SOUTHERN AFRICAN MIGRATION PROJECT

Migration News - July 2001

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JULY 2001 - Click on the country titleabove the headlines for the entire article.

Regional:
Many Africancountries left bleeding as doctors flock to SA
Report on border between South Africa and Zimbabwe
Buthelezi comments on challenge of refugee protection in SADC
Regional refugee problem must be shared, says South Africa
SADC should co-ordinate on refugees: says Buthelezi
South African response on border with Namibia

Angola:
Angola would welcomedisplaced white Zimbabwe farmers

Botswana:
Batswana students urgedto return home from UK

Lesotho:
Passports scandal rocksLesotho

Malawi:
Issue of foreign land ownership discussed

Namibia:
Air Namibia employeeimplicated in human smuggling
Teachers cleared of sexual abuse at refugee camp
Sexual abuse reported at Osire Refugee Camp

South Africa:
Prominent Nigerianrefused entry for medical treatment dies at Johannesburg airport
Report on border jumping from Zimbabwe
Durban Unicity criticised for ignoring xenophobia
New bill "short-sighted" says expert
4 000 blank passports stolen
South Africa banks fear effects of brain drain
Undocumented migrants cost state R6,5 m per annum to deport
Fourteen-year-old schoolboy wrongfully thrown into jail cell as'alien'
Buthelezi outlines plan for immigration courts for SA
South African woman victim of police xenophobia
South African woman lays complaint for wrongful arrest as"illegal immigrant"
Ghanaian who exposed official corruption may get second chance inSA
Asylum-seekers take on state
Study of loss of doctors released
Conflict over re-appointment of Director-General of Home Affairs
Task team to examine exodus of health professionals from SouthAfrica
Democratic Alliance praises SANDF border control
South Africa sabotaged by skills loss says Morkel
Home Affairs faces court challenge from refugees over treatment
Abused Zimbabwean labourers testify against farmers
New tensions between Mbeki and Buthelezi

Zimbabwe:
Zimbabwe fast losing itsyoung professionals
Journalist challenges deportation
Harare rethinks giving park to landless
Mugabe threatens whites

Regional

Many African countries leftbleeding as doctors flock to SA (Olifantsfontein, Saturday Star,21/07) - In a faceless mall 30 minutes outsideJohannesburg, next to a pharmacy and a CD shop, Dr Taddesse Hailu(52) plies his trade, ministering to a stream of patients from asprawling black township nearby. For about Rl00 a visit, Hailu, afamily doctor, prescribes a drug for a shin rash, or listens tothe emotional problems of his patients. Although the living hemakes by practising in one of South Africa’s poorest areasis modest by some standards, Hailu compares it favourably to hislife in Ethiopia, where he practised before immigrating to SouthAfrica seven years ago. “I was frustrated in Ethiopia whereworking conditions were very difficult,” Hailu says..“Patients had to bring their own syringes and medicines tothe hospital. People were dying in my arms, and there was nothingI could do. At least here I can make a difference.” But themost pressing reason he left his country was financial. Withdoctors earning less than R2 500 a month in Ethiopia, Hailu says,it was difficult to make financial ends meet. A decade ago, theEthiopian government sent Hailu to Austria to specialise inorthopaedic surgery. He never returned. Hailu is among thousandsof African professionals, such as doctors, nurses, accountantsand teachers, who have flocked to South Africa in the pastdecade, depriving their native lands of badly needed humanresources. Besides Ethiopia, the influx has come from countriessuch as Uganda, Zambia, Ghana and Nigeria - places where the needfor medical practitioners is acute and where the governmentsspend scarce resources on the training of doctors. Ethiopia,where the government fully subsidises the training of doctors,has one doctor for every 22400 people, compared with SouthAfrica’s one per 1870 citizens. "African countries havebeen losing their professional people to Europe and the UnitedStates for decades, and now South Africa has come to deliver thekiller blow to their economies,” according to LawrenceSchlemmer of the Centre for Development Enterprise, aJohannesburg think-tank focusing on immigration issues. After thedemise of apartheid, so many doctors from the rest of Africaheaded south that the Organisation of African Unity persuadedthen-president Nelson Mandela to put a moratorium on the hiringof doctors from other African countries. But the moratorium,which was lifted seven months ago, didn’t stop Africandoctors from coming, it just drove them underground. Hundreds ofdoctors from Africa work in the private practices of SouthAfrican doctors for a fraction of what they could earn if theywere registered. One African doctor working under such anarrangement in Port Elizabeth earns about R4 000 a month. Askedabout leaving his country where he received free medicaleducation, the doctor said: “It’s about survival. Ihave to take care of myself first.” South Africa lackstrained professionals, particularly in medicine, because manyhave been lost to Aids or have left for wealthier, lesscrime-ridden societies. More than a quarter of South Africandoctors who graduated between 1990 and 1997 are working abroad,according to a study by the South African Medical Association. Inall, the government says it loses about 4000 skilled workers ayear although independent analysts say it could be three timesthat many. The government has tried not to poach doctors fromAfrican countries, instead importing doctors from Cuba to work inunderserved rural areas. Over the past six years, more than 400Cuban doctors have worked in South Africa, earning annualsalaries of up to R500 000 - 30% of which goes to the Cubangovernment. However, the Cuban doctors haven’t solved SouthAfrica’s shortage. Skilled immigrants are a relatively smallsegment of the estimated 3-million foreigners living in SouthAfrica. Most of the unskilled immigrants come from poorneighbouring countries such as Mozambique, Angola and Zimbabwe.While it forces out the unskilled, SA’s government hasproposed legislation to ease the granting of work permits to thewell trained.

Report on border between SouthAfrica and Zimbabwe (Johannesburg, Mail & Guardian, 20/07) - TheSouth Africa-Zimbabwe border is leaking like a sieve with morethan 200 holes in the security fence around the Beitbridge borderpost, army patrols that only come on duty at 10pm and widespreadfraud and corruption. This has been reported by the NationalAssembly's portfolio committee on home affairs. "We saw manyholes in the fence at Beitbridge, and we were told that the holeshave been there for a long time, despite many pleas to theDepartment of Public Works to fix them," the committee saidin a report tabled in Parliament. The Department of Home Affairsis meant to be doing everything possible to prevent illegalimmigrants entering the country. But the select committeeconcluded that "people jump the fence at border posts due tolack of control and personnel. Border posts are alsoill-equipped". It found corruption: "Immigrationofficials are easily bribed as their salaries are low and thesystem followed at border posts is insufficient to stop organisedcrime. There is a lack of sufficient management in theimmigration section at Beitbridge." The committee alsocriticised the lack of human resources in the Department of HomeAffairs, especially in the immigration services section, and itsinsufficient budget, which led to a lack of computers, furniture,office space, cars and cellphones. The regional director of homeaffairs in the Northern Province, MV Mabunda, who met thecommittee at Beitbridge in April, said three people a month inthe province were dismissed from the department because of fraud.He said poor management at the border post was a contributingfactor to the fraud. "Officials indicated that Chinese andPakistani people are crossing the Limpopo river at night. Theyare ferried across by syndicates," the report read."When people enter South Africa without the properdocumentation, it does not take them long to obtain documentationby fraudulent means." The head of immigration at Beitbridgetold the committee that the fraud and corruption at the borderpost could not be controlled. He attributed this to variousfactors including the lack of security at the gate: "Thereare more than 200 holes in the security fence around the borderpost" and "The South African National Defence Forceonly comes on duty at 10pm every night." Beitbridge is thelargest port of entry into South Africa and 42 000 transit visaswere issued for Zimbabwean citizens in 1999, and twice thatnumber last year. A shocking lack of facilities at five SouthAfrican border posts with Botswana has been uncovered by thecommittee. At the Bray border post used by 150 people every day,the committee found there were no toilets or running water and"there is also no shade for people to stand in, nor spaceinside the building for the public". Home affairs staff atBray handled identity applications and registration of births butthey "have to use the South African Police Service's [SAPS]telephone and fax facilities, as they do not have theirown". At the Mokopong border post, home affairs personnelshare a building with the police because of the lack of officespace, and they rely on the police to do their banking becausethey have no transport. At the Makgobistad border post, where theborder runs through the Barolong tribe many people jump thefence, including children from Botswana who attend school inSouth Africa. At the Ramathlabama border post, "theelectricity regularly cuts out, and this causes computer data tobe lost and damaged. There is no back-up system for thecomputers, and technicians have to come from head office toassist; the computers are also not linked to the mainframe."At the Skilpadsnek border post, "the office is very smalland ill-equipped. There are no telephones, and officials have tobeg the SAPS when they need to phone. There are also no propertoilets," the committee said in its report, which has beentabled in Parliament.

Buthelezi comments on challengeof refugee protection in SADC (Johannesburg, The Sowetan, 17/07)- Confronted with a massive movement of people toSouth Africa, Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi hascalled on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) toaddress the problems that lead to people seeking asylum. SouthernAfrica is host to more than 300 000 refugees. South Africa hasabout 15 000 refugees and countless illegal immigrants, who placea burden on the resources of the country. But South Africa hostsfar fewer refugees than Malawi, which had nearly a millionrefugees - one out of seven of its population - at the height ofthe civil war in Mozambique in the late '80s and early '90s.Zambia and Tanzania are host to hundreds of thousands of refugeesdisplaced by the continued civil wars in Angola and the GreatLakes region. Addressing senior officials from the UnitedNations, international human rights activists, academics,politicians and judges last week, Buthelezi said: "We needto work on the conflicts that deprive them of the protection oftheir countries but we also need to work on ways and means toprovide assistance to countries of first asylum." Theminister was speaking at the 50th anniversary of the 1951 UnitedNations Convention on the Status of Refugees to strengthenpartnerships among all those committed to refugee affairs."We are aware that our country might become the target of alarge influx of both migrants and refugees. "Conflicts onour continent continue to deprive many African people of thehuman rights protection of their country and expose them towell-founded fears of persecution," he said. Many refugeesundertake perilous voyages, often on foot, and cross parts of thecontinent to reach what they perceive to be a better country,which often offers them little more than their country of firstasylum. About 50 million refugees and internally displaced peoplein the world have been uprooted by conflict, according to theUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. There are between15 million and 17 million refugees in Africa. "My departmentis confronted with severe budgetary constraints and our refugeesection labours under inadequate human and financial resources,resulting in undue delays in finalising a huge backlog,"Buthelezi said. The conference reflected on the internationalframework of norms, principles and procedures set forth by theGeneva Convention half a century ago. It explored whether theframework met the requirements of the 21st century and coped withpresent pressures and future challenges. Said Buthelezi:"The entire issue of refugee protection becomes part of thecommitment of each country to maintain a global awareness andparticipate in the global forging of solutions and also takingcare of what happens beyond our borders." South Africa'stransition to democracy in 1994 brought in its wake a gradualflow of refugees who came in search of protection frompersecution and civil strife. Before 1994 South Africanlegislation made no provision for refugee law. The immigrationsystem was also highly inadequate since it reflected the mindsetand limited needs of a country in international isolation. Thecountry had to move fast to catch up with other countries indealing with critical issues such as the impact of trafficking inpeople on refugee affairs, the abuse of asylum petitions as aback door to immigration and many other refugee problems.Buthelezi said: "We had to think of new systems ofimmigration control, which we are now in the process of givingshape through legislation pending before Parliament. "Wealso had to integrate within our systems, and metabolise withinour administrative practice and national awareness, theinternational prescripts of refugee law and develop our ownrefugee legislation." Many of the international instrumentsto which South Africa acceded have placed financial obligationson the Government but were adopted, nonetheless, "because ofthe principle of the matter". He said the Government haddone this deeply aware of the historical backlog of theunfulfilled social and economic claims and expectations of itspeople and the vastly uneven distribution of wealth created byapartheid. "Despite the varied and intense needs of our ownpeople and the extremely high unemployment rate in our country,our Government enthusiastically assumed the obligation to grantstatus and protection to those who had fled their countries infear of persecution," said Buthelezi. The minister has yetto deal with the abuse of the system by opportunisticapplications or unscrupulous individuals and cartels who trafficin people and who undermine the humanitarian ideals implicit inrefugee protection. Hdeal with the issue of fraud andfraudulently obtained status, the repercussions of which are isdepartment also needs to far-reaching. Said Buthelezi: refugee"Not only are frauds an intolerable abuse of the system, butthey also set back the cause of protection, for in the blurred.minds of ordinary South Africans the line between refugee andillegal immigrant may become "The processing of reducesapplications for people who do not qualify for these benefitsbecomes an added burden, which the effectiveness with perceptionof which we can provide the benefits to people entitled toit." Buthelezi said the erroneous an exponential growth morefertile of refugees, the delay in processing claims and a highunemployment rate might create a breeding ground for culture ofxenophobia, which must be avoided at all costs. "We need todevelop within our country a social solidarity towards andrefugees and promote better understanding of the differencebetween refugees, immigrants foreigners who are illegally in thethe country in close coordination with the Human RightsCommission, which will supervise process," he said. The withImmigration Bill, which is now before Parliament, is expected tohave a positive impact in dealing some of the issues. The newrestructured and revamped department will also carry a specificstatutory responsibility to educate communities and redress thephenomena of xenophobia. The plight of refugees will be put inthe spotlight at the UN conference on racism and xenophobiascheduled for Durban next month.

Regional refugee problem must beshared, says South Africa (Johannesburg, The Sowetan, 16/07) - Theinternational system in place to protect refugees is facingcollapse under the sheer volume of flight and migration becauseof the non-existence of global agreements on solidarity andresponsibility sharing. This is the view that dominated a debateby politicians and judges from around the world at a SouthernAfrican regional conference last week commemorating the 50thanniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Status ofRefugees. Department of Home Affairs director-general Mr BillyMasetlha told the conference there was a need to cooperateregionally and to harmonise refugee policies in the SouthernAfrican Development Community (SADC) countries. "This willset the foundation for a discussion relating to burden-sharing inthe region. "It is essential that we move to a more concreteapproach to achieving durable solutions, keeping in mind thelimited resources of the SADC countries," he said. SouthernAfrica is host to more than 300 000 refugees, of which about 150000 live in South Africa. The country has a backlog of more than65 000 applications that still need to be processed. Some ofthese people chose to cross the entire continent to reach SouthAfrica, even though the country may not be able to offer themmuch because of the tremendous burden they place on the country'sresources. The Government was also continuing to address the rootcauses of mass refugee flows, Masetlha said. He hailed therecently adopted African Recovery Plan which focuses on conflictprevention through diplomatic efforts, promoting post-conflictrehabilitation, combating the trade in illicit arms and fightingcommunicable diseases. "The plan seeks to address problemssteaming from rampant poverty, underdevelopment, a lack ofadequate infrastructure and racism," he said. Masetlha saidthe mass flow of people added great expense to the severelystretched budgets of host countries.

SADC should co-ordinate onrefugees: says Buthelezi (Pretoria, Sapa, 12/07) - Greaterco-ordination was needed on the movement of refugees within theSouthern African Development Community (SADC), Home AffairsMinister Mangosuthu Buthelezi said on Thursday. This was vital toprevent disparities in the way SADC countries dealt with asylumseekers, he told a two-day regional conference in Centurion."There is no doubt that we need greater co-ordination at theregional and continental level on the issue of refugeeaffairs," Buthelezi said. "We will need to addresstogether issues such as the movement of refugees within SADC andharmonious administrative procedures." The conference,hosted by the International Association of Refugee Law Judges,commemorated the 50th anniversary of the 1951 United NationsConvention Related to the Status of Refugees. Buthelezi said SADCcountries should work together to solve some of the causes ofproblems prompting people to seek political asylum in otherstates. "We need to work on the conflicts which deprive themof the protection of their own countries." Ways also had tobe found to assist countries where refugees and asylum seekersreceived their first assistance after fleeing their own country."We are often confronted with the plight of people having tocross, or choosing to cross, the entire continent to reach SouthAfrica," Buthelezi said. "Many of them go throughperilous voyages ... to seek what they perceive as a bettercountry, which often does not have the possibility of offeringthem much more than they could receive in their country of firstasylum." Buthelezi said the 21st century should bring astrong focus on the way the international movement of people werebeing dealt with. South Africa had a unique contribution to maketo the development of new concepts and perspectives on thisissue. Buthelezi said the government remained steadfast in itscommitment to giving full protection to bona fide refugees."We are also committed to ensuring that the system is notabused by opportunistic applications or unscrupulous individualsand cartels who traffic in people." Such abuses had severalnegative implications. They could lead to the system becomingless user-friendly to those entitled to protection, and to aculture of suspicion towards all refugees. Unsound applicationsfor refugees status were also consuming too much financial andadministrative resources. "For this reason, we need to worktogether to design procedures which may mainstream applicationsand expedite our due consideration in respect those which aremanifestly unsound," Buthelezi said. People obtainingrefugee status through fraud was another problem that underminedthe cause of refugee protection. "In the minds of ordinarySouth Africans, the line between the refugee and the illegalimmigrant may become blurred." Buthelezi added: "Theerroneous perception of an exponential growth of refugees, thedelay in processing claims, and our high unemployment rate, maycreate a more fertile breeding ground for xenophobia."

South African response on borderwith Namibia (Business Day, 03/07) - The article,Down by the river, a border dispute (Business Day June 28),contains many factual errors and presents the Namibian point ofview of the situation. The Orange River boundary between SA andNamibia was established when erstwhile colonial powers GreatBritain and Germany signed a treaty to that effect in Berlin onJuly 1 1890. After the change of government in SA in 1994, theboundary issue was brought to the attention of the new cabinet,which after thorough consideration decided "the existingOrange River boundary should be retained"; in other words nochange of the land border. This decision is in accordance withinternational practices. It was relayed to the Namibians at theheads of state economic bilateral meeting in Windhoek on August 82000 when both heads of state were present. As the Orange Riveris within SA territory there have been no "clashes overmineral rights in the river and grazing rights on its islands, ora free-for-all for fishing vessels". The only"vessels" that can negotiate the Orange River arecanoes. - Dumisani Rasheleng, Foreign Affairs Department

Angola

Angola would welcome displaced whiteZimbabwe farmers (Johannesburg, Sapa-INet-Bridge, 16/07) - Angolawill welcome displaced white commercial farmers from Zimbabwe ifthey want to trek north, central bank governor Aguinaldo Jaimesaid on Sunday. In an interview with I-Net Bridge, Jaime saidfarmers would be able to either buy land or take long leases andwould be assured of security of tenure. He also said he expecteda political settlement to be reached by the end of the year withthe "few" Unita fighters who remained in the bushwaging war on the Luanda government. Jaime said Angola had put inplace a strategy to make itself far more attractive to investors,especially in non- oil economic sectors including diamonds, gold,agriculture and fishing. He said although Angola had attracted agreat deal of foreign direct investment (FDI) into its oilfields, these were capital intensive and did not create thenumber of jobs required. Investments into more labor-intensiveindustries were therefore needed. Steps taken to encouragecapital inflows included allowing investors to participate in allareas of the economy, except security and transport, and to fullyrepatriate dividends. Jaime said there would be no stateinterference in the management of companies and foreign firmswould not be forced to ally themselves with local companies."This is an important part of out investment attractionstrategy. If you want people to invest massive resources, theymust be free to manage their investments as they like andrepatriate profits out of the country." Jaime acknowledgedthat the quarter century-long civil war had set Angola back as ithad made exploiting opportunities very difficult. Much of thecountry's resources are located in those areas formerlycontrolled by Unita. However, he said Angola had "done alot" to normalize its economy in recent years. Steps takenincluded liberalizing interest rates and exchange controls,restructuring state-owned industries, removing some tradebarriers and moving towards transparency and accountability at apolitical and economic level. Independent audits had also beendone of its oil revenue flows and central bank accounts.Inflation had been brought down from 3,000% four years ago tobetween 70% and 80%. In April 2000, the Angolan government agreedto a nine- month IMF Staff Monitored Program (SMP), subsequentlyextended to June 2001. The program aims to implement variousfiscal, monetary and structural reforms that are essential tohigher growth and poverty reduction. Jaime said that, except forinflation, the SMP targets had all been met. He was in SouthAfrica for a meeting of Southern African Development Community(SADC) central bank governors. The aim of the meeting is to setthe agenda for September's conference on monetary policyframeworks in Africa.

Botswana

Batswana students urged to returnhome from UK (London, BOPA, 03/07) - President FestusMogae has urged Batswana students studying in Britain to returnhome and contribute to the development of Botswana. "You areyour country's most valuable resource and it is important thatyou recognise the need to return to serve your fellow citizens assoon as you have completed your studies," Mogae said at areception for Batswana working and studying in Britain. "Ourcountry needs us all," he said, adding that it was temptingfor some people to remain in Britain or go to other developedcountries to sell their skills because of attractive remunerationpackages. He reminded them: "Britain has not always beenwhat it is today. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to makeit the beautiful and enjoyable place it is." He said forBotswana to be a marvellous dream place, Batswana should be readyand willing to make the necessary sacrifices. Britain hosts 613Batswana students, who cost the government P95 million annually.The government spends an annual average of P155 000 on onestudent in Britain but only P15 000 for one at the University ofBotswana. Mogae encouraged students to use their active studentunion to engage in meaningful discussions concerning theirwelfare and work constructively to contribute to national issuesat home. "For instance, you can play a major role inproviding information and articulating your country's positionsregarding issues of diamonds for development and the efforts tocombat HIV/AIDS." He briefed them about his visit to the US,which was similar to the one he paid London in March to talkabout Botswana's clean diamonds as opposed to conflict ones inSierra Leone, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Healso attended the United Nations General Assembly's 26th SpecialSession on HIV/AIDS. The president returned on Saturday.

Lesotho

Passports scandal rocks Lesotho(Maseru, Mopheme/The Survivor, 18/07) - Lesothocitizens who are applying for new passports are being thrown intoa doom as they cannot get any travel documents. And, theirapplications are lying in piles at the Immigration offices inMaseru. But the Director of Immigration Matšeliso Ramathehas adamantly refused to say it all regarding the reasons.Several applicants, some of whom have already forked out theirmoney to apply for new documents, are left stranded as theycannot get their documents. Others could not find their passportsalthough they had applied. Some of them have to reapply althoughthey hold receipts indicating that they had actually applied forthe documents. For a greater part of last week, tens of peoplelined up at the immigration offices in desperate attempt to gettheir documents. They had to wait long hours, some of whom wereturned away in disgust amidst cold weather. When confronted bythe newspaper, Ramathe, who pronounced herself as a teacher byprofession, refused to be drawn into a hail of questions. Shecould only say their computer system "is down and I cannotanswer any other questions." Instead, she majesticallypreached about journalism ethics and threatened to sue thereporter if she would be defamed or misrepresented. Sherepeatedly scorned at journalists who she said were "lookingfor sensation." Newspapers and radio are selling onsensation, that's only what they want, she yelled. Surprisingly,she said she had nothing to hide from the public, but warnedagainst people who "say things per their own wishes."She could not even say as to when the system would startoperating, although remarking that their office was not closeddown. She rejected claims that some of her staff members wereembroiled in a foul play on issuing of passports at theproduction section of the department. When she was persuaded toanswer a barrage of questions, she leaped on to tell the reporterthat "I am a teacher and a damn good teacher, don't put yourinferences in your report." The newspaper was enquiringabout the delay under which applicants are perpetually subjectedto although they have long applied for their travel documents.Normally, it should take six weeks for processing of applicationsfor travel documents, but some have taken more than a year toobtain them. However, it took other applicants less than a monthto obtain the passports after they had applied. Other citizenswho were lucky to get the documents were forced to a hurdle asthey have to search and sniff through a mountain of passportscarelessly thrown into a room. So far, 276 passports mysteriouslydisappeared at the custody of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF)when they were kept at the base armoury in 1997/98. The armydistanced itself from the disappearance. These passportsdisappeared before they were lawfully issued for use to thecitizens.

Malawi

Issue of foreign land ownership discussed (Lilongwe,The Chronicle Newspaper, 23/07) - Landless Malawians whohave been squeezed out, especially in the districts where most ofthe land is wholly occupied by non-Malawians have reason tosmile. Government has said the process of acquiring land is stillon going and, to a large extent will give priority to ownershipby citizens. However Lands and Housing Minister Thengo Maloyatold reporters in Lilongwe the process, precisely in largeestates in the Southern districts of Mulanje, Thyolo, Mangochiand Zomba, has been dragging due to unavailability of funds. 'Theprocess of acquiring land is going on though in a small mannerdue to lack of funds. The ministry is already acquiring land andwill make sure that the landless have some of it,' said Maloya.He was outlining the progress of the National Land Policyprogramme indicating that a draft has been submitted to theCabinet Committee on the Economy before the final preparation ofthe policy. Maloya said the land policy programme will take onboard the issue of foreigners who are owning land that should beutilised by local Malawians. He gave an example of Ethiopia,where he said 'no foreigner owns land,' but was quick to pointout that government would not interfere with the agriculturaleconomic activity that is taking place in those areas. 'Where theland is not fully utilised (freehold) government will come in toacquire the land. Foreigners shouldn't look at Malawians as blind- they have woken up,' he charged. A consultant to the team thatwas involved in the drafting of the policy, Rexford Ahene saidthe issue of foreigners owning land was a minor one and has beentackled fully in the policy. He said their team has organisednine meetings, from late July to September which will includemeetings with all stakeholders, the Tea Association of Malawi andOxfam, among other organisations. Commenting on concerns that thepolicy's reference to 'indigenous' Malawians is discriminatoryand does not promote national harmony, Maloya said; 'the policydrafters were targeting Malawians who would not be able to accessland.

Namibia

Air Namibia employee implicated inhuman smuggling (The Namibian, 20/07) - AirNamibia has suspended a junior staff member for allegedinvolvement in the smuggling of illegal immigrants to Europe,which has so far resulted in fines of N$1,5 million from theBritish government. The airline's management says the suspendedground hostess is the only suspect so far in what some insidersclaim is a smuggling syndicate that has been taking bribes frompassengers travelling without proper documents. The suspensionwas the first indication that Air Namibia employees may beinvolved in the smuggling of illegal immigrants on itsinternational flights. In Britain Air Namibia faces finestotalling N$1,5 million for bringing in over sixty passengerswithout valid documents, while the airline is reported to be introuble in Germany as well for allowing illegal immigrants toboard its planes. Despite dozens of people getting past groundstaff without proper documents, no one from Air Namibia has yetbeen found responsible. An investigation was launched into thesuspended worker's role in clearing the way for more than 20Afghans to fly to London a fortnight ago without valid documents.The Afghans were arrested at Heathrow Airport in London afterthey turned up at the immigration counter without passports. Theyhad reportedly torn up the passports on the plane that flew themfrom Windhoek. Geoffrey Bowmaker, Adviser for Commercial Servicesfor Air Namibia, said yesterday that a hearing would be held onMonday to determine the employee's complicity. He would notdivulge the name of the employee. Bowmaker maintained that AirNamibia conducts a "very thorough analysis" ofpassengers' passports. Passengers leaving the airport have toreport to the airline's counter and immigration officials beforeboarding. "This was a particularly nasty case. From the factthat so many people got in it seems that [an Air Namibiaemployee] was involved," said Bowmaker, referring to theAfghans. Bowmaker, when asked whether bribes were paid to thesuspended employee, said: "I cannot imagine someone would doit with nothing to be gained, but that would come up in theinvestigation." Some of the company's employees say AirNamibia has been lax with its controls at the airport and thishas allowed a group of staff to operate a smuggling operationusing falsified passports. In addition to the Afghans, peoplefrom Angola, Algeria, Pakistan and Turkey are known to haveexploited poor checks at the airport. "People in Air Namibiaare trained how to look at passports. They look at whether thepassport is laminated and when it goes under a purple light, theyknow what to check for. But passengers with passport picturesglued into the document have flown on that plane," said oneAir Namibia worker. Some cases took place more than a year agoand it is not clear whether the culprits carrying false passportshave been brought to book. The fate of the Afghans, who werearrested in London, is not clear. An airline that flies inillegal immigrants usually has to fly them out of the countryfrom where they are deported.

Teachers cleared of sexualabuse at refugee camp (The Namibian, 12/07) - A RecentGovernment fact-finding mission to the Osire Refugee Camp toinvestigate reports that several under-age refugee girls had beenimpregnated by teachers there has cleared the educators of anywrongdoing. In recent weeks the UnitedNations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Namibia RedCross Society (NRCS) and some refugees alleged that some teachersat Osire Primary School had impregnated their charges, who inmost cases are 14 to 17 years old. Initial reports from the NRCSand some of the refugees said the teachers evaded responsibilityby bribing parents so they would not take cases to theauthorities, while in some instances other refugees wereallegedly bribed to take the blame. But a three-personinvestigation team from the Ministry of Basic Education, Sportand Culture, led by Gert Katzao, which spent a day at the campsays no case could be traced to any teachers. According toAmbrosius Agapitus, the Regional Director for Basic Education,Sport and Culture for the Windhoek, Omaheke and Otjozondjuparegions Katzao's team has established that the pregnancies werecaused by refugees and two male nurses who are working for theMinistry of Health and Social Services at the camp. One of thenurses accused of impregnating a school girl has since beentransferred, while his colleague is still working at the Osireclinic, which provides medical care to a refugee population ofover 20 000 inhabitants. Agapitus was adamant that none of theteachers were involved. "Unless there has been tangibleproof, unless proven otherwise, I reject those allegations,"the education director said. In another twist of events at thetroubled camp, where some of the secondary school students arealso now being blamed for some of the pregnancies, it has emergedthat one of the male nurses was apparently responsible for atleast two teenage pregnancies. So far a total of 15 cases of teenpregnancy have been detected and some of the girls who have givenbirth have gone back to school already, while the ones who arestill pregnant have yet to return to classes, said Agapitus, whostressed "they are still going to be allowed back."""It is a typical social problem (that occurs) whereyou have so many people clustered together in a small place ...If there are no entertainment facilities and no soccer you havewhat I call a compound mentality," he said. Some refugeesare alleging that the investigation was not thorough because someof the alleged culprits were not interrogated by theinvestigating team, but Agapitus insisted that the cases wereprobed individually and thoroughly. Some of the teenagers who hadto drop out of school after falling pregnant are orphans whoseparents perished in the Angolan war and who are among the mostvulnerable at the camp. Meanwhile, Agapitus commended the socialworkers at the camp"Social workers have been working veryhard to rehabilitate the girls. All of them have gone back toschool except those who have not yet given birth," he said.

Sexual abuse reported at OsireRefugee Camp (Windhoek, The Namibian, 05/07) - TheMinistry of Basic Education, Sport and Culture is awaiting areport from a three-person team that early this week went on afact-finding mission to Osire Refugee Camp where teenagepregnancy involving teachers is rife. According to some refugees,the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and theNamibia Red Cross Society (NRCS) there is a high rate of teenagepregnancies of female students involving their teachers at OsirePrimary School, south-east of Otjiwarongo. Yesterday AmbrosiusAgapitus, the Director for Basic Education for Windhoek, Omahekeand Otjozondjupa regions said the investigating team headed byGert Katzao, a school inspector, and two other inspectors, SimonTsuseb and Peneyambeko Nangolo, on Monday visited the troubledinstitution. Agapitus, who was so riled by reports thatteenagers, and even minors, are being impregnated by their ownteachers at the school for refugees, said the investigating teamvisited the institution on Monday and returned on Tuesday. But hesaid "they (the trio) have not briefed me, not evenorally," and he added that "I will take action as soonas I have read the report. I will take the necessary action ifneeds be." Agapitus is likely to be briefed about theinvestigating team's findings before the end of this week. Theprobe by the Ministry of Basic Education, Sport and Culture camein the wake of a recent report by The Namibian that some of the60 teachers at the primary school, which is overcrowded with 4500 students, are impregnating their charges. Some of theimpregnated girls are as young as 14 years old, and in all thecases reported the NRCS and other camp authorities have failed topin any evidence on any of the suspects, because those implicatedusually bribe the parents of the teenagers. And in some casesother refugees are bribed to take the blame. Agapitus has alreadyindicated that the Ministry will formulate "misconductcharges" against any of the 10 teachers at Osire on itspayroll should they be found guilty, and this punishment willrange from warnings to dismissals.

South Africa

Prominent Nigerian refused entry formedical treatment dies at Johannesburg airport (IndependentOnline, 24/07) - Immigration officials at JohannesburgInternational Airport were not informed about the condition ofNigeria's national tae kwan do coach Yusuf Yahaya who took ill ona South African Airways flight and later died, Home Affairs saidon Tuesday. Earlier it was reported that Yahaya was refused entryfor treatment because he didn't have an entry visa. Home Affairsrepresentative Hennie Meyer said immigration officials were notinformed about Yahaya. He said according to information from theAirport Clinic, they were called in and the paramedics attendedto him. He died in the aeroplane. Meyer said in cases similar toYahaya's, the Airport Clinic generally attends to the patient andsends a report to immigration officials if the person needs to beadmitted. The department would then issue a visa depending on thereport. Airport Clinic representative Wanda Scott said paramedicswere called around 8am after Yahaya had complained that he hadpiles, but he refused treatment. He said around noon, they werecalled again and found Yahaya sitting in the internationaldeparture lounge. "We suggested that he should go to thehospital but he refused." He said they were called for athird time around 4pm when Yahaya was already in the aircraftgoing to Nigeria. "That is where he collapsed and he died.Despite all the measures we did to save his life, he died,"Scott said. Yahaya was returning to Nigeria with the national taekwan do team after attending a festival in South Korea. Officialsfrom the Nigerian human rights group HURILAWS said Yahaya tookill on the flight and collapsed on disembarking at JohannesburgInternational Airport. HURILAWS claimed he was then deniedhospitalisation for several hours on the grounds that he did nothave an entry visa into South Africa. After several hours ofuncertainty, he was carried back aboard the aircraft where he hada heart attack and died, HURILAWS said. A senior South AfricanAirways official in Lagos confirmed that Yahaya had died aboardits aircraft and said the company "regretted" theincident. He said the company was seeking a meeting with thehuman rights group to discuss the matter.

Report on border jumping fromZimbabwe (The Saturday Star 21/07) - It is not thethree-tier 2 500 volt-fence nor the patrols of soldiers thatscare Mashinga Homera as he sneaks across the border in the deadof night. He and thousands of others fleeing the economic crisisin Zimbabwe must contend with South Africa’s most ruthlesssentries: the crocodiles of the Limpopo River. “The SouthAfrican soldiers and police are polite. They do not beat us. Theyonly shoot into the sky When they arrest me and take me back toZimbabwe. I immediately attempt once more to pass theborder,” says the 25-year-old bricklayer, hours after hislatest successful crossing. “The crocodiles are the biggestdanger. They are not polite.” Last year, South Africadeported 47 469 Zimbabweans, compared with 14 651 in 1996. Butpolice and army officials admit that for each Zimbabwean who isturned away from South Africa and its relative wealth, severalmore sneak through the 288km border dividing the countries. Manyof them are helped by the guma guma, syndicates inZimbabwe that, for a fee, can lead them to the best place tocross the border. Many of the illegal immigrants, mostly men agedbetween 16 and 21, are escaping hardships linked to PresidentRobert Mugabe’s campaign to stay in power. Three weeks ago,Zimbabwe's fuel price rose by 70%, making it uneconomical br manyemployed people to travel to work. Last week, the country’sfinance minister said the country was running out of food.

The Limpopo river bed where the crocodiles bask is dry at thistime of year. Soon after racing past them and getting through theelectrified fence Homera was thumbing a lift on the N1 highway inSouth Africa. “I have been crossing every few months for ayear and I have been deported twice,” he says. “Whenyou are arrested, you can often just pay a bribe to a policeofficer or a soldier If you get caught in a group, you aredeported to Zimbabwe and then you have to start again. I am onlyafraid of the crocodiles now, and the hippos, and of drowning inthe river when it is high during the rainy reason. This time, Isaw an elephant on the Zimbabwean side and I took a detour so asnot to trouble it. It takes about a minute to run across theriver bed when it is dry I always cross at the same spot becauseI know of a hole near a gate where the three fences cometogether.” Homera is now working on a building site in thetown of Louis Trichardt, 96km south of the border, where he earnsR400 a month and is given food and lodging. He has a wife, twochildren and other family who live near Masvingo, 240km intoZimbabwe. In his last building job, in Zimbabwe’s capital,Harare, he was paid Z$2 800 (about R140) a month, afterdeductions. “Times are hard in Zimbabwe now; a 2kg packet ofsugar cos than Z$60 (R3). It all started when our president begantaking farms from the whites. Now the whites are angry and willnot do us any favours any more, so we are suffering.” Sogreat is the human trans-frontier traffic that the 150 SouthAfrican military personnel deployed at sub-stations along thefence and the 52 police officers manning the border crossing atBeit Bridge, north of the town of Messina, seem demoralised.There are resigned to being little more than a symbolicdeterrent. Major Mornay de Ridder admits the crocodi1es may bemore effective than his men can ever be. “Once, from aplane, I saw a man in the middle of the river bed being tornapart by seven crocodiles. It was horrific. The electric fence,which runs along 180km of the border, was built by the formergovernment to keep out so-called terrorists. It has threesettings, lethal, shock and alarm, and these can be changed onlyby order of the president. It was last on ‘lethal’ in1990.” South Africa still deports more Mozambicans than itdoes Zimbabweans and arrest figures this year have declined. ButZirk Gous, head of South Africa’s border police, says thiswas caused by cutbacks in resources and a government decision toshift the force’s priorities from immigration to fightingserious crime. He says that while it was difficult to prove thatthe declining economic situation in Zimbabwe had increasedillegal immigration from that country, “in terms of apreliminary analysis, there is a strong impression that thenumber of Zimbabweans is increasing”. In the past fouryears, numbers of deportations to Mozambique have fallen by athird to 106 647. The figure for Zimbabweans has more thantripled. Police Superintendent Jay Jar Uys, in charge of bordercontrol at Belt Bridge, swung open the door of a yellow policevan to reveal the latest catch of Zimbabwean illegals about to bedeported - 28 men, women and even babies picked up by themilitary and the police in the previous 24 hours. “They willall be back in South Africa this afternoon,” he saysdespondently. Archibald Mauta did not deny it. Aged 18, dressedin clothes too small for him and sandals which were falling aparton his feet, he had left Chimanimani in eastern Zimbabwe afterthe      deaths of both his parents. “Idid some odd jobs, just to get enough money to travel to theborder,” he said. “It was my first attempt to cross butI’ll try again today What else can I do? There is nothingfor me in Zimbabwe and I do not have an education so I cannot geta job. Now, I do not have enough money to travel back toChimanimani. I know that South Africa is a better place thanZimbabwe because the food I got in the police cells was betterthan anything I have eaten all year in my country.”

Durban Unicity criticised forignoring xenophobia (Independent Online, 20/07) - AUnited Nations subsidiary group - representing foreign refugeesin Durban - launched a scathing attack against the DurbanMetropolitan Unicity's Conference on Racism and Xenophobia onFriday when almost all of the speakers failed to tackle theproblem of xenophobia. At the start of the two-day conference atthe Durban City Hall on Friday, Ebrahim Hassen and his colleague,Omar Osman, said they were very hopeful that xenophobia, whichaffects the almost 3 500 refugees seeking shelter in thecity, was finally receiving the attention it deserved. But by3pm, after both men had listened to several speeches made byrepresentatives of various NGOs and Unicity officials, they wereready to take the platform themselves to raise what they believedwas a vitally important issue. "Unfortunately, we were notinvited," explained an angry Omar Osman, chairman of theInternational Refugee Service in Durban. His colleague wasequally irate. "I have heard people get up today, speakingabout their own experiences of racism, stressing the message thatwe must tackle this problem, yet every day in this city andacross this country, another form of racism called xenophobia isgrowing and aggravating the existing problem of racism that youpay so much attention to," said Hassen. Osman said his ownexperience of xenophobia made him determined to make the DurbanMetro Council take steps to acknowledge the problem."Refugees face the greatest risks by moving away from theirhomes. They seek refuge and understanding, but instead, in thiscountry, we see people building up barriers. I live in AlbanyGrove in the city centre where a shelter has been set up forrefugees. "The residents there have been fighting us all theway, blaming us for the degradation of their homes, trying topush us out of the only homes we have." Both men citedexamples of other instances in which the unicity had failed todeal with the xenophobia problem in Durban. "Earlier thisyear we approached them to build a shelter in your city centre.They refused. Last month we celebrated World Refugee Day, but didthis Metro of yours do anything to highlight our plight? Do theydo their best to disseminate information that will end the myththat the refugee is the enemy of its people? I don't thinkso." Responding to these complaints, Reverend BarneyPityana, chairing the South African Human Rights Commission, saidhe too noticed the failure of the conference's speakers toaddress xenophobia. "I actually doubt many people even knowwhat it means, and that is the real reason why they choose toignore that the problem exists. Sometimes I believe we have heardenough about the problem of racism, when such a strongmanifestation of it like xenophobia remains ignored. Hopefully inthe discussion groups that conference members have been brokeninto, the issue of intolerance to foreigners can be addressedproperly," he said. Key-note speaker sociologist ProfessorHerbert Vilakazi placed the roots of racism squarely at the doorof Western civilisation, and in particular, capitalism. "AsAfricans dealing with the problem of racism, we need not fear tocall a spade a spade. Capitalism first emerged in Western Europe,and subsequently gave birth to racism... as the African slavetrade was crucial in the foundation of capitalism," he said.

New bill "short-sighted"says expert (Johannesburg, Mail & Guardian, 20/07) - Thetext of the controversial Immigration Bill has finally beenpublished with provisions that "prohibited immigrants"includes people who support organisations promoting"terrorism" and "social violence". Althoughthe Bill states that the Department of Home Affairs will promote"human-rights culture in both government and civilsociety", it explicitly states that "any person",whether a South African citizen or not, will be obliged toidentify themselves at any time to a departmental official or apolice officer. If they do not identify themselves, they may betaken into custody "without a warrant". The SouthAfrica manager of the Southern African Migration Project, VincentWilliams, said the Bill had been drafted without a clearlyarticulated government policy on migration and that therequirement that companies wanting to employ foreign workers hadto play a levy to a training fund was "short-sighted".He said the Bill did not represent any strategic shift in mindsetand was merely a sophistication of the worst provisions of theAliens Control Act. The Bill, which is due to debated inParliament after it resumes sitting on August 21, provides that"prohibited persons" would not qualify for temporary orpermanent resident permits. Prohibited people include "amember of or adherent to an association or organisationadvocating the practice of racial hatred or social violence"and "anyone who is or has been a member of or an adherent toan organisation or association utilising crime or terrorism topursue its ends". Neither "social violence" or"terrorism" are defined in the Bill but on the face ofit seems that a foreigner who supports the aims of organisationslike the Palestine Liberation Organisation or Hamas would bedenied a residence permit. The Democratic Alliance'sspokes-person on home affairs, Francois Beukman, said theseprovisions were completely contrary to trends elsewhere in theworld where entry provisions were being liberalised to facilitatethe recruitment of foreign skilled workers. He added thatcurrently it took about two years to acquire a residence permitand the proposed provisions were going to impose furtherbarriers. Williams said the provisions to enter and searchpremises, and to detain suspected illegal immigrants were nothingbut a euphemism. "In the White Paper on internationalmigration that preceded the Bill, it is noted that immigrationofficers will be armed and may be recruited from the ranks of thepolice and the army. "It is not far-fetched to imagine asemi-private army conducting commando-style raids in areas wherethere are high concentrations of foreigners," Williams said.

4 000 blank passports stolen(Pretoria, Sapa, 18/07) - Arrests were imminent ofthose responsible for robbing a consignment of 4000 blankpassports in Pretoria on Tuesday, the Department of Home Affairssaid on Wednesday. The serial numbers of the passports had beenblack-listed and anyone caught with a passport with one of thosenumbers, would be arrested, the department said in a statement."Members of the public need not be concerned that somebodyelse might be roaming the world using passports with theirpersonal details." Four armed men hijacked a vehicle of theGovernment Printing Works on Tuesday morning as the passportswere being delivered to the Home Affairs Department's head officein Struben Street. The robbers ordered the three officials doingthe delivery back into the vehicle and drove with them towardsKameeldrift. They robbed the three of their personal belongings,tied them up and left them in the veld along the Cullinan roadbefore driving off with the vehicle and passports. The departmentsaid it had alerted all border posts, international airports andports, as well as foreign missions, to be on the look-out forthose documents. "The serial numbers of the stolen passportshave been 'black-listed' and anyone who tries to use this whenleaving the country will be arrested. "The Department ofForeign Affairs will also be requested to inform immigrationdepartments worldwide of the serial numbers of these stolenpassports." South African passports were producedelectronically to high security specifications, the statementsaid. "To forge these passports, sophisticated electronicequipment, not readily available, would be required."

South Africa banks fear effects ofbrain drain (Johannesburg, The Financial Times, 17/07) - South Africa's banks have identified skill shortages asthe biggest threat facing the industry. A highly regarded annualsurvey of 27 banks operating in South Africa, released today,reaffirms fears among leading bankers of a brain drain as violentcrime, affirmative action and career and salary opportunities incities such as London and New York lure skilled people overseas.Next after the availability of skills, the survey by PwC, theauditing firm, put foreign exchange control and the independenceof the Reserve Bank, the central bank, as the biggest issuesconfronting the smooth running of the industry. The previous yearthe stability of central government had ranked as the topconcern. "They (the banks) generally feel they can't getaccess to good personnel. They pay a premium for them and there'sthe threat of them moving on ... Inasimilar study in Toronto thiswouldn't feature," said Brian Metcalfe, associate professorat Canada's Brock University's Business School and the survey'sauthor. He said lack of expertise in the South African bankingsector could spur mergers and the increased use of technology.Between them, 12 domestic banks planned to spend Dollars 500m(Pounds 355m) on information technology this year. But a mergerbetween Nedcor and Standard Bank Investment Corporation, twolarge retail banks, was blocked by the government a year ago. Thebanking industry is thought of as the backbone of a sophisticatedfinancial services environment, but over the past six years thebanking sector, alongside broader business, has complained of abrain drain as skilled South Africans emigrate. Tom Winterboer,the lead banking partner at PwC, said: "There is a loss ofpeople from South Africa. They go to London, New York, Australiaand Canada. Often people on work secondments go across and nevercome back. Banks do put a lot of effort into training people, butit's political and crime-related." Last year 10,140registered emigrants left but many others leave without making anofficial declaration. About a third of these were professionalpeople. Foreign companies recruit well-trained South Africansbecause the depreciation of the rand has made their salaryexpectations highly competitive. The government has developedlegislation to make immigration of skilled foreigners easier. Butit also requires companies to declare what measures they aretaking to train more black people. "The most difficultchallenge is getting experienced people into the bank. We competewith other banks for a very small skills resource," saidSipho Ngidi, Standard Bank's human resources director.

Undocumented migrants coststate R6,5 m per annum to deport (Cape Town, Business Day, 17/07)- The home affairs department spent an estimated R6,5m lastyear returning illegal aliens to African countries, Home AffairsMinister Mangosuthu Buthelezi said yesterday. This included thecost of deporting 26 Nigerians who were in SA illegally, he saidin written reply to a question from Mannetjies Grobler of theDemocratic Alliance. The cost of deporting illegal immigrants toNigeria was R7850 a person, if a chartered flight was used. Thecost of a commercial scheduled flight was R14770 a person.However, deportees had to be escorted, and the cost couldtherefore well amount to R50000, he said. In reply to anotherquestion from Grobler, Buthelezi said 457 work permits wereissued to Chinese citizens between January 1 last year and April30 this year. A further 62 work permits were issued to Nigeriansand 25 to Russians over the same period. A total of 15925applications for SA citizenship were approved last year. Thiscomes after the cabinet in May approved a "framework"for the Immigration Bill, instructing the department to furtheramend the legislation and render the recruitment of skilledforeigners to SA easier. Under the new changes, the immigrationservice board would fall under the home affairs department,rather than become an independent statutory body as Buthelezi hadinitially planned. Buthelezi said 1921255 births had beenregistered in SA last year, and 457335 deaths.

Fourteen-year-old schoolboywrongfully thrown into jail cell as 'alien' (The Star, 15/07) - A14-year-old Zambian boy languished in the cells at Sophiatownpolice station for 13 hours on Sunday, after he was arrested onsuspicion of being an illegal immigrant. Nkomba Mulemba, a Grade9 pupil at St John's College in Houghton, was released last nightafter the intervention of senior police officers, his brother'slawyer and his housemaster at St John's. Nkomba is scheduled totravel overseas on a student tour and his passport had beensubmitted to the US embassy with a visa application. PoliceSergeant Amanda Roestoff said Nkomba had been unable to providedocuments to prove his legal residence. As the family struggledto prove Nkomba's case on Sunday, his housemaster, Chris Hummel,had to be called to the police station to prove the boy was apupil at St John's. It took the intervention of the stationcommissioner, Superintendent Michel Pretorius, who interviewedNkomba and then facilitated his release. The drama began at about9am, when the boy went to a shop to buy milk. He said twopolicemen came into the shop and asked him to come out. Heclaimed they said something in one South Africa's Africanlanguages. "I told them I didn't understand what they weresaying. They asked for my identity document. Then they told me toget into the police van." They drove to his brother AlexMulemba's house, where documents to show he was a pupil at StJohn's and was going on a tour were produced. "They said weshould talk as men," said Alex, who said he understood thisto mean he had to pay a bribe for his brother's release."Then they drove away with him." Nkomba was thrown intoa cell, where he was kept with 17 others while the battle for hisfreedom raged outside. A nervous but relieved Nkomba was finallydriven from the police station in his brother's car at about10pm.

Buthelezi outlines plan forimmigration courts for SA (Independent Online, 12/07) - SouthAfrica could soon have immigration courts. Speaking to delegatesat the South African Refugee Law Conference in Centurion onThursday, Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi said theimmigration courts would be responsible for hearing appeals onrefugee status. "This means that our refugee appeals boardwill remain in place for a few years, even though we hope that inthe end its wisdom and expertise will be injected into the newimmigration courts," said Buthelezi. He said the newImmigration Bill would bring a marginal change in the system ofadjudication of asylum applications. "In fact, we expectthat once the Immigration Bill has been passed by parliament, wewill give to it staggered implementation according to the pace atwhich we can restructure my department and acquire the necessaryresources to make improvements to the system." Thedepartment has developed a four-stage implementation plan of theImmigration Bill "and we envisage that immigration courtswill be established in the fourth stage". Buthelezi said theestablishment of immigration courts would expedite the processwhile concentrating expertise and experience "in a flexibleand possibly dynamic segment of our judiciary". "Ourgovernment and my department are committed to implementingrefugee law in South Africa in a faster and firmer, but fair,approach in status determination," he said. "We areaware that our country may become the target of larger influxesof both migrants and refugees, as it is likely that conflicts onour continent will lead many people to well-informed fears ofpersecution."

South African woman victim of policexenophobia (The Star, 11/07) - If you have a darkskin, wear your hair in braids and cannot pronounce the word"elbow" in three different South African languages,like Lydia Ackerman (22), you could be picked up by the police asa suspected illegal immigrant. On Saturday, Ackerman was standingoutside her home in Forest Hill in the south of Johannesburg,when police approached her and questioned her about hernationality. Apparently, police asked her to pronounce the word'elbow' in three different South African languages. When shefailed to do so, they bundled her into the back of a police truckto a deportation centre. Ackerman said the police did not giveher an opportunity to show them her identity documents. But onthe way, when Ackerman spoke to the police in Afrikaans, theyimmediately stopped and dropped her off somewhere in Krugersdorp.Ackerman has complained to the police and they said they wouldinvestigate her allegations. The Law of Human Rights, which isaffiliated to the High Commission of Refugees, said it was alsoinvestigating the matter. Ackerman is a South African citizenoriginally from Eldorado Park and was brought up in an Afrikaansspeaking household by her Sotho mother and Coloured father. Sheis not fluent in any African language. Superintendent van denHeever of the Booysens police station said she was investigatingthe matter, and would request Ackerman to identify the allegedrogue police officers. Xenophobia - the dislike of non-nationalscitizens by national citizens based on irrational stereotyping -was on the increase in South Africa. This results in theoccurrence of South African citizens being detained by the policeas suspected illegal aliens, when in fact they have every rightto walk the streets freely. Jacob van Gardereng from the Law ofHuman Rights, asserts that a significant number of individualswho possess valid identification documents are detained and thedocumentation is either destroyed or ignored by officials, or theofficials prevent the individuals from accessing theiridentification. Jenny Parsley from the High Commission ofRefugees said a contributing factor, which leads to the oftenunfounded arrest of individuals, is that the police occasionallybase their decision-making on the complexion, language and dressstyle of individuals, rather than identification documentation."If the police go around abusing the rights of goodcitizens, how can we trust them? People in my area now think I ama criminal," Ackerman said.

South African woman lays complaintfor wrongful arrest as "illegal immigrant" (The Star,10/07) - Police nearly locked up Lydia Ackerman in theinfamous Lindela deportation centre for being a suspected illegalalien - until she spoke Afrikaans to them. Ackerman, 22, ofForest Hill in southern Johannesburg, was approached outside herhome on Saturday morning by two police officers, who questionedher about her nationality. Ackerman, who is of Sotho and colouredparentage and was brought up in an Afrikaans-speaking householdin Eldorado Park, claimed the policemen asked her to say the word"elbow" in three different African languages. When shewas unable to do so, they bundled her into the back of a policetruck, saying they were taking her to the Lindela deportationcentre. The truck was packed with other people who were beingtaken to the centre. But on the way, Ackerman spoke to thepolicemen in Afrikaans, and they realised their mistake. She saidthey immediately stopped the truck somewhere in Krugersdorp anddropped her off. Ackerman found her way home by taxi. She haslaid a complaint with the police. Lawyers for Human Rights saidit would assist Ackerman with any legal matters arising out ofthe incident.

Ghanaian who exposed officialcorruption may get second chance in SA (Indpendent Online, 09/07)- A Ghanaian citizen, Albert Kofi Aidoo, who helpedexpose corruption in the department of home affairs in Durban,may get a second chance to stay in the country. Aidoo's lawyershave lodged an application in the Durban High Court for thedepartment not to deport him. After the application was lodged,the department decided not to pursue the deportation. Instead, itasked Aidoo to re-apply for a residence permit. Aidoo is marriedto a South African. In terms of new legislation, foreigners whohave a South African spouse are entitled to apply for a permanentresidence and a work permit. In papers before the court, Aidoosaid that when he arrived in South Africa friends told him thatofficials would be able to "organise" a South Africanidentity document for R250. He paid the money and received theidentity document. A year later he was arrested and charged withfraud. He said a Home Affairs investigator told him that if hegave evidence against the corrupt officials charges against himwould be dropped and he would be given a permit to remain in thecountry permanently. He agreed but was later told to leave thecountry. However, when he heard of the new legislation he decidedto go to court. The matter was adjourned to July 29.

Asylum-seekers take on state(Business Day, 09/07) - A high court application waslaunched last week against Home Affairs Minister MangosuthuButhelezi and departmental director-general Billy Masetlha in abid to force the state to hire interpreters fornon-English-speaking foreigners seeking asylum. Immigrationlawyer Chris Watters filed papers in the Johannesburg High Courtlast Thursday on behalf of asylumseekers who speak only foreignlanguages. Watters said that papers were filed after Buthelezifailed to give an undertaking to amend regulations that place theonus on asylum-seekers to provide their own interpreters. This isthe second legal action brought against Buthelezi and Masetlha inthe past two months, in a build-up to the antiracism andxenophobia conference scheduled to take place in Durban nextmonth. In May, Lawyers for Human Rights successfully challengedButhelezi and Masetlha in the Pretoria High Court over thedepartment's refusal to allow asylum-seekers, travelling vianeighbouring states, to enter the country. Home affairs spokesmanHennie Meyer said the department's lawyers were studying thecase, and it was therefore premature to say whether the actionwould be defended. Watters said Buthelezi and Masetlha would haveto file a response by tomorrow. He also said that while aPakistani national was the main applicant, the case could bedescribed as a class action as it affected thousands of refugees.He said the Refugee Act made it "incumbent" onofficials to understand what asylumseekers were saying, but asituation had arisen where asylum-seekers were being grosslymisunderstood. While section 34 of the constitution guaranteedasylum-seekers a fair hearing, they could not get one if thestate failed to provide them with interpreters, Watters said.

Study of loss of doctors released(East London, Sapa, 09/07) - More than a quarter ofall South African doctors who graduated between 1990 and 1997 arecurrently working abroad. This is due to a combination of"push factors", including shrinking personal income,crime, involuntary community service and affirmative action,according to a study by the SA Medical Association (SAMA).Doctors who had either already left or were planning to leavealso cited frustrations surrounding the HIV/Aids epidemic,claiming the government had failed to set up a holistic,goal-oriented plan of action. While the majority of doctorsleaving are young white graduates, the number of blackprofessionals being recruited internationally is also on theincrease. One of the most important push factors in this regardis the lack of adequate and appropriate public sector facilities.Because of staffing crises and patient overloads, sixth-yearmedical students were increasingly being used to servicepatients, rather than broadening their education, SAMA liaisonmanager Helen Strong said. Responding to the statistics quoted inthe latest edition of the SA Medical Journal, Dr Lizo Mazwai,dean of the University of Transkei's medical faculty, said thepending switch from highly specialised health care was causingthe more privileged to leave. Mazwai told the SAMA curriculumreforms were needed to make qualifications more relevant tosocial needs. "Government and universities shouldcollaborate to choose academic centres of excellence, and thenfund these centres so that they could remain world class,"he said. The SAMA statistics on the medical brain drain are borneout by another, unrelated study conducted by Dr Steve Reid of theCentre for Health and Social Studies in 1999. Reid found that onein three medical students doing community service at the time ofbeing questioned were planning to leave the country.

Conflict over re-appointment ofDirector-General of Home Affairs (City Press, 08/07) - IFPpresident and Minister of Home Affairs Mangosuthu Buthelezi tolddelegates to his his party's national conference in Ulundiyesterday about his frustrations at working with the ANC atcabinet level. Buthelezi, who was reappointed to his current postin 1999, said his appointment had been resented within andwithout his portfolio and his role in government had experiencednumerous problems. He said the bulk of his frustrations emanatedfrom the Immigration Bill which had been dealt with at greatlength and expense but was still outdated. He said his departmenthad on numerous occasions been sued as a result of the outdatedprovisions of immigration laws, portraying the department asincompetent. "It has been difficult to develop a new policyframework...because often my hands have been tied, which theywould not have been had I been a minister in the majorityparty," he said. Buthelezi said his director-general, BillyMasetla, had been part of the problem rather than part of thesolution. The DG was appointed by the president and not byButhelezi. "When the term of office of my DG came to an end,I indicated that I did not intend to retain his services beyondJune 20 this year," Buthelezi said. Buthelezi said he wasover-ruled by the president who indicated he wanted to ensureMasetla dealt with outstanding matters. Buthelezi pointed out hisworking relationship with the president had been warm andcordial, despite all the frustrations he had encountered. For thefirst time, Buthelezi spoke openly about why he rejected theposition of deputy president when it was offered to him by Mbeki."(President Mbeki) indicated I could only take up thedeputy-presidency if I was willing to give up the IFP premiershipof KwaZulu-Natal and allow an ANC member, possibly S'bu Ndebele,to become the premier of this province." Buthelezi said itwould have been impossible to do this, as sources close to himindicated he was under pressure from IFP hardliners not to giveup the premiership. Buthelezi also launched a broadside at someANC officials in KwaZulu-Natal who were gaining political mileageout of every hiccup being experienced by IFP ministers in theprovince. "It is not the kind of pettiness one expects fromparties in a coalition and this is but the tip of theiceberg." Any real or perceived political instability inKwaZulu-Natal, which has the largest population in South Africa,will not attract investments to our country, he said. "Itmust be borne in mind, this province was the centre of a war ofattrition which took place between the ANC and IFP, which costmore than 20 000 lives." Buthelezi also hammered governmentfor its reluctance to finalise the outstanding issues on theroles and powers of traditional leaders. "It is nothing lessthan irresponsible that the many promises made to traditionalleaders have not yet been fulfulled. For years we have warned ofthis crisis. Now the crisis is upon us, and no solution seems tobe in sight." The clash is between the powers and functionsof tradtional authorities in rural areas on the other, he said.The conference, which started Friday and ends today, aimed tofocus attention on the overhaul of the party's constitution.Sources within the IFP said the main thrust of the constitutionalchanges would see the creation of the position of deputypresident of the party, the second most powerful position afterthat of president, a position held by Buthelezi since the partywas launched in 1975. Under the current system, the second mostpowerful person in the party is chairman, a position held byLionel Mtshali. The source said the position of deputy presidentwas aimed at undermining Mtshali who, as a harliner, is pursuinga path which is confrontational towards the ANC. Names which werebeing associated with the proposed new position were those of theRev Musa Zondi, the party's spokesperson, and Dr Ben Ngubane, theparty's deputy chairman.

Task team to examine exodus of healthprofessionals from South Africa (Johannesburg, Sapa, 06/07) - Atask team to investigate the flow of South African healthprofessionals to developed countries was set up in Johannesburgon Friday. It would, among others, examine the causes of thisexodus, a meeting between Health Minister Dr MantoTshabalala-Msimang, health MECs, and staff bodies resolved. In ajoint statement, the participants said ways would also beexamined to retain the services of health workers on their returnfrom foreign stints. "Some of the areas that are beingexplored are possibilities of government-to-government agreementsthat can protect workers who leave the country for limitedperiods and provide some form of job security on theirreturn." Other issues discussed at the meeting included thequality of health care and discipline among staff in the healthsector. "The parties agreed there was a need to improve thequality of care, and that the issue was very complex." Whilemost workers in the health sector were committed to serving thepublic, problems of poor service cropped up from time to time,the statement said. "The parties agreed to work together toprovide support to health care workers, especially with regard todiseases such as HIV/Aids, tuberculosis, and sexually transmitteddiseases." The meeting supported a suggestion byTshabalala-Msimang that a health summit be held in November, thestatement said.

Democratic Alliance praises SANDFborder control (Cape Town, Sapa, 05/07) - The bordercontrol operations of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF)deserved special recognition, Democratic Alliance deputy leaderMarthinus van Schalkwyk said on Thursday. Along the border withLesotho alone, the SANDF forces protected a stretch of more than485 kilometres of challenging terrain, often in extreme weatherconditions, he said in a statement after a visit to the area. VanSchalkwyk was the guest of the Defence Department and the SANDFon a visit to a number of bases earlier in the day. He wasbriefed by senior military personnel on the activities andsuccesses achieved in border control, with particular regard topreventing cross-border raids and stock-theft. In his statement,van Schalkwyk said the results of the SANDF operations spoke forthemselves. From January to date, the SANDF Lesotho bordercontrol confiscated more than three tons of dagga, arrested 253illegal immigrants and recovered 504 head of cattle. "It isclear that, given the budget constraints and other limitations,the SANDF is performing commendably and the DA is proud toacknowledge the professionalism and discipline of our nationaldefence force." Despite the rapid and widespread changessince 1994, and the nature of the challenges facing them, thearmed forces had made great strides in creating a rapidlymodernising and increasingly relevant army for all SouthAfricans. "The SANDF serves and protects all South Africans,and deserves the support and respect of all South Africancommunities." With more than 51000 men and women havingapplied for the 650 posts that were available in 2000, it wasclear that the SANDF had become an increasingly attractive careeroption. Van Schalkwyk also commended the SANDF for its"strict political neutrality", as well as the successesit had recently achieved.

South Africa sabotaged by skills losssays Morkel (Cape Town, Sapa, 04/07) - Alack of professional skills is "sabotaging" SouthAfrica's economic upturn and scuppering its future, Western Capepremier Gerald Morkel said yesterday. Speaking at a meeting ofthe South African Institute of Civil Engineers in George, he saidthe government could no longer afford to take lightly the flightof skills from the country. Morkel also criticised thoseprofessionals who have emigrated, saying they were"faint-hearted", and suggested they "lack nationalpride". "Has a new attitude taken hold of SouthAfricans: take what you can get and get out? "I have oftencalled for the re-establishment of a provincial pride in theWestern Cape ... but we obviously also lack a nationalpride." Morkel said 20 engineers and related technologistswere recruited to work in South Africa last year, while 358 leftthe country. "This means that for every engineer gained welost 18. "And if you think the engineering profession isexperiencing a major brain drain, it is even worse in theaccounting field, where for every one accountant gained we lost26." The skills lost, mainly to wealthier countries, hadcost South Africa dearly in terms of training. "SouthAfricans, and especially the South African leadership, can nolonger afford to take lightly the flight of skills from thiscountry. "The lack of skills is sabotaging the country'seconomic upturn and can scupper its future. "A mass exodusof faint hearted professionals, in especially those fields wherewe need them most, will hurt this country and the people whoremain behind," Morkel said.

Home Affairs faces courtchallenge from refugees over treatment (Business Day, 02/07) - Refusalto hire interpreters for asylum seekers unconstitutional, sayslawyer Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi faces thethreat of legal action over government's refusal to hireinterpreters for asylum seekers who speak only foreign languages.It will be the second legal challenge to Buthelezi in recentmonths concerning asylum seekers. In May, Lawyers for HumanRights successfully launched a High Court application against thehome affairs department's policy of barring anyone seekingasylum, who had travelled via a neighbouring state, from enteringSA. The latest threat comes from Somali- and Urdu-speaking asylumseekers who came to SA after leaving war-torn Somalia andmilitary-ruled Pakistan respectively. According to theirJohannesburg-based lawyer, Chris Watters, home affairs officialshad misunderstood words such as abduction for divorce, anddetention for non-detention because of the absence of adequateinterpreters during asylum application interviews. Home affairsregulations place the onus on asylum seekers to provide their owninterpreters. Watters said many asylum seekers ended up hiring"entrepreneurial-minded" people who offered aninterpretation service at home affairs offices. This led, forexample, to a Somali-speaker being branded as"fraudulent" after his comments were grosslymisunderstood. The asylum seeker said he had fled Somalia as hefeared that, like his wife, he would be abducted. However, thiswas wrongly interpreted to mean he left Somalia after his wifedivorced him, Watters said. In the case of an Urdu-speaker, homeaffairs officials recorded the applicant as saying he had neverbelonged to a political party in Pakistan, had never beendetained and had come to SA to look for his son. In fact, theasylum-seeker had said he was a member of a party, his child hadbeen detained and he fled to SA out of fear of persecution,according to Watters. Watters said he wrote to Buthelezi lastweek, asking him to put a "freeze" on asylumapplications until the state met its obligation to providecompetent interpreters. If Buthelezi did not give such anundertaking by later this week, a High Court application would belaunched. Home affairs spokesman Hennie Meyer said yesterday thedepartment was not aware of any legal threats facing Buthelezi.He said SA's Refugees Act of 1998 did not stipulate thatgovernment had to provide facilities for interpretation. ButWatters insisted that section 34 of the constitution guaranteedeveryone, including asylum seekers, a fair hearing. He also saidthe Pakistani national's case was strengthened by the fact thatthe constitution recognised Urdu as one of the languages to beprotected and promoted in SA.

Abused Zimbabwean labourers testifyagainst farmers (Nelspruit, African Eye News Service, 02/07) - NorthernProvince farmers who abuse their illegal Zimbabwean labourers andthen simply deport them when they complain are in for anunpleasant surprise. A provincial land rights organisation ishelping the victims of starvation, torture, and underpaymentreturn to South Africa to testify against farmers. NkuziDevelopment Association helped the first deported Zimbabwean, alabourer who was so badly savaged by dogs that he was confined toa wheelchair, return to testify in the Louis Trichardt MagistrateCourt. Mike Maswero told the court that farmer Piet Smith, ofRinger Farm near Louis Trichardt, tied him to a tree and setguard dogs on him after he asked for financial assistance to buryhis mother. The assault charges against Smith were on the vergeof being dropped before Nkuzi stepped in, because investigatorscontended that Maswero was a prohibited person and could not betraced in Zimbabwe. "It's a common ploy. Farmers have in thepast simply deported anyone who poses a threat or who demandsjustice," said Nkuzi executive director Marc Wegerif."Farmers were getting away with murder - but not for muchlonger. We will bring witnesses back to testify from nowon." Smith's trial was postponed to August 7 this week whenhis attorney, who appeared surprised at Maswero's appearance incourt, requested more time to prepare his defence. Masweroreportedly worked for Smith as a general labourer for threemonths without payment from November last year. He was deportedin February after demanding payment, but returned weeks laterwhen his mother died in Zimbabwe and he needed money to bury her.Smith allegedly refused to pay him and is accused of insteadtying him to a tree before setting the farm's guard dogs on him.Smith then allegedly locked Maswero in a storeroom withoutmedical aid for over an hour until Waterpoort police came andtook the severely injured labourer to Louis Trichardt hospital.Maswero laid assault charges, prompting Smith's arrest. Thefarmer was, however, released on free bail by the Louis TrichardtMagistrate's Court on March 1. Wegerif warned that Nkuzi alsointended lodging criminal charges against Smith for employing anillegal immigrant. The Home Affairs Department has given NorthernProvince farmers until October 15 to repatriate the estimated 10000 illegal Zimbabweans currently employed on farms in just theSoutpansberg region. The ultimatum forms part of a governmentplan to ensure that South Africans are given priority for jobs onfarms. The Labour Department has offered to help farmers findsuitable South African replacements for illegal Zimbabweans andis also offering agricultural skills training to prospectivelabourers. Provincial farmers' unions have previously claimedthat Zimbabweans make better labourers before they work harderand are cheaper than "lazy" South Africans.

New tensions between Mbeki andButhelezi (The Sunday Independent, 01/07) - There isspeculation that a new battle may be looming between PresidentThabo Mbeki and Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the minister of homeaffairs, over the continued tenure of Billy Masetlha as thedirector-general of home affairs. Masetlha, the formerdirector-general of the South African Secret Service, wasdeployed to the home affairs department about 18 months ago byMbeki to replace Buthelezi's appointee, Albert Mokoena. Mokoenawas sacked for running a private basketball team from hisgovernment office. Buthelezi was said to be unhappy because hehad not been consulted about Masetlha's appointment. Mbeki andButhelezi have already clashed over the Immigration Bill. Thecabinet this week approved the renewal of Masetlha's contract for12 months. He is the only director-general with such a shortcontract and it is the first contract he has signed withButhelezi. New public service regulations say adirector-general's contract can be either one year or threeyears. Masetlha is the only director-general with a one-yearcontract, according to Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, the minister ofpublic service and administration . In a written response to aquery about Masetlha's contract, Buthelezi said: "MrMasetlha was deployed by the president to my department in termsof the law, which gives the president the prerogative to makesuch decisions. "He had no contract with me, as he wasdeployed in this fashion. The letter of appointment of MrMasetlha as director-general of the secret service was signed bythe then minister of intelligence, Dr Dullah Omar. No otherdocument or contract exists. "But his term of office expiredon 20 June. I had then to consult the president (since Masetlhawas deployed by him) about the situation. The president and Iagreed that I could renew his contract legally and in terms ofthe law for 12 months in the circumstances," Buthelezi said.According to Masetlha, the 12-month contract is his choice.Masetlha said he did not believe he could stay on at home affairsfor longer than 12 months unless "certain things" weredealt with "slightly differently". "The presidenthas said he'll give me another 12 months and that he'll deal withthose things in between," Masetlha said. He said some of thematters he had raised were confidential and related to thedepartment's budget, issues of transformation and the support thedepartment was getting from the government. "If these issuesare addressed then I'd be prepared to stay the full term - up tothree years. I'm not going to be set up as a director-general whofails because of things beyond my control," Masetlha said.Both Masetlha and Buthelezi have denied any tension between thembut they have differed over the final form of the new ImmigrationBill and it took Mbeki's personal intervention to get itfinalised. So far Buthelezi has not publicly indicated supportfor Masetlha even though the two are concerned about thedepartment's underfunding.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe fast losing its youngprofessionals (Harare, The Saturday Star, 21/07) - TheZimbabwean dollar - which is now virtually worthless - andmassive unemployment are the two major causes contributing to theexodus of Zimbabweans in search of greener pastures in SouthAfrica and Britain. Other factors include the political violenceravaging the country, which has unsettled many young people;general expectations of high living standards abroad; and, tosome extent, illusions about making a quick buck and buying fastcars and other luxuries. A soon-to-be-published survey by theHarare-based Mass Public Opinion Institute has concluded that,given a choice, 74% of all Zimbabwean youths would like to leaveZimbabwe and workabroad. The average Zimbabwean family of six,which could buy three loaves of bread and two pints of milk withone Zimbabwean dollar in 1980, now requires at least Z$165 to buythe same items. While the same family of six could rely on amodest monthly income of Z$20 in 1980 to buy most basic foods,the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions estimates that such afamily now requires at least Z$19 000 to buy basic goods to seeit through the whole month. The ZCTU says a minimum wage of atleast Z$15 000 is now required by an average Zimbabwean family.But most employers, battered by Zimbabwe's economic hardships,are paying far less than the Z$4 000 stipulated minimum wage.Most people employed in the civil service, such as teachers,nurses and ministerial clerks, don’t earn Z$10 000 as netpay monthly. At such a level of pay, these fairly educated peoplecan never dream of owning a car not to mention a decent house.Some even struggle to buy what is considered basic householdfurniture in many other developing countries, such as colourtelevisions, hi-fis, refrigerators and decent chairs. Solomon[last name obscured], a schoolteacher, saysall he can afford fromhis net pay are food and his transport to and from work. “Ican’t even buy decent clothes and I have stopped dreaming ofowning even a two-roomed cottage of my own,” Muchaiwa says.It is against this background that Health Minister Timothy Stampsrevealed that nearly 20 000 nursing staff had leftZimbabwe’s civil service in the past two years to seekgreener pastures in South Africa and the UK. In these countries,most of them end up doing odd jobs as private security guards orother forms of manual work. Writing in Zimbabwe’s FinancialGazette recently, a Zimbabwean lecturer at Unisa, DanielMakina, said the tragedy of this brain drain was that most of theyoung professionals leaving the country would probably of not belured back to Zimbabwe even if conditions improved. Meanwhile therand is selling as high as R1 to Z$20 on the black market,compared with R1 to Z$8 on the official market. The border townof Beitbridge is now nicknamed the “forex town" becauseof the illegal tha immigrants who cross the border into SouthAfrica. Apart from Zimbabwe's almost worthless currency, thecountry’s massive joblessness is key contributory factor tothe influx of illegal immigrants into South Africa. EconomistJohn Robertson says Zimbabwe’s high unemployment rate ofnearly 60% is unprecedented since independence in 1980.Economists fear that this record joblessness will surpass the 70%mark before the end the year because most companies aresuccumbing to Zimbabwe’s economic hardships. TheConfederation of Zimbabwe Industries says that in the past 12months, up to 400 companies in the manufacturing sector haveclosed down, with the resultant loss of 10 000 jobs. Othersectors that have experiepiced massive job losses in the pastyear including the mining sector, which witnessed the closure of16 big mines, the textiles sector, tourism and the farmingsector. The Commercial Farmers Union estimates that about 340 000jobs could be lost in the gricultural sector if the governmentgrabs the 5000-plus white-owned farms advertised for compulsoryseizure by the end of the year. Jobs in this sector can be savedonly if the government equips the newly resettled farmers withadequate resources to maintain maximum production levels, but thegovernment's haphazard fast-track land resettlement exerciseisn’t backed by adequate resources.

Journalist challenges deportation(Windhoek, Media Institute of Southern Africa, 19/07) - MercedesSayagues, the foreign correspondent of the South African"Mail & Guardian" who was deported from Zimbabwe on18 February 2001, has filed a legal challenge with the High Courtof Zimbabwe, arguing that her deportation by the Zimbabweangovernment was illegal, "The Daily News" reported on 17July. The newspaper reports that Sayagues's lawyer, Tendai Bitiof Honey and Blanckenberg, filed the papers on her behalf, citingState Minister for Information and Publicity Jonathan Moyo as thefirst respondent. Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo and ChiefImmigration Officer Elasto Mugwadi are the other respondents.Sayagues, who was thrown out of the country by the governmentafter it refused to renew her work permit, is maintaining thatshe was not granted the right to be heard as demanded by theprinciples of natural justice. Zimbabwean government officialssaid that she was expelled because she was working for Angola'srebel movement, Union For The Total Independence of Angola(UNITA), "As a matter of fact, both the Ministry ofInformation, the president of Zimbabwe and the Ministry ofJustice has said that I was expelled because I am a spy workingfor Jonas Savimbi's Unita rebel movement. This is atrocious,malicious and an outright lie," Sayagues said in heraffidavit. "The Daily News" also reports that in hisanswering affidavit, Moyo denied that Sayagues was never giventhe opportunity to renew her work permit but that the ministryhad frozen issuing work permits or extensions pending newaccreditation rules yet to be effected. Whereas the home affairsminister said he had the power to declare persons prohibitedimmigrants in terms of the Immigration Act, without disclosingany reasons.

BACKGROUND: On Saturday 17 February, the Zimbabwean governmentordered Sayagues to leave Zimbabwe. The previous week, Zimbabweassured South Africa that the journalist was ordered to leavebecause she did not have a valid work permit. According togovernment officials, Sayagues's work permit had expired. On 14June 2001, the Zimbabwe government imposed entry conditions onforeign journalists, requiring them to apply for official pressaccreditation at least one month before an intended visit. Thestatement, issued by the Zimbabwe Department of Information andPublicity (Office of the President and Cabinet), reads asfollows: "In keeping with international practice, theDepartment of Information and Publicity in the Office of thePresident and Cabinet, reminds foreign media personnel who intendto visit Zimbabwe on media assignments that they are expected,and indeed required to apply for accreditation from theircountries of permanent station. Accordingly and with immediateeffect, applications for accreditation, which must be supportedby the employing media institution, must be lodged with theDepartment either directly or through the nearest ZimbabweanMission, at least a month before the proposed visit. Travelarrangements should only start after a clear indication from theDepartment on accreditation status of applicants. The departmentwill henceforth not entertain applications by individuals who arealready in the country. Equally, it will not support such crewsfor immigration purposes."
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Send appeals to the Department of Informationand Publicity: - protesting its imposition of new accreditationrestrictions
APPEALS TO: Department of Information and Publicity Tel: +263 4703 891 / 707 091/7 Fax: +263 4 708 557 E-mail:zimonline@gta.gov.zw Please copy appeals to the source ifpossible.
SOURCE: Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Windhoek Forfurther information, contact Zoe Titus or Kaitira Kandjii,Regional Information Coordinator, MISA, Street Address: 21 JohannAlbrecht Street, Mailing Address; Private Bag 13386 Windhoek,Namibia, tel: +264 61 232975, fax: +264 61 248016, e-mail:research@misa.org.na or kkandjii@misa.org.na, Internet:http://www.misanet.org/

Harare rethinks giving park tolandless (Harare, Business Day, 17/07) - The Zimbabwean government has beenforced to abandon plans to resettle people at Gonarezhou NationalPark as this would have scuppered a regional conservationagreement with SA and Mozambique. According to a report on the"Meeting of the Gaza-KrugerGonarezhou (GKG) TransfrontierPark Ministerial Committee", the government has sinceshelved all plans to resettle people in the game park on thecommon border with its southern neighbours. The report, presentedthis week in Harare, said a spate of newspaper and radio reportswhich started in the middle of May had led to considerableconcern among conservationists in the region. "Initialreports suggested that plots had been allocated to hold 750villagers within an area of 11000ha inside the national park inZimbabwe, a core area of the proposed GKG TransfrontierPark," the report said. Zimbabwean Environment and TourismMinister Francis Nhema was quoted as being opposed to thismovement of people into Gonarezhou. "The affected villagershave been told alternative land will be made available to themoutside of the National Park," the report said. Thedemarcation of the park area for resettlement was going to derailthe agreement of the transfrontier park. Mozambique, SA andZimbabwe signed the project agreement this year but Harare didnot consult the other two signatories when it moved in to acquirepart of the park for resettlement. The aim of the project is touplift the living standards of people in rural communities insouthern Africa. Once fully operational, the park will become theworld's first conservation area involving three countries. Thepark is due to start functioning in April.

Mugabe threatens whites (Harare, TheNamibian, 02/07) - Zimbabwe'sbeleaguered President Robert Mugabe has unleashed a torrent ofinvective against the country's white farmers and whites ingeneral, accusing them of "hostile acts" against thegovernment, and hinting that they would be forced to leave thecountry. Quoted in Saturday's state-controlled daily Heraldnewspaper, he also attacked the series of 37 court challenges tohis ruling Zanu-PF party's victories in parliamentary electionslast year on the grounds they were won through violence andfraud. "Perhaps it is time we moved on, motivated by thedesire to develop democracy for our people, not for the overseasaudience," he said. His remarks were made at a ruling partycentral committee meeting in Harare on Thursday. Onlyrepresentatives of the state media are permitted to the openingsof the party meetings. He accused whites of being"supremacist, arrogant and exclusive". In time, hewarned, the white community should "either in reality becomea part of us or part of someone else who is not here, in whichcase they have to join thatsomeone". Whites had "neveraccepted defeat" after independence from white minorityRhodesian rule in 1980. Whites were "a community whichdiscountenances the development of a just society predicated onprinciples of equality and fairness, but would rather there was acontinuation of Rhodesian socio-economic system," he said."They continue to nurture and pledge membership to theRhodesian lobby across the world, which they use to undermine oursovereignty and to organise other hostile acts against the blackmajority." Whites had also enlisted "liberals like(South African opposition leader) Tony Leon and (British Labourminister) Peter Hain who imagine that they run asuper-continental colonial government, allowing them tosuperintend over sovereign African states, taunting andbelittling African leaders everywhere." " At the rulingparty's congress in December last year, he urged supporters to"strike fear into the heart of the white man, the realenemy".

This page last updated 09 July 2004.