Migration News - January 2001

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JANUARY 2001 - Click on the countrytitle above the headlines for the entire article.

Internally displaced population nears 4 million

Fears of new refugee movement from DRC
Hostility towards migrants and refugees escalates

Namibians granted asylum in Botswana
Namibia used as springboard for entry to SA

South Africa:
Canadians recruiting SA doctors
1,500 South African-trained doctors in Canada
Somalian community responds to attack on refugees
Cost of deportations escalate dramatically
Buthelezi publically criticizes own officials
More Cuban doctors arrive
Police dog attack on refugees in Cape Town
Police commissioner responds to dog attack on refugees
Business criticizes migration white paper
Home Affairs officials dismissed for corruption
Police raid on migrants in Alexamdria
Increase in stowaways bound for South Africa
Ship captain charge with abandoning refugees
Namibians hounded out of homes
DRC stowaways request political asylum
Clashes between locals and foreigners in Cape
Processing of permanent residence applications to increase

More aid for refugees in Zambia
Congolese soldiers flee to Zambia
Soldiers seeking asylum refuse to leave
Nangweshi refugee camp to be moved away from border
Journalists conflict with police over illegal trader
Tourism to Zambia booming
Fears of new refugee influx from DRC

High court stops deportation of American
Zimbabweans investigate emigration to other countries
Emigration accelerates as 500 skilled Zimbabwean leave per month
Emigration dampens urban property market
Zimbabwean comment on poor treatment in South Africa
Accusations that Britain is deporting Zimbabweans unfairly
Zimbabwe loses 20,000 nurses to emigration in 2000


Internally displaced population nears 4million (Irin, 24/01) - The Global Internally DisplacedPersons (IDP) Database of the Norwegian Refugee Council onWednesday released an update of its country profile on internaldisplacement in Angola. After a quarter of a century of conflict,the chronic insecurity and human suffering marked by the Angolanwar continues to increase. According to government reports, thetotal IDP population is fast reaching the four million mark whichgives Angola, along with Sudan, the dubious stature of hostingthe world's largest number of internally displaced, the updatesaid. Despite increased international attention to the plight ofIDPs in Angola and an improved government commitment to assistthese populations, some 60 percent of areas hosting displacedpersons were reportedly without a humanitarian presence at theend of 2000, the report noted. In November, the UN Representativeon Internally Displaced Persons, Dr. Francis Deng, visited thecountry and reported an estimated 525,000 persons were thought tobe in areas inaccessible to international organisations. In acountry where the needs of displaced and resident populations arealready acute, humanitarian observers presume the needs of theseinaccessible populations to be far greater. Indeed, news agencieshave reported regularly on civilian populations driven out of thebush by guerrilla violence in recent months. Often, ruralvillagers have had to walk as far as 70 km before reaching help.By this time, they are in a poor state, showing signs ofmalnutrition, disease and extreme fatigue. Children are generallythe most adversely affected, their growth often stunted by thetime they reach medical aid, the report stressed. Perhaps mostdisheartening about the present picture in Angola is thathumanitarian access is said to have improved over the last year,the update said. According to aid agencies, the extension ofstate administration in areas previously held by UNITA meansmajor road corridors have been opened and security perimetersexpanded around many provincial centres. As a result,humanitarian agencies have been able to launch programmes in ninenewly administered locations and to conduct assessments in overforty previously inaccessible communities.

But the overall humanitarian operation inAngola is now seriously affected by a change in military strategyon the part of UNITA, the update stressed. After losing ground tothe government during the first part of 2000, UNITA returned toguerrilla tactics, employing rapid infiltration offensives andhit-and-run ambushes with much more frequency. Though thegovernment claims to control 90 percent of the country, stateforces would be hard-pressed to guarantee the total safety of anyarea of the country in the context of this guerrilla war. For themost part, displaced persons originate from deep rural areaswhere UNITA continues to operate freely. In response to theplight of the estimated 3.8 million internally displaced personsin Angola, the government of Angola showed an increasedcommitment to improving humanitarian conditions during 2000. Thegovernment, in concert with the United Nations is working todevelop Minimum Operational Standards for Resettlement and Return(MINOPS) in line with the UN Guiding Principles on IDPs. Atpresent, norms have been drafted that will be followed up shortlyby operating standards. In parallel, the government continued toimplement its National Programme for Emergency HumanitarianAssistance (PNEAH), allocating some US $13 million in aid sinceJuly 1999. For its part, the international community also steppedup efforts to study the needs of the internally displaced, thereport noted. High-level visits were conducted by a number of UNand other officials. The US Ambassador to the UN, RichardHolbrooke, visited the country, as well as Dr. Deng, each tooktime to visit the country. The President of the ICRC, JakobKellenberger made an assessment visit of his own before the endof the year. In parallel, the UN dispatched an Inter-Agency RapidAssessment Mission Team to Angola in April 2000 to assess thesituation of displaced persons. A UNHCR evaluation of thesituation of internally displaced persons was also performed atthe request of the Angolan government. At the political level,the UN Monitoring Mechanism on Angola Sanctions set aboutinvestigating violations of UNITA sanctions. In a much-awaitedreport released in December 2000, the Monitoring Mechanismemphasised the need to deprive UNITA of its diamond income. Itunderlined UNITA's illegal use of diamond revenue to purchasearms via its bases in West Africa. Of greatest concern is thatvast numbers of the displaced are without aid or protection. Thereport calls for a change in the political will of national andinternational actors for a concerted effort to be made to end thesuffering.


Fears of new refugee movement from DRC(Pana, 23/01) - Malawi president Bakili Muluzi Tuesdayleft for the Democratic Republic of Congo to be among mourners atthe assassinated Congolese leader Laurent-Desire Kabila's statefuneral, amid fears that Kabila's death will spur a new influx ofCongolese refugees into Malawi. Lucius Chikuni, Commissioner forDisaster Preparedness, Relief and Rehabilitation, told PANATuesday there are currently at least 1,176 Congolese refugees inMalawi, 424 of whom have already been granted refugee statuswhile 812 are still awaiting screening by Malawi governmentofficials and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR). "Over the past few months we have been receivingbetween 10 and 20 Congolese asylum seekers but we fear that withcontinued instability caused by the death of President Kabilathings might change," he said. Chikuni said his departmenthas already put in place contingency plans to deal with thepossible influx of the Congolese refugees. There are currentlyover 3,900 registered refugees and asylum seekers at the Malawigovernment/UNHCR-run Dzaleka Refugee Camp in the central districtof Dowa, some 60 kilometres from the capital, Lilongwe. Chikunisaid the number could be much more for some refugees mingle withlocals, especially in slums of Lilongwe. Most of the refugees arefrom Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ugandanand the Democratic Republic of Congo. Muluzi told journalistsbefore departure for the Kabila state funeral earlier Tuesday hewas going to DRC as vice- chairman of the Southern AfricaDevelopment Community (SADC). "The death of Kabila is atragedy not only to the DRC but to the whole SADC region,"he said. Muluzi said he would fly into DRC via the Zambiancapital, Lusaka, where he would pick his Zambian counterpartFrederick Chiluba to the funeral. He said he was going toencourage Chiluba to continue with the dialogue he had startedbrokering among the Congolese factions. He would also encouragethe fighting factions in DRC to work with Congolese interimpresident Joseph Kabila on the road to democracy.

Hostility towards migrants and refugeesescalates (African Church Information Service, 08/01) - Malawiis fast becoming a den of violent criminals who upon entry intothe country masquerade as refugees, many law abiding citizens nowfear. The government admits that some people who claim to berefugees when crossing into Malawi are notorious criminals intheir respective countries who avoid to face justice for thecrimes they commit. Chief Immigration Officer Hudson Mlemeacknowledged in an interview that some criminals enter Malawi asrefugees especially those coming from the war-torn Great Lakesstates. But the government cannot close borders to bar people whosay they are fleeing from war from seeking refuge, he stressed.He says Malawi being a signatory to the Geneva Convention, wasunder an obligation not to expel any immigrant who claims to befleeing persecution from mother country. "If the Departmentof Immigration was given the mandate to clear everyone cominginto the country right at the border, problems of the influx ofillegal immigrants would be put out of question. With fundspermitting, deportation could be done immediately before onedisappears," said Mleme. The immigration chief explainedthat under the current laws, immigrants identified as asylumseekers are welcomed with open hands into the country and askedto report to a committee at any other convenient time for aninterview. The refugees are always allowed to enter the country.In many cases, there is no follow-up to their cases. As for theasylum seekers, it is up to them to decide whether to leave thecountry or not. The Department of Disaster and Preparedness,Relief and Rehabilitation says it is the responsibility of theimmigration department to make follow-ups on the variouscategories of immigrants. But immigration officials toss theresponsibility to the United Nations High Commission for Refugeessaying the UN agency is responsible for the welfare of refugees.UNHCR head of liaison in Malawi, Michael Owor, said refugees arehuman beings displaced from their countries because of war, amongother factors, and that they must not be denied refugee statusfor them to live a normal life just because they are beingsuspected to be criminals. Most organisations dealing withrefugees often complain that on human rights grounds screening ofrefugees could be ambiguous and offensive especially when tryingto distinguish a genuine case from other cases. The level offreedom accorded to more than 4,000 asylum seekers and refugeesin Malawi is being abused. This has not amused the authoritiesand the refugees alike. They are seriously considering takingserious action on the development. To prove to be a genuinerefugee, one has to fulfil "refugee status"requirements, Dzaleka Refugee Camp administrator, WinstonNawanga, said. He explained that wherever the refugees go theymove with such information and anyone claiming to be a refugeemust therefore produce a document in support. Nawanga said somerefugees "transfer their problems from their countries towhere they have been granted asylum". He noted that keepingtogether people from different countries who are on war is noteasy and safe. "Some refugees transfer problems from theirhomes to the camp. For instance, a Rwandese would not cope wellwith a Burundian. The same situation is with the others,"Nawanga stressed. He acknowledged that there were some illegalimmigrants who enter Malawi through some illegal routes andinvolve themselves in criminal activities. When they are corneredthey claim to be refugees. He said such are the types of alienstarnishing the image of others. Nawanga, however, pointed outthat refugees in Malawi were allowed to go out to do any kind ofbusiness as long as they reported back to the relevantauthorities within a period of 14 days. Critics say such freedomof movement of refugees is the concession that facilitates someof them especially those who were soldiers in their countries tocommit violent offences such as armed robbery, vehicle hijacksand general theft. When they are successful in the criminal actsthey flee the country. Leaders of refugees from war-torncountries residing at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in central Malawiblame "economic immigrants" from their countries whoare tarnishing their images. Leader of the Sudanese at the campJames Deng also took exception with "economicimmigrants", saying it was very unfortunate to pretend to berefugees when one was only seeking economic prosperity. "Wedid not choose to be refugees. It was all due to uncontrolledsituation which forced us to be in this kind of situation,"regrets leader of the Congolese, Kambining Jones. Many Malawiansare worried with the influx of especially illegal immigrants whohave taken over most of the shops in Malawi's capital, Lilongwe.The illegal immigrants are blamed for the high rate of crimeespecially armed robberies and car hijacking. Citizens are urgingthe government to follow the example of South Africa immigrationauthorities where illegal immigrants are deported within a shortperiod of time upon discovery. The immigration department is atthe centre of criticisms over the influx of illegal immigrants.Many critics say is supposed to carry out the mopping outcampaigns on weekly basis including thorough checking of allillegal border routes where they suspect the illegal immigrantspass. Mr. Kennedy Mughogho of Department of DisasterPreparedness, Relief and Rehabilitation says immigrationauthorities should establish in- transit facilities for initialscreening right at the border so that those who do not qualify asasylum seekers should be sent back immediately without involvingother stakeholders. Dzaleka Refugee Camp in central Malawi has204 Somalis, 1105 Congolese, 599 Burundians, nine Sudanese, sixEritreans, while Uganda, Angola, Comoros and Ethiopia have oneeach. In all there are 3,797 refugees.


Namibians granted asylum in Botswana(Pana, 30/01) - The Botswana government has grantedpolitical asylum to 10 more Namibians from the troubled CapriviStrip because they were being harassed back home. The fugitives,who arrived in two batches claiming that they are being houndedby the Namibian authorities, were given refuge after passing ascreening exercise by Botswana. According to the Kasane policestation Commander, Superintendent Ntaya Tshepo, a woman and hertwo children arrived in the village last December and surrenderedthemselves at the station claiming harassment by the Namibiangovernment after the failed military uprising in the Caprivi lastyear. "The woman claimed that her husband has since fled toBotswana and ever since she has been frequenting the policecell," Tshepo said. He explained that the family wasscreened and has since been sent to Dukwi refugee camp (over 500kilometres from Gaborone) as political exiles. Tshepo furtherexplained that two more women and five children also arrived atthe police station with complaints of political harassment."We took them to prison for accommodation as their statuswas being considered." The seven were screened and grantedpolitical asylum. They have since been sent to Dukwi where thehusbands to the two women are reported to be residing. Butaccording to a Caprivian who is facing charges of enteringBotswana illegally, there might soon be a deluge exiles fromCaprivi into Botswana following a terror campaign mounted by boththe Namibian police and soldiers in the troubled region. The manclaimed that he was serving in the Angolan army before he wascalled back home with promises of employment in the Namibianmilitary. "But to the contrary, when we returned we weredetained in military camps and tortured. We were alleged to havebeen colluding with the Unita soldiers who have since been cominginto Namibia." He said they have also been threatened withdeath. "Some of the people who participated in the uprisinghave been killed in the cells but this is a closely guardedsecret in Namibia," he added. Relations between Botswana andNamibia have in the past been strained because of the Gaborone'swillingness to grant asylum to Caprivian exiles. In 1999,Botswana was forced to relocate Mishake Muyongo, the leader ofthe Caprivi separatist movement to Europe because of pressurefrom Namibia who wanted him to face trial for treason. Muyongoand his top associates and other Caprivian refugees crossed toBotswana in 1998 when the simmering dispute in the area developedinto a military confrontation between the separatists and theNamibian army. Currently the Namibian government has filed a casein a Botswana seeking the repatriation of 13 Caprivians which itwants to put on trial for murder, treason and other crimes. Thecase is to be heard 8 February 2001.

Namibia used as springboard for entry toSA (Pana, 30/01) - The regional councillor forKeetmanshoop Urban constituency in Karas region Frans BassonTuesday complained against the rise in the number of illegalimmigrants using Namibia as a springboard for entry intoneighbouring South Africa. Speaking during a meeting attended byregional and local councillors and representatives oflaw-enforcement agencies in Keetmanshoop, he told the visitingCommander of the National Defence Froces (NDF), Maj.-Gen. MartinShalli that the influx of such immigrants could cause problemswith the southern neighbour. The councillor said that thisproblem was becoming serious as a number of people trying to swimacross the Orange River have drowned. Basson also claimed thatlight aircraft were illegally entering the country, adding thatthis may cause future problems as they could be used to smugglein arms and other items. In his response, Maj. Gen. Shalli notedthat at present the Karas region was very peaceful and no arms orweapon smuggling had been detected as yet. He reiterated the NDF'commitment to maintaining peace and stability in all regions ofthe country, although some regions needs urgent attention thanothers. He particularly cited the northern Kavango region, wherealleged armed Unita rebels from Angola are causing untoldsuffering to Namibians. "I must, however, tell you that theNDF is doing very well in the Kavango at present," hestressed. Shalli said that the aim of his current tour to variousregions was to know and understand what kind of assistancecommunities in various regions of the country need from the NDF.He added that border security concerns were high on the agenda ofthe NDF and problems experienced in the southern border of thecountry will be given due attention. Shalli leaves for thecoastal town of Luderitz on Wednesday.

South Africa

Canadians recruiting SA doctors (BusinessDay, 29/01) - Canada'sprovincial premiers have rebuffed a formal plea to stoprecruiting SA doctors and other health professionals, highcommissioner Andre Jaquet said at the weekend. In anunprecedented step, Jaquet recently wrote to the premiersexpressing concern that recruitment from SA would surge asprovinces, all facing severe shortages of medical personnel,sought to spend the C23bn infusion allocated by the federalgovernment last year. The fund is meant to beef up the country'stroubled health system. Only Nova Scotia, one of Canada's poorestprovinces, responded positively, stating that it did not onprinciple recruit from developing countries, the envoy said."The rest effectively told me to get lost." In a visitto Canada next month, Malegapuru Makgoba, SA Medical ResearchCouncil president, will discuss the ethics of rich countriesmeeting their own backlogs by luring doctors and nurses whompoorer states not only desperately need but have spentsubstantial resources to train. Jaquet stressed that "thepoint is not to try to limit people's freedom of movement but tostart a debate in the medical community on the ethical aspects ofaggressive recruiting". Canada's Royal College of Physiciansand Surgeons has invited Makgoba to take part in a forum tolaunch such a debate. Canada's demand for foreign doctors andnurses is growing. SA accounts for 10% of foreign-trained doctorsin the country and has sent at least 1500, says the BritishMedical Journal. While British Prime Minister Tony Blair hasagreed to tackle the issue, Australia and New Zealand continue towelcome SA health professionals.

1,500 South African-trained doctors inCanada (BMJ, 27/01) - South Africa's high commissionerto Canada has issued an unprecedented formal appeal to Canada'shealth ministers to stop recruiting doctors and otherhealth professionals from South Africa. In a letter toprovincial and the federal health ministers, André Jaquet saidthat he was concerned that, given Canada's shortages ofhealthcare specialists and massive new healthcare fundingannounced by the federal government last September,recruiting efforts would increase among South Africa'sdoctors, nurses, radiologists, pharmacists, and otherhealth workers. This could further undermine his country's abilityto reform the poor health infrastructure inherited from itsapartheid past. Canada now has over 1500 SouthAfrican doctors 17% of physicians in the province of Saskatchewantook their first medical degree there. DrMartin Vogel, the first physician trained in South Africa to headthe province's medical association, is impatient with theidea that Canada is "poaching." "Being fromAfrica, I know what poaching is," he said."There is the hunter and there is the hunted. Ifanything, I was hunting for a better life." And heconsiders he has found it. The 260 Saskatchewandoctors who trained in South Africa make up the equivalent offive years' output from the province's medical school.The Canadian Medical Association's president, PeterBarrett, who practises in Saskatoon, said that provinces likehis would be in desperate shape without foreign doctors. Ifdoctors are leaving a jurisdiction, "you have to ask whyit's better where they're going." In atelephone interview with the BMJ, Commissioner Jaquet said thatCanada was not the only country recruiting South African doctorsin large numbers; Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdomhad done so, and three years ago the United Kingdom reached anagreement with South Africa to deal with the problem."The whole point is not to try to limit peoples' freedom ofmovement," he said, "[but to] start a debate in themedical community on the ethical aspects of suchaggressive medical recruiting."

Somalian community responds to attack onrefugees (Sapa, 24/01) - The Somalian Community Forum onWednesday expressed concern about apparent xenophobic attacks onrefugees. Their concern follows an incident in which a police dogwas set on Somalians for no apparent reason. reported thatthe Somalians, who were treated for minor injuries, pressedcharges of assault against the policeman. SCF spokesman MahidElmi in a media statement said the SCF was horrified by theattack, which served as a reminder of continued Xenophobia inSouth Africa. "South Africans should know that the refugeescoming to this country do not expect to be attacked andkilled...when the war in their country is over, they will one dayreturn home," he said. Police spokesman Captain Rod Beerlast week said the officer claimed he was responding to a burglaralarm around 11pm at a house in Bellville South, and saw asuspect fleeing. He released the dog to give chase but the animaldisappeared around a corner and attacked the Somalians. WesternCape police commissioner Lennit Max ordered an investigation intothe matter. Elmi said the SCF lauded those involved in bringingthe perpetrators to justice and added that the action taken wouldrestore dignity and confidence in the South African governmentand it's people.

Cost of deportations escalatedramatically (Woza Internet, 24/01) - The cost ofrepatriating illegal immigrants has increased by 350% in one yearand accordingly the government needs to refocus its attention onpreventing the influx of illegal immigrants rather thanrelocating them, Democratic Alliance MP Mike Waters said onWednesday. Waters told WOZA that the figures quoted are fromconfidential sources within the department of home affairs andrefer to the Lindela Repatriation Camp in Gauteng. "In 1999the taxpayer coughed up R17 million. In 2000 the figure rosesharply to R60 million due to the astronomical increases in airtravel. This represents an increase of 350%," said Waters.Illegals who come from countries which share common borders withSA, such as Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, arerepatriated by train. However, those who come from countries farremoved from our borders are sent by plane, at great cost, backto their country of origin. "People arrive here illegallyfrom all over, but some of the more common countries of originare Angola, Nigeria and even Thailand," said Waters.Consequently, according to Waters, repatriating the illegals heldat Lindela by air cost R39 million last year, up from R6 millionin 1999. Similarly, train costs went up to R2.5 million from R1.3million last year. "The cost of maintaining and running theLindela Repatriation Camp costs almost R18 million alone,"said Waters. He said that the government must change its focus toprevention if the heavy cost to taxpayers is to be reduced."The government is pouring money down the drain as it cutscosts at entry ports, which allow illegals to slip into SAundetected. "The government must stop closing its eyes tothe chronic understaffing at ports of entry throughout thecountry - international syndicates know where our weak points areand will hone in on them, and the longer we take to remedy thesituation the larger the problem will become," said Waters.Waters argues that there are several key areas where governmentcan reduce the influx of illegals. "The correct number ofimmigration officials need to be employed at all airports, portsand border posts. Last year the situation became so bad at theCape Town International Airport that the Airports Company had toemploy their own people to rectify the situation," he said.In line with this, passport control desks throughout the countrymust be upgraded and computer-linked, and the fencing along theborder must be maintained, he says. "In order to reducerepatriation costs, more SANDF aircraft should be used for therepatriation instead of chartered flights, and failing this,chartered flights should be put out on tender," says Waters.Lastly, Waters says that the internal security at all homeaffairs offices must be tightened up to reduce passport and visafraud and theft. There are numerous repatriation centresnationwide, all responsible for the repatriation of illegals.These camps are responsible for holding and repatriating all theillegal immigrants apprehended in one area. Thus the greaterJohannesburg area has a camp, as does Cape Town, etc. "Thedepartment of home affairs must stop skimping on areas where wecan actually make a difference and keep people out,"concluded Waters. The department of home affairs was notimmediately available for comment.

Buthelezi publically criticizes ownofficials (Business Day, 23/01) - Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi has toldsenior officials in his department to accept his leadership orresign, as he could no longer tolerate their"insubordination and defiance". Buthelezi said at adepartmental strategic planning workshop on Sunday that too manypolicies had been developed without his approval, "withoutinforming me, and even against my specific instructions".The speech strongly hints that officials are resisting the newimmigration policy, which aims at easing the certification ofskilled foreign workers. The policy, embodied in a draftimmigration bill, will drastically reduce officials' discretionin granting permits. Buthelezi said he had heard a rumour that astudy on the restructuring of the department, named Project Tiro,had been initiated when he had specifically opposed it.Department director-general Billy Masethla could not be reachedfor comment yesterday. Chief government spokesman JoelNetshitenzhe said Buthelezi had raised an "internalministerial matter" on which he had no comment. PresidentThabo Mbeki overrode Buthelezi's objections to Masethla, a formermember of the African National Congress's intelligence unit, byappointing him in 1999. In an apparent reference to how permitapplications are currently processed, Buthelezi said he wanted tostress that home affairs was primarily a "delivery"department, and only marginally a "security"department. Buthelezi criticised expenditure on courses forsenior officials, unjustifiable when "we have officials whostruggle with understanding our own forms". Money should bespent on training them. The new policy would lead to regionaloffices issuing permits, ending the "absurd" situationof top managers dealing with particular applications. "EvenI, as minister, must process hundreds of cases every year. (This)is unheard of in any developed country." took over the civicaffairs function, services would be "equal" throughoutthe country. Buthelezi said the department was considering makingpublic holidays, except for those that fell on historical orsymbolic dates, fall on a Friday or Monday. This would reducework absenteeism, while families would have longer weekends.

More Cuban doctors arrive (Woza Internet,19/01) - While 34% of current medical interns arereported as saying they want to leave the country on completingtheir studies, the fifth group of Cuban doctors will be arrivingin SA on Friday and on January 26. “The group of Cubanrecruits consists of 75 medical doctors and 14 medicallecturers,” ministerial spokesperson Sibani Mngadi said in astatement. The Free State is to get four doctors, Gauteng 12,North West 13, KwaZulu-Natal 18, Mpumalanga four, Eastern Cape12, Northern Province 10 and Northern Cape two. Most of therecruits will be allocated to family medicine, while the medicallecturers are specialised in orthopaedics, radiology, forensicmedicine biochemistry, physiology, anatomy, otorhinolaryngology,obstetrics, microbiology, haematology, laparascopic surgery andbiological sciences. “Presently there are 353 Cuban medicaldoctors and 22 medical lecturers [University of Transkei] workingin SA, says Mngadi. He explains that the doctors have beenrecruited to provide health services to rural and otherdisadvantaged communities within which there are no suchservices, develop adequate health services in hospitals and otherinstitutions throughout the country and train and encourage localdoctors to work in such areas and institutions. “The Cubandoctors already working in SA have brought relief to the sick andbeen useful in addressing the problem of shortage of medicalpersonnel,” says Mngadi. Research has shown that remote andunder-serviced areas are not getting the doctors they need, evenwith compulsory community service for doctors. The 1999 HealthSystems Trust SA Health Review pointed out that“Doctors’ community service is not fulfilling its aimto get doctors to the peripheral and remote areas of the country:only 25% of community service doctors are placed in ruralhospitals, while 55% are working in regional, tertiary andspecialised hospitals.” The Democratic Party (DP) has sharedits concern in the past that there is too much emphasis onredeployment and importing doctors from Cuba, and not enough onretaining doctors in the country. Local doctors are unhappy. In“A profession under siege”, a report by the EthicsInstitute of SA launced in November last year, doctors haveindicated that inadequate remuneration is a major source ofstress (91% of doctors surveyed), while government interventionin the profession (87%) is another. What Clinic readers had tosay about doctors leaving:

SAand Cuba entered into a health cooperation agreement in October1996, under the then Health Minster Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. Thedeclaration of intent signed between the two countries serves tobroaden assistance over and above the deployment of Cuban doctorscountrywide. It covers health research, academic co-operation,health policy and programmes, biotechnology, vaccine productionand pharmaceutical development. Cuban health minister Dr CarlosDotres said at the time that Cuba was assisting more than 25African countries, but was giving special attention to SA.

Police dog attack on refugees in CapeTown (Cape Town, Cape Argus, 18/01) - Until the night ofthe police dog attack, Somali refugees were finding liferelatively peaceful in Bellville South. Now they fear maybe itisn’t so safe after all. Cmar Ahmed, Sharif Hassan andHassan Omar, the three Somalis savaged by a police dog in BrandStreet on Monday night, have all been trading as hawkers in thearea for the past three years. The dog apparently started bitingthe men while it was chasing a burglar. Witnesses said thepolicemen had said they were checking if the dogs could stillbite, and when one of the victims’ friends asked the m tocontrol the dog, one said: “Don’t tell me what to doyou f----ing foreigners”. Ahmed’s arms were lacerated,Hassan was bitten on the legs and feet and Omar was bitten on thebuttocks. Provincial Commissioner Lennit Max pledged personallyto oversee the investigation into the attack. “Ascommissioner I will not tolerate similar events to the incidentin Gauteng,” he said. After the TV screening of the Gautengattack he had his dog handlers “sensitised” and he hadissued instructions that the temperament and aggression levels ofpolice dogs be closely monitored. Commissioner Max also issued adirective that no police dogs should be used for crowd control.“I will act harshly against a member whose negligence, ormalice, can be proved in a dog-related attack,” he said.“We all fled our country two or three years ago to escapefrom the war and the fighting. We are street vendors. We sellhats and shoes and bags for a living. “People haven’tbeen very hostile to us, except for asking a lot for rent.”Abdurazk Ahmed, translator for the three, said: “Our biggestproblem is rent. Some of us have to pay up to R700 a month for aroom in a flat, and when we talk to local people about it, theyare amazed at the amount we have to pay. Locals are charged muchless. “But we have always felt safe here. Nobody has everattacked us before. We did see on the TV about those other policedogs that bit the refugees, and then we saw what was happening torefugees in Du Noon, and now their dogs are attacking us. Now itdoesn’t feel so safe any more.” Ali Abda, a Somalirefugee from Mogadishu working in a shop in Brand Street, saidSouth Africans did occasionally threaten foreigners.“It’s happened that South Africans told us they’dkill us because they say we take away their business and takeaway their jobs. But most South Africans don’t mind us,though. “Sometimes people come to take away our supplies,and sometimes the police arrest us when our papers aren’tright.”

Police commissioner responds to dogattack on refugees (Sapa, 17/01) - Western Cape policecommissioner Lennit Max on Wednesday said he would not tolerate arepetition of the incident last year in which six Gauteng policeofficers spurred their dogs on to attack three illegalimmigrants. Max was addressing a media conference about atelevision station's report that a Western Cape police officerhad set his dog on three Somalian refugees in the Bellville Southarea. e-tv news reported on Tuesday that the three legal refugeeswere brutally attacked on Monday evening when the officerallegedly set his dog on them for no apparent reason. "Ihave noted these allegations with great concern and have orderedan immediate criminal and disciplinary investigation," Maxsaid. Max said he would not take action until he had received acomprehensive report because the officer involved and the victimsdiffered greatly on what happened. Spokesman Captain Rod Beersaid the officer claimed he was responding to a burglar alarm atabout 11pm at a house in Bellville South when he saw a suspectfleeing. He released the dog to give chase but the animaldisappeared around a corner and attacked the Somalians. TheSomalians, who were treated for minor wounds in hospital anddischarged, have pressed charges of assault against thepoliceman. Max said if there was evidence that the attack was agenuine misunderstanding and that the dog was at fault, he wouldconsider not using the animal concerned in future policeoperations. Max said his decision on what action to take wouldprobably be made by the end of the week.

Business criticizes migration white paper(Business Day, 15/01) - About 8 402 SA left the countrywhile only 3 669 foreigners crossed SA’s borders in 1999according to the latest Statistics SA (Stats SA) figures. In 1998about 9 031 left compared with just 4 371 people coming in. About8 946 South Africans emigrated in 1997 compared to just 4 103immigrants arriving. It is evident that this trend may continueunabated, and at this stage government has no remedy. A draftimmigration bill was tabled before Parliament early last year,however the ministry of home affairs has thus far given no hintas to when or whether the new legislation will be cleared. Theministry said it “can give no timeframe or deadline as theParliamentary processes cannot be prescribed”. A topofficial from the ministry said that formulating a policyrequires more time’’. The current immigration law isstill embodied in the Aliens Control Act of 1991. A recent newsreport by I-Net Bridge detailed how policy confusion and tensionsbetween the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and theInkatha Freedom Party (IFP) were aggravating the situation, andpreventing the formulation of new policy. In its present form,the law makes it difficult for companies to simplify andstreamline the hiring of foreign skilled workers. The BritishChamber of Business in SA, for one, has complained that it is“impossible for skilled foreigners investing in SA andrunning development projects to secure work permits” underthe current regime. The Human Sciences Research Council recentlycommissioned a study on the skills needs of the labour market.The study expects total employment of professionals to rise by 93000 between 1998 and 2003, increases of 16 000 and 12 000 formanagers and artisans respectively, and a decline of 71 000positions for semiskilled and unskilled workers over the sameperiod. Worse, the White Paper on International Migration has seta rather less promising precedent. After being published in March1999, the White Paper soon came under heavy attack, as it yieldedfewer answers to more pressing questions about how it intended tohelp attract much-needed foreign skills and money. Saul Klein,professor of marketing and international business at WitsBusiness School, said the immigration policy “isfundamentally flawed”. According to the policy, companieswishing to employ foreigners are required to pay a levy. Kleinargues government should lift all the barriers including leviesand tight labour laws, saying the state “should get out ofthe way”. The Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE)shares the same view. “There are aspects (of the migrationpolicy) which are disappointing, which contradicts its own soundprinciples,” the CDE said in response to the White Paper.“Economic growth requires as many skills as we can grow,hire and import.” Over the past five years, the SA economyhas grown steadily, but not enough to offset sustainable economicgrowth, create more jobs, boost investment, and even improve thecountry’s competitiveness in the global economy. The grossdomestic product (GDP) grew for the period ranging from l995 to2000atthe rateof3,1%, 4,3%, 2,5%, 0,7%, 1,9% and 0% respectively.Although SA’s labour productivity is not as dismal as itappears at first glance, it is still far short of that of otheremerging markets let alone rich countries. The average annualrise in output per worker since the 1990s has accelerated to 3,5%from the 0,2% pace of the 1 980s. The CDE also said the policyfails to take into account the effect of HIV-Aids. The diseaseaffects about 11% of the SA population. UNAIDS, a United Nationsagency, estimates that 4,2-million people, most of whom areeither young or economically active, were living HIV-Aids in 1999in SA. That said, an acute shortage of skilled workers in SAposes a major threat, as well as a challenge, and if governmentdelays immigration legislation any further, the situation is lesslikely to get better in years to come.

Home Affairs officials dismissed forcorruption (Sapa, 18/02) - The Department of HomeAffairs on Thursday has fired several officials for misconduct, adepartmental statement said on Thursday. A senior clerk at theBethlehem district office, was dismissed for unauthorised absencefrom duty and theft. A cleaner was fired from the Beaufort Westdistrict office for staying away from work and theft. Two clerkswere fired from the Pretoria office for trying to con members ofthe public into paying for having fingerprints taken fordocuments. A clerk at the Alberton office, was fired for issuingillegal immigrants with passports and exemption certificates. Aprinter's assistant at the Government Printing Works, was firedfor altering a medical certificate. A messenger at the Malamuleledistrict office, an immigration officer at Bethlehem districtoffice and an immigration officer at the Ermelo district office,were given final warnings. The messenger crashed a governmentvehicle while driving it without permission, the Bethlehemimmigration officer freed an illegal immigrant from policecustody and the Ermelo immigration officer issued temporarypermits to immigrants reapplying for political asylum withoutadhering to procedure.

Police raid on migrants in Alexandria(Sapa, 11/01) - Police arrested more than 100 illegaloccupants of houses in Alexandra's controversial East Bank phasetwo development on Thursday morning, said the Alexandra HomelessYouth and Families Association. Association chairman Marx Modibasaid at least 108 people, including the elderly and pregnantwomen, were arrested in a police swoop. Johannesburg policespokeswoman, Inspector Mary Martins-Engelbrecht confirmed thatsome arrests were made, but said details were still sketchy.Modiba said the occupants took possession of the houses inNovember after talks with authorities failed. He said theyoriginally occupied the homes in June last year, but moved outafter the talks started. Modiba said his organisation was a newstructure, but worked closely with the Alexandra CivicAssociation.

Increase in stowaways bound for SouthAfrica (Cape Town, Cape Argus, 09/01) - Stowaways arebecoming an increasing problem for many ships heading for SouthAfrican shores. According to the border police unit the number ofstowaways found on ships coming into Table Bay Harbour hadincreased dramatically. Last year the harbour recorded 30stowaways, many of whom were refugees and asylum-seekers fleeingconflicts in Africa. Last week, four Congolese stowaways wererescued off Cape Point. They had been set adrift in an inflatablelifeboat by a ship’s crew and spent two days at sea withoutfood and water. Eddie Bremner, Table Bay harbour’s portcaptain, said despite the high fencing and tight security on mostships, stowaways still found ways to gain access. “A lot ofstowaways are not reported to port authorities or immigrationofficials,” he said. “Some ship captains allow thestowaways to go free, while others know that they need to reportthe presence of a stowaway before they dock, otherwise they willcarry repatriation costs.” But Bremner said many captainsand crew let stowaways get away. If the illegal immigrant wascaught and his port of entry traced, the captain concerned andhis crew could get into a lot of trouble. “They will be heldresponsible,” he said. Border police unit spokesman AndrewTheron agreed the problem of stowaways had worsened in recentyears. He too blamed it on slack security. “There are two tothree security guards on most ships, who can’t conduct athorough search for stoways. And when these ships dock, it’sdifficult to keep an eye on everyone.”  Theron saidthere were also too few guards on borders, for which theDepartment of Home Affairs was partly to blame.  Ron Cans,chairman of the Association of Ships’ Agents and Brokers inCape Town, attributed the stowaway problem to the wars in manyparts of the continent.  “We are dealing with two kindsof stowaways - those trying to get into the country, and thosetrying to leave the country in search of greener pastures inEurope.  “It’s very difficult for a captain toturn his ship around once he discovers stowaways. “Sousually once he discovers them, he’s stuck with them,”he said. Cans said it was illegal to cast stowaways from a ship.He said according to the International Maritime Safety Authority,a captain and his crew members could be prosecuted and evenjailed if found to have committed such an offence. Cans cautionedcaptains and crew members to be vigilant when docking in foreignharbours. “We advise them not to allow too many peopleinside their vessel, as this creates an opportunity for stowawaysto hide inside the ship,” he said.

Ship captain charge with abandoningrefugees (Cape Town, Pana, 09/01) - Police said Tuesdaythat they have detained in Durban and questioned Capt. Lin ChengHaun of a ship which abandoned four refugees from the DemocraticRepublic of Congo off the southern coast near Cape Town on 6January. Police in Durban said Lin was charged with the crime ofendangering human beings on the high seas and fined 5,000 USdollars by South African authorities. They were unable to chargehim with attempted murder because he claimed he had given themfood and water before setting the Congolese adrift. Police saidLin had violated Section 174 of the Merchants and Shipping Act,which states that no master or seamen can endanger the life of orcause injury to any person belonging to or on board a ship.Stowaways Verlin Kafumanisa, Mule Mule, Maxi Matha and TontonNazeya were rescued by the crew of the South African yacht Zuza,after sighting them adrift in an inflatable lifeboat eightnautical miles Southwest of Cape Point. The men said they werefleeing the war in DRC when they stowed away on board the cargovessel Krissa while it was berthed at the Congolese port ofMatadi. They alleged that, after discovering them aboard the shipon 4 January, the crew threatened to kill them before settingthem adrift in an inflatable life raft without food and water.Meanwhile, the stowaways who are recovering in a Cape Townhospital said they would apply for political asylum in SouthAfrica.

Namibians hounded out of homes (TheNamibian, 08/01) - Oneperson was killed in clashes between locals and African nationalsin the Dunoon informal settlement near Cape Town on Saturday,SABC news reported. Namibians, Angolans andBurundians, who said they had permits to be in South Africa,spent the last two nights outside the Tableview and Milnertonpolice stations after they were chased out of their homes in thesettlement on Thursday. The violence started when a Namibiancitizen fired shots into the air on New Year's eve. A group ofNamibians took the man to the South African dominated committeewhich runs the township. The committee demanded that the man'slicensed firearm be handed over to them, but the Namibiansrefused. A Namibian national said the South Africans destroyedand ransacked their homes. South Africans in Dunoon told the SABCthey did not want foreigners there, even if they had legalpermits. Foreigners took their homes and jobs, they said. Policewere patrolling the area and were helping the foreigners tosalvage some of their belongings.

DRC stowaways request political asylum(Cape Town, Pana, 08/01) - Four Democratic Republic ofCongo stowaways who were rescued off Cape Town on Saturday, onSunday confirmed that they have requested political asylum fromthe South African authorities. The men, Verlin kafumanisa, MuleMule, Maxi Matha and Tonton Nazeya, who are under observation ina Cape Town hospital after their 10-day ordeal at sea, havealready discussed their situation with South Africa’sDepartment of Home Affairs. They were rescued by the crew of aSouth African yacht, Zuza, who found them adrift in an inflatablelifeboat eight nautical miles south-west of Cape Point. The mensay they fled the war in their home country and stowed away onboard the cargo vessel Krissa while it was berthed at theCongolese port of Matadi. However, they were discovered aboardthe cargo ship on Thursday, and claim the crew threatened to killthem before setting them adrift in an inflatable life-raftwithout food and water. The South African Maritime SafetyAuthority said an international investigation would attempt totrace the vessel from which the men had been cast adrift. Theship was destined for Europe via Durban. Chitapi said the twolodges would be re-opened when the problems affecting theindustry had been addressed, but noted: “While RIG isappreciative of the support by the domestic market during thisfestive season, the group fully appreciates the fact that thefundamentals which resulted in the current depression in theindustry are yet to be addressed. “In the meantime, however,the group will continue to play its role within the industry inan effort to facilitate and accelerate a sustained recovery ofthe industry.”

Clashes between locals and foreigners inCape Town (Irin, 08/01) - Clashesbetween South African nationals and immigrants from countriessuch as Namibia, Angola and Burundi have left at least one persondead in a Cape Town settlement in the past few days, AFP quotedSABC television as reporting on Saturday. SABC said the clashestook place in the settlement of Dunoon, outside the southerncity. The immigrants, who said they had permits to be in SouthAfrica, camped outside police stations overnight on Thursday andFriday after they were chased out of their homes, the state-runchannel reported. The report, which gave no details of the death,said the South Africans accused the immigrants of"stealing" their jobs and women.

Processing of permanent residenceapplications to increase (Sapa, 03/01) - A total of 1642applications for permanent residence, involving 2406 people, werefinalised between January 1 and September 30 last year, the HomeAffairs Ministry said on Wednesday. Spokesman Hennie Meyer said4218 applications were still pending countrywide. More than half,2257, were applications from people married to South Africancitizens. Measures were implemented to reduce the backlog but thenumber of applications received monthly exceeded the department'sability to process and finalise them during the same period. Ameeting would soon be held with the various committees of theAutonomous Immigrants Selection Board - the only body in terms oflegislation that has the right to confer or withhold the right ofpermanent residence. The committees would be asked to finalisemore applications per meeting, Meyer said.


More aid for refugees in Zambia (Times ofZambia, 30/01) - The United Nations High Commissionerfor Refugees (UNHCR) office in Geneva has staked K40 billion forthis year’s operations in Zambia. UNHCR spokesman KelvinShimo yesterday revealed that the Geneva office had promised torelease more funds should need arise. Mr Shimo said the financialcommitments had been made following the rising need for refugeesimproved welfare. He said the refugees body had also appealed tosome African leaders to consider the human costs that resultedfrom their decisions. The commission’s top leadership inGeneva had resolved and found it imperative to remind the leadersbecause most of the current atrocities had stemmed from carelessdecisions made by them. Therefore, there was need for them toassess the impact of their decisions on the people to offset therising number of hostilities in the world especially in Africa.Meanwhile, Mr Shimo reiterated that the borders in Northern andLuapula Provinces were still quiet as no fresh refugee inflowshad been received from the area.

Congolese soldiers flee to Zambia(Lusaka, Pana, 23/01) - The UNCR is solicitinginternational support from the UN and other donors to help theZambian government provide relief to Congolese soldiers whorecently fled into Zambia. UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner,Soren Jessen­Petersen, told journalists in Lusaka Tuesday thatthe refugee situation in Zambia was complex soldiers who had fledfrom the DRC were currently mixed with civilian refugees, mainlywomen and children. Jessen-Petersen said Zambia was hosting thelargest number of refugees from the Great Lakes region, hence itwas important to help the government in Lusaka maintain stabilityin the country. “Although we do not have the direct mandateto look after combatants, we feel that it is our responsibilityas UNHCR to draw the attention of the UN to the problems thatZambia is facing with this huge number of refugees,” theUNHCR official said.  Jessen-Petersen who arrived Tuesday inLusaka said he will be holding meetings with Zambian authoritiesto learn of the problems that government was facing as a resultof the influx of refugees, and how the UNHCR can provide supportto alleviate some of the problems.

Heis expected Wednesday and Thursday to visit Mwange refugee campin northern Zambia which hosts about 23,000 Congolese refugeeswho entered Zambia since March 1999, as well as kala camp innorthern Luapula province with about 12,000 refugees from the DRof Congo. He would also visit the Nangweshi camp in westernZambia which hosts about 12,000 Angolan refugees. Zambiacurrently hosts over 250,000 refugees mainly from Angola and theDR of Congo who have been settled in refugee settlements andcamps. A large number of refugees are also spontaneously settledalong the borders of the Northern, North Western and Westernprovinces as well as urban areas. Zambia’s Home AffairsMinister Edwin Hatembo who met the chairman of the OAU Commissionon Refugees, Ambassador Marawn Badr in Lusaka Tuesday, saidZambia’s assistance to refugees was a huge challenge for thegovernment in Lusaka because of the scarcity of resources. Hesaid that local populations hosting refugees were demandingcompensation for foodstuff they provided to the refugees beforethe intervention of the UNHCR and other internationalorganisations. Hatembo said there was an urgent need to look intothe socio-economic impact of refugees, particularly on securityproblems that arise as a result of the presence of armed elementsamongst the refugees.

Soldiers seeking asylum refuse to leave(Dispatch Online, 09/01) - More than 200soldiers seeking asylum in Zambia, have refused to be repatriatedto their respective countries for alleged fear of facingexecution once they returned to their home countries, securitysources have revealed. The sources disclosed on Tuesday that 115DRC soldiers and close to 100 Rwandese and Burundi Hutumilitiamen, are seeking asylum in Zambia. The sources are part ofthe Zambian defense and security personnel deployed to monitorthe security situation in the Zambian towns close to the DRCborder areas. Speaking through a telephone interview, a sourcefrom Nchelenge about 1,030 kilometers north of Lusaka told TheDispatch that, the soldiers have written to the Zambiangovernment and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR), informing them about their reasons for seeking asylum." The soldiers fear facing stiff punishment which includes apossibility of being executed by means of a firing squad becauseof committing an offence – running away from the battlefield," the source said. The close to 200 soldiers, who arenow being kept at Nchelenge Secondary School, are suspectedmembers of the interahamwe of Rwanda and Burundese militiamen.The interahamwe are widely believed to be the perpetrators of thexenophobia, that led to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and claimedmore than 800, 000 lives mostly Tutsis and the moderate Hutus.Currently, there are more than 10, 000 DRC soldiers fleeing thewar in their home country living on the Zambian soil, mainly inborder towns of Luapula and Northern Provinces. The Zambian andDRC governments, last week facilitated the repatriation of 3, 214DRC soldiers to their home country. President Fredrick Chiluba onJanuary 4 met his DRC counterpart Laurent Kabila in the miningtown of Ndola 400 kilometers north of Lusaka. The two heads ofstate held a one-day meeting, which among other things looked atways of making the fragile 1999 Lusaka cease-fire- agreement holdand the repatriation of the DRC soldiers. The dual also discussedthe Rwandan and Ugandan backed Rally for Congolese Democracy(RCD) rebels who have continued to occupy Zambia’s KiwaIsland on Lake Mweru in Luapula Province. At the same meeting,President Chiluba expressed concern over the ever-increasingpopulation of the DRC soldiers in Zambia, posing a threat to thecountry’s internal security. Defence Minister Chitalu Sampaconfirmed the repatriation of the DRC soldiers. He said that aprogramme, which would see the repatriation of the DRC soldiers,has been put in place by the governments of the two countries.And United Nations High Commissioner (UNHCR) spokesperson KelvinShimo confirmed that his orgainsation’s office in Nchelegedistrict has received request for asylum from some soldiers loyalto the DRC government. " Records from our office inNchelenge show that a total of 115 DRC soldiers are formallyseeking asylum in Zambia," Shimo said. UNHCR officials saidthat the asylum seekers have a right to request for the refugeestatus in Zambia especially in a situation where they felt thattheir safety was not guaranteed in their country of origin. Thefate of the other close to 1000 interahamwes asylum seekers,would depend on the outcome of the scrutiny of their cases by theSwitzerland based UNHCR’s refugee protection office. TheUnited Nations sanctioned International Criminal Tribunal onRwandan (ICTR), has issued an international warrant of arrest forall suspected interahamwe for crimes against humanity theycommitted in 1994. An ICTR delegation is in Zambia looking forall people linked to the perpetrators of one of the worstkillings in human history. The ICTR team which is being headed byMax Nkole, a Zambian Commissioner of Police on secondment to theUN, is expected to tour all refugee camps in Zambia to search forsuspected perpetrators of the genocide disguising themselves asrefugees.

Nangweshi refugee camp to be moved awayfrom border (Irin, 08/01) - UNHCR is tomove a refugee camp further inland from the insecure Angolaborder. UNHCR said that agreement had been reached in principlewith the Zambian government to move the 12,000 refugees atNangweshi, 150 km from the border, to a new facility at Nyambi,near Kaoma, 300 km west of the capital Lusaka. News organisationreported that the Angolan government has expressed concern thatthe rebel movement UNITA had supporters among the refugees atNangweshi, raising security fears. UNHCR Representative in ZambiaOluseyi Bajulaiye said last week that with the recent activationof the Ukwimi camp in eastern Zambia - holding UNITAex-combatants - there are now six official refugee sites inZambia up from two in 1997. In an official address, Bajulaiyethanked the British government for a US $1.6 million donation forUNHCR operations this year.

Journalists conflict with police overillegal trader (Windhoek, Media Institute of Southern Africa,08/01) - On 27 December 2000, two journalists from theprivately owned “Monitor” newspaper and a Xinhua newsagency correspondent were harassed by police and immigrationofficials during an operation against alleged illegal Chinesetraders in Lusaka. Douglas Hampande and Chali Nondo of the“Monitor” told the Zambia Independent Media Association(ZIMA) on 28 December that they earned the wrath of theauthorities when they tried to interview the Xinhuacorrespondent, identified as Chin, who was being harassed by thepolice and immigration officials. Hampande said he was detainedfor almost an hour in a waiting immigration vehicle for failingto produce an official identity card, while Nondo said he wasslapped twice and almost detained too. He managed to flee thescene. Hampande was only released after the intervention of hiseditor, Goodson Machona, who pleaded with immigration officialsto release him. Chin told the ZIMA on 8 January 2001 that theofficials jostled her about in an attempt to grab her camerawhich she had used to take photographs of the incident. She wassaved by the Chinese traders, who prevented the authorities fromgrabbing the camera. She managed to escape unscathed. In a 28December statement, ZIMA Chairman Masautso Phiri condemned theharassment of the journalists as “uncalled for’ and“intended to intimidate the journalists.” “Whilewe acknowledge that both police and the immigration officer wereon duty, so were the three reporters,” Phiri said. Forfurther information, contact Zoe Titus or Kaitira kandjii,Regional Information Coordinator, MISA, Street Address: 21JohannAlbrecht Street, Mailing Address; Private Bag 13386 Windhoek,Namibia, tel: +264 61 232975, fax: +264 61 248016, or .na, Internet:

Tourism to Zambia booming (Harare,Zimbabwe Independent, 05/01) - The struggling tourismsector is set to lose millions in foreign currency earnings toneighbouring Zambia as thousands of tourists coming to watch theonce-in-a-lifetime June 21 solar eclipse have avoided thiscountry preferring run-down but peaceful Zambia instead, theZimbabwe Independent established this week. Zimbabwe has alreadylost the construction of a multi-million dollar resort complex toZambia, and numerous other developments which were expected tohave taken place in the resort town of Victoria Falls have beenmoved across the border to Livingstone. The latest benefit toZambia, enhanced by problems in Zimbabwe, is the eclipse-driventourism boom. Even though it is seen as underdeveloped andlogistically more difficult by tour operators, Zambia got the nodahead of Zimbabwe from a majority of operators. Internationalvisitors were hardly visible in Zimbabwe’s prime touristattractions such as the Victoria Falls during the festive season.For the first time locals out-numbered foreign visitors and thishas been attributed to the affordable packages that the industrycame up with during the season. Hotels and tour operators inZimbabwe have already re­ported massive layoffs as bookings havefallen to below 20% of capacity. The picture was howeverdifferent on the other side of the Zambezi where an unprecedentedtourism boom is under way. The Zambian resort town of Livingstoneis currently getting a face- lift with the construction of afive-star Sun International Hotel set to open in April. Fearswere rife on the Zimbabwean side that Victoria Falls would sufferirreparable damage if the wider Zimbabwe crisis was not resolved.

Fears of new refugee influx from DRC(Irin, 04/01) - Concern is mounting amonghumanitarian agencies in Zambia that an "impending"attack on the southeastern Congolese border town of Pweto bygovernment forces could send thousands more refugees fleeing intoZambia. Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government troopsshelled the rebel-held town on Monday. The attack was condemnedby rebel RCD-Goma radio, which reported that two people died inthe barrage. In the event of an all-out government assault on thetown, humanitarian sources said they are preparing for an influxof 10,000 refugees - mainly from among those that fled the battlefor Pweto in December. Meanwhile, RCD-Goma forces are reported tobe pushing south towards the government-held town of Kasenga,also on the Zambian border. Fresh fighting would end the currentlull in refugees entering Zambia. According to UNHCR, at the endof December the flow dropped from 200-300 refugees per day tojust 50. UNHCR spokesman Kelvin Shimo told IRIN on Thursday thatthe fall in numbers could be because most of the vulnerablepopulation had already arrived in Zambia, or that the war had notyet reached a new phase of violence. "But if Pweto falls wecan expect 10,000 more to come, but that is within ourcontingency plan of 50,000 refugees entering northern Zambia, sowe are not really worried," he said. An estimated 25,000 DRCrefugees have crossed into Zambia since November. According toUNHCR, some 9,000 have been moved south to a new camp at Kala,while an estimated 15,000 people have settled spontaneously inborder villages in Zambia's northern district of Chiengi. Theyare expected to be eventually moved to Kala.


High court stops deportation of American(Financial Gazette, 25/01) - The High Court yesterdaybarred State Security Minister Nicholas Goche and thegovernment's chief immigration officer Elasto Mugwadi fromdeporting American national Eva Lafever whom they accuse ofsupporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).Goche, who heads the state spy Central Intelligence Organisation(CIO), and Mugwadi wanted Lafever deported from Zimbabwe onallegations that she had breached immigration regulations byengaging in political activities. Lafever is the president of theWord of Life Fellowship International in Zimbabwe, a churchorganisation that has been operating in the country since 1991.High Court judge Justice Moses Chinhengo yesterday confirmed anorder barring Goche and Mugwadi from harassing or deportingLafever from Zimbabwe. Court documents show that Lefever'sproblems began in October last year when operatives from the CIOstarted trailing her on suspicion that she was working with theMDC, a 16-month-old party that almost ended the ruling ZANU PFparty's 20-year hold on political power in Zimbabwe. Lafeveralleged that officers from the spy agency raided her house in theaffluent Harare suburb of Borrowdale on October 19 last year,accusing her of harbouring illegal arms of war. The CIO wantedLafever deported on the grounds that she sympathised with thelabour-backed MDC and had worked in cahoots with formerRhodesians to mobilise farm workers to vote against a government-authoured draft national constitution rejected by Zimbabweans inFebruary last year. The cleric was also accused of financiallysupporting the opposition party through donations from the UnitedStates, charges she denied in her founding affidavits filed withthe High Court.

Zimbabweans investigate emigration toother countries (Financial Gazette, 25/01) - More than 3000 Zimbabweans of all races, searching for a new Eldorado andtired of increasing poverty and lawlessness, thronged thefive-star Bulawayo Club last week to learn about emigrating toNew Zealand. The up-market club was so packed with hopefulemigrants, mostly black business executives, lawyers,journalists, technicians, nurses, doctors and unemployed youths,that hundreds had to be locked out of the venue and told to trytheir luck the next day. "It seems the future is extremelybleak for most of us as long as the present government is stillin power," said Andrew Chirwa, a 30- year-old male nursingstudent at a government hospital in Bulawayo. His net monthlysalary after punitive tax deductions is $7 000 and he can barelyfeed a family of four and its two dogs. Shoving his way pastother hopefuls anxious to reach the top table and hear whatoptions New Zealand has for restive Zimbabweans, Chirwa told theFinancial Gazette: "Our remuneration is appalling whencompared to other professionals in the same field in South Africaand Botswana. "But I can't go to South Africa because theyhate foreigners, especially Zimbabweans. The United Kingdom, afavourite of most Zimbabweans, is a non-starter due to harshimmigration laws." Although London has denied adopting apolicy that aims to keep Zimbabweans out of the UK, it isincreasingly difficult for most Zimbabweans to gain entry intothat country. Zimbabweans top the list of deportees from the UK,with about 47 denied entry every month. "It is wise to trythese new places such as New Zealand," Chirwa said."They might turn out to be impressive." For otherwould-be emigrants who flocked to the club, finding a countrythat respects the rule of law and where they will not live infear for their lives is their main priority. Although mostZimbabweans are concerned about their personal safety, whiteZimbabweans - often the targets of hate speech by governmentofficials that has in the past incited violence - are mostanxious to find a safe haven. The murder of white farmers oncommercial farms occupied by independence war veterans and otherruling ZANU PF supporters and the failure by police to takeaction has seen many farmers relocating to neighbouringcountries. More Zimbabweans are preparing to leave the countrybefore local political parties begin campaigning for the 2002presidential elections, which are expected to be hotly contestedand as bloody as last year's polls. Several opposition partymembers, rural peasants, farmers and farm workers were killed,raped and beaten in the run-up to the historic June 2000parliamentary elections. A maize farmer and rancher who attendedthe meeting at the Bulawayo Club said he felt insecure on hisproperty in Nyamandlovu, northwest of here, hence his intentionto move to New Zealand before the presidential poll campaign getsinto top gear shortly. He told the Financial Gazette: "If Iget the slightest opportunity, I will certainly jump on the firstflight to New Zealand or any other place that respects the ruleof law, irrespective of the prohibitive financial costsinvolved." "I'm fed up," he said, referring toactivities of the veterans who have forced him off his land. Theveterans have already killed one farmer in Nyamandlovu, MartinOlds, who was murdered last April. The maize farmer said hissafety was not guaranteed in the farming area, where the veteransare keeping a vigil. "The problem in Zimbabwe at the momentis that you never know when the veterans will strike and grab myfarm without compensation," he said. "It's veryinsecure in the area. "So it's better to start scouting forgreener pastures. New Zealand could be an ideal place. Thesituation on the farms especially will resemble a war zone come2002." Themba Nkomo, a civil servant in rural MatabelelandNorth, echoed the farmer's sentiments: "I don't want to beanother statistic as Robert Mugabe desperately tries to cling topower. I want out." Bernard Walsh, managing director ofGenesis Group Limited, the Auckland-based company that hosted andpresented last week's seminar, said those who made the decisionto leave Zimbabwe for New Zealand would have to fork out $120 000each. This would be used to pay for the processing ofdocumentation, buy an air ticket and finance other costsassociated with leaving Zimbabwe to settle in New Zealand. Walsh,himself a former Bulawayo resident, emigrated to New Zealand inApril because of the harsh economic and volatile politicalclimate in Zimbabwe. "I left the country because I feltinsecure," he told an anxious audience. "To me, NewZealand offers vast opportunities for most professionals inZimbabwe. It is not very different working there."

Emigration accelerates as 500 skilledZimbabwean leave per month (Harare, Pana, 01/11) - Anewspaper advertisement in one of Zimbabwe’s dailynewspapers read: “Mazda 626 executive, 1996 model. Priced tosell. Owner leaving.” The announcement is only one ofhundreds placed everyday by Zimbabweans preparing to join agrowing exodus to neighbouring countries and abroad, for what isconsidered an easier and better life compared to one at home.Most of the trekkers would be selling anything from cars tohouses and household goods they would not carry on their journeysinto the unknown. Political instability at home and erodedincomes, as a result of Zimbabwe’s economic crisis, isdriving tens of thousands of its nationals into leaving thecountry, once a popular destination itself for Africa’sDiaspora. The country has been living on a political and economicknife-edge since 2000 when international donors, angered by thegovernment’s alleged electoral violence and pursuance of alawless land reform programme, withdrew aid, sending the economyto the woods. More than 30 people died, scores others injured andmillions of dollars worth of property damaged in politically-motivated violence which accompanied parliamentary elections inJune 2000, which most international observers said was stirred byPresident Robed Mugabe’s governing party. Political analystssay they expected an even brutal election campaign for the 2002presidential race, in which the veteran Zimbabwean leader isstanding. But what prompted most donors to withdraw aid was thegovernment’s controversial land reform programme whichHarare has refused to abandon even in the face of the violence ithas stirred country-wide. Cut-off from crucial international aid,Zimbabwe’s economy has been skidding, contracting by minus4.2 percent in 2000.

Emigration dampens urban property market(Harare, Financial Gazette, 11/01) - An exodus ofZimbabweans in search of greener pastures abroad has begun toaffect Zimbabwe’s residential rental market, a Harare-basedestate agent said this week. John Spicer, a managing director ofa leading player in Zimbabwe’s residential market, said manyupmarket residential properties remained unoccupied for monthsafter being placed on the rental market because of the shortageof affluent tenants who are leaving the country.“Furthermore, due to rampant inflation and the ongoingdevaluation of the dollar, some landlords, particularly thoseresiding overseas who do not fully appreciate the currencycrisis, are not prepared to reduce rents and in some cases insistthat the rents be linked to the US dollar to cushion them fromthe effects of devaluation,” Spicer said. “This hasresulted in many houses being unoccupied for months, which inturn leads to the deterioration of the properties.” He toldthe Financial Gazette that the supply of rental properties nowfar outstripped demand as a result of large numbers of propertyowners putting their houses on the market as they leave Zimbabweeither for economic or security reasons. “The market isbecoming increasingly depressed, with a flood of properties onthe market from economic exiles, while the number of tenants isdecreasing,” he said. “Many expatriate non-governmentalorganisations which previously constituted a large portion oftenants are also leaving, as are young educated mobileZimbabweans who also used to rent before they bought their firsthomes. As a result, tenants on the market had greater choice andwere in a much stronger position to negotiate rentals downwards,Spioer said. Young Zimbabweans concerned about their future arequitting the country in droves to seek respite from a worseningpolitical and economic crisis that has crippled a oncevibrant economy. Hundreds among the country’s small buteconomically dominant whites have also been unnerved bypolitically motivated seizures of commercial farms byindependence war veterans with the support of the ruling ZANU PFparty. Spicer said another reason why residential propertiesbeing thrown on the market were hardly getting any takers wasthat local salaries were not keeping up with inflation and mostlocals could thus not afford rents pegged against the greenback.Spicer said the huge departure of locals had not had much impacton the sale of affluent residential properties. “Despite theproblem of the huge emigration of skilled personnel fromZimbabwe, the effect has been less on the actual sales ofresidential properties. Even those with little intention of everreturning are aware that selling property at present in not agood idea,” he said.

Zimbabwean comment on poor treatment inSouth Africa (Harare, Zimbabwe Standard, 07/01) - Thelast couple of years have seen Zimbabweans crying foul afterbeing unceremoniously thrown out of neighbouring countries,particularly South Africa, for reasons varying from unrenewedwork contracts, to deportations on charges of possession offorged documents. The whole scenario has now taken a new twistwith some locals accusing host countries of using them to developtheir skills base and then booting them out when their own peoplehave become competent enough to man jobs previously held byforeigners. Says Alec, who worked in Cape Town as an automotiveengineer from 1993 to 1998: “It’s funny how it used tobe very easy for me to renew my work contract and suddenly, in1997, I was told my services were no longer needed, yet Isingle-handedly trained a total of 11 young motor mechanics overthe five-year period that I worked for this garage.” Alec,like several Zimbabweans who have not found joy in the differentfields they specialised in, have had their dreams of a betterlife cut short in Botswana, Malawi and South Africa, where thelong arm of immigration has not spared them. One top personalitywho was a victim of such unceremonious deportation is TichafaMatambanadzo, popularly known as Tich Mataz. He does not pull anypunches on the ill treatment of aliens, which has come to beknown as black on black xenophobia. “People must realisethat there is power in unity and if we work collectively assouthern Africans, there is definitely enough for every one. Nowwhat we are having is a situation whereby we are judging peopleby the way they speak, like if one has an accent that’sdifferent from say a South African’s we want to be quick tosay uyu haasi wedu (this one is not one of us). Such an approachdoes not get us anywhere,” says Matambanadzo. He blamesapartheid and colonisation for the divisions that exist amongAfricans, and urges people to urgently revise their views on thisblack on black victimisation currently existing within southernAfrica. But whilst those directly affected by this practicebreathe fire, local business executives feel this repatriation ordeportation should not be looked at from a moralistic point ofview. Says Jameson Timba, a managing director with a localcompany: “We need to sort out our economy first as well asunderstand that the current policy of creating employment doesnot work. What we need is the creation of a suitable environmentfor the employer, because he creates work. So policies should befor the creation of employers and these should be through thefinance ministry and that of industry and commerce.”Timba’s sentiments were echoed by Charles, a sales executivewith a local beverage manufacturing company: “We must notgive our burden to other people. Running away from our problemsis not the way to go. “Government needs to make Zimbabwe acountry that investors want to come to. It should be lucrativeenough business-wise. Until that happens, we will continue tosink deeper as far as the strength of our economy and employmentcreation is concerned. It is not the business of neighbouringcountries to come to our rescue, It should be out ofchoice,” he said. The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries(CZI) agrees with Charles. Last week, the industry umbrella bodyappealed to government officials to desist from issuing race hatestatements, as well as to respect the rule of law and thejudiciary. Said CZI president, Zivanai Rusike: “Forinvestors to continue to retain interest in Zimbabwe, governmentofficials need to act responsibly and refrain from issuing hatredand racial statements. Surely 20 years after attainingindependence Zimbabwe should be for all of us, irrespective ofrace, colour, creed or political affiliation. “Suchinflammatory statements by high government officials raise thesocial temperature which is already high, and this disturbsbusiness confidence.” Rusike said it was everyone’sduty to correct mistakes which have been made to enable thecountry to build up on experiences to make Zimbabwe an attractiveinvestment destination. Until such a time as current push factorshave been addressed, Zimbabweans will continue to leave in theirthousands to satisfy external markets where their expertise isneeded. As for the raw deal of afterwards being discarded likesome used gadget, that is the price one will have to pay inexchange for a job that enables one to make a decent living.

Accusations that Britain is deportingZimbabweans unfairly (Harare, Zimbabwe Standard, 07/01) - TheBritish government has said it has no official policy of denyingZimbabweans - or nationals of any other country - entry into theUnited Kingdom. A British High Commission spokesperson told TheStandard on Friday that Zimbabweans, like visitors from any othercountry, were allowed to enter the UK if they met the immigrationrequirements. It was not true, she said, that only Zimbabweanswere being targeted for deportation as this happened to anyonewho failed to meet immigration requirements. The comment comesamid accusations by some Zimbabweans and top government officialsthat the British government was targeting Zimbabweans fordeportation and that British immigration officers wereparticularly harassing Zimbabweans who wanted to enter Britain.The spokesperson said the decision to refuse entry to anyprospective immigrant was taken only after careful considerationof all the facts and after reference to and with the authority ofa chief immigration officer. ‘There is no policy ofpreventing the entry of any nationals of any particular countryand no question of anybody ever being refused without goodreason. “All persons refused by entry are informed of thereasons for the decision both verbally and in writing at the timethe decision is made,” she added. Over the festive season,65 Zimbabweans were deported from the UK with 19 reportedlyapplying for political asylum. Since Zimbabwe is a Commonwealthcountry, no visa is required for visitors from Zimbabwe to the UKon a fully paid holiday as long as one satisfies the immigrationofficial on arrival. Holiday visitors have the option of applyingin advance for entrance from the High Commission, and shouldsatisfy that they are going as working holiday makers and intendto stay for not more than six months, said the spokesperson. Shesaid upon arrival in the UK, Zimbabwean citizens are liable toquestioning by an immigration officer to establish whether theyqualify for entry in accordance with the Immigration Rules.“In the case of Zimbabweans arriving for a holiday, theimmigration officers must be satisfied that they are genuinelyseeking entry for the period and purpose stated and that they canmaintain and accommodate themselves without working or recourseto public funds and they will leave the United Kingdom at the endof their visit,” she said. Due to the increase in theapplications for people wanting to travel to the UK, it isadvised that prior entry is obtained from the high commissionbefore travelling. Many young Zimbabweans have bitterlycomplained of the treatment meted out to them during thedeportation process, alleging that they were being discriminatedagainst at the port of entry in the UK even on occasions whenthey had the necessary entry requirements. The high commissiondismissed the allegations, pointing out that everyone had a rightto appeal against the deportation.

Zimbabwe loses 20,000 nurses toemigration in 2000 (Harare, Zimbabwe Independent, 05/01) - Thehealth delivery system is likely to suffer a heavy blow as aresult of a massive brain drain of nursing staff which has seenthe country lose close to 20 000 specialised nurses to Britainand other Commonwealth countries last year, the ZimbabweIndependent has learnt. Information released by Minister ofHealth and Child Welfare Timothy Stamps indicates that 18 000nurses had left for the UK in the last 12 months. Sources in theMinistry of Health said the figures were much higher, as thosequoted were mainly for nurses leaving for Britain and discountedemigration to other countries like South Africa, Australia andCanada. Zimbabwean nurses were leaving the country in drovesciting poor remuneration and working conditions. Government thisweek announced - too late for many - that it had reviewed thesalary scales and grades for health professionals in the Ministryof Health and Child Welfare in a bid to stem the tide. Britainlast year announced plans to recruit more than 21 000 nurses fromother countries. Britain has a high number of elderly infirm whorequire specialised nursing services. A source said Zimbabwe waslikely to face an acute shortage of intensive care and midwiferystaff as a result of the exodus. “Unless the governmentintroduces laws to stem this exodus then the country has adisaster in the making,” said the source. Zimbabwe’s 30000 nurses in both the private and public sector had fallen preyto lucrative offers made by British nursing agencies. Stampsconfirmed that the country was facing a serious brain drain butwas quick to say that his ministry was putting in place measuresthat would ensure retention of staff.

This page last updated 09 July 2004.