theirexpulsion. They claimed the Zimbabweans had become indispensableand that repatriation would leave them in want of a work force toharvest crops, mainly perishable fruit and vegetables. The homeaffairs department in turn accused the farmers of reneging on adeal made a year ago to have all Zimbabwean workers leave, addingthat foreigners were taking jobs from locals in the provincewhere the unemployment rate reached 34 percent. Masetlha saidWednesday that the Zimbabwean government was happy with the newarrangement, as were the farmers, who held a party for governmentofficials on Tuesday evening to celebrate the reprieve for the5,000 workers. He said it was understandable that farmers hadlooked north of the Limpopo for labour, as forÜHÖ9þ some"the nearest settlement was some five kilometres away inZimbabwe and here it is 70 kilometres (45 miles) away."Zimbabweans who married South Africans during their stay will beallowed to apply for permanent residency and remain in thecountry.
Home Affairs, farmers agree overZimbabwean farmworkers (Sapa, Messina, 18/12) - NorthernProvince farmers have given an undertaking to the Department ofHome Affairs that they will no longer employ Zimbabweans who areworking illegally in South Africa. Home Affairs director generalBilly Masetlha told Sapa on Tuesday evening that the SoutpansbergFarmers Union had agreed to monitor their members' compliancewith the agreement. Speaking from a game farm overlooking theLimpopo River - at a party hosted by the farmers to celebrate thefinalisation of the agreement with Home Affairs - Masetlha saidthe plan was to replace foreign labour with local labour withoutdisrupting agricultural production. The agreement with thefarmers union ushered in more cordial relations with farmers,some of whom had undertaken court action - unsuccessfully - toget Home Affairs to stop its programme of registering non-SouthAfrican farm workers, Masetlha said. The Department of Labour,along with municipalities and non-governmental organisations,would co-operate with farmers to find South African labour toreplace the returning Zimbabweans. Farmers in the area havetraditionally relied on cheap Zimbabwean labour. Some 5200Zimbabweans have been registered by Home Affairs in the areasince November. They have been divided into three groups, each ofwhich is allowed to remain in South Africa for a differentperiod: four months, six months, or 12 months. The grace periodis to allow farming operations to proceed without disruption.Those foreigners whose labour would still be needed in futurecould apply for work permits in the usual way. Masetlha said hismain concern was that foreigners in the country should be in thecountry legally and with proper documents. Those who crossed intothe country when the rivers were low, or who crawled through ahole in the border fence, were obviously not legally in SouthAfrica. From January 1, Masetlha said, his department would applythe law and illegal immigrants would be arrested and deported.
Backpackers lobby for working visas(Sapa, Cape Town, 18/12) - Backpackers Tourism SA(BTSA) has called on government to urgently implement a systemthat will allow foreigners between the ages of 18 to 35 to applyfor a holidaymakers' working visa. BTSA chairman Neil Burns saidon Tuesday such visas were already available in the UnitedKingdom and Australia, and it was vital that the visa be madeavailable if the country was to compete globally as a viabletourist destination. On whether foreign tourists would steallocal jobs, Burns said: "We need to see beyond the flawedeconomics and sentiment that says all foreigners working in SouthAfrica take jobs from locals. "They don't, they createadditional jobs through their spending power, transfer skills andexperience and ultimately become our ambassadors abroad. We'retalking about making the pie bigger." The BTSA was proposinga system that would allocate 35000 12-month visas at an initialcost of R500 per visa to candidates who could prove that they hadR20,000 cash available and who met acceptable criteria. Thecriteria includes candidates stating they were visiting forholiday purposes, agreeing to work only to support themselves,agreeing to work for no single employer for longer than threemonths, entering South Africa within six months of the visa beingissued, and having to leave the country after a year. Burns saidBTSA had identified an information technology solutions providerto undertake the construction of an issuing system. Recipientswould be issued with a number when they presented their passportsupon arrival in the country. The number and passport holder wouldthen be verified and a visa would be issued in the traveller'spassport.
Burns pointed out that backpackers spend 90 percent of theirtravelling budget with local enterprises as opposed to moreupmarket travellers who spent most of their money withmulti-national tour operators, hotel chains and overseas bookingagents. The BTSA, which is a non-profit organisation, representsover 130 backpacker outfits across South Africa which employ morethan 1500 people, earning a combined revenue of R65-million perannum. Based on the UK and Australia systems, Burns estimates thecontribution to the gross domestic product by backpackers couldbe boosted by at least R720-million yearly with substantialbenefits for the providers of backpacking accommodation and thethousands of related businesses. These facts had been overlookedbecause the industry lacked a co-ordinated voice, he said. Therelative simplicity of the proposed system means it can beadministered by a private institution such as the BTSA within therelevant government mandate. Burns appealed to the Home Affairsand Tourism ministries to heed the call of the BTSA early in thenew year before legislation regarding visas is passed.
South African Brain Drain is worsethan we thought (The Mercury, 17/12) - The SouthAfrican "brain drain" of skilled professional people tocountries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada,New Zealand and Australia is much more significant than theofficial figures suggest. This point is made in an article titledCounting Brains, published by the Southern African MigrationProject. The article has been written by Mercy Brown, DavidKaplan and Jean-Baptiste Meyer of the Development Policy ResearchUnit of the University of Cape Town. The authors say that,according to their statistics, there were 41 496 professionalemigrants from South Africa between 1989 and 1997. This is almostfour times larger than the official figure of 11 255. The authorssay that South Africa needs to review its methods of datacollection on emigration and, if possible, build in a systematiccomparison with data that can easily be obtained from recipientcountries. They say that most emigrants are highly skilled andwell trained, and many of them are working in occupations whichare in demand domestically. A significant number, the researcherssay, leave South Africa as well-trained professionals. However,there is a tendency for the professional emigrants to acquirefurther post-graduate training abroad. They say that the SouthAfrican "diaspora" represents a well-trained, capable,uniquely highly skilled pool of individuals. The authors pointout, however, that, contrary to popular opinion, emigration doesnot necessarily mean that all of these skills and expertise arelost to South Africa. Opportunities exist through organisationsto make use of the skills of these expatriates even while theylive abroad.
Another Home Affairs officialarrested for corruption (Sapa, Cape Town, 13/12) - Thelitany of corruption at the Home Affairs Department continuedthis week with the arrest of yet another senior official, thistime at the department's district office in Eshowe,KwaZulu-Natal. This brings the number of officials apprehendedsince July to at least 16. Home affairs spokesman Leslie Mashokwesaid on Thursday that a senior administration clerk, Mr VVNhlangothi, was arrested on Monday for fraud relating to deathregistrations. Nhlangothi appeared in the Eshowe Magistrate'sCourt on Tuesday. He was refused bail and the case was postponedto December 20. The department would also start immediatedisciplinary proceedings against Nhlangothi, Mashokwe said. Thedepartment embarked on a joint project with the police - ProjectMolopo - in July to root our corruption among its officials. Lastweek, a Home Affairs official and two other men were arrested inBrits for allegedly selling fake identity documents to illegalimmigrants. Mashokwe said Ernest Pretrus Racoco, along with IsaacMotsepe, a private photographer, and Hendrik Tsiane, a formertemporary worker at the department, was arrested for fraudulentlyissuing false birth certificates and identity documents. The menappeared in the Brits Magistrate's Court, and both Racoco andMotsepe were granted bail of R2000, while Tsiane remained incustody. The case was postponed to March 1 next year. Mashokwesaid Racoco had resumed duty, but at a Garankuwa office so thathe did not "interfere with the investigation". OnNovember 22, Louis Trichardt Home Affairs office official RebeccaMonisi, 33, appeared in the local magistrate's court after sheallegedly accepted a bribe from an illegal immigrant. She wasgranted bail of R1000. A Northern Province police spokesman saida "trap" had been set for Monisi, and she allegedly"walked right into it". "We arrested her when sheaccepted R2000 from a Mozambican who wanted to become a SouthAfrican citizen," the spokesman said. Two days before, onNovember 20, Sibusiso Msiza, a senior administration clerk at thedepartment's Pretoria district office, was arrested for aidingand abetting illegal immigrants. He appeared in court on chargesrelated to the issuing of false passports to foreigners. He wasfreed on R1500 bail by the Pretoria Magistrate's Court. A numberof other officials at the same office were also arrested inOctober, for allegedly issuing false birth certificates andidentity documents.
Farmers brace for cross border stocktheft (African Eye News Service, Komatipoort, 10/12) - Farmersin Mpumalanga will have to be extra vigilant over the festiveseason in preparation for an expected surge in cross borderstock. Police warned on Monday that well-organised syndicates aretargeting farmers in South Africa's border regions to feedincreased demand for meat in Mozambique for Christmas and NewYear's celebrations. Tonga police spokesperson Captain PaulosMabunda added that cattle, sheep and other stock were also stolenfor sale to local Mpumalanga butcheries. 'So we have to deal withthe international syndicates and also with the local cattlethieves,' he explained. Police and army personnel from SouthAfrica and Mozambique have joined forces to curb the thefts butstill face the ongoing problem of insufficient resources to catchthe highly organised and professional syndicates. South AfricanNational Defence Force (SANDF) commanding officer of Group 33,Colonel Hein Visser said: 'This is a frustrating exercise becausesoldiers patrolling the fence between the two countries can't bein all areas at the same time. 'These people are professionalsand need only five minutes to cross with the stolen cattle,' heexplained. Army personnel patrolling the Lebombo border complainof insufficient resources like manpower and vehicles making itdifficult to cover the whole area. 'The syndicates observe ourtroops and wait for them to be deployed before making theirmove,' said Col Visser. The inaccessibility of the area alsobenefits stock thieves. 'The area is mountainous and its terrainmakes it difficult for the patrollers to reach the scene of crimeon time,' said Col Visser. Police were unable to release figuresbut confirmed that cross border theft increases over the festiveseason.
Pretoria, Maputo sign borderagreement (Bua News, Pretoria, 7/12) - In a step tofurther strengthen their relations, South Africa and Mozambiqueyesterday entered into what will be called 'Protocol ofCo-operation.' Deputy foreign affairs minister Aziz Pahad and hisMozambican counterpart Hipolito Patriocio concluded a secondmeeting of the Joint Permanent Commission for Cooperation (JPCC)held from 4 - 5 December in Pretoria. According to a statement,issues discussed ranged from joint border control arrangementsand cross-border crime prevention to health, maritime andaviation related issues. 'Due to close economic and traderelations South Africa and Mozambique maintain - investment,banking and customs matters were also addressed,' it said. 'Theexpanding infrastructure and tourism between the two countriesled to further discussions by relevant transports and tourismauthorities.' A general co-operation agreement was establishedbetween South Africa and Mozambique in July 1994, which led tothe establishment of the JPCC between the two. The first JPCCmeeting was held from 2 to 3 May 1996 in Maputo. In their openingaddress on Tuesday, the two deputy ministers made reference tothe importance of the New Economic Partnership for AfricanDevelopment (NEPAD) and the role that the JPCC could play inpromoting the objectives of this initiative. They also touched oncurrent political, economic, diplomatic, commercial and culturalcooperation.
Home Affairs official nabbed for fakeIDs (Sapa, Pretoria, 6/12) - Three men - one of them aDepartment of Home Affairs official - were arrested in Britsearlier in the week for allegedly selling fake identity documentsto illegal immigrants, the department said on Thursday.Departmental spokesman Leslie Mashokwe said in Pretoria31-year-old Ernest Pretrus Racoco's arrest and that of hisaccomplice came after police investigation into rampantcorruption at the office. Racoco, along with Isaac Motsepe, aprivate photographer, and Hendrik Tsiane, former temporary workerat the department, was arrested for fraudulently issuing falsebirth certificates and identity documents. The men appearedbefore the Brits Magistrate's Court on Tuesday. Both Racoco andMotsepe were granted bail of R2000 each, whilst Tsiane remainedin custody. They would appear in court again on March 1 nextyear, Mashokwe said. He said Racoco had resumed duty, but at aGarankuwa office so that he did not interfere with theinvestigation. "We commend the investigators for theirstunning job to rid the department of criminal elements. Thesearrests are part of the ongoing campaign against corruptiondubbed Project Molopo launched by the department in July thisyear," Mashokwe said.
Asylum seekers illegally arrested anddetained in South Africa, says LHR (Sapa, Pretoria, 5/12) - Asylumseekers and undocumented migrants were being illegally arrested,detained and repatriated by South African authorities, Lawyersfor Human Rights (LHR) said on Wednesday. Every week about 3000such people were being sent home from the Lindela repatriationcentre near Krugersdorp, the LHR's refugee rights projectco-ordinator Jacob van Garderen told an international humanrights gathering in Pretoria. "In addition to Lindela, largenumbers of refugees and migrants are regularly unlawfullydetained at police stations, prisons, army bases and transitareas of international airports. "Johannesburg InternationalAirport is a particularly problematic place of detention,especially in regard to access to the asylum application processand legal representation, detention of asylum seekers by airlinecompanies, and conditions of detention." Van Garderen saidthe project had been informed of people who arrived at theairport with the intention of applying for asylum, only to beturned away and repatriated to their country of origin withoutdue process. Airline companies and private carriers were guiltyof such practices. Van Garderen also accused the Department ofHome Affairs of instructing airline companies and privatecarriers to deport foreigners without affording them the right tocomplete the asylum application process. To this end, the LHR wasbusy advocating the introduction of minimum standards ofdetention in the new Immigration Bill. It has also called for thecreation of an independent monitor to inspect the arrest,detention and repatriation of asylum seekers. The Department ofHome Affairs could not be reached for comment on Wednesdayafternoon. Van Garderen said about 70,000 people had applied forasylum in South Africa since 1994. He expressed concern aboutgrowing tension between refugees and South African residents, andsaid the LHR intended tackling the problem through publicawareness campaigns and training programmes. The organisation hasalso embarked on a training programme for the police in view ofseveral cases of brutality committed against foreigners.
Second meeting of SouthAfrica-Mozambique join commission (Sapa, Pretoria, 5/12) - Thesecond meeting of the joint permanent commission for co-operationbetween South Africa and Mozambique (JPCC) took place on Tuesdayand Wednesday in Pretoria, the Department of Foreign Affairssaid. Spokesman Manusha Pilla said in a statement on Wednesdaythat Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad and hisMozambican counterpart Hipolito Patricio led their respectivedelegations. She described the atmosphere as very cordial. Intheir opening addresses the two deputy ministers referred to theobjective of the meeting, which was to review current political,economic, diplomatic, commercial and cultural co-operation.Reference was also made to the importance of the New EconomicPartnership for African Development and the role the JPCC canplay in promoting the objectives of this initiative. The JPCCenhances the already successful heads of state economic bilateralmeetings, led by Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Joaquin Chissano.Issues discussed ranged from joint border control arrangements,cross border crime prevention, health, maritime and aviationissues. Due to the close economic relations between South Africaand Mozambique, investment, banking and customs matters were alsoaddressed. The expanding infrastructure and tourism between SouthAfrica and Mozambique led to further discussions betweentransport and tourism authorities. A commitment was made to enterinto a protocol of co-operation between the two countries'foreign affairs departments. - A general co-operation agreementsigned between South Africa and Mozambique in July 1994 led tothe establishment of the JPCC between the two countries. Thefirst meeting of the JPCC was in May 1996 in Maputo.
Masetlha stays as Home Affairs DG(Sapa, Cape Town, 2/12) - Home Affairs MinisterMangosuthu Buthelezi will be going into the new year with thesame director-general, despite his repeated attempts to getPresident Thabo Mbeki to fire him. Buthelezi, who is also leaderof the Inkatha Freedom Party, has been at loggerheads with his DGBilly Masetlha, a former African National Congress intelligenceoperative, for months, virtually paralysing the department. Hehad at least two inconclusive meetings on the issue with Mbeki,the most recent in early November. In terms of the Public ServiceAct, the president appoints directors-general. Presidentialspokesman Bheki Khumalo said on Sunday, in response to a claim ina weekend newspaper that Buthelezi had "lost thebattle" to have Masetlha removed, that as far as thepresidency was concerned, "the matter has been dealtwith". He declined to elaborate. However, a seniorgovernment source said Mbeki had no intention at present ofredeploying Masetlha. "There's really been no movement onthe issue," the source said. "The bottom line isMasetlha will stay there." In October Buthelezi presentedthe parliamentary home affairs portfolio committee with a list of64 complaints about Masetlha, whom he accused of insubordination.He also claims Masetlha has been working without a validcontract. Buthelezi, who is overseas, could not be reached forcomment on Sunday.
Famine, malaria, rape at refugee camp(The Monitor, Kampala, 27/12) - Up to 42 refugees atKikagate returnees' refugee camp in Mbarara district have died inthe last ten months due to malaria and hunger, prompting them tocall upon the relevant authorities to break the dead silence. Thereturnees from Tanzania, many of them Bakiga are part of 3,027who were forced from there in 2000 reportedly on 'false'allegations of voting against Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), theruling party, which lost in Karagwe district, where they lived.However they claim that they were exempted from any form ofpolitical participation and that they have therefore never votedin that county's history. They have stayed in Tanzania since1950's to where they went looking for land. Some recall theirorigins as Kamwezi in Kigezi, but when leaving Tanzania they werenot allowed to move with any of their property, which werereportedly snatched by the Bahaya tribe. Yussif Tumwebaze, theoverall camp chairman told The Monitor Dec.20 during a tour tothe camp, "The situation has gravely deteriorated. We leaveat 5:am and go to work for food, which we are at times denied byruthless bosses. Our youth are becoming desperate and have withtime become dangerous to the area especially after digging up to6:00pm without being paid back" Tumwebaze said. The 616families with 2767 people are congested on one and a half acresof low-lying poor drained clay-land. Some have been adopted, ashousemaids in the neighboring villages while others' whereaboutsunknown. Tumwebaze said that by the time the first group arrivedin Dec.2000, well wishers could provide food or they could workfor a pay nearby, but all is no more. "We invaded likelocusts eating everything before us and now we work for food asfar as 15 miles from here. We go in turns until the whole familycontributes anything," he said with tears rolling over thecheek
Church of Uganda and Adventist DevelopmentRelief Agency (ADRA), an NGO once provided bags of posho, beans,and tarpaulins "We are appealing to the government to takeus to a better place. For the rest, we can provide ourselves withour efforts. It is too much to bear anymore," Tumwebazeadded. Ahimbisibwe Sam, Ntunzi parish Chief, where the camp is,confirmed "the situation is becoming quite unbearable but itseems they just have to live with it for sometime". He alsosaid that cases of lawlessness have started cropping up unlike inthe past. The camp's low altitude has become another menace aswater logjams everywhere especially in the latrines creating abreeding ground for mosquitoes. "12of those graves there areof children dead of malaria alone" a chairman of one of thetwelve cells remarks as he points to the graveyard. Tumwebazealso said that women who go to fetch firewood from both theUgandan and Tanzanian sides are often raped, causing a worry foran AIDS catastrophe. "Because we can not eat rawfoods," he adds. Many have also been chassed with spears,stones and other missiles from the Tanzanian side (Mirongovillage) across Kagera River as they fetch firewood. Also,Crocodiles have reportedly killed three children while fetchingwater in the Kagera. A Makerere University lecturer in thePopulation Studies Department, Joseph Tumushabe currently onresearch about refugees wondered how a Ugandan should be arefugee in Uganda. "This can only happen in a country withbankrupt ideas. Such a thing should not happen when our leadersare talking of East African Community. What then is its use andwhat wrong have our people done?" he asked. He said that inKyaka 1and 2 in Kyenjojo district are abandoned lands where thegovernment would settle them.
MP blames government over refugees(The Monitor, Kampala, 26/12) - The Member ofParliament for Isingiro South in Mbarara, Dr. Johnson Nkuhe, hasblamed government for not attending to refugees who have campedin Kikagati, at Uganda's border with Tanzania for a year."It is now a great tragedy. I have written letters to thegovernment and Parliament is aware of it but I do not know whatis happening. They have all ignored the whole issue," hetold The Monitor in an interview Dec.22. The refugees are part of3,027 Ugandans who were expelled from Tanzania in 2000 allegedlyfor voting against Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), the ruling party,which lost in Karagwe district, where they lived. However, theyclaim that they are just being persecuted because they have nevervoted in that county's history. They have stayed in Tanzaniasince 1950's where they went looking for land. Some recall theirorigins as Kamwezi in Kabale. Another 60 were expelled late thisyear after being given a one-week ultimatum. Nkuhe said theMinister of Disaster Preparedness once visited the camp but noaction was taken, apart from promising to resettle them toKyenjojo. He said they have since not been communicated to. Theylive in abject poverty and some have started dying of hunger andmalaria, something which has worried the local authorities.
Refugee figures drop by 50,000, saysUN (The Monitor, Kampala, 25/12) - Uganda, Sudan andTanzania are among the countries listed with "an importantdecrease in the refugee population" between January and endof September this year, the UN refugee agency reported. Therefugee population dropped by 59,000 in Uganda, in Sudan by31,000 while in Tanzania the numbers were down to 28,000 by theend of September, according to the results of the latestprovisional quarterly study from the office of the United NationsHigh Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Sudanese refugeepopulation figures fluctuate widely - in Kenya as well as Uganda- because of the seasonal migration patterns and variations independence levels in different geographic areas. In Sudan therefugee figures dropped to 31,000 due to the repatriation ofEritreans back home after the border war in 1998-2000. The numberalso includes a few thousand Ethiopians. In Tanzania the refugeepopulation figure dropped to 28,000 (despite the continuingarrivals as a result of violent conflict in the DRC and Burundi,in particular) due to a downward revision after a verificationexercise, as well as the repatriation of about 5,000 Rwandans.The report said 78,000 applications for refugee status weresubmitted in 84 countries. Kenya received the second highestnumber of applications [after Egypt] 6,130, while Burundireceived 1,810 applications. And six of the 10 countries thatregistered globally as having the largest increase in theirrefugee population were on the African continent. The DemocraticRepublic of Congo topped the list with an increase of 30,800refugees. It was followed by Zambia (17,800), Kenya (14,800),Thailand (5,100), Cote d'Ivoire (4,200), and Rwanda (4,000). Therefugee population in 87 asylum countries decreased by aroundfour percent; that is to five million people during the firstnine months of the year, UNHCR reported on Wednesday. There arestill an estimated 22 million people around the world 'ofconcern' to the agency, including Internally Displaced People(IDPs), asylum seekers and returnees as well as refugees, itadded.
US government donates $1m to refugees(The Post, Lusaka, 19/12) - The United Statesgovernment has donated US$ 1 million towards the on-going UNrefugee operations in Zambia. US Ambassador to Zambia David Dunnyesterday said the money donated to the UN World Food Programme(WFP) would be used to purchase emergency food supplies to feedover 125,000 refugees that are presently being hosted in Zambia."Since 1999, Zambia has been hit with an increased influx ofrefugees from neighbouring countries particularly the DemocraticRepublic of Congo and Angola," he said. Ambassador Dunn saidthe US government, in partnership with the UN, the Zambiangovernment and NGOs were providing protection and supportservices to an estimated 260,000 refugees in Zambia. And WFPcountry director Richard Ragan said the US contribution comes ata critical period when Zambia is continuing to experience anincrease in numbers of refugees from bordering countries."Clearly, we can't do the job of feeding people in needwithout resources and depend on support from generous donors likethe United States," he said. Intensified fighting in Angolaand DRC has led to an increased flow of refugees into western andnorthern Zambia. There are an estimated 260,000 refugees inZambia and of those 125,000 are said to have no access to land ormarkets and depend on WFP for food survival. "Many of theserefugees are women and children that have been hiding in the bushfor months and when they arrive in Zambia, having food for themto eat can often be the difference between life and death,"said Ragan."
Citizens abroad are a source ofwealth (The Insider, Bulawayo, 31/12) - The exodus ofZimbabweans to seek greener pastures, which one local newspapersays is not a brain drain but a devaluation of the mind, iscreating a pool of wealth, which if tapped, could considerablyimprove the fortunes of the country, one of the country's leadingconglomerates, Delta, says in its report for the half year toSeptember. It says the earnings of Zimbabweans abroad are nowprobably more than those of people inside the country. "Thisis a pool of wealth which, if tapped, could considerably improvethe fortune of the economy. It will have to be attracted byincentives and correct economic fundamentals: controls andthreats will not work," Delta says. The company, which had aturnover of $19.8 billion in the six months, up from $11.2billion the previous year, says its performance reflected theimpact of inflation and a surge in consumer spending. It saysthere was strong growth in volumes of beer and carbonated drinkswhile there was a drop in traditional beer volumes. Its successwas largely due to aggressive cost control and the right sizingof its business structures. Delta, once the key player on theZimbabwe Stock Exchange, is being pruned with the retaildivision, OK being demerged and separately listed in October.Plans are under way to demerge the hotel division under ZimbabweSun Hotels as well as furniture and other retail interests.
The company had net profit of $1.4 billionmore than three times the $404 million it made last year. It madea net profit of $1.7 billion during the year ending March. Butdespite its success, it paints a gloomy picture for the country.It says the economy is expected to decline by more than 8 percentthis year and a return to good economic governance is notexpected within the remainder of its financial year which ends inMarch. Fundamental economic problems will not be addressed.Instead, there will be increased imposition of controls toprovide short term relief against the symptoms of these problems."Continued delays in dealing with the underlying problemswill result in a longer and more difficult period of recovery.The bubble of consumer spending is likely to burst as the savingslevels on which it largely survives continue to diminish. Therewill, however, be continued support for consumptive spending fromthe inflow of funds from Zimbabweans working abroad and theavailability of cheap borrowings in the short term," Deltasays. It says the rate of inflation which was 86.3 percent inSeptember is expected to rise steadily because of the effects ofthe high government deficit and economic distortions such as thefixed exchange rate and low interests rates. Price controls, itsays , are not likely to have a significant dampening effect oninflation unless they are part of a package to deal withfundamental economic problems as opposed to their symptoms. Someof the bold measures announced in the 2002 budget, however, arelikely to stimulate exports and improve foreign currency inflowsif they are quickly effected and administered to ensure speedydelivery of the incentives. Foreign currency will, however,remain seriously short until the country becomes an attractivedestination of investment, tourism and aid, it says.
Zimbabweans fight new Citizenship Act(Financial Gazette, Harare, 20/12) - ConcernedZimbabweans will tonight launch a massive campaign against theamended Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act which deprives thousands oftheir right to citizenship if they fail to convince localauthorities that they do not hold dual citizenships. Anorganisation called the Zimbabwe Civil Rights Organisation(ZIMCRO) will be launched at Harare's Book Café this evening tospearhead an internal and international campaign againstamendments to the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act. Critics say thecontroversial amendments are intended to bar whites and farmworkers - many of whom are of foreign parentage and perceived tobe against the ruling ZANU PF - from voting in next year'scrucial presidential election. The government in July legislatedfor the renunciation of all foreign citizenships by January 7 butthe new law has been heavily criticised for going further toinsist that people with a claim to foreign citizenship, even ifthey do not know about it, have to renounce that citizenship tokeep their Zimbabwean status. The move has resulted in thousandsof Zimbabweans with foreign-sounding surnames or of foreignparentage being denied registration and their Zimbabweanpassports and national identities being confiscated by the stateuntil they prove that they have renounced any claims to foreigncitizenship. Mike Mwale, the convener of this evening's ZIMCROmeeting, said the new law affected thousands of Zimbabweans ofMalawian, Mozambican and Zambian origins, among others, even whenthey were born and bred in this country. Mwale said he wasrecently touched by the plight of an elderly widow who was forcedto travel from Kwekwe to the Registrar-General's Office in Harareto renounce her Zambian citizenship, even though she acquiredZimbabwean papers in 1980. "The plight of this poor womanmade me realise that the harassment had gone too far and that theZimbabwean government was pursuing this indirect ethnic cleansingpolicy on political grounds and in violation of both the UnitedNations and African charters for human rights," Mwale toldthe Financial Gazette. He said both black and white Zimbabweanshad welcomed the formation of ZIMCRO, whose launch will lead thecampaign against the new repressive legislation. Last month HightCourt judge Justice Ndou reserved judgment in the case of LeslieLevente Letho, a Harare computer technician who had applied tothe High Court for permission to challenge the amendedCitizenship of Zimbabwe Act.
Farmers union tell SADC ministers ofworsening crisis (Zimbabwe Standard, Harare, 16/12) - TheCommercial Farmers Union has said that despite the mediation ofSADC states to have meaningful dialogue between commercialfarmers and the government, nothing concrete has happened yet asgovernment appears to have decided to go it alone withoutconsulting stakeholders. Doug Taylor-Freeme, the acting presidentof the CFU, told the Sadc Taskforce which visited Zimbabwe lastweek that since the CFU's presentation to the Sadc Heads of Stateon September 10th 2001, the situation on commercial farms hascontinued to deteriorate, with ongoing incidents of violence,intimidation, extortion and disruption to farming activities."In an escalating number of cases, commercial farms arebeing shut down; already well in to the agricultural season, tomake way for fast-track resettlement." The main developmentsince the Sadc Heads of State Summit has been the introduction on9th November 2001 of new legislation through Statutory Instrument338 of 2001 (SI 338) to amend the Land Acquisition Act (Chapter20:10). "Before SI 338, landowners were afforded someprotection through Section 8 of the Land Acquisition Act in thattheir properties could not be permanently settled prior toconfirmation through the Administrative Court. Under SI 338,service of a Section 8 Order now confers immediate ownership tothe acquiring authority, removes all rights for the owner tooccupy, hold or use the land, other than to occupy the homesteadarea and serves as a ninety-day eviction notice to landowners.The penalty for non-compliance is severe, including the provisionfor imprisonment of up to two years." The main implicationof the amendment, he said, is that the fast-track resettlementprocess can take place prior to any form of confirmation throughthe courts, and landowners and their workers can be immediatelydeprived of their livelihood, long before the matter isconsidered in the courts. At least 90% of CFU members have nowbeen listed for compulsory acquisition and are thus immediatelyvulnerable to the new legislation.
"As we speak, Section 8 Orders arebeing served in most parts of the country, particularly theintensive cropping areas of the Mashonaland provinces. There isno provision for the take-over, management or compensation ofstanding crops, orchards, plantations or livestock on the farm."In another disturbing development, the minister of lands,agriculture and rural resettlement is allocating farms toapplicants under the commercial resettlement A2 Scheme-frequentlyprior to their acquisition by even a Section 8 Order," saidTaylor-Freeme. The recipients of land under the A2 resettlementscheme include the commissioner of police, other senior rankingpolice and defence forces personnel, ministers, members ofparliament, senior civil servants and ruling party officials. Ina press statement on 19th November 2001, the minister of lands,agriculture and rural resettlement stated that government intendsto introduce new legislation to limit land ownership to maximumfarm sizes ranging from 250-400 hectares in the main croppingareas and up to 2 000 hectares in the extensive grazing areas.Virtually all large-scale commercial farms, including those withExport Processing Zone permits and Zimbabwe Investment Centrepermits, have thus been brought into the net. The effect of SI338 in combination with the proposed maximum farm sizeregulations has been to exponentially increase the risk ofinvestment in commercial agriculture, i.e. agro-based companiesand the financial sector. "The Supreme Court of Zimbabwe hasrecently passed a judgement that completely sets aside theprevious Supreme Court interdict of 21st December 2000 and hasdeclared that the land acquisition programme has been and islawful. The only factual change since the previous courtjudgement is that new Statutory Instruments have been introducedand a new Supreme Court Bench has been put in place-the situationon the ground has in fact deteriorated. This Supreme Court Ordereffectively leaves the Commercial Farmers Union no further avenueof challenge in the Courts of Zimbabwe," he said.
The soya bean crop, 95% of which isproduced by the commercial sector is already reduced by 60%.Zimbabwe, which over the past few years has been an exporter intothe region, will now become an importer. The significance of this60% figure is that most soya bean producers are irrigators andtherefore produce wheat in rotation. Settlers are planting smallpatches of cotton and maize under sophisticated centre pivots andin irrigation blocks. These crops will not be harvested in timeto produce a wheat crop. "So Zimbabwe can expect asignificant decline in wheat production. The commercial sectorproduces 90% of the wheat in Zimbabwe. This last season thecommercial sector produced a good crop of wheat-only afterlobbying long and hard to government to allow this sector toplant. The wheat crop should have been a larger one but manyfarmers were still unable to produce. There have been significantinvestments into sophisticated irrigation schemes and wheatproduction such as the Biri Dam on the Manyame River. This schemedesigned for 14 000 ha of wheat now stands idle and about to gointo liquidation. This is a huge loss to the nation," saidTaylor-Freeme. Maize production is on the decline and thecommercial sector which used to produce 850 000 tonnes isunlikely to produce over 220 000 tonnes most of which will begrown for staff and livestock on farms. It is estimated that nomore than 7 000 ha of cotton which includes ARDA will be plantedcompared to 16 000 ha the previous year. Up to 30% of thecommercial beef herd has been slaughtered as farmers were burntout and herds driven off farms. Of concern is the female stockthat is being slaughtered but more importantly the pedigreeherds, which provide the quality genetics on improving thenational herd, are being sent to the butcher. The tobacco crop,the mainstay of commercial agriculture, which produced over 235million kg two years ago, is likely to achieve 165 million kgthis year, if the crop is allowed to mature to harvest and becured. The wildlife industry has been particularly damaged withrampant snaring, burning and destruction of habitat. Itsunfortunate that due to the Zimbabwe image hunters and touristsare reluctant to support our wildlife sector and it is certainlyon the road to collapsing. Finance approximate 20% of all loansfrom Banking Sector are made to commercial agriculture-if 90% ofFarmers stop farming this will have an adverse effect on theFinancial Sector. "From the above it can be seen that foodsecurity in Zimbabwe is at huge risk. Already, maize has to beimported. Many of the other commodities will also soon be inshort supply. The destabilis-ing of commercial agriculture notonly have enormous economic impact on Zimbabwe but also in theSadc region. "Although there was a commitment by governmentat Sadc and Commonwealth meetings to talk to the CommercialFarmers Union-there has been no real dialogue. We as majorstakeholders have not been consulted," he said.
Zimbabwe army completes demining atMozambique border post (Sapa/AFP, Harare, 12/12) - Zimbabwe'sarmy has finished demining 1.8 million square kilometers (700,000square miles) of land around a main border crossing withMozambique, the official ZIANA news agency said Wednesday."I am happy to say that we have managed to achieve theUnited Nations' standard of 99.6 percent" certainty thatland has been cleared of mines, Lieutenant-Colonel Mkhululi Ncubetold the agency. The Zimbabwean team also removed mines as far as200 meters (yards) across the border into Mozambique, he said.The demining will allow for the expansion of the border post,increased police patrols, and improvements to the railway linebetween the Zimbabwean city of Mutare and the Mozambican port ofBeira. An estimated two million anti-personnel landmines wereplanted along a 750-kilometer (460-mile) stretch of land onZimbabwe's borders during the 1970s liberation war, as colonialRhodesia tried to prevent guerrillas from staging attacks fromneighboring countries. About 27 percent of that area has beencleared, Ncube said.
Zimbabwean visitors flock to Canada(Zimbabwe Independent, Harare, 7/12) - The rate ofZimbabweans flocking to Canada over the past nine monthsincreased by 1 000% because of irregularities in immigrationprocedures, it was established this week. This has forced theCanadian High Commission to put in place new regulations toscreen visitors to Canada. The new procedures entail theestablishment of a system to ensure that only people with genuinereasons were allowed entry. The system will also include visitorsfrom Hungary, Dominica, Grenada and minor Pacific nations likeKiribati, Nauru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Canadian High Commissionpremier secretary in Zimbabwe Steve Hawley confirmed this weekthat the new regulations, which came into effect on Wednesday,were aimed at tightening entrance procedures for Zimbabweans whohad continued flouting the immigration system. "The rate ofZimbabwean nationals flouting stipulated regulations hascontinued to increase," Hawley said. "Last yearZimbabwean nationals who visited Canada amounted to 222. However,the figure to date has increased to 2 295, a 1 000% increase."It is against this background that we have found itnecessary to adopt the visa-to-visa system to ensure that onlythose people with genuine reasons are allowed entry intoCanada," he said.
Zimbabweans seeking refuge in Canadaon increase (Sapa/AFP, Harare, 6/12) - The number ofZimbabweans seeking refuge in Canada has increased, prompting theCanadian government to make visas mandatory for visitors from thesouthern African country, an embassy statement said Thursday."The requirement for a visa is in response to the fastincreasing number of refugee claimants from Zimbabwe," saida statement from the Canadian embassy, published in the localpress. Previously there were no visa requirements for Zimbabweansvisiting Canada, due to a shared Commonwealth status. Zimbabwe issuffering its worst economic crisis since independence from whiteminority rule in 1980. Around three-quarters of the country's 12million people live below the poverty line. Human rights groupshere have pointed to widespread political violence andintimidation in the country ahead of a crucial presidentialelection early next year. "Over the past year Zimbabwe hasbecome the fourth largest source of in-Canada refugeeclaimants," read Thursday's statement. State-run ZIANA newsagency Thursday quoted the Canadian embassy's first secretary,Steve Hawley as saying 2,295 illegal aliens from Zimbabwe arecurrently living as refugees in Canada.
This page last updated 09 July 2004.