Don't harbour illegal immigrants - Linchwe
SADC takes stock of growing refugee problem
UN meets with peace and reconciliationfund coordinator
Government and UN assess humanitarian situation in Huila
DRC refugees seek shelter in Angola
War affected Angolans displaced and at risk
37,195 outside Botswana at 2001 census
Zimbabwean in possession of forged immigration items
Refugees threaten suicide in Botswana
Cross-border trade in drugs
Ministry busy registeringlandless
Unita bandit attacks into northern Namibia
Cross-border abductions and theft
Botswana Defence Force allegedly harassing Namibians
Namibian soldiers' withdrawal nears completion
Police set dogs on two Zimbabweannationals
Pretoria refuses to consider reparation for heroes
High levels of xenophobia in SA
Immigration Bill row drags on
Ginwala says Immigration Bill is "money bill"
Foreigners to be included in Census 2001
Buthelezi battles on over immigration
Immigration Bill blocked again
Muslim teens in Gauteng insulted after xenophobic attack
Official immigration statistics
Looting of foreigners' shops cause R3m damage
Somalis attacked, shops plundered, in South Africa
Commentary critical of immigration bill
Tanzania and Kenya agree to intensifycrackdown on illegal migrants
Number of illegal immigrants reduced
Don't harbour illegal immigrants - Linchwe (DailyNews, 24/09) - The problem of illegal immigrants hasbeen attributed to some women who develop love affairs with them,and consequently harbour them from law enforcement officials.Kgosi Segale Linchwe said some of these illegal immigrants aredangerous and sometime resort to killing when their local partnerwants to end the affair. The Bakgatla senior chief'srepresentative said these at a crime prevention seminar atDikwididi village in the Kgatleng District at the weekend. Healso appealed to Batswana in general to desist from harbouringand employing illegal immigrants since it is against the law.Some immigrants, he said, would stay where they have beenaccommodated while working and later run away after stealingproperty from the same employer. He discouraged Batswana fromengaging in activities that could put their lives in danger, butinstead they should co-operate with immigration officials toaddress the problem of illegal immigrants. Kgosi Segale notedthat border posts were built so that those wishing to cross intoa neighbouring country could do so legally without fear providedthey possess the necessary documents. He also complained aboutthe problem of cross border crime that exists between SouthAfrica and Botswana involving livestock. He said cattle rustlersin Botswana steal cattle and sell them to South Africans who alsodo likewise. Regarding stolen property, Kgosi Segale appealed toparents to be always concerned when they find out that theirchildren possess what they suspect to be stolen property. Animmigration officer in charge of the Sikwane border post,Monyaniki Letlhare, also underscored the dangers of harbouringand employing illegal immigrants. She also spoke about thepenalties imposed on those arrested for crossing the borderillegally. Letlhare said if one is arrested, he/she is charged P1000 or one year imprisonment. Letlhare further observed that somepeople in the Kgatleng District possess two passports, one forBotswana and another for South African. She said this practicecaused problems especially when they die in South Africa wherethey have no relatives to identify them.
SADC takes stock of growing refugee problem (Gaborone,Independent Online, 20/09) - A two-day meeting todiscuss the refugee situation in southern Africa opened onThursday in Gaborone under the auspices of the United NationsHigh Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). "We here for a stocktaking session of the overall refugee situation in theregion," UNHCR regional director Ilunga Ngandu said."It will be a brain-storming session which will allowparticipants to build forward-looking strategies while broadeningpartnerships to respond to the multifaceted challenges affectingmillions of human beings, citizens of the Southern AfricanDevelopment Community." Refugee commissioners and governmentofficials from member states and the secretariat of the SouthernAfrican Development Community (SADC) will meet with UNHCRrepresentatives. Ngandu said the meeting would also allow thosein charge of matters affecting refugees to prepare for theUNHCR's executive committee meeting in Geneva October 1 through5. "It will be an opportunity for them to prepare a regionalconsensus and on refugee issues, for which intervention or actionby the UNHCR may be required," Ngandu said. The statementsaid that the SADC countries had been a traditional home forrefuges and asylum seekers for decades. With a current refugeepopulation of 1,3 million, they continued to receive more. Therewas also the issue of internally displaced people uprooted byconflict: four million in Angola and at least two million in theDemocratic Republic of Congo. "Due to unresolved or newconflicts as a result of intolerance within and outside theregion the numbers of refugees has been gradually increasing overthe years," the statement said. "In 2000, the regionregistered a net increase of 20 percent. The increase over thefirst half of 2001 stands at 10 percent." The 14 memberstates of SADC are: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic ofCongo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia,Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
UN meets with peace and reconciliation fundcoordinator (Luanda, ANGOP, 29/09) - Theexecutive coordinator of Angola`s peace and nationalreconciliation fund, Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos"Nando" Friday analyzed in Luanda with the UNrepresentative to Angola, Mussagy Jeichande, the work of thevisiting technical mission. During its 10-day visit, the UnitedNations was in Angola at an invitation of Angolan head of state,Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, to consult on the functioning of thePeace and National Reconciliation Fund and the electoral processand pilot projects. The Mozambican diplomat at the service of UNleft Luanda for New York, and will present a report to KofiAnnan, in which he is announcing recommendations to beimplemented by the UN in Angola. Commenting on the political andmilitary situation in the country, Mussagy Jeichande said peaceis a process which requires all concrete steps, and added thatthis is the great step of United Nations. The Peace and NationalReconciliation Fund was set up by Angolan government early thisyear to promote dialogue for peace, to assist ex-soldiers, wardisplaced persons and all those who join the amnesty and peopleas whole.
Government and UN assess humanitarian situation inHuila (ANGOP, Lubango, 28/09) - The government and theUnited Nations humanitarian agencies are assessing, as fromtoday, the situation of the war displaced in Caconda andCaluquembe municipalities (southern Huila province). The missionis led by the Huila`s Social Welfare Ministry ProvincialDirector, Victoria da Conceicao, and is also made up of the WorldFood Programme (WFP), the United Nations Children`s Fund(UNICEF), the UN Organism for Humanitarian Coordination (OCHA)and other non-governmental organizations. The delegation intendsto learn about the re-settling programme of the war displaced andstudy mechanisms for their productive reinsertion and socialassistance. In Caconda there are 34,636 displaced, whereas inCaluquembe the estimates reveal the existence of 23,236. Thepopulation from these regions has n been receiving anyhumanitarian aids for two months by humanitarian agencies, due tothe prevailing military instability.
DRC refugees seek shelter in Angola (The Namibian,Luanda, 03/09) - Faced with a massiveinternal refugee crisis caused by its own 26-year civil war,Angola also finds itself hosting 13,000 refugees who have fledviolence in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
War affected Angolans displaced and at risk (AFP,Luanda, 01/09) - An escalation of fighting in Angola'scivil war has worsened the already dire humanitarian situation byputting more people beyond the reach of international aidagencies, according to UN officials. The UN Office for theCoordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that272,000 have been stranded by violence since the start of theyear, unable to flee the countryside for the relative safety ofAngola's cities. Since the government and the rebel NationalUnion for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) resumedall-out warfare in January 1998, 3.1 million people have beendisplaced, the OCHA said. The largest concentrations of displacedAngolans are in the central provinces of Bie and Cuanza Sul,Huila province in the south, and Malanje province in the north.While the government claims it has won control over almost all ofAngola, leaving UNITA fighting a guerrilla war from the bush,humanitarian agencies say they cannot reach 10 to 15 percent ofthe country's enormous territory. That means the OCHA's estimatesof the humanitarian situation only reflect part of the problem."Contrary to our expectations, access to populations at risk... has not increased during the first six months of theyear," the OCHA said in its latest report. "We estimateat 500,000 the number of people needing assistance but beyond ourreach," it said. Displaced people can only receiveinternational aid if they manage to reach one of the major towns.But this is often difficult because the army has set up"security perimeters" around the main cities. Unrest,poor roads, dilapidated airports, destroyed bridges and fuelshortages in many regions prevent humanitarian workers frombringing aid to the thousands of people wanding trhough Angola'smost distant corners. Added to the logistical problems are thethreats to the safety of international aid workers. "Theycome from everyhwere -- the army, UNITA, gangs of thieves, idlesoldiers," said one worker from the World Food Program(WFP), which distributes food to displaced people. In June, twoclearly marked WFP aircraft came under fire from an unknownattacker. The first was shot at on June 8 near Luena, in thesouthern province of Moxico; the second attack came seven dayslater near Kuito, in Bie province. As a result, the WFP suspendedits flights for several weeks, and many aid agencies and UNprograms temporarily pulled their workers back to Luanda. Apessimistic OCHA official said that the government's and UNITA'scurrent strategy of staging ever stronger attacks around thecountry means the humanitarian situation will deteriorate in themonths to come. "It's worse that anything that we have seenup to now," the official said on condition of anonymity. Hesaid that right now, the two sides have "no politicalspace" for negotiations to end the conflict, which has ragedalmost non-stop for 26 years. The international community hasblamed UNITA for prolonging the civil war, which broke out in1975 following 14 years of fighting against the country'sPortuguese colonial rulers. Fighting resumed in earnest in 1998after a peace accord signed in 1994 collapsed. At least 500,000people have died in the conflict.
37,195 outside Botswana at 2001 census (Daily News,18/09) - THE 2001 population and housing censuspreliminary results show that Botswanas population hasincreased from 1.3 million ten years ago to 1.6 million, a growthrate of 2.38 per cent. The Government Central Statistics Office(CSO) in Gaborone released the results of the census, which wasconducted from August 17 to 26, last week. The exact populationfigure for the year 2001 is 1 695 482 against 1 326 796 in 1991.The results also show that enumerators counted 426 333households, where people found, on the spot, 1 678 891 who werecounted data also shows that 37 195 Batswana were outside thecountry during the exercise. There were households which were notenumerated and they numbered 29 039, with 18 248 also beinguncounted. Gaborone, the nations capital, tops the wholecountry with a growth rate of 3.37 per cent, from 133 468 in 1991to 224 286 this year. Francistown has grown by 2.61 per cent,from 65 244 in 1991 to 106 553. The copper mining town of Selebi-Phikwe now has 50 312 people compared to 39 772 in 1991 census, agrowth rate of 2.32 per cent. Ghanzi in the North West Districthas shown tremendous growth of 3.17 per cent, from 24 719 in1991, to 29 306 this year. The least grown area is Orapa, whosepopulation has risen from 8 827 in 1991 to 11 180, a growth rateof 0.46 per cent. According to government statistician GuestCharumbira, the results may be subject to minor modificationswhen the data is eventually analysed on computer. "Theresults are based on the summaries prepared by the districtcensus officers throughout the country," he said, addingthat more detailed breakdown would be provided in due course.
Zimbabwean in possession of forged immigration items(Daily News, 13/09) - Kutlwano Police in Francistownhave arrested a Zimbabwean found in possession of forgedimmigration items. According to Kutlwano police superintendentMosalagae Moseki, they apprehended the Zimbabwean during a swoopat Francistown City's main bus rank last week. Moseki said theZimbabwean was found in possession of a passport with a forgedarrival/departure rubber stamp. When quizzed about the forgedstamps he told them that a fellow Zimbabwean had supplied them.He said the man, Chingongwana, was found later in possession ofan assortment of immigration items such as work permits,visitors' permits and home-made rubber stamps for immigration andlabour offices in Francistown and Gaborone. Moseki saidChingongwana was arrested and taken to Kutlwano police stationwhere he told the police that he had been offering passport andimmigration services to his fellow countrymen free of chargesince last month. On where he got the forged immigration itemsfrom, he said he obtained them from a friend who stayed inZimbabwe. Moseki said the man was also found in possession of 42000 Zimbabwean dollars, which he could not clear. Moseki saidrecently police had to deal with two similar cases involving aKenyan and a Zimbabwean who were also found in possession ofillegal immigration items. He said, however, they had since beenreleased on bail. Efforts to reach the Regional ImmigrationOfficer for comment proved futile.
Refugees threaten suicide in Botswana (Daily News,13/09) - UNHCR, BCR officials blamed for arrogance Inwhat amounts to a suicide pact, some refugees at Dukwi camp havethreatened to kill themselves in protest against what they callunbearable life. This comes after one Ethiopian refugee, BarakadEmmanuel committed suicide on September 1 following what therefugees said was unbearable conditions he was subjected to."Barakad decided to commit suicide because of pressure,frustration, hopelessness and misery after his application forpolitical asylum in Botswana was turned down," says a letteraddressed to the Office of the President. The letter, signed by10 refugees from Burundi, Sudan, Congo and Somalia callingthemselves "The Refugee Mourning Committee", is anappeal for Office of the President s intervention. It saysBarakad s death is a sequel to four others that allegedlyoccurred early this year. "Through this letter the RefugeeMourning Committee would like to let you know that other refugeesgranted political asylum here are to follow. What we suffer fromis not bearable". The letter has been copied to the BotswanaChristian Council, UNDP, Ditshwanelo, the American Embassy,United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva,South Africa, Botswana MPs and the Botswana Red Cross Society.Most of the blame has been put on the local UNHCR office and theBotswana Council for Refugees (BCR) whose officials have beenaccused of arrogance and ill-treating refugees. They said UNHCRin Botswana was failing them but continued to make claims thatconditions at Dukwi were better than elsewhere. "Theauthorities are making our lives unbearable and we have beenreduced to mere slaves whose lives do not have any value ordignity at all," said one committee member Jaater Sadiq inan interview. Sadiq said basic necessities such as bedding wereinadequate and that the refugees were intimidated and threatenedwith court action and imprisonment whenever they queriedanything. According to the committee, while refugees wererequired to engage in income generating activities so they couldbe self-reliant and lead normal lives at Dukwi they are deniedthe chance. Instead of being allocated funds to engage inincome-generating projects, they are employed and paid as littleas P10 per day. They said most of the refugees are idle becausethe few projects at Dukwi could not absorb all of them."When we complain about these issues we are told we want tolive like in a hotel and some of us are silenced and told thatDukwi is the best refugee camp in Africa," said Sadiq. Hesaid refugees were vulnerable to post traumatic stress disordersbut did not get any counselling. The committee also claimsharassment by the police following a peaceful demonstration atthe camp on September 3 and as a result some, including Sadiq,have absconded. Efforts to solicit comments from the UNHCR inGaborone and the regional offices in Pretoria, South Africa,failed as all the relevant officers were said to be attendingmeetings. In another interview, under secretary in the Office ofthe President, Edward Raletobane, who got a faxed copy of theletter from BOPA expressed concern about threats of suicide.Raletobane said it was the responsibility of government and otherorganisations to ensure that conditions at Dukwi are acceptablebut financial constraints made it impossible to grant every wish.For instance, he said it was not practically possible for eachrefugee to have their own projects. "We make sure thateveryone who is physically fit is engaged and involved in one wayor the other in these projects and we also try to find a marketfor their products," he added. He dismissed as untruecomplaints of ill-treatment and threats saying it was mostly therefugees who threatened officers Raletobane said basic facilitiessuch as bedding and food were adequate with authorities ensuringthat the standard of life at Dukwi was not below that of anaverage Motswana. He said two social workers are available at thecamp to deal with any issues of stress.
Cross-border trade in drugs (The Botswana Gazette,12/09) - BOTSWANA is said to be rapidly developing aculture of cocaine and designer drugs abuse. The problem ofgrowing and trafficking in cannabis, and the abuse of otherillicit drugs, may also be increasing associated crimes such asrape, murder, suicide, money laundering, and the corruption ofsome law enforcement and custom officials. This was said by theexecutive director of the Botswaria National Youth Council, MrPhilip Makgalemele, when opening the Village Health CommitteeMusic and Clean village Competition in Katamare recently underthe theme, Effects of Alcohol and Drugs Among theYouth. Makgalemete said substance abuse in Botswana is madeworse by the widespread use of alcohol, which causes greatpersonal suffering and social damage. This is presumed to belinked with the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country. He said theDiamond and Drug Squad of the Botswana Police has destroyedfields of cannabis grown for personal use in villages such asLekgolobotlo. Bags of the drug have been ferried into Botswanathrough canoes from Zambia, white some of the traffic comes fromSouth Africa through ungazetted points near the Ramatlabamaboarder post, ultimately ending up in Zimbabwe. In most ofthe situations our young people are used as trafficking agentsfor drugs such as cocaine, heroin and m-aridrax. Unfortunately,some are killed in the process when a deal does fallsthrough, he lamented. Makgalemele warned that the use ofdrugs and alcohol - as well as tobacco - will cause an epidemicof related chronic health problems. He said children and youngpeople must be well equipped to cope with a wortd that is floodedwith psychoactive drugs that have misuse potential.He said as acompassionate, just and caring nation, Botswana must preventyoung people from abusing alcohol and drugs by promoting positivealternatives to intoxication. He said the Botswana National YouthCouncil through the National Youth Centre in Gaborone has enteredinto a bilateral contract with the SADC Regional Drug ControlProgramme to conduct peer group drug education for drug abusingschool children arid youths, as well as their parents and caregivers. They also plan to organise- a drug awareness open day inGaborone. Makgalemele pointed out that youth do not onlycultivate a dnnking habit through peer pressure-. They are mainlyinfluenced by parental attitudes and through observing parentsabuse these substances.We are preparing a national youthanti-drug and alcohol control master plan which will outlineprevention, treatment, drug control and alternative leisureactivities to be coordinated and implemented nationally, throughdistrict youth programmes officers. he continued.Makgalemele called on the- Ministry of Education to integrate thetopic of alcohol and drugs abuse in the school curriculum. Hecalled on Councils to develop young people through sports andother leisure activities to alleviate boredom. He appealed tonon-governmental organisations and churches to arrange a nationalday of prayer on alcohol and drug. issues, while he challengedyoung people to establish a Teenagers Against Drug Abuseorganisation to intensify education on the topic. Makgalemeleurged law enforcement officers to offer drug education inschools, the University of Botswana and youth clubs andchallenged all Batswana to be involved in the AlcoholicsAnonymous after-care programmes for recovering alcohol and drugdependants.
Ministry busy registering landless(Nampa/MFAIB, 07/09) - LANDS, Resettlement andRehabilitation Deputy Minister, Honourable Isak Katali, says theresettlement programme has started to encounter some problems inusing outdated statistics for planning resettlement and landredistribution in an effective and sustainable manner. Therefore,the Ministry found it necessary to embark on a process ofcollecting new data for resettlement purposes, he added. TheDeputy Minister said the data would be collected through asystematic registration process that would be conductedcountrywide, adding that a simple questionnaire to be used as aninstrument for data collection during the registration processhas been designed. The information to be collected would beuseful in identifying people who are really in dire need to beresettled, added Mr Katali. Addressing traditional leaders andregional councillors in the Capital of the Kavango regionyesterday, Rundu, Mr Katali his Ministry is working very hard toensure that all landless people in Namibia are resettled throughthe land reform and resettlement programme that has so farsucceeded in resettling about 30 000 since independence. TheDeputy Minister noted that altogether 240 000 people ranging fromthose repatriated from exile, ex-soldiers, farm workers, peoplewith disabilities and displaced communities have been resettledsince 1990. According to him, the Ministry has decided to strivetowards sustainable land use in communal areas by implementingdevelopment projects that have long-term benefits. He said thatthe Ministry through its land reform programme and otherparastatals has done a lot to integrate the formerlydisadvantages and landless Namibians into the mainstream of thecountrys economy.
Unita bandit attacks into northernNamibia (Nampa/MFAIB, 05/09) - THE Census ManagerPhilemon Kanime on Monday here lauded both political andtraditional leaders in the Kavango region for having managed tosensitise census activities among the local populationsuccessfully. Mr Kanime is currently touring the north-easternpart of the country to assess and monitor how census officers arecarrying out their national duty in this unstable region. Heurged communities in the region to report suspected Union for theTotal Independence of Angola (Unita) bandits and criminalelements to the security force agencies in their respectiveareas. In an interview with the Namibia Press Agency (Nampa), MrKanime commended the residents of Fumbe village situated 55kilometres east of Rundu for having returned to their respectivehomesteads following a suspected Unita bandits attack lastWednesday. He said the census officers seriousness anddetermination in carrying out the national census, even inconstituencies where the security situation remains unstable,impressed him. He commended census interviewers there for havingmanaged to enumerate homeless persons and travellers, usingmainly roadblocks and checkpoints. The census chief said he wasalso impressed to hear from census supervisors on Monday thatcounting is scheduled to be completed in the region by the end ofthis week. He appealed to people who might have been left out toapproach census officials in their respective areas to ensurethat they are counted. Mr Kanime, who also visited the MukweConstituency in the western Caprivi region, said counting isabout to be completed in that area as residents are fullycooperating with census interviewers. The census manager, who isaccompanied by the Census Advisor, Mr Pelad Namfua, was yesterdayscheduled to proceed to the rest of the Caprivi region on asimilar mission. He was also scheduled to conduct similar toursto the Ohangwena, Oshana, Omusati and Oshikoto regions,respectively. Namibias 2001 national census commenced on 27August this year.
Cross-border abductions and theft(Nampa/MFAIB, 04/09) - NAMIBIAN DefenceForces (NDF) members in the Kavango region on Saturdaymanaged to rescue two Fumbe and Dausi villages residents,55 kilometres east of Rundu, who were abducted by the bandits,Army Commander Major General Martin Shalli announced yesterday.The two residents were allegedly found near Quito in southernAngola after the bandits, who abducted them last Wednesdaymorning released them. General Shalli appealed to residents ofthe region to co-operate with security forces to identifyculprits involved in banditry activities in the area. Speaking tothe Namibia Press Agency (Nampa) on enquiry, he said that thesecurity forces are unable to cover the entire border along theKavango River because it is too vast; therefore, co-operationfrom community members is of vital importance. He further urgedcivilians in the area, especially those residing along the river,to adhere to control measures set up last year by securityforces. Last year the NDF established patrol measures andrequested the public in the region to refrain from visiting theriverside, especially during the evening as their visit to thearea could hamper the work of the security forces. We as anation should do something jointly to ensure that bandits are notgiven a chance to harass Namibians in the Kavango and westernCaprivi areas, noted General Shalli. He commended effortsbeing made by the security forces in rescuing abducted persons aswell as recovering stolen goods from the bandits in theirfollow-up operations into southern Angola. On the allegationsthat some residents in the region are reportedly crossing intoAngola illegally for the purposes of harvesting reeds andfishing, General Shalli said a statement pertaining to illegalcrossing would be issued at the later stage. He, however, warnedthem to refrain from such an activity.
Botswana Defence Force allegedlyharassing Namibians (Nampa/MFAIB, 04/09) - Fourfishermen told the Namibia Press Agency (Nampa) in an interviewthat they have had their fishing nets taken away by the BDFmembers a week ago while they were found fishing on the Namibianside. Mr Munimonga Chizabulyo said over the weekend that theincident is the first of its kind this year, unlike last year and1990 when some nets were taken out. Mr Chizabulyo said that it isnot the first time that the BDF involved in the taking away ofthe local people's nets on the Namibian waters of the ChobeRiver, but that several other similar cases were reported to theNamibian government last year, which also led to the negotiationsbetween the two governments and returned some other nets back.The residents of Nakabolelwa accused some BDF members along theChobe of threatening behaviour and of lack of cooperationwhenever they found Namibians fishing on the Namibian side of theChobe, which all the fishermen denied to have done over the pastweeks and over the past years. The Fishermen appealed to theNamibian police along the area to further negotiate with theNamibian government to foster better friendship among the peopleon both sides of the river and to share the resources of theChobe River as most of the people in the area make life on fish.They said at several times their fishing nets have been taken andsometimes cut into pieces by the BDF, though some members havealso shown cooperation. The government of Botswana last yearreturned a number of nets back to the Namibian fishermen alongthe eastern Chobe River. Mr Chizabulyo, with four others, werelast week found fishing in a stream from the Chobe River,commonly known as Ndeleki, when the BDF members approached themat a close range and took away their nets, threatening to arrestthem if they are nest time found fishing in the Chobe. The BDFalso warned them from poaching in Botswana. The Ndeleki Island isamong the other distributor streams connecting from the ChobeRiver facing into Namibia, which the BDF has claimed to be partof Botswana and not part of Namibia as it has been for years.
Namibian soldiers' withdrawal nearscompletion (Nampa/MFAIB, 04/09) - THE withdrawal ofthe Namibian troops from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)is nearly completed, the Defence Ministry announced Monday. TheMinistrys liaison and Public Relations Officer, Mr VincentMwange, said in a media release that 244 Namibian Defence Force(NDF) soldiers arrived from the DRC last Friday. However, MrMwange said about 150 soldiers are still in that countryseastern front due to transport problems. He added that theremaining soldiers are to be ferried to areas where there areairport facilities during the next few days for them to return toNamibia. Namibia had about 2 000 troops deployed in that countrysince August 1998 to prevent the DRC government from beingoverthrown by the rebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda. Most NDFmembers have been withdrawn from that country mainly during thecourse of this year. Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia sent troops onthe side of the DRC government against the rebels. The withdrawalof all foreign troops from that countrys soil is inconformity with the Ceasefire Agreement, which was signed inLusaka, Zambia last year by all belligerents involved in thatcountrys war.
Police set dogs on two Zimbabwean nationals(Johannesburg, Sapa, 27/09) - The Police and PrisonsCivil Rights Union (Popcru) called on Thursday for the suspensionof the Pretoria policemen who are alleged to have set their dogson two Zimbabweans nationals at the weekend. Popcru spokesmanSiyavuya Sineke said in a statement: "We believe in orderfor the management to show its real zero tolerance on thosemembers who still believe as police officers they are a law untothemselves, they must be suspended without pay." Popcru saidthe officers' continued presence gave the appearance that policemanagement condoned the acts. Swift action by management wouldshow that the police "will not tolerate acts of racism,barbarism, xenophobia and other violent behaviour with itsranks". Sineke said although two policemen were implicated,Popcru called for the suspension of all eight who were present,as the others had done nothing to stop the assaults. Policespokesman Superintendent Morne van Wyk said the provincialcommissioner had appointed a task team to investigate the matter.He said "no stone would be left unturned" in theinvestigation, and "stern action, which could includedismissal" would be taken if the policemen were found guiltyof misconduct. A criminal case of assault with intent to dogrievous bodily harm is being investigated, along with thepolice's internal inquiry.
Pretoria refuses to consider reparation for Hereros(Johannesburg, Business Day, 28/09) - The SA governmentsays it will not pay reparations and compensation to the Hereropeople in Namibia. Government was responding to a call by Hereroparamount chief Kuaima Riruako for the Namibian government toinstitute a legal suit, similar to the one of the Hereros againstthe German government, against their SA counterparts. Riruakosaid only "lazy" people would not study the historicatrocities committed against their ancestors and institute claimsagainst such perpetrators. "I'm not quite happy (with thestate of affairs against SA). We suffered a lot (at the hands ofSA) and we can't let them off the hook," Riruako said.Foreign affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said the present SAgovernment was made up of former victims of successivecolonisation and an apartheid regime. "The legal question toask under such circumstances is, therefore, whether you can askfor reparation or compensation from the same victims who sufferedunder those regimes," Mamoepa said. Riruako also expresseddismay at the Namibian government's lack of interest in theHerero case against the German government and three companiesfrom that country. "For the (Namibian) government or any oneto say, I'm not part of it' ... must be nuts," he said. TheNamibian government agreed with Pretoria during the RacismConference in Durban not to claim for reparations. Last week theHerero People's Reparation Corporation temporarily withdrew itslegal claim for reparations against Terex Corporation, but addedanother against the German government. others accuse Germancompanies (including Woermann Line, now known as SAFmarine) andthe government of forming a "brutal alliance" toexterminate more than 65000 Hereros between 1904 and 1907.
High levels of xenophobia in SA (Pretoria, UnitedDemocratic Front, 27/09) - The United DemocraticMovement (UDM) is very concerned about the high levels xenophobiain our country as highlighted by recent media reports. InZandspruit near Randburg (Gauteng) informal settlement leadershave "declared war on foreigners" and angry residentsdemolished and burnt down several shacks believed to belong toZimbabweans. To make matters worse, some residents believe thatthe arsonists mistakenly burnt the "wrong" shacks, asone Zimbabwean's home remained unaffected. In another incident, acase of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm has nowbeen opened against the Pretoria Dog Unit who allegedly set dogson two Zimbabweans in the city and dumped them near Hammanskraalin the middle of the night. This leads to added concern, sincethe bad international exposure in November last year, when SAPSDog Unit members had been arrested after SABC's SpecialAssignment, flighted a training exercise video showing dogs beingset on illegal immigrants from Maputo. The current debate onnon-South Africans being involved in the country's privatesecurity industry also underlines the problem. The ANC must becareful when it makes statements in this regard. ANC MP, MlulekiGeorge, said those foreigners who have interests in the securityindustry would have to "get out" should they notwillingly sell their interests in the industry. There might bemerit in what Mr George has stated, seen in the light of therecent attacks on the USA and that it could be a security threatto South African if we don't "own" this specificindustry; It seems as if the ANC is contradicting itself;President Mbeki is a vocal advocate of "importing"skills into South Africa. Obviously not security skills? The UDMbelieves that the diminishing of resources occasioned by theeconomic policies pursued by the government has inflamedxenophobia among South Africans who feel threatened by the floodof migrants and refugees who have swarmed our borders in searchof better opportunities. Government must rearrange their order ofpriorities so as to place the interests of the poor anddisadvantaged at the top, this will inhibit chronic industrialstoppages, rampant unemployment and retrenchments, escalatingcrime and xenophobia.
Immigration Bill row drags on (Johannesburg, BusinessDay, 25/09) - TWO years ago civil society and privatesector groups told Parliament's home affairs portfolio committeewhat they thought SA's new immigration legislation should say.Indications are that the groups might have to start the wholeprocess from scratch if the current Immigration Bill is found tobe unconstitutional. Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Butheleziwarned last week that he would go to the Constitutional Court ifParliament rejected the bill, arguing that "there is nothingwrong with it". Buthelezi said: "I hope there is noconflict between the executive and legislature, which mightnecessitate me to resort to the Constitutional Court." Whilethe bill's green and white papers were drafted in 1995, SA stilluses the old apartheid Aliens Control Act. Parliament's homeaffairs portfolio committee chairman, Aubrey Mokoena, saidyesterday that starting the process from the beginning could takemore than 18 months. "The minister (Buthelezi) has paintedhimself into a corner and has imposed an ultimatum on the Speakerof Parliament to pass the bill. He is using the constitution tofight the constitution," said Mokoena. "The fight hasnow been elevated to the level of the minister of home affairsand the Speaker of Parliament. "I have written a letter toboth Parliament's and the state's law advisers, requesting theiropinion on the status of the bill and I am still awaiting theirresponse." Meanwhile, the British and US chambers ofcommerce say the absence of a law allowing for the recruitment ofskilled foreign labour is having a negative effect on theeconomy. Patrick McLaughlin, a spokesman for the chambers, said:"Now that the new skills levy is in place and has collectedwell over R16,5bn, the question of home affairs trying tolegislate in a further new tax has now snagged the proposedlegislation from a constitutional viewpoint. "This furtherillustrates that such a tax is inequitable and poorly perceivedfrom a fiscal viewpoint. It illustrates the tax principle thatthe same cow should not be milked twice." Both chambersurged SA to speed up the process, saying a "drop in skilledimmigration is far more serious for SA than any possible increasein emigration". Last month National Assembly Speaker FreneGinwala told the joint rules committee that she had receivedlegal advice that the bill was unconstitutional. This is partlybecause the bill requires SA employers of foreigners to pay alevy. Since only the national treasury has the authority tosubmit bills dealing with money to Parliament, the fact that itwas Buthelezi who introduced the bill has become a bone ofcontention. Buthelezi and Ginwala could be headed for a showdownafter he suggested that he was in no mood to redraft the bill.Buthelezi has introduced the bill more than five times already."I have done everything and worked hard to see the billbeing passed into law, and as far as I'm concerned there isnothing wrong with it," he said last week. The chambers saidthe political squabble dogging the bill led to "poorinvestor perceptions". "If a skills levy were to beimplemented, then a double-tax situation would arise. Investorswould find that unacceptable and that would do SA no good."McLaughlin said the levy was "both punitive andexcessive". Mokoena told MPs in his committee earlier thisyear the bill was the brainchild of Buthelezi and his adviserMario Ambrosini. Trade union federations such as the Congress ofSA Trade Unions are against the idea of recruiting foreign labourwhen SA has such high unemployment. However, McLaughlin said thatthe country desperately needed human investment if the economywas to improve. "We remain opposed to the incorporation,imposition and collection by a nonfinancial government departmentof permit fees under the guise of helping skills developmentprogrammes. "While the brain drain deepens, the proposedlegislation would in fact start working as a disincentive toinvestment." He suggested that there be two separate laws:one handling refugee issues and matters affecting labourmigration, and another focusing on short-term work, diplomaticpermits and matters connected to industrial and business affairs.Last week the New National Party expressed concern at the delayssurrounding the bill. The party called upon the private sectorand members of the public to intervene in the dispute. Earlierthis year Buthelezi told journalists that he did not understandwhy he was being treated "suspiciously" over theImmigration Bill as he was a "loyal" servant of thestate.
Ginwala says Immigration Bill is "moneybill" (Johannesburg, Business Day, 25/09) - IT ISdifficult to understand what game National Assembly Speaker FreneGinwala is playing in determining that the pending ImmigrationBill be categorised as a "money bill". Money bills aredefined in the constitution as any bill that "appropriatesmoney or imposes taxes, levies or duties". Any such bill"may not deal with any other matter". Money billsdiffer from ordinary legislation in that they have to be passedas tabled, or rejected in total; no amendments can be made. Therationale is that, because they have implications forgovernment's fiscal policy, they have to maintain theirpre-determined coherence. Though debatable, the argument fortreating such financial legislation differently is legitimate.But the alternative procedure would be unsuited to other laws,which are often improved through amendments during passagethrough Parliament. The Immigration Bill, more than most,requires thorough scrutiny. Ginwala seems to have declared theImmigration Bill a money bill on the basis that employers willhave to pay a fee called, in the bill, a levy for the right toemploy an immigrant. This seems a patent misuse of her role asspeaker. The bill has no direct implications for fiscal policy.In this sense it is not a money bill at all as, for example, theannual budget is. But, Ginwala may argue, it does provide for theraising of levies. Well yes, if she wishes to interpret it thatway. If that is so, the bill will have to be divided in twobecause the rest of it does not deal with money matters at all.And, as we have seen, a money bill may not deal with any othermatter. That will take time, further delaying legislation which,as President Thabo Mbeki stated in his opening address toParliament this year, is central to addressing our economy'sskills crisis. Of course, if Ginwala's interpretation is correct,she must adhere to the rules and, if necessary, delay the bill.These matters cannot be determined by expediency. But evidencesuggests there is some hidden motive at work here. And if shecontinues along this path, she will be opening a veritablePandora's box for herself. She will have to explain why, forexample, she did not require that the Skills Development Act,which requires employers to pay a skills levy equivalent to 1% ofthe overall salary bill, was not treated as a money bill. Whatabout telecommunications legislation that requires telephony orradio licensees to pay levies for band width? Or unemploymentinsurance law? Or a whole range of other laws that impose fees orlevies but which Parliament has treated (or would intend totreat) as ordinary legislation? What, then, might be Ginwala'sulterior motive here? The only explanation we can think of atthis stage is that it has to do with the battles going on betweenthe responsible (Inkatha) minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi and hisdirector-general Billy Masethla whose employment contractButhelezi refuses to sign and whose service is possibly in breachof the law and the African National Congress majority on the homeaffairs parliamentary portfolio committee. It is all lookingrather murky, and unhelpful to the country's economicimperatives. And it is not a good reflection on Ginwala herself,who has already this year, in the arms package probe, facedaccusations of using her nonpartisan post to play politics.
Foreigners to be included in Census 2001 (Cape Town,Dispatch Online, 24/09) - Foreigners,whether they are in the country legally or illegally, will becounted when Census 2001 gets under way next month, StatisticianGeneral Pali Lehohla said yesterday. Speaking on the SABC Newsmakerprogramme, he said foreigners would not be asked whether theywere in the country legally or illegally. "We do not askwhether such person has the necessary documentation to be in thecountry. There is no question like that. "The census onlyasks about people who are in the country at the time,irrespective of whether they are legal or illegal," Lehohlasaid. He said there were other institutions of state such as homeaffairs who dealt with people who were in the country illegally.Census questionnaires were absolutely confidential and treated assuch. He said the census to be held from October 10 to 31, wouldbe given the recognition it deserved. Government was usually thebiggest user of censuses while the private sector and businessalso derived a lot from them. The cost to the taxpayer for thisyear's census would amount to R643million and results could bereleased within 18 months "but we are still looking at twoyears". Regarding the controversy over under counting in the1996 census, Lehohla said a lot had been done in mapping outrural areas and this should improve things considerably.
Buthelezi battles on over immigration (Parliament,Sapa, 20/09) - Home Affairs Minister MangosuthuButhelezi has warned he might have to resort to theConstitutional Court to ensure the Immigration Bill, which hasbeen four years in the making, is piloted through Parliament andnot delayed yet again. This is the latest twist in thecontroversial bill's passage, one which has pitted Buthelezi -who is also leader of the IFP - against ANC officials, includinghis director-general Billy Masetlha, whom he accuses of a breachof trust. Buthelezi has forwarded legal opinion from two seniorcounsel to President Thabo Mbeki and the chairmen of the NationalAssembly's home affairs and public accounts committees aboutMasetlha's employment status. The minister insists that Masetlhadoes not have a valid contract, and that the director-general'sactions since the expiry of his original five-year contract inJune is illegal. Buthelezi is also at a odds with NationalAssembly Speaker Dr Frene Ginwala over the immigration bill,which she wants withdrawn and re-tabled by the finance ministeras a money bill. The bill aims, among other things, to facilitatethe recruitment of skilled foreign workers to South Africa.Briefing reporters in Parliament on Thursday, Buthelezi said hehad received legal opinion from two "eminent seniorcounsel" who were of the view that it was not a money bill."I just hope that there is no conflict between the executiveand legislature, which might necessitate me to go to theconstitutional court." The bill was referred to Parliament'sJoint Tagging Mechanism last month to decide on itsconstitutionality. Buthelezi has previously written to Ginwalareferring to the bill's passage through Parliament as being"filled with subterfuge, ambush and trickery".Buthelezi's office had to have the bill certified by anindependent senior advocate, after state law advisers failed todo so timeously. Ginwala, on advice from Parliament's chief lawadviser, insists the bill is unconstitutional because it containsmonetary provisions. In terms of the Consitution, a money billcan only be introduced by the finance minister. Buthelezi toldreporters on Thursday he had again written to Ginwala andsubmitted independent legal opinion from senior counsel that thebill was not a money bill. "She has not replied. The ball isnow in her court." It is understood Buthelezi has givenuntil Friday as a deadline. A spokesman for Parliament was notimmediately available for comment. Meanwhile, Buthelezi is stillwaiting for Mbeki to respond to a letter he wrote in August aboutMasetlha's status and that contained the legal opinions ofindependent senior counsel Klaus von Lieres und Wilkau and GoronRichings. "All sorts of legal consequences and possibleinvalidity may flow from the insecure and most uncertain statureof the present occupant." Von Lieres states. Buthelezi wouldnot be drawn on the matter on Thursday, saying it was "verysensitive". In his letter dated September 19 to Home Affairscommittee chair Aubrey Mokoena, Buthelezi said he understood thatthe committee had concluded that Masetlha's had a regularemployment contract. "As you can see, both senior counselopinions indicate that Mr Masetlha does not have the type ofcontract legally required to establish and maintain an employmentrelationship as head of department. "The opinion also pointsout that such employment relationship can only be established bymeans of a prescribed contract entered into between me and him,which does not yet exist." Buthelezi has previously toldSapa that he informed Mbeki before the expiry of Masetlha'sfive-year contract in June "that a breach in the necessaryrelation of trust between the executive authority and the head ofdepartment had occurred".
Immigration Bill blocked again (Business Day, 20/09) -The much-delayed Immigration Bill - which seeks tofacilitate easier access to South Africa by qualified immigrants- has hit a new obstacle with the Speaker of the NationalAssembly Frene Ginwala arguing that the measure is a money bill.In terms of the constitution a money bill must be piloted throughParliament by the Minister of Finance - and not Home AffairsMinister Mangosuthu Buthelezi. At a press conference today,Buthelezi was asked by I-Net Bridge if he could confirm whetherGinwala had raised objections to the bill. He confirmed that hehad written to her indicating that he hoped that her interventionwould not result in "a conflict" between the organs ofstate - the executive and the legislature (Parliament). AlthoughButhelezi's concerns over yet another delay in the passage of thebill could develop into a real spat - as Buthelezi is leader ofthe minority party in cabinet, the Inkatha Freedom Party whileGinwala belongs to the major party in government, the AfricanNational Congress - he said that he had done all he could to getthe measure to Parliament. It was now up to Parliament to deal"as it deems fit" with the bill, but he said that hehad consulted two senior counsel who were emphatic that theImmigration Bill was not a money bill. Buthelezi said that"just because the bill imposes levies" does not mean itis a money bill. Asked if he felt comfortable to remain in thecabinet as it appeared that his department was hamstrung bypolitical clashes between the Inkatha Freedom Party and the ANC,Buthelezi denied being hamstrung. "It would not be fair tosay I am hamstrung by my colleagues." He pointed out thatthe Immigration Bill had gone through a long process of debate incabinet but had been passed by all its members. I-Net Bridge alsospoke to the ANC-appointed Deputy Home Affairs Minister, CharlesNqakula, who said he could not take the issue further as it was amatter to be dealt with between the Minister and the Speaker.Buthelezi did add, however, that he hoped the matter would nothave to be taken to the Constitutional Court. The bill waspreviously delayed owing to differences in the cabinet overvarious technical issues including the powers of an independentauthority to deal with immigration matters. The bill is intendedto replace what Buthelezi calls an "unconstitutional"Aliens Control Act - inherited from the apartheid days. Thelegislation makes provision for foreigners to gain easier entrysubject to levies being paid by South African based companies -and proof of their qualifications. Buthelezi acknowledged thatthere were fingers being pointed at his department forinefficiency in dealing with immigration applicationsparticularly in respect of foreign investors and entrepreneurswhich take "too long to finalise". He said animmigration hotline had been established to help alleviate thisproblem - with the support of Business South Africa. Questionsalso arose during the media conference about the legal positionof Home Affairs Director General Billy Masetla, conspiciouslyabsent from the media briefing, who apparently never signed hisappointment contract. Buthelezi said he had communicated withPresident Thabo Mbeki who was dealing with this issue.
Muslim teens in Gauteng insulted after xenophobicattack (Independent Online, 19/09) - Several Muslimteenagers were harassed by fellow pupils after the terroristattacks on the United States last week, the SA Human RightsCommission (SAHRC) said on Wednesday. Two passenger jets wereflown into the World Trade Centre in New York and another intothe Pentagon in Washington last Tuesday, leaving thousands deadand missing. Although nobody has claimed responsibility, OsamaBin Laden, an Islamic fundamentalist - is the chief suspect.Phumla Mthala of the SAHRC said the commission had become awarethat Arab pupils at several Gauteng high schools had beenverbally insulted. Mthala said the attack was deplorable and hadresulted in tightened security. It had an impact on personalfreedoms of certain groups accompanied by stereotyping and racialprofiling, she said. The commission had received the informationabout pupils being harassed through several sources, includingparents. "I am reluctant to name the schools involved untilwe decide what action to take." The SAHRC would meet nextTuesday to decide how to handle the situation. She said there hadalso been an incident where Muslim passengers on board a flightfrom Durban to Johannesburg were asked to identify themselves tothe crew. "There are extra security checks for Muslimpassengers," she said. However, Airports Companyspokesperson Mahle Ndlovu said she was not aware of theseincidents. "We search everybody... we haven't categorisedpeople. No policy has been implemented targeting Arabs orMuslims," she said.
Official immigration statistics (Johannesburg,Sapa-INet-Bridge, 13/09) - There were 419 documentedimmigrants into South Africa and 999 self-declared emigrants inMay 2001, Statistics South Africa said on Thursday. Stats SA saidthat the four leading sources of documented immigrants to SouthAfrica in May 2001 were the UK (63 or 15%); India (53 or 12.6%);China (30 or 7.2%) and Pakistan (25 or 6%). The four leadingdestination countries for self-declared emigrants during May 2001were the UK (359 or 35.9%); the U.S. (102 or 10.2%); Australia(95 or 9.5%) and Namibia (80 or 8%). Stats SA said that theemigration data refers to self- declared status. "SouthAfricans who leave permanently under the pretext of temporaryvisits will not appear as emigrants in the emigration statisticscollected. Similarly, as per definition, 'undocumentedimmigrants' will not appear in the statistics collected."FOREIGN TRAVELERS DOWN IN MAY The total number of foreigntravelers (from overseas and from the rest of Africa) visitingSouth Africa during May 2001 fell 2.1% year on year from 459,682in May 2000 to 449,897 in the month, Stats SA said. During May,the most common mode of travel used by foreign travelers inarriving in South Africa was road (326,013 or 72.5% of thevisitors). Some 110,046 or 24.5% of travelers arrived by air. Thevast majority (84%) of air travelers came through JohannesburgInternational Airport while 14.6% of travelers arrived throughCape Town International Airport. The bulk of departures fromSouth Africa (71.4%) were by road. During May 2001, 103,043overseas travelers visited South Africa. This is 5.9% more thanin May 2000. However, the number of travelers from mainlandAfrica fell 4.9% year on year to 310,374. Some 93% of Africanvisitors arrived by road.
Looting of foreigners' shops cause R3m damage (PortElizabeth, Dispatch Online, 11/09) - Policefired rubber bullets when chaos erupted in Kwanobuhle atUitenhage near here yesterday as gangs of thugs went on therampage, looting shops belonging to foreigners, mostly Somalis,causing millions of rands' damage. There were running battlesbetween the looters and the police as the mobs targeted shops.The sound of gunfire echoed through the Uitenhage township aspolice tried to scare off the looters. Six people were arrestedand police expect to make more arrests. About 25 shops werecleaned out and one was set alight, but the fire was quicklyextinguished by neighbours. The Kwanobuhle Islamic Centre, amosque at the heart of Kwanobuhle, was broken into and the mobtook Islamic artefacts, smashed windows and destroyed the bathtub used to wash the dead. Imam Mzukisi Makheleni said lastnight: "They entered the mosque with their shoes on. Werespect the mosque and we take off our shoes when we go in. Weare going to call a meeting of the Kwanobuhle Islamic communityon Thursday the discuss the matter." The looters stoned themosque because next to it is a shop being run by Somali brothers.Police and the army patrolled the entire Kwanobuhle townshipwhile a police spotter plane hovered above, monitoring thesituation. According to the police, the problem started brewingon Saturday when scores of people invaded the liquidated UsaveWholesalers and started looting. Yesterday, five security guardswith firearms guarded the building to stop looters. The situationturned ugly when groups of between 100 and 150 started breakinginto Somali shops, taking goods. Police said the looters weresaying they did not want foreigners because they were takingtheir jobs and taking over their businesses. Some Somalis hadtaken refuge at the Kwanobuhle police station. Some goods hadbeen recovered by the police and were being kept at the policestation. Although the damage cannot be easily quantified as thelooting happened in different places, one Somali shop owner,Hassan Abdi Khali, said about R3 million damage was caused.
Somalis attacked, shops plundered, in South Africa(Port Elizabeth, Sapa-AFP, 11/09) - Gangs of race-hatethugs went on a rampage in a black township bordering this southcoast city on Monday, targetting shops belonging to Somalimigrants, a report said Tuesday. At least 25 shops were lootedand one set ablaze in Kwanobuhle township as police fired teargas and fought running battles with the looters, the EasternProvince Herald newspaper reported. The Kwanobuhle IslamicCentre, which includes a mosque, was also broken into and the mobtook artefacts, smashed windows and destroyed a bathtub used towash the dead, the daily said. "They entered the mosque withtheir shoes on," the local Imam, named only as Makheleni,told the newspaper. "We are going to call a meeting of theKwanobuhle Islamic community to discuss the matter." Thelooters apparently attacked the mosque because it is next to ashop owned by a Somali family. Police said six people had beenarrested and more arrests were expected. According to police, thelooters accused the foreigners of taking their jobs and takingover their businesses. Some Somalis took refuge at the policestation. "We do not know why these people are doing this tous," said Somali shop owner Hassan Khali. "Last nightabout 100 people came to my house, some with guns, wanting totake my goods. I closed the door and they started throwingstones, breaking windows." He said he managed to fend themob off and they left - but not before destroying his shop andgoods valued at about three million rand (357,000 dollars).Another shop was cleared out by a group of about 500 looters, whothen destroyed shelves and part of the ceiling. South AfricanHuman Rights Commission chairman Barney Pityana last monthdeplored what he said was "rabid xenophobia" in SouthAfrica. "South Africa's treatment of foreigners should causeus shame," he said, singling out the home affairs ministry,responsible for immigration, for particular criticism. The PortElizabeth branch of the ruling African National Congress (ANC),has strongly condemned Monday's attacks. "This is totallyagainst the programme of the party that is focusing againstracism and xenophobia," said ANC western region secretaryBeza Ntshona. "We strongly condemn activities that aredirected against our African brothers." The finaldeclaration of last week's UN World Conference Against Racismheld in South Africa's east coast city of Durban stronglycondemned "the manifestations and acts of racism, racialdiscrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance againstmigrants."
Commentary critical of immigration bill (DispatchOnline, 05/09) - The government'srecently tabled Immigration Bill is flawed, say Ann Bernstein andLawrence Schlemmer. They explain their viewpoint. SOUTH Africa isnot a developed country like Switzerland, Singapore, Japan orGermany. Our economic growth is significantly more constrained byskills shortages than theirs; our need for skills runs acrossalmost every sector of the economy -- not merely one or twohighly specialised areas. And instead of hordes of qualifiedpeople trying to get in, too many of our skilled people want toget out. There is absolutely no threat that South Africa will beoverwhelmed by applications from engineers, IT technicians,doctors, mechanics, accountants, entrepreneurs, teachers, nursesor any other profession. In fact, we will have to struggle toattract them. Against the backdrop of South Africa's need forforeign skills, it is difficult to understand the inordinatecaution and pervasive ambiguity that characterises thegovernment's recently tabled Immigration Bill. The bill iswritten as though the country is NOT facing a deepening skillscrisis -- a skills shortage that undermines South Africa'scapacity to grow its economy, ensure an improvement and expansionto all citizens of quality education and training, and improvedelivery. In his State of the Nation speech at the beginning ofthis year, President Thabo Mbeki committed the government to"improving competitiveness by lowering input coststhroughout the economy". He also said: "Immigrationlaws and procedures will be reviewed urgently to enable us toattract skills into our country." How well does theImmigration Bill meet the requirements specified by thepresident?
THE bill reflects an intention to address theskills needs of the country, and in this respect is an advance onexisting legislation. It contains core principles that couldfacilitate the entry of the kind of skills our economy needs.However, there are harsh and prescriptive clauses which couldhave the effect of contradicting the sound general principles.This means the Immigration Bill cannot be guaranteed to reduceour skills bottlenecks. Some of its provisions will actuallyraise operating costs substantially in areas of operationsaffected by the skills shortage and foreign contract labour. TheCentre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) is convinced thelegislation will not achieve the twin purposes outlined in thepresident's speech. The bill is littered with qualifying terms:"skills or qualifications which may be prescribed from timeto time", "prescribed category", "prescribedquota", "prescribed requirement" or"prescribed yearly limits of available permits" (in thecase of permanent residence) -- all of which usurp the principleof market demand and replace it with an elaborate system ofcategories designed in government offices. At issue here is notonly the impossibility of anticipating market demand but also theprospect of delays in the processing of applications whilecalculations are made of the numbers and limits for categories.The objectives of the new Immigration Bill are to ensure that"needed skills" are acquired by the economy. A criticalissue is who decides what foreigners are "needed" andon what basis the discretion is exercised. We challenge theassumption that "needed skills" can be categorised,calculated, predicted or anticipated. The only proper test of"needed skills" are the demands and requirements of themarket. How long will it take three different departments toagree on South Africa's skills needs? On the basis of whichoutdated statistics? Furthermore, the bill specifies only that"businesses may employ foreigners who are needed". Whatabout the kinds of foreigners that we would like to have asentrepreneurs or self-employed people? Although there areprovisions for the controlled entry of entrepreneurs, there areno guidelines to specify the grounds on which the presence ofpeople who will not be employed by others is needed, except forcapital requirements that will only be determined after the billis passed. South Africa needs skills of all types and forms thatcannot be predicted or categorised.
WHAT this bill does is to empower officials todecide what is best for the economy. One is expected to believethat the officials have the best of intentions and that theirregulations and prescriptions will honour the commitments of thepresident. Unless the bill itself specifies very clearly what theoutcomes of its provisions should be, it should not be supported.This bill does not do that and for this reason falls woefullyshort of what the president promised and what South Africadesperately needs. The bill will not provide the basis for a"rule of law" but could lead to a hegemony ofbureaucracy. The goal of attracting desirable immigrants will beneutralised by an opposite objective of limiting any conceivablecompetition to South Africa's existing labour force. At everypoint of consideration, the state will judge the desirability orneed for the particular benefits that the foreigner might bringinto the country. It amounts to a web of intervention that willtax the government's information systems and the judgment andcapacity to process applications beyond the limits of what ispossible.
THE bill in its current form should not besupported. What is required is a rapid review and redraftingprocess -- preferably influenced by the ministries committed toeconomic growth -- to remove all prescriptions and regulationswhich could contradict the bill's sound principles. CDE'srecommendations include:
*The legislation must guarantee unambiguously that until suchtime as South Africa's educational crisis and training deficitsare overcome, the entry of all potentially economicallyproductive skills is facilitated. (Open the doors wide);
*The requirement that "terms and conditions for employmentshould not be inferior to those prevailing" should bescrapped in the case of all skills above the level of, or outsideof, those to which industrial council and bargaining councilagreements apply. (This provision raises costs in the economyrather than allowing new foreigners to help lower input costs);
*The requirement of a special training levy for the employment ofeach foreigner be scrapped (This is a tax on growth); and
*The legislation must provide clear guidelines concerning minimuminvestment capital requirements for entrepreneurs andself-employed persons so as to include small andmicro-entrepreneurs. (In the history of migration it has moreoften than not been the smaller entrepreneurs and familybusinesses which have made the most vital contribution to theirhost economies).
South Africa should welcome all immigrants who will be readilyemployable or self-employed and will contribute to the economythrough the taxes that they pay and the additional jobs that theycreate.
*This article is based on the CDE's submission to Parliamenton the Immigration Bill. It is supported by the American Chamberof Commerce, the British Chamber of Business in Southern Africa,the University of the Witwatersrand and the University ofPotchefstroom.
*Ann Bernstein is executive director of the CDE and LawrenceSchlemmer is a senior consultant to the CDE.
Tanzania and Kenya agree to intensify crackdown onillegal migrants (Nairobi, The Nation, 07/09) - Kenyaand Tanzania have vowed to intensify the crackdown on illegalimmigrants. A cross-border security meeting between topgovernment officials passed the resolution at Isebania town.Tanzanian officials complained that hundreds of Kenyans wereliving with their relatives across the border illegally. Sourcestold the Nation that the leader of the Tanzanian delegation, MrPascal Mabiti, said his government will repatriate illegalimmigrants. The meeting noted that smuggling of goods across theborder had declined except for adulterated fuel. Mr Mabiti, whois also the Tarime DC, told the conference that his governmenthad declared war on bhang growing and trafficking and haduprooted drug planted along the border. On cattle rustling, itwas resolved that joint border operations be conducted to speedup recovery of stolen animals and eradicate the menace. TheKenyan team was led by District Commissioners Lorna Odero(Migori), Fred Musami (Trans Mara) and Ali Mbwarali (Suba).Meanwhile, Kuria District Commissioner Joel Sigei barred theKenyan Press from attending the security meeting. Tanzanianjournalists were allowed in.
Number of illegal immigrants reduced (Lusaka, ThePost, 05/09) - The number of prohibited immigrants atLusaka Central Prison has reduced, the High Court heardyesterday. Presenting the gaol deliveries for the Septembercriminal session before judge Thomas Ndhlovu, the superintendentin charge at Lusaka Central Prison disclosed there were 28prohibited immigrants compared to 59 last month. However, LusakaRemand Prison showed an increase from 49 prohibited immigrants to62. The court also heard that there was total of 2,007 prisonersat Lusaka Central, Remand and Mwembeshi Open Air prisons. Andtaking plea before the same court Adamson Masuzyo Gondwe deniedmurdering Yvonne Mainza on March 11, 1999. Hearing was adjournedto today.
This page last updated 09 July 2004.