Shortage ofnurses affects health posts
Farmers threaten to shoot rustlers from South Africa
Trans-border trucks stranded at border
Dukwi urged to improve conditions
More nurses threaten to leave country
Botswana chiefs reject resolution to condemn xenophobia
All foreigntroops out by August, says Nujoma
Immigrationdepartment blamed for illegal immigrants
Illegal immigrants entering through Karonga
Article on undocumented migrants in Malawi
Update on borderdispute
Lesbian finally told she can stay in Namibia
Government to probe Osire teen pregnancies
Teen pregnancies soar at Osire Refugee Camp
Commentary on refugees and rights in Namibia
Border row pits Pretoria against Windhoek
SA-Namibia border dispute grows
Deportation of 600 illegal immigrants
Home Affairs mannabbed in ID scam
UK to tighten policy on SA skills recruiting
Commentary on skills migration
Stabilise region to reduce flow of refugees, says DA
Another desperate day for refugees in SA
Move to stop foreign land ownership in SA
Home Affairs to correct computer ID errors
New bill will make it easier for foreigners to live in SouthAfrica
Investigators deny Mozambicans thrown from train
Two thirds positive about staying in SA, says survey
Xenophobia towards refugees
Rights officer experiences official xenophobia first hand
Business takes steps to plug SA's brain drain
Immigration bill referred to Parliament for scrutiny
Exodus from SA not confined to whites
US to help SA in law enforcement
Numsa to take on foreign firms
Immigrant children working on farms dumped at border
Health brain drain to private sector, says Minister of Health
False papers land Malawian soccer star in trouble
UDM condemns immigration
Brain drain accelerating
Immigration Bill ready for tabling
Aliens Control Act successfully challenged in ConstitutionalCourt
Tanzania andBurundi to discuss resettling Burundian refugees
Life of a refugee in Meheba Refugee Camp
Row over deportation of Finnish national
Prolonged dentention of "aliens"
US suspicious oftough new rules on foreign reporters
Foreign correspondents not welcome, says expelled journalist
Journalist describes expulsion from Zimbabwe
UK paper slams 'expulsion' of journalist from Zim
Britain concerned at non-renewal of journalist's work permit
Zimbabwean farmers to buy land in Mozambique
Third foreign correspondent forced to leave Zimbabwe
Some 1,000 Zimbabwean whites apply to go to Australia
16 Zimbabweans want asylum in SA
Zimbabwe government says it will be flexible towards foreignreporters
Zim announces new entry terms for foreign journalists
New restrictions imposed on foreign journalists
150 more pharmacists to leave Zimbabwe for UK
Shortage of nurses affectshealth posts (Daily News, 27/06) - Healthposts at Disana, Shashe, Somelo and Bodibeng in the North WestDistrict remain closed because of shortage of nurses. OganeditseLefatshe, a senior matron with the North West District Council,said at Councillor Omponye Botumile's kgotla meeting at Disanalast week that some newly completed health facilities in otherparts of the country also remained closed because of shortage ofnurses. Lefatshe said the resignation of nurses for greenerpastures outside Botswana has worsened the situation; eleven havesince resigned while others were transferred to other parts ofthe country. She said some nurses refused to be transferred tothe North West District and this put the residents in a desperatesituation. She pleaded with communities that have newly built butnot operational health posts to be patient while the governmenttries to solve the problem.
Farmers threaten to shootrustlers from South Africa (Daily News, 27/06) - Residentsof the villages along the Molopo River in the Barolongconstituency have threatened to shoot on sight, thieves who stealtheir livestock and cross into South Africa. The residents madethe threat during kgotla meetings that Barolong MP Ronald Sebegoaddressed in the area this week. The residents said they havelost a lot of cattle through cross-border stocktheft. They saidthe situation was even worse with the recent out-break of footand mouth disease in that country which forces the veterinaryofficers to shoot the livestock on the spot without returningthem to Botswana. The residents also blamed the police for theirfailure to arrest the culprits saying they were known and nothingwas done to bring them to book. However, Sebego advised theresidents that it was an offence to kill someone withoutreporting to the police for arrest and prosecution. He warnedthem against taking the law into their hands, adding that therewere right channels to be followed to remedy the situation. Someresidents suggested that since they have close relatives acrossthe border in South Africa, they should be allowed to hand theircattle to them rather than being killed and paid as little asP300 for compensation. They said the P300 compensation they weregiven was not enough to replace cattle killed. Sebego dismissedthe suggestion saying it would encourage cross-border crime andthreaten Botswana's beef industry. On other issues, Sebegoencouraged the residents to co-operate with census enumeratorsbetween August 17 to 26, 2001. He said during the exercise, theyshould be at their houses. He further briefed them about theon-coming referendum on the retirement of judges from 65 to 70years. He said it would be advisable for them to say OEyes'because there were shortage of qualified judges in this country.They residents also briefed their MP on the development projectsthey have completed and failed to complete in their respectivevillages. They attributed the problem of uncompleted projects tocontractors who abandoned their work and run for others which paybetter. They said some of the contractors have abandoned theiremployees at the sites without pay for two to three months. Thoseemployees were suffering as they were from far-away villages inBotswana. They said most of the projects which were affected werethose of district councils, saying in most cases, the contractorswould collect the first cheque and disappear. The MP said hewould contact relevant officials at the council so that theycould thoroughly monitor them after winning tenders.
Trans-border trucks strandedat border (Daily News, 25/06) - Frequent breakdowns ofthe pontoon at the Botswana/Zambia border is always leading toheavy trucks queuing at the Kazungula border post in Botswana.The trucks loaded with goods to the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC), Malawi and Zambia at times spend a week or more at theborder gate before being cleared. Kazungula border post is at theconfluence of the Chobe and Zambezi rivers. Assistant customs andexcise officer Joseph Difemo told BOPA in an interview on June 20that the flooded Zambezi River was also contributing to thebreakdowns because of strong currents. Difemo said that thepantoon was the only means used to ferry people and goods betweenthe two countries. He told BOPA that officers worked even atweekends to clear the trucks, adding that when the pantoon wasworking at least 40 to 50 vehicles were cleared every day. In aseparate interview, truck drivers told BOPA that they were nowused to such a life, adding that at times they drive to Kasane tobuy food. They said that even though this inconvenienced themthey were happy because officials at the Botswana border werealways patient and helpful. At time some trucks which have to gothrough the Botswana/Zimbabwe border end up using theZambia/Botswana border at Kazungula after Zimbabwean authoritieshad denied them clearance. Officials said that the constructionof the proposed bridge across the Zambezi River by Botswana,Japan and Zambia would end most of the hardships travellersencounter at Kazungula.
Dukwi urged to improveconditions (Daily News, 25/06) - The Dukwi refugeecommunity has been urged to take advantage of the limitedfacilities at the camp to improve the quality of life. Speakingat the World Refugee Day commemoration last week, presidentialaffairs and public administration minister Thebe Mogami saidwhatever they gained would be useful long after their refugeeyears. Minister Mogami reiterated the government's commitment inworking towards long term and durable political solutions, notingthat the government and the people believed in peacefullynegotiated non-violent settlement of political problems. He saidrefugees should not only respect each other's differences, butmust also respect the laws of the host country as well as itscustoms, cultures, beliefs and traditions. They must also refrainfrom military and political activities or importing into Botswanaa culture of intimidation and violence. "If we all play ourroles correctly, there is no doubt that we can harmously co-existfor as long as it is necessary," the minister said. He toldrefugees that "respect", which is this year's theme,should be built on people's recognition of their diversity and onhow through their multiple gifts are able to compliment eachother to enrich community life. Minister Mogami hailed the Dukwicommunity for accepting to host the refugees, noting thatgovernment has embarked upon a process of integrating refugees,who have been in the camp for long, particularly the Angolans,into the mainstream Botswana society. He said government wasgrateful for the assistance received from the United Nations HighCommissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Red CrossSociety (ICRCS) and donor countries in creating a home far awayfrom home. He was confident that the increased manpower capacityof the Botswana Council for Refugees (BCR) would add a betterprogramme delivery and welfare provision to refugees. The day'shighlights included music by the Botswana police band,traditional dance, and singing by school children and poems.Dukwi camp has 3 572 refugees from various countries.
More nurses threaten toleave country (Daily News, 20/06) - More nurses arethreatening to leave despite the recent public service salaryadjustment and review of allowances. Selebi-Phikwe Town councilauthorities, including the Mayor, Molosiwa Molosiwa, Town ClerkPaulos Nkoni and senior council officials told members of theparliamentary health committee visiting Selebi-Phikwe that therewas still need to improve nurses' conditions of service. Led bySelebi-Phikwe MP, Daisy Pholo, the committee toured BCL minehospital, mine clinics and the town council's Botshabelo Clinicand Maternity Wing. Other members of the committee are AmbroseMasalila for Nkange, Francistown West MP, Tshelang Masisi,Gaborone North MP, Michael Mzwinila, Moshupa MP, Maitlhoko Mooka,and Kgatleng West and Ngwaketse West MPs, Rakwadi Modipane andMichael Tshipinare respectively. Council authorities pleaded foradjustment of nurses' salary scales because the recent salaryincrement had resulted in the salaries of junior officers beinghigher than those of their seniors. It was observed thateffectively a promotion amounted to a demotion financially.Authorities said shortage of nurses was a serious problem in thetown to the extent that the maternity wing of Tapologo Clinic wasnot functioning. They said nurses trained by the council werealways transferred but never replaced. It was announced that theMinistry of Finance & Development Planning had approved overP3 million for construction, purchase and implementation ofseveral projects during the current financial year. The projectsinclude extension of Kagiso Clinic, construction of a healthpostat industrial site, construction of two nurse's houses at bothBotshabelo and Tapologong clinics and purchase of threeambulances. Part of the money will purchase dental and X-rayequipment for Tapologong Clinic and a vehicle with a trailer. MPswere told that 20 semi-detached staff houses were nearingcompletion at the government hospital. Earlier, BCL Mine hospitalchief medical officer, Dr John Penhal told members of thecommittee that the 26-bed hospital had 44 employees and threemedical officers. Dr Penhall said the hospital has an annualbudget of P3,8 million and serves a population of 5 000 employeesand 14 000 dependants. Services include occupational health,general family practice, family planning, emergency, dental andmaternity care. As for the future, the mine plans opening anadditional clinic.
Botswana chiefs rejectresolution to condemn xenophobia (Gaborone, Independent Online,07/06) - Traditional leaders in Botswana spoke out recentlyagainst a motion before the country's constitutional House ofChiefs that would have asked them to condemn hatred towardforeigners. Several leaders complained that foreigners oftentreat the Batswana - the people of the country - with contemptand deserved the same kind of treatment - even to be kicked outof the country, the Midweek Sun newspaper reported on Wednesday."I have every reason to hate foreigners, especiallywhites," said Kgosi Tawana Moremi, a young, educatedtraditional leader of the Batswana tribe during the debate."What I dislike in particular, is the behaviour of theChinese who mostly run shabby retail shops along the length andbreadth of the country." It was not clear what he meant byChinese. Much of the commerce in Africa is in the hands of Asianswho hailed from India, not China, over the past generations. Likemany of the more affluent countries in Africa, Botswana suffersperiodic bouts of "xenophobia", a term that has enteredthe vocabulary especially in southern Africa, where it refers notonly to dislike of whites but also of fellow Africans who don'tfit in and compete for scarce jobs. Inter-tribal enmity, such asthat seen in Rwanda in 1994 when Hutus massacred Tutsis, alsooccurs. Moremi, a business law graduate, said in the debate thatif he had the power, he would immediately kick foreigners out ofthe country. He recalled his schooldays in Britain, when he foundAsians to be "probably the most racist people in theworld". Traditional leader Tapson Jackalas from theNorth-East criticised foreigners for their lack of interest insocial activities, saying that in the past 30 years "theyhave grown fat from the sweat of the Batswana". According tothe Midweek Sun, similar expressions were made earlier this yearfollowing incidents of racial slurs and violence againstBatswana. However, Foreign Affairs Minister Mompati Merafheappealed to members of parliament to exercise restraint, whilePresidential Affairs Minister Thebe Mogami said racism should bedealt with through proper legal channels, said the report.
All foreign troops out byAugust, says Nujoma (Irin, 25/06) - Namibian PresidentSam Nujoma has said all foreign troops will be withdrawn from theDRC by the end of August, the Namibian news agency NAMPAreported. Addressing a reception on Sunday in honour of returningNamibian soldiers, he said the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) hadplayed a "major role in preventing Kinshasa from beingcaptured by Ugandan and Rwandan forces and their rebelelements". "We, the Southern African DevelopmentCommunity (SADC) member states comprising of Angola, Namibia andZimbabwe decided to positively respond to the request of thelegitimate government of the DRC under the leadership of the latePresident Laurent-Desire Kabila, when his country and people werethreatened with death and destruction by the rebel forcessupported by Rwanda and Uganda," he said. 'The Namibian'newspaper, in a commentary, asked whether Namibia's involvementin the DRC "was worth the human price". It also saidthe financial cost may never be known "but it hasundoubtedly cost us a great deal".
Immigration departmentblamed for illegal immigrants (The Chronicle, 18/06) - TheMinistry of Home Affairs and Internal Security should take swiftremedial measures by disciplining some of it's corrupt staff atthe immigration department who allegedly connive with illegalimmigrants living and doing business in the country withoutproper documentation. Salim Bagus, Member of Parliament (MP) forChikwawa Central said this last week in parliament whencontributing to the State of the Nation address made by PresidentBakili Muluzi at the opening of the Budget Session. Bagus notedthat foreigners with no proper documentation are taking an upperhand in business circles in the country. The illegal immigrantsare mainly from Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC),Burundi, Sudan, Eritrea and Rwanda. They alleged sneak into thecountry in the guise of asylum seekers. It is reported that theyuse local Malawians, especially women whom they marry and dobusiness with, illegally syphoning money out of Malawi to othercountries. Bagus said that while the Home Affairs Ministry andthe police are trying to arrest the situation by mounting cleanup operations, it is saddening to note that some officials at theImmigration department shield the affected people. He said theyactually phone the immigrants in advance, telling them to go intohiding before the actual operation takes place thereby making thedeportation exercise difficult. 'You find these people who haveshops in Devil street in Lilongwe challenging Malawians that theycannot be arrested because they have immigration officials eatingout of their plates,' he noted. In an interview with TheChronicle at Parliament building, Bagus said that he had noknowledge of the involvement of prominent politicians and topgovernment officials in shielding the illegal immigrants as isalleged by many Malawians doing business in the Capital city,Lilongwe. 'I do not know of any involvement of any prominentpolitician or top official, neither do I have knowledge that theyreceive orders from anywhere. But what I know is that theyreceive money directly from the foreigners,' said Bagus.
Illegal immigrants enteringthrough Karonga (The Chronicle, 18/06) - Karonga, thenorthernmost district of Malawi is acting as an entry point for anumber of illegal immigrants who are seen loitering in thecountry and operating their businesses illegally, it has beenlearnt. Reports say the immigrants enter the district through theSongwe River in boats provided by locals in the area. The localsare coerced to assist them with a certain amount of money. Aconcerned citizen in the district, Henry Mwafongo, told TheChronicle the situation is getting worse by the day. He said theimmigrants are visibly seen in crowds loitering in the districtand some even operating businesses. 'It surprises one to see thatthey are just two months old but they are operating businesses. Iwonder if they obtain permission from the government to operatebusinesses,' lamented Mwafongo, who is himself a business person.He said people in the district have often complained to thepolice and the District Commissioner (DC) but nothing is seen tobe done. All efforts to remedy the situation prove to be futile.'We are tired now and people are just seeing the situation goingout of hand,' Mwafongo added. However an officer at KarongaPolice Station, Kayira, said they are indeed aware of thesituation but said what fails them is lack of resources to gatherup all the illegal immigrants. 'We don't have enough cars andpersonnel and we have been asking for this from other stations tohelp in the operation,' said the officer. Police Spokesman OliverSoko said it has not been brought to his attention that KarongaPolice was requiring more personnel to help track down illegalimmigrants in the district. 'They have not officially come to meto lodge their complaint and there is no way I can dream aboutit,' said Soko. Immigration officials were unwilling to commenton the issue saying, 'we have to investigate the matterthoroughly.' The illegal immigrants, reports say, trek down to asfar as Mzuzu city and some even to the capital, Lilongwe wherethey operate dubious businesses. Some enter into marriagearrangements with indigenous women to allow them to operatebusinesses at ease.
Article on undocumentedmigrants in Malawi (Lilongwe, The Chronicle, 04/06) - TheImmigration department has accused Malawians themselves of aidingand abetting foreigners to obtain Malawian Passports and residentpermits, The Chronicle has learnt. According to a top immigrationofficial who confided to The Chronicle there are a lot offoreigners who acquired passports and resident permits usingMalawians. 'It is true that some Malawians have aided a lot offoreigners to acquire resident permits and passports. This wasdue to the fact that our immigration laws are somehow veryloose,' he said. He added that most of the Nigerians doingbusiness in the country are doing so illegally. 'Those people donot have the necessary papers to allow the to conduct businessesin this country. We have discovered that they register theircompanies using local Malawians. 'We have information to theeffect that only three Nigerians registered their companies inthe normal way and the rest are doing their businessesillegally,' he declared. A Chronicle spot check aroundMalangalanga road and Devil Street revealed that they are over 60Nigerians conducting small scale businesses. Some have openedspare parts shops while others are selling all kinds of groceriesand clothes. In an interview with one of the Nigerians at theMsungama Bottle Store it was learnt that some of them staying inthe country have the blessing of politicians and civil servants.'We cannot be chased from Malawi. We will stay here for as longas we want. There is good money here and total freedom in Malawi.'Most of my friends are in joint ventures with ministers,' hesaid. A top cabinet minister who also conducts business in OldTown told The Chronicle that he finds it strange that foreignersare given freedom to do small scale businesses like the Nigeriansare allowed to do. 'No country can allow foreigners to take overrunning of small scale business as is the case at the mean timehere in Malawi. 'You reporters need to write more on this issueto agitate Malawians to demonstrate,' the minister advised. In aninterview with Immigration Press Officer Mankhwala it was learntthat the department is aware of the problem and that indeed mostof the foreigners who are staying in the country are stayingillegally. He indicated that the department, together with thepolice conduct periodical sweeps of suspected areas that harbourthese illegal immigrants. 'We have stepped up security measuresand the way we issue passports to individuals. Now we will beinterviewing anybody who wants a Malawi passport before we issuehim one,' said Mankhwala. He could however not clarify howforeigners were getting Malawi passports from the ImmigrationDepartment. Police Public Relations Officer Oliver Soko refusedto comment on the issue saying that it was not his duty but thatof the Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Monjeza Maluza. 'I canconfirm that I have seen the foreigners myself but I cannotcomment. Nigerians or no Nigerians please ask the Minister ofHome Affairs. This issue is too big for me,' he said. Two monthsago two Nigerians Chukes Jonstone and Mike Parapa bolted afterthey were granted bail. In that instance they were using newMalawian Passports. They had been arrested for being found inpossession of machines used to print fake currencies and otherdocuments. It still remains a mystery as to how they managed toobtain new Malawian passports. This has forced the LilongwePrincipal Resident Magistrate Ken Manda to call for a thoroughinvestigation into the matter to establish how the two Nigeriansobtained the passports. Since a change in government in 1994foreigners from all over Africa have flooded the country. Someare known to conduct clandestine and illegal business activitybut very little action is taken by government to stem the tide.Just last week Nigerians fled the country after Police andImmigrstion officials had intesified their searche for illegalsin Lilongwe. As were going to press it was learnt that most ofthe illegal immigrants had returned and were conducting theirbusiness as usual.
Update on border dispute(Business Day, 28/06) - When Namibia won independence from SAin 1990, one of the bonuses expected to accompany freedom wasthat Pretoria would drop its claim of sovereignty over the entireOrange River. It was also expected that SA would let go themineral rights ceded to mining companies and land rights tocommunities on the other side of the Namibian border. The riveris shared between four basin countries - Namibia, SA, Botswana,and Lesotho - and it forms a 600km border between Namibia and SA.In 1994, former SA president Nelson Mandela and his cabinetdecided to move the border to the middle of the river. However,Pretoria has been reluctant to give up these rights, and thelong-running dispute has delayed the finalisation of the boundarybetween the two countries. Albert Kawana, Namibia's deputyjustice minister, said the two governments agreed to a formaltreaty stating the border was in the middle of the river inFebruary 1993. He said it was decided that the two countries'survey departments should produce photo maps and beacons linkedto satellite to identify the middle of the river. Seventy-sevenmaps were issued, and beacons completed. However, SA thenintroduced a private property rights agreement relating to theborder's shift from the northern bank to the middle of the river.This covers mineral rights and land rights on the islands of theriver. When SA brought up the private property rights agreement,Namibia requested further information. The prolonged talks haveresulted in clashes over mineral rights in the river and grazingrights on its islands, and a "free-for-all" for fishingvessels. Both governments say that without a clear-cut boundarythey cannot prosecute fishing vessels for "trespassing"in the river. The delays have also scuppered efforts to set up amaritime boundary separating SA and Namibian territorial waters,which extend 200 nautical miles out to sea. While NamibianForeign Minister Theo-Ben Gurirab remains optimistic the borderdispute will be solved amicably, SA feels Windhoek must respectthe Organisation of African Unity (OAU) policy of maintainingcolonial borders. Dumisani Rasheleng, SA foreign affairsspokesman, said Namibia, as an OAU member, should adhere to thepolicy. Gurirab said Rasheleng's statement came from a juniorofficial and could not be regarded as an official SA governmentstance. Namibia's cabinet has already disclosed plans to build adam on the Orange River to secure a reliable and permanent watersupply. Yet there is fear that SA's reluctance to agree on theborder will scupper plans for the dam - and thus developmentslike the multimillion-dollar Skorpion zinc mine. At present theNamibian government has been allocated up to 50-million cubicmetres a year from the Orange River. The water that SA providesto Namibia is expected to decrease and after 2007 waterrequirements inside SA are likely to fully utilise currentsurpluses. Namibian foreign affairs permanent secretary MocksShivute says it is important for Namibia to set up a waterstorage facility, to enable it to get an equitable and reasonableshare of the Orange River water on a more reliable and permanentbasis. Gas and diamond deposits have also been found along theriver. Windhoek's joint venture with De Beers - Namdeb - is theonly company mining diamonds along the Namibian side of theOrange River, but the mines and energy ministry has granted up to18 prospecting licences for the area. On the SA side of theriver, Trans Hex Group and Alexkor has been involved in extensivemining. Trans Hex, which runs eight mining projects on SA's side,says its mining area has proven diamond reserves exceeding 500000 carats and nearly 270 000 carats in probable reserves."There is no reason why the same kind of reserves cannot befound on the Namibian side of the river," says the Namibianministry 's chief geologist, Augusto Macuvele.
Lesbian finally told she canstay in Namibia (The Namibian, 28/06) -
Government to probe Osireteen pregnancies (Windhoek, The Namibian, 28/06) - TheMinistry of Basic Education, Sport and Culture will next weekdispatch a three-person team to the Osire Refugee Camp toinvestigate claims by refugees and humanitarian organisationsthat some teachers based there are impregnating their students.According to some refugees, the United Nations High Commissionerfor Refugees (UNHCR) and the Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS)there is a high incidence of teenage, refugee girls beingimpregnated by teachers at Osire Primary School. 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. In some cases otherrefugees have allegedly been bribed to take the blame forimpregnating some of the girls. After the bribes, amounting toseveral hundreds of Namibian dollars have been paid to theparents or guardians of the impregnated girls who usually comefrom rural, peasant backgrounds, the complainants usually dropthese cases. On Tuesday Ambrosius Agapitus, the Director forBasic Education for Windhoek, Omaheke and Otjozondjupa regionssaid he regards the pregnancies in a very serious light, and hasalready tasked Gert Katzao, a regional schools' inspector, tolead the investigation. "Those allegations are very seriousand that [kind of behaviour] cannot be tolerated. If they areconfirmed, action will be taken in line with the provisions ofthe law," said the Director for Basic Education.""I must hasten to say I intend to send a team next week toOsire to verify the situation [information]. Teenage pregnancy isquite a problem and when it it reported we usually takeaction," said the Basic Education Director." "Nowthat it has been said there has been pregnancies in the camp,that the girls attending school at the camp are having [sexual]relations with teachers at the school, we would like to knowwhich of our teachers are involved ... because many of theteachers are not employed by us," he said. Once theinvestigation is completed the Ministry of Basic Education andCulture will definitely "take action" against theculprits. The departmental disciplinary measures that will stemfrom the "misconduct charges" range from "anythingfrom a warning to an expulsion ....a termination of servicebecause you can't have a teacher teaching a child with whom hehas a relationship. It is unheard of. Appropriate action will betaken", Agapitus said.He added that once found guilty theculprits will lose only their jobs as they will not be"expelled from the camp". "We are not saying theteachers are guilty but there are allegations," he said. Theveteran education official said previously his directorate hadfired two teachers in the Omaheke region for having illicitaffairs with their females charges. He explained that out of astaff component of around 60 teachers at Osire only 10 are on thepayroll of the Ministry of Basic Education, Sport and Culture,while the others are under the control of UNHCR and the Ministryof Home Affairs. In one of the cases at Osire Refugee Camp one ofthe teachers is said to have "married" a teenager whomhe impregnated and in another case the parents of one of thestudents impregnated by a teacher were placated with a N$2 000bribe.
Teen pregnancies soar atOsire Refugee Camp (Windhoek, The Namibian, 25/06) - TheUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Namibia (UNHCR),the Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS) and some residents at Osirehave confirmed reports from the sprawling refugee camp thatteenage pregnancy among school-going girls, involving someteachers, is rife. Located about 230 kilometres outside Windhoek,the Osire Refugee Camp is home to over 20 000 African refugees,the bulk of them from war-torn Angola. Girls as young as 14 yearshave been "expelled" from Osire Primary School afterthey were allegedly impregnated by some unscrupulous members ofthe teaching staff who reportedly get away with this improperbehaviour by paying "bribes". Bribes amounting toseveral hundreds of Namibian dollars are usually paid to theparents of the impregnated girls and in all the cases the bribedparents, who usually come from rural, peasant backgrounds, dropthe cases after they have received the payoff money. On WednesdayUNHCR representative Hesdy Rathling told The Namibian that theorganisation has given a directive to the NRCS to probe thissocial ill. Rathling, who was interviewed on World Refugee Day atthe Osire Camp, south-east of Otjiwarongo, said the issue wasbrought to the attention of the UNHCR in April, and that he wasawaiting the findings of the NRCS. Elizabeth Negumbo, theCommissioner for Refugees at the Ministry of Home Affairs, onFriday said: "There is no report that was made to myoffice," while the Ministry of Basic Education, Sport andCulture was not immediately available for comment. AlexanderMeroro, the Relief Project Co-ordinator for the NRCS, who isstationed at Osire, on Friday revealed that the majority of thevictims are aged between 14 and 17, and that the suspectedteachers usually bribe other refugees to take the blame for thepregnancy. In some cases the parents, after initially complainingbitterly to authorities that their daughters have beenimpregnated by teachers, will later change their statements andsay the "culprit" is the teacher's "brother"following the payment of bribes. In some cases the NRCS and otherofficials at the camp have been informed by the refugees that thecase has been resolved "traditionally" and that nofurther action should be taken against the teachers. Thesedubious, unofficial "settlements" have made itvirtually impossible to apprehend the culprits, who are on thepay-roll of the Ministry of Basic Education, Sport and Culture,and Meroro complained: "When you investigate you don't comeup with concrete information. It is really difficult.""Drop-outs as a result of teenage pregnancies are so rife atOsire Primary School that the matter was even brought to theattention of the Police Station Commander and the School Boardwas last year tasked to set up a Commission of Inquiry.""We tasked the school management body to set up a commissionof inquiry to investigate all these cases and we asked them toprepare a programme because this problem also affects (refugee)students who are sponsored by UNHCR at Okakarara and Okondjatu inthe Otjozondjupa region," said the Red Cross official. Butaccording to Meroro the inquiry never took off because theparents of the impregnated girls, who are mostly Angolans,"don't want to come up with the right information or theywill say 'why do you want the teacher to lose his job? '"Hesaid last year alone there were "10 cases of this nature . Iknow one teacher who is married (to a student he impregnated).Last year when we went to investigate this case we were told hewas married to the girl."One refugee alleged that oneteacher who "specialises" in sex with primary schoolstudents managed to impregnate four girls, all of whom have sincedropped out of school." "He even impregnated my sisterwho was in Grade Six and came to pay N$2 000 to my father. Now mysister is suffering. We would like to hear from the ministry incharge (of education)," complained the refugee.Meroro, whois in charge of 30 health promoters at the camp, said the problemof teenage pregnancies at Osire is compounded by traditional andreligious beliefs." "The Herero have this joke aboutsex that you can't eat a sweet inside its wrapper and to them(the refugees) they believe that sex with a condom is notpalatable ... they have to do it the traditional way," hesaid. Some of the refugees claim condoms encourage prostitutionbut they have apparently failed to abstain from unprotected sex.
Commentary on refugees andrights in Namibia (The Namibian, 15/06) -
Border row pits Pretoriaagainst Windhoek (Irin, 07/06) - A dispute appears tobe simmering between Namibia and South Africa about the exactlocation of the southern border between the two countries, IOLreported. A relocation of the border could affect diamond miningactivities in the area. "We are not sure where the borderis," Rudolf Isaks, the surveyor-general of Namibia, said atthe weekend. "It is still to be negotiated at a higherlevel. We suspect the border has not been fixed yet," Isaksadded. South Africa has always viewed the northern bank of theOrange River as the border. However, Namibia's constitutionstates: "The national territory of Namibia's southernboundary shall extend to the middle of the Orange River."Simphiwe Dhlamini, a spokesperson for the Northern Capegovernment, said that while President, Nelson Mandela hadindicated to Namibia that the southernmost border would again belooked at.
SA-Namibia border disputegrows (Business Day, 05/06) - A pledge by formerpresident Nelson Mandela to redraw part of SA's northern borderhas led to a dispute with Namibia over how much of the OrangeRiver it can lay claim to. Namibia claims its 400km southernborder runs to the middle of the river; South Africa hastraditionally regarded its territory as extending to the northbank. The dispute is intensifying as Namibia increasingly triesto assert its authority over mineral and water rights along itsborder. Particularly critical to the Namibians are newlydiscovered gas and diamond deposits whose ownership would bedetermined by an extension of the river boundary. Rich diamonddeposits lie to either side of the Orange River. Diamond miningcompanies Alexkor, Trans Hex and Namdeb have rights adjacent tothe border. A change of national boundary would affect mineralrights and potentially bring in huge tax revenues. South Africa'sborders with Namibia were redrawn when Walvis Bay, a former SouthAfrican enclave on Namibia's west coast, was returned in 1994.But the shifting of the southern border was left off the map inspite of remarks by Mr Mandela at the time that the border wouldbe reconsidered. "We can't say where it is at themoment," Rudolf Isaks, the Namibian government's minesurveyor, said. "It's still to be negotiated.""There was a [South African] government-funded survey of theinternational border," said Peter Danchin, a divisionalmanaging director of Trans Hex. "It was sophisticated andwell done. The maps are all there [with the new border], but theborder is still on the right bank." The South Africangovernment is parrying the Namibian advances. Ronnie Mamoepa, aforeign ministry spokesman, said his minister was in"constant contact" with her Namibian counterpart. Butgovernment officials have said South Africa wished to comply withan Organisation of African Unity policy that argues againstredrawing colonial borders. If it is not redrawn, the Namibianscould start claiming compensation. To mine the river bed,companies would divert its course into a newly-dug bed. This hasnot yet been done in South Africa but is common practice inAngola. This would compound the dispute adding tensions overaccess to water. The land bordering the river is arid, requiringintensive irrigation for new farming ventures. New miningventures inside the Namibian border, such as the Skorpion andRosh Pinah mines, will likewise draw on water resources.
Deportation of 600 illegalimmigrants (The Namibian, 04/06) -
Home Affairs man nabbed inID scam (Cape Argus, 26/06) - A department of homeaffairs official, a bank clerk and 10 members of a fraud ringhave been arrested in connection with fake IDs - and more arrestsare expected soon. Nabbing the government official has beendescribed as an important breakthrough in white-collar crime inthe Western Cape. Syndicate fraud unit chief Billy Loubscher saidfalse identity documents, using original blanks from thedepartment of home affairs, were used in most scams. The arrestof the 12 came after syndicate fraud detectives were called toTyger Valley Centre to question a couple who had tendered adubious credit card to pay for clothes. After interrogating the41-year-old woman and her 24-year-old male friend, detectivesrealised that they could be members of a fraud gang using fake IDdocuments, dud salary slips and false employment references toopen cheque accounts and obtain credit and loans. Loubscher saidwhat started off as a run-of-the-mill call-out at about 7pm onThursday had turned into an all-night operation which netted the12 suspects, effectively nipping an emerging fraud gang in thebud. After arresting the couple in the fashion outlet, detectiveswere led to the home affairs department's Bellville branch for alate-night meeting with an official who was to collect paymentfor fake IDs. As arranged, at 10pm the official arrived on thepavement in front of his office. Loubscher said the officialphysically collapsed when police closed in on him. The nextarrest was minutes later at the home of a St George's Mall bankofficial. The banker was believed to have been responsible forprocessing the credit card applications and other "bankingduties". Loubscher said his detectives followed up clues andinformation which eventually led them to the homes of eight moresuspects. Several fake ID books, temporary ID documents and fakesalary slips were confiscated. The suspects were refused bail inthe Bellville magistrate's court remanded to Pollsmoor prison.
UK to tighten policy on SAskills recruiting (Business Day, 22/06) - The UK governmenthas bowed to pressure from SA by agreeing to tighten its policyon the recruitment of doctors, nurses and teachers from thecountry. SA has repeatedly voiced concern that the UK and otherwestern countries are contributing to a "brain drain"through vigorous recruitment drives in the developing world. UKNational Health Service (NHS) employment policy head David Amossaid in an interview this week that the health department is topublish a code of practice which would reinforce the principlethat "organised poaching" of nurses and doctors shouldnot take place from developing countries as a whole. EducationMinister Kader Asmal also discussed an end to teacher poachingwith UK Secretary of State for Education and Skills EstelleMorris during President Thabo Mbeki's state visit last week. In ajoint statement with Asmal, Morris gave an undertaking to"reinforce best practice" recruitment, and to take intoaccount the "needs and priorities" of SA in theeducation field. Amos said the health code would be binding onthe NHS's 1000 employers, who tended to use commercial agenciesto recruit foreign staff. "All commercial agencies will haveto abide by the code if they want to do business with theNHS," Amos said. He said the government also wanted to winthe support of the private health sector for the code. The UKgovernment was the only country in the world to adopt such astance, indicating its commitment to "ethical"recruitment and to helping developing countries in tackling theirproblems, Amos said. Amos was in SA earlier this year to discusswith health officials their concerns about the loss of nurses anddoctors to the UK. "We got a clear message from the SAgovernment not to poach staff," Amos said. However, adistinction had to be drawn between "poaching in anorganised way, where we go out and recruit", and SA nursesand doctors applying for jobs in the UK through their owninitiatives. The UK would not stop this practice, as it did notwant to "interfere with the rights of individuals",Amos said. SA health department spokesman Jo-Anne Collinge saidthe department welcomed the UK's decision to introduce a code ofethics. The UK's views on recruitment reflected those of HealthMinister Manto TshabalalaMsimang, she said. Amos said theguidelines allowed for "organised poaching" when therewas agreement between the two governments. The UK had such anagreement with the Philippines, which had an over-supply ofnurses and doctors. With SA, the UK wanted to place more emphasison exchange programmes.
Commentary on skillsmigration (Business Day, 20/06) - As debate rages on theunceremonious departure of former SA Airways CEO Coleman Andrews,some people have asked whether it was wise to spend hundreds ofmillions of rands on the US expatriate. Were there not SouthAfricans, they ask, who could have done as well as or better thanAndrews at less cost? There is no doubt SA firms need specialisedskills to compete in the world economy. While it is a noble ideaand a government priority to liberalise draconian immigrationlaws that discourage the importation of skills, not much is saidabout ensuring that such a process is accompanied by learnershipsdesigned to transfer those skills to locals as quickly aspossible. Many thousands of unemployed graduates roam the streetsof SA's townships. When they knock at the doors of the corporateworld looking for jobs, they are asked: "How much experiencehave you got?" When they answer they have none, they aretold: "Sorry, we want someone with experience." It goeswithout saying that often the only people with such experienceare white. So common is the abovementioned response that it begsthe question of whether "experience" has become a newcodeword for corporate SA to exclude young black people from thejob market. In other instances, graduates are told that they donot have "appropriate qualifications". This approachcould be understandable if black graduates who did have"appropriate qualifications" were being absorbedreasonably quickly into the labour market. Those without scienceand commerce degrees are often the ones told they do not haveappropriate qualifications. Yet a number of very successfulcompanies are run by people whose academic qualifications werenot in science or commerce AngloGold CE Bobby Godsell, forexample. It just goes to show that if people are given a chance,most of the time they do not disappoint. How is it that aneconomy said to have such an acute skills shortage can afford toignore tens of thousands of educated people in its midst?Granted, the economy is not creating that many jobs, but there isno sign of learnerships that could, at least, prepare those withthe education but without the "experience" for the jobmarket. Not so long ago, newspapers were full of adverts forapprenticeships for young people fresh from school to give thempractical experience. However, in the post-apartheid era suchapprentices seem to have all but vanished. SA needs what are nowcalled learnerships more than at any time in its history. VukileNkabinde of the SA Graduate Development Association anorganisation for unemployed graduates remarks that SA has yet tofind a proper way to make optimal use of its resources."There is so much illiteracy in the country, yet there are45000 unemployed teachers," Nkabinde points out. It canfrequently, he says, take from six months to a year to place ablack graduate with a degree in engineering. Nkabinde'sorganisation has about 5000 graduates on its database, and thisis just the tip of the iceberg. What makes all this even sadderis that a majority of these unemployed graduates come from poorbackgrounds. Their families, who sacrificed to put them throughschool, have high expectations that their educated sons anddaughters will be able to put food on the table. Linked to theissue of unemployed graduates is that of affirmative action. Whenthat is criticised by opposition politicians or over suburbandinner tables, the focus is on young whites. Allegedly bearingthe brunt of discrimination in the job market, they are said tobe leaving SA in droves. What is often unmentioned is that, evenin these days of affirmative action, there are organisations ofunemployed black graduates because there are no jobs for blackseither. Ten years from now, SA is probably going to regret notmaking good use of its skills pool. Who knows? Maybe today'sunemployed graduates will have found jobs overseas. Experiencedthough they might be, it would not be cheap to bring them backhome.
Stabilise region to reduceflow of refugees, says DA (Cape Town, Sapa, 20/06) - TheSouth African government should make a distinction betweenillegal immigrants and legitimate refugees, Democratic Alliancedeputy leader Marthinus van Schalkwyk said on Wednesday. Speakingduring a visit to Customs House in Cape Town to mark worldRefugee Day, he said South Africa's immigration controls neededto be strengthened. It was necessary not only to reduce the costto the country of illegal immigrants but also to prevent risinglevels of aggression towards foreigners wanting to settle in thecountry. Foreigners were often blamed by many South Africans foralmost every problem facing the country. "Suspected ofeverything from drug smuggling to violent crime, and thespreading of contagious diseases, foreign migrants - especiallyfrom other African countries - do not receive a warm welcome inSouth Africa," van Schalkwyk said. He said the flow ofrefugees wanting to escape economic and political upheaval inneighbouring countries had increased and South Africa could notafford to treat regional conflict as a distant issue. "WhenZimbabwean petrol prices increase by 70 percent, and whenZimbabwean war-veterans again invade farms and attack innocentfamilies who support the Movement for Democratic Change, it isSouth Africa who will have to deal with the flood ofrefugees," van Schalkwyk said.
Another desperate day forrefugees in SA (The Star, 20/06) - Wednesday wasRefugee Day, a UN-initiated day to mark the plight of statelesspeople around the world - but for those queueing outside thedepartment of home affairs in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, it wasa desperate day like any other. Some were grateful only to beacknowledged, others felt the system had let them down - but eachhad a heartbreaking story to tell about their lives in SouthAfrica. Ethiopian Woubet Ta said he hoped Refugee Day wouldcreate awareness about the status of refugees in South Africa."On this day, our existence is acknowledged. The day givesme hope that as officials go through the thousands ofapplications they will eventually come cross mine and give merefugee status." Ta, who has endured the uncertainty ofliving in South Africa on a temporary permit for the past threeyears, hawks food on the streets of Pretoria to sustain hisfamily. He left Ethiopia because of political instability. Amongthe many refugees waiting on Wednesday were five siblings whosemother died on June 2. Congolese Nathalie Seke, 22, the eldestchild - in South Africa since 1997 - said their father had diedof cancer last year and their mother's documents had expired."So we were told by the officials to come in today with ourbirth certificates and my parents' death certificates."Another refugee said he could not understand why South Africa wasgiving asylum to refugees when its own people were unemployed,but then offered refugees nothing.
Move to stop foreign landownership in SA (Business Day, 20/06) - Thedirector-general of land affairs, Gilengwe Mayende, has writtento the home affairs department asking for legislation limitingthe ownership of SA land by foreigners. The proposal, while at anearly stage, is understood to relate mainly to farm land andgovernment's concerns about ownership trends in Western Cape. Ithas raised concerns about whether such a move would contradictgovernment's push for productive foreign investment. The requestemerged at a recent presentation to the National Council ofProvinces' social services committee by senior home affairsofficials. Briefing the committee on the Immigration Bill, theofficials said they had "received a submission from(Mayende) requesting that our legislation would impose limits onthe power of foreigners to own immovable property in SA".The briefing paper suggests the request was tossed back to landaffairs. "It is not our responsibility to determine whethera foreigner may own a house or tract of land in SA, which is amatter for the department of land affairs to determine," thehome affairs officials said. Moses Mushi, spokesman for LandAffairs Minister Thoko Didiza, said the minister had no commentto make on an exchange of letters between Mayende and homeaffairs director-general Billy Masetlha. Didiza would make adecision once she received a recommendation from her department.Mayende confirmed he wrote to Masetlha on "whether it wasnecessary to look at certain concerns around landholding".However, it is understood that Mayende's letter highlightsDidiza's concern over the growing quantities of primeagricultural land, potentially useable for land reform, inforeign hands. It is believed Didiza is particularly concernedabout ownership trends in Western Cape, a worry which is believedto be shared by other members of the cabinet. The department wasconducting research into the current distribution of land in SA."This will help us plan for land reform in targeted areas.Particularly with land of high agricultural potential, it isimportant to know what is foreign-owned," Mayende said. Thedepartment was looking at agricultural land at this stage, aspart of its promotion of black commercial farming. However, theresearch might identify other problem areas. A government sourcewarned that favouring nationals in the distribution of productiveland ran counter to the push for productive foreign investment."There are also problems of detail. How would you defineimmoveable property? What of permanent residents?" Thesource said foreign ownership restrictions might work in"small places" like Switzerland and Swaziland, butemphasised that there were no limits in the US or the largerEuropean economies. On the other hand, these countries did nothave SA's "land problem". The US embassy declined tocomment yesterday, while the Eurochamber of Commerce could notcontacted.
Home Affairs to correctcomputer ID errors (Johannesburg, The Sowetan, 19/06) - TheDepartment of Home Affairs has undertaken the mammoth task ofrectifying computer errors by its officials, which have resultedin a number of mistaken identities since 1986. Cases forwarded toSowetan for investigation include identity mix- ups, the wrongsex on identity documents and mistakes with the birth records ofchildren. Most of the errors occurred when information aboutblacks, which had been done manually, was being captured on thecomputer in 1986. Other errors happened when the information ofpeople from former homelands was being entered into the systemafter 1994. Department spokesman Mr. Apollo Gopolang saidyesterday: "About 80 percent of people, including indigenouspeople of this country, were not regarded as South Africancitizens by the former government. "Their particulars werecaptured manually and some of their records either got lost orgot mixed up. It was only in 1986 when the identities of people,mostly Africans, were entered into the computer system. "Inother cases the deaths of people were not updated in the system.We inherited these problems from the past regime. "We arealso aware of computer errors that occurred during the currentsystem and are doing our best to rectify them." As a resultof the errors many people have been unable to enter intoagreements or get credit. Some have even been unable to get moneyfrom their banks or insurance companies. In some cases it hasbeen difficult to rectify errors because records of people cannotbe traced because of the incompetence of the department. Thefollowing is one of the recent cases which is being investigatedby Sowetan and the department: l Mr. Rankoa Molefe (44) has beenclassified as a woman according to department records. He hasbeen trying since the '80s to rectify the error. "Thedepartment has asked me to consult a medical practitioner toprove that I'm a male," Molefe said. "My features don'tresemble those of a female. I appeal to Minister MangosuthuButhelezi to restore my dignity and integrity."
New bill will make it easierfor foreigners to live in South Africa (Cape Town, AFP, 19/06) - SouthAfrica is revamping its immigration laws to make it easier forforeigners to work in the country, but employers will have to paya special tax on their salaries in many cases. Elderly foreignnationals will also find it easier to retire in South Africaunder the bill, which a special government adviser Tuesday saidhas been approved by cabinet and was expected to be passed byparliament before the end of the year. It will allow foreignersunder the age of 25 to work in South Africa for one year in anyfield of employment, and smooth the way for seasonal workers fromneighbouring countries. Taxes of between one and three percent ofsalaries will, however, be slapped on most companies employingskilled foreigners. The bill will do away with the onerouscondition that companies who want to employ foreigners have toprove that a suitable South African cannot be found to do the jobin question. What we are now doing is making a foreignermore expensive, and if the employer needs him, he will take him.We are letting the free market decide who gets the job,Mario Ambrosini, special adviser to Home Affairs MinisterMangosutho Buthelezi, told AFP. The salary taxes may be waived insectors such as mining and agriculture where South Africa needsforeign labour, and those where foreign investment is needed.
Investigators denyMozambicans thrown from trains (Maputo, Sapa-AFP, 18/06) - Ajoint Mozambican-South African investigation has dismissed claimsthat South African police threw 14 illegal Mozambican migrantsfrom a moving train while repatriating them, Pretoria'sambassador here said Monday. Investigators did not find anyevidence to back the allegations, made by some of the returningmigrants on the train, South African High Commissioner JessieDuarte told AFP. "The truth of the matter is that thisdidn't happen - 1,460 people got on the train and exactly thesame number of deportees got off the train," Duarte said.The allegations were reported last month by state radio, whichquoted some of the deportees as saying 14 people had been thrownfrom the train that brought them back home. They also alleged illtreatment by South African authorities. South African police inJohannesburg denied the allegations shortly after the originalradio report, saying that a regular head count had been made andthat the same number of people got off the train as had boarded.Duarte said the deportees might actually have made theallegations because they were not happy about being forced toreturn to Mozambique. Every Thursday, a South African trainbrings back hundreds of illegal Mozambican migrant workers. Facedwith widespread unemployment at home, many workers leaveMozambique, one of the world's poorest countries, to seekemployment in South Africa, the region's economic powerhouse. Dueto its fragile borders, Mozambique is also used as a safe transitpoint by citizens of other African countries also aspiring tolive in South Africa. South African authorities rounded up189,961 illegal aliens - 123,961 from Mozambique - in 1999, themost recent year for which government figures are available.Mozambique and South Africa generally have good relations, andMozambique has become an attractive destination for South Africaninvestors.
Two thirds positive aboutstaying in SA, says survey (Cape Town, Sapa, 18/06) - Twothirds of the respondents who participated in a countrywidesurvey in April this year said they were positive about remainingin South Africa. The figure was slightly down - six percentagepoints - compared to a similar poll conducted by Research Surveysin March last year. The results of the survey were released onMonday. According to Research Surveys, it interviewed 2000 peoplefrom across the board in major metropolitan centres. Two thirdsof the respondents indicated that there many good reason to stayin the country and none in favour of leaving. However, in linewith the decline in optimism significantly fewer coloureds (55percent) claimed to be positive about staying in the country in2001 compared to 71 percent in 2000. "Even though blackswere more positive about the prospect of remaining in SouthAfrica, this figure declined from 82 percent in 2000 to 75percent in 2001," Research Surveys said. Indians and whitesmaintained roughly the same result with 57 percent of Indians and42 percent of whites claiming that there were many good reasonsto stay and none for leaving. Last year, 23 percent of the samplewere in two minds about staying or leaving the country, comparedto 26 percent this year. Research Surveys said that in 2000, fivepercent of respondents felt that there were few good reasons tostay and numerous to leave. The figure increased to eight percentin 2001. In the most recent study, approximately 18 percent ofwhites (12 percent in 2000) felt that there were few good reasonsto stay and many good reasons to leave the country, compared to12 percent of coloureds (four percent in 2000), eight percent ofIndians (four percent in 2000) and only four percent of blacks(three percent in 2000).
Xenophobia towards refugees(Johannesburg, The Sowetan, 18/06) - Wednesday isWorld Refugee Day. The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in SouthAfrica has lined up activities starting today with a workshop forjournalists at the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism(IAJ) in Parktown, Johannesburg. JRS advocacy and informationofficer Mr. Rampe Hlobo said today's workshop, which wouldconcentrate on the situation of refugees, would be followed by aninter-faith prayer meeting to be held at the Yeoville RecreationCentre, tomorrow. On Wednesday the JRS will conduct anotherworkshop for government officials and NGOs working in the area ofrefugees. "In the spirit of ubuntu we should be givingsupport to these people, who have been traumatised in theircountries, on their journey down here and continue to betraumatised by the treatment they are receiving here in SouthAfrica," said Hlobo. "The atrocities committed on theserefugees have undoubtedly proven that South Africa is not just axenophobic country but a racial one. "It subjects many blackAfricans to maltreatment that has gone so far that somedark-skinned South Africans are mistaken for foreigners."The JRS, which is working together with the United Nations highcommissioner for refugees, said refugees had been coming into thecountry from troublespots of the African continent and otherparts of the world since 1990. "Unfortunately in SouthAfrica these refugees and asylum-seekers have, on many occasions,been confused with other groups of migrants and, consequently,are exposed to various forms of violation of human rights,"said Hlobo.
Rights officer experiencesofficial xenophobia first hand (Sunday Independent, 16/06) - Apartheid'sbad old pencil-test days seemed uncomfortably close this week foran Eastern Cape woman who is a senior official at the HumanRights Commission (HRC). Phumla Mthala was placed on a list ofsuspected illegal immigrants because two identity documentsection bureaucrats decided, apparently on viewing her identityphotograph, that she looked suspicious. She was saved at theeleventh hour from an uncertain but probably nasty fate by akindly home affairs official who persuaded his colleagues toremove her from the list and hand over her new ID. The officialsmay sorely regret their actions. It turns out they picked on thewrong person. Mthala is the spokesperson for the HRC, and is notthe sort who takes things lying down. Neither is Barney Pityana,the HRC's head. He will take the matter up at the "highestlevel". Mthala applied for a new ID book in April. "Ikept checking telephonically through May and June to see if ithad arrived. I didn't want to wait in a queue only to be told itwasn't there. They kept asking me to phone back." "OnWednesday, the man I had been dealing with said: 'Phumla get herenow, there's a problem. They're in the process of cancelling yourID because you're a suspected illegal immigrant.' He said he hadno time to give me details and that I should hurry. "On theway I was worrying about what they would do when I got there.Would they do a language test? Or measure my nose? I was reallytraumatised." The home affairs employee who had phoned her,said Mthala, had caused a stir in the meantime "because whenI got there he called the supervisor and said 'this is the lady Iwas talking about'." The supervisor handed Mthala her IDbook. When Mthala enquired what the fuss had been about, she wastold that there had been a recent attempt to obtain IDsfraudulently, forging a home affairs official's signature andsending in applications for illegal immigrants. "They toldme they were trying to control that," said Mthala, "andthat the people responsible for issuing my ID probably looked atmy picture." "What does that tell you, that I am toodark, or is it my bone structure?" Mthala enquired. Thesupervisor responded that it was not her fault, and that theperson responsible for issuing the ID was not there. Mthala wasgive the names of two women, one white and one black, who wereresponsible for making the ill-conceived judgment call. "Itold them they couldn't do this without informing me," saidMthala. "They took my ID from a tray of IDs. How many otherpeople are sitting at home and haven't been told that they aresuspected of being illegal immigrants?" The officials'action, Mthala pointed out, is in contravention of section 33 ofthe constitution, which states that everyone has the right tojust administrative action that is procedurally fair. ApolloGopolang, a spokesperson for the home affairs department, said"it's definitely not standard procedure for that to happen.There would need to be an investigation into the problem.""If you look at me," said Gopolang, "some peoplethink I'm Nigerian. This is definitely an act of xenophobia andwould need to be rectified."
Business takes steps to plugSA's brain drain (Business Day, 14/06) - South Africans canbe forgiven a sense of helplessness in the face of the relentlesstide of their compatriots - mostly, but not exclusively, white -who are leaving the country for greener pastures abroad. Theresponse of those who stay typically ranges from bemoaning theloss of talent, to envy (sometimes combined with bidding theemigrants good riddance). The difficulty of staunching the flowwas underlined earlier this week when Health Minister ManthoTshabalala-Msimang vented her frustration at western countriesthat allow the unfettered recruitment of doctors and othermedical professionals from SA. Pretoria has tried before,unsuccessfully, to persuade nations such as Australia, Canada andthe US to limit their intake of SA doctors. Whatever the reactionto the exodus, it is widely assumed only a drop in the crimerate, a firmer rand and brighter job opportunities in SA can stemthe emigration flow. However, there is an emerging awareness inbusiness circles that, while it might be impossible to stop the"brain drain", there are measures that can slow itdown. A growing number of SA companies are putting innovativepolicies in place that have persuaded many employees - especiallyyounger ones - to give SA a second chance. "Business isincreasingly taking responsibility to retain staff and limit thebrain drain," says Mike Olivier, MD of Human Capital, ahuman resources consultancy. The big auditing firms, includingPricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte & Touche and Ernst &Young, as well as multinationals such as BarlowWorld and AngloAmerican, are among those in the vanguard of these efforts. CraigWest, national human resources partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers,observes that "over the past two years we've had a muchbetter retention rate". These companies' efforts areprompted by the undeniable, although unquantifiable, cost ofemigration to the economy. According to Statistics SA, a total of22 504 "self-declared emigrants" left the country inthe three years to 2000. To make matters worse, the pace haspicked up in each of the past three years, reaching 1 568departures in January 2001, about 24% higher than a year earlier.Few dispute that the official numbers are the tip of the iceberg.Few sectors have been left untouched by the exodus. The officialfigures for last year include 884 managers and executives, 358engineers, 353 teachers, 286 artisans and 1 848 students. Theeffects are felt across the economy. The emigrants are consumers,investors, home owners, employers and workers, typically withabove-average disposable incomes. When they leave, SA loses theirspending, their skills and the job opportunities they create.When an employee - especially a senior one - leaves, skills needto be replaced and succession plans revised. Both can often beaccomplished with little short-term pain, but there is invariablya cost in experience, not to mention money invested by the firmin the employee's training and career development. The strongestcountermeasures have come from multinationals such as theauditing firms, which have the ability to offer promising youngemployees a spell overseas in return for a commitment to returnto SA for a set period. Some have gone a step further. Deloitte& Touche organises an annual cocktail party for its SA"alumni" in London, partly to identify those whosetemporary UK visas are close to expiry and are thus likely toreturn home. The firm also maintains an international e-mailregister of its SA alumni. PricewaterhouseCoopers pays youngchartered accountants nearing the end of their training contractsa "retainer" of about R20 000 in return for stayingwith the firm for another six to nine months. "It's a veryshort-term intervention, but it's just to break the psychologythat the end of the training contract is like the end of a prisonsentence", West says. "They work out it's not such abad place as they start working with financial directors and moresenior management." PricewaterhouseCoopers also offerssabbaticals of three to six months to young chartered accountantsincluding, in a few cases, picking up airfares and payingsubsistence allowances. "Companies should see (overseasassignments) as an investment, not as a cost. Although it'sexpensive up front, it's cheaper than losing an executive,"says Olivier. Yet even companies without the luxury of foreignoperations have some means at their disposal to encouragevaluable employees - and their families - to stay in SA. To tryto allay the widespread fear of crime (thought to be a mainspringbehind emigration), some companies are footing the bill forsecurity services, not just for the CE, but for other keymanagers too. On another front, the pharmacy profession, whichestimates it lost at least 840 members to other countries lastyear, has used emigration as an argument in favour of tightercurbs on the ability of doctors to dispense medicines."There's no future for a pharmacist (in this country) due tothe dispensing doctor," says Johan Raath, president of thePharmaceutical Society of SA. Olivier points to the importance ofa generally satisfying work environment: "The critical thingis that people have got to want to work where they're working.Then it's more difficult to dislodge them". As manyimmigrants have found, SA has definite attractions for ambitiousbusiness people and professionals. "There are significantgrowth opportunities in SA. (It) is recognised as one of the besttraining grounds in the world for young managers wanting tofast-track to senior positions," says Olivier. DemocraticAlliance leader Tony Leon recently proposed that SA embassiesabroad offer skilled expatriates two- to three- month workingholidays on a volunteer basis. "I detect a deep desire amongthe South Africans who have settled around the world to helpimprove the lives of the people back home", Leon said.Whether Leon's idea will work is open to question. The point,however, is that creative thinking is being brought to bear on aproblem that was hitherto thought to be one only government couldsolve.
Immigration bill referred toParliament for scrutiny (Cape Town, Business Day, 14/06) - Thecabinet had finally referred the controversial immigration bill,which is likely to become law by the end of this year, toParliament, chief government spokesman Joel Netshitenzhe saidyesterday. The bill, more than four years in the making, was thefocus of a clash between Home Affairs Minister MangosuthuButhelezi and Parliament's portfolio committee chairman, AubreyMokoena. The initial bill, submitted last month, was rejected bythe cabinet as it provided for an independent immigration serviceboard to deal with illegal immigrants. The cabinet wanted theboard to fall under the home affairs department, and thereforeunder the public service. Business also complained about thedifficulty caused by the absence of legislation enablingrecruitment of skilled international labourers. SA was stillusing the old apartheid-era Aliens Control Act, which wascriticised for being ad hoc and inconsistent. At the same time,the cabinet has resolved to let former special investigating unithead Judge Willem Heath resign to pursue a private sector career.His resignation takes effect from July 1. This, however, meantHeath would not receive benefits due to him under the Judges'Remuneration and Conditions of Employment Act, Netshitenzhe said.Unit spokesman Guy Rich said judges were not entitled to apension package as they were paid a portion of their salary onretiring. Heath would not be entitled to this as his retirementwas voluntary, forfeiting his status as "judge forlife", Rich said. Netshitenzhe also said SA would accede tothe 1997 Kyoto Protocol, aimed at curbing the greenhouse gasemissions which deplete the ozone layer. It would also ratify theMontreal and Beijing amendments to the Montreal Protocol. The USstated in March that it would not implement the Kyoto Protocol,prompting worldwide criticism of its actions. Observers believedwithdrawal by the US which emits 20% of the world's carbondioxide, the main climate-changing gas was likely to doom theprotocol, which has been worked out over years with more than 100nations.
Exodus from SA not confinedto whites (Business Day, 14/06) - It has always beenassumed that the emigration surge of the 1990s is a largely whitephenomenon; the reflex action of a settler population to theuncertainties of a political transition. "At the first hintof trouble, the Jews pack their bags," a black executiverecently commented. "At the second hint, the Wasps (WhiteAnglo-Saxon Protestants) go. Soon it will be like it was in theTransvaal and Free State republics of the mid19th century; Justus and the boers," the executive said. However, speak tothose who staff SA's mushrooming emigration agencies, and youwill be in for a surprise: "We get about 100 inquiries aday," says Dirkje Oberholzer, a director of Global Visas."At a conservative estimate, I would say that 60% of callsare from blacks. The majority are of an average income, low tomedium skill-base. We turn away many people because they are justnot going to make it," he says. It is impossible to say justhow many black South Africans are leaving the country. Mostforeign embassies are cagey about hard statistics and all claimnot to keep records of racial profiles. "There is anagreement between countries not to issue too muchinformation," says a veteran member of the emigrationindustry. "It's just not on, diplomatically, for a countryto announce that black South Africans are coming in droves."Anecdotal evidence, though, is pretty strong. "Britishrecruitment agencies have been running very aggressive campaignsamong SA school teachers," says Alan Taylor, special adviserto Education Minister Kader Asmal. "They appear to targetblack teachers in particular, because their teacher shortages arelargely among inner-city, immigrant communities. The responsefrom black teachers in SA appears to be particularly strong."SA schoolteachers are there for the picking. When youcompare rands to pounds, we do not compete," says Taylor.The beginnings of middle-income black emigration appear to beclosely tied to a broader trend in emigration from SA. "Inthe early 1990s most of my clients were wealthy businessmen andprofessionals," says Dawn Raphaely, a partner at Ashmore,Brown & Chait. "Then came Chris Hani's death in 1993 andthere was a huge panic. Then the St James massacre and anotherhuge panic. Things settled down for about a year after the 1994elections and then, in 1995, the numbers started climbingsteadily. "Yet there were differences. First, the numberswere less responsive to specific events. And second, people fromacross the board began inquiring: electricians, plumbers not justthe northern suburbs wealthy." So, while in the early 1990semigration was the preserve of the wealthy and footloose whobased their decisions on political forecasting, they have nowbeen joined by those leaving for better salaries and to escapecrime. When Australia announced in June 1999 it was establishingnew skills criteria which would make entrance more difficult fortrade workers, SA's embassy received a flood of applications,more than 1000 in one month, from trade workers who wanted tomove before the new criteria kicked in. There is, of course, alarge grey area between emigration and exploration. "A lotof teachers go to places like the UK for two or three years tosave money in pounds with the intention of coming home,"Taylor says. "Some find conditions in inner-city schoolsappalling, but are stuck there for the duration of theircontracts. "We will not be asking Britain to stop recruitingSA teachers," he says. "But we want to regulate it. Wewant to be able to encourage people to return." SibongileMkhize is a nurse recently returned from a two-year working tripto Saudi Arabia. "I was earning in US dollars," shesays, "and I saved enough money to come home and start asmall business. If it succeeds I will stay in SA. If not, I amalways free to leave again." Are many black professionals,like Mkhize, somewhere on the boundary between emigrating andjust working abroad? "Most nurses will tell you they arejust going for a while to save some money," Mkhize says."But as more and more people do it, so the network grows. InBritain, for example, there are black SA nurses all over thecountry. As the networks grow, it becomes easier to stayforever." The skills haemorrhage is one of the issues onPresident Thabo Mbeki's agenda during his state visit to the UK.
US to help SA in lawenforcement (Business Day, 14/06) - The US government,through its Pretoria embassy, is gearing up its programmessupporting South Africa in the area of law enforcement and drugtrafficking and prevention, according to Susan Snyder, head ofthe embassy's programmes in these areas. Snyder told a pressconference in Cape Town on Thursday the embassy had increased itsbudget to $2.2-million, from $1.5-million the previous year, tohelp the government in training the SA Police Service (SAPS),Scorpions and SA Revenue Services, among other groups, andproviding technical support and funding to combat organized crimeand drug trafficking. Snyder said the embassy was working closelywith the government in determining priorities for spending forthe new financial year. So far these had yet to be finalised. Inthe past year, one of the highest-profile programmes sponsored bythe US was to send Justice Minister Penuell Maduna and theNational Director for Public Prosecutions, Bulelani Ngcuka, tothe US to learn about the government's witness protectionprogramme. In South Africa the programme has experienced manyproblems and is in the process of being transferred from the SAPSto the Scorpions unit. Maduna and Ngcuka, along with fourprosecutors, met with the US Marshalls, the Department of Justiceand other entities responsible for the US programme, and hoped tobe able to apply some of its aspects in South Africa. Inaddition, the US had sent 85 new recruits for the Scorpions eliteinvestigative unit to Quantico, the US Marines' base in Florida.It had also sponsored courses in anti-terrorism, firearmsmuggling, narcotics smuggling, border and port controls,interrogation techniques and counterfeiting, she said. Thesefocused on such techniques as detecting drugs in cars crossingthe borders and in shipping containers at ports. On the technicalsupport side, the embassy had purchased specialized analystnotebook software for SAPS offices around the country, used totrack complex investigations. "Police around the US haveused the software very successfully in linking people to cellphones, cars, bank accounts and other assets across states,"she explained. "So far SAPS says it is working quite wellfor them." Another software package, the HomicideInvestigative Tracking System (HITS) had also been introduced tothe SAPS by the embassy, as had advanced forensic equipment usedto detect counterfeit bills and other documents. Snyder said theUS had decided to set up a new international law enforcementacademy in Gaborone, Botswana, where law officers from around thesouthern African region could go to receive training in the bestinvestigative practices from various American agencies. Thiswould be only the third of its kind in the world to beestablished so far, she added, beside those in Budapest andBangkok. Courses would focus on issues most important to theregion, such as small arms and drug trafficking.
Numsa to take on foreignfirms (Johannesburg, The Sowetan, 14/06) - A row overmajor companies of Chinese and Japanese origin trampling on basicconditions of employment and collective bargaining agreements isbrewing, with labour unions threatening to launch protestcampaigns against the corporations. The National Union ofMetalworkers of SA (Numsa) yesterday disclosed a list of EastAsian enterprises which they said paid low wages, had poor healthand safety conditions and demanded long hours from workers. Numsasaid the companies did not allow workers to have lunch or teabreaks. Numsa wants the Department of Labour to take actionagainst them. Numsa spokesman Mr. Dumisa Ntuli said some Chineseand Japanese corporations were threatening labour rightsstandards by harassing workers for joining unions. The secretaryfor labour affairs at the Japanese embassy, Ms Kaoru Takahashi,said the Labour Department would have to investigate the concernsof the union and take action against companies that floutedlabour laws. She said the embassy had no authority overcorporations. Ntuli also charged that most companies employedcasual workers and often relocated their operations withoutconsultation with labour. Ntuli said the labour protest campaignwould focus on the need to build nationwide support for therights of unions to organise freely within Chinese and Japanesecompanies. It would also highlight many of the abuses of workersby the corporations, he said. The Labour Department's chiefdirector for labour relations, Ms Lisa Seftel, conceded that thedepartment had experienced problems with some Taiwanese companiesin the clothing industry. She said she was not aware of anyproblems experienced with Japanese companies. She welcomed tradeunions' initiative to refer these companies to the department.Seftel denied charges by Numsa that certain ministries signedbilateral agreements which selectively sanctioned variation ofstandards and basic rights.
Immigrant children workingon farms dumped at border (Komatipoort, African Eye News Service,12/06) - Illegal immigrant children found working onSouth African farms must not be summarily dumped at the border,urged the Network Against Child Labour (NACL) on Tuesday. NACLspokeswoman Jackie Lof fell said children should not berepatriated unless arrangements had been made for their safereturn to their home countries. Weve heard disturbingaccounts of children simply being dumped on the border and leftto fend for themselves, she explained. If necessary thechildren should be referred to a Childrens Court or helpedto apply for refugee status and given temporary residencepermits, she added. It is also incumbent on thedepartment of home affairs to work with the relevant structuresto ensure that these children are not left even worse off thanbefore, she added. Loffell suggested that the labourdepartment work closely with the welfare department to ensurethat the plight of child labourers was dealt withcomprehensively. The NACL is also lobbying government to raisethe age limit for Child Support Grants. At the moment, grants areonly awarded if children are aged six and younger. (This)is a major obstacle to efforts to combat child labour, saidLoffell. The NACL raised the concerns following an Mpumalangalabour department raid on Piet Maritz Boerdery in Marloth Parknear Komatipoort on May 24. Inspectors allegedly foundten-year-old children were found working in the fields. They alsofound that female farm workers were hiring illegal Mozambicangirls as young as six for only R2,08c a day to look after theirbabies while they worked in the fields. Farm owner Piet Maritzallegedly told inspectors that 80% of his staff was Mozambicanand that children had to be taught to work while they were stillyoung. Loffell commended farmers union Agri-Mpumalanga foropposing such practices and the department for reporting the caseto police. The case has been referred to the Director of PublicProsecutions to decide whether to prosecute or not. Labourspokesman Didi Sebothoma said that the department would raid morefarms in the province to ensure that labour laws were compliedwith.
Health brain drain toprivate sector, says Minister of Health (Parliament, Sapa, 12/06)- The "outflow" of health professionals tothe private sector in South Africa probably represented a greaterdrain on the public health services than foreign migration,Health Minister Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said on Tuesday.Speaking in the National Council of Provinces during debate onher budget vote, she emphasised she was not arguing for thedemise of the private health care sector, but "I do believethat it should be aligned with the overall health goals for thecountry". "When the private sector operates in a waythat undermines national health objectives - for instance,through wasteful and irrational practices that create artificialmarkets - then government is compelled to intervene. "Wehave already done so through a number of laws that are designedto reduce health costs in the private sector." Theseincluded the Medicines Control Amendment Act, which bannedkickbacks that artificially increased demand. Tshabalala-Msimangsaid that when it came to the foreign brain drain, governmentrecognised that higher salaries in developed countries wereinevitably going to attract a certain number of South Africa'shealth workers. "We regret this, but freedom of movement andfreedom to sell one's labour are basic rights that we have builtour democracy on, and we cannot restrict these rights."However, any responsible government would take steps toprotect its assets, and we certainly need to devise strategiesthat will conserve the public investment in human resources forhealth care. "We need to recognise that many health workersleave this country temporarily - for instance to gain experienceabroad, or to boost their earnings to repay student loans."Such international exposure generally led to personal developmentand enriched knowledge. Therefore, it was necessary to make iteasy and attractive for returning professionals to reintegrateinto the public sector, she said. "It might very well be inour interests to facilitate short-term foreign contracts forpublic sector health workers and to offer options for continuityof pension and other service benefits." Government would beexploring ways of achieving this, Tshabalala-Msimang said.
False papers land Malawiansoccer star in trouble (Johannesburg, African Soccer Magazine,08/06) - Malawian international, Ernest Mtawali hasbeen accused by South African police of possessing six fakeidentity documents and could face immediate deportation. Mtawalihad earlier been granted reprieve through an appeal to show thathe has documents which allow him to stay in South Africa, wherehe has lived since 1985. Reports say Mtawali, who plays forOrlando Pirates has a history of age and identity doubts in hisglobetrotting career for various clubs on four continents.Mtawali's troubles started two weeks ago after he was droppedfrom a crucial league game by Pirates due to injury. AlthoughMtawali played in 12 league matches, none of their opponents inthe Premier League have protested against the player'sregistration. The Premier Soccer League feels there is no need toquestion his registration, while Pirates don't want to talk aboutthe matter. PSL spokesman Andrew Dipela said Pirates registeredthe player, otherwise known as Ernest Chirwali, in good faith andcould not have anticipated he would run into trouble with theauthorities.
UDM condemns immigration(Bisho, Sapa, 06/06) - The flood of illegal immigrantsinto South Africa was a recipe for internal revolt, the UnitedDemocratic Movement (UDM) warned in Bisho on Wednesday."Xenophobia or no xenophobia, South Africa belongs to theSouth African citizens," said UDM chief whip in the EasternCape Legislature Max Mhlati. The immigrants were not bringing anyvaluable skills to South Africa and some of them were formingsyndicates to sell drugs to children. Others were involved inarmed robberies and other criminal activities, he claimed.Unemployment was at 50 percent, but the government had let theimmigrants through the borders. Mhlati also accused thegovernment of allowing bogus marriages to "upgrade" thestatus of illegal immigrants to that of permanent residents. TheANC said the government had ties with the countries of some ofthese individuals. Party provincial spokesman Phaki Hobongwanasaid the Home Affairs Department and the South African PoliceService were doing a sterling job in dealing with illegalimmigrants without discrimination. He believed that Mhlati mightbe referring to black illegal immigrants only, while there weremany others who were in the country from Europe and Asia. On theissue of marriages, he said the government could not interferewith the rights of its citizens to marry partners of teir choice.
Brain drain accelerating(Independent Online, 06/06) - South Africa's braindrain has increased substantially in the past two years, with thecountry losing hundreds of professionals to industrialisednations. Worst hit have been technical, educational, managerialand medical occupations. The latest emigration figures, releasedby Statistics South Africa (SSA)on Wednesday, show there was asteady loss of skills between December 1998 and December lastyear. Analysts said on Wednesday the trend augured badly foreconomic growth, which desperately needed foreign investment ifit was to meet the annual target of six percent identified in thegovernment's Growth, Employment and Redistribution (Gear)macro-economic programme. According to the SSA survey, the numberof people in professional and technical occupations who left thecountry soared from 1 796 in 1998 to 2 407 last year, while thenumber of engineers and technologists rose from 337 to 358.Emigration in the education sector was up from 250 in 1998 to353. Last year, 884 managerial and executive professionals leftthe country, compared with 736 in 1998. Econometrix senioreconomist Tony Twine said the country's skills pool wasinsufficient to meet business needs. "We have huge capacityconstraints and the loss of skills will make things worse,"he said. "The simple fact is that we need skills in newgrowth sectors. We need skills to attract foreigninvestment." The number of foreign skilled workers enteringthe country also declined, according to the survey. It isestimated that 4 371 professional, managerial, technical andexecutive workers arrived in 1998. The figure had declined to 3053 by December. The most acute decline was in managerial andexecutive occupations - down from 424 arrivals in 1998 to 241 in2000. Twine said the survey confirmed the view that favourableevaluations of South Africa were at their lowest ebb."Officially, South Africa remained a net emigration countryduring the initial years of the (post-apartheid)transition," he said. "Now few people feel that this isa place to invest skills in the light of the deterioration of theexternal value of the rand. "South African salaries indollar or pound terms are not consistent with industrialisedcountries." Twine said the picture was similar for standardsof service. "We have a comparatively inefficient servicesector which is supposed to be a growth sector globally."The South African Chamber of Business (Sacob) was not surprisedpeople were leaving for industrialised countries. "SouthAfrican skills are highly regarded overseas and the results ofthe survey confirm this," said Sacob policy consultant BrianWasmuth. "Our information technology skills are of thehighest calibre and many people are being head-hunted."Wasmuth said the country's inflexible labour legislation and highcrime rate were other factors that encouraged people to leave anddiscouraged the arrival of skilled workers. "It does nothelp the economy when social instability and high unemploymentputs us at a comparative disadvantage to other countries, whenour labour laws place a heavy burden on employers, and when thegovernment places a moratorium on crime statistics," saidWasmuth. Cape Chamber of Commerce spokesperson Colin Boyes saidthe country did not offer sufficient incentives to keep itsskilled workers and attract skills from abroad. "We do notoffer competitive salaries and our tax system punishes thewealthy," he said. "So you find that medicalprofessionals leave the country to earn more money abroad."Democratic Nurses Association of South Africa deputy directorNelouise Geyer said wages and conditions of employment were theprime reasons for nursing professionals leaving the country."Most nurses in public hospitals earn one-fifth of thesalary they would get in Britain. Many are unhappy about the highpatient-to-nurse ratios and are concerned about pooropportunities to progress in the profession," Geyer said.Overall, the survey shows a net increase of people leaving from 8726 to 10 140 during the period. Most left for Europe,Australasia and North America. Europe shored up 3 749 skilledSouth Africans in 2000, up from 2 857 in 1998. Britain was themost popular European destination, attracting 2 801 in December2000 up from 2 104 in 1998. Australasia trailed closely,attracting 2 434 skilled South Africans in 2000 up from 2 307 in1998. Emerging economies in the Middle East, Asia and SouthAmerica were the least likely destinations. South Africansemigrating to Asia increased marginally from 155 in 1998 to 198in 2000. Those who left for the Middle East increased from 212 in1998 to 243 in 2000 while South America attracted 43 people in1998 and 63 in 2000.
Immigration Bill ready fortabling (Parliament, Sapa, 05/06) - After more thanfour years in the making, the long-awaited Immigration Bill isready for tabling in Parliament, home affairs officials told theNational Council of Province's social services committee onTuesday. The bill's aims include facilitating the recruitment ofskilled foreign workers to South Africa. In briefing notes to thecommittee, the department said the text of the bill approved byCabinet and submitted to Parliament "is somehow differentfrom the one finalised by our department, which reflects theunprecedented length and intensity of the Cabinet deliberationson the matter. "The process of policy formulation onmigration control has been one of the most intense and detailedin the history of the new South Africa and has received a greaterdegree of Cabinet attention than any other matter ever consideredby it," it said. Most of the amendments did not depart fromthe department's white paper. However, in one respect Cabinetdeliberations had made a fundamental policy change, byeliminating the notion of a distinct or independent immigrationservice. Cabinet had resolved that migration control should berun by the Department of Home Affairs and not an immigrationservice. On attracting skilled workers, the department said:"The white paper and the bill develop new and innovativesolutions to foster economic growth and satisfy the needs thatour businesses may have for the acquisition of foreign humancapital and skills. "It took three years since 1995, whenthe public debate on international migration first began, tobring about policy consensus that we need to open up the countryto the skills our economy needs, as stated by the presidentduring his state of the nation address this year." Alicensing fee was the only mechanism to determine whether aforeigner had skills which were indeed needed in any givenbusiness, the department said. "The notion is that ifsomeone is willing to pay a higher premium to employ a foreignerthan he would to employ a South African, then that foreigner isneeded." The licensing fee would be directed to the trainingfund already established by the Department of Labour to trainSouth Africans. Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi hadbeen sensitive to concerns raised by the business community andexceptions had been made, it said. The licensing fee, forexample, would not apply in respect of corporate permits. -Parliamentary officials told Sapa on Tuesday the bill had yet tobe formally tabled, although the department had distributedcopies to some MPs.
Aliens Control Actsuccessfully challenged in Constitutional Court (Johannesburg,Sapa, 04/06) - The Constitutional Court confirmed onMonday the invalidity of two sections of the Aliens Control Actwhich govern the issuing of work permits to foreigners married toSouth Africans. In a unanimous judgment, the court confirmed anorder by the Cape High Court in February that the two sectionswere inconsistent with the Constitution. Judge Albie Sachs saidhe was in substantial agreement with the reasonsforwarded by the high court, which concluded that the sectionsunjustifiably limited the constitutionally entrenched right tohuman dignity of South Africans and their foreign spouses. OnFebruary 8, the Cape High Court upheld an application by fourSouth Africans and their foreign spouses. They contested asection of the Aliens Control Act which compels foreign spousesof South Africans to apply for a work permit while outside thecountry, and not to enter the country until the permit has beenissued. The eight applicants contended the section disruptedtheir family life. The high court found the legislation impairedthe ability of spouses to honour their obligations andconstituted an unjustifiable limitation of the right to humandignity. The four couples also challenged a section of the Actwhich states that work permits should be not be issued to foreignspouses if they intended pursuing an occupation in which therewere sufficient qualified South Africans. The applicants claimedin court the section prevented foreign spouses from working ifthey did not have scarce occupational skills. In many cases theforeign spouse was the sole or main breadwinner and therestrictive provision prevented them from fulfilling their dutyof support. The high court found the provision resulted in anunjustifiable limitation on the constitutionally entrenched rightto human dignity of South Africans and their foreign spouses. Itdeclared both sections invalid, saying they were inconsistentwith the Constitution. The declarations of invalidity weresuspended for 12-months to allow Parliament to correct them.During the suspension period, the Department of Home Affairs wasordered to accept any application for a work permit made withinSouth Africa by a foreign spouse, and not to reject work permitapplications without good cause. The fact that sufficient SouthAfricans were available in the foreigners chosen field ofwork did not constitute good cause for a refusal, the high courtsaid. It furthermore ruled that applications for work permits befinalised within 30 days of their submission during the 12-monthsuspension period. The applicants then approached theConstitutional Court to confirm the invalidity declarations ofthe high court -- which it did on Monday. The ConstitutionalCourt confirmed the high court order, with the additional orderthat work permit applications refused before February 8 were notrendered unlawful. The Minister of Home Affairs, the firstrespondent in the matter, was also ordered to pay theapplicants costs incurred during the confirmationproceedings.
Tanzania and Burundi todiscuss resettling Burundian refugees (Dar Es Salaam, Sapa-AP,24/06) - Burundian Defence Minister Cyrille Ndayirukiearrived here on Saturday, leading a five-member delegation forwhat officials described as a two-day "consultation on goodneighbourliness." "The delegation is here for routinetalks with Tanzanian Defence Minister Philemon Sarungi and armyofficials on matters of common interest, including securityissues," Renovat Cubwa, first consul in the Burundianembassy told AFP before the meeting opened at a seaside hotelhere. Cubwa said the Burundian minister's entourage includes thedirector general in the ministry of defence, Colonel CelestineNdayisaba, and senior officials in the foreign and home affairsministries. Ndayirukie had been expected in the country lastweek, but the trip was postponed at the last minute. The meetingcomes at a time when relations between the two countries areseverely strained due to an escalated war between theTutsi-dominated army and Hutu rebels in Burundi. BurundianPresident Pierre Buyoya claims Tanzania has been harbouring andtraining rebels in refugee camps, an accusation strongly deniedby Tanzanian authorities. President Benjamin Mkapa recently tolda delegation from the UN Security Council that he was fed up withBuyoya's claims and suggested the repatriation back to Burundi ofabout 500,000 refugees currently in refugee camps in northwesternTanzania.
Journalist re-arrested(Kampala, New Vision, 17/06) - A Zambian journalistwas re-arrested Tuesday and deported after spending nine monthsin Police custody at the Kampala Central Police Station (CPS).John Katsano, in his late 20s, had just been set free by a HighCourt judge, Lady Justice Faith Mwondha when he was re-arrested.He was flown home through Kenya.
Life of a refugee in MehebaRefugee Camp (Lusaka, The Post, 15/06) - The tale of15-year-old Winston Surge starts from some village in Rwanda andmay end in Zambia, that is if he lives on. When a group ofjournalists on an issue based journalism course were busyinterviewing Lutheran World Federation (LWF) officials on refugeeactivities near a fish pond at Meheba camp in Solwezi, NorthWestern Province, one person's shout of a snake made everyonejump out of fear. They decided to move further away from the tallgrass. The snake fled too. Minutes later a small boy leapt out ofthe bush, seemingly unworried of the serpents that sought coverin the grass. No one took notice of the boy. Out of curiosity,one journalist tried to talk to the boy in "tattered"Swahili but the boy responded in English. The boy's response inEnglish apparently caught the journalist by surprise. The boy wasWinston Surge. Winston's tale is interesting and horrific. Theinterest comes from the horrific tale of his "flight"from Rwanda which took him six months to get to Meheba. He sawhis parents being killed in DR Congo. He lives alone and looksafter himself. Not in a house though. Not even a tent. "Whatdo you like about Meheba?" one of the journalists asked him."Nothing," said Winston whilst looking at the sky."I am alone... how can I keep my self...because I do nothave ration cards. No ration. What can I do? They have closed therations." Ration cards were supposed to accord him access tofood given to refugees that arrive at the camp. Momentarily theboy was surrounded with journalists that wanted to hear the boy'sexperience. He came to Meheba in 1996. "From Rwanda to comehere, I used six months on the way," he said in some patchedup English. "I was alone. When we reached in Congo, there,we stayed and started making caps. After that when the warstarted in Congo, I ran with my parents. When we reachedsomewhere, where the soldiers who hunt us...they killed myparents... then they did not catch me to kill me... I ran awayuntil I reached Meheba. I was having two brothers and foursisters...so no one...I am still alone here. I eat once a day.Nshima and vegetable. There is no oil no just using water. I eat11 hours and then I begin to eat tomorrow." That is what wardid to Winston. A boy that would have grown up in his own countryand possibly to become an academician. But the war in his countryforced him to flee. A war that he never created. A war that hestill does not understand. But he has to suffer for.
That is why you do not have to understand what young MarulusaNjofese, a refugee from Cazombo in Angola is saying in a mixtureof Luvale and Portuguese to know his predicament. At 14, Marulusahas seen his mother and father being butchered by machetewielding rebels in his home village in war torn Angola. He hasseen his brothers forced into joining the rebels and worse stillseen the starving to death of his sisters during their 7 day"flight" to Zambia. "UNITA rebels came and forcedpeople to join them but my parents were too old to join and sothey were killed instantly. I ran away with my sisters in a groupof other people, but my sisters died on the way due to starvation," narrated Marulusa with his eyes wide open and without asingle drop of tears as if showing his will to live. He said heentered Zambia through Kalene into Mwinilunga before beingferried to Meheba to begin a new life. Being part of new arrivalsstaffed in an area infested with mosquitoes, snakes and stagnantwater can be annoying. "We do not have adequate water and sowe some times drink water from these ponds," said Marulusa.Apart from this water Marulusa Njofese and several others willtell you that snakes and snails make a very delicious meal. Andon a daily basis Winston, like Marulusa, wades his way throughthe blue tents, coughing babies and women picking lice out ofeach other's hair, looking for food. They are some of thecountable refugees that have been ripped out of their homes andthrown apart by some of the world's most protracted viciouscrises and now, seeking solace at Meheba refugee settlement.Solace that has its own challenges and difficulties.
During the rain season the Meheba grounds are soggy with theafter effects of days of heavy down pour. As a result, the areabecomes a perfect breeding ground for several diseases especiallyrespiratory ones. In fact at Meheba the chorus of coughing is adisturbing sound to a mere visitor but to health officials itspits a problem. LWF representative Wiebke Hoing looks at thechildren and then turns to the journalists: "I mean look,all these children, they do not have shoes, the rainy season hasstarted and these children are walking through the mud andthrough the cold and then they are still living most of them inmake shift shelters." A visit to the clinics in one of thezones that would give one a sad picture. Run by Medicine SansFrontier, France, the clinic grapples with a high morality rateduring rain season. About five people die in a week. "We donot have good morality rate in Zone H" said a MSF doctor.According to statistics, crude mortality rate is 1.7 deaths per10, 000 per day and for under five it is 2.4 per 10, 000 per day.Great odds of death indeed. During the rainy season, Meheba is alush-green haven. From afar, the tents for "newarrivals" look like massive flags of distress flying overthe skyline of Meheba. When there are new arrivals pieces ofblues plastic, ragged and soiled pieces of what looks likebedding, hang from tree branches used as washing lines. Insidethe tents there is usually a semi-permanent stink odour of toomany people who have been living too closely together for sometime. That is the waste time to arrive, at least that is whatFidel Sadrik Nzaikorera can say in addition to his tale of havingtravelled 4858 kilometres to safety. "Myself when I arrivedI came from Rwanda in 1994 in May. I ran away from Kigali. Afterthat we went into Congo. Congo of course I was working forrefugees, because we had a quick impact and interventionprogramme after we ran from Rwanda. "After about one yearand half the war started. We were obliged to run away in the bushwhere by no support, no food, no medicine. A lot of people diedfrom there especially women and children and old people. As Ispeak now, you can not find old people, may be more than 55 yearshere. You may find may be 43 or 45. All of them died on the waybecause they had no food, they had no medicine, everything wasnot there. Like myself I have tried to estimate. I have done 4858kilometres from Congo, Angola through Mbujimayi and Lubumbashiwalking. But there are some people who used the same way but theywent into Angola, after that they came through the Zambianborder. Those may be made more than 7000 kilometres. They did noteven know the ways, it was a bush completely. And people havedied. They failed to cross the rivers. Congo river is toobig," he explained. Life was difficult for him when hearrived at Meheba. The thought of the loss of his family, thewastage of the education he attained haunted his mind for sometime. He still remembers the people that were eaten by crocodilesas they crossed Congo river, the others that were swallowed bythe flooded river, the countless that died on the way due toexhaustion. Some were his relatives. Now Fidel is a communitydevelopment leader in Meheba. He has resigned to his fate. Heassists in helping other refugees, building clinics, roads andlinking his zones within Meheba. Fidel also assists otherrefugees in settling. The only South African refugee in Zambia,Buthelezi has his own story: " I left South Africa when Iwas only four years old and then when we reached here in Zambia,we went to Congo with my father. I started my primary schoolthere up to the university. The war forced me to run away again.We came with a boat from Uvira up to Kalembi. And when the rebelsattacked Kalembi, we were forced to run away again. I went to thetown and I saw some people getting on a boat and I got on too. Wewent in a direction that I did not know," said Buthelezi.The stories could go on and on, just as refugees would continuefleeing, causing problems for host countries and agencies dealingwith the mass exodus. These are an obvious symbol of many of theills of wars. Wars that UN high commissioner for refugees inAfrica Ilunga Ngandu says are a result of madness. "Why havepost liberation governments in Africa failed to work towards thebetterment of their people?" asks Ng'andu. There will surelybe very few answers at Meheba.
Row over deportation ofFinnish national (Lusaka, The Post, 12/06) - I amprepared to resign my position in government in order to protectthe integrity of the Department of Immigration if its integritysuffered in consequence, said lands minister Abel Chambeshiyesterday. Reacting to a story in yesterday's Post, Chambeshiadmitted both his friendship with Finnish Businessman LeoHeinonen and authoring the vernacular letter to home affairsminister Peter Machungwa. "I wish to confirm that Mr LeoHeinonen is indeed a friend of mine, from the days we workedtogether in the UNHCR Lusaka office," reads in partChambeshi's letter to The Post." I wish to confirm also thatI did indeed write to the Minister of Home Affairs to request hisintervention in the matter of Mr Heinonen's application for aself employment permit. However, I did not ask for, nor did Ireceive any money from him, for trying to assist him obtain thepermit." Chambeshi stated that he did not see anythingfraudulent or criminal in asking for the intervention ofMachungwa in the matter. "In fact, if there was anything inmy action that may be considered improper or proved to be corruptor irregular, I am prepared to resign my position in governmentin order to protect the integrity of the Department ofImmigration," stated Chambeshi, explaining that he waswilling to fully co-operate with any official investigations thatmay be asked to delve into the matter. Chambeshi and Machungwaprevailed over the pending deportation of Heinonen, a Finnishnational whose extension of the work permit had been denied bythe immigration department. The department had denied Heinonen apermit on account that his application did not meet the requiredstandards set for investors wishing to set up businesses inZambia. Machungwa who had earlier upheld the decision to deportHeinonen rescinded his position after Chambeshi's interventionraising suspicions because such decisions were usually made by apanel comprising officers from the Ministry of Labour, thepolice, Anti-Corruption Commission, Drug Enforcement Commissionand Office of the President. But Chambeshi in his letterexplained that he "jumped" to help Heinonen firstly asa friend from as far back as 1993 when they were work mates andalso because he was married to a Zambian. Chambeshi alsocounter-accused officers in the Department of Immigration ofcorruption claiming that they had "deliberately" lostHeinonen's permit application form and file, making it difficultfor him to provide documentary proof of his eligibility to stayin Zambia. "It is a recorded fact, after all, that incidenceof some officers asking for bribes before rendering service havebeen reported before elsewhere in our institutions, and suchcases were not restricted to public officers above rank ofpermanent secretary. It was the news of such occurrence in theparticular case of Mr Heinonen's delayed application whichprompted me to request the intervention of ministerMachungwa," Chambeshi explained. "I trust that thissubmission will explain the extent of my involvement in thismatter, and I offer to co-operate fully with any subsequentinvestigations that may be launched."
Prolonged dentention of"aliens" (Lusaka, The Post, 05/06) - LusakaCentral prison officer-in-charge Percy Chato has expressedconcern at the prolonged detention of prohibited immigrants. Thiswas during the goal deliveries for the June criminal sessionbefore Lusaka High Court judge Elizabeth Muyovwe yesterday. Chatorevealed there was total of 2,197 at Lusaka Central, Lusakaremand and Mwembeshi open air prisons. Asked by judge Muyovwe onthe condition of prohibited immigrants, Chato said there wasstill a good number of prohibited immigrants. He disclosed therewere 172 male prisoners and 14 females. He said his area ofconcern was that it sometimes takes as long as a year forprohibited immigrants who have completed sentence to bedischarged. Chato said he was in touch with the immigrationdepartment, who cited financial constraints as contributing todelays. On the health of the inmates he said in light of thecongestion in the institutions, the health facilities areinadequate so there are a lot of TB cases. He, however, disclosedthey had been getting assistance in the form medicine andpersonnel from the district management team. Chato also expressedconcern about some prisoners who had been committed to the HighCourt in 1999, but had not been cause listed. And taking pleabefore judge Muyovwe four men denied a murder charge. MulemboChilamba, James Katoka, Fred Hamilongo and Kennedy Chipekeni arealleged to have caused the death Joseph Musema on December 21,2000. Another group of four men denied stealing a motor vehiclevalued at K1 5 million from Agriflora while armed. Baron Ndawa,Simon Kapotwe, Kantu Lukwesa and Alan Sondashi are alleged tohave stolen the vehicle on November 14, last year.
US suspicious of tough newrules on foreign reporters (New York, Financial Gazette, 28/06) -The US government has viewed with suspicion and a lotof distrust the ZANU PF government's new restrictions on foreignreporters. Coming as they did on the eve of the impendingpresidential elections and the campaign before that, therestrictions have concerned the US. The State Department hereexpressed concern last week about the imposed entry restrictionson foreign scribes. "We find this new developmentparticularly troubling in view of the presidential electionslated to occur in the first quarter of next year, 2002,"said State Department spokesman Phillip Reeker. Zimbabwe imposedstrict entry conditions last week for foreign journalists comingto cover events and developments in the country. Foreignjournalists must apply for official Press accreditation at leasta month before an intended visit. Without such clearance foreignmedia personnel would not be admitted into the country. The ZANUPF government also advised them not to make travel arrangementsuntil after receiving clearance. Previously foreign journalistswere able to apply for accreditation upon arrival in the country.Reeker said such a measure, following hard on the heels of theexpulsion of foreign journalists from Zimbabwe, was clearly aimedat limiting the access of the country to the international media."I think in light of other government actions against themedia including the expulsion of foreign journalists this yearwhich we talked about and continuing statements by the governmentagainst the independent media, it appears that the government ofZimbabwe wants very much to limit media reporting on what goes onin Zimbabwe," Reeker said. In addition to the attacks on theindependent media, Reeker said the US was also troubled by theattacks on the judiciary, as well as the opposition and itssupporters. The State Department spokesperson also said that theUS message to Mugabe's government was very clear. "Violenceand intimidation must end," he said. "We haverepeatedly condemned the government of Zimbabwe's attacks on thejudiciary, the opposition and the opposition supporters."Reeker called on the Zimbabwe government to return to the rule oflaw. "We call on the government of Zimbabwe to return to therule of law and respect the rights of its citizens," hesaid. If Mugabe's regime does get away with the new foreign mediaentry restrictions, which it very well might, consideringMugabe's uncompromising resistance to international calls to"return to lawfulness or else", this will frustrate alot of effort by human rights and Press freedom groups at homeand abroad that have been working tirelessly to try and create anelection atmosphere conducive to transparency and many otherdemocratic ideals. Legislators in the US are currently workinghard to pass a punitive Bill on Zimbabwe into law - the ZimbabweDemocracy and Economic Recovery Act. The naturally endowed butpolitically disturbed 21-year-old Zimbabwe is suffering its worsteconomic crisis since independence from Britain in 1980. This hasbeen exacerbated by political violence engulfing parliamentaryelections last year which continues to fly ahead of next year'spresidential poll. Herein lies the irony: even as the countrymatures into the "legal age of majority" at 21, thesocial, civil, Press and legal independence of theonce-upon-a-time model of peace and prosperity are scathinglyundermined. *Maggie Mzumara is a Zimbabwean journalist, writerand social commentator based in New York. She can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org
Foreign correspondents notwelcome, says expelled journalist (Harare, Zimbabwe Independent,28/06) - The last British newspaper correspondent inZimbabwe to hold a work permit, David Blair, who was this weekordered to leave, has said government is running scared of themedia. Blair, who writes for the Daily Telegraph, told theZimbabwe Independent it had be- come apparent that theauthorities resent foreign journalists, parti- cularly those fromBritain. The conclusion that I draw from this is that foreigncorrespondents, particularly those from Britain, are not welcomein Zimbabwe," Blair said. "This (expulsion) reallyindicates their attitude towards the foreign media." Blairbecame the latest victim of govern- ment's crackdown on foreignjournalists earlier this week after he was ordered to leave thecountry in two weeks time. His permit expires on July 16. Ishould be leaving Zimbabwe on or before that date. I don't knowwhen exactly but I have to leave," he said. Charles Moore,the Editor of the Daily Telegraph, was yesterday quoted in theBritish press saying the expulsion of journalists - by whatevername and method - was typical of besieged dictatorships. It is avery rare thing for a country, even for repressive regimes, toforce a correspondent out," Moore said. "It issomething which only happens when dictators are in realtrouble." When President Mu- gabe visited France and Belgiumearlier this year, he promised to stop hounding journalists. Butjournalists continue to be harassed physically or through abuseof the legal process. Other journalists who have also been forcedout include the BBC's Africa Service correspondent, JosephWinter, and South Africa's Mail & Guardian correspondentMercedes Sayagues. Winter's home was broken into by state agents.Blair was quoted in the press as saying he would move out of hishome to avoid a situation similar to that which Winterexperienced. It is not clear what the fate of other residentjournalists working for British newspapers is likely to be. TheGuardian's Andrew Meldrum, who is American, is a Zimbabweanresident. The correspondents of the Times and the (London)Independent are Zimbabwe nationals. Observers note that thepattern of expulsions and media crack- down is similar to thatexperienced in the 1970s when the Rhodesian Front regime expelleda number of prominent journalists including BBC correspondents.Yesterday the International Press Institute said the free flow ofinformation was an essential element of any modern democracy. Indiscussing the replacement of foreign correspondents with localmembers of the media, the government of Zimbabwe is hoping toprevent embarrassing or inconvenient stories from reaching theoutside world," IPI director Johann Fritz said.
Journalist describesexpulsion from Zimbabwe (Harare, Zimbabwe Independent, 28/06) - Avast portrait of President Robert Mugabe, enclosed in an ornate,golden frame, glowered over the government office. I sat underthe president's steely gaze and listened as Professor JonathanMoyo, his Information minister, explained in calm and politetones that I was no longer welcome in Zimbabwe. Meeting Moyo isan unnerving experience at the best of times. Visiting him todiscover whether you are about to make a hasty exit is perhapsworst of all. As I reclined in one of Moyo's armchairs, I had noidea whether I would see the emollient university professor ofpolitical science or the raging propagandist. Furious attacks onthe British media, sometimes verging on the hysterical, are histrademark. "Merchants of violence" was the last epithetthat he had hurled at us. Moyo once rewarded a question from meat a press conference with an eight-minute tirade that closedwith the phrase: "You've gone too far this time." Yeton this occasion, he was in affable mood. Moyo politely delivereda message that was brief and to the point. Permission to extendmy work permit had been refused. It was "purely anadministrative matter". I must leave Zimbabwe on the expiryof my current permit on July 16. Moyo, once a fierce critic ofMugabe, thrives on being unpredictable. One moment he is a modelof reasonableness, the next spitting with rage. Our meeting was,he insisted, concerned with a "routine" decision, yethe characteristically managed to inject a hint of menace. BeforeI had even sat down, Moyo casually let slip a detail about myfuture plans that he could only have learnt from a tappedtelephone conversation, an intercepted e-mail or an informant."We have been watching you" was the not-so-subliminalmessage. Arrayed on the sofas beside me were George Charamba,Moyo's permanent secretary, and two other officials, both of whomtook notes ostentatiously. It was quite a gathering for a"routine" matter. Yet despite going to such trouble toarrange a meeting, Moyo had almost nothing to say. He would notreveal why he had rejected my application. I repeatedly asked fora reason, and was repeatedly rebuffed with the mantra, "Itwas an administrative decision". The furthest he would gowas: "We took into account several factors." Charambasaid little, the officials did nothing but scribble. I left afterhalf an hour, amid fake bonhomie and a joking invitation from theminister to visit Zimbabwe for next year's solar eclipse. So whyhad Moyo gone to the trouble of agreeing to my request for ameeting to discuss my status? In February, he expelled JosephWinter, a BBC correspondent, and Mercedes Sayagues, of the Mail& Guardian of South Africa. A gang duly attacked Winter'shome at 2am and forced him to flee with his terrified family.Moyo has recently reintroduced strict rules placing more hurdlesin the way of journalists wishing to visit Zimbabwe. Against thatbackdrop, Moyo was trying to claim that what amounted to myexpulsion was a routine matter, of no importance whatever.Wednesday's edition of the Herald, Zimbabwe's official daily,carried a front page article dominated by Moyo's spin on myimminent exit. A letter from The Daily Telegraph asking him toreconsider was described as "arrogant" and"threatening". Once again, Moyo will put on a show ofpained innocence when asked about the expulsion of anotherforeign correspondent. And no doubt while turning the screw onthe media in Zimbabwe, Mugabe's mouthpiece will claim that it isnothing but a "routine administrative matter".
UK paper slams 'expulsion'of journalist from Zim (Harare, Independent Online, 27/06) - TheBritish Daily Telegraph on Wednesday slammed Zimbabwe for turningdown an application to renew a work permit for its Harare-basedcorrespondent, saying the decision amounted to an expulsion.David Blair, 28, who has been reporting from Zimbabwe since 1999,said he was informed of the decision by the Minister ofInformation Jonathan Moyo on Tuesday. "He (Moyo) had said hewould look into my application and yesterday he invited me for ameeting and said it was not going to be renewed." Thedecision drew a swift and angry response from The DailyTelegraph, whose foreign editor Alec Russell sent a letter ofcomplaint to Moyo that was published in a state-owned daily."Only two weeks ago Mr Mugabe was quoted as saying he waskeen to improve ties with London," Russell said in theletter which appeared on the front page of the Herald newspaper."But the expulsion of our correspondent will send anunequivocally hostile message to the British public. "I hopeyou feel able to reconsider your decision," Russell said.Zimbabwe recently unveiled new restrictions on foreignjournalists, requiring them to apply for accreditation a month inadvance of travelling to the country.
The government also said it would not accept applications byforeign correspondents already in the country. The journalistswould have to leave Zimbabwe and reapply for accreditation fromtheir own countries. Previously, foreign journalists were allowedto apply for credentials on their arrival. The government saidthe move was in line with international practice. Blair, whosetwo-year work permit expires on July 16, is the last remainingpracticing British journalist living in Zimbabwe. Grant Ferrettof the British Broadcasting Corporation left earlier this year atthe end of his permit, and BBC's Africa service journalist JosephWinter was expelled in February. Russell urged the Zimbabweangovernment, which has been criticised over the last year forclamping down on journalists and opposition figures, toreconsider its decision. "Following the expulsion of the BBCcorrespondent Joseph Winter early this year, the Belgiangovernment reported that Mr Mugabe had given their prime ministeran assurance that no more foreign correspondents would beexpelled from Zimbabwe," Russell said. "The last DailyTelegraph correspondent to be expelled by an African governmentwas in 1972 by Idi Amin (former Ugandan dictator). Such odiouscomparisons would surely not serve to promote Zimbabwe'sinterests", Russell added. Moyo could not be immediatelyreached for comment, but he was quoted in the Herald as sayingRussell's letter was unnecessary as the meeting he had with Blairwas cordial. Blair agreed with Moyo that the meeting was"perfectly amicable". "The difference between anexpulsion and a non-renewal of a work permit is like day andnight. And it would take a malicious person not to see it,"Moyo told the Herald. "This is one example where people aredemanding that they must be allowed to stay in the country for aslong as they like and give themselves permits," Moyo said.The US state department and Paris-based media watchdog ReportersWithout Borders (RSF) have slammed the new controls on mediaaccreditation. "It appears that the government of Zimbabwewants very much to limit media reporting on what goes on insideZimbabwe," said US state department spokesperson PhilipReeker. "The authorities try to control information insideand outside the country by any means," said RSF secretarygeneral Robert Menard.
Britain concerned atnon-renewal of journalist's work permit (London, Sapa-AFP, 27/06)- Britain's foreign ministry said on Wednesday it was"concerned" that Zimbabwe had refused to renew the workpermit of a respected British journalist working in the southernAfrican country. The Daily Telegraph newspaper said itscorrespondent David Blair would have to leave the country whenhis current permit expires and that it amounted to a hostile actagainst the British public. A British foreign ministry spokesmansaid: "We were concerned to hear that the government ofZimbabwe has decided not to renew David Blair's workpermit." "The international community will not beimpressed by any action by the government of Zimbabwe which makesit more difficult for the international media to report what ishappening there." "We hope that the government ofZimbabwe will reconsider this decision," the spokesman said,adding that Foreign Minister Jack Straw had been briefed aboutthe case. Charles Moore, editor of the Daily Telegraph, said onWednesday the hounding of journalists in Zimbabwe was comparableto the regime of former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. "The(Zimbabwe) government cites 'administrative reasons' and claimsthe 'difference between an expulsion and a non-renewal of a workpermit is like day and night'," Moore said. "But thatis just a smokescreen to cover their attempts to muzzle criticismand objective reporting." "The last Daily Telegraphcorrespondent to be expelled by an African government was in 1972by Idi Amin. It is an odious comparison but increasingly Zimbabweis looking like a dictatorship." The British government andmedia have been vocal in their criticism of Zimbabwe PresidentRobert Mugabe over the illegal occupation of white-owned farmsand repression of the press and judiciary. Blair, 28, whosetwo-year work permit expires on July 16, is the last remainingpracticing British journalist living in Zimbabwe. He becomes thethird British reporter to be refused accreditation. Grant Ferrettof the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) left earlier thisyear at the end of his permit, and the BBC's Africa servicejournalist Joseph Winter was expelled in February.
Zimbabwean farmers to buyland in Mozambique (Maputo, Sapa-AFP, 27/06) - A groupof Zimbabwean commercial farmers have pledged major investmentsin neighboring Mozambique, if Maputo allows them to settlepermanently, a Mozambican government official said Wednesday."This group of Zimbabweans are promising big money, but wehave to be careful in order not to import the Zimbabwean landproblem," agriculture and rural development minister HelderMuteia told AFP. The Zimbabweans, mostly white, said they wantedto leave their troubled country and settle in Mozambique, Muteiasaid. They have asked the government for permission to buy400,000 hectares (1 million arcres) of land in centralMozambique, he added. Zimbabwe has been wracked by politicalviolence for more than a year, largely tied to the violentinvasions of white-owned farms by pro-government militants."That's why they are applying for very big areas where theywould also build social and economic infrastructures, such asroads, bridges, dams, hospitals and schools," the ministersaid. Mozambique's government is still studying the proposal'ssustainability, taking into consideration its social andpolitical impact, "although land here is not aproblem," Muteia said. "We are talking about whitesettlements, and everyone must be careful with the problems thatmight arise," Muteia said. Since it was also a politicalissue, the minister said, the issue must as well be discussedwith the Zimbabwean authorities. Mozambique has about 30 millionhectares (74 million acres) of arable land, of which only aboutfive percent is being used. Central and northern Mozambique hasthe most fertile soil. Two other groups, totalling 63 Zimbabweanfarmers, want to buy land and move to Mozambique, Muteia said,describing them as medium-scale farmers. Those farmers hadrequested 4,000-5,000 hectares (9,800-12,300 acres) of land eachin the central province of Manica, which borders Zimbabwe'sManicaland province, Muteia said. "We are giving them just1,000 hectares (2,400 acres) for confidence building, becausethey must prove they have the necessary financial muscle,"he said. According to Muteia, incoming Zimbabwean farmers shouldalso accommodate Mozambicans through joint ventures projects asSouth African farmers have done in the northern Niassa province,under a 1995 agricultural development agreement between the twocountries. So far, 10 Zimbabwean farmers have already startedgrowing tobacco and raising cattle in Manica, after applying forland individually in line with the country's investment law,Muteia said.
Third foreign correspondentforced to leave Zimbabwe (Harare, Sapa-AP, 27/06) - Thegovernment has refused to renew the work permit of Britishjournalist but denied Wednesday it was expelling him in aclampdown on foreign reporters. David Blair, 28, correspondentfor The Daily Telegraph of London, is the third foreignjournalist based in Zimbabwe to be forced to leave the countrythis year. Blair, whose two-year work permit expires July 16,said he was given no reasons for the government's decision. Hemet with Information Minister Jonathan Moyo on Tuesday. "Inthe absence of a reason, I can only assume my coverage is thecause," he said. Since independence in 1980, many foreignreporters have been given regular extensions to their workpermits, enabling several to work in Zimbabwe for more than 10years before leaving voluntarily or being reassigned by theireditors. Moyo, quoted Wednesday in the state-run Heraldnewspaper, said foreigners had no rights to stay in Zimbabwe aslong as they wished and the non-renewal of Blair's permit to workwas routine. "I would like to make it clear that thedifference between an expulsion and a non-renewal of a workpermit is like day and night and it would take a malicious personnot to see it," Moyo told The Herald. In a statementWednesday, Charles Moore, editor of The Daily Telegraph, calledthe government's explanation "a smokescreen to cover theirattempts to muzzle criticism and objective reporting." TheHerald accused Blair's newspaper of trying to"blackmail" Zimbabwe by threatening what it called atirade of bad publicity over Blair's departure. It said Moyoreceived a letter from Alec Russell, foreign editor at The DailyTelegraph, that was unacceptable and arrogant. In the letter,Russell said Blair was the last resident British correspondent inZimbabwe and his expulsion "will inevitably get widespreadinternational coverage that which will reflect very badly onPresident Robert Mugabe's government," The Herald said. InFebruary, the government deported two Harare-based foreignreporters it accused of unspecified illegal activities. Later,senior officials admitted they were irked by reporting thatallegedly was biased against the government at the height ofpolitical violence and economic upheavals. Moyo, however, hadinsisted they too failed to satisfy work permit requirements.Earlier this month, the government said it was enforcing a lapsedrule requiring foreign reporters based outside the country toregister one month ahead of their intended visits. In Washington,the U.S. State Department described entry restrictions forreporters as "particularly troubling" in light of theimpending start of a presidential election campaign in Zimbabwe.The elections must be held early next year. Moyo later downplayedthe significance of the restrictions, saying the government wouldbe flexible in the event of breaking news. Zimbabwe is sufferingits deepest economic crisis since independence in 1980, worsenedby political violence surrounding parliamentary elections lastyear that has continued ahead of next year's presidential poll.Spiraling inflation, spurred by a 72 percent increase in theprice of gasoline on June 12, has raised the specter of civilunrest amid mounting tension over economic hardships. Laborunions have called a two-day national strike July 2-3 to protestthe hikes. Russell said Blair's reporting from Zimbabwe was"admirably objective." The last Daily Telegraphcorrespondent to be expelled by an African government was in 1972by Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. "Such odious comparisons wouldsurely not serve to promote Zimbabwe's interests," Russellsaid in his letter to Moyo.
Some 1,000 Zimbabwean whitesapply to go to Australia (Harare, Reuters, 24/06) - Atleast 1,000 white Zimbabweans have sought police clearance tomigrate to Australia since last year when the southern Africancountry was hit by a wave of political violence, a localnewspaper reported on Sunday. The state-controlled Sunday Mailsaid Clive Puzey, an influential member of the main oppositionMovement for Democratic Change (MDC), was among hundreds ofpeople who had applied for the mandatory police clearance forAustralia. Puzey said his application was exploratory. Australianembassy and Zimbabwean immigration officials were not availablefor comment, but Assistant Police Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijenaconfirmed the police had processed numerous requests fromwhites and other people. Since last year, we haveprocessed 1,005 applicants, he said without giving details.Harare-based foreign missions say thousands of Zimbabweans, mostof them blacks, have legally or illegally gone to settle inWestern Europe, Australia and South Africa in the past year tolook for jobs, political and social stability or a higherstandard of living. Zimbabwes white community, which makesup less than one percent of the countrys 13 millionpopulation, has been shaken by an often violent invasion ofwhite-owned farms and businesses. Mobs of ruling ZANU-PF partymilitants, led by independence war veterans, have occupiedhundreds of farms in the past year in support of President RobertMugabes drive to seize white farms for landless blacks. Atleast 31 people, including five white farmers, were killed in aviolent campaign blamed largely on Mugabes party ahead ofparliamentary elections last June. ZANU-PF narrowly won thoseelections. Political analysts say the ruling party looks set tolaunch a similar campaign ahead of presidential elections due byApril. Mugabe, 77, and in power since the former Rhodesia gainedindependence from Britain 21 years ago, is facing anunprecedented challenge from MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai amid adeepening economic crisis.
16 Zimbabweans want asylumin SA (Parliament, Sapa, 22/06) - Altogether, 16Zimbabwean nationals have applied for asylum in South Africaafter leaving their troubled country. In written reply in theNational Assembly to a question by Joe Seremane of the DemocraticAlliance on Friday, Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezisaid the applicants claimed to have left Zimbabwe because of"the parliamentary elections and land invasions". Since1999, 168 Zimbabweans had also applied for work permits in SouthAfrica, and since 1998, 93 had applied for permanent residence,he said.
Zimbabwe government says itwill be flexible towards foreign reporters (Harare, Sapa-AP,19/06) - The government said Tuesday it would beflexible in enforcing its rule that requires foreign reporters toregister one month ahead of their visits, saying that the rulecould be eased for breaking news. Word of the restrictions lastThursday along with severe government criticism of foreign mediaoutlets was met with dismay by news agencies and the UnitedStates, which said the Zimbabwe government appeared to want tolimit coverage of events here. Information Minister Jonathan Moyodownplayed the significance of the restrictions Tuesday, sayingthey were part of existing regulations that had long beenignored. He said they were being revived partly because of recentproblems with non-journalists obtaining accreditation. Moyo saidthe one-month advance notice could be waived in cases of breakingnews in Zimbabwe. "We are aware there can be breakingstories and exceptional circumstances ... we have been flexiblebefore and if the situation demands we will consider applicationsin a shorter period," he told a news conference lateTuesday. In February, the government deported two foreignreporters it accused of unspecified illegal activities. Later,senior officials admitted they were irked by reporting thatallegedly was biased against the government. In Washington, theU.S. State Department last week described entry restrictions forreporters as "particularly troubling" in light of theimpending start of a presidential election campaign in Zimbabwe.The elections must be held early next year. Zimbabwe is sufferingits deepest economic crisis since independence in 1980, worsenedby political violence surrounding parliamentary elections lastyear that has continued ahead of next year's presidential poll.Spiraling inflation, spurred by a 72 percent increase in theprice of gasoline on June 12, has raised the specter of civilunrest amid mounting tension over economic hardships. Laborunions have called a two-day national strike July 2-3 to protestthe hikes.
Zim announces new entryterms for foreign journalists (Harare, The Namibian, 15/06) -
New restrictions imposed onforeign journalists (Paris, Reporters Sans Frontieres, 15/06) - Ina letter to Minister of Information Jonathan Moyo, RSF protestedthe new restrictions against foreign journalists. RSF asked theminister to cancel these measures and allow foreigncorrespondents to work freely throughout Zimbabwe. "Theauthorities try to control information inside and outside thecountry by any means," said Robert Menard, theorganisation's secretary-general. "These new restrictionsfollow foreign media allegations of corruption and lawlessness byPresident Robert Mugabe's governement," he explained. Theorganisation recalled that, in February 2001, the BBC's Hararecorrespondent Joseph Winter, and Mercedes Sayagues, correspondentfor the South African daily "Mail and Guardian", weredeported by immigration officers because the Minister ofInformation had "changed accreditation rules for foreignjournalists" (see IFEX alerts of 26, 21, 19, 16 and 15February 2001). Sayaques told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that,"the government is ready to trample on the law, destroy theeconomy and violate human rights." According to informationobtained by RSF, on 13 June, the Zimbabwean government announcedthat foreign journalists are now required to apply foraccreditation from the Information Department, at least one monthbefore their entry into the country. Foreign journalists will beable to make their travel arrangements only when they have a"clear indication from the department on the accreditationstatus of applicants." The department will not acceptapplications by foreign journalists already in the country.Foreign correspondents were advised to leave the country andreapply for accreditation in their own country. Moyo declaredthat the government's new policy is to encourage foreign newsorganisations to employ local journalists as Zimbabweancorrespondents, in order to fight unemployment. Foreign media inthe country include Reuters, AFP, Associated Press, "TheGuardian", "The Financial Times", the BBC, CNN andseveral South African and European newspapers. For furtherinformation, contact Jean-Francois Julliard at RSF, rue GeoffroyMarie, Paris 75009, France, tel: +33 1 44 83 84 84, fax: +33 1 4523 11 51, e- mail: email@example.com, Internet: http://www.rsf.frThe information contained in this alert update is the soleresponsibility of RSF. In citing this material for broadcast orpublication, please credit RSF.
150 more pharmacists toleave Zimbabwe for UK (The Zimbabwe Mirror, 01/06) - ZIMBABWESailing health delivery system is to suffer yet another blow as anestimated 150 senior pharmacists will leave the country for theUnited Kingdom this August. This comes barely six monthsafter the initial batch of 200 pharmacists left in February, forthe same destination. Three weeks ago, The Zimbabwe Mirrorpublished a story on a well-oiled recruitment syndicate that isattracting hordes of pharmacists to the UK and Canada. This week,sources in the Pharmaceutical Society of Zimbabwe told this paperthat the same South African-based recruitment syndicate, workingon behalf of UK pharmaceutical chain stores, has successfullyinterviewed and offered jobs to over 150 pharmacists, who arescheduled to leave the country in August. The pharmacists areattracted by lucrative perks of between £1 700 to £2 000 permonth. Two major British pharmaceutical chain stores, Lloyds theChemist and Boots and Moss, have been identified as the biggestemployers for most of the Zimbabwean pharmacists. In Zimbabwe,pharmacists working for private institutions earn an average ofbetween $350 and $500 per hour, while in the UK, and Canada, theoffers range from between £30 ($2 520) and £50 ($4 200) anhour. Junior pharmacists working for government institutions earna monthly gross salary of $28 400, way below what they can earnin the UK within three working days. This week, both thepresident of the Pharmaceutical Society of Zimbabwe, DouglasBramsen, and the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr TimothyStamps, expressed concern at the alarming rate of the exodus. Thecountrys leading pharmacies also confirmed they were losingmany of their senior staff. Stamps said there was nothing thegovernment could do to protect its human resources because theBritish government claimed that it had no powers to interferewith the operations of the private companies. I evenpresented a motion in parliament, trying to address the issuethis year, but the MDC parliamentarians accused me ofunnecessarily blaming the British government, said Stamps.The British High Commission also told me that theZimbabwean government should give the pharmacists and nursescompetitive salaries to counter those they are offered by Britishmedical institutions. I find that ridiculous because thesesalaries, when converted to our currency, are more than 13 timesthe salary of our Vice- President. Stamps said the decisionto recruit some pharmacists from English-speaking Africancountries came last year when the British Pharmaceutical ControlCouncil decided to increase the period of training pharmacistsfrom three to fours years. This resulted in Britainstraining institutions failing to produce some pharmacy graduatesfor a year. In light of this, the major pharmaceutical firms thenturned to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana for experiencedpharmacists. Stamps said that last week the Council of Nurses inthe UK had even complained to the British medical authoritiesthat it was registering more foreign nurses and pharmacists atthe expense of locals. In the past, the Western countrieswere coming to Africa, searching for slaves, said Stamps,but this time, they are after our pharmacists, nurses andmidwives. Bramsen said mass exodus of pharmacists to UnitedKingdom is now a routine episode as hundreds of them aresuccessfully interviewed in South Africa and offered some jobsabroad. Some of these pharmacists are being given between£1 700 and £2 000 a month. I raised this issue last monthduring our general meeting in Victoria Falls, but as a pressuregroup, there is nothing we can do to stop them from leaving.I can confirm that about 70 pharmacists are supposed toleave for the United Kingdom soon, said Bramsen. He said itwas very difficult to maintain records of pharmacists leaving thecountry because most of them did not want to de-register with theHealth Professions Council, making it difficult to ascertain thenumber of pharmacists who have left and those who are still inthe country. Bransen said that pharmacists who leave Zimbabwe toother countries write about three conversion examinations withina period of six months. They will then get some three orfour-year contracts. Zimbabwes situation may be worsened bythe fact that there is only one public institution that trainspharmacists, the University of Zimbabwe (UZ). The institutionchurns out an average of about 30 pharmacists a year. Accordingto the UZ authorities, the average expenditure incurred by aBachelor of Pharmacy (Hons) student, based on theinstitutions Year 2000 accounts is $389 000 per academicyear. This brings the total expenditure per student for athree-year long degree programme to a total of $ 1 167 000.
This page last updated 09 July 2004.