Migration News - March 2001

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MARCH - Click on the country title abovethe headlines for the entire article.

SADC justice ministers meet to finalise policy on cross-bordercrime

UN team finds 2,000 new Angolan refugees in DRC
Refugees refuse to return
Refugees flee across border

Action against foreigners in businesses "reserved" forlocals
Minister of Foreign Affairs condemns xenophobia
New measures to control undocumented migration from Zimbabwe
Comment on exodus of nurses
UNHCR office in Botswana allocated new funding
South African charged with death of 15 Zimbabwean deportees
Bodies of dead Zimbabwean migrants identified
Botswana employed 14,000 expatriates in 1999
Botswana ponders compensation for Zimbabwean accident victims
1,750 teachers are expatriates
Influx of migrants criticised

NGO uncovers girl trafficking to South Africa

Report on displaced in Beira
Visas for South Africa more expensive

South Africa:
Woman claims husband used her for citizenship
Cape High Court hears deportation case
State ignored own deportation laws, claims lawyer
New immigration courts proposed for SA
Exodus of nurses condemned by Minister of Health
Yugoslav immigrant surrenders to police
Protest march against racism
Commentary on Immigration Bill impasse
Xenophobia should be uprooted says Foreign Affairs Minister
Refugees, NGOs protest outside Home Affairs Department
Refugees being treated like cattle - say human rights NGOs
ANC attempt to clarify immigration bill controversy
Deputy Home Affairs minister reponds to report of IFP-ANC rift
Immigration Bill not approved by cabinet
Home Affairs official claims ANC is delaying bill
Angolan refugee in Cape Town lives in fear
SA to 'disinfect' British tourists
Buthelezi to push for approval of bill
Commentary on strategies to attract immigrants
Mbeki did notsidestep Bethelezi over immigration laws says ANC
Room for SADC students in South Africa says Education Minister
Political storm over Buthelezi's immigration bill
South Africa to phase out foreign farm labour
Police assault South African mistaken for illegal immigrant
Immigrants arrested in police raid onchop-shop
Female refugees live in fear
Controversial report on impasse in immigration policy reform
Financial Mail reinforces misleading migration figures
Results of IT brain drain survey

Zanzibar refugees flee camp
Congolese refugees in Tanzania sell properties
Hunger takes toll on DRC refugees
UN plea over refugees

Refugees face severe food shortages
Refugees get less to eat because of lack of donations

Zimbabwe tightens ban on dual citizenship
Thousands flee to UK
Zimbabwe makes Mengistu permanent resident
Immigrants have it rough in South Africa
SA cleric forced to leave Zimbabwe
President promises to stop expelling journalists
14 deportees killed in Botswana accident


SADC justice ministers meet to finalisepolicy on cross-border crime (Johannesburg, Sapa, 29/03) - SouthernAfrican Development Community Justice Ministers met inKrugersdorp on Thursday to finalise a policy aimed at reducingcross border crimes. This agreement would be a measure to adoptthe Palermo Convention - a United Nations resolution againsttransnational organised crime - which had been signed in December2000 by South Africa and certain SADC countries. Chairman of theSADC Justice Ministers' Forum Ngarikutuke Tjirange said:"The policy from the Palermo Convention is being adopted,but as SADC ministers we are meeting to ratify it." Theprotocol will be ratified in terms of extradition and mutuallegal assistance on criminal matters by member states. He saidthe standardisation of policies would be finalised on Friday.Draft policies were formulated by senior SADC justice officialswho arrived ahead of the ministers on Monday. Their provisionaldocuments attributed the increase in transnational crime toglobalisation of the social and economic sphere. It said widescale globalisation and technological advances contributed tosyndicated crime. This yielded lucrative profits and made illegaloperations more advanced than state systems in some countries."The more interdependent the world becomes, the moremutually vulnerable it gets." "Criminal communities aretaking advantage of new communication facilities, loosening ofborder controls and the liberalisation of movement in theworld." The draft stated that these loopholes promotedillegal migration, drug trafficking and money laundering. JusticeMinister Penuell Maduna said the protocol was significant as itwould design a regional policy on cross border crime. "Someof South Africa's laws comply with the Palermo convention but theprotocol will provide a broad parameter for the region."Annually transnational criminal groups unlawfully organise themovement of about one million migrants. Towards the end of the1990s, the drug trade turnover stood at more than US500-billionannually. International Monetary Fund Statistics indicate aboutUS600-billion in ill-gotten money is laundered in the world everyyear. The SADC is the first regional body in the world to holddiscussions of this nature and said it hoped that other regionalorganisations would follow. The SADC regional policy will beannounced when the ministers reconvene on Friday.


UN team finds 2,000 new Angolan refugeesin DRC (United Nations Press Release, 12/03) - A jointteam from the United Nations food and refugee agencies visitingareas close to the border between the Democratic Republic ofCongo (DRC) and Angola last week found nearly 2,000 new Angolanrefugees scattered across several villages around the Congolesetown of Kimvula. "Some of those fleeing suffered gunshotwounds as fighting between UNITA rebels and the Angolan armyengulfed their villages," a spokesman for the UN HighCommissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told the press today in Geneva.The refugees, who are living among the local population in DRC'ssouthern Bas-Congo province, are sharing the scarce resourcesavailable in Kimvula, which is hard to access because of badroads, spokesman Kris Janowski said. The UNHCR team visited thelocal hospital and found six refugees with bullet wounds. Therefugees say they will not return to Angola without assurances ofsafety from the Angolan Government. UNHCR is considering movingthe refugees away from the border area. Because of difficult roadconditions the team was unable to verify reports of another 1,800refugees further to the west in the town of Popokabaka. Severalthousand more were reported in the town of Kasongo-Lunda inBandundu Province. Refugees located by the team say they weredriven out of their homes in Angola's Uige Province by clashes inearly February between UNITA and the Angolan army. In the DRC,the UN refugee agency helps 110,000 out of the estimated 177,000Angolan refugees.

Refugees refuse to return (Nairobi,Network, 12/03) - Angolan refugees driven from theirhomes into southwestern Congo by fighting between governmentforces and UNITA rebels have refused to return until Luanda canguarantee their security, humanitarian sources told IRIN onMonday. A joint UNHCR-WFP assessment team last week located 2,000Angolans around the Congolese border town of Kimvula in Bas-Congowho had fled insecurity in Uige province. Because of poor roadconditions the mission was unable to verify the presence of anestimated 1,800 refugees at Popokabaka further to the east, andseveral thousand more reported in the town of Kasongo-Lunda. Theteam found six refugees with gunshot wounds in Kimvula hospitalas a result of clashes across the border. A UNHCR official inKinshasa told IRIN that those interviewed by the assessment teamsaid they were not prepared to return until three conditions weremet: an end to fighting in Uige, the deployment of the Angolanarmy on rural roads to enable free movement, and a securityguarantee and invitation to return by the authorities in Luanda.Meanwhile, rather than constructing new refugee camps, in theshort term UNHCR and other UN agencies intend to help the newarrivals within the villages they have settled, where theyfrequently have family and trade links. Humanitarian assistancewill target both the refugees and the resident population."The refugees are hosted by the local population. We cannothave an approach that focuses just on the refugees," theUNHCR official said. But the refugee agency is also consideringmoving the new arrivals away from the border.

Refugees flee across border (Nairobi,Network, 10/03) - Alleged UNITA rebel attacks innorthwestern Angola have driven thousands of people intoneighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) over the past twoweeks, UNHCR said on Friday. A UNHCR team was due to travel tothe border zone to assess the needs of as many as 7,400 Angolanrefugees, who fled insecurity in Uige province. The new arrivalsare concentrated around the Congolese towns of Kimvula insouthern Bas Congo and Popokabaka and Kasongo-Lunda in Bandunduprovince, some 300 km southeast of Kinshasa. An elderly refugee,who was chief of his village in northeastern Angola, told UNHCRthat armed groups recently attacked several villages near theborder driving the civilian population into hiding or into theDRC. Angolan government forces regained a hold late last year onportions of Uige province. Refugees, however, said that UNITAforces still control much of the territory in the northeastcorner of the province, the UNHCR statement noted.


Action against foreignersin businesses "reserved" for locals (BOPA, 29/03) - TheMinister of Foreign Affairs, Mompati Merafhe, says action shouldbe taken against foreigners who engage in businesses reserved forBatswana. "I agree with other MPs that foreigners should nottake Batswana businesses but members should not make sweeping andunrestrained condemnation of every foreigner," he said.Merafhe was responding to MPs' comments on his ministry's2001/2002 budget proposals that were later approved. He urged themembers to refrain from attacking foreigners, saying it mightfrustrate government efforts to woo investors to the country."I don't hold breath for any foreigner. My interest, which Iam trying to secure, is the interest of this nation," hesaid. On another issue, Merafhe said the Zimbabwean governmenthad not yet paid Botswana for the jet fuel, petrol and diesel itborrowed on credit about a year ago. "We remain hopeful thatthey will pay," he said. Merafhe reminded Parliament thatZimbabwe had a serious economic crisis and that Botswana couldnot take any measures that would compound the problem. Respondingto queries about the Zimbabwean government's decision to divertrail traffic from the Botswana to Beitbridge/Bulawayo route,which had impacted negatively on Botswana Railways earnings, hesaid mistakes were bound to happen. He told MPs not to base thecountry' relationship with its neighbours on one mistake. Heexplained that countries that provide aid to Botswana such asGermany also had unemployment problems saying "four millionpeople are unemployed but the country still passes on assistanceto us. Even Japan. This is in the normal conduct of diplomaticrelations." About complaints that Botswana was not wellrepresented in international organisations, Merafhe said it wasincumbent upon Batswana to apply and make their servicesavailable to such bodies. Government, he said, was prepared toassist them to secure jobs in such organisations. In addition,government was working hard to ensure the country's detractorsdid not succeed in tainting Botswana's diamonds. Botswana, hesaid, was trying to show the world that its diamonds were beingused for development and not to fuel conflicts in the continent.On the Marietta Bosch case, Merafhe said remarks on the deathpenalty were influenced by race. Some MPs have criticised somecountries and human rights groups for attempting to influence thePresident's decision on the issue. Bosch, who has been sentencedto death, is pinning her hopes on a clemency by President FestusMogae.

Minister of Foreign Affairs condemnsxenophobia (BOPA, 29/03) - Foreign affairs ministerMompati Merafhe says some arguments and complaints made inParliament and the media concerning foreigners working and livingin Botswana are unfortunate. "I therefore appeal tohonourable members, as leaders, not to be the ones fanning theembers of nationalism lest we risk making our foreign guests feelunwelcome in our midst," he said. Merafhe, who waspresenting budget estimates for his ministry for the 2001/2002financial year, however said he recognised that a fewunscrupulous foreigners abused Batswana's hospitality. He saidthe overwhelming majority of foreigners in Botswana were highlycommitted and should not be painted with the same brush with theunscrupulous few. "We can not afford to let narrow personaland sectional interests dictate the cause of our nation.Xenophobia should have no place in our nation. Our tolerance andhospitality has long captured the world's imagination, and we areproud of this record, and we should do everything we can touphold it." Merafhe said he was greatly disappointed by theunbecoming behaviour of some Batswana students abroad because itharmed Botswana's image. It also caused great offence tocountries which sacrificed to offer Batswana places for higherlearning, he said. He said genuine grievances should be aired ina responsible manner while MPs and parents should refrain frommaking statements likely to be misconstrued as endorsement ofstudents' unbecoming behaviour. On the proposed African Union,General Merafhe said Botswana had called for caution particularlyregarding the speed with which events were evolving. Merafhe saidwhen it became apparent that the momentum for accelerating theimplementation of the Abuja Treaty was unstoppable, the countryhad to join the consensus. He told Parliament that although JonasSavimbi was bent on perpetuating the suffering of the war-wearyAngolans, sanctions imposed by UN Security Council were producingthe desired effect. He said Botswana territory should not be usedto violate UN sanctions against UNITA and those who attemptedsuch illegal activities would not escape the wrath of the law.Merafhe requested P108,6 million for the recurrent budget, whichshowed an increase of 12 per cent attributable to, among others,the increase in membership contributions to internationalorganisations and replacement of some mission vehicles, furnitureand equipment. For the development budget, Merafhe requestedP10,1 million for making the new mission in Geneva operational,computerisation of New York, Geneva and Addis Ababa, repairingthe roof of the chancery in Lusaka and renovation of the newchancery in New York. He said the ministry intended acquiringchanceries and residences for all heads of missions.

New measures to control undocumentedmigration from Zimbabwe (BOPA, 23/03) - Ministry ofLabour and Home Affairs permanent secretary Kingsley Sebele saysCabinet has approved proposals by his ministry to curb the influxof illegal immigrants into Botswana. Outlining the new measureswhen he addressed a full North East District Council meeting inMasunga, Sebele said no foreigner would be allowed to apply for aresidence or work permit within the country. A system of quotasfor citizenship applications would also be introduced because hisministry was concerned about the influx of illegal immigrantsinto the country. Sebele said statistics showed that in 1999,close to 5 000 illegal immigrants were repatriated fromFrancistown and surrounding villages to their countries, addingthat the number rose by 13 per cent last year. He said hisministry's records also indicated that the majority of illegalimmigrants came from Zimbabwe and in 1999 and 2000, more that 800illegals were apprehended and repatriated from Masunga andneighbouring villages. He said once in the country, theimmigrants masqueraded as citizens, thereby "benefiting fromgovernment assistance programmes meant for Batswana and competingwith locals for the limited employment opportunitiesavailable". Sebele said while illegal immigrants were notthe only ones responsible for crime, they complicated thesituation because records showed that quite a number of them wereoften apprehended for committing serious crimes. He said what waseven more worrying was that a majority of the culprits wereassisted by Batswana. He said in 1999 and last year, 58 Batswanawere charged for "aiding and abetting illegal immigrants toreside in the country and for employing them illegally".Sebele said his ministry was convinced that only the introductionof tough measures would get people "to understand andrealise how serious the consequences of harbouring or aidingillegal immigrants are". Councillors led by Ramokgwebanacouncillor Obert Takobana, emphasised the need to intensifypolice patrols along Botswana/Zimbabwe border. CouncillorTakobana said illegal immigration had become commercialisedbecause culprits were always fined only for them to return.Councillor for Nlaphwane Farayi Bonyongo work and residencepermits were issued corruptly and called for the ministry toreassess its procedures. Other councillors called for a high andelectrified security fence, foot police patrols instead ofvehicle patrols and the grading of the road along the border. Inresponse, Sebele appealed to the councillors to warn residents intheir respective areas and explore ways of combating the problemincluding sensitising the public. He said the North East was"very vulnerable to illegal immigrants because it bordersZimbabwe and its people share the same ethnicity and language andare citizens of either country".

Comment on exodus of nurses (BOPA, 16/03)- Nurses leaving the country are doing the right thingas it will serve as a wake up call for the government, saysFrancistown MP Tshelang Masisi. Commenting on the Ministry ofHealth budget estimates, Masisi said government had failed tolisten to nurses' grievances about their working conditions. Inaddition, he said nurses were not the only ones leaving, sayingthe situation in the health sector should be looked at in itstotality. Masisi said more administrators must be trained tomanage hospitals so that doctors could concentrate on taking careof the sick. He said health attaches played an important role andshould be posted to countries such as the USA to assist studentsthere. Mmadinare MP Ponatshego Kedikilwe said the grant for NGOsassisting people with disabilities was not enough. He complainedthat although Maokatumo service centre was meant to reducedevelopment costs by sharing facilities, the five villages wereleft behind the building of primary hospitals. Kedikilwe said bigvillages kept home based care vehicles for themselves andsuggested that a plan on the use of vehicles must be drawn toensure smaller villages were not disadvantaged. He wanted to knowwhy the Mother-to-Child Transmission Programme was not givenenough funds and when it would be extended to other villages.Daniel Kwelagobe, MP for Molepolole, said cost recovery measuresshould not be extended to health, which should be accessible toall. He said the language used in the fight against HIV/AIDS wasambiguous. In addition, he suggested that educational videos onthe effects of AIDS must be shown to the youth. Kwelagobe, labourand home affairs minister, said review of salaries must beapproached in their totality for the whole civil service.Ngwaketse South MP Kebadire Kalake complained that a primaryhospital planned for Mmathethe had not been budgeted for. Kalakeurged health minister Joy Phumaphi to ensure that patients wereassisted at the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital in Kanye onSaturdays. The MP wanted to know why the sewerage system atThamaga Primary Hospital would be upgraded before that ofGoodhope, which catered for a larger area.

UNHCR office in Botswana allocated newfunding (BOPA, 13/03) - The United Nations HighCommissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has allocated P8,5 million tothe UNHCR Office in Botswana to help refugees in the country.This was said by the head of the Gaborone-based UNHCR liaisonoffice Cosmas Chanda during a visit to the Dukwi Refugee Camp byAmerican Ambassador to Botswana John Lange. The UNHCR office inBotswana also got 20 per cent of the United States of Americanrefugee global budget. Chanda said part of the money would beused on the improvement of Dukwi camp, adding that some moreofficers would also be posted to the settlement. Dukwi has some 3000 refugees mostly from Namibia, Somalia and Angola and theirchildren are attending both primary and secondary education atthe camp. Chanda said his office had so far sponsored someforeign students to study in tertiary institutions inneighbouring countries. Ambassador Lange told his audience, amongthem Francistown-based district officer Dionysius Rabantheng,that Botswana was offering a high level of service to therefugees. Lange said he was impressed by the facilities providedat the Dukwi Camp. The US envoy, who was accompanied by KathrynFlachshan, the consular and commercial officer,political-economic officers Aaron Tarver and Scott Hathaway,visited the camp clinic, poultry project and the schools. Duringhis short visit to the local primary school, Ambassador Langeencouraged the pupils to work hard, adding that some day, theywould return to their respective countries where their skillswould be greatly needed. Welcoming the US ambassador and hisentourage, Dukwi settlement commandant Orebonye Gabonewehighlighted the need for more staff houses and the refurbishingof the existing ones. Gabonewe briefed the delegation aboutincome generating projects like the poultry farm, observing thatsuch projects were not flouring because of poor markets. He alsotook Lange to a housing project for the 53 Angolan families whohave now acquired Botswana citizenship. So far some 12 houses fordifferent families have reached roof level and more are comingup.

South African charged with death of 15Zimbabwean deportees (Gaborone, Daily News, 12/03) - A Botswana courthas remanded until 19 March 41-year-old South African driver,George Brits, who is accused of causing the death of 15Zimbabwean deportees last week in a road accident. The accidentoccurred when a horse and trailer Brits was driving was involvedin a collision with a Botswana government truck transportingrepatriated Zimbabweans. Police said the trailer detached itselffrom the horse and rammed into the government vehicle, resultingin the death of 15 deportees. The driver, who is employed by DuckCarriers South Africa, has been charged with 15 counts of“causing death by driving a motor vehicle, which is in sucha condition as to constitute a danger to the public.” Britswas not asked to plead when he appeared before the MagistrateKenneth Obeng. He was remanded in custody. Botswana police saidthe 19 Zimbabwean deportees who survived the accident have beenrepatriated, while 16 others - seven of them in criticalcondition - are still being treated in hospital in Gaborone. Fiveof the Zimbabweans who died in the accident have not beenidentified, police said.

Bodies of dead Zimbabwean migrantsidentified (BOPA, 08/03) - Six Zimbabweans admittedafter the accident in which the vehicle they and their colleagueswere travelling in collided with a South African horse andtrailer were discharged from hospitals in Francistown andSelebi-Phikwe on Monday. Fifteen of them were killed. Three ofthem have been sent home while others still hospitalised inFrancistown are to be repatriated after discharge. This brings to21 the number of survivors repatriated since Saturday. Eighteenwho were in custody in Selebi-Phikwe were repatriated on Saturdaywhile the rest remained in hospital. Traffic officer commandingNo.10 District Superintendent Bonolo Ookame said the condition ofpeople including a one-and-a-half year-old child still admittedin Selebi-Phikwe,were improving while seven others in Nyangabwehospital were critical. Three of the five bodies in Francistownhave also been identified.Of the 10 bodies in a privately-ownedmortuary in Selebi-Phikwe, two were identified on Tuesday byparents who were brought in from Zimbabwe. Superintendent Ookamesaid they wanted to make sure victims were properly identifiedbecause aliens tended to use different names when they enteredBotswana. He said they were communicating with the Plumtreepolice in Zimbabwe who took the names of all the dead topublicise them so relatives could come forward foridentification. The 15 Zimbabwean nationals who died had beenidentified as: Patience Khumalo (Bulawayo), Salfina Siziba(Beitbridge), Numsa Mafu (Gwanda), Numsa Sibanda (Plumtree),Synthia Nyathi (Bulawayo), Lucia Ncube (Plumtree), Condrad Dube(Plumtree), John Louie Mcthuizen (Niki), Sydney Mokonatsi(Motoko), and Albert Nsingo (Lunupane). Others are Lot DanielMhlanga (Plumtree), Mike Ndebele (Kezi), Edmore Edwin Garamiwako(Gweru),Reason Ndlovu (Bulawayo) and Madewa Ketani (Kadoma).

Botswana employed 14,000 expatriates in1999 (BOPA, 08/03) - The 1999 figures from the CentralStatistics Office indicate that there were over 14 000 foreignnationals working legally in Botswana that year. In addition, 2297 foreigners were employed in central and local government inthe same year, labour and home affairs minister Daniel Kwelagobesaid in Parliament on Tuesday. He was responding to a questionfrom Okavango MP Joseph Kavindama who had wanted to know thenumber of foreign nationals working in Botswana. Kwelagobe saidthe 2000 figures were still being processed.

Botswana ponders compensation forZimbabwean accident victims (Pana, 08/03) - Botswanaauthorities are considering the possibility of compensatingvictims of a recent road accident in which 15 Zimbabweandeportees were killed. The fatal accident occurred when a trailerdriven by a South African national allegedly rammed into aBotswana government truck transporting deported Zimbabweans backhome. According to officials of the Botswana Motor VehicleAccident Fund, relatives of the deceased were likely to becompensated. The Fund's general manager, Reginah Vaka, has saidthat there is a possibility that the fund will pay ifinvestigations reveal that the driver of the vehicle, whichrammed into the government truck, was at fault. "If thedriver of the civilian vehicle was at fault, we will pay becausehis vehicle is insured under the Fund. The Act says we will payfor any accident occurring within the borders of Botswana and itis not discriminatory." Vaka however pointed out that thereis controversy as to whether the fund will be able to compensatedependants of the illegal immigrants because they were notsupposed to have been in Botswana in the first place. "Wewill have to look at the law closely and determine whethercompensation should be paid in this instance," Vaka said.The fund and the police are jointly investigating the accidentwhich occurred about 400 kilometres east of the Botswana capitalGaborone.

1,750 teachers are expatriates (BOPA,07/03) - There are currently about 1 750 expatriatesteaching in Botswana at primary, junior and senior secondary andcollege levels. Responding to a question in Parliament, educationminister George Kgoroba said the highest number of such teacherswas at secondary school level numbering 992. There were only 10such teachers at primary school level, he said. Kgoroba wasanswering a question from the Okavango MP, Joseph Kavindama, whohad wanted to know the number of expatriate teachers currently inBotswana. On localisation, he said most of the positions wereexpected to be localised during the next plan period. Heexplained that full localisation had not been possible during thecurrent plan period due to the increase in the number of schools,implementation of the Revised National Policy on Education andthe introduction of new subjects into the curriculum.

Influx of migrants criticised (BOPA,06/03) - MP for North East Chapson Butale has expressedconcern about illegal immigrants who have taken jobs meant forBatswana in his constituency. Contributing to the debate on theMinistry of Labour and Home Affairs budget in Parliament lastThursday, Butale said there was an influx of illegal immigrantsin the North East engaging in illegal trade. Butale complainedabout the ease with which foreigners obtained residence and workpermits. He said if the situation continued, Batswana would findthemselves without land. Butale criticised labour and homeaffairs minister, Daniel Kwelagobe for presenting old projects asif they were new. He said funds had been allocated for suchprojects but they were not implemented now they were beingtreated as if they were new. Gaborone South MP, Kenneth Koma saidforeigners with specialised skills should be granted citizenshipwithout being required to have stayed 10 years in the country.Koma complained that there was not enough material locally towrite comprehensively about the history of Botswana and requestedgovernment to do something about the matter. Boteti MP, SlumberTsogwane complained about delays in the disposal of labourdisputes and that in some cases labour officers took sides withemployers to perpetuate the ill treatment of employees. Tsogwanealso requested government to recognise the importance of KubuIsland in his constituency as an important tourist centre.Selebi-Phikwe MP, Daisy Pholo requested government to employpeople with a legal background as labour officers because somecases required knowledge in law. Assistant Minister of LocalGovernment, Gladys Kokorwe said the budget for youth programmesshould be increased and that such programmes should be extendedto the rural areas. Kokorwe asked if the government had allocatedfunds for the provision of condoms in prisons. She said theenvisaged multi-purpose and information centre in Gaborone wouldgo a long way in assisting abused women.


NGO uncovers girl trafficking to SouthAfrica (Pana, 09/03) - Two civil rights groups havereported encountering stranded Malawian girls in at least fivecountries in the southern Africa region. Katherine Moyenda,executive director of a South Africa- based NGO, Women inDifficult Situations of WDS, said her organisation has identifiedup to 10 girls stranded in South Africa and Swaziland. She saidthat in all cases the girls approached police who referred themto WDS offices. She said the girls tell harrowing stories abouthow some business women lured them into South African and Swazicities with promises that they will secure jobs as nannies or inrestaurants and hotels. "When I visited Swaziland they toldme they had been brought to Mbabane by a woman who told them acertain African restaurant was looking for women from theSouthern African Development Community (SADC) region,"Moyenda said. But Moyenda said when they reached the Swazicapital the girls were handed over to unknown people who forcedthem to work in unregistered brothels or homes. She said thatsince the girls are left without any money in strange countriesthey have no choice but to obey the orders. The 10 girls whosecases WDS is handling had fled their virtual captivity andapproached the NGO for money to enable them return home. Similarincidents of girl trafficking were reported by the MediaAssociation for Human Rights Advancement when its president, ThomChiumia told PANA Friday that it was investigating some 171 caseswhere Malawian girls were lured to Zambia, Botswana, South Africaand Swaziland. Officials of the association, who toured SouthAfrica last month, said in a just-published report that theyencountered girls from the southern Malawi districts of Mangochi,Machinga, Phalombe, Mwanza and Mulanje struggling to find theirway home. Chiumia said while most of the girls who fell in thistrap are illiterate, some of them were quite educated having goneup to O/Levels of education. "But because of our failingeconomy they cannot secure a job so this makes them a ready preyfor unscrupulous business women who take advantage of theirvulnerability to exploit them," he said. Chiumia said someof the girls have already been deported to Malawi by SouthAfrican authorities. These girls are now stranded in Malawiancities of Blantyre and Lilongwe, he said. "We are appealingto government to rehabilitate and empower these destitutegirls," some of those who were departed are stranded inBlantyre and Lilongwe, he said. Police spokesman Oliver Sokoconfirmed that the police are aware of an organised ring of girltraffickers. He said the Malawi Police Service was collaboratingwith Interpol and the Southern Africa Region Police ChiefsOrganisation to bust the ring, which admitted to an uphill task.He said the difficulty was that the girls found in suchpredicaments declined to report their problem fearing to sufferstigmatisation if they did so. Last year several Malawian girlswere found in a number of European capitals stranded in brothels.Two women were arrested for trafficking the girls with promisesthat they be given jobs. One of the women has since beenacquitted because the courts found out that the girls in questionwere already prostitutes when they were being lured to Europe andmight have gone there willingly.


Report on displaced in Beira (Beira,Reuters, 25/03) - MariaPenete sells vegetables and small sun-dried fish from a ricketystall to the inhabitants of a once grand hotel on Beira'sbeachfront that is now home to thousands who fled Mozambique'scivil war. The stench of drying fish is overwhelming in the smalldirt yard fronting the Grand Hotel, which has not been painted ina generation and sags under the strain of thousands of squatterspacked into rooms once reserved for the moneyed elite."There is no electricity, no water, our children get sick.There are too many people here," said 34-year-old Penete,who fled the war between the ruling Frelimo and the Renamo group.There are an estimated 2000 families living at the Grand. Somefamilies consist of up to 10 people. The hotel, which operated acasino, shut down in the mid-1960s after pressure from powerfulreligious groups opposed to gambling in the strongly Catholiccity. It never reopened. "Of course I want to leave, but myfamily has no money to build a house anywhere else. All our moneygoes on food, school fees and clothes," Penete told Reutersat her stall made of sticks and a torn black plastic sheet thattrapped Beira's stifling wet heat and the reek of fish. Lookingacross the dazzling white beach near the hotel small wooden boatswith white sails trawl the bay for fish. A large fishing trawlerlies rusting in the shallow surf. Penete came to Beira in 1979after fleeing her Renamo captors. She has deep scars on her upperarms where she says the rebel soldiers tied her with rough ropesto prevent her from running away. "I was 12 years old whenthey got us tied up and forced us to show them where Frelimosupporters were," she said, staring out across the bay. The16-year-long civil war ended in 1992 and Frelimo has won the votetwice since then. With its market-friendly policies, it hasturned Mozambique into Africa's fastest growing economy. Penete'sstory is not unusual in the crumbling city of Beira, which isslowly surfacing from the war that crippled Mozambique afterindependence from Portugal in 1975 and turned it into one of theworld's poorest countries. A third of Sofala province's 1.5million people live in Beira, many having fled to the safety ofthe city in the war. Travelling from the well-kept airportvisitors brace themselves in battered, rattling taxis as driversnegotiate deep potholes, mud pools and pedestrians. But thestreetlights work and the wide avenues lined with trees aregenerally swept free of litter. Under the trees people fixbicycles - one of the most common ways of getting about in thecity where public transport is scarce. Vendors sell coconuts,rice, coal for cooking and neat piles of rubble for those wishingto try their hand at building. Women walk with bundles of riceplants on their heads while others are doubled over in thepaddies that encircle the city, clearing hyacinth and sowing theemerald green rice shoots. The inner city is a shadow of itsformer self. Some buildings in the hot and humid city areunpainted and others show the signs of years of neglect and waterdamage. Pedestrians dodge cars dodging potholes. Sweating youngmen pull rough home-made carts on car wheels, carrying beer,poles and bags of cement. But in between the ragged colonial-erabuildings with their high-ceilinged verandas new buildings gleam.A bright yellow mobile phone retailer dazzles and the glassfacade of a new bank blinds. Some buildings are wreathed inscaffolding as fresh money trickles in to rebuild the city. SouthAfricans and Zimbabweans have opened restaurants on the beach,offering delectable seafood and ice-cold beer. Beira was popularwith white Zimbabweans before the Mozambicans fought Portuguesecolonialists from the late 1960s. "The main thing we have toget working properly again is the harbour. If that is dredged andbegins receiving big boats again it will improve the financialsituation of the city," Felicio Zacarias, the governor ofSofala province, told Reuters. Another key investment would berepairing a railway line to neighbouring Malawi to enable it toshift a million tonnes of products out through the harbour. Theharbour is also a key port for Zimbabwe and Zambia. "We areone of the poorest provinces in Mozambique and I would like toturn it around," said Zacarias, who has been governor sincelast August. Repairing the infrastructure is also high on thelist. The floods which battered Mozambique for a second year,killing at least 52 people, had pushed back programmes to get thecity and the province working again, he said. Although costestimates have yet to be completed for the latest floods, theprice would affect the province's ability to get back on itsfeet, he said. One of the key problems in repairing roads was thepoor quality of soil. The government has to import soil with morepebbles in it from other provinces to supplement the fine soil inthe province. "There is no work here. Everything is full up.We have lots of journalists, government people, policemen. Thereare no more jobs," said John, a taxi driver. Inacio Josse, a39-year-old primary school teacher staying at The Grand, said heand his family of seven who live in one room, had been told theywould have to leave soon because the hotel would make way for anew tourism-related venture. "We don't enjoy staying here,but we have no choice," said Josse, sipping a glass of cheapbut potent homemade rice liquor called nipa. "I have a smallsalary as a teacher and it is not enough to build a house when weare made to leave here."

Visas for South Africa more expensive(Maputo, Pana, 22/03) - Despite all the talk of regionalintegration, it is becoming more, rather than less, difficult forMozambicans to visit South Africa. This became evident after theSouth African authorities suddenly imposed a 30 percent hike inthe cost of entry visas. According to a press release from theSouth African High Commission received Thursday, the cost of astandard visa will rise from 300 rands to 390 rands (38 to 50 USdollars) as from 1 April. The document says that the decision wastaken by the South African finance ministry, and "is to beapplicable in all high commissions, embassies and consulatesworld-wide." It did not, however, give any furtherexplanation for the measure, which is in gross contradiction withthe aims of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), ofwhich both Mozambique and South Africa are members. SADC, formedin 1980 while South Africa was still under apartheid, would liketo promote economic regional integration, including the freemovement of peoples and goods across the borders of its 14 memberstates.

South Africa

Woman claims husband used her forcitizenship (Sunday Tribune, 31/03) - It seemed likelove at first sight for KwaDukuza millionaire Banu Hasaram inKwaZulu-Natal and her Bulgarian lover, Valentino Penev, when theymet at the Lost City four years ago. Hasaram met Penev at a timewhen her heart, as she put it, could not endure any more pain.Widowed at 23, she was 36 at the time and the single mother offour children. What she wanted most was a companion. Penev madeher romantic dinners and took long walks with her. Hasaramthought she had found true love. After a courtship of threemonths they married in Bulgaria in 1997, came back to SouthAfrica and registered their marriage. However, things went wrongquickly. Hasaram claims that as soon Penev was granted hispermanent residence permit, their marriage fell apart. She toldimmigration officials this week that their marriage was a farceand lodged a formal objection to Penev's application for SouthAfrican citizenship. Her objections are based on claims thatPenev never loved her, that he was unfaithful, that he used hermoney to build his empire, that she paid his debts and that theirmarriage was merely a means for him to formalise his stay inSouth Africa. After months of family counselling, the rich,popular and high-flying socialite, now 40, says she wants to givesomething back to her country and other women. She is starting acampaign against foreign men who might try to lure, charm andhook unsuspecting local women, marrying them to obtain permits tolive here. "I am appealing to women in the same predicamentas myself to come forward and object. We need to start a supportgroup through which we can educate one another about situationsthat can shatter lives." Plagued by reports of foreignersengaging in marriages of convenience, the department of homeaffairs has beefed up its screening procedures for couples whereone partner is of foreign descent. It says that if a marriage isfound to be one of convenience, it will consider prosecution.Penev, who now lives in Durban and owns a garage in the city,said it was not true that he had "used Hasaram for hermoney" and had "played with her emotions". Headmits, however, that his "papers were not in order"before he met Banu. Penev has been deported from South Africaseveral times since 1991 but will not say how he has managed toreturn to the country. He says he has changed his mind aboutdivorcing Hasaram until the matter of his citizenship has beenfinalised. Claiming he is "confused", Penev says hestill loves Hasaram but does not forgive her for reporting him tothe immigration officers. Confident of his standing within thelaw, he says: "I have committed no crime for the governmentto deny me citizenship. It's true the love affair went bad, butthat's no reason to deport me. "Back in Bulgaria there is agood life waiting for me. But now South Africa is my home and Iwill fight to stay here." Hasaram moved out of the flat thecouple shared and is now living with a friend. She no longerwears expensive jewellery and exquisite Banares saris, onlymodest dresses and two gold bangles. She claims that she has hadto pawn most of her jewellery. She says sadly: "This is whatI am reduced to. Some people view my objections to Valentino'scitizenship as vengeful. They aren't." The director of homeaffairs for KwaZulu-Natal, Willem Delport, said "marriagesof convenience have become very worrying for us. "Theminister is empowered to revoke citizenship of foreigners."Foreigners often lie to us, saying they are here to startbusinesses and to employ people when, in fact, they are justhawkers."

Cape High Court hears deportation case(Cape Town, Cape Argus, 30/03) - The removal of analleged embassy bomber from South Africa to the United States wasdone purely to get an illegal alien out of the country, and hadnothing to do with the fact he was wanted in the US, the CapeHigh Court has heard. This was argument by an advocaterepresenting the SA authorities during the High Court applicationby Khalfan Khamis Mohamed, 27, of Tanzania, who is currently ontrial in the Manhattan Federal Court in New York for the 1998bombings of US embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam in which242 people died and thousands were injured. Mohamed is asking theCape High Court for two orders: l He wants the court to rule thathe was taken out of the country in an unconstitutional andunlawful manner. l He wants the court to order the South Africangovernment to impose a condition to his surrender which wouldprevent the US from sentencing him to death should he beconvicted by the American court. He lived in South Africa for ayear before he was removed to the US, and had a temporary permitto stay in Cape Town. Mohamed was arrested at the offices of theDepartment of Home Affairs at Customs House on October 5, 1999,while inquiring about the outcome of his asylum application. TheSouth African government declared him an illegal immigrant and hewas taken to New York. There he was charged with the bombing ofthe US embassy in Dar-es-Salaam and conspiring to bomb the USembassy in Nairobi, Kenya. Both carry the death penalty. HenryViljoen SC, who is appearing for President Thabo Mbeki, theministers of Justice and Home Affairs, the National Director ofPublic Prosecutions and the Chief Immigration Officer of CapeTown, argued that the South African authorities' only intentionin the removal of Mohamed was to get an illegal alien out of thecountry. He argued that the removal of Mohamed from the countrywas not illegal nor unconstitutional. Ordering the government toimpose a condition on his removal would militate against theclassic separation of the powers of the executive and thejudiciary. Anwar Albertus SC, acting with Ashton Schippers, forMohamed, said they were not asking for Mohamed to be returned toSouth Africa. "We are asking the court to declare that hewas taken from the country in an unlawful manner and to orderthat the South African government should request that the deathpenalty should not be imposed on him." The applicationcontinues today.

State ignored own deportation laws,claims lawyer (SABC News, 29/03) - The 1999 deportationfrom South Africa of Khalfan Mohamed, an alleged US embassybomber, had been out of line with the Aliens Control Act andunconstitutional, the Cape High Court heard today. Arguing onbehalf of two human rights NGOs, Anton Katz, an advocate, toldthe court that based on the state's own version of events, it hadnot complied with the regulations issued under the act. Mohamed,a Tanzanian, is currently on trial in New York for the 1998bombings of embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in which 224people died and thousands were injured. He said that after hisarrest in Cape Town he was handed over against his will to theFederal Bureau of Investigation in America. South Africanauthorities maintain, Mohamed feared he would be lynched inTanzania and had asked to be sent to the US because he would joinother comrades in detention there and be seen as a martyr.Mohamed wants the court to order South Africa to petition the USgovernment to ensure he is not put to death if he is convicted. SAonly wanted to deport Mohamed, not force him to go to the USHenri Viljoen, an advocate who is appearing for President ThaboMbeki and a string of Cabinet ministers who have been cited asrespondents and are opposing Mohamed's application, said he didnot deny that the US wanted Mohamed arrested and taken toAmerica. The South African authorities, he said, only wanted anillegal alien out of the country, and not force him to go to theUS. When a person being deported said he feared for his life ifhe was deported to his home country, the South AfricanConstitution prevented him being sent to Tanzania "where hemight have been killed by mobs as he stepped off theairplane". Viljoen said there were "levels ofrights", and that the level of rights enjoyed by an absentalien was lower than that enjoyed by a "presentcitizen". Mohamed's defence says his removal wasunconstitutional Katz said in his written heads of argumentthat regulation 23 issued under the Aliens Control Act wasperemptory, and that the government was not allowed to remove aperson to any country other than those listed in it. Theregulation says an illegal alien shall be removed to either thecountry whose passport he holds, or of which he is a citizen."The minister of immigration officials causing the removalof a person from South Africa do not have any discretion toremove a person to a different country," Katz said. Nor didthe person to be removed have the right or option to choose to beremoved to a country not specified in regulation, he said.Argument continues on Friday.

New immigration courts proposed for SA(Johannesburg, Sapa-INet-Bridge, 28/03) - Specialimmigration courts will be established aimed at makingimmigration officials accountable for their "arbitrary"decisions, providing a judicial watchdog for a governmentdepartment that Mario Ambrosini, adviser to Home Affairs ministerDr Mangosuthu Buthelezi, says is "an unmitigateddisaster." Speaking at a discussion in Sandton onglobalisation and the role of the Department of Home Affairs,Ambrosini said that South Africa's current immigration practicesand laws are "an unmitigated disaster of irrational andhighly discretionary practices. "The immigration laws asthey stand can't even meet the present demands, let alone addressthe future challenges," he stated. Ambrosini said that thenew court will be established as part of the Immigration Bill andwill have the power to review any decision made by immigrationofficials. This will mean that any individual who feels thatimmigration officials have made a wrong decision will be able toimmediately challenge that decision in court. "Importantly,the court will remove the decision making ability of immigrationofficials, which is often arbitrary and in clear violation ofexisting human rights law." As evidence for this, Ambrosinicites the fact that while a warrant of arrest stipulates thatindividuals must be brought before a court within 48 hours ofarrest, illegal immigrants can often wait as long as 29 days indetention before being brought before any form of tribunal."This is a clear human rights violation but this will beaddressed by giving the new Immigration court the power to issuewarrants containing these stipulations." According toAmbrosini, the courts will be presided over by an ImmigrationJudge, who will be equivalent to a magistrate in terms ofexperience and training. "These courts," he said," will make immigration officials accountable for their baddecisions, which is not the way it is now. "Government can'tcompletely train a whole new immigration service. The system isin such a mess that this would take too long to correct. Whatthis court will do is provide a forum for these wrong decisionsto be put right," he argued. Ambrosini complained about theinefficient immigration service within the government. "Theydon't answer phones, they don't reply to letters, they have noreactive ability whatsoever . . . This is why we need to takediscretionary decision making powers out of their hands. Nowthese decisions will be challenged in court." Ivan Lambinon,deputy-director of Home Affairs, concurred with Ambrosini."The Department recognizes the need to remove thesediscretionary powers. It is for this reason that certain permitrequirements have been changed." An example of this,Lambinon said, was the change that allows voluntary workers tocome into South Africa with a visitors permit. Previously,voluntary workers, were required to obtain a work permit, atime-consuming exercise that led to many groups being turnedaway. The immigration bill itself is currently being debated inlength by cabinet, a process which Ambrosini said makes itexceptionally difficult to predict when the new law will bepassed. "All these measures contained in the bill will beinstituted on a sliding scale from when Immigration Bill entersthe statute books. "The bill is due to come out of cabinetby April 25. We expect the bill and the policy regulations willbe ready by the end of the year," he said.

Exodus of nurses condemned by Minister ofHealth (Sapa, 28/03) - The alarming rate at which SouthAfrican nurses were being poached to work abroad was turning theminto an endangered species, Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, thehealth minister said on Wednesday. Between 1995 and 1999, 2543registered nurses requested that their qualifications beverified, which they needed to go abroad, she said in a speechread on her behalf at the national congress of the DemocraticNursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) in Pretoria. "Nurses arebeing lured in great numbers by tax-free earnings in SaudiArabia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, andothers." The cream of the profession was mainly targeted,the minister said. "South Africa is training healthpersonnel at tremendous cost for the benefit of wealthyfirst-world countries. Our young democracy is deprived of theservices of the best health professionals, at a time when itneeds them most. "South Africa cannot afford to use taxpayers' money to educate health workers for the benefit of othercountries. This exodus needs to be halted somehow, before it istoo late." Tshabalala-Msimang said the constitution gaveevery South African the right to free movement. Nevertheless,positive mechanisms needed to be put in place for the nursingprofession to regain its former popularity. At the same time, shequestioned assertions that South Africa had a shortage of nurses.Her words were met with an outcry from Denosa members attendingthe conference, some of whom interjected that they wereoverstretched and underpaid. The minister said the World HealthOrganisation recommended that developing countries should haveone registered nurse for every 500 people. In South Africa, theratio was just under one to 450, which was better than that ofthe UK. But nurses were not equally distributed in the country,with the bulk located in urban areas, she said. "If themovement of people was easy to manipulate, the problem would beeasy to address, by simply coaxing redistribution to ruralunder-served areas, or to some busy academic centres whichequally suffer staff shortages due to migration to the privatesector, and moonlighting to the detriment of public sector healthfacilities." Some congress delegates again murmured audibly,claiming that if they were paid well enough, it would not benecessary for them to seek more lucrative employment outside thepublic sector or to moonlight to supplement their income.Professor Philda Nzimande, the president of Denosa, called ondelegates to submit their questions to the minister to theorganisation's leadership, so they could be put to her duringDenosa's monthly meetings with her. Tshabalala-Msimang said itwas found that there were no uniformly applied staffing ratios inhealth facilities. A task team was busy calculating the personnelneeds, based on the population estimates in each of the nineprovinces. The newly established chief directorate for health andwelfare sector negotiations would probably result in some relieffor nurses and other health care professionals, she said. Thatcould help attract student nurses and retain those already in theprofession. "We know the working conditions are not alwaysthe best, but you are trying your best," Tshabalala-Msimangsaid. Mary Maleko, the vice-president for Denosa, said she hopednurses' conditions of service would match their best efforts.Nontsha Nciza, the other vice-president, said the status ofnurses was often undermined. Their credibility suffered as aconsequence. This was to the detriment of the entire population.Nciza, who is also member for health of the East Rand metro'smayoral committee, called for greater participation by nurses inmanagement and policy-formulating. Doctors could not manage thehealth care system on their own. That meant the equalityprinciple was undermined. "We need to ensure that nurses getthe authority they deserve... Nurses are mostly the implementersof policy, but they are left out when policy is beingformulated," she said.

Yugoslav immigrant surrenders to police(SABC News, 25/03) - An illegal Yugoslav immigrant, whohad locked himself into a Sandton flat for almost 24 hours, hashanded himself over, Johannesburg police said. Chris Wilken, apolice spokesperson, said the 32-year old man left the flat inMajuba Court around 7:30pm. "We put certain conditions tohim during negotiations," Wilken said. "He had to firstlet his wife come out, which he did. Then we asked him to put hisgun outside the door and come out with his hands in front of him.He did that and we arrested him." The wife left the flataround 7:25pm and her husband followed about five minutes later,Wilken said. The woman has been taken to a place of safety. Shewas not arrested. The man will appear in the RandburgMagistrate's Court either tomorrow or Tuesday. "He wasscared because he thought we were going to be rough with him. Wewere not. We handled him very carefully and were nice tohim," Wilken said. "In the end no shots were fired, noviolence was used and no-one got hurt." The man will facecharges of theft, attempted murder and possibly possession of anunlicensed firearm. The couple's child is in the care of friends,Wilken said.

Protest march againstracism (Louis Trichardt, Zoutnet, 23/03) - The community members of Zamekomste,near Louis Trichardt together with Popcru members and the NkunziDevelopment Association will be engaged in a protest marchagainst racism tomorrow. The three partieswill march to the Louis Trichardt magistrate offices during thehearing of Petrus Jacobus Smith's case of assault. Smith, who wasarrested for allegedly assaulting a Zimbawean farm worker, MikeMtswero (19) was relased on free bail after a brief appearance inthe Louis Trichardt magistrate's office. This decision was notwelcomed by many of the human rights activists like Nkunzi,members of the community and Porpcru. The community members saidthey would also protest against the withdrawal of the chargesagainst Piet Viviers. This follows the decision by the Directorof Public Prosecution to withdraw the charges of theft againstViviers three weeks ago. Community spokesperson Ms ShandukaniGumela told the SABC that they were not happy about the releaseof Viviers. It was also suggested by the public prosecutor thatthe police officers, who arrested Viviers, be disciplined. Thenewly appointed MEC for Safety Dikeledi Magadzi said she wantedthe full reports about the whole situation, before the police arebeing charged. Meanwhile, the provincial superintendent MotlafelaMojapelo said they have not received a formal correspondence fromthe Director of Public Prosecutions to instruct the charging ofthe police. Mojapelo said they could not respond until theyreceived a written report.

Commentary on Immigration Bill impasse(Financial Mail, 23/03) - Buthelezi sets out hisagenda after Cabinet setback Six years after Home AffairsMinister Mangosuthu Buthelezi began to rewrite immigration law,it seems he's back to square one. Buthelezi's hopes were dashedlast week when Cabinet failed to pass his Immigration Bill orgive his staff time to answer ANC misgivings about the Bill. InANC/Inkatha Freedom Party talks late last year, the fate of themuch-delayed Bill dominated discussions. Buthelezi has also twicewritten to President Thabo Mbeki to complain about the delayedpassage of the Bill, with which he means to give SA a moreresponsive migration policy. Last week, the IFP threatened topull out of the coalition government, ostensibly because of an FMreport on Mbeki's migration plans, (Cover Story March 23), butmore likely because of a history of ANC filibustering onButhelezi's Bill. The ANC is sceptical about a proposedimmigration service where policy is determined by a regulatoryagency on which government is represented, but where business andlabour also have a say. This would also remove Home Affairsemployees from the ambit of the civil service . A Cabinetstatement last Wednesday promised the six-year process would becompleted "as soon as possible". It added that"collegial consultations will take place at various levelsto ensure that the final product satisfies the requirements ofthe full range of government functions, such as trade &industry, foreign affairs, human resource development andfinance". Neither Cabinet spokesman Joel Netshitenzhe norButhelezi would publicly expand on what that means. A Cabinetdecision has been taken not to grant press interviews on thetopic, said Buthelezi in a statement to the FM. But to scrutinisethe Bill's passage suggests deep Cabinet unhappiness (seegraphic). Its journey through Cabinet has been turbulent. LastJuly all Ministers took the drafts back to their departments forlegal vetting. Comment from the executive yielded 85 amendmentsto the draft. In August, Cabinet raised policy problems with theBill, primarily with the idea of an SA Immigration Serviceapproved by Cabinet in 1995. What happened to change its mind? Itappears that the ramifications hit home only last year. TheImmigration Service is a radical departure from what we now have.It would be a statutory body responsible to the Minister of HomeAffairs. Department of Home Affairs employees would betransferred to the service from the public service. It would berun by a CEO, with the rank of deputy director-general andoverseen by a board that included industry, labour and therelevant government departments. Responding to ANC criticism thatimmigration is too important to be run at arm's length fromgovernment, Buthelezi argues: "It is a certain form ofgovernment different from the one now running migration, but itis government nonetheless." (See Letters.) "It is notautonomous," he has assured Cabinet. The Minister has arguedbefore Cabinet that the board creates a sensible venue for arange of policy decisions on migration, be it the level at whichinvestor permits are granted, or decisions on which specialskills SA needs to recruit. "Complex negotiations require ashared decision-making venue," Buthelezi told Cabinet. If"stakeholders" were not assured of such a shareddecision-making venue, they "would withdraw their alreadyprecarious support and would rightly claim a breach oftrust". The immigration service is also a symbol of thedelicate trade-offs that have taken place in the six years ofpolicy formulation. In return for concessions to the unions on alicence fee (a percentage of salary paid for every work permitgranted that goes into the training levy for local workers),industry got representation on the decision-making board. Withoutan immigration service, argue sources in Buthelezi's Ministry,there can be no Bill. All of which takes us back to the beginning- 1994.

Xenophobia should be uprooted saysForeign Affairs Minister (SABC News, 21/03) - NkosazanaZuma, South Africa's foreign affairs minister, today saidcontemporary forms of slavery such as trafficking in women andchildren, xenophobia which is increasing in Africa, Asia, Americaand elsewhere, should be uprooted. Zuma was addressing the UnitedNation's 57th Session of the Commission on Human Rights in Genevatoday. Zuma also said the coming World Conference Against Racismto be held in Durban, South Africa, later this year should lookat ways to close the ugly chapter of slavery, colonialexploitation and racism. "The concern about human rights andthe need to act as a collective conscience of humanity istherefore a legitimate right of the member states of the UnitedNations. To this end we should not be selective in registeringour deep concern whenever such abuses occur. Collectively weshould act without fear of favour," she said. Zuma said themajor challenge facing the world today was dealing with the pastof deeply divided societies and experiences such as colonialexploitation which result in strife and untold sufferings andinjustices. "We should work towards a future where anAfrican child is proud to be an African and not aspire to beEuropean or white because the white colour and race guaranteesfood, shelter, education and security," Zuma said. Worldrepresentatives at the UN Session also called for collectiveaction in dealing with causes of conflicts in the NorthernIreland, the Balkans and the Middle East and others. They saidthe underlying problems in those countries were racism,xenophobia or a related intolerance.

Refugees, NGOs protest outside HomeAffairs Department (Sapa, 20/03) - Refugees, asylumseekers and human rights NGOs on Tuesday joined a protest led byThe Human Rights Committee of SA outside the Braamfontein refugeeoffice of the Department of Home Affairs in Johannesburg toexpress concern at the lack of administrative justice afforded torefugees and asylum seekers. Committee spokeswoman Nobuntu Mbellesaid the protest was part of an ongoing campaign to focus on theplight of refugees in relation to their experiences at the HomeAffairs Department. "Government was responsible in terms oftheir international obligations to fulfil their duties. Our rolewas to monitor the situation and we therefore expressed ourconcern over the department's lack of preparedness for theimplementation of the new Refugee Act of 1998, which wasimplemented on 1 April, 2000. "It is a year since theimplementation of the Act, which was supposed to fast track theasylum process, but there are still asylum seekers waiting formore than a year for a determination of their status,"Mbelle said. She said problems facing government includedpersonnel shortages and a lack of equipment, which in turn causedmajor administration delays. Mbelle said staffing issues were theconcern of the regional office and to date those issues had notbeen addressed. The regional office therefore failed in its dutyto its own staff and to refugees and asylum seekers. "Thenew Act denies asylum seekers the right to work and study for sixmonths while their status is determined. Despite this limitation,there are hundreds of asylum seekers who have been on Section22-asylum seeker permits for more than six months. "Theseasylum seekers struggle to make ends meet at the best of times,but the burden of not being able to work adds to what is alreadya stressful situation," she said. Chris Malakalaka, a24-year-old international relations graduate from the SouthAfrican Graduate Development Association, and his colleaguesjoined in the protest, singing and chanting songs. "Refugeerights are part of human rights. Refugees and asylum seekers arealso human beings who must get equality, human dignity, and notbe discriminated against. Some of these people entering thecountry have great abilities, skills and qualities. There is noneed for them to be treated differently," Malakalaka said.Other problems faced by refugees/asylum seekers included in thememorandum were: - Refugees and asylum seekers were often deniedaccess to premises despite having legitimate reasons to enter; -Over the last week refugees/asylum seekers with Section 41 asylumseeker permits were unable to renew their permits due to a lackof staff and equipment; - Certain asylum seekers were deniedaccess to the Asylum Seeker process because they did not havepassports or any other form of identification; - Unaccompaniedminors were not assisted and not given the necessary advice bythe department on how to access the asylum process; - Immigrationofficers and other staff members did not show any respect forrefugees/ asylum seekers. Instead they were treated like cattle,sworn at and in some instances physically abused; - Bribery andcorruption was common and it was not unusual for asylum seekersto pay money and get their status; - The current system offreelance interpreters was open to abuse and many asylum seekerscomplained of having to pay interpreters to get the necessarydocuments from the department; and - People who lost theirpermits were not always attended to, resulting in arrestsresulting in further complications; Before handing over amemorandum to Home Affairs officials, Malakalaka said: "Wecall on the Department of Home Affairs to ensure that adequatestaff and equipment is placed in the Braamfontein office, thebusiest refugee reception centre in the country. "We alsocall on national government to ensure that adequate funds beallocated to the Department in order to fill the country'sinternational obligations." Jubeida Morgan, spokeswoman fromthe Home Affairs department Refugee Office who received thememorandum said:" We cannot comment at this stage but willrefer the memorandum to our regional director." The protestwas also part of a Human Rights Day commemoration, which falls onWednesday.

Refugees being treated like cattle - sayhuman rights NGOs (Woza, 20/03) - Asylumseekers are often treated like cattle, sworn at and in someinstances physically abused by immigration officers and otherdepartment of home affairs staff members, Human rightsorganisations said on Tuesday. The non-governmental organisationsexpressed their "concern regarding the lack ofadministrative justice afforded to refugees and asylumseekers" during a march to the department of home affairs indowntown Johannesburg. The organisations said in a jointmemorandum that bribery and corruption is commonplace in thedepartment, where "it is not unusual for asylum seekers topay money to get their status. "The current system offreelance interpreters is open to abuse, and many asylum seekershave complained of having to pay interpreters to get thenecessary documents from the home affairs department," thestatement said. The human rights organisations accused thedepartment of lack of preparedness for the implementation of thenew Refugee Act, which was implemented in April last year in anattempt to fast-track the asylum process. "There arehundreds of asylum seekers who have been on Section 22 asylumseeker permits for more than six months, despite the limitationsin the Act which deny them the right to work and study for sixmonths while their status is still determined," theorganisations complained. However, the organisations said that alot of problems in the department are due to lack of staff andequipment. They called on the department to ensure improvement ofservices, "especially at the Braamfontein Refugee Office -which is the busiest refugee reception centre in the country - inorder to fulfill SA's international obligations". Receivingthe memorandum on behalf of the department of home affairs,Jubeida Morgan said that the department "had no comments atpresent, as we still need to study the memorandum before we canrespond". Talking to WOZA, the Human Rights Committee'sVenitia Govender said that fear and ignorance, from both refugeesand SA citizens, are "making it difficult for the twoparties to actually see how they could help one another".She said that asylum seekers also need to understand that SouthAfricans are going through hard times, "which brings up themyth that refugees take their jobs and bring crime". On theimprovement brought by the introduction of democracy in 1994,Govender said that a lot still needs to be done, especially inimproving the quality of life of people at grassroots level."The real problem is at the grassroots level, where thegovernment needs to reprioritise and enhance the fight againstpoverty by coming up with mechanisms that will impact directly onpeoples' lives," Govender said. "There is a lot ofdiversity within refugee forums, which is why people should tryto understand why refugees come here and whether they contributeto our economy," she said. She added that "people werejust trying to find a scapegoat by pointing fingures at refugeeswhose silence - because of fear and often ignorance - was alsonot helping the situation". The Human Rights Committee wasestablished in 1981 with the aim of researching and monitoringhuman rights violations, and to lobby for the implementation ofhuman rights. The organisation helps people to access theirrights through refugee rights' programmes. Its policy is guidedby documents such as the UN Declaration on Human Rights, theAfrican Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, and the SAContitution. South Africans will be celebrating Human Rights Day,formerly known as Sharpeville Day, on Wednesday, March 21.

ANC attempt to clarify immigration billcontroversy (Financial Mail, 16/03) - Buthelezimust be placated, but Mbeki keeps finger on pulse Thereal battle within government for the control of immigrationpolicy has only just begun. The latest public skirmish follows anarticle in the FMlast week, which detailed bold stepsbeing taken not by the Minister in charge of Home Affairs,Mangosuthu Buthelezi, but by President Thabo Mbeki, to overhaulmigration policy and ease the entry of scarce skills into thecountry. These steps include a skills audit, the overhaul of alllegislation that deals with migration and a central role for thePresidency in dealing with a skills crisis that foreign and localbusiness cite as among the top five disincentives to investing inSA. The story stirred a hornets' nest. As a result of itspublication, the Inkatha Freedom Party, of which Buthelezi isleader, last weekend issued veiled threats to leave the coalitiongovernment it serves in with the dominant African NationalCongress. The IFP took exception to the suggestion that Mbekiwould take a more active role in the formulation of migrationpolicy and that Buthelezi had been side-stepped. The ANC movedquickly to smooth Buthelezi's ruffled feathers. And in a publicdisplay of support, Charles Nqakula, Deputy Minister of HomeAffairs, wrote an angry letter to the FM (see page 11), accusingit of erroneous and sensationalist reporting. The nub of thelatest crisis is Buthelezi's Immigration Bill, which has been thesubject of heated debate in Cabinet for almost a year. The Billhas exposed an ideological schism between the ANC and IFP. TheIFP is in favour of removing from government the responsibilityof implementing immigration policy. Buthelezi's draft Billproposes an "immigration service" to control migration.This service would be run as an agency of government, by an MDwho would be accountable to a board representing industry, civilsociety and government. The ANC's initial response was to flatlyreject the proposal. It sees migration as an area of crucialnational and security considerations, and wants to keep itin-house. A second area of contention is that the Bill imposes atraining levy on investors (in addition to the 1% of payroll thatall companies pay), to which most investment communities haveobjected. The FM reported last week that the Bill would bescrutinised as part of a wider review of legislation and thatthis process would be driven by the Presidency. But in the pastfew days, Buthelezi has been assured he will retain control.Nqakula argues that progress is being made in processing thelegislation. But government insiders say disagreements haven'tbeen settled. Two other issues dog migration policy. The first isa tenuous relationship between Buthelezi and hisdirector-general, Billy Masethla. Buthelezi opposed Mbeki'sappointment of Masethla, an ANC insider of some rank, last year.The IFP also charges that management plans Masethla detailed inthe FM about how he would streamline the process of granting workpermits were counter to Buthelezi's directives. The other sourceof tension is a fractious relationship between parliament's homeaffairs portfolio committee, run by ANC stalwart Aubrey Mokoena,and Buthelezi. Late last year, Mokoena announced he wanted torestart the migration policy-making process from scratch . InANC-IFP talks late last year, the assurance was given that theBill would be passed (with some amendments), as a symbol of the"coalition magic". "We came into this governmentto co-operate and to save the country from what's happening inMozambique, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. That wasbehind the decision to co-govern," says IFP spokesman MusaZondi now, warning of "consequences" if the Presidentdoesn't publicly refute the plans. Government spokesman JoelNetshitenzhe says the coalition government is bigger and moreprofound than mere media reports, and that perceived tensionswill be dealt with in Cabinet, not through the press. He says theFM's cover story was inaccurate in suggesting that Buthelezi hadbeen sidelined. But Mbeki also has the prerogative to act on theskills needs. At the behest of foreign investors, for whomimmigration problems in general and intransigence at the HomeAffairs Department in particular are a big disincentive, Mbekihas given personal attention to skills recruitment. Thus, he willlead what's called a Presidential review of legislation - as hedid in the case of the labour law amendments, also in response toinvestor complaints. The necessary migration changes will cutacross several departments . Netshitenzhe says any overhaul willbe authorised and planned by Cabinet and that Buthelezi will takea leading role.

Deputy Home Affairs minister reponds toreport of IFP-ANC rift (Financial Mail, 16/03) - "IT IS ERRONEOUS TO PIN THE TASK OF ATTRACTINGNEEDED SKILLS TO OUR COUNTRY ON THE SYSTEM OF MIGRATION CONTROLALONE" Your sensationalist Cover Story (March 9) onimmigration has no basis. It states that Minister Buthelezi hasbeen side-stepped and that policies and legislation are beingreformulated by the Office of the President. This articleappeared on the same day that the relevant Cabinet committeepassed on to Cabinet a memorandum seeking to table theImmigration Bill in parliament after a workshop aimed atproviding a better understanding for Cabinet of the immigrationservice's purposes and how it would be brought into operation.For the Office of the President to be drafting legislation behindclosed doors through a non-existent "inner circle"would make a mockery of five years of open, transparent andlaborious policy formulation and negotiations and of a style ofcollegial governance. This is not how our government operates. Itis also preposterous to suggest such a vote of no confidence inMinister Buthelezi, who has provided much-appreciated leadershipto his department and to the formulation of the strategies forits needed restructuring and reform. It is also erroneous to pinthe task of attracting needed skills to our country on the systemof migration control alone. Migration control is only thegatekeeper which may make entering SA more or less difficult. Itis the responsibility of all departments, stakeholders and roleplayers to make SA attractive to people we may need to fostereconomic growth. Interdepartmental co-ordination on such effortsshould be kept distinct from the formulation of a new system ofmigration control. Your article seems to be aimed at creatingdivisions and lending support to an agenda which is not that ofour department, government or the Presidency. We reject withcontempt the insinuation it implicitly contains on the integrityof President Mbeki and the credibility and leadership of MinisterButhelezi. - C Nqakula, Deputy Minister, Home Affairs.

Immigration Bill not approved by cabinet(Business Day, 15/03) - HomeAffairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi failed to get cabinetapproval for the Immigration Bill yesterday after being orderedto hold further consultations on the proposed legislation. Agovernment source said Buthelezi was hoping for cabinet approvalafter winning the approval of the cabinet's governance andadministration committee last week. However, another sourcedenied this, saying the bill had not come before cabinet. Thecabinet statement said Buthelezi would lead consultations toensure that the bill "satisfies" departments such astrade and industry, foreign affairs and finance. A source saidthis was strange, as Buthelezi had been consulting over the billfor the past five years. It is understood that during the finalstages of the bill's drafting last year, African NationalCongress (ANC) members of the cabinet objected strongly to theproposal that an immigration service be established to administerthe law. ANC members claimed that this amounted to privatisation.But Buthelezi, the leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP),believed that ANC members misunderstood the bill. The new servicewould be an "organ of state" similar to, for example,the SA Revenue Service. The Financial Mail reported last weekthat President Thabo Mbeki's office was to wrest control ofdrafting the bill from Buthelezi. This led to the IFP warningthat if the report were true, it would consider quittinggovernment. Such a move would indicate that Mbeki had noconfidence in Buthelezi, IFP spokesman Musa Zondi said. Thecabinet statement said there was "no substance" to thereport, and there was "no question" of tension betweenthe ANC and IFP in government. Meanwhile, the cabinet decided toappoint Frederick van Zyl Slabbert as the head of a task teamthat would draft a new electoral law. The cabinet said the taskteam would consult various departments, and all political partieswould also be drawn into the drafting of the legislation.

Home Affairs official claims ANC isdelaying bill (The Citizen, 15/03) - President Mbeki hadbeen in possession of the final draft of the controversialImmigration Bill since July last year without telling HomeAffairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi when the Cabinet wouldratify it, a Home Affairs offical said. During his parliamentaryaddress in February, Mbeki said "immigration laws andprocedures will be reviewed urgently (this year) to enable us toattract skills into our country". But the ball has been inhis court, according to the Home Affairs official, who said theCabinet had been shuttling questions backward and forward forclarity on the basic amount needed to be charged for investorpermits to determine targeted entrepreneurs. Some of theproposals of the Bill, especially on the establishing of aprofessional South Africa Immigration Service (SAIS), also neededto be clarified.

Angolan refugee in Cape Town lives infear (Cape Town, Cape Argus, 15/03) - An Angolan refugeehas been lying low in Philippi in Cape Town for the past week,fearing he will be killed if he leaves the house. MeluzolangaBuensa, 37, has now moved secretly to another house in Philippi,leaving his Xhosa-speaking girlfriend behind in the first toavoid suspicion. Angry men allegedly threatened to kill him andsmashed his windows, lights and his car. His case is just one ofthose involving refugees dealt with each month by a lawyer basedat the University of Cape Town's Legal Aid Clinic. Buensa saidthat on March 3 three Khayelitsha men had vowed to kill him if"he didn't go back to where he came from". "Theystopped me outside my house and said: 'You saw what happened inDu Noon, you are going to see because you are in Nyanga,amakwerekwere'," said Buensa. (Amakwerekwere is a derogatoryterm for African foreigners.) Buensa immediately left theinformal dwelling. The men returned later that evening, armedwith an axe and a steel pipe. They were supported by Buensa'sneighbours, who pointed out where he lived. They smashed thewindows, lights and the side of his car when they found he wasout. Buensa runs a business in Nyanga, fixing appliances. Heclaims that two of the aggressors were customers who had refusedto pay him for the repairs to their fridge. "I left mycountry, coming here hoping for a better life," said Buensa.He fled Angola six years ago after his parents and brothers andsisters were murdered in Luanda, the capital. He left his wifeand four children behind, and came to Cape Town hiding in theback of a truck. He has not been back to Angola since. Last yearhe had a call from somebody in a church in the DemocraticRepublic of Congo, telling him that his youngest son had died. Hesaid he had been battling with home affairs to recognise hisstatus as an asylum-seeker, and said: "I don't understand.First I'm recognised as a refugee, but cannot be seen as anasylum seeker. "Then in 1997 my application for asylum wasapproved by the sub-committee of refugee affairs for one year.Now I'm using a two-to-three-month permit that I have to extendregularly," said Buensa. If his South African girlfriend hadnot been by his side, he would have died many years ago, he said,either from starvation or murder at the hands of South Africans.Buensa said he was unable to open a bank account and so could notrun a business. Lungile Oliphant, a lawyer who works at theUniversity of Cape Town Legal Aid Clinic and deals exclusivelywith refugee cases, is addressing Buensa's case. He works in thelegal aid programme for refugees, working in conjunction with theUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He deals withbetween 20 and 30 cases a week, and said: "Most are aboutassisting refugees to be granted political asylum, and dealingwith the department of home affairs." Oliphant said therewere also cases arising from xenophobic attacks, but these caseswere rarely prosecuted. "The police do not follow thecharges up and they have a lack of sensitivity towards therefugees - these people have come from countries where authorityis something to be feared and they are terrified of the police."They need to feel that they can trust the police." Hesaid it was disconcerting that police seemed so apathetic aboutprosecuting cases of xenophobia (fear of foreigners). "Thepolice are the face of government and if refugees are afraid ofthem and aren't being helped by them, then they would be right infeeling that the government, too, has failed them," he said.Although he believed the new South African Refugee Act, whichcame into effect in April last year, was an improvement on theprevious Aliens Control Act, Oliphant said the Department of HomeAffairs needed to improve its processing of refugees'applications for permanent resident status. "The mainproblem refugees have with the new Act is that, unlike the oldAct, they are not able to work or study for the period in whichthey wait for their applications to be heard." The newSection 22 permit, despite promises that applications will beprocessed within six months, is extremely strict in granting theright to study or work. "One has to ask how these people aremeant to survive." Oliphant said that, in terms of the Act,they could not be given an identification document, even afterobtaining residence in the country.

SA to 'disinfect' British tourists (TheStar, 15/03) - Visitors entering South Africa fromBritain could be subjected in the near future to strict controlsat airports and harbours. Minister of Agriculture Thoko Didizasaid on Thursday morning that the department was looking intospraying visitors from Britain with disinfectant. South Africalast year buckled under a severe outbreak of foot-and-mouthdisease in KwaZulu-Natal, the Northern Province and Mpumalanga.But Didiza gave the assurance that foot-and-mouth has beencontained in South Africa. Countries around the world havealready resorted to disinfecting the shoes of British visitors atairports. "We are looking at something similar. "Thisshould be seen as a way to protect the (cattle) industry and notas being paranoiac," Didiza said. Rules for travellingBritons had not affected the influx of UK tourists, which were"rising every day", said a tourism official.

Buthelezi to push for approval of bill(Business Day, 14/03) - Home Affairs Minister MangosuthuButhelezi plans to push the cabinet today to approve theImmigration Bill in the hope that it will end the long-standingwrangle over the proposed legislation, according to a governmentsource. This came against the backdrop of deputy Home AffairsMinister Charles Nqakula, an African National Congress (ANC) MP,denying a report in last week's Financial Mail that PresidentThabo Mbeki's office is to wrest control of drafting thelegislation. The report caused a political storm, with theInkatha Freedom Party (IFP) urging the presidency to publiclyindicate whether it was true. Nqakula's repudiation of thereport, which had quoted Buthelezi's ANC-aligneddirector-general, Billy Masetlha, appeared to be an attempt tomend relations with the IFP. Nqakula said it was preposterous tosuggest Mbeki did not have confidence in Buthelezi, and the IFPleader had provided "much appreciated" leadership tothe home affairs department. He said that last week a cabinetcommittee, on which ANC members and Buthelezi serve, had"passed on to cabinet a memorandum seeking to table the billin Parliament". A workshop was also held recently to givethe cabinet a "better understanding" of the bill'sintention to establish an immigration service, Nqakula said. TheANC component of the cabinet was believed to have been concernedthat the new service would have far-reaching autonomy, and couldfall outside the public service. The source said Buthelezi hopedthat, following the approval of the cabinet committee, the billwould win the approval of the full cabinet today. Buthelezi saidrecently migration policy would always be a controversial issuebut he hoped Parliament would pass the bill this year. It wouldthen take two years to get the immigration service up andrunning.

Commentary on strategies to attractimmigrants (Business Day, 14/03) - The statement by President Thabo Mbeki that immigrationlaws and procedures will be reviewed urgently is to be welcomed.So too is the information given by Deputy Home Affairs MinisterCharles Nqakula in his media briefing of February 12. Thesestatements come after a protracted process of rewritingimmigration policy. The emphasis in the statements of both thepresident and the deputy minister is on the utility ofimmigration policy and procedures as a tool of economic growthand development, particularly as an outcome of the increasedinflow of skilled professionals. The proposal is that thelegislation, policy and procedures that govern skilledimmigration must be streamlined to facilitate and encourage theentry of skilled professionals into the SA labour market. Thisprinciple was recognised and recommended by earlier green andwhite papers and is implicit in the Draft Immigration Bill. Itis, therefore, surprising that the procedures, regulations andadministration applied to the entry of skilled professionals havebecome more restrictive since 1994. Individuals and companieswanting to relocate to SA have had to wage uphill battles withthe home affairs department to obtain the necessary residencepermits. The president's statement suggests that this must bechanged urgently. What factors need to be taken into account torealise the president's proposal? First there is the question ofprocess and procedure. The recommendation of the portfoliocommittee - that the white paper be redrafted - still stands,although the minority parties have rejected the report. Is theintention to put yet another process in place? Second, what isthe profile of a skilled immigrant ? Is it based on academic orprofessional qualifications, experience, occupation and so on?Will there be predetermined criteria that define the profile of askilled immigrant (something similar to a points system)? Third,it seems implicit in the statements made thus far that skilledimmigration will be tied to specific occupations and/or perceivedshortages in the labour market. The absence of reliable labourmarket data and the lack of capacity to generate such data wouldsuggest this is not workable. The fluidity of the labour marketmeans that even if we were able to generate such data, by thetime it becomes available it would already be outdated. Fourth,as the president himself has acknowledged, SA does not exactlyhave the most favourable reputation internationally. Why wouldskilled foreigners want to come here and how will we encouragethem to do so ? Will we actively recruit them - and where from?Intuitively, one would expect there are significant numbers ofskilled professionals elsewhere in Africa and in Asia who wouldwelcome the opportunity to live and work in SA. Or do we feelthat it is morally wrong to "steal" the skills of otherdeveloping countries - as is suggested by recent complaints aboutthe ethics of the Canadian government's aggressive recruiting ofSA doctors? Will we provide potential migrants with incentivessuch as reduced tax rates, government-assisted integrationprogrammes, free language training, subsidised housing, medicalcare and education, for example? Finally, official discourseoften revolves around the negative effects of migration on jobsfor South Africans. How is this reconciled with the desire of thepresident to encourage skilled immigration? This is tied to theincreasing and disturbing levels of xenophobia in SA generally.According to research by the Southern African Migration Project,25% of South Africans want a total prohibition on migration and afurther 45% want strict limits placed on migrants and immigrants.If we are to encourage skilled immigration, something has to bedone about the manner in which such migrants will be received.The message implicit in the president's speech - that migrantsare welcome - must be conveyed in no uncertain terms,particularly to officials responsible for applications, and tothe population as a whole.

Mbeki didnot sidestep Bethelezi over immigration laws says ANC (Durban,Sapa, 13/03) - Government on Tuesday denied thatPresident Thabo Mbeki had side-stepped Home Affairs MinisterMangosuthu Buthelezi over the drafting of immigration legislationin a bid to fast track the process. ! Government spokesman JoelNetshitenzhe told Sapa that a Financial Mail article in which theclaims were made last week was "essentially notaccurate". He said Buthelezi, who is also leader of theInkatha Freedom Party (IFP), was still firmly in control of allmatters pertaining to immigration. Netshitenzhe said the article"might have misinterpreted" Mbeki's State of the Nationaddress earlier this year in which he announced that the permitprocess for foreign investors would be fast tracked. Foreigninvestors currently wait up to six months for permits."President Mbeki has not side-stepped the minister. Matterspertaining to immigration are still being handled by theminister," Netshitenzhe said. The claims caused a politicalfurore and Tuesday's denial came amid an IFP threat to withdrawfrom the coalition government. The party's national council atthe weekend asked that Mbeki clarify the matter urgently "inorder to secure the continued constructive viability of thecoalition government". The party warned that if theallegation proved true it could raise fundamental problemsregarding the IFP's role in the coalition government. It addedthat the article suggested the relationships between Mbeki,Buthelezi and Home Affairs director-general Billy Masethla werestrained. IFP national spokesman and Public Works Deputy MinisterMusa Zondi told Sapa the party would still like Mbeki to clarifythe matter with Buthelezi personally. He said a lot of confusionand anxiety had been created by government's failure to commenton the issue immediately. "What fuelled speculation was theslowness of the people who speak on behalf of the president toreact. In future it would help if they could react swiftly tothis kind of article before confusion sets in. "I am surethat our national council would not have taken the resolutionwere it not for the government's failure to react in time."It would also help if the president could personally assurethe minister of his confidence," Zondi said. The party alsoasked Mbeki to clarify Masethla's role. Masethla, apparently amember of Mbeki's inner circle, has been given the job of headingtwo task teams which are to assist foreign investors in speedingup the granting of permits. He was quoted in the article. Thereport claimed that Mbeki had taken over drafting of thelegislation from Buthelezi because he failed for five years topass international migration legislation. The legislation aims atattracting foreign skills into the country which has seen morethan 21000 skilled people leaving over the past five years. Mbekihas also asked Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and Labour MinisterMembathisi Mdladlana to conduct a skills audit by October and toset out a detailed policy to attract skills the economy mostneeded. The article stated that Mbeki side stepped Buthelezi onthe migration policy which will now become the task of Cabinet'sinvestment and employment committee - chaired by Mbeki. Accordingto Home Affairs spokesman Hennie Meyer draft immigrationlegislation has been before Cabinet a number of times, but hasalways been sent back. It is due to appear before Cabinet againsoon.

Room forSADC students in South Africa says Education Minister(Parliament, Sapa, 13/03) - About ten percent ofstudents at South African universities and technikons shouldoriginate from other Southern African Development Communitycountries, Education Minister Kader Asmal said on Tuesday.Briefing the National Assembly's education committee on thenational plan for higher education, he said students from otherSADC countries would help cultivate an interest in universities.It was vital for peace and prosperity in many of those countriesfor these students to share South Africa's aspirations.Universities also thrived with the presence on campus ofdifferent cultures, Asmal said. Turning to reports about thecentral applications office for universities and technikons, hesaid there was a vast difference between this and a central"admissions" office. Admissions remained the domain ofeach institution, within national guidelines. The centralapplications office was merely intended to provide students withdetails of which institutions offered which courses so that theycould make an informed choice of what they wanted to study andwhere. The plan, launched by Asmal in Pretoria last week,provides a strategy for restructuring the higher educationsystem. It proposes the merger of some institutions, moreemphasis on science and technology and a rise in student numbers.Among others, a merger between the University of South Africa andTechnikon South Africa to become a single dedicated distanceeducation institution will be facilitated by June 2002. Thedistance education centre of Vista University will also beincorporated into the organisation. The university's sevensatellite campuses in Gauteng, Free State and the Eastern Cape,will also be unbundled and its constituent parts included intothe appropriate institutions within each region.

Politicalstorm over Buthelezi's immigration bill (Business Day, 13/03) - Apolitical storm has erupted over reports that President ThaboMbeki's office will wrest control of the drafting of theImmigration Bill from Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi.The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has warned that this wouldjeopardise its participation in government. IFP spokesman MusaZondi said the move would be a vote of no confidence inButhelezi, the president of the IFP. In a resolution adopted atthe weekend, the IFP's national council, the highestdecision-making body of the party, called on Mbeki to intervenein order to "secure the continued constructive viability ofthe coalition government". The Financial Mail reported lastweek that Mbeki is to put his office in charge of rewriting thebill, and that the cabinet's investment and employment committeewhich Mbeki chairs will take charge of overhauling migrationpolicy. The plans reflect Mbeki's renewed urgency in attractinginvestment and foreign skills, but they have placed him on acollision course with Buthelezi. There are indications that theAfrican National Congress (ANC) component of the cabinet isbacking away from confrontation with the IFP leader. It isunderstood that several cabinet members gave Buthelezi anassurance at a meeting last week that he would not losejurisdiction over the bill. Minister in the Office of thePresidency Essop Pahad was at the meeting. It seems Buthelezi wasnot satisfied with the assurance, as Zondi said yesterday the IFPwanted the presidency to publicly clarify whether the report wastrue or not. Mbeki's spokesman, Bheki Khumalo, referred inquiriesto chief government spokesman Joel Netshitenzhe, who said hisimpression was that the report was untrue. The matter would beclarified at cabinet level, and not through "publicdiscourse". Relations between the ANC and IFP in governmentwere "deeper and more profound than media reports", hesaid. It is understood that the bill is due to be discussed inthe cabinet this week and that the major sticking point is itsproposal of an immigration service which would oversee theadministration of the law. ANC members fear that the new servicewould have excessive autonomy. The row may reflect heighteningtension between Buthelezi and ANCaligned home affairsdirector-general Billy Masetlha. Zondi said if the report wasuntrue, it would be a "huge relief". However, the partydoubted this, as Masetlha was quoted extensively on the matter.The IFP resolution said the article clearly suggested a"crisis in relation to the presidency, the minister, and thedirector-general". Zondi said the reported plans "flyin the face" of the understanding that led to the IFPaccepting Mbeki's offer to serve in the cabinet. "It raisesquestions about the continued utility of the IFP ingovernment," he said. Zondi said Buthelezi and Masetlha wereat "cross purposes, to say the very least". It seemedthat Masetlha was pursuing a programme in the department that wasin "conflict" with Buthelezi's directives, Zondi said.Buthelezi recently said he could no longer tolerate defiance fromsenior officials, and if they did not want to accept hisauthority, they should leave. However, Zondi said Buthelezi wasnot pushing for Masetlha's dismissal. He merely wanted Masetlhato contribute "positively" to the running of thedepartment. Masetlha was unavailable for comment.

SouthAfrica to phase out foreign farm labour (Johannesburg, Xinhua,12/03) - The South African government Monday said it ismoving to phase out foreign labour on the country's farms in aneffort to alleviate the serious unemployment situation. Speakingat the parliament, which is based in the country's second largestcity Cape Town, Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi saidthe foreign labor will be replaced by local labor. The governmentis aware of the large number of Zimbabweans working on farms inNorthern Province, the minister said. But he did not give anyspecific figures. The Home Affairs Ministry is responsible formaking labor policy in South Africa. Local media have reportedthat large numbers of illegal immigrants from neighboringcountries are currently working in South Africa, worsening thecountry's unemployment profile.

Policeassault South African mistaken for illegal immigrant (The Star,11/03) - Her dark skin and a"strange manner of dressing" were grounds for ateacher's arrest. Police arrested Sylvia Manda, 33, on Friday,allegedly beat her up and detained her in a police cell forseveral hours. Manda, a teacher at St Enda's Community College inHillbrow, was on her way to school when she was stopped by twopolicemen from Jeppe police station who suspected her of being anillegal immigrant. She was arrested, allegedly assaulted anddetained for four hours without being offered medical treatment.Captain Bongani Dube said Manda failed to produce identitydocuments or "elaborate about her citizenship". Askedon what grounds they suspected her of being an illegal immigrant,Dube said: "Her complexion, facial appearance, accent andher style of dressing." But Manda said she pleaded with themthat she was a South African and that her school was less than500 metres away. "They ignored my pleas and began pushing meinto the van. During the scuffle, pupils from my school came totell them that I was their teacher, but they were ignored aswell," she said. Lebohang Matlala, 15, a Grade 9 pupil atthe school, said she saw police arresting her teacher for beingan alien, and screamed at them. "Police pushed her into avan full of other people suspected of being illegalimmigrants," she said. Manda, who has been teaching Zulu atthe school for seven years, said one of the policemen, SergeantLesiba Magongoa, beat her with "something blunt" on herforehead. However, Magongoa denied having assaulted her, sayingshe was beaten by another policeman who was passing by. "Idon't know whether he (the policeman) was from Hillbrow or JohnVorster (Johannesburg Central) police stations," he said.Bleeding profusely, Manda was locked up in a cell at Jeppe forfour hours, charged with resisting arrest and being an alien,before she was taken to Rand Clinic in Hillbrow. Senior policemenat Jeppe, who asked not to be named, condemned the incident,saying it was "a ridiculous abuse of power". "Thisimplied that she was arrested for being rude, which is not acrime. Why the hell do you keep an injured woman in a cellwithout medical treatment," one policeman asked.Johannesburg police spokesperson Captain Mary Martins-Engelbrechtsaid the two policemen were facing an internal probe. "Ifthey are found guilty of any wrongdoing, necessary steps will betaken," she said. Manda also said she would institute civilactions against the policemen for her injuries, humiliation andunlawful arrest. When contacted for comment last night, NationalPolice Commissioner Jackie Selebi said he could not comment on acase he was not aware of. He added he did not know of anyxenophobia in the police force. In 1998, the South African HumanRights Commission conducted an investigation into xenophobia andthe treatment of foreigners in the immigration system. JodyKollapen, who was involved with the report, said that althoughthe Roll Back Xenophobia campaign had succeeded up to a point,incidents like these showed there was still a long way to go."It seems that at some level, irrational criteria likecomplexion and dress are still used to arrest people. The lawsays you must have reasonable grounds to believe someone is aforeigner. This cannot be satisfied by saying someone was dresseddifferently or looks different," Kollapen said. The HRCreport showed that in the majority of cases the commissioninvestigated, there were no reasonable grounds for anapprehending officer to suspect that the person was not a SouthAfrican national. According to the report, a large number ofpeople interviewed were not allowed to fetch their identitydocuments and were often not told or did not understand thereason for their arrest. "Extortion and bribery arepractices extremely widespread among apprehending officers.Reports of assault during arrest were not un-common," thereport says.

Immigrants arrested in police raid onchop-shop (Johannesburg, Sapa, 09/03) - National policecommissioner Jackie Selebi called Friday's Operation Black Mambain Katlehong "a start" against vehicle crime and saidmore operations would follow. Police launched the operation inKatlehong's Moshoeshoe area shortly before noon. Journalists wereat first not informed of the location and their cellphones wereconfiscated. Colonel Cassie Carstens, of the East Rand-basedGroup 16 said he and police had reconnoitred the site of the raida month-and-a-half before to prevent syndicates and gangsoperating chop shops from becoming suspicious. Chop shops areworkshops where stolen or hijacked vehicles are stripped forspare parts or altered with new number plates, chassis and enginenumbers and a fresh coat of paint prior to resale. The operationopened in dramatic style just before noon with police specialtask force commandos descending in four SA Air Force Oryx and twopolice helicopters to prevent vehicles or workers leaving thearea. At the sight of the swoop some criminals jumped over wallsand ran. Before the helicopters had even lifted off about 120part-time soldiers from the SA National Defence Force's reserveelement and an equal number of police had moved in to cordon offa triangular area. Within minutes a long convoy of police busesand vehicles carrying detectives and investigators descended onthe area. Soon afterwards police erected a two-metre-high barbedwire fence around the perimeter. By the time Selebi arrivedinvestigators had searched the numerous small workshops andfactories in the area and had already found over 20 stolenvehicles. Eight stolen vehicles had even been found in thecourtyard of a funeral parlour. "Here?" In thisbuilding? Here?", a stunned Selebi asked the detective,while pointing at the building housing the undertaker. He wastaken inside by police operations commander, Superintendent Thysde Beer and Deputy National Police Commissioner Andre Pruis, andshown the vehicles. Afterwards he said he was shocked that thestolen vehicles were being used to transport the bereavedrelatives of the dead - who might have died in hijackings orarmed robberies. De Beer and Pruis also showed Selebi otherstolen or hijacked vehicles found in the Katlehong IndustrialProperties (Kaiprop) estate and Moshoeshoe Industrial Park. Bylate afternoon 22 stolen vehicles had been identified and 23illegal immigrants, working in the chop shops, had been detained.One man had been arrested and 10 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition andsmall amounts of dagga had been recovered. De Beer said theoperation would be a severe blow to vehicle theft syndicates asit had knocked out part of their distribution network. "Theintelligence was good. The boys have enough work to keep thembusy for a week or two," Pruis said. The SANDF cordon wouldremain in place until Monday afternoon. He said the soldiers'main function was to protect the police and the integrity of thescene by preventing those in the perimeter from leaving beforethey had been screened and by keeping bystanders out. Residents,both inside and outside the perimeter welcomed the operation,saying the area teemed with criminals. One businessman said:"There are many tsotsis here. Perhaps they will go away nowthat the police are here."

Female refugees live in fear(Johannesburg, Mail & Guardian, 09/03) - To markInternational Women's Day, a special Court of Women heard movingaccounts of hardship from women displaced by war. 'My husband wasan ex-soldier and in my country [with the coming to power of anew government] ex-soldiers were pursued [for politicalreasons]," explains refugee Susan Matata. Matata, who comesfrom a Central African country, used an assumed name for aninterview with the Mail & Guardian, for fear of being trackeddown. It is the start of her account of how she and her threechildren, now aged between five and nine years, travelledthousands of kilometres to South Africa in the hope of safety.But today " not knowing if her husband is still alive "Matata is HIV-positive after months of sexual abuse, dependant onhandouts and living in uncertainty in one of Cape Town's shacksettlements. Although she has been trying to telephone relativesback home, there has been no news. "I wish I could get a joband a better place to live," she says quietly with tearssuddenly running down her face. "I have never told anybodyexcept my friend. I know nobody is going to do anything about it.Even when I was sick there was no one to talk to." Matata isone of 40 women who testified at a special hearing of the Courtof Women Against War for Peace held in Cape Town this week onInternational Women's Day. The hearing is at the heart of thenine-day programme of the "Court of Women" that entailsround-table discussions by international academics, lawyers andwomen's and human rights activists as well as a cultural andvideo programme dealing with women, war, poverty and justice.According to the organisers, the hearing in which womenthemselves relate their accounts is a "safe space for womento be heard so that they may move from victims tosurvivors". And on Friday participants and organisers willstart preparing a Bill of Rights for women. The last "courtof women" was held in Nairobi in 1999 where the abductionand killing of women, female circumcision and poverty dominatedthe agenda. Other courts were held in Bosnia, Tokyo, Beirut,Banglador and Beijing. The event stems from a 1992 initiative bythe Asian Women's Human Rights Council and other women's andhuman rights organisations. Matata and her family's search forsafety was not an easy one. Officials in Tanzania refused toregister them as asylum seekers when they arrived there more thana year ago. The family moved on to Malawi, but her husband wasrobbed of all the family's cash. Leaving Matata behind, heattempted to get back to Tanzania and was never heard of again."According to the news I got he was captured. I don't knowhis whereabouts," she whispers. In Malawi she met a SouthAfrican truck driver. "He said: 'I can help you if you arewilling to come with me to South Africa,'" Matata says. Shearrived in Johannesburg, but the relative safety was soonshattered. The truck driver demanded anal sex and beat her up ifshe refused. After a couple of months he brought home friends whopaid him for sex with her. "I asked some women [in theneighbourhood] for help with money. They told me to stand on thestreet." Matata turned to prostitution while the truckdriver was away on long journeys to save some cash to make herway to Cape Town, where she knew of a fellow refugee woman. Shearrived there in February last year and continued earning aliving through prostitution. Soon afterwards she was told she wasHIV-positive. "I wanted to take away my life. I don't havehelp. My biggest worry is what will happen to me, what willhappen to my children," Matata says. "I feel sick. Idon't like it." Matata struggles to deal with the rumoursabout HIV/Aids. For example, on her way to the clinic one day sheheard that the medicines issued were aimed at killing patients.There was no one to discuss her fears with. Mary Magdalene Tal ofthe Cape Town Refugee Forum says there are many women in similarsituations. Last week they helped to bury another woman who diedof Aids- related illness. "It really makes my heartheavy," Tal sighs. Matata is one of a small number of womenrefugees in South Africa. According to the local office of theUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the overwhelmingmajority of refugees are men. Women constitute only around 15%and minors just more than 3%.

Controversial report on impasse inimmigration policy reform (Financial Mail, 09/03) - Presidentside-steps Home Affairs chief to ease skills entryPresident Thabo Mbeki's promised revamp of SA's old andrestrictive immigration policies has begun. His latest movesshould put an end to a dompas mindset that still dominates thebureaucracy's approach to the work force, long after influxcontrol was abandoned in 1986 and seven years after the ANC cameto power into 1994. The new stance on immigration was signalledin Mbeki's state-of-the-nation address last month and confirmedby a recent series of bold moves. From an economic viewpoint, itis possibly the ANC's most important ideological shift sinceformer President Nelson Mandela opted for a market-orientatedapproach in 1992. "Skilled labour is the most crucial formof foreign direct investment," says Standard Bank groupeconomist Iraj Abedian. "When a skilled individualimmigrates to the country, with him or her comes a sum of pastinvestments, as well as a stream of future revenues."Mbeki's most significant step so far has been to side-step HomeAffairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who has not managed tointroduce efficiency into the Home Affairs Department or tooverhaul migration policy and take control of the mission toattract vitally needed skills. It will now become the task ofCabinet's investment & employment committee, which Mbekichairs. Two lieutenants - Finance Minister Trevor Manuel andLabour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana - will lead the charge. Theyhave been asked to carry out a skills audit to pinpoint SA'sneeds. On the basis of their report, Cabinet will set out adetailed policy, which will include incentives for attracting thepeople the economy needs most. And officials will takerecruitment roadshows to countries most likely to have peoplewith the necessary qualifications. Mbeki's second intervention isto put his office in charge of rewriting the legislation. It islikely that Buthelezi's Immigration Bill will not be passed inthe short term, but that it will form part of the bigger rethinkof immigration laws. This includes the Aliens Control Act of 1991(amended in 1995), which consolidated previous legislation - muchof it introduced by the National Party, to keep out people whomight subvert the "Christian National" ethic of itsracist policies. Also subject to review are the Labour RelationsAct and certain education and trade statutes that governmigration. Mbeki wants the skills audit and the legal reviewcompleted by October, and a skills policy and legislation readyto be tabled in parliament next February. As things stand, SA'sskills base is badly depleted. The damaging legacy of apartheideducation is limiting the number of qualified South Africansavailable to meet the growing demand for skills required in adynamic global economy. At the same time, emigration is takingits toll as skilled people depart in droves - 21 200 skilledpeople have left SA over the past five years. It's impossible toput a figure on GDP lost to the economy as a direct result of thelack of skills needed to start or expand operations (and totransfer skills). But the value of opportunities lost must behuge. Surveys of leading foreign investors -- existing andprospective - show that SA's low skills base is one of the topfive disincentives to investment. This probably also applies topotential domestic investors, who, as a result, either fail toinvest here or channel their funds abroad. To reverse this trend,the brain drain must be turned to a net gain of managerial,accounting, IT, and maths and science teaching skills . Untillegislation is amended, Home Affairs director-general BillyMasethla, a member of Mbeki's inner circle, will make ad hocarrangements to help foreign investors overcome problems in theshort term. They face manifold problems getting work permits toimport the expertise they need for local operations (see box).While some investors, among them the American Chamber of Commerce(Amcham) in SA, say things are getting better, a survey by theBritish Chamber of Business last year found that easy access toforeign skills was the issue of second-greatest concern toBritish investors in SA. "The importance of facilitatingwork permits and eradicating barriers to the importation ofskills was rated extremely highly by most Britishcompanies," says British Chamber of Business CEO Sandra vanLingen. Top people for companies such as Volkswagen SA and Didatahave had to cool their heels. The wait for a work permit isofficially between six and eight weeks; unofficially it can takeup to six months. Masethla wants to make it possible to processan application in a week. (See APPLYING FOR A PERMIT at the endof this story.) The experiences of a Cape Town-based company,International Business Network (IBN), raise another issue. It isnot only big foreign deals that boost growth. The cumulativeimpact of small foreign investors can be significant. IBN hasmanaged to attract R50m worth of business, all in relativelysmall sums, since it started in 1997. But MD Ralph Ertner saysthe value of smaller foreign investors is not always appreciated.Among IBN's clients who have been unable to get work or businesspermits are a guesthouse owner, an architect, a neurosurgeon andseveral small manufacturers. Masethla has been given the Cabinetgo-ahead to do everything possible to tackle these Home Affairsblockages. The appointment in January of another Mbeki confidant,Charles Nqakula, as Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, will supportMasethla's efforts. To Nqakula (the chairman of the SA CommunistParty) will go the job of selling the foreign skills plans to theANC's union and communist allies, which have always been wary ofimported labour. He will explain that the long-term aim is totrain South Africans to fill the jobs in a New Economy. In theshort term, an influx of skills will encourage business growth -and job creation. A policy of making skilled workers feel at homewill create a totally different environment. And it will attractmore businesses from abroad. To arrive at that happy state ofaffairs, Masethla will not only look at restrictive laws but atmalfunctional systems. Amcham's Luanne Grant says what's neededis a set of regulations that predict whether a would-be immigrantqualifies for entry, rather than entrusting decisions to thediscretion of officials. Masethla is well aware of the problems."This is an apartheid-era inheritance of bureaucraticcontrol," he says. "I often joke that I am a NativeAffairs Commissioner because the mindset I preside over is thatof keeping them out'." Grant points to even biggerresistance to granting work permits to African expatriates . Bynext month, Masethla will preside over two standing teams thatwill deal with all work and business permits. The teams willconsist of representatives of all the relevant departments andwill consider the applications jointly. Masethla will beef upHome Affairs' IT; and a DG's hotline, linking Home Affairs, theDTI and Labour, will ensure that applications from priorityinvestors - including those in motor-assembly plants and in thedeep-water harbour project, Coega - are given priority.Recruitment drives are planned to market SA to professionals fromthe African diaspora, and from developing and developedcountries. The sweeping range of measures is a far cry fromButhelezi's contribution to a modern immigration policy. Hisdraft Immigration Bill has taken five years to get through thesystem. It follows the US model of an immigration service run asan agency of government, by a board made up of representatives ofbusiness, civil society and government. But foreign investors areunhappy with the draft Bill because it works on a"user-pays" basis, meaning work permits would depend onfirms paying a percentage of their payroll towards training localworkers. Skills development legislation already imposes a 1% taxon payroll. Buthelezi and Mbeki both want to attract skills, buthave different ways of getting there. The hill they are climbingmay be a watershed in SA's economic development. The existingsystem for work permit applications is a red-tape nightmare.
APPLYING FOR A PERMIT -MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR - Anapplication must be made at the SA embassy in the applicant'scountry. It is then sent in the diplomatic bag via ForeignAffairs to Home Affairs in Pretoria. This takes at least twoweeks and often supporting documents are lost en route.Photocopies aren't acceptable substitutes, so applicants have tostart again each time a document goes astray. Once applicationsreach Pretoria, they are sent to the various governmentdepartments for consideration. They are then sent back to ForeignAffairs, which checks each contract is in line with policy. Itthen goes to Labour, which decides whether the local labourmarket cannot provide someone for the job. Labour's decisiontends to be arbitrary because it has no updated skills data toconsult.

Financial Mail reinforces misleadingmigration figures (Financial Mail, 09/03) - Afflicted bya steady brain drain caused primarily by the continuing exodus ofwhite citizens who, for historical reasons, represent adisproportionately large component of educated professionals, SAfaces a skills shortage. Migration data compiled by Statistics SAtells its own tale: over the past six years, the number ofofficially documented emigrants has exceeded documentedimmigrants. One solution to the problem is for government toaddress the reasons for emigration. But, even if the rate ofemigration is reduced to a point where it is exceeded by lawful(as distinct from unlawful) immigration, the problem will stillhave to be tackled at the opposite end of the spectrum. There isan urgent need to attract skilled immigrants to SA if the economyis to grow rapidly enough to prevent the already serious level ofunemployment rising to even more dangerous heights. Fortunately,President Thabo Mbeki has set about altering the immigration lawsto make it easier for companies and government to import skilledprofessionals they need to expand or even, in some cases, tocontinue operating. (See pages 28 and 29.) Existing legislation,designed to keep people out, is as mean-spirited as apartheidlegislation before it. And, like job reservation, influx control,group areas and other legislation that underpinned apartheid, theimmigration legislation has not succeeded. The number ofundocumented immigrants in SA hailing from other Africancountries is large and probably growing by the day. Estimatesvary from 2m to 8m. All it has achieved is to keep out the peoplethe country needs most.

Results of IT brain drain survey(Woza/Boot, 08/03) - ITWeb’s latest IT salarysurvey shows that more than half of IT workers in SA areconsidering leaving to work abroad, and once-popular Microsoftqualifications are no longer the high-paying job-getters theywere. Salaries are up once again, with the median (the middlesalary rather than the average) basic salary at R220 000 peryear. Respondents showed a 9.5% salary increase since their lastraise, as opposed to 18% a year ago, when Y2K worries played alarge part in company retainment strategies. The survey, whichexamined trends for 2000, sampled over 4 000 respondents, doublelast year’s. The survey “polls individuals - SA ITprofessionals - rather than employers or recruitmentspecialists”, says Ranka Jovanovic, lTWeb’s editorialdirector. Another trend that emerged at the results’release, held on Thursday, is that headhunters are doing theindustry no service. Head hunting promotes a less raciallybalanced industry and encourages disloyalty, recruitment agencyParacon’s Janette Gumming says. 63% of respondents werecontacted by headhunters in the past year. Companies are willingto pay more for skills or racial classes they need immediately,she explains, rather than taking a longer view and developingpeople themselves and rewarding loyalty. “Loyalty is seldomrewarded.” The more times an IT professional has shiftedjobs, the more their salary, the survey shows. 54% (2000 survey:51%) of IT workers are considering leaving SA, broken up into 26%answering “very likely” when asked whether they arelikely to leave SA in the next two years, and 28% answering“somewhat likely”. Reasons were split between“better opportunities’ (34%), “economicreasons” (26%), “to gain experience” (20%) andcrime (20%). On the other hand, recruitment agencies aren’tfinding many IT people wanting to move here to work from abroad.A lot rests with the weak currency and difficulty of obtainingworking visas says Prodyn Resource Consultants MD Andries vanWyngaard. Gumming confirmed that Paracon is finding it difficultto place people with the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer(MCSE) qualification, which costs around R20 000 to obtain. Thequalification is still the most common among respondents, butsalaries have slipped to the bottom end from top end a year ago.But across the board Cumming said it is difficult to placepeople with qualifications who have no experience. “Ifs veryhard to place them at an entry level - they need a jobfirst” - true for all qualifications she says. As was thecase a year ago, money is not the most important job satisfierfor IT professionals. Holiday leave, flexible schedule andprestige with peers were rated higher than company stock andtotal compensation. Technical challenge came last, whereasJovanovic says that overseas surveys put this factor near thetop. Demographically, the respondents were 80% male, 79% whiteand 65% based in Gauteng. Respondents were drawn from ITWebreaders and through links to a large group of other SA onlinepublications.


Zanzibar refugees flee camp (BBCNews, 29/03) - Kenyan officials say a major operation isunderway to flush out Tanzanian refugees who had fled their campin Shimoni on the Indian Ocean coast. More than 1,200 refugeesfrom the twin islands of Pemba and Zanzibar were reported to havedisappeared. Villagers in the nearby area were warned that theyrisk heavy fines if they were found to be housing any of therefugees. The refugees are supporters of Tanzania's oppositionCivic United Front and are in Kenya following political troubleon Zanzibar. Last week, several refugees fled the Shimoni campfollowing storm floods. A local official for the United Nationsrefugees agency UNCHR said urgent steps need to be taken toimprove the situation at the camp. He called on the Kenyanauthorities to provide an alternative site to house the refugees.

Congolese refugees in Tanzania sellproperties (Dar es Salaam, Tomric News Agency, 28/03) - Faminecontinue to hit the Congolese refugees living in western Tanzaniaas reports reveal that some of them are now selling theirproperties to raise fare for their travel to their domicilecountry, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). At least twentyCongolese refugees suspected to flee from Lugufu camp in Kigomawestern Tanzania have been arrested in Songea region southernTanzania on their way to the DRC. They said that they had soldtheir clothes and other properties to raise the fare to Songea ontheir way to the DRC. According to the Kigoma Regional PoliceCommander (RPC), Boniface Mgongolwa, after arrested the fleeingrefugees were sent back to the camp. The media quoted the RPC assaying that the refugees decided to use a longer route to the DRCfor fear of arrest and returned to the camp, as was the case withtheir 5,000 colleagues recently arrested for similar reasons.Early this month, police intercepted 5,000 refugees as theymatched towards Kigoma town on their way to the DRC. Most of theDRC refugees, who escape from their camps, said they would rathergo home than die of hunger. The World Food Program slashed by 20percent weekly food rations for refugees since November whendonors decided to cut back on the flow of aid to refugees. LastJuly, food rations for 450,000 refugees recognized by the UnitedNations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)-Tanzania officewere slashed by 40 percent. The WFP country Representative toTanzania, Ms. Nicole Menage, said recently that the agency couldnot increase the food rations to refugees immediately because ofthe gap between donor pledges and actual contributions. However,the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) incollaboration with the government of DRC have unveiled a plan toreturn home all Congolese who sought refugee in Tanzania. DRCAmbassador to Tanzania, Theodore Mugalu wa Muhingu, announcedthis last weekend when speaking to Congolese nationals living inZanzibar. He told them that Rwandan and Ugandan troops werepulling out of Congo and expressed his call for all Congolese toreturn home. Tanzania is sheltering 400,000 Congolese refugees,who ran away from their country to escape the raging war, whichhas left two million people killed, he said disclosing that hisEmbassy and UNHCR were working on the modalities to making surethat refugees returned home. "I will be meeting the UNHCRrepresentative to Tanzania next month to map out the return ofthe refugees. Most of them come from Pweto, a town in thesouthern Katangese province which is badly affected by thewar," he had said. Ambassador Theodore had last weekend metCongolese residents in Zanzibar to brief them on the developmentsin their vast central African country. Most of Congolese peopleincluding Manyema tribe, believed to have originated from theDRC, had a meeting with their envoy. He said information reachinghim reveal that the troops that occupied the Eastern Congo since1998 were withdrawing to honor the Lusaka Peace Agreement. Mostof Congolese refugees are sheltered in camps in western Tanzaniaregion of Kigoma, which borders the DRC across Lake Tanganyika.Decision by the UNHCR and DRC to repatriate the refugees livingin Tanzania comes few days after; tens of hundreds of Congoleserefugees have expressed their willingness to "go backhome" because of dwindling food rations in their camps.

Hunger takes toll on DRC refugees(Dar es Salaam, Tomric News Agency, 19/03) - Despite thecontinued volatile security situation in the Democratic Republicof Congo (DRC), tens of hundreds of Congolese refugees haveexpressed their willingness to "go back home" becauseof dwindling food rations in their camps in Kigoma Region,western Tanzania. The Kigoma Regional Police Commander, BonifaceMgongolwa has told the state media here, Daily News that most ofthe refugees, who were escaping from their camps, said they wouldrather go home than die of hunger. "Most of them (refugees)that we have interviewed say they prefer going back to their homecountry (DRC) than continuing starving in the camps,"Mgongolwa has told the Daily News over the weekend. The WorldFood Program slashed by 20 percent weekly food rations forrefugees since November when donors decided to cut back on theflow of aid to refugees. Last July, food rations for 450,000refugees recognized by the United Nations High Commissioner forRefugees (UNHCR)-Tanzania office were slashed by 40 percent.Explaining further, Mgongolwa has told the Daily News that policearrested 12 Congolese refugees--a woman and 11 men on Saturdayafter they had escaped from Lugufu refugee camp, some 90kilometers from the Lake Tanganyika shore town of Kigoma."They were arrested in Kigoma town," he has said addingthat the refugees continued pouring into the town escaping whatthey described as "starvation" in camps. Mgongolwa saidthe escapees would appear in court this week for flouting lawsgoverning their stay in Tanzania. They are not allowed to be morethan 4 kilometers out of their camps. Recently police in KigomaRegion netted about 5,000 Congolese refugees who had fled theLugufu camp in search for food. They were sent back to the camp.The WFP country Representative to Tanzania, Ms. Nicole Menage,said that last week the agency could not increase the foodrations to refugees immediately because of the gap between donorpledges and actual contributions.

UN plea over refugees (The DailyNation, 11/03) - A UN agency has appealed to theGovernment to reconsider the decision to relocate Tanzanianrefugees. The High Commissioner for Refugees's senior programmeofficer in Nairobi, Mr Alberto Cabeia Chys, said that since theirarrival in Kenya, the Tanzanians had demonstrated a willingnessto return home. The Government announced last week it wasplanning to move them from Kwale's Shimoni village to the Dadaabrefugee camp, North Eastern Province. "They have indicatedthey would not like to be refugees here for long and that is whywe are appealing to the Government to give us an alternative sitenear where they are now based as we explore ways of seeing themreturn home," he said. Mr Chys said the UNHCR was gratefulto the Government for agreeing to host more than 2,000 refugees.At the same time, Kwale leaders have offered more than 75 acresof land to relocate the Zanzibari refugees, local politicianKassim Abdalla Juma said. Mr Juma accused the under secretary inthe Ministry of Home Affairs and National Heritage, Mr NimrodWaweru, of being arrogant to the refugees. The Council of Imamsand Preachers of Kenya's secretary-general, Sheikh Mohamed Dor,expressed disappointment at Mr Waweru's treatment of therefugees. Mr Waweru has, however, denied it, saying he was only aGovernment messenger. The Coast provincial police boss, MrStanley Manyinya, also said the refugees must move to thedesignated camps. Citing security reasons, Mr Manyinya said therefugees had to be moved at least 100 kilometres from the borderwith their country.


Refugees face severe food shortages(Nairobi, Network, 13/03) - The UN's World FoodProgramme (WFP) said that unless donor finance is rapidlyforthcoming, it could not continue feeding 84,000 refugees inZambia. "The next two weeks are crucial," WFP DeputyCountry Director in Zambia, Jorge Fanlo, told IRIN on Tuesday."Unless we get lots of pledges very soon, we'll run out offood by mid-April," he said. Last month WFP appealed for US$2.6 million to continue feeding some 84,000 refugees in Zambiawho have fled fighting in Angola and the Democratic Republic ofCongo (DRC)."Donor response to that appeal was verypoor," WFP spokesperson Jennifer Abrahamson told IRIN. Amassive shortage of basic food commodities such as maize andbeans has already hit six Zambian refugee camps. "We'realready looking at a 25 percent ration cut when we start our nextfeeding cycle on Thursday," Fanlo said. This ration cutwould probably be increased to fifty percent by the beginning ofApril, he added. Once donor pledges are made it typically takesthree to four weeks to translate the money into food at therefugee camps. Intensified fighting in Angola and DRC has led toan increased flow of people seeking refuge across theirrespective borders and into western and northern Zambia. Recentarmed offensives by rebels and their supporters in DRC's Katangaprovince, and their capture of Pweto, Moba and Malilo, resultedin some 15,000 people entering Zambia's Luapula and Northernprovinces in November and December alone. "The flood ofrefugees into Zambia stopped just before we reached a real crisispoint," said Fanlo. "But if hostilities erupt againalong our borders with Angola or DRC, we could see another burstof refugees who we can simply not feed." Refugees who fleeto Zambia typically arrive weak and exhausted. A combination ofmalaria which is widespread in the camps, and low food intake canlead to severe malnutrition. While supplementary feeding programshave helped reduce malnutrition amongst the refugees in campssuch as Kala, health conditions could deteriorate if more fooddoesn't arrive soon to sustain these programmes. Additionalchallenges currently being faced in assisting the refugees arethe abnormally heavy rains in the region that have left thousandshomeless in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia, and which maketransport of food difficult. Western province's Mayukwayukwa andNangweshi camps, which host more than 26,000 Angolan refugees,are at risk of being inaccessible as road conditions continue todeteriorate. WFP said that it was urgent that food be moved tothe region in case the situation deteriorates. Zambia hasmaintained an open-door policy towards refugees andasylum-seekers since the 1970s. Roughly 260,000 refugees arewithin Zambia's borders. President Frederick Chiluba recentlycalled on the international community to do more to assistrefugees in Zambia. "The mere presence of refugees on anyterritory impacts on the local resources of the host country andthe task is daunting for a developing nation like Zambia whichhas competing development problems in the face of limitedresources," Chiluba said at a press conference lastDecember. The 40,000 recently-arrived refugees are being fedthrough WFP's emergency operation. Another 42,000 who arrived asearly as October 1999 are receiving assistance through theagency's protracted relief and recovery operation. Bothoperations are now severely underfunded. Due to successiveinfluxes, WFP has been forced to stretch its food resources tocover a greater refugee caseload than was originally foreseen.

Refugees get less to eat because of lackof donations (Lusaka, Sapa-AP, 12/03) - Most of theabout 80,000 refugees in Zambian camps fed by the U.N. foodagency will have their food rations cut in half startingThursday, because of lack of funds, an agency spokeswoman saidMonday. "We've just had complete donor fatigue in thearea," said Jennifer Abrahamson, a spokeswoman for the WorldFood Program. "It's quite a dangerous cut." The agencyhas had an ongoing campaign to raise money for food for therefugees. On Feb. 23, it announced it needed dlrs 2.6 million. Nomoney was provided, Abrahamson said. An estimated 250,000refugees are living in Zambia, one of Africa's most impoverishednations. Most of the refugees are fugitives from two decades ofcivil war in Angola, but tens of thousands are Congolese who havefled the civil war there.


Zimbabwe tightens ban on dual citizenship(Reuters, 29/03) - The government has taken thefirst step in tightening a law against dual citizenship a movelikely to hit thousands of whites of British descent. Theamendment to the Citizenship Act, which still requires approvalfrom parliament and President Mugabe, says any person wishing toretain Zimbabwean citizenship will have to renounce their foreigncitizenship. A copy of the amendment made available on Tuesdaysaid the government also planned to reduce to five years fromseven the time a citizen could stay out of the country beforelosing Zimbabwean citizenship. The move follows a High Courtruling that the current law prohibiting dual citizenship wasimpractical because it did not require a person to give evidencethat they had renounced any other citizenship. The amendment saida person would cease to be a Zimbabwean citizen unless “hehas effectively renounced his foreign citizenship in accordancewith the law of that country and has made a declarationconfirming such renunciation”. Under the amendment, the timelimit for a person to renounce foreign citizenship would bereduced from one year to six months. Last June, the governmentordered thousands of Britons to surrender their Zimbabweanpassports, arguing that they had not complied with a 1984 lawbanning dual citizenship. Opposition critics complained the movewas aimed at disenfranchising white Zimbabweans ahead ofparliamentary election, narrowly won by Mugabe's ruling Zanu PFparty. Under Zimbabwean law, anyone who is a citizen and holds avalid Zimbabwean passport can vote. The High Court subsequentlyblocked the government from forcing Britons to hand over theirpassports. Whites make up less than 1 percent of Zimbabwe's 12,5million people. The government accuses some of bankrolling themain opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Governmentofficials estimate that up to 20 000 whites with Zimbabweanpassports also hold British passports or can claim Britishcitizenship. When Zimbabwe banned dual citizenship in 1984, manypeople handed over their British passports to the embassy inHarare. However, Britain has never recognised this renunciationof rights to British nationality. The British embassy in Hararewas not available for comment.

Thousands flee to UK (The Daily News,23/03) - An estimated 1 000Zimbabweans sought asylum in the United Kingdom (UK) last year.More continued to seek refuge because of human rights abuses, theBritish House of Lords heard last week. During a debate onZimbabwe, Lord Avebury said because of continued repression byPresident Mugabe, there was a steady trickle of asylum-seekersfrom Zimbabwe fleeing to the UK. Lord Avebury said as therepression continued in Zimbabwe, it was inevitable that anincreasing number of genuine refugees would migrate to the UK. Hesaid: “Unfortunately, the Immigration and NationalityDirectorate is treating Zimbabweans as prima facie unqualified.There is a special exercise to detain them in Oakington and thentransfer them routinely to places of detention or prisons. Thatpractice is unlawful. “I hope that the government will carryout a review of the treatment of asylum-seekers from Zimbabwe inthe light of the dreadful human rights situation there.” TheEarl of Sandwich said skilled Zimbabweans were fleeing to Europebecause of the deteriorating human rights situation. He said areport in the Financial Times suggested that one-fifth of stateregistered nurses had left Zimbabwe since last June. “Thenumber of asylum-seekers from Zimbabwe has risen ten-fold since1998,” he said. Pressure is mounting on the Commonwealth tosuspend Zimbabwe because of continued human rights abuses. LordAvebury, Baroness Park and Baroness Linda Chalker recommendedsanctions and the suspension of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth.Lord Avebury noted, among other concerns, the forced retirementof Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay, the bombing of The Daily Newsoffices, the expulsion of foreign correspondents and the murderof MDC members. “So it is not simply the occupation of thewhite farms that we are talking about,” said Lord Avebury.“We are talking about the system of intimidation andharassment and the undermining of the institutions of democracyby this man. “In the face of all these indications of arepressive, intolerant regime that has turned against its ownpeople, what should be the reaction of the Commonwealth and,indeed, of the rest of the world at large?” He supported asuggestion by Baroness Chalker for Zimbabwe's suspension from theCommonwealth. “It is perhaps better if we hold it insuspension as an earnest of the better behaviour of PresidentMugabe, if indeed, he is susceptible to that kind ofpersuasion,” said Lord Avebury He said Mugabe's visits toBelgium and France showed he was facing an economic abyss andneeded friendship. The European Union (EU) could considersanctions against Mugabe, he said. “Clearly the EU wouldhave to be careful that any such measures would be selectivelyapplied against Mugabe and not against the people of Zimbabwe,who are already the innocent victims of his mismanagement andcriminality,” he said.

Zimbabwe makes Mengistu permanentresident (Harare, Sapa, 22/03) - Former Ethiopiandictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, accused of genocide during his17-year rule, and seven of his relatives have been grantedpermanent residence by President Robert Mugabe's government,according to reports in Zimbabwe's press. The independent weeklyFinancial Gazette today quoted immigration department sources assaying that Mengistu and his seven male relatives, all of whomfled Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, when the regime wasoverthrown by pro-democracy forces in 1991, had become permanentresidents on the orders of Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo. Thismeans they can neither be deported nor extradited, the officialssaid. No comment could be obtained from the immigrationdepartment. Mengistu is on trial in absentia in Addis Ababa formass murder, but Mugabe has refused requests from Ethiopianpresident Meles Zanawi for him to be extradited. An Ethiopianembassy spokesman would not comment, apart from saying that"we still need him." Mengistu, nicknamed "thebutcher of Addis Ababa" after his bloody rule in which200,000 people were said to have disappeared, was granted asylumby Mugabe, who is believed to admire the dictator's Stalinistpolicies. Mugabe refused to extradite Mengistu, arguing that hewas bound by international law to grant asylum. Mengistu hasspent most of his time in a heavily guarded government villa inHarare's diplomatic enclave, but recently moved to a property hebought just outside the capital.

Immigrants have it rough in South Africa(Harare, Zimbabwe Standard, 18/03) - The poor economicand political climate in Zimbabwe has given birth to a generationof economic refu- gees who will risk anything and everything tocross into neighbouring South Africa in the hope of securing abetter quality of life. Some of the illegal immigrants who spoketo The Standard last week say their stay in South Africa hingeson their relationship with various corrupt state officials whocollect “protection fees” from them every fortnight toprolong their illegal stay. Despite the rosy life that isassociated with the idea of crossing over into South Africa, thetruth on the ground suggests otherwise. Immigrants spend theirtime ducking law enforcement agents, bribing them if caught, andthen trying to deal with a hostile local population which is notvery welcoming to Zimbabweans. Mlungisi Dube, 23, is a typicalZimbabwean immigrant who has endured the trials and tribulationsof settling in South Africa’s drug and crime capital,Hillbrow. Says Dube: “I jumped the border into South Africaand spent the first week sleeping at Park Station.“Communication was not a problem because I am fluent inNdebele. During the first two weeks, I survived on left over foodfrom restaurant bins. “Then one day I just offered to loadpassengers at a taxi rank for this guy whose loader had not cometo work and at the end of the day, I was given R25. I had thefirst taste of a decent meal in two weeks.” After that notonly did Mlungisi obtain accommodation but this benevolentdriver, whom he referred to as Nqobile, linked him up with a taxiowner who was looking for a conductor and so helped him to securea job. After two months, Mlungisi had moved to Hillbrow and begunrenting a room for R65 a month. But his troubles had just begun:“After about three weeks I experienced the first police raidjust before midnight. “First I heard gun shots being firedand before I could make a move, my door was smashed open and awhite policeman stormed in with a sniffer dog. “When Ifailed to produce an identity card, I was bundled into a policetruck and locked up with very scary looking people. Some of themlooked like drug dealers judging by the redness of their eyes andthe colour of their lips.” Early the following morning, anofficer tap-ped on Mlungisi’s cell and whispered to him thatif he had R10 he could organise his release. “I had nothingin my pocket since the policemen who arrested me did not give mea chance to take anything. So I gave him my address and beggedhim to set me free and come and collect the money from myhouse.” For the next seven months, his safety was guaranteedso long as he paid this officer a bribe when ever the cop knockedon his door. “The raiding unit appeared to have a list oftargets that they would leave alone if they paid up, and at theend of the day these officers made good money through raiding newpeople and this way their list of victims grew by the day,”says Dube. Some enterprising people have been quick to seize theopportunity to export human beings to South Africa. A Zimbabweanidentified only as Moses, has, for a number of years, contributedto the influx of illegal immigrants into South Africa through hisopaque beer business. Moses allegedly smuggles four to fivepeople every week into South Africa. He makes them masquerade ashis employees helping him to ferry opaque beer into Johannesburg.Once in South Africa, Moses off loads these immigrants andreturns to Zimbabwe for a new set of “employees”.Zimbabweans seem determined to flee into the neighbouring countryand remain there no matter their circumstances. Two Zimbabweanbrothers, for instance, who are sharing a flat in Hillbrow with aNigerian girl, say there is nothing for them in Zimbabwe and theyare determined to buy South African identity cards and also seekSouth African passports. “It’s not easy consideringthat sometimes you can be so unlucky that you end up buying afake identity card and this can lead you into big trouble.”The brothers spoke of a friend who fell victim to a dubiouspassport dealer, and on producing his passport at a roadblock, hewas immediately whisked to Lindela, a camp where illegalimmigrants are kept before being deported to their homecountries. The mention of Lindela sends shivers down the spinesof Hillbrow residents as those who have been to this camp havebitter tales to relate. Patrick, 24, a former inmate of Lindelasaid: “I bumped into three policemen near Club Tandoor (areggae night club in Hillbrow). “They spoke to me in Zuluand when I told them in English that I did not understand Zulu,they demanded my identity card which I had left at home. “Ipleaded with them to escort me home so that I could prove that Iwas not an illegal immigrant, but my requests fell on deaf ears.“I was taken to Lindela, an immigrant camp housing thousandsof people. “The living conditions at the camp are deplorableand no one cares about inmates’ welfare. “Out of themultitudes of suspected illegal immigrants only a few aredeported whilst the rest have to fork out bribes of up to R1 000and left to go scot free.” Whilst driving in Hillbrow, thiswriter finally came face to face with South Africa’sbribe-seeking police officers, a few hundred metres from thefamous Hillbrow Tower. They flagged me and my escort down anddemanded our identity cards. I had unfortunately forgotten mypassport at home. My escort also told them that he had no ID onhim and we were asked to pull over. I then produced my press cardexplaining to them that I was a Zimbabwean journalist on abusiness trip, but they did not take heed of this and insteadwent on to ask for a R20 bribe. At first I produced R10 but theylaughed at it and threatened to have us whisked away to theHillbrow police cells. Sensing the tension that was beginning tobuild up, I parted with another R10 and it was only then that theofficer’s face lit up and he let us go. Another aspect oflife in Hillbrow is that South Africans blame Zimba- bweans forthe soaring crime rate in their area. Says a lady who identifiedherself only as Queen: “I was personally beaten up androbbed of my handbag by these Zimbabweans. “They are theones behind all the crime. South Africans are peaceful people andbecause we were marginalised by the Botha government we werenever exposed to the advanced crime tactics that are nowprevalent here. Zimbabweans will kill you for as little as R50.They should all be killed,” she fumed. Another SouthAfrican, Thabiso Moeketsi, who lives in Yeoville, a more peacefullocation near Hillbrow, agreed with Queen’s sentiments andadded that immigrants were responsible for the crime since mostof them could not get jobs because they did not have work permitsor genuine identity cards. “Most foreigners are survivingthrough hook and crook because they do not have proper legalpapers to be in this country. Nigerians push their drugs in thetownships but there are very few of them who rob people.Nigerians mainly do drugs. Zimbabweans, on the other hand, arethe ones robbing people, even in broad daylight,” saidThabiso. Police officers who spoke on condition of anonymity atHillbrow police station, confirmed that most of the crimeoccurring in South Africa was being perpetrated by foreigners.“About 65% of the daily arrests we make are of foreignersmost of whom are illegal immigrants. It is also true that thereare rotten apples in the police force who are taking bribes fromthese criminals and leaving them to go scot free. However, itcannot be said that all foreigners are thieves because there aresome foreigners making an honest living through hard work,”said one officer.

SA cleric forced to leave Zimbabwe(Harare, Sapa-AP, 11/03) - A South African-bornPresbyterian missionary who accused the government of involvementin the killings of two white parishioners left the country onSunday after authorities revoked his permit to work in Zimbabweand ordered his deportation. The Rev Paul Andrianatos travelledby bus to the southern border and entered neighbouring SouthAfrica safely after a campaign of threats and intimidation fromstate security agents, his family and colleagues said.Andrianatos, 44, said he and his family were put undersurveillance, the telephone at his church-owned house in thesecond city of Bulawayo was tapped and their "letters wereintercepted and opened." Agents of the state CentralIntelligence Organisation constantly followed him and questionedhim at home and at his church, the cleric told reporters beforehis departure. "I was told there was a decision at Cabinetlevel my work permit was not going to be renewed and I was beingthrown out," said Andrianatos, who worked as a cleric inwestern Zimbabwe for 10 years. He was given until Sunday to leavethe country. The Presbyterian church is to reassign him to thetown of Barking in southern England, where he will be joined byhis Zimbabwean-born wife, Joy-Anne. Remarks at White Farmer'sFuneral 'Triggered Campaign' Andrianatos claimed that remarkshe made at the funeral of slain white farmer Martin Olds lastApril triggered the government's campaign against him. At thefuneral, Andrianatos called President Robert Mugabe "acriminal and a murderer" who ordered political violenceagainst his ruling Zanu-PF party's opponents. The cleric toldmourners "a vote for Zanu-PF is a vote for the devil."Olds, a known supporter for the opposition Movement forDemocratic Change party, was shot by suspected ruling partymilitants who illegally occupied his farm and other white-ownedfarms in the western Matabeleland province ahead of parliamentaryelections in June. Olds' mother, Gloria Olds, 72, was also gunneddown in a hail of automatic gunfire at her farm north of BulawayoMarch 4 by suspected ruling party militants. She was hit by 15bullets. Though police said the motive appeared to be robbery,her stolen pickup truck was found abandoned a day later and moneywas left untouched in the homestead. Gloria Olds was the eighthwhite farmer to be killed since ruling party militants andveterans of the country's independence war began violentlyseizing white-owned farms last year with the backing of Mugabe.No suspects have been charged in the killings. Gloria Olds'Killers 'Cowards and Scum' The increasingly unpopularpresident has described the occupations as a justified protestagainst unfair land ownership by the descendants of colonial erawhite settlers. At Gloria Olds' funeral on Friday - Andrianatos'last service in Zimbabwe - the cleric described the widow'skillers as "cowards and scum". He told about 400 mostlywhite mourners that officials of Mugabe's ruling party openlyboasted they would stop at nothing to stay in power. "It isa sad day when leaders tolerate and even encouragelawlessness," he said. After Martin Olds' death, his wife,Cathy, and their two children fled to Britain, where they appliedfor political asylum, citing threats from government-backedmilitants. The government has ignored six court orders to removeillegal occupiers. In recent months, Mugabe's government hasincreasingly turned on perceived critics. Two foreign journalistswere deported last month and militants have threatenedindependent media organizations and some judges.

President promises to stop expellingjournalists (Sapa-AFP, 07/03) - President Mugabe during avisit to Brussels on Monday promised that his government wouldstop expelling foreign journalists, Belgian Foreign MinisterLouis Michel said. “I promised British Foreign SecretaryRobin Cook that I would ask Mr Mugabe certain questionsconcerning expelled journalists. Mr Mugabe assured us that therewould be no more,” Michel said. BBC journalist Joseph Winterand Mercedes Sayagues, from the South African Mail & Guardianweekly, were expelled last month from Zimbabwe. The governmentaccused Sayagues of being sympathetic to rebels of the NationalUnion for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita). Winter, forhis part, was accused by authorities of “propagatinglies”. The expulsions signalled a tougher stance by Mugabe,whose ruling Zanu PF party lost nearly half its parliamentaryseats to an upstart opposition party, the MDC, in an electionlast June. President Mugabe met with Michel and Belgian PrimeMinister Guy Verhofstadt on Monday during an official visitbefore heading to Paris for talks with President Jacques Chirac.Belgian leaders expressed their concern at the fate of whitefarmers, foreign journalists and lawyers in Zimbabwe, but Mugabemade no public statement during his visit in reply to theconcerns. Mugabe told Belgian leaders that he had taken note oftheir worries and explained that he had reached a compromise andsettled a row with the Supreme Court, a Belgian governmentspokesperson said. The head of Zimbabwe’s Supreme CourtAnthony Gubbay, who has issued verdicts against Mugabe’sland reforms, was asked to retire early. Gubbay will retire inJuly under the terms of the compromise deal announced lastWednesday. Commercial farmers won a Supreme Court order demandingthat police evict thousands of squatters, led by militantveterans of Zimbabwe’s liberation war, who have forciblyoccupied hundreds of farms in a bid to speed up landredistribution to landless peasants. Several white farmers andscores of blacks were killed last year during the wave of landinvasions.

14 deportees killed in Botswana accident(The Daily News, 02/03) - Fourteen Zimbabweans beingdeported from Botswana died on Wednesday afternoon when a prisontruck carrying them back home collided with another truck alongthe Serule-Gaborone Road. Twenty-two others, allZimbabweans being deported as well, were seriously injured.Botswana police said yesterday the accident happened at around1pm. “There were 50 Zimbabweans being deported after theywere declared illegal immigrants,” said a police officer atSelibe-Phikwe who identified himself only as Ookame. “Theywere coming from Mahalapye Prison when this unfortunate incidenthappened.” Ookame said the injured were taken toSelibe-Phikwe and Nyangabwe hospitals. Matron Tinky Malikongwe ofNyangabwe Hospital said the condition of the injured, thoughvaried, was generally stable. She would not give further details.A nurse at Selibe-Phikwe Hospital declined to comment, saying theissue was sensitive. The accident occurred after the prison truckcollided with another truck, whose trailer was suddenly detachedfrom its horse, forcing the driver to lose control, said Ookame.“Then the prison truck carrying the Zimbabweans overturned.“Relatives of the deceased began coming into the policestation soon after hearing news of the tragedy,” Ookamesaid. He refused to release the names of the dead and injured.Fourteen other Zimbabweans escaped unhurt. In 1998, 18Zimbabweans being smuggled to South Africa died after theysuffocated in a container truck in Botswana. Pressing economichardships have pushed thousands of Zimbabweans into Botswana andSouth Africa in search of jobs and food. Many are without validdocuments and are regularly rounded up and deported, usuallyevery week. Two months ago, another Zimbabwean, Andrew MuzanembiMutizira, 36, was crushed to death after he hid in the wheel baseof a bus to avoid detection by United States immigrationofficials at the US-Canadian border. Muzanembi's body was mangledwhen the bus started moving.

This page last updated 09 July 2004.