Border curfew couldtrap refugees inside Angola
Countries meet inKinshasa to coordinate refugee policies and efforts
Tanzanian businesswomanclaims ministerial harassment
German accuses Special Field Force of malicious conduct
Red Cross withdraws from Osire Refugee Camp
Israeli PM calls on SAJews to return to homeland
Officers jailed for 'cruel act'
Dog handlers' sentencing gets mixed reaction
Dog unit trail: 'Justice has been served'
Home Affairs incurs heavy legal costs in 82 lawsuits
Northern Province farmers reluctantly agree to apply for workpermits
SAPS partly to blame for dog attack: court hears
Editors Forum condemns intimidation of journalists in Zimbabwe
Dog handlers show real remorse says criminologist
Racism alive in SA
On the edge of a moral precipice
Crime justified setting dogs on illegal migrants
Convicted dog policemen were "victims of a system",court told
Police commander testifies in dog trial
SA, Botswana to discuss border security
Cop dogs trained on crime suspects, court hears
Another Home Affairs official arrested
Home Affairs employee walks into police trap
NNP welcomes dog unit cops conviction
Farmers seek work permits for thousands of Zimbabweans
Four dog cops guilty of assaulting Mozambicans
Police dog attack: four found guilty
'We were training the dogs to bite humans'
Buthelezi defends Deputy DG, Ivan Lambinon
Illegal Zimbabwean workers must be treated humanely: says Mbeki
1,822 child refugees in SA
Hillbrow raid on migrants
Meeting between Mbeki and Buthelezi fails to resolve dispute overDG
Nation stunned by cop brutality footage
Parliamentary Committee defends Aliens Control Act
Minister cautions against Islamophobia
Nearly 1,200 Mozambicans nabbed in one month
Failure to deal with Home Affairs saga undermines democracy saysIFP
Graduates gain skills, then leave SA says Manuel
Home Affairs separates services for citizens and foreigners
Buthelezi downplays meeting with Mbeki about DG Masetlha
WFP feeds 486,900refugees in Tanzania
Dar es Salaam urged not to repatriate Bujumbura refugees
Tanzania expels Ugandans
More refugees arrive in Pemba
Last refugees to fly home from Kenya
Congolese rebelsforce villagers to flee
Government seeks help over Angolan refugees
Officials meet over border clashes with Angola
Zambia sends military team to Angola over border trouble
Angola denies Zambia's accusations of border incursions
Government seeks more aid for refugees
Border tense as villagers return
Angolan refugees continue to flee into Zambia
World media bodyconcerned over Zimbabwe threats to journalists
Zimbabweans continue to seek land in Mozambique
Zimbabweans enrol in foreign universities in record numbers
US assails Zimbabwe over tactics against journalists
Press group slams Zimbabwe over treatment of journalists
US calls for Zimbabwe to relax press controls
302 tobacco farmers quit
Kenyan commentary on Zimbabwean crisis
Zimbabwe accuses foreign journalists of aiding 'terrorists'
Zimbabwe to insist on ID cards to combat terrorism
Border curfew could traprefugees inside Angola (Irin, 2/11) - On Monday29 October, the UN refugee agency warned that Angolan refugees,many fleeing intense fighting in the central and southeasternprovinces, could be prevented from seeking safety across theNamibian border because of a curfew along the Kavango river. TheNamibian government imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew along a 450 kmstretch of the river-border with Angola on 17 October, citing therisk of night incursions by Angolan rebel movement UNITA. Interms of the curfew, no one can travel within 200 m of the riverbank between 18H00 and 06H00. A report on UNHCR's website saidthe refugees crossing into Namibia mostly tried to cross theborder at night or at unofficial crossing points to avoid Angolangovernment and UNITA patrols, making them particularlyvulnerable. When the curfew was imposed, the Namibian militarysaid those who violated the restrictions would be shot.
Countries meet in Kinshasa tocoordinate refugee policies and efforts (Irin, 1/11) - Representativesfrom the governments of the Central African Republic, theDemocratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Republic of Congo,Gabon and Angola met last week in the DRC capital, Kinshasa, tosynchronise their policies and efforts on behalf of refugees andinternally displaced persons (IDPs) in the region. The meetingwas organised by the l'Association des Parlementaires Europeenspour l'Afrique (AWEPA), in collaboration with the government ofthe DRC and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, from 24 to 26Oct. AWEPA is an association of current and former members ofnational parliaments in Europe that works "to support thefunctioning of parliaments in Africa and to keep Africa on thepolitical agenda in Europe". Primary objectives of theconference included the promotion of human rights and inparticular the rights of refugees, with special attention towomen and children in light of their vulnerability; seekinglong-term solutions to the problems of refugees and IDPs with aview to a safe return to their place of origin; and adoption ineach country of national legislation and a national commissionfor refugees where no such thing already exists. Discussions wereheld regarding the possibilities of expanding the mandate ofUNHCR to increase their capacity to assist IDPs uprooted by war,and providing assistance to local populations that host refugees.Participants also sought to address such issues as the promotionof peaceful relations among the countries as a necessarycondition for "harmonious and integrated development";the promotion of democracy and good governance as imperative forpeace and sustainable development; and the fight againstexclusion, racial discrimination, xenophobia and "all formsof ethnic tension". Representatives agreed to encouragefeasibility studies for projects of common interest to centralAfrican states with a view toward elevating the standard ofliving. At the end of the conference a statement was issued,called the "Declaration de Kinshasa", that summarisedthe themes discussed and called for continued cooperation amongthe nations to ensure that proposals made during this meetingwould come to fruition. AWEPA is due to publish a completeaccount of the conference.
Tanzanian businesswoman claimsministerial harassment (The Namibian, Windhoek, 30/11) - HigherEducation and Employment Creation Deputy Minister, HadinoHishongwa, has been accused of using "abusive tactics"to try and oust a Tanzanian national from a tailoring jointventure she runs with his cousins. Elizabeth Mwakatobe, aTanzanian fashion designer who described herself as Hishongwa'slong-time "personal family friend", said the DeputyMinister had instructed that the door locks at the business inWindhoek be replaced with new ones without her consent. "Idon't understand his interference. He has no stake in thisbusiness - why is he doing this?" she asked. "Hiscousins are my partners and not the honourable Minister."Mwakatobe is a 50 per cent shareholder in Namsmart Tailoring andGeneral Supplies. Hishongwa's cousin Bibby Kalokwe owns 25 percent, while another cousin, Veronica Nghipondoka, holds theremaining 25 per cent. When she found the locks at her businesscomplex broken, Mwakatobe went to the Police station yesterdayand pressed charges of housebreaking, pointing a finger atHishongwa. The Police confirmed that a charge of housebreakinghad been laid by Mwakatobe. An investigation has been launched.Contacted for comment, Hishongwa claimed he was acting in goodfaith. "I don't think there is really any story here,"he said. He said he gave an instruction for the office to belocked with different locks because there were "sensitivedocuments in the office. It was just for the protection of thedocuments while she was away. I thought I was doing it for hergood sake," Hishongwa maintained. Mwakatobe, who has justapplied for the renewal of her work permit, said she fears theDeputy Minister might use his influence to evict her from thecountry. Hishongwa admitted that he had brought Mwakatobe toNamibia, but stressed he had no intention of "foul play atall". Mwakatobe said she met the Deputy Minister when he wasstill a Swapo representative in Sweden in 1979. "I was stilla student in fashion, designing by then." Hishongwa theninvited her to come from Tanzania to make material for the Swapoelection campaign in 1989, which she did. "While I was athome (Tanzania) Hishongwa asked me to come and do business withpeople very well known to him - Kalokwe and Nghipondoka,"she said. Since she trusted Hishongwa, she abandoned hertailoring factory in Tanzania to come and open a business inWindhoek. When she arrived in Namibia in 1998, none of herbusiness partners had the start-up capital to establish thebusiness. Mwakatobe had to import her own heavy duty industrialtailoring machines from her Tanzanian business by train, viaVictoria Falls. "After all the financial difficulties I havegone through ... now the Minister is treating me this way. I donot deserve to be harassed by someone so close to me," shesaid. Kalokwe said her relationship with Mwakatobe was on a soundfooting, but refused to comment on her uncle's behaviour.
German accuses Special Field Force ofmalicious conduct (The Namibian, Windhoek, 27/11) - AWindhoek West resident who complained about harassment from theSpecial Field Force says she received a return visit from the SFFduring which they threatened her. Pearl Coetzee related her firstordeal at the hands of the force members to The Namibian lastweek, saying an SFF raid on Wednesday had reminded her ofApartheid-style policing. The report was published in thenewspaper on Thursday. In the early hours of Saturday, more than20 Special Field Force (SFF) members launched a second raid onCoetzee's flat. One officer threatened to harm her physicallybecause she had gone to the media, Coetzee said. A certainWarrant FS Uukule allegedly told her that "we will deal withyou if you go to the media again. We are going to squeezeyou." The force members went through her bedroom andimpounded two Nikon cameras and lenses with a combined value ofaround N$25 000. "I am afraid ... I am scared. I don't knowwhat will happen to me. I am more worried about my Xavier (herseven-year-old son) if this Uukule means what he says," saidCoetzee. The security force members allegedly threatened to smashdown her door, when she failed to respond promptly when theydemanded entry on Saturday. "They were shouting, 'MrsCoetzee open up ... we know you are inside the house. If youdon't open we will force through this door'," she added.When they went into her room, the SFF members pulled out"tampons from my wardrobe and started poking fun at measking questions like 'what is this?' When I explained they weregiggling, making comments such as 'Mrs Coetzee has an attitudetoday'." She said the SFF members told her to fetch hercameras at the Wanaheda Police Station. Coetzee eventually gother cameras back on Sunday afternoon. Warrant Officer Uukulerefused to comment on his alleged threats and slammed the phonedown, when approached for comment. After confiscating hercameras, the SFF members proceeded to her neighbour, a Germancitizen, Malte Engelin, who is a consultant with the RoadsContractor Company. "When they came here I thought there wassomebody breaking in until they started shouting 'police ...police ... police'," Engelin told The Namibian yesterday. Heclaimed that "half of these guys were drunk. They weresmelling of alcohol." Engelin said when he asked them for asearch warrant they just forced their way into his flat."They did not have any letter or whatsoever to state thatthey have obtained approval or to show that they are on officialduty." Some of the Police officers were not in uniform, headded. Engelin said he was going to compile a report about hisexperience for the German Embassy which arranged his contractwith the Namibian Government. Police spokesperson Chief InspectorHophni Hamufungu confirmed the raid and impounding of the camerasby the security force officers. On the threats to Coetzee,Hamufungu denied that Warrant Officer Uukule had made any suchstatement. Hamufungu claimed Uukule had only told Coetzee thatsince she always complained to the media she could go to themedia again. He said some members of the Police, by the nature oftheir work, were not required to wear uniforms. "Mind you,we are also assisted by the Municipality security officers andthe Namibia Defence Force." He said a weekend Policeoperation had been successful and had rounded up a lot of illegalimmigrants and stolen items.
Red Crosswithdraws from Osire Refugee Camp (Irin, 21/11) - TheNamibian Red Cross Society (NRCS) is withdrawing its servicesfrom the Osire refugee camp. "We will be withdrawing as of31 December 2001," Geniene Veii, deputy secretary-general ofthe NRCS told IRIN on Tuesday. "Part of the reason that weare doing this is because of a lack of donor funding and partlybecause donors have been slow in making payments." "Itneeds to be emphasised that we are not abandoning the refugeesand we will continue with some services such as tracing whichincludes re-establishing links between families." she said.The NRCS has, up to now, acted as UNHCR's main implementingpartner at the camp, helping with issues such as sanitation, fooddistribution and water provision. The Osire camp is situatedabout 220 km northeast of Windhoek and houses about 21,000refugees, most of whom are Angolan. UNHCR in Namibia told IRINthat it was informed of the NRCS decision in September. "Wehave had some time to prepare and we have already approached someorganisations who might be willing to work with us atOsire," a UNHCR spokesman said. Humanitarian sources toldIRIN that shortfalls in funding had in recent months affectedservices such as disease control and the provision of sanitationto refugees. The UNHCR spokesman said that moving the Osire campto another site was still under discussion between UNHCR and thegovernment. "No definite site has been decided on yet andthe government is still looking for a suitable site. Both UNHCRand the government are currently studying two reports that havebeen done on the issue," he said.
Israeli PM calls on SA Jews to returnto homeland (Business Day, Johannesburg, 30/11) - IsraeliPrime Minister Ariel Sharon urged SA Jews yesterday to emigrateto Israel a call that the SA Jewish Board of Deputies describedas understandable as part of a Zionist dream, but otherwiseunrealistic. He told a news conference in Tel Aviv he wanted tosee a million Jews immigrate to the Jewish state, principallyfrom SA, Argentina and France. "In the coming years, I wantto see a million Jews come from Argentina, France, and especiallyfrom SA," Sharon said. Russell Gaddin, national chairman ofthe board, which is an umbrella body of SA Jewish organisations,said: "One has to understand where Sharon comes from. Sincethe establishment of the Israeli state, the government has beencalling for all Jews to come to Israel." Gaddin said Sharonmight be specifically referring to the three countries becausethere was a perception that there was a lot of anti-semitism inthose countries. "He may think there is a danger to theJewish people there. The continued pro-Palestinian statementscoming from our government might give the perception that Jews inSA are in danger," Gaddin said. Gaddin said Sharon's callmight also be influenced by reports which said SA was the crimecapital of the world, which might put Jews in danger. "Thefirst objective of the government is to bring another millionJews soon," Sharon said. The mass immigration "may take12 to 13 years, but it is central and in my eyes is the mostimportant (task) of the government". Israel has a populationof about 6,5million people, of whom 5,2-million (81%) are Jewsand 1,2-million (18,8%) Arabs. About 1-million Jews haveimmigrated from the former Soviet Union, mainly Russia, in thepast decade. The board's national director, Yehunda Kay, saidthat for most Jews, Israel was their spiritual homeland. "SAJews are first and foremost South Africans. We as the board havebeen telling them to live in this country and work for itsupliftment," Kay said. "Israel has a special place intheir hearts, it is their spiritual homeland." Sharon saidthere were 230000 Jews under duress in Argentina who needed to bebrought over to the Jewish state, and another 80000 in SA. Sharonalleged that the "750000 Jews in France face anti-semitism.The state has 5-million Arabs."
Officers jailed for 'cruel act'(Toronto Star, Pretoria, 30/11) - Video showed dogs being seton three Mozambican men. A South African judge yesterday jailedfour white police for up to five years for setting their dogs onthree black Mozambicans in a "cruel and sadistic"animal training exercise. "They laughed and treated it as ajoke. The three witnesses (Mozambican victims) are clearlyemotionally scarred and it was obviously intenselytraumatic," Judge Willem van der Merwe told the court duringsentencing. Robert Henzen 32, Eugene Truter, 28, Jacobus Smith,31, and Lodweyk Koch, 32, were convicted last week of seriouslyassaulting the three Mozambican illegal immigrants in 1998. Theireffective jail terms ranged from five to four years. The fourwere captured on video-tape ordering their dogs to attack thethree Mozambicans, who sat silently, heads bowed, as the judgesentenced their tormentors. The video, showing six policelaughing as the Mozambicans pleaded for mercy during the attackin a field near Johannesburg, angered South Africans after it wasscreened by SABC state television last year. The South Africangovernment, the defence lawyer and an organization that monitorsviolence all welcomed the sentences. "Justice has been seento be served," Minister for Safety and Security SteveTshwete said in a statement. The three Mozambicans leftimmediately after the sentencing under the protection of theelite Scorpions police unit. Their lawyer Jose Nascimento advisedthem to return to Mozambique "very soon" for their ownsafety. They plan to seek substantial damages. Smith, deemed theringleader, was sentenced to seven years, with two suspended. Theother three each got six years, with two years suspended."The video shocked the world," Judge Van der Merwesaid. "The act was cruel and sadistic...it must have beenterrifying." Smith will appeal his term. Two other policeinvolved, Nicolaas Loubser, 27, and Dino Guitto, 27, face trialJune 3 next year. Using blacks to train dogs to bite has beencommon practice.
Dog handlers' sentencing gets mixedreaction (Business Day, 30/11) - Yesterday'ssentencing of four former police dog handlers to prison terms offour and five years, met with mixed reaction from politicians andthe public. The case is also not yet over as one of thoseconvicted, Petrus Smith, who faces a five-year jail term for hispart in the police dog attack on illegal immigrants, is to seekleave to appeal. He, along with Lodewyk Koch, Robert Henzen andEugene Truter, who pleaded guilty to charges of assault withintent to do grievous bodily harm for setting police dogs onthree illegal immigrants from Mozambique in a 1998 "trainingexercise". Henzen and Truter were also found guilty ofattempting to defeat the ends of justice. Judge Willem van derMerwe suspended some of the time in jail, effectively leavingSmith with five years behind bars and the others with four yearsin jail. The Mozambican government, backed by a local trust whichlooks after the interests of immigrants in SA, plans to sueSafety and Security Minister Steve Tshwete and the policemen fordamages. Smith's cousin, Natasha Bart, said the sentence came as"no surprise", but said the judge did not take intoaccount the mitigating factors put before the court.
In passing sentence at the Pretoria High Court yesterday, thejudge said the crimes had been "cowardly and brutal and wenton over a long period of time." The presidency saidyesterday that it was satisfied justice had run its course. Itsaid it was committed to doubling its efforts to build anon-racial democracy underpinned by the rule of law. PanAfricanist Congress general secretary Thami-ka-Plaatjie wasoutraged, saying the sentence was "scandalous"."It shows the inability of the state and judiciary to upholddemocracy. It is a racist judgment which proves that racistelements in the justice system need urgent review." AzanianPeoples' Organisation information secretary Kedibone Molema saidit was at least encouraging that white policemen were sent tojail at all. "I hope the sentence is not overturned with theappeal." United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisasaid his party never challenged court decisions while the InkathaFreedom Party spokesman, Velaphi Ndlovu, said it was sad that thejail time was "so short". "This must be a lessonto other police. I hope the victims will get some or othercompensation," he said. Tshwete said the police actedswiftly once they heard of the crimes. "All six men werebehind bars and suspended from duty immediately when the crimecame out." He said the dog unit had since been overhauled.The four men along with two others, Nicolaas Loubser and DinoGuitto, who pleaded not guilty were arrested a year ago when theSABC screened a video of them inciting their dogs to bite threeMozambicans, Gabriel Pedro Timane, Alexandre Pedro Timane andSylvester Cose.
Dog unit trail: 'Justice has beenserved' (Cape Argus, 29/11) - Police management andpolitical parties welcomed on Thursday the effective four andfive-year jail terms imposed on four men who set their policedogs on illegal immigrants in a 1998 "trainingsession". "Justice has been served and has been seen tobe served," national police commissioner Jackie Selebi saidin a statement in Pretoria. "We call on the community not tojudge all police officers by the actions of these few. By far themajority of our members are dedicated to serving andprotecting." The United Democratic Movement said it wouldhave liked to see a harsher punishment meted out, but wassatisfied that justice had been seen to be done. "Theactions of these men do not belong in a democratic country wherehuman rights are one of the guiding principles of oursociety," UDM safety and security spokeswoman Annelize vanWyk said. Such actions nullified all attempts by the police toestablish itself as a credible institution. "Clearly thefact that these types of actions still take place within the SAPolice Service seven years after the first democratic elections,indicates that the SAPS has not been fully transformed," shesaid. "SAPS management must take note of this and acceptresponsibility in addressing the current shortcomings throughproper training and efficient management to ensure this kind ofbehaviour does not repeat itself."
The Democratic Alliance said the sentences should send a clearmessage to South Africans about what was right and what waswrong. "Police brutality, in whatever form, will not betolerated," DA safety and security spokesman Paul Swart saidin a statement. "People like this give a bad name to thetens of thousands of decent members of the SAPS who do awonderful job under difficult circumstances." Jacobus PetrusSmith, convicted on three counts of assault with the intent to dogrievous bodily harm, was sentenced on Thursday to seven years injail by the Pretoria High Court. Of these, two years weresuspended for five years on the condition that he was notconvicted for another violent crime during this period. LodewykChristiaan Koch, Robert Benjamin Henzen and Eugene Werner Trutereach received a six-year prison term on the assault charges, ofwhich two years were suspended on the same conditions. Henzen andTruter were each sentenced to an additional year in jail on acharge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by making afalse entry in a police register. This sentence is to runconcurrently with the other four years.
The four - along with Dino Guiotto and Nicolaas KennethLoubser - were arrested a year ago, shortly before the SABCscreened a video showing them inciting their police dogs to bitethree illegal Mozambican immigrants near Benoni on January 3,1998. The victims were Gabriel Pedro Timane, Alexandre PedroTimane and Sylvester Cose. The six were at the time members ofthe police's North-East Rand dog unit. Smith, Koch, Henzen andTruter claimed their actions were part of an exercise to teachGuiotto's dog to bite on command. Such sessions were notuncommon, they said, and had been ongoing for years. Guiotto andLoubser have denied guilt on all the charges against them. Theirtrial is to proceed separately next year. Selebi said steps hadbeen taken after the screening of the video to improve commandand control over the country's 68 dog units, and to hastentransformation. A written instruction was issued to prohibit theuse of patrol dogs for crowd control, and limiting their use intackling suspects. The police's psychological services hasdeveloped a selection process for patrol dog handlers, and aninspectorate has been created to conduct surprise visits andcompetency tests at all dog units, he said.
Home Affairs incurs heavy legal costsin 82 lawsuits (Sapa, 29/11) - Eighty-two lawsuitsagainst the Home Affairs Department has cost the South Africantaxpayer R934255 for the period January 2000 to June 2001,according to Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Replyingto a parliamentary question from New National Party MP FrancoisBeukman, he said the cases were heard in the Cape, Durban,Johannesburg and Pretoria high courts. A general in formerZairean dictator Mobutu Sese Seko's army, Nkuza Karl-I-Bond, wasamong those whose cases were settled out of court, becauseinformation received by the National Intelligence Agency wouldnot stand up in court.
Northern Province farmers reluctantlyagree to apply for work permits (African Eye News Service,Nelspruit, 28/11) - Three farmers' groups in theNorthern Province that initially refused to apply for workpermits for their illegal Zimbabwean workers, finally agreed todo so after meeting with home affairs officials on Tuesdayevening. The groups from the Weipe, Pondrift and Njelele areasaccepted application forms from home affairs director-generalBilly Masetlha, but not without reservation. Farmers are nowrequired to approach the labour department when they need newlabourers and wait 30 days while the department recruits SouthAfrican workers on their behalf. "But if the departmentcan't find labour within those 30 days, the farmers then have tostart looking for workers themselves, which can take anothermonth," explained legal representative for the farmers'groups, Hennie Erwee on Wednesday. "It's not good for cropfarmers to be without workers for such a long time," headded.
The farmers want parliament to pass legislation allowing themto employ Zimbabweans without having to go through the lengthyprocesses at home affairs. Other farmers in the area who did nothave reservations about the agreement met the November 23deadline to submit applications for work permits to a task team.The task team, comprising home affairs and labour departmentmembers, will study all applications by December 1 after whichhome affairs will begin issuing permits. Members of theSoutpansberg District Agricultural Union submitted 2 440applications. There are approximately 11 000 Zimbabweans workingon farms in the Soutpansberg region following an agreement thatfarmers had with the apartheid government to give"special" work permits to the foreigners. The SouthAfrican government is trying to encourage farmers to hire locallabourers first, before using Zimbabweans.
SAPS partly to blame for dog attack:court hears (Sapa, Pretoria, 26/11) - The SA PoliceService was partly to blame for the actions of four men convictedof setting their police dogs on three illegal immigrants in a1998 "training exercise", the Pretoria High Court heardon Monday. "A culture was created within which such crimeswere apparently committed with the knowledge that theperpetrators would be pardoned. This was all done in the name oftraining," defence counsel Peet Coetsee argued. Hecriticised the police for not acknowledging that such"training sessions" were a common practice, and fordistancing itself from the four men. "Since the arrests,every commanding officer has pretended to have never heard ofthis practice and tried to ascribe it to individual racistconduct," he said. Prosecutor John Welch, however, said itwas unfair to contend that the police service was rife withpeople who approved of, and were involved in, such violence."We in South Africa are too quick to use common practice asa convenient excuse." Despite acknowledging they knew whatthey were doing was wrong, the men never attempted to change thestate of affairs, Welch said.
The four men - Jacobus Petrus Smith, Lodewyk Christiaan Koch,Robert Benjamin Henzen and Eugene Werner Truter - were last weekfound guilty on three charges each of aggravated assault. Henzenand ruter were also convicted of attempting to defeat the ends ofjustice for signing a false entry in a police register. The fouraccepted guilt on all the charges. In a video recording of theevents, the men and two colleagues are seen inciting their dogsto bite three Mozambicans - Gabriel Pedro Timane, Alexandre PedroTimane and Sylvester Cose - near Benoni on January 3, 1998. Themen have argued this was an exercise aimed at teaching one oftheir dogs to bite on command. Such sessions were not uncommon,they said, and have been going on for years. Delivering hisclosing argument on Monday, Coetsee, for Smith, asked that hisclient be sentenced to three years' house arrest. Barry Roux,representing the other three accused, also contended that directimprisonment would not be an appropriate sentence. Welch,however, asked the court to send the men to jail. Coetseeconceded that the brutality of the assaults, the vulnerability ofthe victims and the abuse of power were all aggravating factors.The damage done to the image of the police service could also notbe disregarded.
In mitigation, however, he argued that the victims did notsuffer serious, lasting injuries and were taken to a hospital bytheir assailants. "Apart from the assaults, there was atleast an intention by the accused to execute their duties,"Coetsee said. "The three men were after all rightfullyarrested and eventually deported." Smith had shown remorse,and the court should take into account that he committed thecrimes while suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,Coetsee told the court. This had affected his moral judgment.Coetsee asked Judge Willie van der Merwe to temper the punishmentwith mercy, and not to impose a sentence to try to please "aworld which does not have all the facts". For the otherthree men, Roux also asked for a sentence of correctionalsupervision, describing his clients as "good, workable humanmaterial". Their actions were the result of years ofconditioning in the police service and repeated exposure toviolence. "It is like in the apartheid years whenmagistrates and prosecutors prosecuted black people for notcarrying passes. We did not know at the time that it was wrong,but now we do," Roux argued. He added that his clients haveshown remorse, and asked the judge to impose a sentence thatwould satisfy "civilised and informed" members of thecommunity. The court heard the four men had already been punishedby the fact that they were suspended from the police, lost theirincome, and have been reviled by their employer, politicians andthe general public for over a year. A sentence of directimprisonment would not serve any purpose, Coetsee and Rouxargued. Welch argued that retribution should play a part inconsidering sentence. The disregard of the victims' human rightswas worse than the pain and suffering they were subjected to, hesaid. On the attackers' remorse, Welch said it should bequestioned whether this was really heartfelt or merely the resultof their arrests. He argued in aggravation of sentence that thevictims were subjected to nearly an hour of extreme trauma, eventhough they were physically bitten for only a few minutes each.Imprisonment would be a proper punishment, Welch concluded.
Sentence is to be passed on Thursday. The other two accused,Dino Guiotto and Nicolaas Kenneth Loubser, have denied guilt onall the charges against them. Their trial is to proceedseparately next year. All six men were on bail of R2000. Theywere all were members of the North-East Rand police dog unit, andwere arrested shortly before SABC TV broadcast the video of theassaults in November last year.
Editors Forum condemns intimidationof journalists in Zimbabwe (Sapa, Johannesburg, 26/11) - TheSA National Editors Forum (Sanef) on Monday condemned the latestround of intimidation in Zimbabwe aimed particularly atindependent journalists. After its council meeting inJohannesburg earlier in the day, Sanef said in a statement thatit particularly condemned the Zimbabwean government's controlledmedia branding independent reporters as "terrorists".President Robert Mugabe's government last week named a list ofWestern and independent local correspondents of "assistingterrorists". These included journalists from The Times ofLondon, The Independent, The Zimbabwe Independent, and SouthAfrica's The Star. "The events in Zimbabwe are clearlydesigned by the Zimbabwean government and the ruling Zanu-PFparty to adversely influence the outcome of the presidentialelections planned for early 2002. "At this point in timeSanef believes that the harassment of the media in Zimbabwe makesit virtually impossible for the media to adequately reflect forthe Zimbabwean public and the world how the aforesaid electionsare to be conducted," it said. Sanef said its council haddecided to seek an urgent meeting with relevant South Africanauthorities to convey its extreme concern about the infringementof media freedom in Zimbabwe. "In the meantime, Sanefrepeats its previous appeals to the Zimbabwean government and theZanu-PF to respect media freedom, particularly of the independentmedia, and to refrain from the physical and mental intimidationof journalists working in Zimbabwe."
Dog handlers show real remorse sayscriminologist (Dispatch Online, Pretoria, 24/11) -
Labuschagne said although she could not excusewhat the three did, she felt they had changed since their arrest.She recommended that the three should be sentenced to severepunishment "within the community" and that they shouldpay their victims some form of compensation. Judge Willie van derMerwe remarked yesterday that evidence about the use of illegalimmigrants as live targets for dog training as "a generalpractice" was "alarming". "It means that youcannot shoot a man, not even in his small toe, but you can putyour dog on him," he said. A social worker of the Departmentof Correctional Services, Anna Stander, was also of the opinionthat Koch, Henzen and Truter were sorry about what they did. Shesaid that correctional supervision, which amounted to housearrest and practical community service, was a very realpunishment, which would serve as adequate retribution for thethree accused. Stander said the accused had already been punishedto some extent by losing their salaries and experiencing thenegative publicity and stress attached to their arrest.
The head of the dog training school inRoodeplaat, outside Pretoria, Johannes Slabbert, said he couldnot reconcile himself with what he saw on the video. A dog shouldnot used to bite a person who was already lying on the ground, headded. He was of the opinion that a police dog that came out oftraining ought to be able to do the job with the minimumadjustment. There were other methods to train the dog to bite, headded. "A police patrol dog should still be regarded asminimum violence, as a method to help an officer to arrest asuspect," he said. About allegations that dogs were"racist", Slabbert said police dogs were training toattack both white and black persons. A trained police dog workedon orders and would attack any person, white or black, he said.The trial will continue on Monday with further evidence inmitigation and final argument before sentence can be passed.
Racism alive in SA (The Nation,Nairobi, 24/11) - When President Frederick de Klerkreleased black nationalist Nelson Mandela from 27 years ofincarceration, Robert Benjamin Henzen, Lodewyk Christian Koch andEugene Werner Truter were in their early teens - the age at whichhuman beings solidify most of their social prejudices. During the10 years that have elapsed since then, landmark events have takenplace in South Africa. Power has reverted from the hands of amiserable white minority to the hands of a democratic majority ofall races. The remarkable thing about this transfer of power hasbeen its relative painlessness. In other situations, the manydecades of white oppression might have goaded the black majorityto retaliate against the authors of apartheid, including bybarring all white people from the state instruments which theBroederbond used to persecute them. That is why it was possiblefor the white boys Henzen, Koch and Truter - now in their earlytwenties - to join the police force. The most importantcontributory factor to this relative tolerance was the TruthCommission appointed by the new majority government to facilitateracial reconciliation.
It must be said that this initiative - forwhich the solidly humane and dignified Nelson Mandela must takethe credit - is what has enabled that country to emerge fromdarkness to light so rapidly, giving racial prejudice a definiteknock. But, clearly, white racism remains embedded. Clearly,those who brought up Henzen, Koch, Truter and their ilk havenever learnt anything both from the folly of apartheid and fromthe bid by the formerly oppressed majority to offer magnanimityto the formerly oppressive minority in the interest of racialharmony. Nobody seems to have taught those boys that black liveshave any value or that black human beings should be treated withany form of respect. The black slave trade, colonial oppressionand apartheid, among the many historic tragedies of thisteaching, have never taught these families anything. Our idea of"superiority" is nobility of thought and conduct. It ismoral, not racial, and a person who hurls abuse and unleashesferocious dogs onto harmless, defenceless and innocentindividuals on the basis of their race only reveals his moraldepravity and intellectual abyss as a result of extremely poorupbringing. The law will definitely take its course against thesejuveniles for their vile behaviour against people who were evenguests from another country. But legal punishment cannot suffice.What it strongly suggests is that South Africa must intensify itscampaign a hundredfold to educate all its citizens against suchatavism.
On the edge of a moral precipice(Weekly Mail & Guardian, 23/11) - How things havechanged since the adoption of our liberal Constitution. The SouthAfrican police used to use local natives as live targets forshooting practice and dog exercise. Now, it seems, the cop on thebeat has to restrict himself to letting rip on foreign nativesonly. One of six cops who have just been convicted for assaultwith intent to do grievous bodily harm explained to the court thedilemma of the new South African policeman. Responding to acomplaint by the chief instructor of the North East Rand Dog Unitthat a newly recruited dog called Jerry Lee was "presentingproblems about biting in practical attack situations",Sergeant Jacobus Smith took it upon himself to look out forsuitable opportunities to show the reluctant newcomer howseasoned professionals get things done. Spotting three men, wholater turned out to be illegal Mozambican immigrants, at a Benonitaxi rank, Smith radioed some colleagues to bring Jerry Lee alongto a piece of open ground near a disused mine shaft in thevicinity for a bit of live practice. There, Jerry Lee wasencouraged to join in while more "experienced" dogssank their fangs into the terrified and bleeding Mozambicans.This sort of informal training session probably happens quitefrequently. The difference this time was that one of the cops hadbrought along a video camera, presumably so that they could allrelive the happy moment over beers and a braai in a familysituation later on. This was the video that somehow found its wayon to a series of local and international television channels exposure which ultimately caused the whistle to be blownon a group of loyal men who until then believed that they hadmerely discovered an appropriate way of carrying out their dutiesunder a confusing new dispensation. A handful of rogue cops havenow been punished for a crime they were not aware they werecommitting. But the police force has other problems. Simplytrying to police the country, it turns out, is a nightmare in aclass of its own.
South Africa has the highest per capita murder rate in theworld, but, according to Safety and Security Minister SteveTshwete, we're stuck with it, and that's that. At an average of21 000 body bag candidates per annum, South Africa's murderstatistics have long since gone through the roof in factthey are currently hovering somewhere high above thestratosphere. Compare these figures with the mere 600 peoplekilled over the last year in open warfare between Israelis andPalestinians in the Middle East, and you start wondering why therest of the world thinks it has something to get hystericalabout. South Africans could teach the rest of the world a fewlessons. South Africans don't get hysterical in the face ofhysterical murder statistics. South Africans have got anexplanation for everything, which allows that dwindling band madeup of those of us who have not yet been murdered to shrug it alloff and get on with the business of living. Or at least dying ofsomething else. Thus it is that Tshwete, the Cabinet ministerresponsible for ensuring our safety and security, is able to tellus that we should just forget about seeing any more gains in thestate of our safety and security where the crime of murder isconcerned. The police, he informs us, have done a sterling job inthe past few years, what with swapping their old camouflageattire, shotguns and hippo-tail sjamboks for a softer, funkier,shirt-sleeves-and-baseball- caps look, and generally becomingmore community friendly. Crime, including murder, has beenbrought down significantly. The trouble is that crime, especiallymurder, has reached a level where it cannot be brought down anyfurther. This is not the fault of the police. It is the fault ofSouth Africans themselves. At a certain level, the good ministerhas realised, South Africans are "unpoliceable".
We seem to have come a long way since we collectively answeredOliver Tambo's call to be merely ungovernable. Publicungovernability, you will recall, helped us to bring downapartheid. Being unpoliceable is a different matter. By the logicof the minister's argument, if we contented ourselves with beingunpoliceable in public, the cops might stand a chance. But theproblem with South Africans is that we insist on beingunpoliceable in the privacy of our own homes, or in the homes andbusiness premises of friends, family and close associates. MostSouth African murders are carried out "at a family level andbetween people who know each other", says Tshwete. Underthese circumstances, the police apparently feel they do not havethe right to come and interrupt the sound of serious domesticgunfire, or the screams of men, women and children being stabbedor bludgeoned to death. "We cannot police this," heannounces. "There is nothing more that we can do." Tohis credit, the minister adds that this disastrous state ofaffairs might become more manageable if South Africans wereprepared to change their values and morals. But by the looks ofthings, this is not a scenario that is on the immediate horizon.It would seem as if the moral dilemmas posed by the reluctantresponsibilities of freedom affect both police and policed alike.While the government dithers about whether or not to take awaythe average South African's right to carry a gun, the averagecitizen feels free to use this unspeakable weapon to settlepersonal and domestic scores, no matter how petty. The policethemselves, no longer sure what is right and what is wrong, turntheir own guns on themselves or on each other, and in themeantime try to amuse themselves with bushveld foxhunts that uselive makwerekweres as bait. South Africa impressed theworld by seemingly walking away from the precipice of racialconflagration. What the world does not see is the equallydangerous precipice of moral disintegration a precipiceover which, by the looks of things, we have already fallen.
Crime justified setting dogs onillegal migrants (Business Day, Johannesburg, 23/11) - ThePretoria High Court heard yesterday that setting police dogs onillegal immigrants for practice was justifiable in the light oframpant crime in SA. A former dog handler Hannes Brits said atthe trial of four former colleagues: "We all knew that whatwe were doing was wrong but we saw it as justified in the contextof crime. It was a method used for a greater cause." Thefour men, Jacobus Petrus Smith, Lodewyk Christiaan Koch, RobertBenjamin Henzen and Eugene Werner Truter were found guilty ofassault after setting dogs on three Mozambicans in 1998. Theother two accused, Nicolaas Kenneth Loubser and Dino Guiotto,have pleaded not guilty on all charges. Their trial will proceedseparately in June next year. SA Human Rights Commission memberJody Kollapen said yesterday he was shocked to learn suchpractices were still in place as late as last year. The six menare out on bail of R2000 each.
Convicted dog policemen were"victims of a system", court told (Sapa, Pretoria,22/11) - Four men convicted of setting their policedogs on illegal immigrants in a 1998 "trainingexercise" were not monsters but rather victims of animperfect system, the Pretoria High Court heard on Thursday.Testifying for three of the men, criminologist Irma Labuschagnesaid they have shed many tears since their arrest. "They arenot hard people now," she told the court. "They wereshocked when they first saw the video (portraying their deeds).They cannot believe that it was really them." Jacobus PetrusSmith, Lodewyk Christiaan Koch, Robert Benjamin Henzen and EugeneWerner Truter were found guilty on Monday of assaultingMozambicans Gabriel Pedro Timane, Alexandre Pedro Timane andSylvester Cose on January 3, 1998.
Testifying in mitigation of sentence forKoch, Henzen and Truter, Labuschagne said they were victims of apolice system in which a subculture of violence could still befound. In this system, they lost their individuality in a group"which then became a monster in total discontrol".Their training desensitised them to violence to a large extentand they were under immense pressure to perform. "They onlynow came to realise that they actually used live people,"Labuschagne said. She told the court there was no need for themen to be rehabilitated, and they did not pose any danger tosociety. For Smith, traumatologist Peter Jones testified thebehaviour displayed in the video was typical of someone sufferingfrom Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He diagnosed Smith assuffering from this disorder, as well as depression and burn-out.This was the result of repeated exposure to trauma during hiscareer, and resulted in a blurring of morality. It also affectedhis blameworthiness. "It is highly questionable whether heshould have been allowed to operate in the dog unit at all,"Jones testified.
In the morning, the court heard thatsetting police dogs on illegal immigrants for"practice", was regarded as justified in the light oframpant crime in the country. "We all knew that what we weredoing was wrong," former dog handler Hannes Brits testifiedin mitigation of sentence. "But we saw it as justified inthe context of crime. It was a method used for a greatercause." Brits, a former colleague of the four men, told thecourt he was ashamed to admit that using criminal suspects as"targets" was regarded as acceptable. "It was theonly way we knew to achieve our goal," he said. The goal wasto teach one's dog to bite. Brits said the method was notunusual, and every dog handler in the country knew about it. Thepractice had been going on for years. Asked by Judge Willem vander Merwe on Thursday why handlers did not instead availthemselves as the targets in such training sessions, heresponded: "We were all too scared." He acceded thatthe practice robbed people of their humanity, and that it wascowardly to brutally attack people unable to defend themselves."We knew that eventually somebody will be caught out,"Brits testified. "The bomb burst with the broadcast of thatvideo." He said he assumed that the practice would have cometo an end after the footage was disclosed last year. Smith, Koch,Henzen and Truter were found guilty on three charges each ofassault with the intent to do serious bodily harm. Henzen andTruter were also convicted of attempting to defeat the ends ofjustice by signing a false entry in a police register. The fourmen accepted guilt on all the charges. Along with two others,they were arrested in November last year shortly before SABC TVbroadcast video footage of the attack. The other two accused inthe case, Nicolaas Kenneth Loubser and Dino Guiotto, have pleadednot guilty on all the charges against them. Their trial willproceed separately in June next year.
Another former dog handler, JohannesRudolph Niemand, on Thursday confirmed that setting police dogson crime suspects was not uncommon. He learnt of the practicewith his first dog handling course in 1989, and had himself beeninvolved in such incidents, Niemand told the court. SA HumanRights Commission member Jody Kollapen, who attended Thursday'sproceedings, said he was shocked to learn that such practiceswere still in place as late as last year. "It is alarmingthat criminals are regarded as fair game as part of this trainingregime," he said. "It appears as if these policemembers were insulated from human rights developments in broadersociety." While one accepted that the police worked underdifficult circumstances, this could never serve as ajustification for operating outside the law. "It is sad tosee that the vision of the Constitution and the reality in SouthAfrica are still so far from each other." Kollapen said theSAHRC would make recommendations in this regard to the police andthe Independent Complaints Directorate at the conclusion of thetrial. The six men are out on bail of R2000 each. They weresuspended without pay after their arrest, and subsequentlyresigned from the police. The trial continues on Friday.
Police commandertestifies in dog trial (Business Day, Johannesburg, 22/11) - Thecase against four members of the Northeast Rand dog unit foundguilty of assaulting three Mozambicans is turning into a contestbetween the unit's commander and his subordinates. Unit commanderBertus van Zyl appeared for the state yesterday in the PretoriaHigh Court where four of six of his former subordinates arepleading in mitigation in a case that has captured domestic andinternational attention. The assault using dogs on three illegalimmigrants embarrassed the top brass of the police when the"training" video was flighted on prime time televisionlast November. Four policemen from the dog unit were convicted onMonday after pleading guilty to three counts of assault withintent to do grievous bodily harm. The Mozambican government isholding a watching brief in court. The Mozambican representativesaid the plan was to start a civil action once the criminal casehad been completed. Two of the six policemen have pleaded notguilty to the charges. Their case starts early next year.
The incident was widely condemned, but itfocused attention on the inhuman treatment of illegal immigrants,both by the authorities and ordinary citizens. A showing of thevideo in court yesterday proved almost too much for the threeimmigrants who were savaged by the dogs, Silvestre Cossa, andbrothers Alexandre and Gabriel Timane. They bowed their heads,overwhelmed, and covered their eyes with their hands. TheMozambican government's representative, Jose Nascimento,expressed concern yesterday at the "wave of xenophobia"sweeping SA. "It is unacceptable, especially if you considerthe historical ties between SA and (the Mozambican ruling party)Frelimo," Nascimento said. Van Zyl testified that thepolicemen's training methods diverged from what was regarded asstandard practice. He said that the usual method was to havetraining of police training dogs under the auspices of aninstructor and a protective padded suit was used. The lawyer forthe first accused, Jacobus Smith, put it to Van Zyl undercross-examination that his client had been taking medication fordepression and stress after his mother had been killed in arobbery. Smith said evidence would be led that it was normalpractice to set inexperienced police dogs on detainees andprisoners when training them. The four policemen who have pleadedguilty are Smith, Lodewyk Koch, Robert Henzen and Eugene Truter.
SA, Botswana to discuss bordersecurity (Sapa, Pretoria, 21/11) - South Africa andBotswana are to discuss issues such as crime and border patrolsat the second session of their joint permanent committee ofdefence and security that began in Centurion, outside Pretoria onWednesday. Opening the session, Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekotasaid the talks would take place within the context of regionalsecurity. "Our common borders necessitate ever-closerworking relations," he said. "Border liaison, generalcrime, border patrols, immigration matters, and customs andexcise are some of the issues that will be discussed." TwoBotswana Cabinet members are attending the session - Minister forPresidential Affairs and Public Administration Thebe Mogami andMinister of Mineral, Energy and Water Affairs Boometswe Mokgothu.The inaugural meeting of the committee was held in November lastyear. Lekota said this week's two-day session would largely focuson progress made so far to enhance co-operation in the areas ofdefence and public and state security. "Stable and securecountries ensure a strong region. Strong regions ensure a stableand strong continent," the minister said.
Cop dogs trained on crime suspects,court hears (Sapa, Pretoria, 21/11) - It was notunusual for police dogs that were reluctant to bite to be set onsuspected criminals in practice sessions, the Pretoria High Courtheard on Wednesday. "There is not a dog handler in SouthAfrica who was not either personally involved in such anincident, an eyewitness, or at least knew about thepractice," former handler Hannes Brits testified. "Ithas been going on for years." Brits was giving evidence inthe trial of four men convicted of setting their police dogs onthree illegal Mozambican immigrants in a 1998 "trainingexercise". Illegal aliens were usually the targets in suchpractice sessions, "as they are unlikely to complain to theauthorities", he said. Brits also testified that"targets" were readily available in the late 1970s andearly 1980s among black people found on the streets without theirpass books.
The court heard that some police dogs were reluctant to bitein attack situations as their training differed greatly fromcircumstances in real life. There were, however, several ways toteach dogs to bite. One such method included chasing a suspectwith your dog on a leash, and then inciting him to attack whilestill holding on, Brits said. This method was usually practisedon suspects "that you can see beforehand will not be able torun away", mostly people under the influence of alcohol, hetold the court. It was also not done in public, as people mightquestion why a dog was set on someone if the policeman was ableto catch up with the suspect himself. If all else failed, Britssaid, one would catch a suspect, take him to a remote spot, andcall some colleagues to join you for a practice session. Onewould then let loose the reluctant dog to see if it bites. Ifnot, more experienced dogs would be set on the suspect to teachthe other animal how it was done. Should it then eventuallyattack, the dog was likely to "come right", Brits said."This is known as tasting blood." Explaining theimportance of a dog being able to attack, he said he and hisformer colleagues daily came face to face with hardened criminalswho killed police members "for the joke". "Toconfront them with a dog that does not attack is like sending theAmericans into Afghanistan without any firearms," Britssaid.
The court on Wednesday started to hear evidence in mitigationand aggravation of sentence for Jacobus Petrus Smith, LodewykChristiaan Koch, Robert Benjamin Henzen and Eugene Werner Truter.They were on Monday found guilty on three charges each of assaultwith the intent to do serious bodily harm. Henzen and Truter werealso convicted of attempting to defeat the ends of justice bysigning a false entry in a police register. The four men acceptedguilt on all the charges. Testifying for the State,Superintendent Egbertus van Zyl said such practices were notallowed, and denied having been aware that they existed. He wasthe four men's commander at the Northeast Rand dog unit at thetime of the assaults. Had he been aware, Van Zyl said, he wouldhave launched an investigation and referred the matter to theIndependent Complaints Directorate. He was, however, accused oflying by defence counsel. The court heard that Van Zyl had aquota system in terms of which dog unit members under his commandhad to make a certain number of arrests every month, and werequestioned if their dogs were not used in attacks often enough.Entries were made into a register, and instances where dogs bitsuspects were marked in red ink. "My information is that youlooked at the red entries at the end of every month, and if therewere not enough, you asked the member what was wrong with hisdog," said Peet Coetsee, counsel for Smith. Van Zyl concededhe may have said this. He stressed, however, that the performanceof a dog was measured against the successes he had, not thenumber of times he actually bit someone.
Dog unit members were awarded points in terms of the quotasystem, with the highest score given for a dog biting somebodysuspected of a serious crime, the court heard. Brits told thecourt he initially did not want to testify for fear ofincriminating himself, but decided to do so because of sympathyfor the four convicted men. "We never did anything butmaintain law and order," he said. "I don't like to seethem sitting there as if they are the only ones who ever didthis. I wanted to put in perspective that this was asystem." In the morning, gasps of disbelief were heard inthe courtroom when video footage was shown of the men assaultingand setting their dogs on the three Mozambicans - Gabriel PedroTimane, Alexandre Pedro Timane and Sylvester Cose. The other twoaccused in the case, Nicolaas Kenneth Loubser and Dino Guiotto,on Monday pleaded not guilty on all the charges against them.Their trial is to proceed separately in June next year. The sixmen are out on bail of R2000 each. They were suspended withoutpay after their arrest in November last year shortly before SABCTV broadcast video footage of the attack. Some of themsubsequently resigned from the police. The trial continues onThursday.
Another Home Affairs officialarrested (Sapa, Pretoria, 21/11) - Another HomeAffairs Department official has been arrested for aiding andabetting illegal immigrants, the department announced onWednesday. Sibusiso Msiza, a senior administration clerk at thedepartment's Pretoria district office, was arrested on Tuesdayand appeared in court on charges related to the issuing of falsepassports to foreigners, it said in a statement. Msiza was freedon R1500 bail by the Pretoria Magistrate's Court, and is toappear again on December 4. The department said it had starteddisciplinary proceedings against him. Th latest arrest was partof Project Molopo, a joint effort by the department and thepolice to root out corruption among home affairs staff.
Home Affairs employee walks intopolice trap (Mail & Guardian, 20/11) - A33-year-old home affairs department official appeared in theLouis Trichardt Magistrate's Court on Thursday after sheallegedly accepted a bribe from an illegal immigrant, NorthernProvince police reported. Captain Ailwei Mushavhanamadi saidRebecca Monisi was granted R1000 bail and the case was postponeduntil December 7. Monisi was arrested on Wednesday. "We seta trap for her and she walked right into it. We arrested her whenshe accepted R2 000 from a Mozambican who wanted to become aSouth African citizen," Mushavhanamadi said.
NNP welcomes dog unit cops conviction (Sapa, Pretoria,20/11) - The New National Party welcomed on Tuesday theconviction of four former policemen who set their dogs on threeillegal immigrants in a 1998 "training exercise"."This sends out a strong message that xenophobia and racismwill not be tolerated in our country," NNP spokesman AndreGaum said in a statement. "It proves that those who do notwant to respect the humanity and dignity of others will have topay dearly." Jacobus Petrus Smith, Lodewyk Christiaan Koch,Robert Benjamin Henzen and Eugene Werner Truter each pleadedguilty to three counts of assault with the intent to do grievousbodily harm in the Pretoria High Court on Monday and wereconvicted as such. Henzen and Truter were furthermore foundguilty on a charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justicefor signing a false entry in a police register - a charge onwhich they also accepted guilt. Their two co-accused, NicolaasKenneth Loubser and Dino Guiotto, denied guilt on all thecharges. The matter against Loubser and Guiotto is to proceed intwo separate trials. Gaum said there was no place for brutalityin a police force that should protect all citizens. "Peoplewant to trust the police and not fear them."
Farmers seek work permits for thousands of Zimbabweans(African Eye News Service, Nelspruit, 20/11) - NorthernProvince farmers have submitted applications for more than 4 000Zimbabwean labourers to be granted work permits. The workers havelong avoided deportation because of an apartheid agreement thatallowed farmers in the Soutpansberg region, which bordersZimbabwe, to hand out "special" work permits. Farmworkers' rights activists eventually complained in 1998 that theinflux of foreigners was uncontrollable and that farmers usedthem because they were not unionised and not protected againstabuse. Farmers now have until Thursday to apply for legitimatework permits, which will be processed by the department of homeaffairs by December 1. This follows an agreement between farmers,home affairs and the labour department last week. SoutpansbergDistrict Agricultural Union chairman Gideon Meiring said onTuesday that farmers were pleased with the process so far."We're definitely satisfied that everything is going wellwith the applications and that we can still use the people(Zimbabwean farm workers) for the time being," Meiring said.A task team comprising all stakeholders will study theapplications and make recommendations to home affairs on whichones should be approved or not. Northern Province labourspokesman Joe Mayila warned that foreign workers who did not havethe necessary documents after December 1 would be consideredillegal. "The law will take its course," Mayila said.Future employment of foreign labourers will have to go throughthe normal channels at home affairs. Home affairs initially gavefarmers deadlines to phase out about 11 000 unskilled labourersby April 15 this year and skilled one by October 15. Farmerscomplained that there would be a severe staff shortage, however,and threatened to take legal action until this new agreement wasreached.
Four dog cops guilty of assaulting Mozambicans (Sapa,Pretoria, 19/11) - Four men were found guilty on severalcharges in the Pretoria High Courton Monday after admitting tosetting their police dogs on illegal immigrants in a 1998"training exercise" along with two other colleagues.Jacobus Petrus Smith, Lodewyk Christiaan Koch, Robert BenjaminHenzen and Eugene Werner Truter were each convicted on threecounts of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm.Henzen and Truter were furthermore found guilty on a charge ofattempting to defeat the ends of justice by signing a false entryin a police register.
The State withdrew a corruption charge against the four men,as well as the charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justiceagainst Smith and Koch. The other two accused, Nicolaas KennethLoubser and Dino Guiotto, denied guilt on all five charges. Thejudge ruled that the matter proceed in two separate trials - onefor the four convicted men, and another for Loubser and Guiotto.The trial of Smith, Koch, Henzen and Truter was postponed toWednesday for evidence in mitigation of sentence. Their bail ofR2000 each was extended. A trial date of June 3 to 7 next yearwas set down for Loubser and Guiotto. Their bail of R2000 eachwas also extended. The six were all members of the Northeast Randpolice dog unit. They were suspended without pay after theirarrest in November last year. Some of them subsequently resignedfrom the police. They were taken into custody shortly after SABCTV screened video footage showing dogs being incited by policemento attack three Mozambicans -Gabriel Pedro Timane, AlexandrePedro Timane and Sylvester Cose - on the morning of January 3,1998. The four who accepted guilt said in their pleas read tocourt that the event was an exercise aimed at teachinginexperienced police dogs to attack on their handlers'instruction. Smith said he was told by his chief instructor thatGuiotto's dog was reluctant to bite people in an attacksituation. The instructor suggested he should seek an opportunityto rectify the dog's behaviour. The instructor cited the arrestof illegal immigrants or other suspected criminals as an exampleof such an opportunity. Smith said he did not regard thisinstruction as unusual.
On the day of the attacks, Smith and Koch spotted threesuspicious-looking people at a taxi rank near Benoni. Theyarrested the men and found that they were illegal aliens. Kochinformed the five other accused, who then joined Smith and Kochwith their dogs at an open veld in Brakpan. Onlookers arrived,and the exercise was moved to another spot near Benoni. All fourmen admitted to inciting more experienced dogs to bite theimmigrants in order to show Guiotto's dog how this should bedone. In his plea, Smith admitted to inciting his dog, Rex, tobite the three men, and to assaulting them. He said he had actedout of "bravado" and a "rush of emotion".Koch, for his part, said he had not hit anyone but had encouragedhis dog, Jakkals, to attack the three men. Henzen confessed tohitting Alexandre Timane with his elbow and to inciting his dogto attack Gabriel Timane. He furthermore acknowledged he hadsigned a false entry in the dog unit register which stated theattacks were the result of the three men resisting arrest. Truterin his plea admitted to encouraging his dog Dingo to bite GabrielTimane, and acknowledged that he too had signed the falseregister entry. Koch, Henzen and Truter all admitted todeliberately neglecting to intervene to stop the attacks. Thethree complainants were present at the court on Monday.
Police dog attack: four found guilty (Iafrica.com,Pretoria, 19/11) - Four of the six men charged withsetting their police dogs on illegal immigrants in a 1998"training exercise" were found guilty on severalcharges in the Pretoria High Court earlier today. This came afterJacobus Petrus Smith, Lodewyk Christiaan Koch, Robert BenjaminHenzen, Eugene Werner Truter earlier each pleaded guilty on threecharges of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm.Henzen and Truter furthermore pleaded guilty on a charge ofattempting to defeat the ends of justice. This charge related toa false entry into the dog unit register. The four men were notasked to plead on a charge of corruption. The other two accused,Nicolaas Kenneth Loubser and Dino Guiotto, denied guilt on allfive charges. The six men were all members of the Northeast Randpolice dog unit. They were suspended without pay after they werearrested in November last year. Some of them subsequentlyresigned from the police. The men were taken into custody shortlyafter SABC TV screened video footage showing dogs being incitedby policemen to attack three Mozambicans Gabriel PedroTimane, Alexandre Pedro Timane and Sylvester Cose on themorning of January 3, 1998. The four who accepted guilt said intheir pleas read to those present in the courtroom that the 1998event was an exercise aimed at teaching inexperienced police dogsto attack on instruction. Smith said he was told by his chiefinstructor that Guiotto's dog was reluctant to bite people in anattack situation. The instructor suggested he find a way ofrectifying the dog's behaviour. He cited the arrest of illegalimmigrants as an example of such an opportunity. Smith said hedid not regard this instruction as unusual. On the day of thealleged attacks, Smith and Koch spotted three suspicious lookingpeople at a taxi rank near Benoni. They arrested the men andfound that they were illegal aliens. Koch informed five othersaccused of this, who then joined Smith and Koch with their dogsin a field in Brakpan. Onlookers arrived, and the exercise wasmoved to another spot near Benoni. All four men admitted toinciting more experienced dogs to bite the aliens in order toshow Guiotto's dog how this should be done. Henzen and Truter, intheir pleas, said it was important to teach police dogs to biteso that they could be used in crime prevention operations andwould be able to protect their handlers in dangerous situations.Prosecutor John Welch asked the court to deliver judgmentaccording to the guilty pleas. Judge Willie van der Merwe accededafter considering the matter during an adjournment.
'We were training the dogs to bite humans' (Mail &Guardian, Pretoria, 18/11) - Four of sixwhite South African policemen were convicted on Monday forsetting their dogs on three suspected illegal immigrants fromMozambique, saying it was done to train their dogs to bitehumans. The six men were arrested in November last year aftersickening video footage of the attack was shown on television inSouth Africa -- horrifying the nation -- and around the world.Jacobus Smith, Lodewyk Koch, Robert Henzen and Eugene Truter wereconvicted on three charges of assault Monday in the Pretoria HighCourt. The two other accused, Nicolaas Loubser and Dino Guitto,pleaded not guilty to all charges and will be tried separately.Henzen and Truter were also found guilty on one charge each ofdefeating the ends of justice by signing a false entry regardingthe incident in a police register. The four found guilty admittedin their plea explanations to "knowingly andintentionally" assaulting the three men and urging theirdogs to maul the victims. Smith said he had acted out of"bravado" and a "rush of emotion". Theaccused said they were trying to train younger, inexperiencedpolice dogs -- particularly one that had been reluctant to bitepeople -- to attack on instruction, although Smith claimed in anearlier affidavit that the dogs were old and their teeth blunt.On the day of the attacks -- January 3, 1998 -- Smith and Kocharrested the three men and found they were illegal aliens, whoenjoy few rights in South Africa. The other four accused thenjoined Smith and Koch in a field about 20 kilometres ofJohannesburg. There, they turned their dogs on the three men --later identified as Gabriel Pedro Timane, Alexandre Pedro Timane,and Sylvester Cose from Mozambique, who the video footage showedscreaming for help. The film showed the dogs attacking theillegal immigrants for 40 minutes as the policemen urged them on.The policemen also punched and slapped the three men, callingthem "bastards" and "kaffirs" -- a derogatoryterm for blacks. The six policemen were charged with three countsof serious assault, one of corruption, and one of attempting todefeat the ends of justice. The corruption charge relates to thepolicemen allegedly promising to free the Mozambicans for apayment of R300 ($36). The six policemen were suspended from thepolice dog unit in Benoni, northeast of Johannesburg, followingtheir arrest. Loubser, Guiotto and Truter subsequently resignedfrom the force. The trial of Smith, Koch, Henzen and Truter wasadjourned to Wednesday for evidence in mitigation of sentence.Their bail of R2 000 each was extended. Loubser and Guiotto areto appear before the judge again for their trial date to bedetermined. Their bail was also extended. In an interviewpublished in November last year, a Swiss national who trainspolice dogs said the methods used by the officers were similar tothose used to train dogs to attack runaway slaves in the UnitedStates in the 18th century.
Buthelezi defends Deputy DG, Ivan Lambinon (Sapa, CapeTown, 14/11) - Home Affairs Minister MangosuthuButhelezi has defended a public servant who earlier this week wassingled out and scolded by the ANC-dominated home affairscommittee for not being present during its "oversightvisit" to head office earlier this month. Ivan Lambinon, adeputy director-general, is perceived to be part of the old-guardin a department hamstrung by the public acrimony betweenButhelezi and his director-general Billy Masetlha, a former ANCintelligence agent. On Wednesday, Buthelezi said in a statementthat Masetlha had apologised to the committee on behalf of allsenior managers who were unable to be there, including Lambinon.In a letter to Lambinon, dated November 12, committee chairAubrey Mokoena (ANC) described his absence during the committee'svisit on November 6 and 7 as an "absolute oddity",especially as he always attended committee meetings with"missionary zeal, albeit uninvited". "I mustrecord that your continued attendance of portfolio committeemeetings without an invitation from the chairperson has causedsome discomfort." Mokoena said if the situation continued,"it will result in the oversight role being reversed"."That is, you will be assuming the role of oversight overthe portfolio committee, instead of the other way round. The cruxof the matter is that you are accountable to us and not viceversa." Mokoena said Lambinon's presence at "manyportfolio committee meetings" might create problems inrespect of state expenditure, "who may want to know how yourattendance of these meetings are authorised and financed".
However, Buthelezi said it was normal practice for a DG orsenior officers, including Lambinon, to be present in Cape Townto help him. "It is surprising that the chairperson...should now find it strange that Minister Buthelezi would want oneor more of his senior officials in Cape Town to assist him in histask." Buthelezi said that without detracting from theimportance of the committee's work, it should be understood thatdirectors-general and senior officials were not in attendance inCape Town during parliamentary sessions exclusively to attendmeetings of portfolio committees. Lambinon would, after dueconsultation with Buthelezi, reply to Mokoena's queries"within the established channels of communication as aprofessional public servant of many years' standing",Buthelezi said Buthelezi -- who has asked Mbeki to intervene inthe dispute with Masetlha -- last month presented the committeewith 64 complaints about the director-general, whom he accused ofinsubordination. Buthelezi claims Masetlha blocked his attempt tomove Lambinon from the government printing works section toassist in the "crisis" in immigration.
Illegal Zimbabwean workers must be treated humanely:says Mbeki (Sapa, Parliament, 13/11) - President ThaboMbeki says the issue of illegal Zimbabwean workers in theNorthern Province should be treated as humanely as possible, butwithout breaking the law. "We have a bit of a problem here;in the process of dealing with the matter humanely, we can't saythat home affairs should break the law," he told theNational Council of Provinces. However, there was a need tohandle the matter in a sensitive way and not to add to theproblems of Zimbabwe, or fan xenophobia among South Africans.Noting that some of the workers may have been in the country for15 years, he said based on the approach of ubuntu the governmenthad a few years back allowed those who were illegal immigrantsfor more than five years to apply for citizenship. "I don'tknow why others might have missed that particular opportunity,but certainly I agree that we have to approach the matter withall due sensitivity," Mbeki said. Meanwhile, the NationalAssembly's home affairs committee has recommended to Parliamentthat a task team be set up to find solutions to the farm labourcrisis in the Soutpansberg region of the Northern Province. Inits report on illegal Zimbabwean workers in the area, it said theteam should comprise representatives of the departments of labourand home affairs, organised agriculture and labour, the securityforces, local municipalities and the provincial government. Thehome affairs committee would manage the entire process. MPsvisited the area on November 5 to investigate possible solutions"to the problem of illegal Zimbabwean labourers working onfarms in the area", committee chairman Aubrey Mokoena saidin the report. Farmers in the area were under the impressionthere was an implicit agreement between the government and theSoutpansberg District Agricultural Union to allow Zimbabweanworkers, in a controlled way, to work on their farms. "Thereason being that because of the demographics of the populationin the area, there are no South Africans to work on thefarms." The report says a moratorium was placed on therenewal and granting of permits to Zimbabwean labourers in 1999,which signalled the start of problems between the farmers and thegovernment. "The assumption by the department of labour thatthere are enough local people who would like to work on the farmshas never been tested and weighed in practice." Mostattempts by farmers to secure local labour was costly andunsuccessful, the report said. The matter has yet to be formallyconsidered by the National Assembly.
1,822 child refugees in SA (Sapa, Parliament, 9/11) - Atotal of 1822 children applied for refugee status in South Africabetween August 1994 and August this year, according to HomeAffairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi. In written reply to aquestion in the National Assembly, he said the children, allunder the age of 18, came from Algeria, Armenia, Bangladesh,Bosnia, Benin, Burundi, China, Comores, Croatia, and Eritrea.Others came from Ghana, India, Iraq, Kenya, Korea, Mali, Nigeria,Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Serbia, Sudan,Turkey, and Zambia. Some of the children were accompanying theirparents, while unaccompanied children were in the care of theUnited Nations High Commission for Refugees, Buthelezi said. Hedid not specify how many of the children were granted asylum.
Hillbrow raid on migrants (The Star, 8/11) - Anarmy-led raid at a notorious hotel in Hillbrow nabbed severalillegal immigrants and recovered drugs and other stolen goods onThursday. Hundreds of South African Police Service members,immigration officials and South African National Defence Forcepersonnel swooped on the Mimosa International Hotel. They wereacting on information provided to them by the Crime IntelligenceUnit. This was the second raid on the hotel in two months. Thefirst took place on August 23. The operation started shortlyafter 2pm on Thursday when helicopters flew low, dropping armedpolice officers on the roof of the hotel. Cordons were thrownaround the area, and everyone caught in the marked-out terrainwas subjected to a body search. Police Superintendent ChrisWilken said that since Operation Thunderstorm was launched incentral Johannesburg a week ago, more than R5-million worth ofstolen goods had been recovered. By Thursday, police had arrested718 suspects in 688 cases. In one of the abandoned rooms, asoldier recovered 15 rocks of cocaine and two ID documents. Inanother room, police found dagga lying around. Some of the SouthAfrican women labelled the raid as a police-inspired xenophobicattack on Nigerians. But police dismissed the claim, saying theirmission was to fight crime. Meanwhile, police arrested two boys -aged 14 and 19 - for attempted robbery in Mayfair on Thursday.They were caught at Enoch Sontonga cemetery.
Meeting between Mbeki and Buthelezi fails to resolvedispute over DG (Sapa, Cape Town, 8/11) - The PublicService Commission and the auditor-general's apparent hesitancyto probe whether home affairs director-general Billy Masetlha hasa valid contract, has raised Democratic Alliance MP RaenetteTaljaard's ire. "This increased hesitancy... it looks likeeveryone is waiting for the cue from the president," shetold Sapa on Thursday. Taljaard believes auditor-general ShauketFakie is abdicating his mandate by not investigating the matterimmediately. However, Fakie disagrees. He says he informedTaljaard that he had applied his mind and had come to the rightdecision. Taljaard was free to disagree, but should also respecthis decision, Fakie told Sapa. Earlier this week, the PublicService Commission (PSC) said it had suspended its inquiry intoMasetlha's employment status at the request of home affairscommittee chairman Aubrey Mokoena, pending the go-ahead fromParliament itself. PSC chairman Prof Stan Sangweni told Sapa hehad not launched a probe himself as he was aware the presidentwas addressing the matter. "I had no reason to interferewith that." President Thabo Mbeki has held at least twoinconclusive meetings with Buthelezi - the most recent last week- in a bid to resolve the minister's dispute with Masetlha. Interms of the Public Service Act, the president appointsdirectors-general. Buthelezi - the IFP leader - has been atloggerheads with Masetlha, a former ANC intelligence operative,for months, paralysing the department. Buthelezi claims the lackof a contract lays the department open to legal challenges andunauthorised expenditure.
DA leader Tony Leon told reporters in Parliament on Thursdaythat the way the ANC was treating Buthelezi in Cabinet should bea warning signal to the NNP, which has entered a"co-operative governance" agreement with the rulingparty at all levels of government. In a letter to Taljaard datedOctober 10, Fakie said he had perused legal opinion fromButhelezi's counsel, and noted one of them was of the view thatMasetlha's contract had been extended and was valid. "Thedispute is the fact that the accounting officer has failed toenter into a written contract, as required by section 36 (f) ofthe Public Finance Management Act, as well as the relevant PublicService Act and regulations." Fakie said he had been advisedthis was a compliance matter that would be dealt with during thenext audit cycle. He said he would consider all relevant views,including the PSC's findings, for the purpose of the audit at theconclusion of the 2001/02 financial year. An angry Taljaardreplied that all three legal opinions had in fact foundMasetlha's actions could be challenged due to the absence of alegally valid contract. She said while the PSC had a role toplay, the potential breach of section 36(5) fell squarely in theindependent mandate of the auditor-general, as did the broadercompliance issue. Taljaard said Fakie could not merely wait inthe wings and reflect on matters once the PSC had looked into it."The constitutional provisions relating to the mandate ofthe office suggests a far more rigorous approach, and I wouldlike to request a full investigation of this matter," shewrote.
Nation stunned by cop brutality footage (Mail &Guardian, Johannesburg, 8/11) - Six SouthAfrican policemen have been arrested after shocking video footageof police dogs being set on suspected illegal immigrants wasaired on nationwide television, police Commissioner Jackie Selebisaid. At least six police officers, all of them attached to theNortheast Rand dog unit, participated in the gruesome game, inwhich it seemed as if the police officers involved enjoyedreleasing their dogs on the three detainees. The 40-minute filmwas shot two years ago. None of the three men were wearingprotective clothing, and the footage showed them writhing on theground in pain as the policemen incited their dogs with shouts of"rim the kaffir", holding the leashes as the animalsmauled the men. The camera repeatedly focused on bleeding woundson the men's arms and legs. One of the officers is seen slappinga suspect on the head as he screams in pain. Commissioner Selebisaid the six would be charged with attempted murder. He hasappointed a group of detectives to probe the incident. Selebi andSafety and Security Minister Steve Tshwete told reporters theyhad been shocked at the racism and brutality displayed in thefootage. "I am horrified and outraged. This blatant displayof racism is likely to cause serious racial tension and mightdent our international image," Tshwete said. The SouthAfrican police force is still reeling from footage aired by theBBC in April last year in which police officers fromJohannesburg's flying squad were shown kicking and beating twohijackers, one of them seriously injured, after their stolen carhad ploughed into a tree. The hijacker injured in that accidentsubsequently died in hospital from brain injuries received in thecrash. Two policemen involved in the incident were fined. Selebisaid that he was "aware of the fact that pockets of racismdo indeed exist [in the police], but I am shocked to know thatsome members can act like this." "Although the footagewas apparently filmed in 1998, the fact that the police officialsconcerned are still serving ... and possibly continuing withtheir barbaric acts, is cause for deep concern," he said.
Parliamentary Committee defends Aliens Control Act(Sapa, Pretoria, 7/11) - The Home Affairs Department wasacting correctly in the way it dealt with the issue ofZimbabweans employed on farms in the Limpopo Valley in theNorthern Province, parliamentary Home Affairs portfolio committeechairman Aubrey Mokoena said on Wednesday. He and other committeemembers paid a visit to the area on Monday. They spoke to farmersand other stakeholders to hear their views, Mokoena toldreporters in Pretoria. The department earlier gave farmers untilOctober 15 to send back their more than 10,000 Zimbabweanworkers, or else face prosecution. Three farmers' unions from thearea applied to the Pretoria High Court for an order to stall theeviction of the foreigners pending the completion of negotiationswith the department to find a workable solution. In anout-of-court settlement the unions and the department agreed thatthere would be no arrests and evictions until discussions hadtaken place.
In a memorandum presented to the committee on Monday, thefarmers said they were South African patriots and did not intendto break the law. They were committed to boosting the economy,creating jobs, poverty alleviation, improvement of food securityand wealth creation. They accepted illegal Zimbabweans asemployees, mostly on a seasonal basis, out of desperation becausethey had a labour shortage. "The farmers complain that thelocal people regard farm work as beneath their dignity,"Mokoena said. He said the committee was impressed with theforthrightness of the farmers and their willingness to admit thatthey broke the law by employing illegal aliens. "We wereimpressed by the fact that they have secured both local andinternational contracts, thus ensuring the opening of markets andfacilitating the inflow of foreign currency into the country."There is a lot of goodwill from the farmers' side."But he added: "The department is not acting out of badfaith." It acted correctly in applying the Aliens ControlAct, which forbids the employment of illegal immigrants."The law is the law and must be applied." In the longterm, it could be amended, but as it stood it should bemaintained, Mokoena said. The department and the farmers'representatives had agreed to form a small committee todeliberate on how to take the matter further. The portfoliocommittee was of the opinion that the small committee shouldinclude participation of all stakeholders, including localgovernment, as well as organised labour, civil society and blackfarmers, he said. The committee was scheduled to meet next week."We'll give the meeting a chance," Mokoena said. Itthis succeeded, it could be used as a model to solve similarproblems in the Free State and elsewhere, he said.
Minister cautions against Islamophobia (Sapa,Parliament, 7/11) - The last few weeks had witnessed therise of Islamophobia and anti-Arab sentiment and intolerance inthe developed world and even in South Africa, Foreign AffairsMinister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Wednesday. Openingdebate on the World Conference Against Racism, RacialDiscrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held in Durbanfrom August 31 to September 7, she said the increase inIslamophobia was fuelled by the work of"pseudo-specialists" on the Middle East and Islam.Dlamini-Zuma said it could not be disputed that racism, racialdiscrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance was on therise, especially in the countries of the developed north."No country is immune from racism. The barbaric acts ofterrorism in the United States on 11 September are ample proofthat intolerance, bigotry and fanaticism is on theascendancy." Equally appalling was the tendency in somedeveloped countries and even in South Africa "to vent angerat a particular group of people because of their religion",Dlamini-Zuma said. "The last few weeks have witnessed therise of Islamophobia and anti-Arab feeling and relatedintolerance in the developed countries. This form of aberrationmasquerades itself as the work of specialists on the Middle Eastand on Islam. "The view expressed by thesepseudo-specialists reinforces the stereotyping of the people ofthe Middle Eastern origin as inherently violent. "This wemust reject, just as the Durban conference instructed usto," Dlamini-Zuma said.
Nearly 1,200 Mozambicans nabbed in one month (AfricanEye News Service, Nelspruit, 7/11) - ImpoverishedMozambicans continue to flock to South Africa for a better lifeeven if it means putting their life in danger by walking throughthe Kruger National Park. South African National Defence Force(SANDF) statistics indicate that 1 193 illegal Mozambicanimmigrants were arrested in South Africa last month. Of these, 85were arrested in the world famous park, while 1 108 were arrestedon the border south of Komatipoort in Mpumalanga province, saidGroup 33 spokeswoman in Nelspruit Lize Pienaar on Wednesday.Pienaar said commando members in Belfast, Groblersdal, Malelaneand Nelspruit also arrested 173 illegal immigrants in theirjurisdiction. "Although the majority of undocumentedmigrants were from Mozambique, a few citizens of Somalia andPakistan were also arrested," she said. Joint army andpolice operations also recovered 10 stolen firearms and sixstolen vehicles on the border between South Africa andMozambique. Dagga weighing 10,9kg and 52 rounds of ammunitionwere also confiscated on the border, Pienaar added. She said theoperations resulted in the arrest of 25 suspects. Part-time armycommandos throughout the province also had major successes instamping out crime by arresting 68 suspects, she said. Volunteercommando members arrested the suspects in connection withstealing 21 vehicles and eight unlicensed weapons. The suspectsare also accused of poaching game worth R1 800, illegallypossessing chrome and foreign currency notes, as well 42,5kg ofdagga and 12 rounds of ammunition.
Failure to deal with Home Affairs saga underminesdemocracy says IFP (Sapa, Ulundi, 3/11) - The InkathaFreedom Party (IFP) said that the failure to deal with tensionsbetween Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi and hisdirector general Billy Masetlha undermined democracy and goodgovernance. In a statement to Sapa on Saturday after its NationalCouncil meeting in Ulundi, KwaZulu-Natal, the IFP said that itwas intolerable that Buthelezi had been placed in a position torun the department while his policies were being undermined byhis director general. Relations between Buthelezi - the IFPleader - and Masetlha, a former African National Congressintelligence operative, have been strained for months andButhelezi has claimed - backed by legal opinion of senior counsel-that Masetlha had not had a valid employment contract since Junethis year. Buthelezi had presented a 10-page document citing 64examples of alleged wrongdoing by Masetlha to the home affairscommittee. He accused Masetlha of insubordination and defiance."The National Council deplores that good governance,democracy and accountability in government are being underminedby the failure to deal appropriately and decisively with thereported defiance, insubordination and contempt Masetlha hasshown towards his Minister and his duties of office, extensive ofwhich have been tabled in the National Assembly," the IFPsaid. It urged the Public Service Commission which investigatesthe matter to operate with impartiality and without fear andprejudice. "This will prove that not all institutions ofgovernment are under the control of the same echelon of politicalinterest and that the constitution will not be undermined in thisrespect".
Graduates gain skills, then leave SA says Manuel(Sapa, Durban, 2/11) - Government proposed to increasethe number of students in higher education by 20 percent over themedium to long term, but South Africa could no longer afford toproduce thousands of students for the international labourmarket, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel said on Friday. Manuel wasspeaking at a University of Durban Westville University dinner tostrengthen links with major business in KwaZulu-Natal and toensure financial support for the institution which has produced anumber of the country's political and financial leaders. Manuelsaid thousands of skilled people left the country each year,resulting in the import of scarce skills at high cost to theeconomy and the country to fill the vacuum created by thoseleaving. "These foreign skills are usually costly, andcannot always be relied upon to understand the developmental andnational context that the locals have grasped and have first handexperience of," Manuel said. He said unemployment in thecountry was unacceptably high and the divide between the whiterich nation and the poor black nation could not be allowed tocontinue. "It is clear that we have the capacity for SouthAfrica to at least go some way in bridging the gap between richand poor. The will of business and industry is needed in thisregard." Manuel said partnerships between the private andpublic sectors could leverage resources to have a greater impacton learning and productivity. He added that many large companiesin the country still did not have a corporate socialresponsibility programme. South Africa was considered the engineof growth for Africa and was one of the most important emergingmarkets, but apartheid had left the country with a poor humanresource base which needed to be addressed if it wanted to becompetitive in the global economy. Manuel said a poor humanresource base impacted heavily on the size of markets andpersonnel recruitment. It indirectly led to greater uncertaintyin the work place, lower productivity and even some fluidity ofthe Rand - "although the fluctuation of the Rand has verylittle to do with what happens in South Africa". As far ashuman resource development was concerned, the future of businessand education had to be closely linked. "I believe that ourhuman resources are one of the most important factors ofproduction in today's global economy. Whether we like it or notwe are part of a skills food chain," Manuel said.
Home Affairs separates services for citizens andforeigners (Sapa, Pretoria, 1/11) - One office in eachof the Home Affairs Department's 10 regions would in futurehandle migration matters, while all the others would be devotedto civic services, a spokesman said on Thursday. This would startwith the Johannesburg regional office in Harrison Street, whichwould from Thursday only render migration services - thoserelated to the management of foreigners' entrance into thecountry, Leslie Mashokwe said. The Market Street office, as wellas all other offices in the region, would only render civicservices - like birth and death registrations, marriages andidentity documents. "This step is being taken in view of thefact that migration services are becoming increasinglyspecialised and to subsequently create a more professional,specialised workforce." Mashokwe said the separation wasalso in line with the Immigration Bill.
Buthelezi downplays meeting with Mbeki about DGMasetlha (Sapa, Parliament, 1/11) - Home AffairsMinister Mangosuthu Buthelezi on Thursday downplayed a meetingearlier this week with the Presidency on tensions between himselfand his director general Billy Masethla. Replying to questions inthe National Assembly, he said "no conclusions werereached" at the Wednesday meeting with President Thabo Mbekiand Deputy President Jacob Zuma. Contrary to statements issued bythe Presidency, the meeting was not convened to deal solely withthe Masetlha issue. "The impression I got from the DeputyPresident was that it was a meeting that we have, the three ofus, from time to time. "At this meeting this issue, amongother things, was raised but no conclusions were reached onthat," he said. Both Buthelezi - the Inkatha Freedom Partyleader - and Masetlha, a former ANC intelligence operative, havepreviously asked for Mbeki's intervention. Relations between theminister and the DG have been strained for months and Buthelezihas claimed - backed by legal opinion of senior counsel -thatMasetlha had not had a valid employment contract since June thisyear. The minister last week presented a 10-page document citing64 examples of alleged wrongdoing by Masetlha to the home affairscommittee. He accused the director-general of insubordination anddefiance. Masetlha said in response that he was angry anddisappointed by the accusations, which he contended were part ofa campaign to vilify him.
Buthelezi told MPs that Masetlha seemed to have placed himselfabove the law. By working without a valid contract, he had placedthe legality of all actions taken by the department in jeopardy."It is possible that Mr Masetlha is placing himself abovethe rule of law and creating the invalidity of an enormous amountof actions taken by my department with unforseeable consequencesfor the state. "It was also an enormous setback for ourdemocracy as it seems that certain people are becominguntouchable and beyond the reach of law." In this Masetlhawas receiving support from "many sectors". Buthelezisaid he, as the political head of the department, was thereforenot able to perform his constitutionally mandated function ofbeing accountable to Parliament. Democratic Alliance MP RaenetteTaljaard told Sapa the office of the auditor general shouldinvestigate the matter further. "The confirmation by theMinister of Home Affairs on the floor of Parliament that the DGdid not have a contract would need to be looked at in a veryserious light by the office of the auditor general." The AGshould also request more details on the scope and terms ofreference of the Public Service Commission investigation into thestatus of Masetlha's contract. "I will be following up onprevious correspondence with the auditor general in thisregard," she said. Buthelezi said he had referred allinformation and documentation on Masetlha's contract to the PSCfollowing a recommendation of Parliament's home affairs portfoliocommittee. The commission was investigating the matter, butultimately the final decision of the DG's status rested with thepresident. The minister said he had only agreed to Mbeki'srequest that Masetlha's contract be extended on condition thatthe situation was reviewed when the president returned from anoverseas trip. He had, at that time, communicated this toMasetlha and the Cabinet, Buthelezi said.
WFP feeds 486,900 refugees inTanzania (Irin, 13/11) - At least 486,900 refugees inKigoma, Kibondo, Kasulu and Ngara districts in northwesternTanzania received some 2,455 mt of food from 22 October to 4November, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said in its emergencyreport of 9 November. WFP reported that it supplied around 90percent of the standard food ration to all beneficiaries, exceptfor 3,900 extremely vulnerable people who each received a fullration. In addition, WFP said it supported various therapeuticfeeding centres and supplemental feeding centres with 72 mt offood to over 18,300 malnourished persons. WFP reported that since1 November it has been in a position to increase the food rationscale from 80 percent to 100 percent of the standard ration. Doodcoordination meetings were held for camp level leaders in alllocations during the last two weeks to inform the refugees ofthis change, it added. A regional UNHCR official told IRIN thatfrom 1 January to 30 September there were 6,445 DemocraticRepublic of Congo refugees in Tanzania; some 3,200 of who,fleeing fighting, arrived between 15 and 23 October.
Dar es Salaam urged not to repatriateBujumbura refugees (TOMRIC, Dar es Salaam, 12/11) - Somesignatories of the Burundi peace agreement have asked Tanzaniagovernment not to repatriate to Burundi, over 350,000 refugeespresently staying in local refugee camps, The Guardian hasreported today. The request is a reaction to a joint statementissued in Tanzania last week by Parliamentary Committee onSecurity and Defense as well as Foreign Affairs and InternationalCooperation. Speaking to The Guardian, representatives of thefour out of 19 signatories said that durable peace was yet to berestored in Burundi. "Therefore, repatriating refugees backhome would be tantamount to subjecting them to possiblypersecution upon their arrival," the paper quotes them assaying. They stressed that voluntary repatriation should bepredicated upon restoration of peace in the country, which hasbeen rent by civil strife for several years. The apprehensivesignatories pointed out that tension was still high in Burundi,in spite of recent installation of a transitional government as aformula for lasting peace conceived by leaders of the Great LakesRegion. They hinted that even refugees themselves were reluctantto return home, calling for the formation of a special protectionunit to protect all Burundians as pre-conditions for doing so. Inthe joint statement read before the National Assembly in Tanzanialast week, Samwel Malecela, Chairman of the ParliamentaryCommittee on Security and Defense and William Shija, Chairman ofthe Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and InternationalCooperation, said refugees should be repatriated soon. They saidthe government must repatriate refugees back to their homecountries to avert hatred between Tanzania and her neighboringcountries.
Tanzania expels Ugandans (New Vision,Kampala, 10/11) - About 2,600 Ugandans in camps atKikagate near the Uganda-Tanzanian border are to be relocated toKyenjojo district next week. The Ugandans were recently expelledfrom Tanzania where some reportedly lived for over 30 years.Officials from the Prime Ministers Office said the health of thereturnees had worsened with some of them dying of malaria andmalnutrition. There are fears that overcrowding could lead to anoutbreak of epidemics such as cholera. Mbarara acting ResidentDistrict Commissioner Sarah Bananuka told The New Visionyesterday that the Prime Ministers Office would start therelocation on November 15. She said the returnees would bescreened to verify their nationality before they are moved toKyenjonjo. She said in Kyenjonjo, the Government would allocate apiece of land to each family of the returnees where they will behelped to lead normal lives again. Bananuka said Tanzanian deputyenvoy to Uganda Mr T.B Kazoora visited Kikagate recently and saidhis government would halt the expulsion .
More refugees arrive in Pemba (TOMRIC, Dar es Salaam,7/11) - Two planes landed at the Karume Airport inPemba, Zanzibar yesterday bringing back 44 refugees from Daadabin northern Kenya, the Daily News has reported. They are thefirst batch of refugees to return after the signing of thereconciliation agreement between the ruling CCM and oppositionCivic United Front (CUF) to end political impasse in Zanzibar onOctober 10. The first plane carrying 23 refugees, touched down atthe airport in the morning while the second plane, with 21refugees arrived in the afternoon, the state publication says.According to the publication, the planes belong to the UnitedNations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR). Over 2000 people,mainly from Pemba had fled to Kenya following bloodyopposition-led illegal demonstrations of January 27 in which morethan 20 people were killed. They first settled at Shimoni inKenya's Coast Province where they sought refugees' status. Theywere later transferred to Daadab Refugee Camp in northern Kenya.According to the Daily News, senior government officials fromoffice of Zanzibar Chief Minister and President's Office metyesterday's returnees at the Pemba Airport. The returnees includeSuleiman Shariff Hamad, the son of Secretary-General of CUF, Mr.Seif Shariff Hamad. So far about 737 refugees have alreadyreturned to Zanzibar.
Last refugees to fly home from Kenya (Irin, 6/11) - Thelast group of Tanzanian refugees who fled political disturbancesat home and took refuge in Kenya in January began returning tothe islands of Pemba and Zanzibar on Tuesday morning, a spokesmanfor the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)told IRIN on Monday. Confirming the repatriation in a pressrelease issued on Tuesday, UNHCR said two flights would leaveDadaab refugee camp in northeastern Kenya for Pemba that day,while another two flights would operate from Dadaab to Zanzibaron Wednesday. Once the flights have been completed, all theremaining Tanzanian refugees in Kenyan camps will have gone home.In total, 2,000 refugees fled Tanzania at the end of Januaryfollowing clashes between security forces and protesters overelections. All the refugees were supporters of the oppositionCivic United Front, who feared government reprisals for theirpart in political demonstrations. Nearly 200 of the refugees, whowere transferred to Dadaab in May, decided last month to leavethe camp and travel to the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
Congolese rebels force villagers toflee (The Post, Lusaka, 28/11) - Congolese rebels haveforced Zambians to flee their villages in Chienge district,senior chief Puta has disclosed. Senior chief Puta yesterday saidZambians have deserted Chipundu and Musangu villages due tocontinued harassment by suspected Congolese rebels. "Iappeal to government to consider establishing a permanent armycamp and police station to protect us from Congolese rebels whoare harassing people at will," he said. Senior chief Putasaid he learnt of his subjects' fate when he toured his chiefdomto sensitise them on developmental activities, Bwile tribetraditions and HIV/AIDS epidemic. He said headmen Lambwe Chomba,Chikwama and Swali complained of continued harassment by theCongolese rebels who grabbed food and livestock from thevillages. Senior chief Puta said area MMD member of parliamentKatele Kalumba promised to inform Zambia National Service (ZNS)personnel at Chipungu and Kaputa camps. He said after his visit,the villagers agreed to do away with traditions and culturalpractices which promoted transmission of HIV/AIDS. He reiteratedhis demand for government to honour his chieftaincy as pledged tothe late senior chief Puta VI. He said MMD government promised tohonour the late senior chief Puta by way of awarding him a medal.Senior chief Puta has written to Vice-President Enoch Kavindele,informing him of his demand that the MMD government honour itspromise before December 25.
Government seeks help over Angolanrefugees (The Post, Lusaka, 28/11) - Foreign affairsminister Keli Walubita has appealed to the internationalcommunity to assist the Zambian government in dealing withAngolan refugees. Walubita said the humanitarian situation atNangweshi refugee camp in Shang'ombo had worsened and requiredurgent redress. He was speaking when a delegation of medicaldoctors paid a courtesy call on him yesterday. Walubita said byMonday, the number of refugees at Nangweshi had swelled to21,000.
Officials meet over border clasheswith Angola (Irin, 27/11) - Zambian and Angolanofficials were expected to meet in Luanda, the Angolan capital,on Tuesday in talks aimed at stemming cross-border raids,officials told IRIN. The raids have killed seven Zambians andseen 140 others abducted over the past three weeks. Senior armyofficials are leading the Zambian government team in the talkswhich are a follow-up to a meeting in Lusaka last week betweenZambian officials and an Angolan delegation led by Deputy ForeignMinister George Chikoti. Chikoti told reporters on arrival inLusaka on Friday 23 November that Angolan government troops (FAA)were not involved in the recent cross-border attacks. Hesuggested that the dead Zambian villagers were caught incrossfire between FAA and Angolan rebel UNITA fighters, thatLuanda allege are using Zambian territory. Chikoti's denial ofgovernment involvement came after Zambian President FrederickChiluba announced that 10 FAA troopers were killed last week byZambian soldiers on the border, and reports of the capture of twoAngolan army officers who had strayed into the country.
There have been few detailed officialreports about the situation on the ground in Zambia's WesternProvince, where the clashes took place. However, local sourcestold IRIN tensions remain high in the area. Scores of villagersoutside the border town of Senanga have fled their homes in thewake of repeated attacks by marauding armed men. Many have soughtsanctuary at a school in the town. Last week, the raids extendedto villages outside Kalabo, another border town, where rampagingsoldiers reportedly raped several women. Zambian Defence MinisterJoshua Simuyandi conceded at the weekend that Zambian forces didnot have the capacity to completely seal the border againstinvaders. "Our people must appreciate that we are faced witha long border. It is not possible that we can guarantee patrolson every inch of the border," Simuyandi said. Meanwhile,University of Zambia [UNZA] students and lecturers threatened tostage anti-Angolan demonstrations in the capital if Angolanforces invaded Zambia again. "We would like to warn that, asordinary Zambians, we will not tolerate such irresponsibilityfrom Angolan forces again," the students and lecturers saidin a petition. "If we hear of any other atrocities, we willstage a demonstration to the Angolan embassy in Lusaka to attractworld media attention." The spate of raids on Zambianvillages started on 7 November, when suspected Angolan soldiersabducted 103 people and killed at least seven others. Subsequentraids saw another 37 Zambians being abducted and several womenbeing raped. Relations between Zambia and Angola have been frostysince the late 1990s, when Angola accused Zambia of allowing armsshipments to UNITA through its territory in defiance of a UN banon support for the rebel movement. The Zambian government deniedsupporting UNITA. Both governments said earlier this year thatrelations had improved with the creation of a joint securitycommittee to oversee border problems, which was later extended toinclude Namibia.
Zambia sends military team to Angolaover border trouble (Sapa-AFP, Lusaka, 25/11) - TheZambian government is sending a senior military delegation toAngola in a bid to resolve renewed tensions over border conflictbetween the two countries, Defence Minister Joshua Siamuyandisaid Sunday. Siamuyandi told state ZNBC radio that thedelegation, headed by a deputy army commander, would leave Lusakaon Sunday for Luanda. Tensions on the border have been runninghigh since suspected Angolan soldiers two weeks ago killed sevenZambian villagers after abducting more than 60 others inShang'ombo, near the border with Angola. In response, Zambiansoldiers killed ten Angolans. According to ZNBC, the delegationis expected to meet senior Angolan army officials. Siamuyandisaid that after the meeting, he expected that there would be norepeat of the incursions and attacks, blamed on Angolan soldierssaid to have been crossing into western Zambia on the pretext ofpursuing rebels. The Angolan government has been fighting rebelsof the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola(UNITA) almost ceaselessly since 1975. Luanda and UNITA blameeach other for cross-border incursions into Zambia. AngolanPresident Eduardo Dos Santos recently sent an envoy to ZambianPresident Frederick Chiluba to apologise for the recent incidentsat the frontier.
Angola denies Zambia's accusations ofborder incursions (Sapa-DPA, Lusaka, 22/11) - TheAngolan government on Thursday denied claiming portions ofZambian territory along the 3,000 kilometre common frontier inthe west following the recent abduction and killing of severalZambians by MPLA soldiers. The denial comes amid fresh reportsthat Angolan government soldiers had raped over 15 Zambian womenin the country's Western Province along the border, resulting inthe Zambian government sending more security reinforcements tothe area. Zambia !protested to the United Nations over the latestaggression from the neighbouring state. Angolan President JoseEduardo dos Santos' special envoy, Georgi Chicoti, in aninterview with journalists in Lusaka said that Angola had notoccupied any of Zambia's land. "Angola has not occupied anyZambian territory and does not intend to do that," saidChicoti, who is also Angola's deputy Foreign Affairs Minister.Chicoti also denied that MPLA soldiers abducted and killedZambians following the incursions that have left hundreds ofZambian villagers living along the border area displaced. SaidChicoti: "We have not captured any Zambian civilians and noverifications have been made and no Zambian officials haveconfirmed that." Two weeks ago MPLA forces raided Zambianvillages and abducted over 150 Zambians. The Angolan soldiersshot and killed seven people, including a village headman, alocal school head and a nurse. They released 83 and are stillkeeping over 60 in captivity. Chicoti said that it was not easyto prove that it was the MPLA soldiers who killed the Zambians,adding that they were caught in crossfire between the MPLA andrebel UNITA forces in a fight that ensued close to the border.Chicoti, who was sent to deliver a message to President FrederickChiluba by Dos Santos on the same matter that has led toheightened border tensions between the two countries, said thathis government regretted the incidence. "We are very sorry,the conflict in Angola provoked the incident," said Chicoti.He said the tripartite mechanism for political and securityco-operation between the Zambia, Angola and Namibiat would meetnext Monday to iron out the matter and improve verificationsmechanisms. Chicoti said that Angola was in a conflict situationand that the border distinction in the area was not precise."You have a neighbour who has a war and this conflictoverlapses sometimes," he said.
Government seeks more aid forrefugees (The Post, Lusaka, 20/11) - The Zambiangovernment has appealed to rich countries to consider grantingmore aid to African refugees. Opening a United Nations HighCommission for Refugees (UNHCR) media workshop at Lusaka'sMulungushi International Conference Centre yesterday, Ministry ofHome Affairs permanent secretary Peter Mwamfuli said Africangovernments were constrained to adequately provide for theirrefugees hence the need for the world's stable economies to cometo their aid. "The government is well aware that thereshould be a good balance between what is provided for refugeesand surrounding communities," he said. Mwamfuli said therewas need for proper planning to ensure that nationals alsobenefit from the improved infrastructure existing in refugeeresettlement areas. H e said the media played a critical role inenhancing public awareness on the plight of refugees. Mwamfulisaid the understanding of refugee issues by the media wouldensure factual reporting. He said there was a danger in having anuninformed public as it would lead to xenophobia and otherrelated intorerances. "In this regard, it is imperative thatthe constraints faced by the government, UNHCR and otherco-operating partners in the management of refugees behighlighted by the media," he said. At the same occasion,UNHCR resident representative Ahmed Gubartalla said his agencywas concerned with the situation at Nangweshi refugee camp inWestern Province where over 5,000 refugees are now being kept ata nearby reception side since the camp has reached its maximumcapacity of 15,000. Gubartalla said the situation could worsenwith the onset of the rainy season. He said it was because ofsuch challenges that the media was considered critical to thesolution of refugee problems. "As UNHCR, we appreciate therole the media can play in this area. This is why we consider youour allies and partners," he said. Gubartalla urged theparticipating journalists to consider covering issue basedstories on refugees as opposed to those based on statistics. Hesaid journalists could take angles on food, education andHIV/AIDS on their stories on refugees. Gubartalla urged theparticipants to come up with practical measures in theirdeliberations. He paid tribute to the Zambian government and itspeople for hosting refugees. "We salute their commitment tothe noble institution of asylum amid formidablechallenges,"said Gubartalla.
Border tense as villagers return(Irin, 13/11) - The Zambian-Angolan border remainedtense on Monday, but no new incursions by Angolan troops (FAA)were reported since a raid on villages at the end of last week inwhich at least seven Zambians died, a Zambian government officialtold IRIN. "The situation is tense but since Friday whenfresh (Zambian) troops were deployed there hasn't been any newincursions," the official said. According to a BBC report onMonday, the Zambian authorities summoned the Angolan ambassadorto express their concern over the raid into southwestern Zambialast Friday in which at least seven villagers were shot dead andsome 80 people, mostly women and children, abducted. Some ofthose captured from the Shangombo area began to make their wayhome over the weekend, but Zambia's Information Minister VernonMwaanga told the BBC that 20 people were still unaccounted for.News reports said the Angolan troops crossed the border to huntdown UNITA rebels amid a continuing Angolan refugee influx intoZambia's Western province. "That doesn't make a lot ofsense. They say they are coming to pursue UNITA, but UNITA is inAngola," the official said. "I think it's unitsdeployed along the border who are doing this and not with theblessing of the high command."
Cross-border raids by Angolan troops arenot uncommon, and have often involved livestock theft. However,relations between the two countries have improved with theestablishment of a joint security commission to investigateborder incidents. According to UNHCR and the Zambian government,a screening system to weed out combatants from among the refugeesis in place, and so far no UNITA fighters have been detectedsince the latest influx began in mid-October. Instead, thearrivals are mainly women and children, and mine victims fleeingan Angolan government offensive across the border, UNHCRspokesman Kelvin Shimo told IRIN. He added that fighting had alsointensified further north in Angola's Moxico region, as witnessedby the arrival of 300 refugees into Zambia's neighbouringNorthwest province in recent days. Meanwhile, the new arrivalsinto southwestern Zambia are being accommodated at a temporarysite outside the remote Nangweshi refugee camp which has reachedits capacity of more than 15,000. UNHCR is concerned that withthe rains starting to fall, negotiations need to be finalisedsoon with the government for their transfer across theflood-prone Zambezi river to a new location around the town ofSenenga. The proposed new site, 170 km from the border, waspreviously used to accommodate Namibian refugees and has thecapacity to hold 20,000 to 30,000 people, the Zambian governmentofficial said. However, he pointed out that the government hadrun into problems in securing land from the local community inthe area. "It's a big, big problem to get the land. Thechiefs are asking what more do the refugees bring other thaninsecurity? It calls for something to be done by theinternational community. Development, that's the only way,"he told IRIN.
Angolan refugees continue to fleeinto Zambia (Zambezi Times Online, Lusaka, 6/11) - Theinflow of Angolan refugees into Zambia's Western andNorth-Western provinces is continuing over the past month, theUnited Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Zambiasaid on Monday. A statement released from the UNHCR countryoffice said that an estimated 4,000 Angolan refugees, fleeingfighting in some Angolan border towns, have crossed into the twoZambian border provinces in the past month, adding that they areentering at a rate of several hundreds per week. Among the newarrivals are amputees and the injured, the statement said. Itadded that the UNHCR is working together with the Zambianauthorities at the entry points to screen the new arrivals."The new arrivals have placed a number of challenges on therefugee operation. Donors have continued to render their supportto the operation, however, more support is needed in the area offood, shelter and health," the statement said. Since theNangweshi refugee camp has reached its full capacity of 15,000,UNHCR requested the Zambian government to provide a new site tocope with the inflow, the statement said. "The additional4,000 refugees who recently transferred to the camp have no landand are being kept at a reception center. With the onset of therainy season, their condition could worsen," it added.Zambia hosts about 260,000 refugees, most of whom are fromneighboring Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
World media body concerned overZimbabwe threats to journalists (Sapa-AP, Harare, 29/11) - TheParis-based World Association of Newspapers (WAN) Thursdayexpressed concern at threats against journalists in Zimbabweafter the government accused them of aiding"terrorism". A government spokesman last week accusedthe correspondents from The Times of London, The Guardian, TheDaily Telegraph, The The Independent, South Africa's Star and TheZimbabwe Independent of distorting the truth and aidingterrorism. "We are concerned that the threats made againstthese journalists are part of an ongoing campaign to stifle freeexpression in Zimbabwe," said WAN in a letter addressed toPresident Robert Mugabe. The letter reminded Mugabe that thestate must ensure an environment in which journalists can operatewithout fear of attack or intimidation. "We respectfully askyou to clearly state that there is no link between journalism andterrorism and urge you to do everything in your power to ensurethat all journalists are permitted to fully exercise theirfundamental right to free expression," WAN said. Britain,the United States and various international media bodies havecriticised the government for accusing journalists of aidingterrorism. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw threateneddiplomatic action against Harare over the issue at the weekend.The US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Zimbabwe'sgovernment accusations "reflect a continuing trend ofharassment of the free press by the government of Zimbabwe".Last week, the government approved a Public Order and SecurityBill (POSB) as part of its latest bid to curb"terrorism". The proposed POSB carries the deathpenalty for acts of "insurgency, banditry, sabotage andterrorism", as well as the threat of jail and fines foranyone who "undermines the authority of the president"or "engenders hostility" towards the president.
Zimbabweans continue to seek land inMozambique (Sapa-AP, Maputo, 28/11) - Zimbabwe's whitecommercial farmers, forced off their farms by a controversialgovernment land resettlement exercise, continue to seek land inMozambique, a senior government official said Wednesday. "Weexpect a significant number of Zimbabwean farmers to startworking in the central province of Manica early next year,"Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Helder Muteia toldAFP. Muteia said between 70 and 80 Zimbabwean applications hadbeen approved. "We're now waiting for them to bring inconcrete investmen!ts," he added. At least 10 Zimbabweanfarmers are already working in the fertile central Mozambicanprovince, he said. He said the farmers would not receive morethan 1,000 hectares (2,400 acres) of land each. The Zimbabweangovernment has seized 4,558 white-owned farms totalling 8.8million hectares (21.7 million acres) for redistribution tolandless blacks, since it launched the scheme last year.Mozambique has more than 30 million hectares (72 million acres)of arable land but only five per cent of that land is currentlyunder use.
Zimbabweans enrol in foreignuniversities in record numbers (The Insider, Harare, 26/11) - TheGreat Trek continues. Some 1 703 students from Zimbabwe haveenrolled at universities in the United States of America in2000/2001 according to the American Universities AdmissionProgramme. It says this is a 43.8 percent increase. In 1992 only620 Zimbabwean students were admitted at US universities. But ofcourse it is not only Zimbabweans flocking to the United States.AUAP says a new record 547 684 foreign students were admitted toUS universities in 2000/2001, an increase of 6.4 percent over theprevious year. The majority of the foreign students came fromChina. The number increased by 10 percent to 59 939. India wassecond with 54 664 students but this was a 29.1 percent increaseover the previous year. The number of foreign students from Japandeclined by nearly one percent to 46 497. There was no Africancountry in the top 10. The bulk of the students were from Asiaconstituting 55 percent. Those from Europe represented only 15percent; Latin America, the US's neighbour, 12 percent; theMiddle East 7 percent; and Africa only 6 percent. Foreignstudents pour some US$11 billion into the US economy in tuitionfees, living expenses and related costs, according to AUAP.Students from Africa are therefore on average spending someUS$660 million, enough to wipe off Zimbabwe's external arrears.AUAP says the attack on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagonin September had done very little to stop foreign students fromapplying to study in the US. It says while there was a drop for10 days soon after the bombings, the surge in applications inOctober more than compensated for the drop after the attack.While there are no figures for other countries, most Zimbabweasnprefer to go to the United Kingdom and South Africa. South Africahas been trying to deport more than 15 000 Zimbabwean farmworkers. According to Finance Minister Simba Makoni, Zimbabwelost 41 doctors and 341 nurses this year alone.
US assails Zimbabwe over tacticsagainst journalists (Sapa-AFP, Washington, 26/11) - TheUnited States Monday joined in the growing chorus of derisionaimed at Zimbabwe's government, after a spokesman last weekaccused journalists of aiding terrorism. "The statementsreflect a continuing trend of harassment of the free press by thegovernment of Zimbabwe," State Department spokesman RichardBoucher told reporters. "Furthermore, the United Statesrejects any comparison between the international coalition'sfight against terrorism and the deterioration of the rule of lawand the state-sponsored violence that has emerged inZimbabwe." British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has alreadythreatened diplomatic action against Zimbabwe after Harareaccused journalists, including four working for Britishnewspapers, of aiding terrorists. President Robert Mugabe'sgovernment has been widely criticized for its attacks on theindependent press - which in recent months have included thearrest of local journalists, the expulsion of foreigncorrespondents and tacit allegations the press supports theopposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The governmentalso recently accused opposition members of being terrorists, andblamed the MDC for the murder of a veteran war leader, CainNkala, who was abducted from his home in Bulawayo City, in thesouth of Zimbabwe, two weeks ago. A spokesman for Mugabe onFriday accused Zimbabwe correspondents for Britain's DailyTelegraph, The Times, The Guardian, and The Independentnewspapers as well as the Associated Press of distorting truthand assisting terrorists in their reports. Reporters for SouthAfrica's Star and the Zimbabwe Independent were also included inthe accusations. The spokesman's comments responded to a letterreportedly sent by the US embassy to Harare, protesting therecent beating of civilians in Bulawayo, allegedly by rulingparty supporters. Boucher did not comment on the reported letterbut said the United States would continue as it had in the pastto raise its deep concerns about the government's policies."The United States has and will continue to call upon thegovernment of Zimbabwe to cease its harassment of the free press,to reestablish the rule of law, and to take steps to ensure thatthe will of the people is respected in the upcoming presidentialelection," he said. Boucher also noted Harare's refusal toissue visas to reporters from the Washington Post and New YorkTimes as well as its decision not to entertain requests for visasfor other foreign reporters. "This, too, appears to beanother attempt on the part of the government of Zimbabwe tolimit scrutiny of its campaign of political violence andintimidation," he said.
Press group slams Zimbabwe overtreatment of journalists (Sapa-AFP, Vienna, 26/11) - TheInternational Press Institute (IPI) on Monday vehementlycriticised the Zimbabwe government for accusing journalists basedin the country of helping terrorists. In a strongly-wordedstatement, the IPI strenously denied that correspondents forBritain's Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian, and TheIndependent newspapers distorted truth and assisted terroriststhrough their reports. A Zimbabwean government spokesman made theallegations about the British journalists in an article publishedin the state-run newspaper the Herald on Friday. The spokesmansaid journalists working for South Africa's Star, The Zimbabweere also guilty. In a letter to Zimbabwean President RobertMugabe, IPI director Johann Fritz condemned "thegovernment's overwhelming desire to control the free flow ofinformation". He added that the "spurious claim"that Zimbabwe correspondents were aiding terrorists was laying"the foundations for the application of the proposed PublicOrder and Security Bill (POSB) against the media". The POSBcarries the death penalty for acts of "insurgency, banditry,sabotage and terrorism", as well as the threat of jail andfines for anyone who "undermines the authority of thepresident" or "engenders hostility" towards him.The IPI called on Mugabe to repudiate his spokesman's statementsand "affirm the right of the media to report freely inZimbabwe". "The government of Zimbabwe has made anexpress commitment to freedom of expression and IPI would inviteyou to honour these promises, free of the rancorous and vitrioliclanguage which has so far characterised Your Excellency'sdealings with the media," Fritz wrote. British ForeignSecretary Jack Straw threatened diplomatic action againstZimbabwe over the issue on Saturday. Mugabe's government has beenwidely criticized for its attacks on the independent press. Inrecent months, the Zimbabwean authorities have arrested localjournalists, expelled foreign correspondents and tacitly accusedthe press of supporting the opposition Movement for DemocraticChange (MDC). The government also recently accused members ofopposition parties of being terrorists, and blamed the MDC forthe murder of war veterans leader, Cain Nkala, who was abductedfrom his home in Bulawayo city, in the south of Zimbabwe, twoweeks ago. The government spokesman's comments Friday came inresponse to a letter reportedly sent by the United States embassyto Harare, protesting against the recent beating of civilians inBulawayo, allegedly by ruling party supporters. The beatings werereported by independent and foreign media as retaliatory attacksagainst whites and the MDC, both blamed for Nkala's murder.
US calls for Zimbabwe to relax presscontrols (Sapa-DPA, Washington, 26/11) - The UnitedStates called Monday on Robert Mugabe's government in Zimbabwe tostop harassing reporters covering the political unrest in thatcountry. Mugabe's recent statement that journalists were"terrorists" reflects "a continuing trend ofharassment of a free press by the government of Zimbabwe",said U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher."Furthermore, the United States rejects any comparisonbetween the international coalition's fight against terrorism andthe deterioration of the rule of law and the state-sponsoredviolence that has emerged in Zimbabwe," Boucher said."The United States has and will continue to call upon thegovernment of Zimbabwe to cease its harassment of the free press,to re-establish the rule of law and to take steps to ensure thatthe will of the people is respected in the upcoming presidentialelection," he added.
302 tobacco farmers quit (TheInsider, Harare, 26/11) - Some 302 tobacco farmers arenot planting this season because of intimidation. This season'scrop is expected to be about 153.7 million kgs, a drop of 48.6million kgs from last season's 202.3 million kgs. A survey doneby the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association showed that 70 percent of thefarmers were not planting because of intimidation. Labourdismissal and extortion accounted for 7.5 percent each.Thirty-four farmers had left or abandoned their farms accountingfor the remaining 15 percent. The survey showed that some 244farmers had been partially affected but the figure could be ashigh as 500. Mashonaland East was the worst affected with almosthalf the land not being planted. While 60 percent of the farms inMashonaland West and Central were occupied most of them wereoperational with 83 percent operating normally in MashonalandWest and 95 percent in Manicaland. The number of occupied farmsin Mashonaland East is not known but operations have beenhindered at half of the farms. The survey indicated that while 67380 hectares were under crop last season only 50 163 hectareswill be planted this season. The survey showed that 20 000hectares were under irrigation, down from 26 000 last season. Theirrigated crop is expected to yield 66.5 million kgs while thedryland crop will bring in a further 87.2 million kgs.Small-scale producers could add a further 10 to 12 million kgs,up from last season's 7.4 million kgs. Last season 202.3 millionkgs were sold at the auction floors at an average price ofUS$3.18 cents bringing in some US$642.5 million. This was a vastimprovement from the previous year when 236.7 million kgs weresold at an average price of US$16.90 bringing in about US$400million.
Kenyan commentary on Zimbabweancrisis (The Nation, Nairobi, 24/11) - Zimbabwe'slatest outrageous event is President Robert Mugabe's ruling thatonly those who hold valid land title deeds will vote in the nextelections. This disenfranchisement of the majority demonstratesthe complete hypocrisy of the former comrade's racialisation ofZimbabwe's valid economic and social struggles. For it shows justwhom he is worried about in the electoral process. He isobviously not in the least bit worried about the white Zimbabweanpopulation. He has given them ample reasons to wish to see himand his political party out of power over the last few years. Itis the black Zimbabweans, in whose name he has ostensibly beenfighting. It is the rural Zimbabweans on whom he has unleashedunacknowledged terror through the so-called war veterans. It isthe peasant and the working class he has absolutely impoverishedin the last couple of years. For these are the Zimbabweans likelyto be without valid land titles. These are the Zimbabweans heseeks to disenfranchise.
Manipulation of rights - However,hypocrisy aside, this Zimbabwean example illustrates a bigger andmore disturbing African trend. This year alone has witnessed,from Cote d'Ivoire to Tanzania and to Zambia, namely, themanipulation of citizenship rights in the ruling party's narrowand short-term economic and political interests. In Kampala, lastweek, a regional conference of academics and activists wasconvened by the Pan African Movement to discuss this trend todetermine its relationship to regional conflicts. At firstglance, the connection between citizenship and conflict is notimmediately clear. But, if citizenship is defined asidentification with and by a state, as a result of which legalrights and responsibilities are accrued and conferred, the linkbecomes more obvious. The problems with citizenship in our regionalso become more obvious through that definition. For citizenshipassumes the existence of a state - even a nation-state. And weall can easily recognise and bemoan the fact that our inheritanceof and determination to abide by state borders drawn up at theBerlin Conference of the late 1885 has left us with a two-sidedissue that we have yet to adequately resolve. On the one hand,our states are not nation-states. Their borders subsume manydisparate nations into one state. On the other, their borders cutthrough several nations. Thus, questions of power and resourcedistribution continue to underlie economic and politicaldiscourse even today, as do questions resulting from the fluidityand permeability of our lived experience with and refusal topander to the divided state loyalties that our borders wouldimpose on us.
Violent electoral processes - Inbest-case scenarios, these questions are on the constitutionaland legal reform agendas for debate in our region, as can be seenthrough unitary-versus-federal debates,centralised-versus-decentralised-local-administration debates,and so on. But in worst-case scenarios, these questions findtheir answers in abusive and violent electoral processes,deliberately distorted to legitimise and validate only thecitizenship rights of some rather than of all. In Kampala,several common features were pointed out about the manner inwhich citizenship is handled in the region. For former Britishcolonies, legislation on citizenship is almost directly derivedfrom the British Nationalities Act of the time, creating severalclasses of citizenship, of which citizenship by birth (ratherthan by naturalisation or registration) is privileged. Theprivileging of birth is, however, negated by the fact that theburden of proof of parentage rests on the claimant. Which bringsus, in some ways, to the ethnic-versus-civic citizenship dilemmaso well articulated by Uganda's Prof Mahmood Mamdani some yearsback. For recalcitrant states could easily decide to totallywithdraw or partially withhold a person's citizenship right eventhough he has always lived in that state but has an equally validclaim to another state. But, as Prof Ahmed Mohiddin noted, at theend of the day, it is the human factor that counts. As we moveinto our own electoral and constitutional reform processes, shallwe degenerate once again and play into Kenya's currentexclusionary nature of citizenship? Or shall we admit complexityand take responsibility for our own attitudes to citizenship andthe rights that it must confer? Ms Wanyeki is executivedirector of African Women's Development and Communication Network
Zimbabwe accuses foreign journalistsof aiding 'terrorists' (Sapa-AP, Harare, 23/11) - TheZimbabwe government on Friday named a list of foreign and localjournalists it accuses of aiding terrorist activities in thecountry, the state-run Herald reported. "It is now an opensecret that these reporters are not only distorting the facts butare assisting terrorists who stand accused in our courts of lawof abduction, torture and murder," an unnamed governmentspokesman told the paper. The government spokesman named thecorrespondents from The Times of London, The Independent, SouthAfrica's Star and The Zimbabwe Independent. President RobertMugabe's government has been widely criticized for its attacks onthe independent press. In recent months, authorities havearrested local journalists, expelled foreign correspondents andtacitly accused the press of supporting the opposition Movementfor Democratic Change (MDC). The government recently accusedopposition members of being terrorists, and blamed the MDC forthe murder of a war veteran leader, Cain Nkala, who was abductedfrom his home in Bulawayo city, southwestern of Zimbabwe twoweeks ago. At least 15 MDC members and officials, including onelawmaker, have been arrested in connection with the murder ofNkala and a youth member of the ruling party. The spokesman'scomments Friday were in response to a letter reportedly sent bythe United States embassy to the Zimbabwe government, protestingagainst the recent beating of civilians in Bulawayo, allegedly byruling party supporters. The beatings were reported byindependent and foreign media as retaliatory attacks againstwhites and the MDC, both blamed for Nkala's murder. "We arevery concerned about the obscene misrepresentation of facts bythe so-called foreign correspondents," the spokesman said.The US embassy letter would likely spark a diplomatic row, thepaper said. The government spokesman said the journalistsconcerned should know that "we agree with (US) PresidentGeorge Bush that anyone who in any way finances, harbours ordefends terrorists is himself a terrorist."
Zimbabwe to insist on ID cards tocombat terrorism (Sapa-AFP, Harare, 22/11) - TheZimbabwe government wants people to carry identity documents atall times, as part of a widening campaign against crime andterrorism, the state-run Herald said Thursday. The move comesdespite a landmark 1997 ruling by the country's Supreme Courtthat found such a requirement unconstitutional. The proposedchanges, expected to be tabled in parliament soon, aim to dealwith "increasing criminal and terrorism activities,"the paper said. Proposed penalties for not carrying identitydocuments will include stiff fines or jail sentences. Officialsof the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front,have recently accused the opposition Movement for DemocraticChange (MDC) of committing acts of terrorism. The accusationsfollow the murder of a prominent ZANU-PF supporter and warveteran leader, Cain Nkala, which ZANU-PF claims was committed bythe MDC. The opposition denies the charges. The proposed measuresfollow the government's approval of a Public Order and SecurityBill, also set to be tabled in parliament soon, which advocatesstiff new measures to combat terrorism. Under the bill, apossible death sentence is proposed for acts of insurgency andterrorism, as well as severe penalties against journalists andothers found spreading false news about the president and thestate.
This page last updated 09 July 2004.