August 2002 - Click on the country title above theheadlines for the entire article.
Cross-border parks of peace
Border post reopens
Farmers in Botswana and South Africa cionflict
Zimbabwean soldiers flee to Botswana
Residents want faster construction fo border fence with Namibia
Tourism visits increase
17 white farmers' applications to settle in Botswana rejected
Zimbabwe censures Botswana over white farmers
Border patrol with Zimbabwe intensified
Zimbabwean farmers urged to move to Botswana by BAU
Repatriation of refugees from Botswana to Namibia begins
Botswana has no land for Zimbabwe farmers
Zimbabwe refugees tax Botswana's budget
Residents accuse South Africa of violating border agreement
Some 800 Namibian refugees to go home from Botswana
Foriegn investors needed for diversity
Batswana urged to desist from hiring illegal immigrants
Botswana can compete with best tourist destinations
Two men arrested for rape, assault of two illegal immigrants
Car hijackers released on bail
SA, Lesotho security ministers to meet
Impact of HIV/AIDS on land issues
More food relief needed
In search of maize surplus
9 nabbed for forged passports
Our hospitality is being abused
Police arrest 300 foreigners
Malawi may take Zimbabwe farmers
Zim farmers shun Malawi
Zimbabwean farmers given land inMozambique
Malawi, Mozambique fire warning shots on trade
Tourism and Mozambique Future
Zambians held for cocaine possession
Union boss criticizes government immigration policy
More exiles arrive from Botswana
Government temporarily suspends issuing of new passports
Poor working conditions for immigration officials
Refugees return home to Namibia
Illegal immigrants rounded up in Windhoek
267 jubilant Namibians repatriated from Botswana
Unam SRC excludes foreign students
Home Affairs attempts to curb document forgery
Pastor held in passport scam
Elite UK soldiers on Zim-SA border
Rural SA still a dumping ground of the unwanted
Operation Crackdown nets 1237 in Pretoria
Taxpayers foot bill for Buthelezi home repairs
Home Affairs has been ridiculed with reason: says Lambinon
Home Affairs deserves to be ridiculed, says Acting DG
Ex-Home Affairs DG moved to Mbeki's office
SA's wealthy opt for Malawian butlers
Deportation numbers increase
Asylum seekers can rule out Australia
No deluge of Zimbabweans trying to enter SA, says Buthelezi
Western Cape in cashing in on tourist boom
Relax tax laws to lure expatriates backs, says NNP
Graduates must not emigrate, urges MEC
How not to treat foreign visitors
Domestic workers come in from the cold
Clampdown on exploitative employers
Police arrested for robbing Nigerian
SA has arrived on world tourist map, says Moosa
SA world's best tourism performer, says Moosa
Hundreds of animals make tracks for the 'Superpark'
SA students in Cuba
Foreign newspaper ownership sparks controversy
Renegade lawyer resurfaces in SA
449 nabbed in crime blitz
SA faces drastic shortage of actuarial skills
Flood of Zimbabwean refugees not expected
Call to protect South Africans in Zimbabwe
New border control measures discussed
Dagga smuggled to Europe hits high
Angolans in SA want to go home
SA tourism still growing, helped by local tourists
Anglo to give workers free AIDS drugs
SA, Australia sign immigration law agreement
Food aid brings hope to Swaziland's hungry
Swaziland will employ foreign judges on contract
Swazis wrestle with hunger
Unhappy refugees to stay a little longer
Tanzania working on new immigration policy
Indians to train Zambian doctors
Lusaka yet to set date to discuss imports ban
Zambia intensifies DRC border patrol
Cross-border traders' goods stranded in Zimbabwe
Trade meeting with Zimbabwe called off
Mugabe and Chissano discuss situation onMoz-Zim border
Blair to meet local white farmers in Beira
UK ready to evacuate nationals
British troops prepare to evacuate citizens
DRC visa to be scrapped
Zimbabwean soldiers arrested for murder of Mozambicans
Negotiations to scrap visa requirements underway
Zimbabwe denies entry to 30 foreigners
Hungwe threatens doctors
SA farmer still in Zimbabwe after arrest
Row with Maputo over border killing
SA farmer freed on bail by Zimbabwe court
Eviction order withdrawn for South African
Evicted Zimbabwean farmers relocate to Mozambique
Harare turns back British travellers
UK to help nationals facing farm evictions
Thousands of workers lose jobs as farmers quit
Zimbabwean farmers invited to move to Botswana
Farmers relocate to neighbouring countries
Lusaka, local trade officials set to meet to thaw relations
Two arrested for releasing border jumpers
Zimbabwe farmers face uncertain fate
62 more illegal immigrants arrested
Zimbabwean farmers look to Botswana
White farmers trek to Uganda
Comment: Brainpower, not land, enriches a nation
Zimbabwe arrests 115 illegal immigrants
Bid to bar outsiders from Zambezi water project
Nkomo threatens to withdraw passports
Less than seven SA farmers in Zimbabwe seek help
Armed police search Tsvangirai's home
Zimbabwe farmers in land search
Food shortages complicate Zim dialogue: Minister
Zimbabwe to restrict movement of domestic opponents
Judith Todd finally gets passport
Shock passport fee hike planned
Cross-border parks of peace (Sowetan Sunday World,25/08) - Africa has long been using its natural beautyto generate tourism revenue but now these wilderness areas couldbecome catalysts for peace. In recent years the idea ofTransfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs) has become popularbecause of their ability to transend borders and create economicbenefit for countries involved. Two of the best-known parks arethe Trans-Kgalagadi Park, through South Africa and Botswana, andthe Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which incorporates theKruger Park, Mozambiques Coutada 16, and the GonarezhouNational Park in Zimbabwe. Mahendra Naidoo, chief director oftourism development in the department of environmental affairsand tourism, says that TFCAs could lead to the signing of peacetreaties. Safety and security is critical for tourismgrowth, so these areas have to be safe to attract visitors. TFCAswill provide good returns on investment and this could encouragecountries in conflict to support pcace on the continent, hesays. In this way the TFCAs could have a dual purpose within theNew Partnership for Africas Development (Nepad) to boostthe continents economic viability and help facilitatepeace. Peace Parks Foundation (PPF) executive director ProfessorWillem van Riet says that the presidents of all the countries inthe Southern African Development Community (SADC) are members ofthe organisation. The PPF was set up by businessman Anton Rupertin 1990 to help realise the dream of a transfrontier park. VanRiet has commented on the effect the problems in Zimbabwe couldhave on the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park project and saidthat the park was extremely important to that country."President Robert Mugabe is an honorary member. He has ahuge interest in the success of the park and he wants it towork," he says. Van Riet says the Zimbabwean authoritieshave already consulted the communities that could be affectedwhen the park opens. We might run into problems withfunding but the president is being very cooperative, VanHiet says. Naidoo says that the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Parktakes the natural resources of South Africa, Mozambiqtte andZimbabwe and bundles it into one tourism package. Thisestablishes a unique tourism product and experience. This is therole of TFCAs within Nepad: it creates economic benefit for all.The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park is far from opening butalready Mozamhicans are excited by the prospect of the estimated5 000 jobs that the park will generate when it is functioning.Villagers from the Massingira area surrounding the Mozambicanside of the park have already seen some benefit from the project,with 30 of them being trained as game rangers at a cost of R1million. Van Riet says the organisation has received a further R8million from Italy to train women game rangers. Naidoo says aproject to package a number of Southern African TFCAs called theOkavango Upper Zambezi International Tourism Spatial DevelopmentInitiative (Ouzit) could possibly become a Nepad tourismproject. Ouzit is intended to be a catalyst forinfrastructure development, tourism and conversation. Otherparks that are now being developed are:
The Limpopo-Shashe park made up of parts of South Africa,Zimbabwe and Botswana;
The Fish River CanyonRichtersveld park, comprising SouthAfrica and Namibia; and
Maloti-Drakensburg park, including South Africa andLesotho.
Van Riet says about 16 more possible peace parks have beenidentified in the SADC region, encompassing 17,5 million km2.The viability of parks in these areas are still beinginvestigated and a full report is expected to be released at theWorld Summit on Sustainable Development.
Border post reopens (The Botswana Gazette, 28/08) - Atlong last Parr's Halt border post in the Tuli Block is back inoperation after being closed for two and half years. The bridgewhich crosses the Limpopo River and links Makwate in TswapongSouth to Ellisrus in South Africa was first built in 1940.Ellisrus town is important to the residents of Makwate, Kudumatseand other surrounding villages in Tswapong, being the townclosest to the villages. The bridge allowed villagers fromBotswana to find work on South African farms, to trade and toseek medical help across the border. Farmers in Botswana senttheir children to English Medium schools in Ellisrus and Botswanaresidents bought vegetables from the farms in South Africa tosell in Mahalapye. Because of the bridge, both communitiesbenefited immensely from each other. Even foreigners from as farafield as Zambia and Malawi used the bridge and the route throughEllisrus as a shortcut to cities like Johannesburg. During theyear 2000 floods that shook the whole country, the bridge wasshifted by the strong currents of flowing water and became unsafeto use. After the floods the Botswana government evaluated thedamage and decided to close the border. About 18 months later,when no attempts were made to repair the bridge, the residentsformed a committee called 'MAKODUMA', with Mr 0. S. Molebatsi,the Marketing Manager of Botswana Railways, as chairman. TheCommittee lobbied the relevant authorities to repair the bridgeand reopen the border. MAKUDOMA is an acronym made up of thefirst letters of the names Makwate, Kudumatse, Dovedale,Machaneng, Mmaphashalala and Mahalapye where Molebatsi is based.MAKUDOMA approached the then Minister of Works and Transport, MrDavid Magang and told him that the livelihood of the residentswas reduced because they have to travel 200 km to the MartinsDrift border post to cross into Ellisrus. The residents who onceenjoyed hassle free crossing at Parshalt, were now subjected tocongested traffic due to the increased number of peopletravelling to Martins Drift. Molebatsi said getting no responsefrom the Ministry, MAKUDOMA appealed to Vice President Ian Khamato intervene. Finally MAKUDOMA won their long battle for therepair of the bridge 7 and eventual reopening of Parshalt Halt,to the delight of all the residents in the neighbouring villages."This is quite an achievement," says Molebatsi, whohopes to contest the Tswapong South constituency parliamentaryelection against the incumbent MP, Pelokgale Seloma, in 2004. Theborder reopened for traffic last Friday. Ten ton trucks will nowbe able to use the bridge, unlike in 2000 when only lightvehicles and two ton trucks were allowed to cross on it becauseit could not carry heavier trucks. The bigger trucks however mustwait for customs officials to set up; MAKUDOMA hope the Botswanaand South African authorities will attend the matter in the nottoo distant future.
Farmers in Botswana and South Africa cionflict(Botswana Gazette, 21/08) - The Member of Parliament forBarolong, Mr Ronald Sebego, says more than 3000 cattle have diedin Leporung after they were caught in the mud caused by the SouthAfricans extracting too much water from the dam. Villagers on theBotswana side have formed a committee that will find out exactlyhow many animals were trapped in the mud and have died as aresult. The villagers claim that the water should be usedstrictly for watering livestock, but the South Africans also useit for industrial purposes. Mr Bojosi Moalosi confirmed that hehas lost many cattle that were trapped in the mud. He called forgovernment intervention. Another farmer, Mr Mogomotsi Moalosi,told The Gazette that he also lost cattle. He complained ofincreased stock theft around the dam. The villagers suspect thatthieves from Botswana work together with South African criminalsto steal cattle in Botswana, to sell on to South African farmers.Speaking in an interview with The Gazette, the headman ofLeporung, Khumotlotlo Mosii, said the South Africans draw largeLeporung water war quantities of water from the dam for roadconstruction without seeking permission from the Botswanaauthorities - the co-users. "The site has become a deathtrap for our cattle because of the mud in and around the dam, andthey (South Africans) do not seem to care." When hecomplained, they told him that Batswana have too many cattle andthey (in South Africa) want to use the water to build more roadsfor their cars to run smoothly on. Mosii said he asked theconstruction companies who gave them permission to use the damwater. "They said from the tribal authority." Last weekMP Sebego asked the Minister of Minerals Energy and Wateraffairs, Mr Boometswe Mokgothu, to intervene. "If governmentdoes not intervene, this can lead to a serious conflict betweentwo countries," he said. Mini ster Mokgothu told The Gazettethat he has asked the South African authorities to stop theconstruction companies from using the dam water forthwith. Hesaid the government of Botswana will try and establish how muchwater was used for industrial purposes; but he declined to saywhat measures Botswana will take once investigations arecomplete.
Zimbabwean soldiers flee to Botswana (The Daily News,23/08) - Captain Ernest Moyowangu Chuma, missing fromduty for five months, is reportedly being held in Botswana towhich he fled from interrogation by Zimbabwean army intelligenceofficers for his alleged support for the opposition MDC party.Chuma is said to have sought refuge at the United Nations-runDukwe refugee camp near Francistown, where he joined two otherZimbabwean soldiers who had skipped the country for the samereason. Chuma bolted to Botswana after the March presidentialelection. He found Corporals Irvine Ndou and Peter Kwanele Ntiniin the same camp. They too said they had fled the constantinterrogation by the military intelligence officers forsupporting the MDC. One of Chuma's relatives on Wednesday saidthe family had heard that he was in Botswana, but they feared forhis safety. The relative, who was reluctant to give details andreferred all questions to the army, said officials in Botswanatransferred Chuma from Dukwe refugee camp to a state prison inFrancistown. Once there, he was allegedly tortured by the SpecialBranch for two weeks on suspicion that he could have been sent bythe Zimbabwean authorities to spy on Ntini and Ndou and was,therefore, not a genuine asylum seeker. The Botswana authoritiesapparently disbelieved that he had fled political victimisationin Zimbabwe. The police in Botswana have reportedly completedtheir investigations and are considering repatriating him toZimbabwe. Cecil Manyeula, the Botswana High Commissioner, onWednesday said he was unaware of Zimbabwean soldiers seekingasylum in his country. Manyeula said: "I am not familiarwith this matter. I need to check with the authorities in mycountry about that. This is the first time I am hearing aboutit." Mbonisi Gatsheni, the army spokesman, said the army wasunaware of Chuma's whereabouts and he was still being sought forbeing absent without official leave. Gatsheni said: "Chumais a deserter. We do not know where he is. The army has noinformation about people who have run away to seek politicalasylum." Investigations have established that Ntini and Ndouwere students at the Medical Training School at Imbizo Barrackson the outskirts of Bulawayo where they were doing anenvironmental health course. While on a field attachment in ruralMatabeleland after the presidential election, they were allegedlyvisited by military intelligence officers who accused them of MDCmembership. It is alleged that from there on, the State agentsvisited Ndou and Ntini frequently to interrogate them about theiralleged MDC sympathies. The scared pair then decided to flee toDukwe refugee camp as a transit point for asylum elsewhere. Itcould not be established whether their asylum papers had beenprocessed accordingly.
Residents want faster construction fo border fencewith Namibia (BOPA, 20/08) - Residents of Parakarunguand Satau in the Chobe District have called on the government tospeed up the construction of a border fence between Botswana andNamibia to control the free movement of people and theirlivestock. In a series of interviews with the residents of thevillages, they said they are forced to herd their cattle evenduring this time of the year for fear that they might cross intoNamibia as there was no fence between the two countries.Residents said should their animals cross into Namibia, theynever got them back. Kavimba police station commander assistantsuperintendent Balisi Ntamba told BOPA that even though crossborder crime was not on the increase, two cattle were recentlystolen from Botswana and police were investigating the matter.Ntamba said though Botswana and Namibian police had a jointoperational committee to combat cross border crime, residentswere encouraged to look after their animals. He said this helpedbecause the crime rate was low compared to other areas along theborder. He expressed concern over poaching, saying themagistrate's court was processing two cases of two elands thathad been killed. Meanwhile, a commission set up by Botswana andNamibia governments to delimit and demarcate the border betweenthe two countries has finish its work. The report will be handedto the presidents of Botswana and Namibia. Botswana delegationleader Abednico Tafa, once told BOPA that the commission had beenmandated to demarcate the border between the two countries alongthe Kwando/Linyati and Chobe rivers from where theBotswana/Namibian border starts up to the confluence of theChobe/Zambezi rivers. Deputy minister of justice Dr Albert Kawanaled the Namibian team. Tafa told BOPA that their assignmentinvolved hydrological, aerial and contours surveying and thatthey had been meeting since 2000. He said the two governmentsdecided that to prevent future misunderstandings along theirborders, a commission should be set up to do the work in terms ofthe Anglo/German Agreement of 1890. Under this accord, the borderbetween the two countries was defined but was never demarcated.
Tourism visits increase (BOPA, 19/08) - Touristvisits to Botswana increased by 31.4 per cent between 1999 and2000 substantially increased the sector's contribution to thecountry's Gross Domestic Product. Commissioner of Labour ClaudeMojafi said at the inaugural meeting of the Tourism TrainingAdvisory Committee in Maun, that future expansion of the sector,as well as the country's economic growth will largely depend onthe availability of a skilled workforce. The committee will,among other things, prepare the curriculum, set entryrequirements for various tourism courses and set nationaltraining standards. Its members are drawn from stakeholders inthe tourism industry, including Hotel and Tourism Association ofBotswana. Mojafi said the move is aimed at making vocation andtraining more responsive to the future developmental needs ofBotswana. "It is important that we should continue toupgrade skills of school leavers and the existing workforce in asystematic sustainable manner so that our products and servicesare competitive internationally." He hailed theestablishment of the advisory committee, stating that it willcreate a conducive environment for the enhancement of skills ofemployees in the industry. In addition, Mojafi commended tourismcompanies that have shown interest in training their employeesdespite the enormous costs. In his remarks, director of MadireloTraining and Testing Centre, Mushir Ahmad said training must beindustry driven to be a successful. In his welcome remarks,principal of the tourism technical college, Herbert Scheme saidthe meeting was vital as it brought together key players in thesector. He said it was an indication of government efforts andthe dedication and commitment of the private sector in preservingthe natural heritage, while deriving maximum benefits from them.He also emphasised the vital role of training if localisation wasto be achieved in the sector.
17 white farmers' applications to settle in Botswanarejected (The Herald, 19/08) - Botswana has rejectedapplications by 17 white Zimbabwean farmers to settle there buthas stated that individual Batswana can form partnerships withZimbabweans wishing to invest in Botswana. The PermanentSecretary in the Botswana Agricultural Ministry, Mr MasegoMphathi, said: "It is not the policy of the government toencourage farmers from Zimbabwe to Botswa-na and there wouldnever be any special assistance for them. "We do not haveany land to allocate them," said Mr Mpha-thi. The Botswanagovernment ruled out offering land or providing assistance tofarmers evicted under the ongoing land reform programme. MrMphathi told the Botswana Press Association that some of thefarmers suggested forming partnerships with Botswana farmers andbusinesses. "If our farmers are willing to do that, it is apersonal issue and no one can stop them," he said. Thisdevelopment comes after a meeting between Botswana's rulingparty, the Botswana Democratic Party, and Zanu-PF on Thursday andFriday to strengthen ties between the two parties.
Border patrol with Zimbabwe intensified (BOPA, 19/08)- President Festus Mogae says the government has decidedto increase the number of drought relief programme workers inMatsiloje and Matshelagabedi in an effort to address the effectsof the drought and the outbreak of the Foot and Mouth disease inthe two villages. Addressing kgotla meetings at the villages,Mogae said the two villages have been allocated P7m for thedisease-induced relief programme while the whole district onlygot P 6,5m. He said due to national budgetary constraints thegovernment cannot increase drought relief allowances as mostpeople request. The president said the government could onlyafford the little that it has provided, adding that some of thefunds that were earmarked for development projects have beendiverted towards the eradication of disease and compensatingfarmers. He said the government still has to buy cattle torestock the two villages. He urged the residents of the twovillages to come up with sustainable development projects, addingthat the government depends heavily on diamonds as a source ofrevenue. However, he said some international organisations wereout to campaign against Botswana diamonds, and that he has beenabroad to explain that Botswana's diamonds were meant fordevelopments. He informed residents that border patrols betweenBotswana and Zimbabwe have been intensified, and called onresidents to help the police. On other issues, the presidenturged people to go for HIV/AIDS tests so that those who arepositive could be given the anti-retroviral therapy. He wasconcerned about the high road accidents which are second toHIV/AIDS in killing Batswana. The president said Batswana shouldstop veldt fires, saying it was surprising that instead ofprotecting grazing pastures people destroy them.
Zimbabwe censures Botswana over white farmers (Mmegi,16-22/08) - The diplomatic rift between Botswana andZimbabwe over white farmers was expected to hit a new low asBotswana Agricultural Union (BAU), urged Zimbabwe farmersWednesday to come into the country in droves and invest. BowetsweMasilo, chief executive of BAU, said Zimbabwean farmers who arerunning away from their country, should be encouraged to come toBotswana and revive the ailing agricultural sector. The move isexpected to widen the diplomatic rift between the two countries.Zimbabwe has already complained to Botswana for having givenaudience to 17 representatives of Zimbabwe Commercial FarmersUnion (CFU). Last week, Botswana government officials and CFUrepresentatives met in Gaborone over what officials said was ameeting aimed at exploring opportunities to relocate to Botswana."They are welcome to invest in the country," Masilosaid adding that "their expertise would benefit theagricultural sector in the country". He said the ministry ofagriculture is faced with a raft of problems- -including land -and said Zimbabwean farmers should be encouraged to form jointventures with their counterparts. "The local farmers will beable to help them with land and to acquire residents permits,among other things," he said. Government said it has gotonly 4000 hectres of land in Pandamatenga area and urged them toseek partnership in Tuli Block. "This people are runningaway and they have not yet found land. The best thing that theyshould do is to try to form joint ventures with the localfarmers. And that would greatly benefit the agricultural sectorin the country," he added. Botswana, with a sparsepopulation of 1.6 million saw its agricultural sector'scontribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), plunging from65 percent when it attained independence in 1966 to three percentat present. "If they have the expertise they should beencouraged to come. I will encourage them to come and invest inthe country," Masilo stressed. Zimbabwe government's orderto evict an estimated 2,900 farmers from their land expired atthe weekend and was defiantly ignored by the white farmers. Thecountry launched into an internationally unpopular land grabbingexercise in 2000. Meanwhile, a strong team of ruling BotswanaDemocratic Party (BDP) left for Zimbabwe on Thursday to discussthe political and economic implications of the Zimbabwe landseizure programme.
Zimbabwean farmers urged to move to Botswana by BAU(Gaborone, Sapa-AFP, 14/08) - The Botswana AgriculturalUnion (BAU) on Wednesday urged Zimbabwean farmers who have beenordered off their land by President Robert Mugabe to come toneighbouring Botswana. BAU chief executive Bowetswe Masilo saidwhite Zimbabwean farmers who planned to leave their land after aneviction order was served on 2,900 of them should be encouragedto help revive the ailing agricultural sector in neighbouringBotswana. "These people are running away and they have notyet found land. I will encourage them to come and invest in thecountry," Masilo said. "The best thing that they coulddo is to try to form joint-ventures with the local farmers. Andthat would greatly benefit the agricultural sector in thecountry." Botswana, which is the size of France but has apopulation of 1.6 million people, has seen the agriculturalsector's contribution to the country's gross domestic productfall from 65 percent at independence in 1966 to three percent atpresent. A deadline for the 2,900 farmers to leave their propertyexpired last Thursday, but most of the farmers defied the order.One farmer was Wednesday forcibly evicted from his land by blacksettlers. A delegation from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party(BDP) left for Zimbabwe on Wednesday to discuss the political andeconomic implications of the Zimbabwe land seizure programme. Thefarming crisis in Zimbabwe has caused a diplomatic rift betweenthe two countries. Zimbabwe last week complained after Botswanaallowed 17 representatives of the Zimbabwe Commercial FarmersUnion (CFU) to meet officials of the agriculture ministry inGaborone.
Repatriation of refugees from Botswana to Namibiabegins (Irin, 14/08) - The office of the UN HighCommissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), has begun repatriatingNamibian refugees from Botswana. The refugees fled Namibia'snorth eastern Caprivi region four years ago, during armedconflict between Namibian forces and separatist rebels. "OnMonday, the first group of 267 people travelled more than 500-kmin trucks and buses from Dukwe refugee camp in north easternBotswana to a transit point, 50-km into Namibia's Capriviprovince - a strip of Namibian territory wedged between Botswana,Zambia and Angola," UNHCR said in a statement. An ambulanceand UNHCR vehicles accompanied the vehicles returning refugees.Another group of refugees was to be taken home Wednesday. "Atotal of 853 people had signed up for the repatriation out ofnearly 2,000 who have fled Namibia since the 1998 clashes,"UNHCR said. The return followed an earlier UNHCR led go-and-seevisit to Caprivi. On 24 June five representatives of Namibianrefugees in Dukwe, Botswana, visited their homes in Namibia tofamiliarise themselves with conditions in the areas they hadfled. UNHCR had earlier told IRIN: "The principle ofgo-and-see is as old as UNHCR itself and aims at refugees makingan on-the-spot assessment of the security situation, interactingwith their relatives, seeing the state of their properties. Thevisits also ensure that there are adequate facilities in theirareas of return - such as education, health, water supply and anyother facilities necessary for a return in safety anddignity."
Botswana has no land for Zimbabwe farmers (Gaborone,Sapa, 13/08) - Botswana has told white farmers fleeingZimbabwe they are free to form partnerships with local farmersbut there is no government policy to encourage them to come toBotswana nor can they expect special assistance. A group of 17Zimbabwe farmers and businessmen met with the Botswana Ministryof Agriculture on August 1, permanent secretary in the ministry,Masego Mphathi, confirmed Tuesday. "They came here to see ifthere were opportunities for them to settle and farm here,"Mphathi said. "The constraint is land, we do not have any toallocate to them. "Some of them broached the idea ofpartnerships. If our farmers are willing to do that, it is apersonal issue and no one can stop them." Land in Botswanais either the property of tribal authorities or under the controlof state land boards. The government was not thinking of offeringthe Zimbabweans any assistance to farm in Botswana. Mphathi said:"We were merely answering the questions they put to us."We are not recruiting them as foreign investors. They cameunder their own initiative and at their own expense. We had noalternative but to talk to them." Botswana is prone todrought. Its agriculture is flagging and since 1974 has rapidlygiven way to diamonds as the revenue earner for the country. Twoareas where the Zimbabweans might be able to form partnershipswith Batswana farmers are in the Pandamatenga and Tuli Blockareas of Botswana. Pandamatenga is on the top north easternborder with Zimbabwe, and the Tuli Block farther down the eastside of Botswana, bordering South Africa. "But there areonly about 4000 hectares unallocated in Pandamatenga,"Mphathi said. "The Zimbabweans were talking of large scalecommercial farming and according to them that would be enoughonly for one farm. We suggested they try and form partnershipswith farmers in the Tuli Block." Pandamatenga is a very aridarea. What rainfall there is is very unpredictable. Crops aresorghum, sunflowers and cotton, potentially profitable only asthe result of newly introduced dryland farming techniques.
Zimbabwe refugees tax Botswana's budget (Gaborone,Cape Times, 12/08) - The number of Zimbabweans fleeingeconomic and political hardship in their country has increasedsharply in the past two years, and Botswana is likely to be hardhit financially to cope with the influx, a report said on Monday.Botswana repatriated 14 400 Zimbabweans in the first six monthsof this year, and the country will have to spend more than amillion pula (about R1.6 million) this year to deal with theincreasing number of immigrants from its north-eastern neighbour,acting chief immigration officer Roy Sekgororwane told the MmegiMonitor newspaper. Botswana repatriates about 2 400 illegalimmigrants on a monthly basis, most of them from Zimbabwe. Thegovernment has built a holding centre for illegal immigrants fromZimbabwe, after concerns were raised that they were swamping thecountry's prisons while awaiting repatriation. The two countrieshave entered into a bilateral agreement which guarantees theswift repatriation of Zimbabwean citizens. But most of theillegal immigrants return to diamond-rich Botswana after theyhave been dropped at the common border between the two southernAfrican countries. Botswana and South Africa, the most prosperousnations in southern Africa, are prime destinations for illegalimmigrants in the region.
Residents accuse South Africa of violating borderagreement (BOPA, 09/08) - Residents of Mmakgori,Dikhukhung and Leporung have accused the South Africanauthorities of violating the agreement on dams shared by the twocountries. During a series of kgotla meetings addressed by theirMP Ronald Sebego this week, residents blamed the South Africangovernment for causing the dams they share with theircounterparts to dry up by pumping water in large quantities tobuild roads. The three dams, at Mmakgori, Dikhukhung andLeporung, were built by Botswana and South Africa along theMolopo River for livestock purposes. But the residents complainedthat South Africa uses the water for a different purpose, causingdams to dry up. They informed the MP that their cattle weregetting stuck in the mud and dying in large numbers. Theresidents further said they were disappointed that the Botswanagovernment was taking long to act on the issue though reports onit had reached authorities in good time. They appealed togovernment to intervene before it was too late. Botswana hasspent much money constructing the dams, so government should notsit back when things were going wrong, they charged. According toLeporung headman Khumo Tlotlo Mosii, this is the second timeSouth Africa has violated the dams accord. He said in the firstinstance, South Africa pumped all the water from the dams,causing their livestock to die. Responding to the residents,Sebego said the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Affairswas aware of the matter. He explained that Water Affairsofficials had to investigate the issue before the minister couldconsult his South African counterpart in Pretoria. He pleadedwith the residents to be patient while the minister takes thenecessary steps. On other issues, residents appealed togovernment to tar the road from Pitshane/Molopo to Mabule. Theyalso requested for telephones and electricity, which they hadlong asked for. MP Sebego assured them that the government waskeen to provide such services to their villages, saying thetarring of the road, for example, was included in the NationalDevelopment Plan Nine (NDP 9). Sebego is currently touring hisconstituency, addressing the electorate on NAMPAADD, destitutepersons' policy and the Delimitation Commission. On NAMPAADD, heurged the residents to utilise it to improve their standard ofliving and to make the country self-sufficient in foodproduction.
Some 800 Namibian refugees to go home from Botswana(Gaborone, Sapa-AFP, 08/08) - More than 800 Namibianrefugees are to be repatriated from Botswana next week, adiplomat said here Thursday. "We are planning to repatriatesome of the Namibians at Dukwi refugee camp on the 12th, 13th and16th (of August)," the Namibian high commissioner(ambassador) to Gaborone, Joshua Hoebeb said. Some 853 Namibiansfrom the Caprivi region fled the country in late 1998 and early1999 at the height of a secessionist movement led by formerparliamentarian Meshake Muyongo, now in exile in Denmark. TheCaprivi region is sandwiched between Zambia to the north,Botswana to the south, Zimbabwe to the east and Angola to thewest. The repatriates will be bussed back home, said CosmasdChanda, spokesman in Gaborone for the UN High Commissioner forRefugees. "They are going to be driven in buses up to Ngomaborder post where they will be officially handed over to theNamibian assistant minister for home affairs. "They havedecided to return home and we are also convinced that thesecurity situation inn Namibia has stabilised," he said.Refugees at the Dukwi camp-- about 500 kilometres (300 miles)north of the capital Gaborone -- will be moved in three groups ofabout 300 each to enable officials to provide sufficient securityand a medical escort. The high security Dukwi camp hosts some2,400 Namibians. Botswana's minister for presidential affairs andpublic administration, Oliphant Mfa, will fly to Luanda onThursday afternoon for an official visit about the repatriationof thousands of Angolan refugees. They fled to Botswana duringthe 27-year civil war in Angola, which ended abruptly in Aprilfollowing the killing of rebel leader Jonas Savimbi.
Foriegn investors needed for diversity (BOPA, 07/08) -Foreign investors are crucial in Botswana in order forthem to help drive the country's economic diversification policy.This was said by President Festus Mogae in Fracistownemphasising, however, that government would continue to guardagainst the unscrupulous ones. Officially opening the 7th BOCCIMNational Business Conference, the president noted that foreigninvestors were a welcome competitors as they offeredopportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation in areas thatlocals could not undertake on their own. The president regrettedwhy the private sector in Botswana was not participating insponsoring education, disability and poverty for which only thegovernment is rendered the responsibility to pay. Whilegovernment would continue to maintain macro-economic stabilityand balance to enhance the country's competitiveness at theinternational markets, he said, the private sector should alsoshoulder its full responsibility to achieve economicdiversification and increased prosperity. He reminded theaudience that the success of business in any country did not onlydepend on its resources endowment, but largely on goodgovernance, access to information and new innovations brought byhuman effort. Also, it called for viable partnerships based onmutual goodwill, trust, respect and a strong sense of sharedbenefits and risks, according to the prersident. Mogae said thatthe partnership between the private sector and the government hadproved valuable and resulted in the adoption of a number ofimportant initiatives such as the establishment of the High LevelConsultative Council (HLCC) and the Citizen EntrepreneurialDevelopment Agency (CEDA). Further, success in broadening thecountry's export base will require increased productivity andcompetitiveness of local business enterprises in regional andglobal markets, said the president, adding: "Government iscommitted to opening access to markets in developed andneighbouring countries through trade agreements such as theCotonou Agreement and the European Union, AGOA with the US, SACUAgreement and the SADC Trade Protocol," Mogae said. Helamented that the preferential access to the markets is not fullyutilised and called on the business community to take advantageof the arrangements as they are not likely to last forever. Mogaeinformed his audience that negotiations for trade arrangementsbetween the EU and the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)countries to replace the Contonou Agreement after 2008 would belaunched next month. The negotiations will cover trade inagriculture and industrial products, services and trade relatedissues such as the competition policy and harmonisation ofstandards. Objectives of the negotiations will be to create freetrade agreements between ACP countries or regions and theEU.Mogae urged the business community to follow the developmentsmore closely and to make appropriate contributions andadjustments so that the resulting agreements are better suited totheir needs. In addition, he said the establishment of theministries of Communications, Science and Technology and thatEnvironment, Wildlife and Tourism was aimed at improving thecountry's performance. This is so because the competitiveness ofany country would increasingly depend on its ability to usetechnology to respond to the demands of the global markets, hecautioned.
Batswana urged to desist from hiring illegalimmigrants (BOPA, 05/08) - Batswana have once again beenurged to desist from employing illegal immigrants as domesticworkers and herdboys. This comes after an influx of illegalimmigrants was noticed in the Mahalapye area. DistrictImmigration Officer, Samuel Kgamanyane said 75 illegalimmigrants, most of them job seekers, were arrested in the areain the last two months. He said everyone is welcome into Botswanaas long as they have valid documents that allow them to enter andstay in the country. Kgamanyane appealed to Batswana to refrainfrom employing illegal immigrants, advising those who haveinterest in doing so to follow immigration and labour procedures.The recent arrests bring to 118 the number of illegal immigrantsarrested in Mahalapye area between April and July this year.Others were arrested for working without permits, rape, theftcommon, trading without license, unlawful possession of dagga andobtaining by false pretence. Police records show that illegalimmigrants in Botswana are mainly from Southern Africa countries,mainly Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa and Namibia.
Botswana can compete with best tourist destinations(BOPA, 02/08) - The visit by London mayor aldermanMichael Oliver is testimony to the bonds of friendship andco-operation that Botswana and Britain have enjoyed over theyears. Foreign affairs minister Mompati Merafhe said this duringa reception he held in honour of the London mayor at the GaboroneSun Hotel. He said Botswana would not be where she was today hadit not been for the assistance from the UK. The co-operationbetween the two nations ranges from financial grants to manpowertraining. "Even as we speak, Botswana students continue tostudy at tertiary institutions in the UK," Merafhe said. Theminister hoped that while in the country, Oliver and hisdelegation would have time to explore opportunities for Britishinvestment. He said the country had much to offer in terms ofinvestor-friendly policies, the level of development in thesocio-economic sphere and good infrastructure. "Governmentbelieves that Botswana can compete with the best touristdestinations in offering tourists something that may not beeasily seen elsewhere in the world," he said. The ministerexpressed gratitude for the assistance Whitehall rendered to theMinistry of Finance and Development Planning in charting a taxregime suitable for a modern economy. "Your visit, whichincludes some business people in your entourage, will act as acatalyst for foreign investors not only to visit but to invest inour country." The Lord Mayor replied that on his returnhome, he would "endeavour to host an event that will promoteBotswana". He said that the UK was keen to help Botswana inany way it could, adding that the country was one of the biggestmarkets for Botswana's diamonds. The London mayor applauded theBotswana government's efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS scourge.
Two men arrested for rape, assault of two illegalimmigrants (BOPA, 02/08) - Police in Francistown havearrested two men in connection with the weekend rape and assaultof two illegal immigrants. Superintendent Robert Kalasi ofKutlwano police station said the suspects knocked at the victimshome at Block Seven, claiming to be police officers looking forillegal imssmigrants, but the victims refused to open the door.However, the suspects forced their way through a window, raped a23-year-old illegal immigrant and assaulted another.Superintendent Kalasi said they are considering whether to chargethe victims for staying in the country illegally. Kalasi advisedthe public to demand identity cards from anyone who comes totheir homes at night claiming to be a police officer.
Car hijackers released on bail (BOPA, 01/08) - VillageMagistrate Court in Gaborone has released on bail 10 people whoare facing charges relating to the theft of luxury vehiclesvalued at about P2 million. Granting them bail, last Friday,Magistrate Keborapele Moesi criticised the state for"failing to show seriousness in investigating thecase." The accused persons are Thami Lebanna, 21, ThaboLekwae, 28, Sibi Kgomotso, 21, Nkgopoleng Kolagano, 27, KingstonMmolawa, 29, Michael Mzwinila, 23, Zwebangwe Montshiwa, 29,Tshepo Seleka,18, Norman Rampete, 29, and Annie-Marie CleopatraAyton, 27. All, except Cleopatra Ayton, a South African, who didnot apply for bail were granted bail on condition that theydeposit P15 000 cash with the court and produce two sureties bothof whom should be Botswana citizens. They are also to surrendertheir travelling documents and report at the Central PoliceStation on Mondays and Fridays. They all pleaded not guilty toall the charges and mention date was set for August 8. Theaccused persons were released following an application by thedefence in which they sought that all the accused persons begiven their liberty back since they had not been afforded ahearing within a reasonable time in terms of Section 10 of theconstitution. In their application, the accused persons arguedthat the state had taken long to carry out the investigations,adding that the delay would prejudice their rights. They said thestate cannot claim to be still carrying out investigations sincethey were told that investigations would be completed by July 17.Senior State Counsel Ambrose Mubika had earlier made anapplication demanding that the accused persons be denied bail andremanded in custody to allow the state to complete itsinvestigations. His fear was that if released on bail the accusedpersons were likely to abscond and commit further crime. Mubikatold the court that the investigations were nearing completion,adding that if released on bail some of the accused persons mayabscond and fail to stand trial. The state also objected to theapplication of separate counts by defence counsel Lyndon Mothusiwho demanded that his client, Cleopatra Ayton be granted bail andtried separately from the rest of the accused. He made anapplication on the basis that Cleopatra Ayton's circumstancesappear to be peculiar from the rest of the accused persons as sheis a foreigner and also a pregnant woman. Mothusi pleaded withthe court to have his client tried separately from the otherco-accused persons so that she could be released with immediateeffect. He said any continued detention under her own peculiarcircumstances would traumatise the development of the unbornbaby. However, Mubikwa strongly objected to the application onthe basis that count six alleges that Cleopatra Ayton actedjointly with others to commit the alleged crime, and that itwould not be proper to separate her from the other accusedpersons. He was also worried that since the accused person is aforeigner, some other information implicating her might bedifficult to gather if the court granted her bail.
SA, Lesotho security ministers to meet (Johannesburg,Sapa, 29/08) - South Africa's inter-ministerial securitycommittee met a delegation from the Lesotho government in Sandtonon Thursday. The meeting was held to finalise arrangements for afull meeting of security ministers from both countries inSeptember. Lesotho's home affairs minister, Thomas Thabane, saidissues raised were cross-border crime involving stocktheft, gunrunning, and drug smuggling. He called on both governments toreview the provision of defence force border patrols tocomplement police to combat organised crime syndicates on bothsides of the border. He said the Lesotho government was closingloopholes in the regulations to prevent foreign nationals fromgaining access to South Africa using fraudulent Lesotho residentspermits. South African home affairs minister Mangosuthu Butheleziemphasised the urgency of resuming bilateral talks betweenofficials of his department and their Lesotho counterparts todeal with these issues and to set up objectives for the upcomingministerial meeting. South Africa's defence minister, MosiuoaLekota, called for a review of some of the current agreements toempower officials to provide effective and immediate interventionin crime prevention along the border.
Impact of HIV/AIDS on land issues (Irin, 22/08) - Thecurrent wave of land policy reforms in Lesotho has focused on thecommercialisation of agriculture to promote economic growth andreduce poverty. But HIV/AIDS affected households face problemswhich may not allow them to benefit, a new report has warned. Astudy commissioned by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)and the Southern African Regional Poverty Network (SARPN) saidthe impact of the pandemic on land issues had resulted in adepressed quality of life and unsustainable livelihoods inaffected rural households. Coping strategies adopted by ruralcommunities are becoming inadequate in the face of the prevalenceof HIV/AIDS and acute food shortages, Matseliso Mphale, thestudy's principal investigator, told IRIN. The study found thatsome people living with HIV/AIDS were increasingly employingsharecroppers, as they were often too sick to work their fields.This arrangement allowed them to avoid the risk of their landbeing revoked and assured them of continued access toagricultural land and food. Existing land reform policies haverevoked land left fallow for two years. "As much as this ishelpful, this is not going to be enough in the long-run becauseit threatens food security. As time goes on, they will be leftwith nothing," Mphale said. In some areas, landadministration is still under the control of traditional chiefs.To avoid revocation, HIV/AIDS affected households have beenreporting their problems to the chiefs who have avoided applyingthe legislation. This has ensured that land tenure at thecommunity level provides a relatively secure means of livelihoodfor the households. But this practice could soon become redundantunder the government's land reforms, Mphale warned. "Thereforms are suggesting that we do away with chiefs and replacethem with land boards. But these will be formal institutionswhich won't know about the predicament of a family, unlike thechiefs," she said. Widows interviewed in Ha Poli, a remoterural village on the boundary of the Lesotho Highlands WaterProject, and Matsatsaneng in the lowlands of the kingdom,reported they had been allowed to retain their deceased husbands'land. They were also empowered to make arrangements such assharecropping or hiring farm workers, the report said. Land is ahighly valued commodity that HIV/AIDS infected parents andhouseholds see as the ultimate form of security for theirchildren if they die. "They would rather starve than partwith their land, with no other income alternatives it is theironly valuable asset," Mphale added. The stigma attached tothe disease, however, has hurt AIDS orphans. "In some casesthe orphans are forced to seek refuge with their maternalgrandparents because relatives on their father's sidethought...they would be infected by AIDS," the report said."Apart from the direct impacts through loss of labour andincome, many children will grow up without the guidance of theirparents. They will miss the opportunity to acquire skills toproduce effectively in the fields. Much indigenous knowledge onfood production will disappear," it noted. "Ministrieshave been planning policies as if HIV/AIDS is not an issue, theyneed to review these policies with AIDS in mind," Mphalesaid. According to Mphale, HIV/AIDS affected rural householdsshould be encouraged to produce cash crops like vegetables. Shesaid: "They can produce enough food with very little labourrequirements and then buy the grain they need. This is one copingstrategy that will be easy to manage and more long-term."
More food relief needed (Maseru, Sapa, 11/08) - Foodaid distributed in Lesotho this week would bring some relief tothe worst-affected district of Qacha's Nek, but was not enough toavert hunger throughout the country, the World Food Programme(WFP) said. According to the WFP's Lesotho country director,Techeste Zergaber, the 10000 tons of assistance received onAugust 5 only represents 28 per cent of Lesotho's requirements."I am very worried because we have only managed to secure 28per cent of our food aid requirements, which will only cater for97000 people out of a total of 444000 destitute peoplecountrywide. Even the little what we have will only last for thenext three months," Zargarber told Sapa on Saturday. Theworst-affected regions according to a recent study by the WFP,are the districts of Qacha's Nek, Thaba-Tseka, Mohale's Hoek andQuthing, which have recorded their lowest harvests in more than30 years. Thousands of households desperate for food assistanceowing to unseasonable winter rain and hailstorms. The nextharvest will only be gathered in March and April next year.Meanwhile, the food distribution exercise has also been boggeddown by logistical problems. "In the remote parts of thecountry accessibility is a big problem because of a poor roadsinfrastructure and this is likely to delay fooddistribution," Zergarber said. Lesotho's worsening foodsituation has somewhat been alleviated with the arrival of a10,000 tones of food and on Monday this week, which the WorldFood Programme (WFP) began distributing this morning in thenorth-eastern district of Qacha's Nek, the worst affected regionin Lesotho.
In search of maize surplus (The Nation, 28/08) - Asis well known, some parts of the country have already startedexperiencing acute food shortages. It is expected that thissituation will be getting worse up until the next harvest. Ourhope for availability of maize as at now, lies in measures takenby government, donors and organisations to avert hunger in thecountry. Besides food aid, we have the distribution of free seedsand fertiliser to farmers for winter cropping and the cominggrowing season under the Targeted Input ProgrammeTip. Muchso is the maize and fertiliser loan scheme to employees in thepublic and private sectors. In this regard, we naturally want arepeat of the gains in maize yield we realised under the StarterPack scheme, not long ago. Clearly, it is easier and cheaper todistribute inputs than food. When domestic food is inadequate asis the case now, the key to food sufficiency is through imports,which are costly. Evidently one truth hangs! If we are to reallymove out of this starvation, our maize output must be over andabove domestic need. The eradication of the prevalent hungercalls for various interventions. While the efforts to wipe awayhunger are very promising, there is need to look at other factorswhich have hindered bumper maize outputs in recent years.
Unless we face the reality, now and for the future, prospectsfor overall national food security will be eroded. For the pastdecade Malawi has been categorised as one of the food-deficitcountries. While some known factors have brought the currentmaize deficit, it is worth noting that our agricultural outputto-date is also being undermined by socio-economic factors. Theincrease in rural-urban migration, which is solely bent on thesearch for a livelihood, has increased the burden of growing thestaple food on the remaining rural farmers. It is estimated that4 million people are growing food for all the 11 millionMalawians in the country. Hypothetically, the burden is more thanthis: there are few hands in the rural areas to feed the growingnumber of mouths in the urban areas. People are migrating tourban areas where farm-land is scarce, and more is increasinglyput to non-farm use in in support of industry, and growingcommerce. Our maize production and consumption equation is thusunbalanced. This is one signal of a waning maize output. These isno denying the fact that many people today, would prefer to do abusiness or be employed than do laborious work in the field. Yet,we have been called to produce more maize than in the past.Though some urban people do grow maize, for many, a small gardenfor green-maize is enough. The loan scheme for employees toaccess maize-seed and fertiliser is in a way pointing to the factthat farming is not only for the rural people. However,experience has shown that some rural people lease their gardensto urban people and then, choose to become labourers on the sameland. This is similar to the case at Dzaleka Refugee Camp whereinstead of cultivating their pieces of land, land owners have letit to asylum seekers who in turn employ the landowners as casuallabourersThe Nation, of August 7, 2002. At the end of thegrowing season the landlords do not have food. This is one majorreason that rural areas suffer from chronic food insecurity. Landtenure and utilisation are therefore critical issues as far asthe actual growing of maize or any other crops is concerned. Itwould not be surprising for urban people to harvest more than therural in the next growing season.
Furthermore, it is clear that one principal cause of foodinsecurity is poverty. The rural people have very low incomes inthe face of rising prices of maize, unaffordable inputs andreduced output. In this case, the urban population earns a littlesomething to buy processed maize-flour, which is expensive forthe rural. Of course, food insecurity cannot be eradicatedwithout significant economic growth and rural development.Besides letting their land to other people, the rural people haveoften sold their produce to the urban at bottom prices just afterharvest. This is mostly to enable them to afford othernecessities. More so, upon getting free seeds and fertiliser,resource-poor farmers have put their inputs on sale. And in timeof hunger reaching epic proportion in the household, others haveconsumed the maize seeds. This has reduced the output for theruralleaving them the worst hit by hungeras a lot ofpeople starve and children are left malnourished. Nevertheless,realising bounty maize yields which we have enjoyed in the pastis not impossible. While, we embrace the causes of the foodtragedy, and look for solutions we need not forget that under ourtraditional subsistence farming we are very unlikely to produceenough for annual domestic consumption, nor surplus. Because,current socio-economic trends are driving us to a reduced maizeoutput. In fact, the point here is beyond pointing at the trends,but that there is need for the promotion of extensive maizefarming in the country. In which case, few people will be able togrow food for more, than is naaded under subsistence level. If wecan invest in several other things, why not in our daily breadwhich is our most basic need? Investment in extensive farming forinstance, with use of irrigation is one way of ensuring foodsecurity. Certainly, we are challenged to produce a remarkablemaize surplus. An abundance of caution on food reserve is thusnecessary, for this is what we can fall back on in time ofdisaster.
9 nabbed for forged passports (The Nation, 27/08) - Ninepeople are remanded at Mangochi Prison, eight of them were caughtwith forged passports and one is alleged to have been behind theimitations. Immigration Spokesman Hudson Mankhwala said yesterdayin an interview the eight were arrested at Mwanza border on theirway from South Africa while the alleged forger was nabbed at hishouse in Mangochi. They will be appearing in court soon to answercharges of forgery and uttering. According to RepatriationOfficer McBobby Balaza, Masco Wala is alleged to have beenforging passports for Malawians who wanted to travel outside thecountry since January this year. When arrested at his house Wala,32, from Sauti Kadzuwa Village, Chief Mponda is alleged to haveboasted to the police that he was a passport officer, Balazasaid. Balaza alleged that Wala was working on lost old Malawianpassports by replacing original pictures with those of the peoplewho wanted to travel at a cost of between K300 and K500. TheRepatriation officer said that Wala was arrested after the eightpeople found with the forged passports disclosed that he was thesource of their documents. I went to Mwanza and while avehicle from South Africa was being searched I saw that one ofthe travellers had a forged passport. All the passengers weretaken to our offices for thorough scrutiny of their traveldocuments. And the eight people were found with phony passports,said Balaza. He said that one of them Mustafa Wayapi, fromMulanje was found with a passport in the name of Anika Chirambofrom Rumphi. He declined to disclose names of the other suspects.After arrest the suspects were taken to Blantyre Police Stationwhile two of them were driven to Mangochi to where they locatedWala. He was taken to Mangochi where he admitted that hewas the brains behind the passports and even demonstrated how heused to alter the documents, said Balaza. Mankhwala saidthe immigration department was worried because the old passportsare vulnerable to forgery and encouraged the people to replacethem with new documents.
Our hospitality is being abused (The Nation, 19/08) - Theclampdown that the Police mounted on Friday in Lilongwe to huntfor illegal immigrants suspected to have been behind a spate ofmotor vehicle thefts in the city could not have come at a bettertime. However, it should be extended to other towns and citiessuch as Blantyre and Mzuzu. There is no question about Malawibeing a reliable member of the international community,fulfilling all its obligations under various conventions andtreaties in line with the international law. This includes givingrefuge to asylum seekers. But the story behind the rise in crimein the country will reveal that some immigrants under the guiseof seeking political asylum have abused this hospitality and haveengaged in criminal acts leading to loss of Malawian lives. Whenthe civil war in Mozambique ended in 1991, it left an indeliblemark on the country through the proliferation of arms which werein turn used in robbery and other crimes. We do not want toappear to be xenophobic but the truth of the matter is that someforeigners in the country have bitten the very hand that feedsthem and as a country we have not plucked enough courage to sayenough is enough. Surprisingly other countries have not beentimid in wielding their whip on wayward foreigners and someMalawians have been victims. How many times have Malawians beensent home on cargo planes from South Africa because of enteringthat country illegally? One wonders why we lack the stamina toreciprocate this in kind. In the final analysis, we ask thePolice and Immigration to work together and solve crimeperpetrated by immigrants who abuse our hospitality. Immigrantsshould be the last to break the laws of this country.
Police arrest 300 foreigners (The Nation, 19/08) - Atleast 300 foreigners were arrested in Lilongwe Friday during apolice operation to hunt for illegal immigrants notablyBurundians and Congolese who came in the country as asylumseekers. The foreigners, including Nigerians and Asians aresuspected to be behind the growing number of motor vehicle theftsin the capital city and the establishment of illegal businessesin the citys townships. Eight cars were reported stolenbetween Wednesday and Thursday last week alone, forcing thepolice to mount road-blocks in the city on Friday where theforeigners were arrested for questioning. A police source said inan interview Saturday that the operation was conducted in thewhole Lilongwe urban targeting Burundians, Asians, Nigerians andCongolese who are believed to be wreaking havoc in the city. Hesaid over 300 foreigners were arrested during the operation andare in police custody awaiting screening by immigration officers,saying current reports indicate that most car thefts in the cityare masterminded by foreigners. Over 300 were picked forquestioning by the immigration officers. They are still atLilongwe police station waiting for the officers from theimmigration to come, said the source. Davie Chingwalu ofPolice Public Relations Office said the police had an operationon Friday where some foreigners were arrested but disclosed thatit was a normal security check. But Chingwalu could not be drawnto disclose the total number of people arrested during theoperation. Said Chingwalu: That information cannot bereleased now because the operation is still going on. Even theaction we are taking on the matter cannot be revealed now.Chief immigration officer David Kambilonje said some foreignerswere arrested and confirmed that the department has sent someofficers to question the foreigners on request from the police.We have been told to go there (Police) and question them.We havent come up with a report yet. Kambilonje expressedignorance on why the operation was conducted and the total numberof suspects arrested. But he said the Immigration Department isaware about the existence of petty and illegal businessesoperated by foreigners only that the department is failing totake action because the businesses are registered by Malawians.Those shops, if you go there and find out, are notregistered in the name of foreigners at all, saidKambilonje.
Malawi may take Zimbabwe farmers (Business Day, 16/08)- Malawi, desperately poor and caught in southernAfrica's devastating drought, has plenty of land that could beworked by white farmers evicted under Zimbabwe's land reforms, alegislator said here yesterday. "Vast land (is) lying idlethat needs to be utilised," Andrew Chioza said. The farmerswould contribute their expertise on irrigation to improve foodsecurity in Malawi, as well as creating jobs, he said. "Ihave asked the agriculture minister to talk to the president(Bakili Muluzi) to consider the (Zimbabwe) farmers," Chiozasaid. Agriculture officials from other African countriesincluding Botswana, Zambia, Uganda and Mozambique had showninterest in white farmers evicted from Zimbabwe.
Zim farmers shun Malawi (The Nation 15/08) - Manywhite Zimbabwean farmers who are being evicted from their farmsare interested in settling in Malawi but the country has stricterrequirements than neighbouring Zambia and Mozambique where theyare eventually heading to. In an interview yesterday, Limbe LeafTobacco general manager Charles Graham said the Zambian andMozambican governments are providing better lease arrangementsand relaxed immigration requirements for the farmers on dormantland. Those governments are offering long termopportunities to the farmers and are also encouraging the banksto help the farmers with low interest rates. They are beingencouraged to revitalise dormant land because these farmers comewith a wealth of experience in food crop production and otherareas in as far as the industry is concerned. So Malawi is nottaking advantage of these experienced farmers, said Graham.He said the Zimbabwean government has forbidden the white farmersto leave the country with either machinery or capital sothey do not have the capacity and its frightening to borrowfrom the banks when interest rates are at 43 per cent.Graham said over 30 farmers have so far trekked to Zambia whilemany more are Mozambique-bound. In Malawi only two formerZimbabwean white farmers have been engaged by some of the countrysagricultural firms in Kasungu. But there is a possibilitythat some of the farmers especially in the tobacco and maizeindustries may be linked with companies like Limbe Leaf and Dimonwho may assist with leasing and capital requirements,Graham said. According to commerce and industry sources, some ofthe white Zimbabwean farmers have been trying to negotiate withthe banks to buy farms impounded from loan defaulting localfarmers but the interest rates have been forbidding. But inany case, Malawi is also at a disadvantage because the availablearable land is only about a quarter of what is available inZimbabwe, said the source who added: This is a highlypolitical issue and we would not want to be involved.Foreign Affairs Minister Lilian Patel said she is not aware ofany Zimbabwean farmers trying to relocate to Malawi. But she saidMalawi is open to any investor. She said Malawi and Zimbabwe areholding a joint permanent commission of cooperation meeting thismonth in Mangochi and its possible the issue may crop upduring the meeting.
Zimbabwean farmers given land in Mozambique (Maputo,Sapa-AFP, 15/08) - White Zimbabwean commercial farmerswho have been pushed off their farms have been allowed to settlein neighbouring Mozambique, and many more have applied forfarmland, a government official said Thursday. Deputy Agricultureand Rural Development Minister Joao Carilho said in an interviewwith AFP that about 20 white Zimbabwean farmers have beenauthorised to settle in the central Mozambican province ofManica, and the authorities are studying many other landapplications by Zimbabwean farmers. Mozambique has hugeagricultural potential, with an estimated 36 million hectares (90million acres) of arable land - roughly nine times the surfacearea of Switzerland - of which only about four million hectaresare currently being used. Carilho said Mozambique has beencarefully going through the white farmers' applications to makesure the country's land is used in a rational manner, and toavoid social conflicts. Under the Mozambican constitution, allland belongs to the state and cannot be sold, but can be leasedfor a renewable period of about 50 years. Zimbabwe has embarkedon a controversial land reform programme aimed at correcting whatPresident Robert Mugabe calls colonial-era injustices that leftZimbabwe's white minority owning most of the best farmland. Sofar, around 5,150 white-owned farms, covering a total of 9.8million hectares (24 million acres) have been redistributed tolandless blacks in Zimbabwe.
Malawi, Mozambique fire warning shots on trade(Finanacial Gazette, 08/08) - Zimbabwe's brewing tradewar with Zambia could intensify after revelations this week thattwo other regional countries have also complained that Harare isdumping its products on their markets. The Confederation ofZimbabwe Industries (CZI), the umbrella body for the country'smanufacturing sector, says Malawi and Mozambique are accusingZimbabwean companies of selling products below the prices atwhich they are sold in Zimbabwe. "Malawi and Mozambique havealso accused Zimbabwe of dumping a number of products on theirmarkets, charging lower prices than the prices charged on theZimbabwean market," the CZI said in a report released thisweek. But officials at the Malawian and Mozambican highcommissions in Harare confessed ignorance at the reported tradecomplaints with Zimbabwe. "My government has not made thatdecision and I therefore cannot confirm what you aresaying," an official at the Mozambican High Commission toldthe Financial Gazette. An official at Malawi's High Commissionsaid he was not aware of the accusations levelled against Harare.Industry officials say Mozambique is incensed by what it sees asthe dumping of Zimbabwean sugar at a time when Maputo isdeveloping its own sugar industry. South African sugar groupsIllovo Sugar Limited and Tongaat-Hulett Group Limited haveinvested heavily in Mozambique as part of their efforts todiversify out of South Africa. Mozambique, still smarting from a16-year civil war, has so far this year produced 55 000 tonnes ofsugar since the crushing of sugar cane started at four mills inJune. Total sugar output is this year estimated at 200 000tonnes, out of which 150 000 tonnes will be consumed locally andthe remainder exported to Europe and the United States. Theindustry officials said Malawi is unhappy about the export ofZimbabwean cooking oil, cigarettes and processed foods such asbaked beans. There are now fears that the subtle trade skirmishesbetween Zimbabwean manufacturers and their Malawian andMozambican counterparts could blow up into a full-scale warsimilar to the one between Harare and Lusaka. Zambia has accusedZimbabwean companies of dumping large quantities of edible oils,flour, beans, milk and soap at prices lower than those chargedfor the same products in Zimbabwe, a move it says threatens todrive its own manufacturers out of business. The Zambians, whohave banned Harare's goods from their market, are also accusingZimbabwean manufacturers of selling substandard products such ascement and wood. Lusaka is Zimbabwe's second largest tradingpartner in Africa after South Africa. Total exports to Zambiabetween 1997 and 2001 amounted to about $10.4 billion whileimports from Lusaka were valued at $3.4 billion. Meanwhile, theCZI said Zambia has told the Zimbabwean authorities to urgentlyaddress the issue of the unstable exchange rate, which is thecause of the trade problems between the two countries."Zambia has acknowledged the difficulties facing Zimbabwe indealing with the parallel market but has urged Zimbabwe toappreciate the urgency of coming up with a solution to deal withthe crisis," the manufacturing body said. Zimbabwe is facinga severe foreign currency crisis that is blamed on theartificially low exchange rate maintained by the government sinceOctober 2000, as well as on declining exports and the drying upof international aid. The Zimbabwe government has maintained theexchange rate for the key US dollar at 55 Zimbabwe dollarscompared to more than 600 local dollars for one American unit ona parallel market that has emerged because of the foreigncurrency crisis.
Tourism and Mozambique Future (Financial Times, 07/08)- A team of workmen clears the weeds from the tracks atthe railway station at lnhambane, on the coast 500km north ofMaputo, Mozambiques capital city. In the neat 1950s-style stationbuilding, administrative employees in the blue railway companylivery come and go with documents, to the tap-tap of a manualtypewriter. Platform guards sit on benches ready to givedirections. The reason for them to be there has long gone. Therailway line through lnhambane carries no passengers. The lasttrain went through in 1979, four years after Frelimo, the rulingparty, came to power, having driven out the Portuguese colonialgovernment. During the long civil war that followed, thecountry's railway lines were an easy target for attack. "Weare keeping up the story. We are here for when people come andask us when the next train is," a station guard jokes. Thenumbers employed by the largely defunct railway system have beendeclining and the remaining station guards are awaitingretrenchment. "We are hoping to stay on to retirement. Butwe could get laid off at any time," says one guard.lnhambane was once an important destination on the network. Itstill has a railway college, where mechanics tinker in a largerailway shed with two steam trains and make parts on oldbelt-driven lathes. But outside, broken rolling stock and enginesrot among the long grass in the heat. "Trainspotters comefrom all over. They [the Mozambican engineers] can make a steamtrain. They maintain steam trains that never run. It's quitebizarre and quite sad," says Richard Bartlett, a SouthAfrican entrepreneur who runs a local guest house, PensaoPachica, rented from the Catholic church. In the railwaycollege's heyday, apprentices came to learn how to becomeshunters and drivers. But times are changing. The college, whichhas modern residential facilities, serves as accommodation forvisiting business people. Currently, it is hosting a footballcamp. According to Amdo Souzinho, the college's receptionist andlong-time railway employee, plans are afoot to privatise it andturn it into a tourism university. Inhambane's best hope foreconomic recovery is tourism. "All the factories weredestroyed [during the war]," says Mozammil Mussa, theelectrician-turned-imam of the town's mosque. "Frelimo heldthe town. But Renamo [the former rebel movement] was in theislands. Most people are unemployed. "Tourism is the onlything keeping lnhambane together. A big problem is stilltransport. You could make money out of a good bus service. Buteven camels here would be good," he says. Nearby beaches atTofo, Barra and Guinjata Bay attract self-sufficient fishermenand tourists from South Africa during the Easter and Christmasholidays and a steady flow of international backpackers. Butcultural tourism in one of Mozambique's oldest settlements, withits dilapidated but recoverable Portuguese colonial architecture,is slower to take off. "Mozambicans don't realise what ajewel they have. They don't realise they have got something tosell. People are beginning to latch on to it. In 1997, there wasone restaurant. Now there are six. The changes in the town arequite incredible. Building s are painted and shops betterstocked," says Mr Bartlett. A telecommunications centre,equipped with internet access, opened last May. But bureaucraticobstacles are difficult to overcome. It can take three years toget a licence to run a business, and locals complain ofcorruption among officials. "When I first started, localpeople wanted to shut me down and bleed me dry. But locals havebegun noticing that they could benefit from the business,"he says. Breaking with habits and illusions of the past isdifficult. On the pier that runs out to the rusted trawlers ofthe fishing fleet is a submariners' social club. The submarinesin the Mozambican navy went the way of the trains long ago.
Zambians held for cocaine possession (The Namibian,23/08) - Two Zambian nationals were arrested at KatimaMulilo this week after they were found with cocaine with a streetvalue of around N$40 000. Police yesterday identified the duo asJohn Kapelwa (27) and Kafunya Chingumbe (22). The two haveappeared in the Katima Mulilo Magistrate's Court charged withillegal possession of dependence-producing drugs. * Angolannational John Ndala (48) was arrested at Kalumba village in theCaprivi Region after he was allegedly found in possession of anAK-47 rifle on Tuesday. Ndala has appeared in court, the Policesaid. * A second man, Nicky Kakwena (28), was also arrested forpossession of an AK-47, at Greenwell Matongo at Katima Mulilo andhas also appeared in court. * Koos Nortje, age not given, died onthe spot after he was shot in the chest early on Wednesdaymorning. He was killed at the Western Suburbs Clubhouse inKhomasdal where he worked as a barman. Two suspects are still atlarge.
Union boss criticizes government immigration policy(The Namibian, 20/08) - Namibia is a country whereforeigners turn into millionaires because of Government'sopen-door policy to strangers, says Risto Kapenda, President ofthe Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu). Addressing the NapwuCongress at Swakopmund over the weekend, Kapenda said very fewsections of Government had succeeded in implementing policies ofgood governance, efficiency and effectiveness. The Office of thePrime Minister "seems to have lost focus. Its open-doorpolicies, even to strangers, created the obvious loophole foropportunists, fly-by-nights, the so-called foreign experts andthe self-declared professional consultants to flock and stain ourbeloved country", he said. Kapenda said these"chance-takers" provided consultancy services oncritical projects while enriching themselves overnight and"leave our country infected with failing schemes, projects,laws, as well as more room for their circle of contracts".As a result the country was spending millions on repeatingresearch and consultations on the same projects for years on end,he said. "We have turned foreigners into millionaires."The unionist criticised the Ministry of Home Affairs for allowingfraudulent schemes through which foreigners and criminalsobtained identity documents, and the Ministry of Prisons andCorrectional Services for losing control over criminals incustody and subjecting Government to civil suits. He said theMinistry responsible for Justice, as well as the Office of theAttorney General, were equally to blame for the inefficiency inproviding effective and professional legal advice. "The endresult is Government being taken to court and losing sensitivecases most of the time." Another Ministry taken to task wasEnvironment and Tourism "which holds the potential offoreign currency revenue generation". According to Kapenda,a lack of proper registration and control over tour operators hadled to a division along colour, language and tribal lines."The imperialists are taking advantage of globalisation andopened their agencies here. Germans are met by German tourguides, taken to German hotels and to German farms where theyshoot kudus. African tour operators find it very difficult toenter this market as not proper regulations are in place."In addition, he said, Africans had no access to wildlifeharvesting, except in isolated cases where there wereconservancies "or when they have to settle for veryexorbitant biltong supplied by the previously advantaged fromtheir occupied Namibian farmland". He added: "We havefarms full of kudus, but all they cause are accidents - Namibiansare not eating these kudus." The unionist condemned theMinistry of Labour for recognising the practice of labour hire,which is "evil and vivid countrywide". The onlysolution to the rising crime rate would be to improve"drastically the working conditions, particularly salariesand benefits of law-enforcers in the Police force, defence forceand immigration officials. It is the only way that we can restorecommitment, loyalty and pride in the field of lawenforcement," he said. Kapenda said Namibia held a record inAfrica. "We have not had war since our independence. We needto maintain it and will only be able to if we are vigilant. If weallow ourselves to be exploited we will not be different fromother African countries. We will be drawn into the samesituation," he said.
More exiles arrive from Botswana (The Namibian, 15/08)- A second group of Namibians who were exiled at DukweRefugee Camp in Botswana were repatriated yesterday, bringing thetotal number of returnees this week to 591. A United Nations HighCommissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) official in Windhoek andsources at Katima Mulilo said yesterday's arrivals numbered 324.The refugees, who fled from the Caprivi at the height ofsecessionist troubles which started late in 1998, are beingbrought back voluntarily by road from Dukwe, some 500 km north ofthe Botswana capital Gaborone. The exercise is being conductedunder the supervision of the UNHCR. A source at Katima Mulilosaid the latest group included a baby boy who was born yesterdaymorning while the group was being transported from Botswana tothe Ngoma Border Post. "He is in a very good state ofhealth, he is being taken care of by officials from the Ministryof Home Affairs," the source said. The returnees werereceived at Ngoma by officials from Home Affairs, UNHCR,traditional leaders, Councillors and other officials delegated bythe Regional Governor. They are expected to be transported backto their home villages today, said a UNHCR official. OnceGovernment has given its "clearance", a third group isexpected to be bussed to the Caprivi tomorrow. The grouprepatriated on Monday consisted mostly of San from the Omegaarea.
Government temporarily suspends issuing of newpassports (The Namibian, 14/08) - The Home AffairsMinistry yesterday announced a week-long moratorium on theissuing of passports until an investigation into alleged scams iscompleted. Acting Director of Immigration, Citizenship, Alien andBoard Control, Nkrumah Mushelenga, said the Ministry needed toprobe charges that some clergymen and Home Affairs officials hadcolluded to issue forged Namibian passports to foreigners. TheMinistry needed at least a week to conduct an investigation, headded. As of yesterday Home Affairs was only processing emergencytravel documents. "Emergency travelling will be handledwithout hindrance," said Mushelenga. Recently seven people,including an Angolan pastor, were arrested in connection with analleged passport scam. Mushelenga said they would also look intoa syndicate believed to be issuing Namibian birth certificates toforeigners. He said the investigation would entail taking stockof the number of passports issued from the storeroom and how theywere issued. "We are going to establish how the applicationswere processed before the issuing of the passports. If theapplications were submitted by individual or agents. We will lookinto aspects that will give us tracing clues such as, whocollected the passports after they were issued and when,"Mushelenga said. He said the investigation could be extendedbeyond Sunday "depending on the amount of evidence weaccumulate". Mushelenga said the group of illegal immigrantsarrested with Namibian passports at Hosea Kutako InternationalAirport would be held there until the investigation wascompleted. "Apart from passport forgery they are being heldas illegal immigrants as well," he said. The group includesnationals from Kenya, Tanzania, Angola, and the DRC.
Poor working conditions for immigration officials(Windhoek, Sapa, 13/08) - Namibian Home Affairs Ministrystaff at border posts in the south of the country were operatingunder deplorable circumstances, the Namibian Press Agency (Nampa)reported on Tuesday. This is the view of the National Council(NC) parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defenceand Security in its report on the situation at Caprivi, Kavangoand Karas regions. The report was tabled by the committee'schairman, Nico Kaiyamo, in the House of Review on Tuesday. Thecommittee's report noted that both police and ImmigrationOfficers at the Noordoewer and Ariamsvlei border posts wereoperating under pressing circumstances. Lack of properaccommodation for Police and Immigration Officers seriouslyhampered the deployment of additional staff to these posts, thereport stated. It was deplorable to see where the Immigration andPolice Officers were accommodated, Kaiyamo told fellowparliamentarians in the NC. Another problem highlighted by theMember of Parliament (MP) was a lack of transport. He noted thatdue to a lack of enough vehicles, police officers had totransport those on trial in a bakkie without a canopy toKarasburg.
Refugees return home to Namibia (Windhoek, Sapa,13/08) - Up to 270 Namibian refugees returning fromneighbouring Botswana crossed through a border post in theeastern Caprivi strip on Monday, the Namibian Press Association(Nampa) reported Tuesday. According to Nampa, thousands of tearyvillagers, most of whom were of San origin, gathered at the Ngomaborder post to welcome their relatives. Government officials,including Namibia's Deputy Minister of Home Affairs LoideKasingo, welcomed the group and commended Botswana's governmentfor safely hosting them. Caprivi governor Bernard Sibalatani toldthe refugees that they had arrived back home at the right timebecause most Namibians were preparing for the ploughing season.Meanwhile the Assistant Minister in the President's office,Olifant Mfa, commended them for their decision to return to homeas well as for their achievements. Mfa said the refugees fromBotswana's Dukwe Refugee Camp had contributed to the refugeecommunity's development there by undertaking income generatingprojects such as horticulture. About 850 Namibians are expectedto return home voluntarily following a tripartite agreement thatwas signed on April 11 this year by Botswana and Namibia.
Illegal immigrants rounded up in Windhoek (TheNamibian, 13/08) - Police and Immigration officialsrounded up 30 illegal immigrants and confiscated 12 Namibianpassports in two raids in Windhoek last weekend. Deputy Directorof Immigration in the Home Affairs Ministry Nkrumah Mushelengatold The Namibian that the latest arrests were part of theMinistry's efforts to clamp down on the forgery of Namibianidentity documents and the influx of illegal immigrants."Most of them (illegal immigrants) that have beeninterviewed are mainly from Angola while the rest are from otherAfrican countries," said Mushelenga. Twelve of the 30illegal immigrants were arrested at a house in Wanaheda. Namibianand Angolan passports, application forms for passports andNamibian citizenship forms were also seized. Some of thepassports were found hidden in a fridge. The other 18 illegalimmigrants were arrested at the Okuryangava long distance taxirank wanting to board buses to the North. The swoop follows therecent arrest of seven people, including an Angolan pastor atWindhoek's Hosea Kutako International Airport in connection witha passport scam. The pastor is among a number of church leadersaccused of allegedly issuing false birth certificates to enableforeigners to obtain Namibian passports. Clergymen from theDemocratic republic of Congo (DRC), Angola and Zambia areallegedly involved in the racket. The clergymen are accused ofcopying birth certificates of Namibian members of theircongregations without their knowledge, erasing their names andreplacing them with the names of foreign nationals.
267 jubilant Namibians repatriated from Botswana (TheNamibian, 13/08) - After several months ofbehind-the-scenes negotiations, the United Nations HighCommissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) yesterday repatriated 267Namibians after more than three years of exile at the DukweRefugee Camp in Botswana. A few more hundred Namibians,disheartened by a life of self-imposed exile in Botswana, are dueto be repatriated to their motherland tomorrow and on Friday, aUNHCR official said. Hundreds of Namibians from the Caprivi fledthe country in late 1998 and early 1999 at the height of thesecessionist troubles in the region. David Nthengwe, UNHCRliaison officer, said the majority of the 267 newly-repatriatedrefugees were members of the minority San group from Omega andnearby settlements in West Caprivi. Nthengwe said the refugees,who travelled by bus from Dukwe, were escorted to the NgomaBorder Post in Namibia by Olifant Mfa, Deputy Minister in theOffice of the President in Botswana. Loide Kasingo, Namibia'sDeputy Minister of Home Affairs, Caprivi Regional GovernorBernard Sibalatani and UNHCR officials received the returnees atthe border post. The returnees are expected to be transported totheir villages today in a UNHCR-co-ordinated exercise. SaidNthengwe: "No logistical problems (were experienced). Thewhole operation was very successful and hopefully tomorrow itwill continue to be on the positive side." Asked about howthe returnees felt, Nthengwe said: "The general feeling isthey are very happy to be home. They are very excited to be home,some of them were pushing to get to their families today."Last year senior officials from Namibia and Botswana heldconsultative talks on the repatriation of the hundreds ofNamibians exiled in Botswana. In May last year and a few monthsago several hundred Namibians expressed their willingness to berepatriated. The process was delayed as the UNHCR first had toverify the names of people who wanted to be repatriated. Atpresent, there are 2 400 Namibians at Dukwe, some 500 km north ofGaborone.
Unam SRC excludes foreign students (The Namibian,06/08) - The University of Namibia has urged members ofthe Students Representative Council (SRC) to thoroughly debate aproposal to exclude foreign students from almost all positions onthe SRC. Recently the SRC overwhelmingly voted to only allowforeign students to contest for only one position on the SRC. Ifthe decision is endorsed by the University Council, the highestdecision-making body at Unam, foreign students will only beallowed to occupy one portfolio on the SRC. The other 12positions will be reserved for Namibians. Proponents of theexclusion policy say foreign students on the SRC could interferein Namibian politics as they could influence local politiciansthrough their role on the SRC. They feel Namibia's nationalintegrity could be at risk if they allow foreign students to runfor all the positions on the SRC. In a press statement, Unamspokesman Edwin Tjiramba called on the SRC "to consultbroadly on this issue before the matter is presented to theUniversity Management". "There are channels that shouldbe followed before any decisions are taken that could affectstudents or staff members of this institution in one way oranother," Tjiramba stated. He said the decision to excludeforeign students from most SRC positions had not been"formalised" since it has not yet been discussed andendorsed by the Unam Council. "Therefore, any amendment tothe SRC Constitution shall be submitted to the Council forapproval, and shall not be in force until approved by theCouncil," he stated. Tjiramba stressed that Unam is aninstitution with an international character that reflects itsdiverse community. In addition, Namibia is a signatory to theSADC Protocol on Education and Training which promotes theintegration of the education system in the SADC region. "Inthis regard we are expected to welcome SADC students as homestudents," he said. The SRC should feel free to contact Unammanagement for advice and guidance on the issue, Tjiramba added.
Home Affairs attempts to curb document forgery (TheNamibian, 05/08) - The Ministry of Home Affairs is tospend about N$30 million automating its fingerprint system in abid to curb the escalating forgery of Namibian identificationdocuments. Home Affairs Permanent Niilo Taapopi told The Namibianthat the new system will make it difficult for any one to forgeNamibian documents. "Once the system is in place, Namibianswill be identified through the screening of the thumb," headded. The envisaged system is similar to ones used by theFrench, American and Japanese governments. "We are justwaiting for a legal opinion from the Attorney General's Office onthe agreement with the company contracted to install the system.Hopefully by the end of the year the fingerprint system wouldhave been automated," Taapopi said. He was speaking in thewake of the detention of seven people, including a pastor, atWindhoek's Hosea Kutako International Airport in connection witha passport scam. The seven were detained two weeks ago as theywere about to board a flight to Europe. The Angolan pastor isaccused of issuing false birth certificates to enable foreignersto obtain Namibian passports. Taapopi warned printing companieshe said were assisting would-be criminals to create falsedocuments. "That is tantamount to forgery. We don't want topoint them out but it would be wise for them to obtainauthorisation from the Ministry of Home Affairs before they printofficial documents," he said. "Because of the politicalstability and economic prosperity in the country the hunger forNamibian identification documents is growing. There is an urgentneed to modernise our system," said Taapopi. He said theseven people detained at the airport were being held as illegalimmigrants in terms of the Immigration Control Act. They areexpected to appear before an immigration tribunal. Taapopi saidthe seven had delayed their time in detention because theyrefused to reveal their nationalities. "In spite of theevidence that they faked their passports these people stillmaintained that they are Namibians," he said. They onlyrevealed their true identities last week.
Pastor held in passport scam (The Namibian, 01/08) - Sevenpeople, including an Angolan pastor, are being detained atWindhoek's Hosea Kutako International Airport in connection witha passport scam. They were arrested by Immigration officials twoweeks ago. He is among a number of church pastors accused ofallegedly issuing false birth certificates to enable foreignersto obtain Namibian passports. Clergymen from the DemocraticRepublic of Congo (DRC), Angola and Zambia are allegedly involvedin the racket. It is also suspected that some Namibian officialscould be implicated. The pastors are accused of copying the birthcertificates of Namibian members of their congregations withouttheir knowledge, erasing their names and replacing them with thenames of foreign nationals. According to an insider at the MRIMinistries Church in Windhoek, the scam has resulted in manyforeign nationals obtaining Namibian passports. The sourceclaimed that another church, which operates from the backyard ofa house in Windhoek, has been getting Namibian passports in thesame way. Yesterday, Home Affairs Permanent Secretary, NiiloTaapopi, confirmed to The Namibian that Immigration officials atHosea Kutako International have arrested an Angolan pastor fromthe MRI Ministries in connection with the racket. The pastor wastravelling with nationals from Kenya, Tanzania, Angola and theDRC who all allegedly had Namibian passports. They were on theirway to the United Kingdom and France. The group includes a Kenyanwoman and her five-year-old boy, a Tanzanian man, a Congolese manand three Angolans nationals. All are now in detention at theinternational airport. Taapopi said the Angolan pastor's name wasgiven as Bonifacius Haufiku on his Namibian passport. The name issimilar to the Archbishop of the Catholic Church, BonifaciusHausiku, who passed away recently. Although he is an Angolanrefugee who settled at the Osire Refugee camp in 1996, the MRIMinistries' Bonifacius Haufiku claims in his passport that he wasborn at Onamunama in the Ohangwena region. The Pastor is known asJohn James by his congregation, which meets at the TransNamibHall in Windhoek. Taapopi said the Police should investigate themushrooming church network in the country. "There could bemany more people out there illegally in possession of Namibiandocuments obtained through these churches. "These guys wereonly detected after we computerised our system and changedseveral of our staff members whom we suspected of colluding withthese crooks." Speaking from custody yesterday, Jamesconfirmed that he was arrested with six other foreign nationals.But he denied that his church was orchestrating a passportracket. "Someone else helped us to obtain the (Namibian)documents, it is not through the Church." He said he learnedabout a "passport agent" who helped him with a"temporary passport while getting me a proper one" atthe beginning of last year. "He [the agent] used to help meto be able to visit our [church] ministry in London. Please don'tpunish the church because I have also given to the Ministry ofHome Affairs the name of the man who helped us with thedocuments. "I am the one who wronged, please don't punishthe Church," he pleaded. He claimed that the man who hadbeen arranging passports for foreign nationals is a certain FrankSamuels. "I am even prepared to be hanged for my misdeeds.When Jesus died Christianity continued. So whatever happens tome, the church will continue to exist," he added. Whenapproached for comment, Deputy British High Commissioner NealHammond, whose country does not require visiting Namibians tohave visas, said: "We take reports of this kind veryseriously and we will obviously be contacting Home Affairs formore information."
Elite UK soldiers on Zim-SA border (London, Sapa,29/08) - The web edition of the London Daily Telegraphreported on Thursday that the Special Air Services (SAS) hadreconnoitred the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe inpreparation for a possible evacuation of British citizens. Thestory, by defence correspondent Michael Smith, quoted UK defenceofficials. The purpose of their mission was to identify anumberof co-ordination points inside Zimbabwe where the Britons,mainly white farmers, could be collected before a mass convoyinto South Africa. The Telegraph added that the Ministry ofDefence's Permanent Joint Headquarters at Northwood, Middlesex,has also drawn up plans for an Royal Air Force (RAF) evacuationof other British citizens by plane from Harare airport. "Thecontingency plans to move the estimated 20,000 British citizensinside Zimbabwe include the use of RAF transport aircraft andmembers of the Parachute Regiment, who will be on exercise inSouth Africa from the end of next month until December," thereport states. Up to 300 men from 1 Bn, the Parachute Regiment,will spend three months carrying out trials jumping from the newCl 30J Hercules transport aircraft. "They will beaccompanied by an RAF Cl 7 Globemastertransport aircraft, a VC 10military airliner and two Cl 30J aircraft. Their exercises willbe carried out with the South African National Defence Force(SANDF)." The ministry said the exercise was"absolutely not" connected to the situation inZimbabwe. "This is a long-planned air concentrationexercise, the first of a series of trials that will be takingplace twice a year," a spokesman said.
Rural SA still a dumping ground of the unwanted(Business Day, 29/08) - I want to break one of PeterBruce's house rules and talk about somebody else's column; thediscussion columnist Ken Owen began in Business Day last Mondayis too important to vanish into the ether just yet. "SouthAfricans, unlike Zimbabweans, have mostly abandoned life on thefarm," Owen wrote. "We are an urbanised society, withthree-fifths of our people living now in burgeoning cities, eachringed with the shacks of the latest refugees in flight from theland." "Our policies recognise none of this," Owencontinued. "They are devised by sentimental urbanites whoput houses in the wrong places, and spend fortunes takingelectricity and telephones to nowhere." Owen is right. Thehinterland is emptying, but it is doing so in strange anddisturbing ways, throwing the countryside into a painfulinterregnum. I recently spent a year researching and writing abook on the events surrounding the murder of a white farmer's sonin the KwaZulu-Natal midlands. The white man was assassinated bya group of his father's black tenants after a long and dirtybattle over a small piece of land. There were nine tenantfamilies on the farm. Only two had a real stake in the city:perennial jobs, a rented home. Yet it was precisely the twofamilies with substantial urban lives that led the campaignagainst the white farmer. Why? Why did those with city livesfight so bitterly over a slither of the hinterland? A fewkilometres from the farm, a church mission was in the process ofgiving away its property to the families that had rented plots ofland there during the course of the 20th century. "As soonas news of the impending transfer of property spread," anelderly mission priest told me, "scores of old names andfaces began to resurface. People who had migrated to KwaMashu andClairmont decades ago came knocking on my door. They hadn'tfarmed for a generation, but they behaved as if their livesdepended on owning a piece of a rural mission." These arejust two of countless stories. Practically every member of thelast two generations of peasants and farm workers has migrated tothe cities in early adulthood, swearing they would rather starvethan work the land. However, their life stories seldom turn outas they had imagined. They keep coming back, again and again,throughout their adult lives, to the heritages they havedisclaimed.
For the truth they soon discover is that urban SA treatsnewcomers from the hinterland like dirt. In the mid-20th century,industry absorbed unskilled migrants in their hundreds ofthousands. Today, all but a lucky few find that they aresentenced to live their lives on the periphery of the metropolis,their homes tin shacks, their neighbours untrustworthy strangers,the wages they get when they find work barely better than in thecountryside. Many end up journeying back to their ancestral homesincessantly during the course of their failed adult lives. Theyare drifters, not yet properly urban, no longer properly rural,scavenging what they can from both the cities and the ruralvillages. It is these people who scare the daylights out of thepatriarchs of the countryside, both black and white. Ask 10farmers who they fear most and nine will tell you it is the sonsof their faithful old labourers, people they call"strangers", despite the fact that the"stranger" learnt to read and write at the local farmschool. As for the black patriarchs: "When your grandsoncomes knocking at your door," an old man of the midlandstold me, "you do not even have to greet him to know what hewants. He does not want to mind your cattle or harvest yourmealies. He wants your monthly pension payout. And if you arewise, you will give him something, because if you don't he willsteal your neighbour's pension and your family will beshamed." Owen is right. The drifters of early 21st centurySA must be given a stake in the city, not the countryside. Theydo not belong on the farms. They only come back because they havefailed, and they bring the violence and the despair with them.The old patriarchs scan the horizon in the hope that one day soonthey will no longer be greeted by the sight of their sons anddaughters, returning emptyhanded. The longer the city falters,the heavier the countryside's burden becomes. It has not thestrength to survive as the dumping ground of the unwanted.Steinberg is a freelance writer. His book, Midlands, will bereleased on September 2.
Operation Crackdown nets 1237 in Pretoria (Pretoria,Sapa, 28/08) - At least 1237 people were arrested in thePretoria area over the past 10 days for various crimes duringOperation Crackdown, police reported on Wednesday. Seventy-eight78 were apprehended for robbery, 51 for possession of drugs, 12for rape and 12 for murder, Area Commissioner Amon Mashigo saidin a statement. The operation which saw about 25000 people,vehicles and premises searched also led to the arrested 100illegal immigrants. Mashigo said some stolen items that wereseized included 32 illegal firearms, 102 rounds of ammunition, 15stolen vehicles, 28 computers and computer appliances. Searcheswere extended to schools, farms, old age homes and taverns, hesaid.
Taxpayers foot bill for Buthelezi home repairs(Johannesburg, Business Day, 28/08) - More than R740000of taxpayers' money has been spent over the past eight years onupgrading, maintaining and beautifying the Ulundi home of HomeAffairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi. This has been revealed inthe auditor-general's report now before the KwaZulu-Natallegislature's standing committee on public accounts, which ischaired by Mike Tarr. Tarr said the committee resolved that theunauthorised expenditure should be recovered from the head of theprovincial public works department, which was responsible forawarding the illegal maintenance contracts. Tarr said that theoriginal maintenance contracts were awarded prior to 1994, whenButhelezi was legitimately entitled to these benefits because hewas at the time the chief minister of KwaZulu-Natal. However,after Buthelezi was appointed to the national cabinet after 1994as home affairs minister he was granted residences in bothPretoria and Cape Town. The move meant that all existinggovernment contracts with regard to the maintenance of his homein Kwaphindangene, which is 15km from Ulundi, should have beencancelled. This did not happen, and despite the auditor-generalsubsequently declaring in consecutive annual reports that thecontinued public expenditure on Buthelezi's Ulundi residence wasunauthorised, and thus illegal. Contracts amounting to more thanR100000 a year continued to be awarded by the public worksdepartment. It is now estimated that as much as R746000 oftaxpayers' money has been illegally spent on tending toButhelezi's Ulundi residence from the 1994-95 to 200001 financialyears. This figure excludes expenditure on providing security,which in one month in 1997 was more than R34 000. Documentsbefore the public accounts committee reveal that in the 1995-96financial year taxpayers forked out R50 000 for landscapingservices carried out at Buthelezi's residence and R1169 a monthin respect of weekly inspections of cold-freezer rooms. Tarr saidthe public works department had not replied to demands from hiscommittee to recover the unauthorised expenditure from theprevious head of the public works department, who awarded thecontracts. Instead, the public works department passed onresponsibility of the maintenance of Kwaphindangene to the Houseof Traditional Leaders, which is chaired by Buthelezi. Followingfurther demands to resolve the matter and recover illegalexpenditure, legal opinion on the matter has been submitted bythe office of premier Lionel Mtshali. It stated that even if theexpenditure was unauthorised there was no realistic prospect ofits recovery as the matter was "extremely complex".According to the premier's lawyers, issues that need to beconsidered in dealing with the house include the fact thatButhelezi also serves as the chairman of the KwaZulu-Natal Houseof Traditional leaders. Also, the land on which the residence islocated is tribal land and thus belongs to the state. Dismissingthe legal opinion as invalid, Tarr said last night that thepublic accounts committee was about to issue a final instructionfor the misspent monies to be recovered. "Should no steps inthis regard be taken, the matter will taken back to theKwaZulu-Natal provincial legislature for the full house to decideon appropriate action," Tarr said.
Home Affairs has been ridiculed with reason: saysLambinon (Parliament, Sapa, 27/08) - The Department ofHome Affairs had been ridiculed for long enough and with reason,acting home affairs director-general Ivan Lambinon told MPs onTuesday. Appearing before the National Assembly's home affairscommittee, he said: "I regret to say that I am tired ofreceiving telephone calls ... from members of the public, somepleading and some furious asking whether such and such officescannot please be asked to at least answer their phones. Lambinonwas briefing the committee on his department's attempts toimprove service delivery and increase staff morale. He attributedpart of the problem to the fact that the department had threedirectors-general in six years, and that at one stage there wasno second or third tier management. The department had beenwithout a chief financial officer for 18 months, he said.Lambinon did not allude to the problems between Home AffairsMinister Mangosuthu Buthelezi and former director-general BillyMasetlha, which effectively paralysed the department and resultedin several complaints by the minister to Parliament. However, hehinted at the difficulties when he told MPs Masetlha had createdmore than 150 posts and filled many of them without Buthelezi'sapproval. He painted a bleak picture of his department'sadministrative problems and said it could take up to six monthsfor the department to attend to a ministerial issue, instead of amandatory month. MPs expressed concern at the number of actingappointments in the department. They noted that the fourofficials - representing top management at the committee meeting- were also appointed in an acting capacity. Committee chairmanMpho Scott said Buthelezi and his deputy Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakulawould also be asked to appear before the committee. In a separatereport, Lambinon provided statistics relating to the RefugeeAppeal Board. He said that in Cape Town 8812 applications hadbeen finalised, while 14586 were pending. In Braamfontein,Johannesburg, 487 had been finalised, while 16215 were pending.The issue was a matter of "very real concern". Themajority of people wanting asylum in South Africa were"people who are taking a chance", Lambinon said."Of the millions of rands spent on this noble cause .... 70to 80 percent are being spent on impostors."
Home Affairs deserves to be ridiculed, says Acting DG(IOL, 27/08) - The Department of Home Affairs had beenridiculed for long enough, and with good reason, acting homeaffairs director-general Ivan Lambinon told MPs on Tuesday.Appearing before the national assembly's home affairs committee,he said: "I regret to say that I am tired of receivingtelephone calls from members of the public, some pleading andsome furious, asking whether such-and-such offices cannot pleasebe asked at least to answer their phones". Lambinon wasbriefing the committee on his department's attempts to improveservice delivery and increase staff morale. He attributed part ofthe problem to the department's having had threedirectors-general in six years to the absence at one stage ofsecond- or third-tier management. The department had been withouta chief financial officer for 18 months. Hinting at thedifficulties between Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Butheleziand former director-general Billy Masetlha, Lambinon told MPsthat Masetlha had created more than 150 posts and filled many ofthem without Buthelezi's approval. He painted a bleak picture ofhis department's administrative problems and said it could takeup to six months for the department to attend to a ministerialissue instead of a mandatory month. Committee chairman Mpho Scottsaid Buthelezi and his deputy, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, wouldalso be asked to appear before the committee. In a separatereport, Lambinon provided statistics from the Refugee AppealBoard. In Cape Town 8 812 applications had been finalised and 14586 were pending. In Braamfontein, Johannesburg, 487 had beenfinalised and 16 215 were pending. "Of the millions of randspent on this noble cause, 70 to 80 percent are being spent onimpostors," Lambinon said. Most asylum seekers were"taking a chance". More than 10 000 identity documentswere lying uncollected at the Department of Home Affairs' officein Khayelitsha, according to the minutes of the home affairscommittee. Last week, officials told MPs during a visit to CapeTown's regional office that between 10 000 and 13 000 IDs couldnot be posted because people did not have permanent addresses.The department could also not embark on an ID distributioncampaign as there were no funds. Regional officials said theprovince did not have the capacity to register children so theywould be eligible for welfare grants.
Ex-Home Affairs DG moved to Mbeki's office (IOL,27/08) - Former Home Affairs director-general BillyMasetlha took up his new post as a presidential adviser lastweek, the presidency announced on Thursday. "He started withus on the day after he left the Home Affairs Department,"presidential spokesman Bheki khumalo said. Masetlha left hisprevious post after his contract expired on June 20 amid a stormyrelationship with Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi.President Thabo Mbeki last week announced Masetlha would beredeployed to the presidency as an adviser on matters of securityand the criminal justice system. His new appointment was also onthe level of director-general, Khumalo said. Khumalo dismissed as"rubbish" reports that Masetlha was now a "superD-G". "That is devoid of all truth," he said.Applications for Masetlha's old post closed on April 18. Deputydirector-general Ivan Lambinon would act as director-generaluntil a replacement was found. Masetlha and Buthelezi have failedto see eye-to-eye, and Mbeki's intervention had been sought onseveral occasions. Buthelezi is also the leader of the InkathaFreedom Party, while Masetlha is a member of the African NationalCongress. The minister recently accused Masetlha ofirregularities, including the creation and filling of 153 postswithout ministerial approval. In October last year, Buthelezipresented the parliamentary home affairs portfolio committee witha list of 64 complaints about his director-general. Buthelezialso claimed Masetlha had been working without a valid contract.Rumours of Masetlha's redeployment to the presidency surfaced inthe intelligence agencies as far back as July 2001, according todocuments found by the Desai Commission. However, Mbeki extendedMasetlha's contract with Home Affairs for a further year, despiteButhelezi's request that he not do so. In a confidentialmemorandum to then Western Cape director-general and former spymaster Niel Bernard dated July 6, 2002, Piet Smit - a former SASecret Service operative and security adviser for the provincialadministration - said Mbeki had asked Masetlha to join thepresidency.
SA's wealthy opt for Malawian butlers (Saturday Star,24/08) - Skilled housemen from Malawi areall the rage among wealthy South Africans these days. EmployingMalawians who boast a range of domestic skills has become theultimate status symbol for rich and trendy South Africans. Theseeasy-going men from the north have proved hugely popular. In factseveral Cape Town celebrities and even a cabinet minister preferhaving Malawians care for their homes. The term housemenis a politically-correct version of colonial era terminology inwhich male servants were called houseboys. In thosedays and not so long ago in some quarters, black men and women,however old, were called boys and girls.Houseboys were employed to run households anderrands. Cape Town domestic employment company Marvellous Maids,run by Kate Shuttleworth, offers various services such as cheerfulchars, amazing Malawian housemen and greatgardeners. She said while the company also placed SouthAfricans, the Malawians were particularly popular and weresnapped up very quickly. She was not prepared to give the namesof the well-heeled people who employed Malawian housemen,although their ranks included several of Cape Towns moversand shakers. Her agency not only placed workers in homes, butassisted in drawing up contracts, making sure employer andemployee understood the terms of employment. The feedbackfrom some of the Malawian placements has been great. They clean,cook, and do the laundry, like an all-in-one mum. She saidone houseman chauffeured his employer to parties and restaurantsand picked him up afterwards so he did not have to drive afterdrinking. And at times when his employer came home late withfriends, he would get up -- even if it was in the small hours --to serve them coffee or drinks. But then again I firmlybelieve what you put in is what you get out. In this particularcase, when the employer eats out he will give his male servantR100 to go and have supper wherever he chooses, saidShuttleworth. Salaries varied from R1 000 to R3 000 a monthand in one case R10 000 a month. We have proper checks inplace to ensure that everything is above board with theDepartment of Home Affairs and they have proper documentation.One such Malawian houseman, Frank Mkaya, works in Hout Bay. Hewas a soldier in the Malawian army before he moved to SouthAfrica for political reasons. I have worked as a domesticworker for seven years." He has been employed in homes inPretoria, Simons Town and, for the past four years, in CapeTown. I clean from top to bottom. I cook whatever thefavourite dishes are of the people I work for, whether it'scurries, stews or Chinese food." A Constantia woman, who hasemployed a houseman, said he was great to have around the house.He cleaned and cooked well. Hes great with the kids.He plays with them and even joins them in soccer matches.Another employer said: They have a different attitude fromthe locals; they are very pleasant."
Deportation numbers increase (BuaNews, 23/08) - Homeaffairs minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi says the number ofdeportation warrants issued this year to foreigners found guiltyof serious crimes in this country have increased dramatically.Thanks to the increased co-operation between the home affairsdepartment and the police force. Briefing media in Cape Townyesterday, the minister said the number of warrants issued sixmonths ago stood at 630 already, compared to 760 for the whole oflast year. 'The removal of illegal foreigners remains a seriousproblem, and will carry on being a problem as long as SouthAfricans continue to employ illegal foreigners as cheap labour,rather than employing South African citizens,' said Dr Buthelezi.He said the number of illegal foreigners removed from the RSA forthe first months of 2002 was 75 572 compared to 68 492 for thesame period last year. 'There often seems to be a tendency in theaverage South African to regard illegal aliens and refugees orasylum seekers in the same vein.' He added this had led to themedia referring to various incidents of violence against refugeesas indicative of xenophobia amongst South Africans. 'MyDepartment has been working towards ensuring that asylum seekersand refugees lead a life of dignity. In fighting xenophobia, theDepartment seeks to ensure that nobody anywhere is subjected tothe insult and offence of being despised by another or othersbecause of his or her race, colour, nationality or origin.' Inthis regard, the department had committed itself by establishinga working group to deal with xenophobia to produce a documentthat would assist in vigilantly fighting xenophobia, as mandatedby the Immigration Act. The Act brings immigration control intocompliance with the highest standards of human rights protectionand administrative and judicial review, while placing SouthAfrica on par with many other countries in respect of many of itsprovisions, especially in respect of investors' and intra-companytransfer permits.
Asylum seekers can rule out Australia (SABC, 22/08) - PhilipRuddock, the Australian Immigration Minister, says asylum seekerswho leave South Africa for Australia will be sent back under anew deal between the two countries. Ruddock says the move is aresponse to South Africa's concerns that asylum seekers areshopping for a new country instead of waiting in line for refugeeresettlement. He says the agreement also means asylum seekersfrom Australia who enter South Africa will be immediatelyreturned. "While there are currently few asylum seekersarriving in Australia after residing in South Africa, thisagreement is important in that it supports the principle thatasylum seekers should make their claims for asylum at the firstavailable opportunity," Ruddock says. "It is animportant contribution to the international fight against peoplesmuggling." Ruddock recently returned from a visit to SouthAfrica, Tanzania, Greece, Yugoslavia, the Czech Republic,Slovakia, Austria and England where he discussed Australia'simmigration programme. Ruddock says Australia's immigrationprogramme has so far been well received by many Europeancountries, particularly Britain and Ireland. "There was agood deal of interest in border management strategies and I wasable to meet a wide range of people to discuss managing thosequestions," he says. Ruddock adds that other governments areparticularly interested in Australia's recently strengthenedborder protection measures. He says other nations are keen tohear about Australia's controversial policy of mandatorydetention, although a nation such as Britain, which has 90 000asylum seekers, is unable to employ similar processes."People are very interested in our approach to detention,but because of the numbers in some of the countries of Europe, adetention model of the sort we have does not necessarily lenditself as a suitable solution," he concludes.
No deluge of Zimbabweans trying to enter SA, saysButhelezi (Parliament, Sapa, 22/08) - Although Pretoriahad a contingency plan for a possible influx of refugees, therewas no deluge of Zimbabweans trying to enter South Africa, HomeAffairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi said on Thursday. Briefingjournalists in Parliament, he said: "I am not aware there isa big deluge of people (from Zimbabwe) who are inundating ourcountry." Buthelezi said he was also not aware of anyZimbabwean farmers who had approached his department wishing tofarm in South Africa instead. Asked if they would qualify forpolitical asylum, he said: "I would assume that if they comefrom political persecution, in my definition they would qualifyas refugees." Buthelezi dodged the question of whether thesituation in Zimbabwe amounted to political persecution:"You want me poke my long nose into Zimbabwe's affairs...Asked whether South African farmers in Zimbabwe who had renouncedtheir citizenship in terms of that country's laws could get theircitizenship back, he said: "Of course. Like any other personthere is a process and a formula for doing so. There is no reasonwhy they shouldn't." On illegal immigrants in South Africa,he said this remained a serious problem and would remain one aslong as South Africans continued to employ illegal foreigners ascheap labour, rather than employing South African citizens."It must be recognised that the current drought and foodshortages in our neighbouring countries also have an impact inthis regard. "In the process the number of illegalforeigners removed from the RSA (Republic of South Africa) forthe first months of 2002 was 75572 in comparison with 68492 forthe corresponding period in 2001." The number of deportationwarrants of foreign citizens who had been found guilty of seriouscrimes had increased dramatically thanks to increasedco-operation between his department and the police, Buthelezisaid. The number of deportation warrants for 2001 was 760. ByJuly 31 this year the number already stood at 630. On when thenew Immigration Act would be implemented, Buthelezi said hebelieved it would take place at the end of the year or thebeginning of 2003.
Western Cape in cashing in on tourist boom(Johannesburg, Business Day, 22/08) - Western Cape wascashing in on a tourist boom this year as the country recordedits best season in the first half, premier Marthinus vanSchalkwyk said yesterday. Arrivals of international tourists toSA increased 13% from January to May, compared with the sameperiod last year, but tourism growth in Western Cape was expectedto be higher than the national figure, at about 15%. Speaking ata conference on responsible tourism, Van Schalkwyk said revenuefrom tourism in the region for the first half of 2002 was R400mhigher than last year, and the industry created about 5000 jobsin the region. "We know that Western Cape has fantastictourism potential we are aiming to attract 4-million tourists by2010 with expenditure increasing to R30bn," he said. Thegrowth rate in tourism was on a par with the film industry as thefastest-growing industries in Western Cape. But sustaining thisgrowth rate may prove difficult if there was no development andmanagement of infrastructure needs. Van Schalkwyk said it wasnecessary to channel socioeconomic benefits of tourism to thosewho needed it most. "We can no longer afford the assumption,which has dominated the tourism industry for decades, that aslong as our numbers increase, the benefits of tourism willeventually filter down to all our people and communities, withouttoo much destruction," said Van Schalkwyk.
Relax tax laws to lure expatriates backs, says NNP(Cape Town, Sapa, 21/08) - The New National Party onWednesday mooted the idea of luring back expatriate SouthAfricans with tax incentives. NNP labour spokesman Johann Durandsaid in a statement that although establishing an expatriatedatabase to draw on South Africa's lost skills pool would be astep in the right direction, it was not enough. Government shouldrealise that "the database is of no use" unless thoseindividuals were attracted back to South Africa. "A keyconsideration would be incentives to these individuals throughlower taxes or better than market related benefits. "Moreimportantly, if the authorities are not able to attain asufficient response from expatriates, they need to go the extramile and poach some foreign skills," Durand said. Currenttax legislation should then be amended to "attractforeigners and expatriates' skills. "As the tax regimestands, it is keeping foreign workers and therefore vital skillsaway from our shores. "Despite South Africa being consideredaffordable in terms of international standards, residence basetax and capital gains tax as it is currently structured, makes itexpensive for foreigners to move to South Africa," Durandsaid.
Graduates must not emigrate, urges MEC (BuaNews,21/08) - More than R3-billion has been spent buildingand upgrading hospitals and clinics in Limpopo province since1994. Many clinics now offer a 24-hour service, health andwelfare MEC Sello Moloto told 104 nurses who graduated from theNorthern Province Nursing College yesterday. He said he hoped thenurses were not 'graduating with air tickets in your handbags.''I hope you are determined to plough back your trainingexperience to those communities that need you most,' he said. 'Weare doing everything possible within the ambit of availableresources and expect you to complement with commitment.' MECMoloto reminded graduates that their calling demandedselflessness, a high level of discipline and commitment. He saidhis department was 'doing everything possible to take care of ouremployees.' The 104 graduates were the first batch of trainednurses and midwives to emerge from the Northern Province NursingCollege. The college was formed after the amalgamation of theformer Venda, Lebowa and Gazankulu homeland nursing colleges.'The successful merger of the three colleges into one has brokenthe barriers of Bantustan mentality,' said Moloto. 'It assists usto offer excellent, co-coordinated training under a commoncurriculum designed to meet the common needs of our province.'
How not to treat foreign visitors (Mail &Guardian, 16/08) - Rugby thug Pieter van Zyl's attack onan Irish referee during a Tri-Nations Cup match in Durban lastweekend has been singled out by President Thabo Mbeki as anexample of how not to treat foreign visitors. Writing in theAfrican National Congress' on-line publication, ANC Today, Mbekisaid the coming World Summit on Sustainable Development did"not permit of careless remarks and actions that communicatenegative messages about our country and people". "Inthis regard, all of us owe the Irish referee at the recentSpringbok-All Blacks match, Dave McHugh, our sincere apology forthe impermissible assault on him by one of us, Mr Pieter van Zyl."As South Africans, we respect and value our internationalvisitors. We also respect the rules that govern civilised conductof individuals and nations," he said. McHugh was assaultedand had his shoulder dislocated by Van Zyl when the burly fan,wearing a Springbok supporters jersey, slipped past securitypersonnel and tackled the international referee. Van Zyl wasarrested and charged with assault with intent to do grievousbodily harm. He has appeared in court and been granted bail.Mbeki, referring to the summit, set to get underway officially inJohannesburg on August 26, on Friday said extending a warmwelcome to foreign guests was of the greatest importance.
Domestic workers come in from the cold (Johannesburg,Business Day, 16/08) - They work behind the scenes onthe periphery of the mainstream economy. The dispersed nature oftheir work, has made it difficult to organise themselves intotrade unions and that has rendered them vulnerable to thedictates of their employers. Domestic workers employmentrelations are highly individualised, characterised by unequalpower relations and often by abuse and excessive control."The lifestyles of domestic workers remain regimented; theylack privacy, suffer isolation and face high levels of jobinsecurity," Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana saidyesterday when announcing a new sectoral determination fordomestic workers. "Our research has revealed that manydomestic workers work long and unregulated hours, with inadequaterest periods. Many of them do not enjoy paid sick leave andannual leave and are paid meagre salaries. The provisions of theBasic Conditions of Employment Act aimed at providing a floor ofrights for workers, is inadequate to deal with the uniquecircumstances of domestic workers." Research has shown that45% of all domestic workers in urban areas and 38% in rural areasearn less than R500 a month. The sectoral determination definesdomestic workers as those working in private householdsperforming duties such as looking after children, gardening anddriving for the household. That also includes domestic workersprovided by private employment agencies and independentcontractors. While recognising their contribution, it has takenthe labour department about 30 months of research andconsultation before producing a determination governing theirwages and working conditions. One major concern was how toprevent job losses and casualisation of labour while stillensuring an improvement in their quality of life. Establishingstandards while allowing flexibility to meet employer needs wasthe uppermost consideration. Government was concerned about theeffect of the introduction of a minimum wage on employment levelsbut labour department director-general Rams Ramashia, said thedetermination was a flexible tool for dealing with the sector asemployers could adjust their domestic worker's hours to levelsthey could afford. However, the Democratic Alliance believes thisbalance has not been achieved and has warned that 169000 domesticworkers could lose their jobs according to the department's ownresearch. The minimum wages applicable will depend on wheredomestic workers live and the hours they work. The minimum wageswill be R800 or R650 (depending on the area) per month based on a45hour week. It can also be R614,24 or R498,42 (depending on thearea) for employees who work 27 hours and less in a week. Theminimum wages translates into hourly rates of R4,51 and R3,66 forthose working less than 27 hours a week , and R4,10 or R3,33 forthose working over 27 hours and up to 45 hours a week. Higherwage areas include big municipal areas such as Johannesburg andCape Town, and towns such as Stellenbosch and Plettenberg Bay.The determination will specify the higher wage group, definingthe other group as "the rest of SA". The demarcationwas based on municipal boundaries and on household income withthe annual threshold income in high wage areas being R24000 amonth. Wages are prescribed for a three-year period and workersmust get an annual, across-the board increase of at least 8% peryear from November 1 of each year. This is irrespective ofwhether or not they are receiving more than the minimum wage. Thedepartment can adjust the increase if the inflation rate ishigher than 10%. Most of the conditions of employment that wereapplicable under the Basic Conditions of Employment Act have beenretained. Domestic workers may still only work for 45 hours aweek, are entitled to 21 day's leave, two weeks sick leave andfive days responsibility leave for births, deaths and familysickness. They should also receive double pay for work on Sundaysand public holidays. Deductions of not more than 10% can be madefor a room that meets certain standards.
Clampdown on exploitative employers (Business Day,14/08) - Three months aftersigning an occupational safety and health accord with businessand labour, government has undertaken an aggressive drive toclamp down on businesses and factories that do not comply withthe legislation. The accord was signed by the labour department,Business SA and the country's three biggest trade unionfederations the Congress of SA Trade Unions, the Federation ofUnions of SA and the National Council of Trade Unions. The labourdepartment was not taking chances by relying on the goodwill ofemployers to create safe working environments. While a number offactories were stung during the raids in Gauteng recently, thedepartment was planning to take the patrols to other parts of thecountry. However, the lack of capacity to conduct regular raidsand the almost exclusive reliance on tip-offs from employees,have been identified as major weaknesses in government's labourlaw enforcement campaigns. Raids are conducted by the departmentsof labour, health and minerals and energy, another factor thathas been cited as a hindrance in monitoring workplaces. LabourMinister Membathisi Mdladlana has acknowledged there was often nosynchronisation between the departments. The labour department'sspokesman Snuki Zikalala said yesterday that the three ministers,whose departments carried out inspections, were discussing acabinet proposal to merge the inspectorate divisions of all threedepartments. Independent labour analyst Brian Allen has welcomedthe raids, but voiced scepticism over whether the labourdepartment has adequate infrastructure to sustain the campaign.Government was not oblivious to the situation. Zikalala said thedepartment was trying to address the problem and had beefed upits personnel in Gauteng. There were plans to increase the numberof inspectors in other provinces and to conduct weekly blitzes,Zikalala said. Labour consultant Andrew Levy said it wasunfortunate that the resources of the labour department werenever sufficient to enable it to deal efficiently with employerswho were in breach of labour legislation. The high unemploymentrate estimated at 29% had created a pool of available and easilyexploitable labour, willing to accept meagre wages. The need toput food on the table for their families was also seen as afactor that could deter workers from blowing the whistle onunscrupulous employers.
Allen agreed that a major handicap ingovernment's campaign to root out workplace victimisation andnoncompliance was the fact that it reacted once alarm bells hadbeen raised by employees. This, he said, made tracking"sweatshops" difficult as employees were likely to bereluctant to tip off government for fear of losing their jobs.Levy said as long as people were desperate to find work, theywould accept anything thrown their way. Employers easily tookadvantage of people in such circumstances. "All too oftenemployers breached labour laws but employees became reluctant tocomplain." Levy said. Also frustrating government's attemptsto catch unscrupulous employers was their tendency to hireillegal immigrants who were even less likely to reportexploitative labour practices. Zikalala said that some of thecompanies raided were found to have been employing illegalimmigrants from as far afield as Pakistan, Tanzania and Malawi.The labour department's inspections around Johannesburg last weekresulted in the closure of four companies found to have blatantlydisregarded labour laws. The department swooped down on 12 firmsin the Fordsburg area and closed Bhadelia Textiles and foodproducer Snaktaque. Ten raids were conducted on Monday resultingin the temporary closure of linen manufacturer Arrow Trading andpaint manufacturer Medal Paints. At Medal Paints an employee wasfound mixing paint with her bare hands. Monday's raids alsorevealed that eight companies were not registered with thecompensation and unemployment insurance funds managed by thelabour department. Compliance orders were issued to employers notregistered with these funds. Other contraventions includedinadequate washing facilities and inadequate fire fighting andfirst aid equipment. Labour department officials said in somecases people were found to be working 16 hours a day for R20. Towin the battle against unscrupulous employers, all stops wouldhave to be pulled out in an attempt to educate workers abouttheir rights. This campaign needed to be accompanied by severepunishment to offenders, labour analysts said.
Police arrested for robbing Nigerian (IOL, 14/08) - Policeon Wednesday arrested five colleagues on charges of robbery,corruption and theft. Inspector Dennis Adriao said the five werearrested after a robbery at a cellphone shop at the MaristonHotel in Hillbrow just after noon. According to the shop'sNigerian owner a man approached him with a five dollar note andasked him to convert it into rand. Shortly after leaving the shopwith R40, the man returned with four other men - all in civilianclothing - produced police identity cards and demanded to searchthe premises. When he refused they handcuffed the man, opened hissafe and allegedly took a large amount of cash in rand, dollarsand pounds. After stuffing it in a plastic bag the men ran off,leaving the shopowner cuffed. Adriao said a woman saw the men andthought their behaviour peculiar. She flagged down a passingpolice vehicle and pointed them in the direction the men went. Afemale inspector confronted one of the men in a parking garageand arrested him. He allegedly had all the money taken from theshop in his possession. After determining that he was a policemanshe radioed for assistance in tracking down the other four.Police from all over the city converged on the area andimmediately cordoned it off in anticipation of searching it forthe men. With the aid of the public all four were arrested. Allitems taken during the robbery were recovered. The five men wereidentified as a constable, two sergeants and two inspectors,including two detectives from the serious and violent crimes(investigation) unit at Brixton, a detective from the Jeppepolice station and a officer from the Johannesburg Central policestation's crime prevention unit. The anti corruption unit wasfurther investigating the matter and the men were expected toappear in court on Friday.
SA has arrived on world tourist map, says Moosa (IOL,14/08) - South Africa was the best performing touristdestination in the world for the first five months of this year,with international tourist arrivals up 7,5 percent. This wasannounced on Tuesday by Environmental Affairs and TourismMinister Valli Moosa. He said that, discounting continuouslydeclining arrivals from Lesotho, the January-to-May figuresshowed an increase of 15,7 percent. "These are extremelyinteresting statistics, and this at a time when most tourismdestinations are experiencing difficulties and are stillrecovering from the effects of September 11," Moosa said. Hesaid the key target market of Britain had shown spectaculargrowth of 20,6 percent - to a total of 186 031 - while Germanyhad grown 19,4 percent - to a total of 102 303. Tourist numbersfrom France increased by 14,5 percent; from Italy by 8,2 percent;and from the Netherlands by 10,9 percent. Tourist numbers fromthe US had grown by only about two percent to three percent, buteven this "flat" result was "extremelypleasing" because Americans had not been travelling muchsince September 11 and South Africa had still been able tomaintain its share of US tourists. Moosa said South Africa hadbeen considering targeting African countries in its tourismgrowth strategy - specifically sub-Saharan countries likeBotswana. "There is no other tourism destination in theworld that is performing as well," he said. "As acountry, we have arrived in marketing ourselves successfully as atourism destination." South Africa had been outperformingAustralia - probably South Africa's biggest tourism competitor -in attracting visitors, although the overall number going toAustralia was still greater, Moosa noted. There had also been"particularly good growth" from India, and this wassignificant because many Indian visitors were arriving innon-peak times. This was helping South Africa's efforts to marketitself as a year-round destination. Moosa said South AfricanTourism would be looking very closely at the Chinese market,"the most lucrative of all". This follows PresidentMbeki signing, in November last year, the first stage of anagreement with China to obtain "approved destinationstatus" . Arrivals from China increased 27,2 percent for thefirst five months of this year, despite that country's currentsystem of restricting its citizens from international tourism.Moosa said only 17 countries currently enjoyed "approveddestination status" from China, and most were in south-eastAsia. Previously, the only African country with this status wasEgypt. "We have a tremendously competitive advantage andwe're going out of our way to establish a market presence inChina." The increased visitor numbers were the result of a"very careful planning of strategy", Moosa added."This includes extremely detailed market research todetermine the type of people most likely to visit SouthAfrica." In the diverse US market - where people in New Yorkwere extremely different from those in Texas, for example, andwhere only 17 percent of citizens had passports - only certaincities and states had been targeted, he said. Also, SouthAfricans now knew that they needed to treat tourists well so thatthey would return, Moosa said.
SA world's best tourism performer, says Moosa(Parliament, Sapa, 13/08) - South Africa is the world'sbest-performing international tourist destination this year, saysTourism Minister Valli Moosa. Briefing the media at Parliament onTuesday, he said SA Tourism statistics showed the number offoreign visitors entering the country between January and May hadincreased by 7,5 percent over the same period last year."This is at a time when most international tourismdestinations have been experiencing difficulties recovering fromthe post-September 11 effects. The increase from Germany is 19,4percent; the increase from the United Kingdom is 20,6 percent.These have been among our key target markets," Moosa said.He conceded the increase in tourists from the United States was"flat", between two and three percent. "But whatwe're particularly pleased about, the US being one of our keymarkets, is that... we've managed to retain our share in thatmarket." Included in the total international arrivals werevisitors from Southern African countries. Here, one of thebiggest increases was from Botswana. "Our strategy hasdeliberately been targeting African countries, particularlysub-Saharan African countries." However, there had been abig drop-off in the number of visitors from Lesotho, probablylinked to economic conditions within South Africa's miningsector. "If we take the number of international touristarrivals without the Lesotho figures, then the increase for theJanuary to May period, compared to last year, is 15,7 percent."There is no other tourism destination in the world that isperforming, this year, as well as this. I think this means thatas a country we have arrived in marketing ourselves competitivelyas an international tourism destination," Moosa said. SouthAfrica was competing with countries such as Australia, which hada similar target market, "and our growth figures areout-performing their's". SA Tourism was also looking closelyat so-called non-traditional markets. These included India andChina, where South Africa was one of only two African countriesto have been awarded approved destination status by thatcountry's government. Overall, South Africa's tourismachievements could be attributed to very careful strategicplanning, based on good market research. This had been essentialbecause the 2002 tourism budget, about R300-million, did not buymuch advertising "unless you know what you're doing".The latest results were "a demonstration of a greatperformance by South Africa on the international tourismplatform". "(It is) proof the country is fast gainingthe reputation of being among the safest tourism destinations inthe world," Moosa said.
Hundreds of animals make tracks for the 'Superpark'(Mail & Guardian, 13/08) - Hundreds of KrugerNational Park (KNP) animals travelled to a new home in Mozambiqueon Tuesday as part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP)wildlife relocation project. The opening of Africa's "SuperPark" would not only usher in the world's greatest animalkingdom, but also ensure a major tourism boost in the region,Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Valli Moosa said."The GLTP is a demonstration of what can be achieved throughregional economic co-operation, the vision behind the NewPartnership for Africa's Development," he said in astatement. The 35 000 square kilometre nature reserve will be thebiggest on the continent when it opens in the near future.Tuesday's move was part of a three-year programme to translocateabout 6 000 animals to the GLTP in Mozambique. SA National Parkschief executive officer Mavuso Msimang and senior officials fromthe Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism officiallyhanded over hundreds of animals to Mozambican representatives onTuesday. Dirk van Schalkwyk, chief director of transfrontierconservation and protected areas in the Department ofEnvironmental Affairs and Tourism, said this year's relocationproject started about a week ago and would be completed onFriday, before the start of the KNP census. Before the move,wildlife is caught in a boma in and around the Setara Camp andthen chased onto trucks and sedated. The animals wake up beforethey arrive near Massingir in Mozambique's Maputo province wherethey are released. The relocation process started in October lastyear when the first 40 of 1 000 elephants were taken toMozambique. The first agreement on the new nature reserve,formerly known as the Gaza-Kruger-Gonarezhou Transfrontier Park,was signed in November last year by ministers from Zimbabwe,Mozambique and South Africa. The park includes the KrugerNational Park, Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou -- known for its geologicalsplendour -- and a wildlife area in Mozambique, Coutada 16.Tourists will able to travel across international boundaries inthe park without having to show their passports. Theestablishment of the GLTP is the first phase in the creation of abigger transfrontier conservation area (TFCA) covering 100 000square kilometres. A transfrontier park is formed when theauthorities responsible for bordering areas, where the primaryfocus is wildlife conservation, formally agree to manage theareas as an integrated unity. They also undertake to remove allhuman barriers within the park so that the animals can roamfreely. The park respects ecological systems across politicalboundaries and strives to re-establish historical animalmigration routes and other ecosystem functions disrupted byfences and legislation, according to a departmental statement.The more natural ecosystem is jointly managed according to"harmonised" wildlife management policies, promotingthe return of a larger and more resilient ecosystem with greaterchances of long-term sustainability.
SA students in Cuba (Parliament, Sapa, 12/08) - Atotal of 253 South Africans were studying medicine in Cuba at acost of US1,45-million a year to the South African taxpayer,according to Health Minister Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.Replying to a parliamentary question from Dr Kobus Gous (NNP),she said the costs included a US200 monthly allowance, 80 percentof US2000 for Spanish tuition a year, as well as 80 percent ofUS5000 for medical studies a year. Sixty-eight students werestudying Spanish and introduction to basic sciences, 70 werefirst-year medicine students, 52 were second-year medicalstudents, 36 were in their third year, 18 in their fourth andnine in their fifth year. Since the programme started, onestudent had died and 16 students had left their studies. Thisincluded one because of disciplinary measures, another due toforged matric results and at least four who failed their exams,Tshabalala-Msimang said. At least another eight students couldnot cope with their studies, and two had left voluntarily.
Foreign newspaper ownership sparks controversy (TheHerald, 12/08) - The purchase of the South Africannewspaper, Mail and Guardian by a Zimbabwean publisher, Mr TrevorNcube, has sparked controversy in that country concerning foreignownership of the media. Sources from South Africa told theChronicle that Mr Ncubes acquisition of the Mail andGuardian, has sparked protest with most querying the ownership.As a result, many in government and media circles are askingwhether foreigners should be allowed to own media in thatcountry. "Trevor Ncube has unleashed a flood of debate abouteverything from the ownership of local media, to the role of theindependent (and critical) Press," said the editor of aSouth African newspaper on Friday. Mr Ncube who is also thepublisher of the Zimbabwe Independent and the Standard, acquired90 percent stake in the South African weekly last month. TheSouth African editor, who preferred to remain anonymous, saidthat criticism and protest against the deal were being made bymedia and government figures. Among some of the most outspoken isMr Snuki Zikalala, a South African government spokesman, who saidthe South African media is being manipulated by a secret networkof "white media owners and their black lackeyjournalists". "The most anti- Ncube was an opinioncolumn by former ANC (African National Congress) exile, SABC(Southern African Broadcasting Corporation) editor and currentGovernment spokesman Snuki Zikalala," said the South Africaneditor. The Minister of State for Information and Publicity,Profe-ssor Jonathan Moyo, said while the South Africans wereentitled to their own opinion, he hoped they now understood theZimbabwean situation. "The debate shows that they understandwhat we have been going through. "Having foreign ownershipof media is bad enough but it is worse when it is in the form offronts, puppets or Uncle Toms," said Prof Moyo. Zimbabwe isreceiving negative international criticism on the Access toInformation and Protection of Privacy Act, which stipulates thatforeigners should not have a majority shareholding in the media.Individuals and organisations funded by foreign institutions willnot be given broadcasting licences. So hot is the debate againstMr Ncubes ownership of the weekly paper that the SouthAfrican chapter of Media Institute of Southern Africa last weekhosted a debate over the issue at Witwatersrand University inJohannesburg. Attempts to get information on what was discussedat the meeting were unsuccessful. A statement inviting interestedparties for the debate alluded to the fact that the issue hasraised a lot of debate in South Africa. "Their (GuardianNewspapers Limited) veteran Zimbabwean editor and publisher,Trevor Ncube, has, however, sparked widespread debate on themerits of foreign media ownership in the country," said theSouth African MISA chapter. "The Mail and Guardian which hasa predominantly white readership sells just under 40 000 copies aweek. Meanwhile, Professor Moyo said his department is working onhaving the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Actamended to totally ban foreign ownership in the media. "Weare working on having the Act amended so that there is no foreignownership in the media. We will be bringing it very soon,"he said.
Renegade lawyer resurfaces in SA (The Sunday Mirror,11/08) - David Israel Ben Jesse, disappeared shortlyafter the Law Society of Zimbabwe had filed a case against himwith the High Court trying to bar him from masquerading as alawyer with a Bulawayo based practice, the Law Foundation. Jesseclaimed in a statement allegedly written by his wife, Sharon,that he left the country because his life was in danger. Heclaimed that the Zimbabwean government wanted to kill him becausehe was fighting for the removal of President Robert Mugabe fromoffice. He continued to be actively involved in doing so in SouthAfrica. Jesse, who is also known as Allan Gordon Norton, firstmade headlines in 1992 when he claimed to have found in cure forthe killer disease Aids. He was a farmer at Concession and alsoclaimed to be a millionaire with businesses in Zimbabwe, theUnited States and Australia. He also claimed to have a PhD inagriculture. Jesse switched to law when he moved to Bulawayo in1999. He was allegedly employed by the Law Foundation as a lawclerk in February 1999. Nhlanhla Mahlangu, a qualified lawyer wasthe sole partner of the firm, but Jesse is believed to have beenthe brains behind the law firm which had posh offices in Famona.Mahlangu and Jesse disappeared just after the Law Society filed asuit against them. Mahlangus whereabouts are not known butJesse claimed Mahlangu was killed by war veterans in December2000. Investigations by The Sunday Mirror have revealed thatJesse worked for a Cape law firm as a candidate attorney fromApril to July, last year. The Cape Law Society confirmed this.The lawyer who employed him said Jesse had indicated to him thathe was registered with the society as an articled clerk. He saidhe realised that he had made a terrible mistake soon afteremploying Jesse because Jesse wanted to take over his firmHe started trying to extort money from me and blackmailingme. I fired him at the end of July. Jesse said that he wasnot fired. He said the firm was closed by the Cape Law Societyafter he had reported the owner for stealing R400 000 in trustfunds. Jesse got a job with another lawyer, also in Cape Town, inNovember, this time as a law clerk. His employer said he took onJesse after he had shown him his law degree as well as a PhDcertificate. All was well until he went on holiday in March. Whenhe came back, Jesse had cleaned out of his law firm and he wassuspended by the Law Society from practicing. I have lostclose to R500 000 and I am now stranded because he has sent nastyletters to other lawyers claiming that I am a cheat and allsorts. I know he has already got one lawyer out of business. I amwondering how many other lawyers he has to put out of businessbefore authorities act! the lawyer said. Jesse said thislawyer had also stolen trusts funds amounting to about R365 000.He claimed the lawyer paid for his holiday through client funds.In his case with the Law Society of Zimbabwe, three people arealleging that Jesse represented them as a lawyer. Jesse deniedthis, saying he was only a clerk. He also denied that he had acase to answer with the Law Society, but records at the HighCourt in Harare show that his case with the society is numberHC12633/00. His opposing affidavit to the case shows that hestudied law with the University of South Africa but he did notcomplete the degree. It also shows that he obtained a PhD inagricultural science from the Pacific Western University in 1989.Though no law firm in Zimbabwe has complained about Jesse, asource within the Law Society said his actions during the 18months he had worked for the Law Foundation had affected almostevery law firm in Bulawayo. He was like a raging bull in achina shop, but no one is willing to talk about it, thesource said.
449 nabbed in crime blitz (News 24, 11/08) -
SA faces drastic shortage of actuarial skills(Business Day, 08/08) - A third of SA actuaries areworking overseas, and the prospects of them returning are poor,according to the Actuarial Society of SA . Debate about the braindrain has centred largely on the exodus of accountants and ITprofessionals, but there are now only about 400 qualifiedactuaries working in SA, compared with more than 200 SA-qualifiedactuaries working overseas, predominantly in the UK, the US andAustralia. According to Wim Els, executive director of theActuarial Society of SA, these figures are "scary",especially as there is no obvious solution. "The standard ofour actuarial education is accepted as very high, and graduatesare being bombarded with job offers paying much higher than we doin SA because of the exchange rate," says Els. Companies aretaking some measures to ensure that actuaries remain in thecountry, including offering tighter conditions for bursaries,enhancing fringe benefits and paying bonuses. However, it isdoubtful whether this will lessen the actuarial brain drain.Universities are working hard to woo additional students to theprofession, and Els says that both the University of theWitwatersrand and the University of Cape Town recorded a 50% risein the number of actuarial students this academic year. Atpresent there are 800 trainee actuaries working in SA. The UK, bycontrast, has more than 4000 qualified actuaries, with another4000 in training. Els says that while the actuarial skills exodusis not yet a crisis, SA could easily afford to double the numberof actuaries in the workplace. "There is a critical shortageof actuaries working in SA," says Giles Waugh, partner atthe newly formed SA division of B&W Deloitte, noting thatthis skills shortage was especially worrying in an environmentwhere there was a heightened need for technical expertise tomanage capital.
Flood of Zimbabwean refugees not expected (Pretoria,Sapa, 08/08) - South Africa is not expecting largenumbers of refugees from Zimbabwe, but is ready to accommodate aninflow especially of women and children, the Local GovernmentDepartment said on Thursday. Department chief director ofdisaster management Louis Buys said the recent disaster reliefeffort in the snow-covered Eastern Ca!pe demonstrated SouthAfrica's capacity to meet any contingency. Buys was speaking at aconference at the University of Pretoria entitled Natural andMan-made Disaster in Africa: Prevention and Management. He saidthat in terms of the proposed Disaster Management Bill that wouldreplace the Civil Protection Act (Act No. 67 of 1977), the focuswas on prevention and mitigation of disasters, instead of onreaction only. Buys said it was unlikely that refugees wouldapproach other southern African states because of the capacityproblems which existed elsewhere. All relevant sectors, includingthe SA National Defence Force and the farming community werewilling and able to assist Zimbabwean refugees. Dr Louis duPlessis of the Centre for Military Studies at the University ofStellenbosch said the humanitarian disaster facing Zimbabwe was aclassic example of 'slow-onset' disaster or a 'creepingemergency'. Unlike natural disasters, man-made disastersmanifested themselves over a considerable period of time. The twowere often linked. In the case of Zimbabwe, the country'simminent economic melt-down had been aggravated by drought,poverty, HIV/AIDS, poor government policy and inadequate foodsecurity management. Du Plessis said the manipulation ofemergency food aid distribution and political factors furtheraggravated the situation.
Call to protect South Africans in Zimbabwe(Johannesburg, Dispatch Online, 08/08) - The DemocraticAlliance yesterday called on the government to protect theinterests of South Africans abroad. The call comes a day beforewhite farmers, including South Africans, owning farms in Zimbabwehave to leave the land and lose their properties to thegovernment. Zimbabwe has earmarked 95 percent of white-ownedfarms, about 6000 properties, for redistribution to landlessblack people, and the occupants of about one-third of theseproperties have until midnight tonight to leave. The DA'sspokesman on rural safety, Andries Botha, said: "We have thenames of 46 South African farmers whose livelihood is beingillegally taken away from them by Robert Mugabe." Botha saiddetails of the 46 farmers had been sent to Foreign MinisterNkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
New border control measures discussed (Cape Town,Sapa, 07/08) - New National Party representatives onTuesday met Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota to discuss thewithdrawal of defence force troops from the country's borders.The soldiers were there to secure border farms from crime, mainlystock theft, which was a serious problem, NNP agriculture andland affairs spokesman Bertie van der Merwe said in a statementon Wednesday. It was agreed at the meeting that Lekota would lookinto creating a discussion forum between the defence force, thepolice, and organised agriculture. This forum would serve as aplatform for discussion between government and the farmingcommunity regarding future strategic considerations, he said. Thedefence force would also consider proposals to intensity itspresence during certain periods of the year when cross-bordertheft was at its peak. An example of this was when the CaledonRiver (between SA and Lesotho) stopped flowing in the wintermonths, making it easy for criminals to walk across the border.South Africa's security ministers would visit the affected areason a fact-finding mission soon, before meeting with their Lesothocounterparts, Van der Merwe said. Lekota's spokesman, SamMkhwanazi, confirmed the meeting and outcome on Wednesday.
Dagga smuggled to Europe hits high (London, News24,07/08) - South African drugsmugglers are reaching "epidemic" proportions,especially those trying to take dagga into Ireland. A pensionerarrested on Monday is the sixth South African to be held in twoweeks for drug trafficking. Kenneth Fordred (71) of Marine Drivein Durban, who was arrested at Dublin Airport, appeared in courton Tuesday for concealing 30kg of dagga, with a street value ofat least R750 000, in his luggage. Fordred flew fromJohannesburg to Paris before catching a connecting flight toDublin. There are 35 South Africans serving prison sentences inIreland for drug-related offences, according to the South Africanembassy in Dublin. In addition, four men and two women who havebeen arrested since July 22, are awaiting trial in policecustody. One woman reportedly had cocaine valued at R5m in herpossession, while the others all carried consignments of dagga.South African ambassador to Ireland Melanie Verwoerd said onTuesday: "The most concerning aspect is that South Africansare increasingly being associated with drugs. It's a great pity,since we are working our fingers to the bone trying to promotetrade and tourism. "The situation is so bad that our firstenquiries when searching for missing relatives in Ireland are atprisons. Previously, we started our search at hospitals. And, in90% of cases, the people (sought) are in custody." Officialstatistics recently released show that amounts of dagga seized inIreland have increased from 128kg in 2000 to 13 208kg in2001. Verwoerd added that police had told her South Africanstopped the list of people arrested for drug trafficking inIreland. "Before the economic boom, drugs had not featuredin Irish society. Now, the police maintain, the country hasbecome an unexploited market for drug dealers. "There isalso the misconception that it is easy to smuggle drugs throughIreland to the European Union."
Verwoerd says many South Africans havebecome involved in drug trafficking because of "financialdesperation". "In our negotiations with inexperienced,non-professional South African carriers in custody, we have beentold countless time that dealers assure them the worst that canhappen is that they will be returned to South Africa if they arecaught. "In addition, they are told they will receive"a repatriation fee" of 2 000 Euros (aboutR20 000). Utter nonsense. We are extremely concerned aboutthe number of people arrested. And, gathering from theirprofiles, the most improbable people are being tricked. "Anelderly woman in a wheelchair was among those caught, and it hadnot been her first attempt either. Pregnant women have beenarrested, as well as young, rural girls." The South Africanembassy has excellent relations with the Gardai (Irish policeforce), said Verwoerd. "As soon as they arrest anybody atthe airport or harbour, they inform us and, if these peoplerequire it, embassy personnel pay them a visit. However,ultimately, there is nothing we can do for them. That's themessage we try to convey to South Africa. We cannot interferewith due process. And there is no way that we procure a quickreturn to South Africa for them. "The ultimate hope is thatdrug traders can be apprehended - and that's a job we have to doat home. We are investigating the possibility of arranging avisit for the gardai to South Africa. "The message that hasto be conveyed is: it's no joke. It's no way of trying to makemoney. You can land yourself with a criminal record and asix-year prison sentence.
Angolans in SA want to go home (Irin, 07/08) - Withassurances from UNITA that hostilities between itself and theAngolan government would not resume, Angolans living in SouthAfrica want to return home. The Angolan embassy in South Africatold IRIN on Wednesday that it had visited several Angolancommunities in the country to "make contact with fellowAngolans and raise awareness about the peace agreement".Following the death of UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi in February,the former rebel movement signed a peace agreement with thegovernment to end almost three decades of civil war on 4 April."Many of the people we spoke to during our visit said theywould seriously consider returning to Angola now that there was asign of lasting peace. Many want to go back to help rebuild theircountry," charge'd affairs Antonia Rafael said. Rafael addedthat the embassy did not know how many Angolans were living inSouth Africa or how many wished to return. "Until we have anaccurate picture of the numbers, we cannot formulate any kind ofplan. We are still looking into it," Rafael said. Meanwhile,on Wednesday UNITA's two factions, the Managerial Commission leadby Paulo "Gato" Lukambo and UNITA Renovada, led byEugenio Manuvakola decided to reunite, French news agency, AFPreported. Last week, Manuvakola resigned from the presidency ofUNITA-Renovada in an apparent gesture towards unity. Manuvakolahas agreed to enter the reunified leadership of UNITA.
SA tourism still growing, helped by local tourists(Business Day, 07/08) - While SA is experiencing growthin foreign tourist numbers, local citizens still represent thebulk of the market at 67%. Environmental Affairs and TourismMinister Valli Moosa said yesterday the domestic sector was themost reliable and that it should be nurtured and developed. Hewas speaking at the launch of Tourism Month 2002 in Johannesburg.About 15-million South Africans took more than 34-milliondomestic trips last year, boosting the economy by almost R10m.Tourism Month, which is next month, is aimed primarily atencouraging South Africans to discover and enjoy their country.SA Tourism CEO Cheryl Carolus said that many members of societywere not previously allowed access to tourism facilities. Specialpackages and offers have been developed to encourage these peopleto get to know their country, she said, with 140 packageslaunched to date. Among the participants in this drive were RCI,Protea Hotels, National Parks and several museums. BernardMarobe, the winner of last year's emerging tourism entrepreneuraward, emphasised that SA tourism must be made accessible to allSouth Africans. To achieve this, and a responsible andsustainable tourism industry, he said the domestic tourismindustry must be developed further. On the international front,Moosa said the rate of international arrivals increased by 7,5%during January to May this year, compared with the same periodlast year. This makes SA the best-performing country in terms oftourism growth. Notably, arrivals of tourists from Germany andthe UK had increased by 19% and 20% respectively between Januaryand June this year, compared with last year. What is more, SAmanaged not only to retain its share of tourists from the US, butto grow this, although modestly, by 1% or 2%. This is despitemany US citizens having stopped travelling after the September 11terrorist attacks. A further opportunity to promote the domestictourism industry internationally will be presented through theWorld Summit on Sustainable Development , which starts at the endof the month. "We can officially declare Johannesburg readyto roll for the (summit)," Carolus said. "Johannesburghas dusted itself off and is showing that it is a worldclasscity." SA Tourism chairman and mining executive, RickMenell, said that, as a corporate citizen, he was thankful thatthe summit had been brought to Johannesburg. The city is theeconomic hub of SA and Africa, he said, and the summit wouldprovide an opportunity to change the negative perceptions thatexisted about Johannesburg overseas. SA had won the bid to hostthe summit against tough competition, Carolus said. Moreover, thecountry had established a reputation as being one of the topvenues for large and small conferences, as illustrated by ithosting the world conference on racism and the African Unionlaunch earlier this year. No one came to harm during these massevents, the technology worked and many delegates stayed on afterthe events to explore the country as tourists, she said.
Anglo to give workers free AIDS drugs (Business Day,07/08) - Government has once againcome under pressure to provide antiretroviral medicines to peopleinfected with HIV, this time by mining giant Anglo American,which said yesterday that it would provide the drugs free ofcharge to its employees. Antiretroviral medicines are used todelay the onset of AIDS, and are now available only in theprivate sector and at a limited number of externally fundedresearch sites. Anglo said yesterday its operating companieswould be encouraged to enhance their existing programmes formanaging HIV/AIDS by making antiretroviral therapy available toHIV-positive employees who were not members of medical schemes.Anglo said an estimated 23% of its 134000 employees had thedisease, and it expected about 10% of those infected to take upthe treatment in the first year. Anglo's move suggests it hasgrown impatient with the broader Chamber of Mines initiativeannounced in April to explore ways of embarking on a collectivefeasibility study on the provision of the drugs to miners. Thechamber's health adviser, Fazel Randera, said a decision would betaken by the chamber's executive council within the next fewweeks. The chamber "strongly supported" Anglo'sposition, he said. Anglo CEO Tony Trahar said the company wouldseek partnerships with government to ensure that the appropriatehealth-care facilities were available for HIVpositive workersonce they left the company. However, health departmentspokeswoman Jo-Anne Collinge sounded a note of caution, sayingthat while the department welcomed Anglo's initiative it couldnot offer a specific response to the company. "We would haveto look at a more equitable approach," she said. Anglo'sdecision is yet another move in the pressure building up ongovernment to provide medicines to people with HIV. This pressurehas ranged from a constitutional court order that the state mustwiden access to nevirapine the drug used to prevent mother tochild transmission of the disease to former president NelsonMandela's request to meet with President Thabo Mbeki. TheTreatment Action Campaign, an AIDS activist organisation, andtrade union federation Cosatu have also been lobbying governmentto develop a comprehensive HIV/AIDS treatment strategy.
SA, Australia sign immigration law agreement (SABC,02/08) - South Africa and Australia have signed anagreement to enforce immigration laws and to curb drugtrafficking. Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the Minister of Home Affairsand his Australian counterpart, Philip Ruddock, say:"Irregular and illegal movements of people across nationalborders will now be carefully monitored." The two countrieshave committed themselves to co-operate on intelligence gatheringat international airports. They will also share training in frauddetection. Ruddock says: "This agreement and ourco-operation is about providing protection for those who are mostvulnerable. It is about an international system that is fair andcompassionate. However it will also ensure that bi-nationalrelations are not abused by people with sinister motives."Buthelezi says: "We are deeply mindful that immigrationcontrol often deals with human tragedy and that, in theoverwhelming number of cases illegal immigrants are notcriminals, but people moved across national boundaries by greatpersonal or collective tragedy or intense aspirations." Theagreement is seen by both countries as a step towards effectivelycombating international terrorism, after the September 11 terrorattack in the United States.
Food aid brings hope to Swaziland's hungry (Mail &Guardian, 16/08) - Tears of joy roll down the cheeks ofelderly people who have been surviving on one meal every two daysin southeastern Swaziland as trucks carrying donated food arrive."We are very grateful to His Majesty's friends for coming toour rescue to donate this food, even though it is verylittle," says Makhenikha Mngometulu. The UN World FoodProgramme (WFP) estimates that 144 000 out of a population of onemillion are at risk of starvation in Swaziland, a tiny kingdomlandlocked by Mozambique and South Africa and which is ruled byAfrica's last absolute monarch, King Mswati III. But in Lavumisa,where the WFP distributes food to 1 600 people, despite thehunger, there is no sign of starvation: some of the women areeven fat, mothers are breast-feeding, and the babies are chubby.The distribution takes place calmly, with no pushing or shoving.Swaziland is one of six countries in southern Africa where theUnited Nations estimates nearly 13-million people could facestarvation at the end of the year if they are not supplied withrelief food, which is now flowing in. The shortages were broughton by two years of drought and erratic rainfall and governmentmismanagement of emergency stocks and agriculture. ForMngometulu's and other families, who have been supplementingtheir meagre meals with wild fruits and roots, the truckloads ofyellow maize kernels, dried beans and cooking oil promisetemporary relief from hunger. Each person is given rations of 12kilograms of maize kernels, two kilograms of beans and two litresof cooking oil for the month. The Swaziland Red Cross Society,the Lutheran Development Services and the Co-ordination ofNon-Governmental Organisations are responsible for distributingthe food, donated by Britain, Taiwan and the United States. Thefood crisis, which also affects Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique,Zambia and Zimbabwe -- Angola is considered a case apart becausehunger there was provoked by civil war -- has also been blamed onbad planning and farming practices in the region. In Swaziland, adecision to buy the king a $45-million jet -- justified by thegovernment on the grounds of the expense of charters -- has comeunder fire from activists who believe the money should be spenton food. Noah Nkambule, the principal secretary in Swaziland'sministry of agriculture, this week said the government was doingits best to encourage local farmers to plant drought-resistantcrops. "The ministry has been impressing upon local farmersto practise modern methods of agriculture which include croprotation," he said. But one of Lavumisa's residents,Khisimusi Masango, (69) said the government had not done enoughto encourage local villagers to grow hardy crops like cassava andsweet potatoes. Her sentiments were echoed by Alfred Masango (74)who said the agriculture ministry had failed to motivate peopleto become self-sufficient instead of relying on donations fromforeign countries. "For how long are we going to be askingfor food aid from international friends of the kingdom ... doingnothing to improve ourselves?" he asked. "Instead wewaste time and resources on 'useless' projects that will notbenefit the nation." Commercial farmers said they had, alongwith the donor community, tried to launch planting projects, butthe government and community leaders had refused to accept theirproposals. They said local communities had turned down theiroffers to rent land to grow sugar-cane, even though the rentswould have provided small farmers with the cash to buy seeds,tools and fertiliser. "Failure by our communities andleaders has turned the Swazi nation into a nation of beggars whocannot do things on their own," lamented commercial farmerSanele Kunene. "Eastern Swaziland used to be one of theareas that was capable of feeding the whole of Swaziland. Thesoil and weather conditions make it an ideal place for producingwinter crops."
Swaziland will employ foreign judges on contract (TheSwazi Observer, 12/08) - The Deputy Attorney GeneralMzwandile Fakudze has said the Chief Justice Stanley Sapire'sview on the appointment of judges on contract would be unworkablebecause the Kingdom still relies on foreign judges like the CJhimself. Fakudze says the even though the appointment on contractbasis is not Constitutional, the country will continue employingjudges under the same arrangement. Sapire who was speaking at theofficial opening the first session of the High Court, saidappointing judges on contract is undesirable and does not promotethe culture of an independent judiciary. He said judges appointedon contract are susceptible to pressure, whether real orperceived, to tailor judgments to please their employer. Fakudzesays for a judge to work on contract basis is quite advantageousbecause he does not serve probation like other employees. He isalso better paid and after the period of five years, he receivesa gratuity and a retirement package when his term expires."Anon Swazi judge is expected to work on the terms and conditionsof his employer and can not be pensionable. So how do you expectan expatriates to be pensionable in the country," he said.The deputy A. G said it would be impossible for the kingdom to doaway with this system. The Chief Justice said working under acontract is quite strenuous because the same considerations applywhere the executive controls the salary and conditions of theirservices. He suggested that salaries and conditions of serviceshould be standardised at an appropriate level, in consultationwith all concerned including the Judicial Service Commission.Meanwhile Fakudze and the Minister for Justice and ConstitutionalAffairs Maweni Simelane said they would not discuss the issue ofwhether the CJ requires to be gazetted or not because he has beenappointed by the King. The two said they don't want to committhemselves in this issue. The CJ was instructed by the King tocontinue working after his contract expired in December. There isnow a dispute whether the CJs new appointment should be gazettedtgo legalize his decisions. The judge believes this will not beneccessary, and says he will work without a gazette.
Swazis wrestle with hunger (Mail & Guardian,06/08) - This government seems tohave a real knack for rattling society and the markets. Thetendency raises questions as to how it should go about draftingits policy proposals. There have been numerous examples over thepast year that testify to this ability. The obvious one is thedraft black empowerment charter, which knocked R45bn off miningstocks. More recently there has been the Broadcasting AmendmentBill, which caused an outcry over its proposal that the state beempowered to intervene in SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)editorial policy. Less recently there was the proposal thatforeign security firms be prohibited from operating in SA, andthe debacle over telecommunications policy and licensing a secondnational operator. In all cases, after unveiling rather radicalproposals, government had to backtrack and reach a compromisewith interested parties, giving the impression it had not doneits homework and was out of touch with reality. In the process,untold damage was done, not least to the image of the country andthe rationality and coherence of our government. The subliminalmessage seems to be double-edged that government has absolutepower to do what it wants, and is democratic enough not to wantit to wield it unilaterally. Government officials may evensuggest the readiness to pull back proposals attests to itsflexibility. But in the process much uncertainty is created anddistrust grows about government's true intentions. The processand frequency with which it occurs, begs the question as to howlaws and other proposals should be made, and whether governmentshould consult widely before or after making them public.Government may argue that as the executive power of the nation,it has the prerogative and obligation to formulate policy toachieve its broad socioeconomic objectives. Once it has done so,the process of consultation with other interested parties canbegin but only on the basis of its own articulated position. Thisis reasonable enough.
There may also be cases where somedegree of secrecy is required for instance when government arguedfor keeping the land bills close to its chest to protect labourtenants on farms from eviction before protective laws wereenacted. Government may also argue the role of a developmentalstate in the process of transforming a society to such a radicalextent as has been required in SA has obliged the state to comeup with proposals unpalatable for certain vested interests. Asoften as it has compromised on its proposals, government haspersisted in maintaining them to the very end, despite vociferousopposition. A prime example is the steadfastness with which theminerals and energy minister stuck to her guns over the Mineralsand Petroleum Resources Development Bill in the face of fierceopposition by the mining houses. There is substance to thesearguments, but one would expect that government, as therepresentative of the will of the people, is alive to itsconcerns and maintains close contact with key interested parties.Yes, it inevitably must have its own agenda, but it should alsobe sensitive to society's concerns. This would require testingthe waters by discussion and consultation. There is no doubt thatin many cases this consultation takes place, often exhaustively,but just as often the final product ignores all the inputs mademuch to the despair and exasperation of those consulted.Inevitably, contentious measures have their protagonists andantagonists and government often has to act as arbiter andsynthesiser. The ferocity with which they propagate their viewswould surely be muted if they felt at least they had beenlistened to. But there are glaring examples where no consultationat all appears to take place. Take the proposed broadcastingamendments. First, the communications department comes up with aradical proposal which would require ministerial approval of theSABC's editorial policy. The media expressed outrage at thisthreatened invasion of press freedom. Then the minister had ameeting with the SABC board and backtracked. Surely, one asksoneself, she should have held these consultations beforehand? TheSABC is a national broadcaster, after all. Ditto with the draftblack empowerment charter for the mining industry which suggestedthe transfer of 51% of new mining ventures to blacks over 10years. Yes it was a draft, but surely even before committing pento paper, government should have sounded out the views of theindustry and pre-empted the free-fall of mining stocks? Withproper consultation before releasing its policy proposalsgovernment could incorporate them, or at least know the likelyresponse of business and civil society. It could then plan acommunication offensive to win support and outflank its critics.The shock and horror surprises it sometimes comes up with don'tdo anybody any good.
Unhappy refugees to stay a little longer (Mbabane,Times of Swaziland, 02/08) - The United Nations HighCommission for Refugees (UNHCR) have asked for an extended graceperiod from government before deporting disgruntled refugees wholeft their Malindza camp and demanded that they be taken to acountry of their choice. Government had given the UNHCR untilWednesday (July 31) to offer a solution on the country's dilemmain dealing with the refugees" grievances or else they aredeported. Home affairs minister Prince Sobandla disclosedyesterday that after last week"s meeting with UNHCRrepresentatives from Pretoria, South Africa they came back with arequest for an extension while the Geneva office was trying toarrive at an amicable solution. "After conducting their ownresearch last week and interviewing the unhappy refugees theydiscovered disturbing findings which they would not at this stagedisclose until they come back either next week or the week after."In that period of uncertainty we will continue to house therefugees at the centres the commissioner of police has designatedas they are now our burden pending the UNHCR resolution," hesaid. Dlamini said as soon as the UNHCR is ready with theirverdict, they will make that decision known to the nation as ithas been a matter that has attracted so much media interest.While UNIICR is still trying to find a solution about therefugees, another Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) woman, LeilaWasso stormed the Times offices with her two babies and huge bag,begging that she be joined with her other colleag ues."Iwent to the home affairs ministry and the officials there refusedto allow me to join the others, saying I don"t belong tothat group."l also left the camp because life is no longergood for us. "One of my colleagues who was looking after meleft with the other group and 1 have had difficult ies since heleft, hence I want to join them. "If men could leave thatplace, how can a woman with two young children cope," sheasked. Home affairs head of refugees department, PriscillaShabangu said they have problems joining her with the restbecause her reasons for that are not the same. "All shewants is to meet her male friend, who is not even her husband andwe are not allowed to do so. We tried to explain to her andordered her to go back to the camp but she refused,"Shabangu said.
Tanzania working on new immigration policy (The EastAfrican, 12/08) - Tanzania has drafted a new policy onnaturalisation and immigration that takes into account theaspirations of the East African Community. Minister for HomeAffairs, Issa khatib, told a one-day workshop on the Draft Policyin Dar es Salaam last week that the new policy would focus onimmigration and naturalisation in the context of local, regional,global, socio-economic, political and cultural dimensions."Recent developments in the international arena have had abearing on our policy making process. The revival of the EastAfrican Community, relaxation of border controls and the influxof refugees have also had an impact on migrationmanagement," said Mr Khatib. He added that the EAC ideal offree movement of persons, labour, services, right ofestablishment and residence "means that naturalisationregulations should be realigned to accommodate the emergingscenario in the region." The new policy, whose finer detailshave yet to be unveiled, comes in the wake of controversy overthe citizenship of four people who have held senior positions inthe Tanzania government as well as in the ruling Chama ChaMapinduzi. It also comes in the wake of allegations by the leaderof the opposition Democratic Party, Reverend Christopher Mtikila,that President Benjamin Mkapa is a Mozambican.
Indians to train Zambian doctors (Zambia Daily Mail,22/08) - Visiting Rotarians from India have offered totrain local doctors in four specialised medical fields as a giftto Zambia. Rotarians who are currently in Livingstone where theywill spend two days treating about 6,000 patients. Team leader,Arun Sharma, said his team was delighted to be in Zambia andworking with the Rotary Club of Livingstone in treating patientsat Batoka and Livingstone general hospitals. Dr Sharma who isleading a group of ten doctors from India said the team was inLivingstone for a service. "We are motivated to come toZambia by the Rotary Club of Livingstone which we are workingwith as a sister club," he said. Dr Sharma was speaking whenhis team paid a courtesy call on Southern Province minister,George Mpombo, at his office. And Mr Mpombo, who commended theRotary Club of India for supporting the local service club, saidthe two hospitals in Livingstone were facing a critical shortageof doctors. Mr Mpombo said the hospital which is supposed to have15 medical doctors only had five. He said he was happy that theRotary Club of India had sent the doctors to Livingstone to treatcataract patients and others. And Livingstone DistrictAdministrator, Alice Simango, also commended the Rotarians sayingtheir visit was appreciated.
Lusaka yet to set date to discuss imports ban (TheDaily News, 14/08) - The Zambia-Zimbabwe talks whichwere scheduled for last week in Lusaka to iron out differencesover Lusaka's ban of Harare's exports did not take place becauseZambia has not set a date for the meeting. The meeting wasscheduled for last week at the Common Markets of Eastern andSouthern Africa (Comesa) offices in Lusaka and follows a requestfrom Dr Herbert Murerwa, Minister of Industry and InternationalTrade, to Comesa to ask Zambia to lift the ban on Zimbabweanexports into Zambia. Last month the Zambian government effectedthe ban as it felt Zimbabwean cheap products were driving itscompanies out of business. Zambia is the second largest regionaltrading partner for Zimbabwe, after South Africa. Zimbabweprotested against the ban saying it was not in the spirit of thesub-region's free-trade area as both countries were members ofthe Comesa. The ban came at a time Zimbabwe is desperate toreplenish its depleted foreign currency reserves, as the exportsector is declining, succumbing to the skewed macro-economicfundamentals. Yesterday, Stuart Comberbach, the PermanentSecretary in the Ministry of Industry and International Trade,said the meeting might be held this week. "We are stillwaiting for our counterparts in Lusaka to give us a fixeddate," Comberbach said. "It (the meeting) could nottake place because the Zambians did not give us the date on whichthey were free to discuss the ban. We hope that they will fix adate and the meeting will be held this week." But given thatthere are two days left this week before Zambia has replied, themeeting might be postponed again. Zambian government officialscould not be reached for comment yesterday. Of concern to theZambian government is that large quantities of edible oils, wheatflour, beans, milk and soaps are entering their market at priceslower than those charged for the same products in Zambia. Theyalso accuse Zimbabwe of exporting sub-standard products such ascement and wood products. As Comesa members, they are trading onduty-free basis if their respective authorities endorse theexporter's declaration and certify that the goods qualify underComesa Rules of Origin. Nearly all products exported to Zambiaand imported from Zambia qualify under these rules of originbecause trade between Zambia and Zimbabwe is on a duty-freebasis. The total value of exports to Zambia from 1997-2001 isabout $10 billion and the total value of imports from Zambia was$3 billion.
Zambia intensifies DRC border patrol (Lusaka,Sapa-AFP, 05/08) - Zambia has increased its militarypresence on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) following reports that DRC soldiers have been crossing intoZambia, an official said Monday. "We have increased militarypatrols along the border with Congo in order to protect ourpeople," home minister Luckson Mapushi said. Last week, DRCsoldiers were reported to have crossed into northern Zambia andburnt 47 houses belonging to villagers living in Kaputa, a tinyrural town near the border. Mapushi said Zambia will not takesides in the on-going civil war in the DRC but would work hard toforce the warring parties to settle their differences in anamicable way.
Cross-border traders' goods stranded in Zimbabwe (ThePost, 02/08) - Cross-border traders importingmerchandise from neighbouring Zimbabwe have had their goodsstranded following the ban of certain Zimbabwean products intothe country. Scores of affected traders have taken to gatheringoutside the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry demandingthat the minister rescinds or changes the statutory instrumentwhich has now been gazetted. The traders are demanding that theinstrument be changed so as to allow them bring in the goods theyhave already bought. One of the traders said 63 wagons carryingdifferent goods have been stranded at Victoria Falls Town,Zimbabwe. One of the the traders said permanent secretary in theMinistry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Dr. Mbikusita Lewanikaassured them last Friday that the government would issue anotherstatutory instrument to allow the stranded goods into the countrybut nothing has been done yet. He said they were surprised tofind paramilitary police officers at the ministry on Wednesdaywhen they had been promised that something would be done thatday. He said it was unfair for the government to put a blanketban because it takes time for goods to arrive in the country.Commerce ministry spokesperson Conrad Simuchile yesterday saidthe minister had refused to alter anything on the instrument.Minister Bates Namuyamba last month temporarily bannedimportation of fourteen different products from Zimbabwe whichwere causing injury on producers of similar products in Zambia.Namuyamba said additionally, the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA)had implemented a valuation system that would assess taxes onother Zimbabwean imports using the Zimbabwean dollar at theprevailing unofficial exchange rate with the kwacha. Zimbabwecurrently operates a parallel foreign exchange rate system with ahuge disparity between the official and unofficial rates."Besides, our Zimbabwean counterparts have maintained thatthe high export of Zimbabwean products to Zambia is equallycausing serious shortages of commodities in their country,"he said. This has negatively affected the local manufacturingsector because local products have become uncompetitive in theface of cheap imports.
Trade meeting with Zimbabwe called off (The Herald,01/08) - Zambian authorities have cancelled a meeting todiscuss a trade row with Zimbabwe scuppering efforts to resolvedifferences, which are threatening to tear trade ties between thetwo countries. Industry and International Trade Minister DrHerbert Murerwa told The Herald that the meeting, which wasscheduled to be held this week, was cancelled and no reasons weregiven by Zambian authorities. "We are very keen to have ameeting with them to resolve the differences," he said."We are going to contact them as soon as possible so that wecan have a meeting. We think the ban is unfair and unwarranted.We are able to find solutions through discussions." Zambianauthorities banned the importation of products coming fromZimbabwe on July 12 alleging that Zimbabwe was dumping goods onits market. Zimbabwe has since protested the ban arguing that theembargo violated regulations and procedures governing the conductof trade between and among the member states of the Common Marketfor Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) Free Trade Area.Officials from the two countries held talks in Kariba last weekthat were facilitated by the acting secretary general of Comesato try and address the concerns. Zambia and Zimbabwe have agreedto use a valuation method to be used when evaluating goods beingtraded between the two countries. "We have a Permanent JointCommission on Trade between Zambia and Zimbabwe," Dr Murerwasaid. "And under Comesa regulations we have proper remediesto disputes that may arise."
Mugabe and Chissano discuss situation on Moz-Zimborder (Harare, Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, 31/08) - MozambicanPresident Joaquim Chissano on Friday described as"serious" the situation on the Zimbabwe/Mozambiqueborder, where Zimbabwean troops are accused of beating, rapingand even murdering Mozambican citizens. Chissano was speaking inHarare at a joint press conference with Zimbabwean PresidentRobert Mugabe shortly before returning to Maputo afterinaugurating the 92nd edition of the Harare Agricultural Fair."I informed President Mugabe of this situation and told himthat it is a very serious problem", said Chissano. "Iasked him to pay attention to this problem, and he promised toask his ministers what is going on. Currently the matter is beingtreated at ministerial level". The Mozambican press,particularly the Beira daily "Diario de Mocambique", inrecent weeks has reported a series of brutal attacks, includinggang rapes, near the Machipanda border post, perpetrated byZimbabwean soldiers against Mozambicans involved in cross-bordertrade. At least one Mozambican shot in these incidents died ofhis wounds. "When I left Maputo I was informed thatministers of our two countries are in contact about the situationon the border, and that the Zimbabwean side is taking measures sothat the violence does not continue", added Chissano."But I am waiting for a more detailed report". Asked byZimbabwean journalists about reports that Mozambique isparticipating with other SADC (Southern African DevelopmentCommunity) countries and with the United States, to put pressureon Mugabe's government over the seizure of commercial farms underthe current land reform, Chissano confirmed earlier statements byMozambican Foreign Minister Leonardo Simao that there is no truthin these reports. The report appeared to originate in Washington,citing a high ranking US official. "I informed PresidentMugabe that we've heard about this, and I didn't understand whythe American made this statement, since there's no truth in whathe said", explained Chissano. "The last time Idiscussed the question of Zimbabwe was in Washington, where,together with Presidents Jose Eduardo dos Santos (of Angola) andFestus Mogae (of Botswana), I spoke with President Bush, and ourposition was made sufficiently clear". (The three Africanpresidents met with Bush on 26 February, shortly beforeZimbabwe's controversial presidential election.) Zimbabweanjournalists also demanded that Chissano explain the presence ofBritish Prime Minister Tony Blair in Beira on Sunday. There hasbeen speculation in the pro-government Zimbabwe daily "TheHerald" that Blair intends to meet with members of theZimbabwean opposition, and with white commercial farmers inBeira. Chissano replied that it was true that Blair is scheduledto fly into Maputo on Saturday for an official visit, and thatthe British Prime Minister had asked to make a private visit toBeira. The Mozambican leader had not asked Blair what he intendedto do in Beira, and thought the question quite improper. ForChissano noted that, when he made private visits abroad, he didnot have to justify who he was talking to. However, ForeignMinister Leonardo Simao does have the programme for the Beiravisit: on Friday he told AIM that Blair will visit Beira CentralHospital, a health unit in Dondo (to witness the struggle againstmalaria and AIDS), and a school. There were no planned meetingswith any organised groups of any nationality. A question from aTV reporter from the Zimbabwean Broadcasting Corporation,suggested that, in accepting Zimbabwean agricultural investment,the Mozambican government was offering "sanctuary" towhite farmers. "I don't understand what you mean by the word"sanctuary", replied Chissano. "Since the economywas liberalised, anyone can come and invest in Mozambique. Wehave received requests from white and black Zimbabwean farmers,and we have other farmers too, such as the South Africans who areworking in Niassa province". The Zimbabweans farming inMozambique "are not refugees", he stressed. As long asthey met the requirements stipulated in Mozambique's investmentlegislation, there was no problem. For his part, Mugabe defendedthe land reform, and insisted on a policy of "one farmer.one farm". (However, there are credible reports that many ofthe farms listed for expropriation are the sole properties of thefarmers concerned.) "We aren't punishing anyone",claimed Mugabe. "We are telling the farmers to reduce theirmany farms to just one, and of an appropriate size". Mugabeadded that he wanted to end the speculation that relationsbetween Zimbabwe and Mozambique were currently poor. He said thatthe very presence of Chissano, whom he described as "an oldfriend and comrade-in-arms", in Harare denied such claims."The truth is that our relations, which have existed eversince we were colonies, are gradually increasing", he said.As for the presence of white Zimbabwean farmers in Mozambique,Mugabe said this just showed that they had the freedom to investwherever they thought appropriate.
Blair to meet local white farmers in Beira (Harare,The Herald, 30/08) - British Prime Minister Mr TonyBlair is scheduled to visit Mozambique tomorrow to meet whiteZimba-bwean farmers in Beira in the wake of reports that Londonwas preparing to evacuate British citizens from Zimbabwe, TheHerald learnt last night. Impeccable diplomatic sources said MrBlair would visit Mozambique specifically to meet white farmers,some media people and opposition elements in Zimbabwe. There havebeen reports that some white farmers whose farms were designatedfor resettlement had left for Mozambique and other neighbouringcountries. Yesterday the British Daily Tele-graph reported thatBritain was preparing to evacuate its citizens from Zimbabwe.While earlier indications had been that the British PrimeMinister would visit Mozambique after the Earth Summit in SouthAfrica, Mozambican High Commissioner to Zimbabwe Mr Julio Bragasaid Mr Blair's visit was scheduled for tomorrow. "Yes, it'strue he will be visiting Mozambique a day after tomorrow(today)," Mr Braga told The Herald last night withoutelaborating. A British High Commission spokeswoman could neitherconfirm nor deny the visit saying she needed time to check andwould only be in a position to provide an answer today. Repeatedefforts to get a comment from the Government at the time of goingto Press were fruitless. The diplomatic sources said the visithad raised eyebrows within the Southern African DevelopmentCommunity. "The visit seems aimed at fuelling tension in theregion. Mr Blair is trying to whip up emotions," the sourcessaid.
The visit comes a week after United StatesAssistant Secretary for African Affairs Mr Walter Kansteinerpublicly announced that Washington was working with Britain, theEuropean Union and some independent journalists in Zimbabwe totopple the Government. Another diplomat described the visit as a"provocative visit that will be ignored by the region."Tony Blair is making a mistake by playing his last card ina high stakes game which Britain is certain to lose," thediplomat said. The British Prime Minister is one of the 100 headsof state and government expected in Johannesburg this weekend forthe final stages of the Earth Summit to ratify what the workingparties would have agreed on. In a show of solidarity withZimbabwe's agricultural industry Mozambican President JoachimChissano is expected in Harare today to officially open theHarare Agricultural Show. New farmers have made a mark at thisyear's Agricultural Show by contributing to its success."It's not clear whether Blair's decision to visit Mozambiqueapart from rallying support for whites is expected to checkmatePresident Chissano's visit to Harare," a local politicalanalyst observed. He also quipped that hopefully Mr Blair was notunder the mistaken notion that Beira was in Zimbabwe because he"could be relying on an old Portuguese colonial map."The Daily Telegraph newspaper said on Thursday Britain's eliteSAS commandos have conducted reconnaissance missions alongZimbabwe's border to get ready for a possible evacuation ofBritish citizens. Citing unidentified defence officials, thenewspaper said military planners were finalising road and airevacuation plans for an estimated 20 000 British citizens, mostlywhite farmers. A Foreign Office official denied the governmentwas moving to implement contingency plans in Zimbabwe. TheTelegraph said the plan would involve 250 paratroopers who wereconducting a two-month training exercise with South Africantroops starting in October. The plan would involve 250paratroopers. The exercise will include Royal Air Force transportaircraft, which would be used to fly British citizens from Harareairport, the officials said. Evacuations could also be made byroad into South Africa, they said. The Ministry of Defencedismissed the report, saying the exercise had "nothing todo" with the situation in Zimbabwe. "It has been along-planned air concentration exercise involving bilateraltraining with South Africa," an MOD spokesperson toldreporters. The Zimbabwean government has been on record sayingthe British government does not need special forces to evacuateits citizens from Zimbabwe as they could easily get on a planeand fly to London at any time.
UK ready to evacuate nationals (The Daily News, 30/08)- Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper yesterday reportedthat the country's elite Special Air Service (SAS) was ready toevacuate about 20 000 British citizens if the situation inZimbabwe continued to deteriorate. The paper said the SAS, whichspecialises in undercover operations, has already reconnoitredthe border between South Africa and Zimbabwe and identifiedco-ordination points inside Zimbabwe where the Britons, mainlyevicted white farmers, could be collected before forming a convoyinto South Africa. The Telegraph said there were plans toevacuate other Britons from the Harare International Airportusing the Royal Air Force (RAF) and up to 300 paratroopers whowill be on a military exercise for three months with the SouthAfrican National Defence Force (SANDF) in South Africa from theend of next month. But the British Ministry of Defence said theexercise with the SANDF was not connected to the crisis inZimbabwe. A spokesman told the Telegraph: "This is along-planned air concentration exercise, the first of a series oftrials that will be taking place twice a year." But thepaper said military strategists were finalising plans for anevacuation operation which could require British troops toinfiltrate for a very brief period, possibly just 24 hours."The obvious evacuation route is by road, but they couldeasily block this and we must therefore plan for an airintervention as we did in Sierra Leone two years ago," anofficial said. But the UK was unwilling to get militarilyinvolved in Zimbabwe "because any intervention will bebloody and if we are forced to go in, it will not be easy becauseZimbabwe is a well-armed country. "But if the war veteransstart to evict farmers and there is mass slaughter of UKnationals, we will be forced to intervene." The BritishForeign Office played down any connection between the militaryexercise in South Africa and the crisis in Zimbabwe. A spokesmansaid: "We keep contingency plans up to date for most partsof the world, but we are not moving to implement any such plansfor Zimbabwe. "A large-scale military operation does not fitin with what we estimate is required. If it were needed, thereare contingency plans and they could be implemented in a shorttime." But defence officials told the newspaper theparatroopers were part of the emergency plans and would beideally placed if troops were needed for a defensive escort forany evacuation. In such an action they would support the SAS inproviding a defensive ring for an operation known as a rapid airlanding, in which RAF transport planes escorted by Tornado groundattack aircraft would fly into Harare airport to evacuate theBritons, the Telegraph reported.
British troops prepare to evacuate citizens (London,Sapa-DPA, 29/08) - Elite British troops havereconnoitred Zimbabwe's southern border in preparation for apossible evacuation of British citizens to South Africa, theDaily Telegraph reported on Thursday, quoting defence officials.Troops of the SAS regiment had identified coordination pointsinside Zimbabwe where the Britons, mainly white farmers, could becollected before embarking on a mass convoy into South Africa, itsaid. Plans for an evacuation of other British citizens by airfrom Harare airport have also been considered, according to theTelegraph. The Telegraph put the number of British citizens inthe country at 20,000, saying there were a further 20,000 whitesin the country, most of whom were Zimbabweans. Some 300 troopsfrom the Parachute Regiment are to spend three months in SouthAfrica from the end of next month carrying out trials. Thesetroops could be involved in an evacuation. The Ministry ofDefence in London stressed, however, that the exercise was"absolutely not" connected to the situation inZimbabwe, but had been planned long in advance. The ForeignOffice also played down the report.
DRC visa to be scrapped (The Herald, 29/08) - Visarequirements between the Democratic Republic of Congo andZimbabwe will be scrapped with effect from October 1, thedepartment of immigration has said. Chief Immigration Officer, MrElasto Mugwadi, yesterday said agreements to scrap off the traveldocuments were signed in Nyanga on August 22. Other trade relatedagreements were also signed at the meeting. The Ministry of HomeAffairs and the DRC's Interior Ministry were the signatories tothe agreement on the scrapping of visa requirements."Although we have agreed to scrap off the visa, all othertravel requirements apply," Mr Chigwada said yesterday. Forinstance, prospective Zimbabwe visitors from the DRC would stillbe required to satisfy immigration officials that they haveenough funds to sustain their stay. Or those being invited shouldbe able to establish, and convince the immigration that theirhosts can accommodate them for the duration of their stay.Prohibited persons, felons and other people on"international watch lists" would still be barred fromentering the two countries. The immigration chief said thedecision to do away with visas between the two countries wasarrived at in light of the friendly relations that exist."It's no secret that Zimbabwe made a significantcontribution in the DRC which has seen peace setting in."Naturally, it was agreed that one of the ways to benefitfrom that contribution was to open all channels of communicationand this included doing away with travel restrictions broughtabout by visas." Sadc countries have over the years beennegotiating the introduction of a visa system that would make iteasy for citizens to visit neighbouring countries.
Zimbabwean soldiers arrested for murder of Mozambicans(Maputo, Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, 28/08) - Anunspecified number of Zimbabwean soldiers are under policecustody in Harare, accused of the murder and ill-treatment ofMozambican citizens, reports Wednesday's issue of the daily paper"Noticias". The charges against the accused include thelethal use of firearms, sexual abuse, extortion, and other formsof abuse of human rights, particularly at the Machipanda borderpost. The governor of the central Mozambican province of Manica,bordering on Zimbabwe, Soares Nhaca, told reporters in Chimoio,the provincial capital, that the arrested soldiers are to betried soon in a Harare court, and that legal mechanisms have beenput into place so that the victims may take part. He added thatthe Mozambican authorities, including diplomats, are also to berepresented and will testify at the trial. He said that theMozambican Foreign Ministry and the country's embassy in Hararehave taken all measures to ensure the security of everybodyinvolved. A report by a joint commission of inquiry, involvingmilitary representatives from both countries, concluded thatthere have been many violations of humans rights in Machipanda.According to the document, at least one person was shot dead andhis body was carried into Manica, while many others sufferedserious injuries at the hands of Zimbabwean soldiers. JorgeMarqueze was shot to death when he was trying to escape afterbeing tortured by a group of soldiers near the Machipanda post,reads the document, adding that at least 20 other people werealso tortured, four women were raped, and many people lost theirbelongings to the Zimbabwean soldiers. The report cited one womanas saying that she was raped by 10 soldiers and one civilian, thelatter having been forced to do so in exchange for his freedom. A20 year old widow and a 19 year old girl were also raped by ninesoldiers. Chokwe (Mozambique), 28 Aug (AIM) - MozambicanPresident Joaquim Chissano said on Wednesday that it is thecountry's youth who are most seriously affected by such problemsas housing shortages, unemployment, and limited access toeducation and professional training. He was speaking at theopening of the First National Youth Forum, in the southern townof Chokwe. Young people, he said, were those who paid the highestprice for the turbulent moments through which the economy haspassed, but he assured them that "the problems of our youthare permanent themes for the agenda of our government and ofsociety at large". The importance of young people and thepotential they represent had led the government to define, as oneof its strategic objectives, the creation of methods for moreeffective participation by youth in the life of the nation".The establishment of the Ministry of Youth and Sport, and of theNational Youth Council, Chissano said, were signs of thegovernment's commitment to promote active participation by youngMozambicans in the country's development. The Presidentrecognised that young people find it difficult to gain access togood quality education, or to appropriate vocational training.That was why so many young Mozambicans were unemployed, heargued. "The solution to these problems involves improvingour economy", said Chissano, "and that improvementrequires a contribution from young people, particularly those whohave already managed to overcome some of the obstacles theyface". Those young Mozambicans who were in a relativelyprivileged position, who enjoyed a reasonable standard of living,should commit themselves to multiply opportunities for those whowere less fortunate, he urged. Chissano said that housing is oneof the major social challenges facing the country. "We arewell aware that there is an immense housing shortage in the urbanareas, particularly for low income households and youngpeople", he stressed. "Under the current conditions ofour economy, it has not been possible to give the desiredresponse in terms of funds for basic town planning, and loans forhouse building", Chissano added. He urged his audience touse their imagination and creativity to seek alternatives thatwould help consolidate and expand the government's HousingPromotion Fund, as the main body to offer credit for low costhousing. As for employment, Chissano said that the economicsituation inherited from Portuguese colonialism, and from the warof destabilisation, has not allowed the government to create"poles of development" which would have provided muchneeded training and employment opportunities. He hoped theconference would discuss ways of improving young people's accessto training for self-employment. "This will involvepartnerships with the state, the private sector and civilsociety", he said. Chissano thought it imperative to provideincentives to involve private business in giving professionaltraining to more youngsters. He called for improved access tocredit and tax incentives. About 300 people are attending theChokwe Youth Forum. They represent the 11 provinces of thecountry, young Mozambicans living in South Africa and Swaziland,students, young members of the armed forces, workers, peasants,young businesspeople, artists and sportspeople. The preparationsfor the forum began at community level, and then moved upwardsthrough district and provincial meetings. According to theMinister of Youth and Sport, Joel Libombo, "various ideasand proposals were collected during this process, and they arevaluable contributions towards youth policy and the Framework Lawon Youth, which is being drawn up".
Negotiations to scrap visa requirements underway (TheHerald, 27/08) - Negotiations are currently underway toscrap travel visa requirements between the Democratic Republic ofCongo and Zimbabwe. The ongoing negotiations would result in moreand better travel and trade between the two friendly countries, asenior Government official said at the weekend. "With peaceand stability coming to the DRC, the thinking is that doing awaywith visas would see an increase in the number of visitorsbetween the two countries," said the source who declined tobe named. "Naturally, scrapping visas could also translateinto more business opportunities opening up between the twocountries." It is understood that the need to scrap the visawas discussed at a meeting between a DRC delegation and theGovernment in Harare last week. Foreign Affairs secretary MrWillard Chiwewe would not officially comment on the matter andreferred the matter to Cde Herbert Murerwa, who until the weekendwas the Minister of Industry and International Trade. CdeMurerwa, who chaired the bilateral talks with the DRC delegation,is now the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. He couldnot be reached for comment yesterday.
Zimbabwe denies entry to 30 foreigners (Harare,Sapa-AFP, 26/08) - Zimbabwe this month barred 30foreigners from entering the country but denied the restrictionswere in retaliation for a travel ban on the country's officials,a newspaper reported Monday. Those barred included six USnationals, three from Britain, five from the Netherlands, onefrom Belgium, one from France and one from Australia, theofficial Herald newspaper said. An immigration official told thepaper the barring of the foreign nationals, some of whom werenationals of African countries, was because they did not hold thecorrect travel documents. Last month the EU broadened the scopeof a list of ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - PatrioticFront (ZANU-PF) officials it intends to bar from visiting itsmember states, accusing President Robert Mugabe's government ofhuman rights abuses. The United States has also imposed travelrestrictions on Zimbabwe officials. "We are not retaliatingagainst any nation because we don't have the power to doso," chief immigration officer Elasto Mugwadi told theHerald. "We don't have such instructions (from thegovernment) at the moment save for barring journalists fromcertain hostile countries as well as other foreign nationalsbarred on security grounds," Mugwadi added. Such people wereon a "watch list" compiled in conjunction with variousgovernment departments, he told the paper.
Hungwe threatens doctors (Zimbabwe Standard, 25/08) - Masvingoprovincial governor, Josaya Hungwe, has threatened junior doctorswith dismissal and other unspecified measures should they everagain engage in industrial action. Addressing Zimbabwe MedicalAssociation (ZMA) doctors at their Annual General Meeting inMasvingo last week, Hungwe said junior doctors should showappreciation for life instead of greed for money. A few weeksago, the doctors who were earning an average of $55 000 a month,went on an indefinite strike that forced the government to reviewtheir working conditions. "The government will fire doctorswho dare strike in future and replace them with professionalsfrom Cuba. We will not even hesitate to take any other drasticmeasures against them that we see fit ," said Hungwe. Thegovernor added that medical doctors were not a special lot butcould learn something from traditional healers who did not embarkon strikes. "Traditional healers don't go on strike. Theyare always there, patiently waiting for their patients whetherthey have consultation fees or not," Hungwe charged. Hisspeech did not, however, go down well with medical practitionerswho attended the meeting. Dr Phineas Makurira, the President ofZMA, said while it was imperative for medical practitioners tovalue life, their working conditions needed to be addressed."While the health fraternity aspires to maintain the highestethics and morals in ensuring the provision of a sound healthcare delivery system, their remunerations are not pleasing,"said Dr Makurira. Several doctors who spoke on condition ofanonymity said threats from the government would not help thesituation. "We are professional doctors, not traditionalones, that's the difference between us. "We use proventreatment and medical practices unlike traditional doctors,"said one doctor. Another medical practitioner said: "In theexecution of our duties, we meet a lot of patients with differentdiseases, some of them very dangerous to our lives, butsurprisingly, we are given peanuts. We deal with life and we haveto be listened to when we have genuine grievances."
SA farmer still in Zimbabwe after arrest (Pretoria,Sapa, 21/08) - Prominent Bothaville farmer Crawford vonAbo spent Wednesday in the vicinity of his Zimbabwean farm wherehe was arrested under that country's land reform laws earlier inthe week. His Pretoria-based lawyer, Ernest Penzhorn, said VonAbo was staying with friends and was expected to return home byThursday evening. Van Abo was ready to go back to Zimbabwe forhis next court appearance on September 18. "My client willnot run away," Penzhorn said. Police and self-styled warveterans arrested Von Abo on his farm Fauna Ranch on Sundayafternoon. Farm manager Willem Kloppers, who is not a SouthAfrican citizen, was also taken into custody. On Tuesday, Von Abowas freed on bail of ZD10,000 (about R1100), along with Kloppers.By Wednesday, there were no further details on a second SouthAfrican, a Mr Veldman, who was arrested earlier under Zimbabwe'sland reform laws. Scores of white farmers have been arrested inZimbabwe since last Thursday in a crackdown on people defyinggovernment orders to leave their land and make way for blacksettlers. South African opposition parties have accused thegovernment of doing little to assist Von Abo, and urged PresidentThabo Mbeki to speak out against the actions against theZimbabwean farmers. Penzhorn on Wednesday said his client, aformer chairman of the SA Maize Board and a member of the WheatBoard, wrote Mbeki a letter in March, requesting his assistance."The president did not respond," Penzhorn said. He saidVon Abo had so far lost seven or eight farms, worth more thanR100 million, to so-called war veterans. "It's tragic to seewhat is happening on those game farms. I have seen giraffeshanging by their necks after walking into steel wire traps strunghigh up in trees by people desperate for meat." By noon onWednesday, nothing had materialised of a visit South African HighCommissioner Jerry Ndou promised to Von Abo, Penzhorn said."What would have been the use, in any event? It's too latenow." Foreign Affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said thedepartment was still trying to ascertain details from its missionin Harare. Penzhorn said Von Abo notified the Foreign AffairsDepartment on Friday of his intention to visit Zimbabwe, and gavethem some details on his travel plans. "My client is verydisappointed about the poor response of our officials inZimbabwe," Penzhorn said. "German and French nationalsfarming in Zimbabwe remained untouched by the current turmoilbecause their home countries stepped in on their behalf."Penzhorn said Von Abo bought his first farm in Zimbabwe in 1953,and had invested all his profits in that country. "Hisfeeling now is that whites should stay away from owning propertyin Africa because their ownership rights will eventually not beprotected." Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon earlier inthe day urged Mbeki "to break his now deafeningsilence" over the events in Zimbabwe. "Ourneighbourhood is on fire and there is every danger that theZimbabwean situation will overshadow the vital work of the WorldSustainable Development conference," Leon said. Presidentialspokesman Bheki Khumalo would not comment.
Row with Maputo over border killing (The Daily News,21/08) - Diplomatic relations between Zimbabwe andMozambique could be strained over reports of the death of aMozambican civilian allegedly shot by Zimbabwean soldiers a monthago. Jorge Maquenzi was allegedly fired at by the soldiers anddied later at Mutare General Hospital. The attack, like manyothers, reportedly took place near Machipanda, the border postoutside Mutare. According to the Mozambican daily newspaper inBeira, Diario de Mozambique, Maquenzi's body was taken to thatcountry only last week. The newspaper cited red tape as thereason for the delay, saying: "The delay in returning hisbody was due to bureaucratic complications on the Zimbabweanside." About 600 illegal cross-border traders from bothcountries have been netted in the ongoing combined army-policeblitz to curb unauthorised crossing between the two countries.According to Diario de Mozambique, Zimbabwean troops have beenaccused of raping and torturing the traders before forcing themto pay fines of $500 each. The paper alleged that the uniformedforces confiscated the goods for personal use. The newspaperquotes Antonio Joaquim, 23, as saying soldiers forced him todrink five litres of diesel out of the 40 litres he had bought inMutare. He was allegedly among 30 Mozambicans who had crossedinto the country last Saturday to shop in the city, the newspaperreported. The uniformed officers keep a 24-hour vigil at allillegal entry points in an operation aimed at stopping thetraders from exporting scarce commodities such as cooking oil,maize-meal, sugar, margarine, salt, cigarettes and soft drinks toMozambique. Those caught are allegedly assaulted and transportedto Grand Reef Infantry Battalion Barracks, about 20km west ofMutare, for corporal punishment, before being ordered to pay $500in fines. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior officialat the Mozambican Embassy in Harare on Monday said: "We havebeen receiving disturbing reports from that end. Consequently,there were meetings of the joint commission, one of which washeld in Mutare. "Both sides discussed the incidents. Ourprovincial director of Manica police attended the meeting and itwas agreed that our problems should be resolved amicably."Also at the meeting was his Zimbabwean counterpart andsenior army officials. We do not see why we should not be able tosolve these problems as we have been working together for a longtime." Asked at whose behest the meeting was convened, theofficial said: "This was a routine meeting and we really donot fuss about who called the meeting first. But, I can assureyou both countries have made an undertaking to resolve theproblems." Mbonisi Gatsheni, the army spokesman, referredall questions to army officials at 3 Brigade in Mutare. Effortsto get a comment from 3 Brigade and the police were in vain.
SA farmer freed on bail by Zimbabwe court (Pretoria,Sapa, 20/08) - Bothaville farmer Crawford von Abo was onTuesday freed on bail of ZD10,000 (about R1100) by a Zimbabweancourt, while details were still unclear on the fate of a secondSouth African arrested under land reform laws in the past fewdays. Emotions stirred by the events meanwhile sparked sharpdebates in the South African Parliament in Cape Town. DeputyForeign Affairs Aziz Pahad accused opposition politicians ofbeing subversive by criticising the South African government ofbeing silent on the crisis. "All you are doing is puttingthe fear of democracy into the minorities in our country, andtherefore you play a very dangerous and subversive role in thissense," he said. Opposition parties on Tuesday moved severalmotions in the National Assembly urging the South Africangovernment to intervene on behalf of its citizens arrested inZimbabwe. Von Abo's son Pieter said his father had to appear incourt again on September 18. He was freed along with his farmmanager, Willem Kloppers, who is not a South African. AnotherSouth African, a Mr Veldman, was taken into custody at theweekend. The three were among scores of white farmers arrested inZimbabwe since Thursday in a crackdown on people defyinggovernment orders to leave their land and make way for blacksettlers. South African Foreign Affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepasaid his department was being kept up to date on developments bythe High Commission in Harare. "The High Commission isassisting the South African citizens in terms of consularservices provided to all South Africans arrested abroad."Denying that the government was doing nothing to assist itsnationals, Mamoepa said: "The High Commission has alsoapproached the Zimbabwean Foreign Ministry regarding the listingof six farms for resettlement owned by South Africans." Hedeclined to divulge any details of the representations made. TheHigh Commission would remain in constant contact with theZimbabwean authorities in an effort to speedily resolve thematter, Mamoepa said. Von Abo, who owns extensive land inZimbabwe, was arrested along with Kloppers by armed war veterans,police, and members of the Agriculture Department on Sundayafternoon. He and his wife, Bibi, were visiting their Faunaranch. His son said the farm was not one of those the Zimbabweangovernment had ordered to be evacuated. An eviction order wasissued for the farm, about 100km north of Beitbridge, but waslater withdrawn. Von Abo is a former chairman of the SA MaizeBoard and a member of the Wheat Board. About 2900 farmers inZimbabwe were given until August 8 to leave their homes, butabout two-thirds ignored the order, AFP reported. A total of 207white farmers had so far been arrested for defying the order.Democratic Alliance MP Andries Botha on Tuesday introduced amotion to the National Assembly, deploring the arrest of farmersand urging the South African government to intervene on behalf ofits citizens. The motion bemoaned "the ongoing silence ofthe South African president and his government on what amounts toethnic cleansing in Zimbabwe". Pahad said the DA had failedto make a single honest suggestion on how Zimbabwe could resolveits political and economic crisis. "If you are serious aboutdemocracy in Zimbabwe, then help us ensure that the CommonwealthInitiative ... to bring about dialogue between the (Zanu-PF)government and the (opposition) MDC becomes a reality," hesaid. Adriaan van Jaarsveld of the New National Party said thearrests of South Africans violated an agreement between the twocountries, which guaranteed protection of South African ownedproperty in Zimbabwe. The Speaker of the National Assembly in theafternoon turned down a DA request for a special debate on thesituation in Zimbabwe. For its part, Agri SA said it had urgedForeign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and South AfricanHigh Commissioner Jerry Ndou to "protect to their bestability" the rights of South Africans being arrested inZimbabwe. Union president Japie Grobler said present eventsplaced a serious question mark behind the authority andseriousness of Commonwealth leaders and the will of the AfricanUnion to live according to its manifesto. "The highexpectations which friends of Africa and potential investors haveregarding the praiseworthy Nepad (New Partnership for Africa 'sDevelopment) initiative will surely be detrimentallyedom Frontchallenged President Thabo Mbeki to invite white farmers inZimbabwe to move to South Africa and make farm land available tothem. "President Mbeki and the South African government canno longer remain silent," FF MP Corne Mulder said.
Eviction order withdrawn for South African (Pretoria,Sapa, 19/08) - The Zimbabwean farm on which prominentSouth African farmer and businessman Crawford von Abo wasarrested on Monday was not one of those which the Zimbabweangovernment had ordered to be evacuated, his son Pieter said onMonday. An eviction order was earlier issued for Von Abo senior'sFauna ranch, about 100km north of Beitbridge, but the state hadwithdrawn it, his son told Sapa from Bothaville in the FreeState. "It seems as if there is no law and order."Crawford von Abo, also from Bothaville, is a former chairman ofthe SA Maize Board and member of the Wheat Board. Besides hisSouth African interests, he owned extensive farm land inZimbabwe, Pieter von Abo said. "All of the farms had beenoccupied, but not one of them legally in terms of Zimbabwe's ownnew legislation." Andries Botha, Democratic Alliancespokesman on rural safety, said Crawford von Abo and his wifeBibi arrived at Fauna ranch on Sunday. "He went there to seehow he could assist his staff, who have been subjected to variousforms of harassment by 'war veterans' and the authorities."Pieter von Abo said armed war veterans arrested both his fatherand his farm manager, Willem Klopper around 1.30pm. "Theywere apparently taken to Mwenezi's cells." He said he hadgiven instructions to an attorney who would fly from Pretoria toZimbabwe on Tuesday. Mrs von Abo went to stay in a hotel, as itwas considered unsafe on the farm. Pieter von Abo said he hadbeen in contact with the South African Foreign AffairsDepartment. The Democratic Alliance on Monday requested SouthAfrica's High Commissioner in Zimbabwe, Jerry Ndou, to ensure VonAbo's well-being, Botha said. "The DA regards it asextremely important that the SA government ensures the safety ofits citizens in the midst of the lawlessness in Zimbabwe."South Africa should make it abundantly clear that it willnot hesitate to use all diplomatic means at its disposal toprotect its citizens," Botha said. "President ThaboMbeki must break his chronic silence on the issue." Pietervon Abo echoed this: "I believe we should call on ourgovernment to take a stand." He added: "It causes anunstable fear among people like me who own land in South Africa.If it works there, why not here? "Since April we have beentrying to get answers along diplomatic channels which we havestill not received." South Africa's Foreign AffairsDepartment confirmed Von Abo's arrest. It said that according toNdou Von Abo was arrested during a visit to his farm on Mondayafternoon. "Mr Ndou has given his assurance that Mr Von Abowill be accorded the normal consular services provided to allSouth Africans arrested abroad," Foreign Affairs spokesmanRonnie Mamoepa said. "This will include visitation byofficials from the South African High Commission, ensure thefamily is informed of the arrest, proper legal representation andsee to the welfare of Mr Von Abo." He said the highcommission would remain in constant contact with Zimbabweanauthorities to find an early resolution to the matter. The DAearlier on Monday requested a snap debate in the NationalAssembly on the Zimbabwe issue. About 2900 farmers in Zimbabwewere given until August 8 to leave their homes, but abouttwo-thirds ignored the order, Agence France Presse reported. Bylate on Sunday at least 147 farmers had been arrested for defyingthe order.
Evicted Zimbabwean farmers relocate to Mozambique(Vanguard, 17/08) - White Zimbabwean commercial farmerswho have been pushed off their farms have been allowed to settlein neighbouring Mozambique, and many more have applied forfarmland, a government official said Thursday. Deputy Agricultureand Rural Development Minister Joao Carilho said in an interviewwith AFP that about 20 white Zimbabwean farmers have beenauthorised to settle in the central Mozambican province ofManica, and the authorities are studying many other landapplications by Zimbabwean farmers. Mozambique has hugeagricultural potential, with an estimated 36 million hectares (90million acres) of arable land - roughly nine times the surfacearea of Switzerland - of which only about four million hectaresare currently being used. Carilho said Mozambique has beencarefully going through the white farmers' applications to makesure the country's land is used in a rational manner, and toavoid social conflicts. Under the Mozambican constitution, allland belongs to the state and cannot be sold, but can be leasedfor a renewable period of about 50 years. Zimbabwe has embarkedon a controversial land reform programme aimed at correcting whatPresident Robert Mugabe calls colonial-era injustices that leftZimbabwe's white minority owning most of the best farmland. Sofar, around 5,150 white-owned farms, covering a total of 9.8million hectares (24 million acres) have been redistributed tolandless blacks in Zimbabwe.
Harare turns back British travellers (London,Sapa-AFP, 16/08) - Britain's Foreign Office said Fridaya number of Britons had been refused entry at Harare airport inZimbabwe and turned back in apparent retaliation for an EU travelban on senior Zimbabwean officials. "I can confirm that anumber of British nationals have been refused entry on arrival inHarare, but it is for the Zimbabwean authorities to explain theirimmigration decisions," a spokesman said. The travellers,whose numbers were not immediately specified, arrived in Harareon Thursday night and are understood to have already returnedhome. "We have been in touch with the Zimbabwean authoritiesto clarify the basis for these decisions," the spokesmanadded. The European Union imposed targeted sanctions, includingtravel restrictions, on 72 officials of the ruling ZimbabweAfrican National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and associatesof President Robert Mugabe. In a highly publicised case lastmonth, Joshua Malinga of ZANU-PF's policy-making politburo wassent back from Britain after he was detained at London's Gatwickairport on his way to a conference in the United States. Thetargeted sanctions are for abuses the EU alleges ZANU-PF hascommitted against democracy, human rights and the rule of law inZimbabwe, a former British colony where Mugabe has been crackingdown on white farmers. A farming official in Zimbabwe saidearlier Friday that as many as 11 more white farmers werearrested for defying government eviction orders under Mugabe'scontroversial land reforms.
UK to help nationals facing farm evictions (FinancialGazette, 15/08) - Britain says it will assist itsnationals facing eviction from farms they own in Zimbabwe butinsists it will continue to strictly vet the growing army ofZimbabweans seeking refuge in London due to the deterioratingeconomic and political climate at home. In separate interviewsthis week, Minister of State for the Foreign and CommonwealthOffice Peter Hain said London was ready to assist Britishpassport holders resident in Zimbabwe who have been ordered tovacate their farms to make way for black farmers allocated plotsunder President Robert Mugabe's accelerated land reforms."The government will do its best to give practical adviceand support to any British nationals who face eviction in thecoming weeks," Hain said in an article carried by the Timesof London newspaper earlier this week. He however did not mentionthe assistance his government was willing to provide toZimbabwean white farmers, the majority of whom are of Britishorigin. More than 2 900 white farmers were given up to August 10to leave their properties but so far about 60 percent have defiedthe government order and said they will challenge the decree inthe courts. The evictions are expected to leave about 100 000farm hands without jobs, worsening an already serioushumanitarian crisis caused by the shortage of food. "At thesame time, we will continue to provide as much emergencyassistance as we can for Zimbabwe's long-suffering poor,"the British junior minister said. In another interview to beflighted on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)'s RadioFour today, Hain says Zimbabweans seeking asylum in Britain willcontinue to be vetted in the normal way and insists the solutionto the refuge crisis lies in resolving Zimbabwe's economic andpolitical crisis. "I don't think that we should turn what isa failure of leadership and government in Zimbabwe into some kindof criticism over reception facilities here," he said.Analysts estimate that more than 200 000 Zimbabweans leftZimbabwe in the past three years to seek asylum in Britain andthe United States. Thousands more now live in Australia, Canada,New Zealand, Botswana and South Africa. Hain also noted in theBBC interview that Zimbabwe was now the world's fastest shrinkingeconomy, which declined at the rate of 10 percent in 2001 and isexpected to shrink by a further 11 percent this year.
Thousands of workers lose jobs as farmers quit(Financial Gazette, 15/08) - Nearly a third ofZimbabwe's estimated 300 000 farm workers were deprived of theirjobs this week when close to 40 percent of large-scale commercialfarmers quit farming operations in compliance with thegovernment's eviction orders under its land reforms. Thousandsmore are expected to lose their only source of livelihood as morecommercial farmers, under pressure from the government to vacatetheir properties, move off the land later this week clearing theway for blacks to take over the farms. Justice for Agriculture(JAG), a grouping of farmers seeking to challenge the evictionsin court, this week said although it did not have the exactfigures of farmers who had backed down to quit their properties,about 60 percent were still on the farms. "JAG recognisesthat over 60 percent of farmers under notice of acquisition haveremained on their farms and in their homes along with their staffand families," JAG spokeswoman Jenni Williams said."The farmers are not defying the government, but rather theorders, which they believe to be illegal and therefore intend tocontinue to fight the acquisition of their farms and titlethrough the courts," she said. Williams said about 30percent of the farmers had quit the farms in the "past sixweeks or so" while a few more moved off at about deadlinetime last week. This means that nearly 40 percent of the 2 900targeted farmers are no longer on the land, leaving their workerswho JAG this week said stood at about 232 000, plus theirfamilies and dependants of around 1.5 million, with an uncertainfuture. Thousands of workers have lost their jobs in the past twoyears as farmers downsized operations in the face of continuedharassment, which accompanied the farm seizures. Many more havebeen thrown out of jobs in past three months since May when thegovernment, through its Section 8 orders, ordered farmers to windup their operations in preparation for the August 10 deadline tocompletely vacate the farms. About 2 900 commercialfarmers-making up 84.5 percent of all commercial farmers-wererequired to leave their farms at the weekend in terms of theSection 8 orders. Williams said about 75 farmers were forced bymembers of the government-aligned Zimbabwe Federation of TradeUnions to retrench all their workers, but most farmers had justleft the workers on the farms. She said some of the farmers werestill paying the workers in the hope that the situation willnormalise and they will resume their operations. President RobertMugabe this week ruled out the possibility of giving the farmersa reprieve, saying the weekend deadline still stood and thefarmers must go. Commercial Farmers' Union head Collin Cloetesaid the union was not sure how many of its members had abandonedtheir farms in compliance with the government's orders.
Zimbabwean farmers invited to move to Botswana (Mail& Guardian, 15/08) - The Botswana Agricultural Union(BAU) on Wednesday urged Zimbabwean farmers who have been orderedoff their land by President Robert Mugabe to come to neighbouringBotswana. BAU chief executive Bowetswe Masilo said whiteZimbabwean farmers who planned to leave their land after aneviction order was served on 2 900 of them should be encouragedto help revive the ailing agricultural sector in neighbouringBotswana. "These people are running away and they have notyet found land. I will encourage them to come and invest in thecountry," Masilo said. "The best thing that they coulddo is to try to form joint-ventures with the local farmers. Andthat would greatly benefit the agricultural sector in thecountry." Botswana, which is the size of France but has apopulation of 1,6-million people, has seen the agriculturalsector's contribution to the country's gross domestic productfall from 65% at independence in 1966 to three percent atpresent. A deadline for the 2 900 farmers to leave their propertyexpired last Thursday, but most of the farmers defied the order.One farmer was on Wednesday forcibly evicted from his land byblack settlers. A delegation from the ruling Botswana DemocraticParty (BDP) left for Zimbabwe on Wednesday to discuss thepolitical and economic implications of the Zimbabwe land seizureprogramme. The farming crisis in Zimbabwe has caused a diplomaticrift between the two countries. Zimbabwe last week complainedafter Botswana allowed 17 representatives of the ZimbabweCommercial Farmers Union (CFU) to meet officials of theagriculture ministry in Gaborone.
Farmers relocate to neighbouring countries (theHerald, 14/08) - Some of the over 2 000 farmers whoseproperties have been acquired for resettlement are leaving forregional countries or overseas destinations while some arestaying with local friends, the president of the CommercialFarmers' Union (CFU), Mr Colin Cloete, has said. Mr Cloete saidmost of the farmers affected by the Land Acquisition AmendmentAct who had complied with the Government order to leave theirproperties were either going to countries like Mozambique,Angola, Namibia and Uganda or overseas to try something else."In fact it's a mixed bag. Some have chosen to stay withfriends while they try to engage Government in dialogue so thatthey may be allowed to stay while others have left in order toavoid confrontation," he said. It is understood some of thefarmers are relocating to their others properties. Some of thefarmers had two properties and government took only one, leavingthem land on which they can farm. This is where most of them arerelocating. He also indicated that some of the farmers who werestill on their properties might be there because they had nowhereto go, adding that the Act might be interpreted as arrogance whenthey definitely were desperate. The Government in May gave thefarmers 90 days to wind up their operations on the farms and thedeadline expired last Saturday with most of the affected farmershaving left over the weekend without protest. Police haveconfirmed that the process was going on smoothly and no cases ofresistance had been reported even if a handful of the farmersmight have decided to remain on the properties. A fraction of theaffected farmers has however vowed to fight Government to thebitter end and filed an application with the High Courtchallenging the constitutionality of the process. "Some ofthe remaining farmers have individually appealed to theGovernment to be allowed to continue farming and we don't know ifthere will be a change of heart. "We however urge CFUmembers, who form 70 percent of those affected to co-operate withthe Government and police and avoid a confrontationalstance," Mr Cloete said. Last week Vice-President Cde JosephMsika told The Herald that farmers had no right to remain on thefarms once the deadline had passed, as that would slacken thepace of the land reform process. Acting Minister of Lands,Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Cde Ignatius Chombo also saidthe arrogance of the white farmers only served to expose theirracist motives and intentions of derailing the land reformprocess. "The Government's position is very clear; as soonas one is served with Section 8 of the Land Acquisition AmendmentAct, he or she must move out of the farm. "The law will dealwith those who continue to defy the Government directive,"Cde Chombo said. Under the Act, anyone who fails to comply withthe Government order is liable to paying a fine of $20 000 orserve a two-year jail term or both.
Lusaka, local trade officials set to meet to thawrelations (The Herald, 13/08) - Officials from Zimbabweand Zambia are expected to meet before the end of this month tothaw trade relations between the two countries. "Alternativedates are currently being studied in consultation with Lusaka."New dates will be set probably later this month," saidMr Stuart Comberbach, secretary in the Ministry of Industry andInternational Trade. Zambia, which is accusing Zimbabwe ofdumping, banned the importation of local products last month.Zimbabwe has since protested against the ban effected inviolation of the Common Market for East and Southern Africa rulesand procedures. Zambia is Zimbabwe's second largest tradingpartner after South Africa. The two countries are both members ofComesa. Comesa enables member states to trade on a duty-freebasis. Nearly all products exported to Zambia and imported fromZambia qualify. Officials from the two countries were supposed tomeet last month. The meeting was postponed at the request of theZambians. Mr Comberbach said discussions were also underway withthe Comesa secretariat to put pressure on Lusaka. "Shouldthe joint permanent commission take time to reschedule, we havealready proposed to our colleagues in Zambia that we should meetas ministries of trade, to specifically address the embargo."Proposed timings have already been communicated to Lusakaand a response is awaited," he said. The Confederation ofZimbabwe Industries said the Zambians are concerned with thelarge quantities of edible oils, wheat flour, beans, milk andsoaps entering their market at prices lower than those chargedfor the same products in Zimbabwe. Zambia is also accusingZimbabwe of exporting sub standard products such as cement andwood products onto its market. "The root cause of thisproblem is the existence of a thriving parallel market that hasresulted in significant distortions on the pricing of Zimbabweanproducts on the Zambian market. "It should be noted that thecoming into effect of the Comesa Free Trade Area in October 2000has increased competition to the Zambian industry and that theZambian allegations on Zimbabwe could just be a result of theirfailure to access the Zimbabwean market," said CZI. Theindustrial representative body said Zambia should conductanti-dumping investigations before accusing its neighbour ofdumping.
Two arrested for releasing border jumpers (The Herald,13/08) - An immigration officer at the Plumtree borderpost and a police general hand have been arrested for releasingtwo border jumpers at the border town's police station aftermaking them pay a "fine", police confirmed. A policespokesman in Plumtree said Marwodzi Musafare (46) and JohannesMpofu (38), both of Dingumuzi suburb, were arrested on Thursdayafter releasing the border jumpers from custody. "The twomade the border jumpers pay $400 each after duping them intobelieving that they were paying an admission of guilt fine. Afterthe border jumpers were released, they met some police officerswho questioned why they were out of custody. They then told theofficers that they had paid a fine to the two suspects."
Zimbabwe farmers face uncertain fate (Harare, Mail& Guardian, 13/08) - The fate of hundreds of whitefarmers in Zimbabwe defying government orders to give up theirland remained unclear after Mugabe's anxiously awaited Hero's Dayspeech yesterday. Against the backdrop of Heroes Acre, a burialshrine of nationalist politicians and guerrilla leaders, Mugabesaid he would not tolerate opposition to his plans toredistribute white-owned farms to blacks. He said blackcommercial farmers were expected to take up allocated land by theend of August. "That deadline stands. Everyone interested infarming should be on the land by the time the rains come (laterin the year)," Mugabe said. But white farmers cooperatingwith the government would not be left completely landless."All genuine and well meaning white farmers who wish topursue a farming career as loyal citizens of this country willhave land to do so," Mugabe said. Farmers prevented fromworking their fields during land seizures over the past two yearswere puzzled by Mugabe's remarks, said David Hasluck, director ofthe Commercial Farmers Union, representing 4 000 white farmers."That loyal Zimbabweans can farm is entirely new to us. Themajority of my members have been trying to farm as loyalZimbabweans but they have been stopped from doing so," hesaid. Mugabe also said whites would not be allowed to stay onlarge properties, own more than one farm or cling to ties withBritain, the former colonial power. Justice for Agriculture, anew group urging farmers to challenge farm evictions in court,said at least 1,000 farmers affected by eviction orders ownedonly one property of generally limited size. The group took nosolace from Mugabe's speech. "We would be much happier ifwords were met with action on the ground," said JenniWilliams, representative for the group. "Words don't feedpeople. Farmers do." The standoff between government and thefarmers came as half Zimbabwe's 12,5-million people face a severehunger crisis, according to the World Food Program. The WFPblames the crisis on drought combined with the agricultural chaoscaused by the seizures. A deadline for nearly 3 000 white farmersto leave their land expired last week, but the government hastaken no action against them and Mugabe stopped short of callingfor immediate action. But those who "want another war shouldthink again when they still have time to do so," he said.Despite international criticism, the government will never relenton its land program, he said. "No enemy is too big or toopowerful to be fought and vanquished for this land. Our peopleare the principle owners of this land. We will not budge,"he said. Some farmers said Mugabe was not as combative asexpected but uncertainty remained over the farmers' plight."There is some relief that it seems there won't be a massavalanche of evictions," said Ben Zietsman, a farmers unionofficial in the western Matabeleland province. Some landownershave reported recent overtures by state officials suggesting theymight retain small portions of land if they relinquished therest. Hasluck said white farmers that were left with portionsthat were too small would not be viable and might have to leaveanyway. "Farming is all about what is manageable andsustainable," he said. The government has targeted 95% ofwhite-owned farms for seizure in its often violent land reformprogram.The government says its program was a final effort tocorrect colonial era imbalances in land ownership. Critics say itis part of the increasingly authoritarian government's effort tomaintain power amid more than two years of economic chaos andpolitical violence mainly blamed on the ruling party. Oppositionleader Morgan Tsvangirai lashed Mugabe's speech as yet another"indecent partisan junket to spread a message of violenceand hatred." The nation was suffering from politicalviolence, disease and an impending hunger crisis, "yetMugabe's message to the nation was a promissory note for moremisery and death," he said. The state-run Heraldnewspaper said the agriculture ministry was deploying officialsthis week to check the status of the farms. Farmers who choose toremain should know the government would not hesitate to apply thelaw," Agriculture Minister Joseph Made Minister was quotedas saying. Meanwhile, Morgan Tsvangirai, who leads the oppositionMovement for Democratic Change, told the Washington Timesdaily newspaper that Mugabe would be out of power in one year."Time is running out for this country," Tsvangirai toldthe conservative daily in an interview from Harare on Monday."We have six to 12 months at the most -- that is, if we cansurvive that long. If we can achieve change within 12 months,then maybe there is hope." However "if it goes beyond ayear, the government will have destroyed the infrastructure ofthis nation and the spirit of its people. It will mean thesubsistence and informal sectors dominating and no investment.It's another African basket case; that's what it will mean,"he said. In July police summoned Tsvangirai to take down astatement on allegations that he threatened to overthrow Mugabe.Tsvangirai, who is already facing treason charges, denied thecharges.
62 more illegal immigrants arrested (The Herald,12/08) - Another 62 illegal immigrants from Mozambiquewere last week arrested as police raids to curb crime at MbareMusika in Harare continued. The 62 bring to 177 the total numberof illegal immigrants arrested during the same week. Mbare PoliceChief Inspector Shadreck Mubayiwa said more random raids would beconducted to flush out all illegal immigrants. "There willnot be any warning signals as this problem is getting out ofhand," Chief Insp Mubayiwa said. He said 24 illegal vendors,some of them Zimbabweans, were also arrested and fined $500 each.Police believe that most people living in backyard cabins inMbare were illegal immigrants mainly from Mozambique. "Weare carrying out investigations concerning people staying in thecabins to ensure that we are only left with legal residents ofthis country," said Chief Insp Mubayiwa. He said mosttraders who sell wares such as sweets, cigarettes, brushes, hatsand sunglasses on the streets were in the country illegally.Police are also investigating the illegal immigrants for possibleinvolvement in more serious cases of smuggling goods in and outof Mozambique. Chief Insp Mubayiwa said some of those arrestedwere identified while queuing up for basic foodstuffs at majorretail shops in Ardbennie and Mbare. Cases of traders smugglingfood items such as sugar, cooking oil and maize-meal inMoza-mbique are rampant at Zimbabwe-Mozambique border posts.Recently, more than five traders were arrested while smugglingsugar into Mozambique at the Forbes border post in Mutare.
Zimbabwean farmers look to Botswana (Johannesburg,Business Day, 12/08) - Nervous representatives of theZimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union have been exploringopportunities to relocate to Botswana. Late last week, thefarmers convened an impromptu meeting with top Botswanagovernment officials in Gaborone to discuss the issue. DeputyPermanent Secretary of Agriculture Masego Mphathi confirmed onFriday that they "held an exploratory meeting with 17representatives of the farmers" about the possibility ofinvesting in Botswana. "They wanted large chunks of land inwhich they could continue with their farming activities on thisside of the border. But the problem with us is that our land isalready occupied, even if the owners might not be operating onit. There are a lot of people who have land in this country, butare not using it," he said. "The problem is thatfarming is a land intensive thing and they are talking of seriousfarming. You get to a situation where one person was farming anarea the size of 4000ha and you cannot give him a smaller pieceof land," he said. "It is a pity that we do not haveland. However, we have asked them to get into smart partnershipswith the local farmers," Mphathi said. He said the amount ofland in Pandamatenga (northern Botswana) was not enough for themand that they had advised the Zimbabwean farmers to form smartpartnerships with Batswana. "We have about 4000ha of landlying unused in Pandamatenga and according to them that might beonly enough for one person. So we have asked them to go to TuliBlock area in the eastern part of the country bordering Zimbabweand South Africa and try to forge smartpartnerships with farmersthere," he said. In the event the Zimbabwean farmersrelocate, they might help revive the flagging agriculturalsector, whose contribution to the GDP has shrunk from 65% atindependence in 1966 to nearly 3%. The visit by the delegationcame after an estimated 2900 white commercial farmers were givenorders by President Robert Mugabe's government to vacate theirfarms by the weekend or face penalties, including fines andimprisonment. The move follows the controversial land seizurewhich the Zimbabwean authorities have embarked on since 2000.
White farmers trek to Uganda (The Sunday Mirror,11/08) - Oover 200 white commercial farmers, evictedfrom their farms in the land resettlement programme, have beeninvited to relocate to Uganda, the Sunday Mirror established thisweek. According to sources privy to the farming community, thefarmers, who were to vacate their farms by midnight of August 7,were asked to produce tobacco in Uganda, a country known to theWest as the pearl of Africa. Tobacco has been Zimbabwesbiggest foreign currency earner. Colin Cloete, president of theCommercial Farmers Union, said a group of farmers were recentlyin Uganda to assess the prospects of farming in the East Africancountry. Some farmers were asked to produce tobacco inUganda and a delegation of farmers went there to look at theland. However, I do not know how many they were and if they willmove, Cloette said. Tim Reynolds, a cattle producer, alsoconfirmed that some farmers had gone to Uganda to assess thefarming prospects. The farmers who are now seeking alternativesources of income, are to leave their land in accordance withsection 8 Acquisition Orders that legitimise their eviction.Although about $400 million has so far been paid out to thefarmers whose land fell under the resettlement scheme ascompensation in the first quarter of 2002, it is reported thatsome white farmers are now left without jobs and are plying thestreets in search of employment. It is expected that some of themmight make the move to Uganda. According to a report by AgenceFrance Press, another group of 23 Zimbabwean commercial farmershave already been allocated land in Mozambique in the Dombe andSidenga districts of the Manica province and are growing maize,tobacco and sunflowers whilst some are engaged in cattleranching. The white commercial farmers were evicted from theirfarms under the land resettlement programme, where more than 350000 indigenous farmers were resettled under the A1 and A2resettlement schemes. However, critics of the land reformprogramme have pointed out that the move will further wreck thealready ailing Zimbabwean economy as these farmers had thetechnical expertise as well as the ability to negotiate goodprices for their products on the export market. One resettledfarmer expressed the fear that it was unlikely that the resettledfarmers could easily fit into the shoes of existing commercialfarmers because of ignorance of prices and trends on the worldmarket, which are currently on a downward spin. Uganda, whichdepends on agriculture as the backbone of the economy, employsabout 80 percent of the population in the sugar and textileindustries. Whilst tea, horticulture and floriculture havereceived increased foreign investment over the past few years,and are anticipated to revive the economy of the country,currently there is no major production in tobacco, which couldbecome a major foreign currency earner for Uganda if the farmersmake the move. The Ugandan economy is expected to benefit fromthe move by the government of Uganda, which was thrown into chaosduring the period of turmoil between 1967 and 1986. During thatperiod, the dictator, Idi Amin chased away white farmers andAsian businessmen. This led to the isolation of Uganda by theWest and culminated in military intervention by Tanzania. Howeverof late, Uganda has allowed exiled Asians to reclaim theirproperties and re-invest in the growing economy. Europeans andAsians are now receiving investment incentives, and the sameprovisions could be made for the Zimbabwean farmers. The Ugandangovernment may benefit from the move as it would enjoy strongerties with the British government. Analysts speculate that YoweriMuseveni wants to gain political mileage against the president ofZimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, in a bid to get more money from Britain,America and the European Union, and to gain favours from SouthAfrica which is worried about the fate of the white farmers beingevicted from Zimbabwe. Museveni is also said to be attempting towhitewash the terrible international image that Uganda receivedduring the 1970s, when the then ruler, Idi Amin chased awayBritish and Asian farmers and business people. It is alsospeculated that the move will be financed by the World Bank,which has already been approached by another 200 farmers who areseeking financial aid to move to Maputo. However, the Zimbabweanwhite farmers may have to gear themselves for another GreatTrek if black Ugandans eventually demand their land back.Efforts to get a comment from the Ugandan government on the issuewere fruitless.
Comment: Brainpower, not land, enriches a nation (TheIndependent, 09/08) - Forget land. It's not about that.It's not money and it's not political power either. It'sbrainpower that makes a country rich and knowing how to use thatbrainpower makes it prosper. Right now, Zimbabwe is being given alobotomy. It's brain is being cut out, piece by piece. For astart, the country is being divested of nearly all theagricultural knowledge that gave it the name "thebreadbasket of Africa". Zimbabweans shouldn't kid themselvesthat they are going to profit by chasing away the farmers, thebusinessmen and women and highly-qualified "others".These people are the wealth of the country - they feed, clotheand employ most people in Zimbabwe. And they are leaving by thethousand. Zimbabweans shouldn't kid themselves that they're goinghungry because of a well-publicised drought. Dams around thecountry are full to overflowing, so there's obviously no lack ofwater. That water would have irrigated many thousands of hectaresof land, had it been allowed. It's the stupidity of politicsmaking them hungry. Instead of terrorising the farm communityinto leaving, Mugabe should be cherishing them. They are the oneswith the business acumen and knowledge to generate wealth andjobs - the people who make the country tick. As the countryspirals down to year zero, Zimbabweans of all colours are movingon, to countries who welcome them with open arms. Robert Mugabe'splan, and we have to believe there is one, has enriched countriesaround the world with the brains that made Zimbabwe tick. And, asthe country winds down, the emigration of even more brains speedsup. Doctors, nurses, teachers, chemists are all on the move togreener pastures. And believe it - they are greener. Many inZimbabwe seem to be getting some vicarious pleasure in seeingpeople with British backgrounds heading for the UK penniless.Theyshouldn't kid themselves they'll be living in poverty for long.That country's social security net and free health system looksafter them until they get on their feet - and the money they getfrom the government there makes the average Zimabwean's paychecklook sick. Not only that - housing, too, is found for the mostdesperate. So with a roof over their heads, food in theirstomachs and a violence-free future to look forward to, they canhardly be regarded as hard done by. True, they don't havedomestic help, but that's no real pain with all the labour-savingdevices today. And the weather is something anyone can get usedto. Every family that leaves Zimbabwe leaves at least anothercouple of Zimbabwean families without breadwinners. Domesticworkers lose not only their jobs - they lose the very people whoknow how to come by cooking oil, mealie-meal and otheressentials. In Australia last weekend the prestigious WeekendAustralian published an article featuring just some of the peopleZimbabwe has lost in recent times. A farming couple, the Tonkins,were harasssed into leaving the property they managed. Now theyhave a thriving wheat property in Western Australia. Ironically,if Australia responds to the plaintive pleas from Zimbabwe forfood aid, his (the Tonkins') wheat could end up in loaves ofbread on Harare dinner tables. The Tonkins' lifestyles haven'tchanged all that much either, apart from not having continuallybe on guard for their very lives. As in Zimbabwe, they areenthusiastic members of the local tennis club, the children aredoing well in school and, most importantly, they are secure inthe knowledge they are living and working in a safe environment.The paper describes the Tonkins as the "lucky ones whoescaped to make a new home in Australia". "On visits toPerth, the family meets up with the parents of three classmatesfrom daughter Colleen's former Zimbabwean school who are nowliving in Australia," said the paper. In 1998-99, 322Zimbabweans entered Australia. But last year, in only a six-monthperiod, nearly double that number arrived. Migration agents inPerth report they are being flooded by inquiries, including ahandful of black families. Tonkin told of the events that drovethem to leave. "War veterans invaded the farm and settledin, to the consternation of dozens of black farmworkers who livedthere," he said. The next day he was ordered to turn up tothe schoolhall to sing pro-Mugabe songs and make black powersalutes. He was warned the farm would be burnt down if he didn'tattend. For an hour and a half he did "whatever I was toldto do" and then he was released. "I walked back to thefarm and rang Lara. I said: 'That's it - I'm not putting up withthis any more'," said Tonkin. A migration agent told him,although his farming skills weren't on the skills list inAustralia, his qualifications as a diesel mechanic were. Theysearched for suitable properties while visiting Lara's youngersister, who was studying at a Perth University, settling on aproperty two and a half hours north-east of Perth in the smallrural town of Wongan Hills. Another Zimbabwean family - GlynisPurkiss and her husband Arthur - also live in the small town.Another loss to Zimbabwe, as she is a qualified nurse who nowtends the sick in the regional hospital there. Arthur now sellsfarming equipment. Says Glynis: "I feel free, free." InPerth, Tony Baker, who once worked for the Commercial FarmersUnion and part-owned one of Harare's most famous sporting shops,Feradays, said the phrase "chicken run" had changed tothe "owl run" - because it was the wise thing to do. Henow runs an antique export consultancy. His wife, Ros, is abusiness broker who specialises in helping southern Africanmigrants set up businesses. And there's no shortage of clients,she says. The paper reports that Zimbabweans favour WesternAustralia over almost anywhere else in the country. Queensland,was second choice and it is there that many head for pastoral andagricultural jobs. Since February last year, 50 families havesettled in Toowomba. Many work on farms or have set up ruralbusinesses. Many now arriving do so with almost nothing, due tothe value of the Zimbabwe dollar. Baker says it's only a matterof time before a Zimbabwean becomes a test case for refugeestatus. Whatever their financial circumstances, though, thosearriving in Australia legally can be assured of a freeworld-class medical system, as they can in the UK. All the peoplementioned have one thing in common - they are clever in one wayor another. They have used that cleverness to say: "No, Ican't handle this any more," and have opted to find a newhome. And Zimbabwe is poorer for it. Every time a skilled personleaves, Zimbabwe loses that bit of knowledge forever. It's nogood saying: "We can educate more people." That goeswithout saying. But the many thousands of years of collectiveknowledge that have already been lost cannot be replacedovernight. The answer is: make an accommodation with the cleverpeople left. Forget the historical problems for now and get thecountry back to basics. Food, work, education and health. Onlythen can Zimbabwe begin to think of itself again as a"clever country" and the breadbasket of Africa.
Zimbabwe arrests 115 illegal immigrants (Xinhua,08/08) - The Zimbabwean police arrested here Wednesday115 illegal Mozambican immigrants suspected to have taken part incriminal activities in Harare, the Herald newspaper reportedThursday. The illegal immigrants were being held in a prisonwhile their deportation papers are being processed, said thereport. Chief Inspector Shadreck r4ubayiwawas said that theimmigrants had been illegally staying in the country andcommitting crimes like robbery and illegal selling of householdcommodities. He said police were still investigating the groupfor possible involvement in more serious cases of smuggling goodsin and out of Mozambique. Following similar police raids, morethan 300 illegal immigrants were arrested at Nbare Musika anddeported last year. However, despite efforts by police and thecouncil to solve the problem, most illegal immigrants slippedback into the country soon after deportation, Mubayiwa said. Hesaid that Zimbabwe now has set up a more vigilant task force toensure there is no comfort in illegally staying in this country.
Bid to bar outsiders from Zambezi water project (TheFinancial Gazette, 08/08) - The Affirmative Action Groupand the pressure group Imbovane Yamahlabezulu want theMatabeleland Zambezi Water Trust (MZWT) to give preference toZimbabwean firms based in Bulawayo in the award of tenders forthe building of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam. The demands by the twogroups were made this week as six officials from MalaysiasExport-Import Bank, expected to pump in more than US$500 millioninto the first phase of the project, held a meeting with theZimbabwe National Water Authority on the criteria of awarding thetenders for the construction of the dam. The dam is part of along-mooted but delayed construction of a water pipeline linkingthe Zambezi River with parched Matabelelend, where severalcompanies have quit in recent years because of the regionsperennial water shortages. Four black-led companies have sincebeen tipped as front-runners to get the tenders, although thetenders were not advertised in the local media as stipulated bygovernment tender procedures. Sam Ncube, vice president of theAffirmative Action Group, said yesterday: "We will nottolerate a situation in which such tenders are awarded tooutsiders. Companies based in Matabeleland should be given firstpreference. "We suspect that these companies targeted by theMZWT are not locally based and have connections with topgovernment officials. The tender was not even advertised in thelocal Press." He said the Bulawayo chapter of his group hadalready started holding talks with the MZWT over the award oftenders to build the dam, lay the water pipeline betweenBulawayo, Gwayi and Shangani and build houses at the dam site."We have local indigenous companies that are competentenough to handle various jobs within the Zambezi water projectcorridor and we wont allow outsiders to be in theforefront. Our main thrust is to ensure that people of thisregion are not marginalised." A spokesman for ImbovaneYama-hlabezulu, Themba Ngwenyama, said his organisation wouldalso resist any attempts to award tenders to outsiders. "Thebulk of tenders that include supervision of the construction ofthe dam and provision of other ancillary services, pipelinedesigns and construction of houses should be awarded to localfirms that are competent, skilled and qualified in theirrespective fields," he said. "We will fight to thebitter end if these tenders are awarded to companies from outsideMatabe-leland." MZWT chairman Dumiso Dabengwa yesterday saidhe was unaware of the complaints raised by the two groups becausehe had been away. He specifically declined to comment on theirclaims that the tender had not been advertised and that fourblack companies had already been placed ahead of others for thetenders. The latest squabbles could again delay theimplementation of the Zambezi water project, mooted decades agoby several white colonial governments and later backed by theruling ZANU PF party for political mileage. In the run-up to thisyears presidential election, top ZANU PF officials werereported to have secured more than US$500 million from Malaysiafor the building of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam but not much progresshas been made. Work at the site was expected to start in Aprilbut so far only the construction of a 12-km road linking the damwith the main road to Bulawayo is in progress.
Nkomo threatens to withdraw passports (The FinancialGazette, 08/08) - The threat by Home Affairs MinisterJohn Nkomo to withdraw the passports of Zimbabweans who areopposed to the government and to slap them with exit visas isonly the latest sign, if any was needed, of a regime gone beserkand clearly nearing its end. Not content with draconian lawsrushed through Parliament earlier this year to silence democraticdissent, the besieged government now wants to clamp down furtheron the free movement and free speech of some citizens on thepretext that they are campaigning against Zimbabwe. That there isa world of difference between Zimbabwe, as a nation and as astate, and individual government members who are wilfullyflouting the law is conveniently ignored to try to appeal to thecrude emotions of the common man. Needless to say that theproposed measures are grossly unconstitutional and aimed atpushing Zimbabwe back into the Stone Age. It is clear that as thesiege on the government tightens because of the sins of itsmembers now under international scrutiny, hardliners in theadministration have decided to throw all caution to the wind.They are literally telling Zimbabweans and the world to go tohell. In fact, the hardliners are almost daily proclaiming sopublicly, their standard line being that they can go it alone andsurvive. It is thus that the administrationscounter-sanctions lobby has hatched the grand plan of takingharsh retaliatory action against all perceived enemies, bothdomestic and foreign, to try to weaken a peoples resolve toend tyranny that is daily engulfing the land. It was only theother week when none other than President Robert Mugabe madeclear that his government would no longer obey court rulingswhich, in its judgment and that of the ruling ZANU PF party, weredeemed to be unacceptable. So there we are. We now have asituation where the government henceforth will judge the rulingsof the courts, accepting and rejecting any as it sees fit forwhatever reason. If this is not organised anarchy, we dontknow what is. But the tentacles of this anarchy, surely theharbinger of an ignominious end to what started as a genuinepeoples socio-economic revolution, are everywhere foranyone who cares to see the tell-tale signs. A whole generationof the nations productive farmers, most of them growers ofthe golden leaf which keeps Zimbabwe ticking, has been summarilyordered to quit their properties at the stroke of midnighttomorrow. These Zimbabweans, whose only crime is that they are ofa paler colour and are descendants of a bitter past authored bytheir forebears, will have nowhere to go and no other means ofsurvival. But worse still, their departure certainly points toone fact: the sinking into deeper economic and social upheaval ofa country which once prided itself with self-sufficiency in foodbut is now the begging and laughing stock of the world. Then lookat the case of the striking doctors and threats of more turmoilcoming in from the teachers flank, all because theirgenuine grievances have not been addressed. Never mind that thegovernments spending on what most Zimbabweans wouldconsider to be non-priority areas has soared so much in recentyears, triggering the present stagflation which has beenaccompanied by the countrys worst mass poverty. As thenoose tightens because of the governments controversialpolicies and Zimbabwe is left to fend for itself, the Presidenthas had to hurriedly search for dwindling allies in undemocraticnations such as Libya, Cuba, North Korea and Malaysia. Will hisefforts, however well-meaning at a defining moment such as now,really succeed where all others have failed? Are these countrieshe is embracing going to be the saviour of Zimbabwe frominevitable total collapse? Or shouldnt Mugabe grudginglyacknowledge that, for all his bold and imaginative efforts tohang on in there, the die is finally cast and its time togo? Surely there is a limit to what any mere mortal can do. Thisseems to be it.
Less than seven SA farmers in Zimbabwe seek help (CapeTown, Sapa, 07/08) - Less than seven South Africanfarmers in Zimbabwe had approached South Africa's High Commissionin Harare for help, according to the presidency. Presidentialspokesman Bheki Khumalo was reacting to a Democratic Alliancestatement earlier on Wednesday that it had the names of 46 SouthAfrican farmers whose livelihood was being illegally taken awayby the Zimbabwean government. The statement was issued on the eveof a Zimbabwean government edict ordering white farmers to leavetheir land for good. Zimbabwe has earmarked 95 percent ofwhite-owned farms - about 6000 properties - for redistribution tolandless black people. The occupants of about 2000 of theseproperties have until Thursday to leave. DA spokesman AndriesBotha said on Wednesday: "We have the names of 46 SouthAfrican farmers whose livelihood is being illegally taken awayfrom them by Robert Mugabe's fiat." The DA would forward thenames to Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and would!government was taking to fulfil its obligations to protect itscitizens abroad, he said. Neither South Africa's HighCommissioner Jerry Ndou, nor Department of Foreign Affairsofficials could be reached for comment on Wednesday. However,Khumalo told Sapa the government was not aware of the list."We are therefore asking the DA and the farmers concerned toapproach our High Commission in Harare, so that the matter can betaken up with Zimbabwean authorities." Khumalo said lessthan seven South African farmers had come forward thus far andthat the South African High Commission was trying to assist asbest it could.
Armed police search Tsvangirai's home (Harare,Dispatch Online, 05/08) - About a dozen police yesterdaysearched the home of Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangiraifor weapons, subversive documents and illegal immigrants. Thepresident of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said thepolice officers, some armed and some in plain clothes, searchedhis Harare home for about an hour. Tsvangirai, who is due tostand trial in November on allegations that he plotted toassassinate President Robert Mugabe, described the police visitas "the usual political harassment". Late last monthpolice questioned Tsvangirai on allegations that he threatenedthe president. On Saturday, police in Bulawayo arrested an ailingMDC MP on charges that he murdered a ruling party supporter latelast year. Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, who suffers from severediabetes described as "life-threatening" and had an eyeremoved last week, was arrested on his way for a checkup, hislawyer Josephat Tshuma told AFP yesterday, adding that he wasreleased the same day to hospital. Dulini-Ncube denies the murdercharges. MDC spokesman Learnmore Jongwe, who is also in policecustody after a recent domestic dispute in which he allegedlykilled his wife, has so far been denied bail.
Zimbabwe farmers in land search (New Vision, 05/08) - About80 tobacco farmers from Zimbabwe are looking for land in Uganda,state minister for lands, Baguma Isoke has said. Baguma who wasspeaking as chief guest at a graduation ceremony of 29participants in entrepreneurship development workshop in Hoima onFriday, advised Ugandans to enter partnership with foreigninvestors who had the money and market links. The 10-day workshoporganised by Enterprise Uganda and sponsored by UNDP attractedsmall scale business people from the districts of Hoima, Kibaaleand Masindi.
Food shortages complicate Zim dialogue: Minister(Pretoria, Sapa, 01/08) - Food shortages in Zimbabwe arecomplicating efforts to get internal political dialogue off theground, Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said onThursday. "Before we concentrate on the dialogue, we have tomake sure that the people who dialogue have some food," shesaid in Pretoria. South Africa and Nigeria have been seeking tofacilitate talks between the Zimbabwean government and theopposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) since thatcountry's controversial presidential election in March. MDCleader Morgan Tsvangirai has challenged the outcome of the pollin court, causing the ruling Zanu-PF to call off the dialogue inMay. As the political standoff continues, Zimbabwe is sufferingfrom shortages of basic commodities including cooking oil, sugar,salt and the country's staple maize meal. An estimated7.8-million Zimbabweans, including 5.4-million children, arefaced with hunger. Dlamini-Zuma on Thursday said the food crisisin Zimbabwe was now a priority. She commended the United Statesand the United Kingdom for their relief contributions."(Meanwhile) the Zimbabweans must learn to live together,whatever political party they come from. It is the responsibilityof all of them to make Zimbabwe work." Dlamini-Zuma rejectedsuggestions that the newly-launched African Union should actagainst Zimbabwe because its presidential poll was disputed.Major international bodies have also questioned the validity ofthe election, labelling the process "deeply flawed".Dlamini-Zuma said Zimbabweans in general had accepted theelection result. Challenging the outcome of an election in courtwas an accepted procedure in any democracy. "The merechallenge (by the MDC) does not nullify the result,"Dlamini-Zuma said. The AU was, therefore, not applying doublestandards by barring Madagascar from the body while Zimbabwe wasleft untouched. The Organisation of African Unity (OAU),predecessor of the AU, last month announced that Madagascar wasbarred from taking up its seat in the AU that was launched onJuly 9. It resolved that the island state's election on December16 last year that pitted Marc Ravalomanana against incumbentleader Didier Ratsiraka was not legally constituted. Ravalomananawas later found to have won the poll in a recount prompted by acourt order. Ratsiraka has since fled the island. Germany, theUnited States, and France, the island country's former colonialpower, last week began normalising relations with Ravalomanana'sgovernment. African leaders, nevertheless, resolved to stick toMadagascar's exclusion. The elections in Zimbabwe took place inaccordance with that country's constitution, Dlamini-Zuma said onThursday Queried about other AU members that did not havedemocratically elected governments, she said the OAU's decisionto exclude such countries were only taken in 1999. "That wasthe cut-off point. From 1999 onwards, people who are notconstitutionally elected will not take their seats," theminister said. "There is no one who took a seat in the AUwho was not constitutionally elected since 1999. There is nodouble standard."
Zimbabwe to restrict movement of domestic opponents(Harare, Sapa-AFP, 01/08) - Zimbabwe will restrict themovement of its own political opponents before it barsundesirable EU nationals from the country in retaliation for anEU travel ban on Zimbabwe officials, a government minister wasquoted as saying Thursday. "We are actively considering arange of measures to take, which will include the withdrawal ofpassports and the introduction of exit and entry visas againstour political opponents in the country who have campaigned forsanctions," home affairs minister John Nkomo told theprivate Financial Gazette newspaper. The EU has imposed"targeted" sanctions, which include travelrestrictions, against 72 ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) officials and associates of PresidentRobert Mugabe, for alleged abuses of democracy, human rights andthe law by the party. But the paper quoted Nkomo as saying thegovernment would "deal with internal saboteurs" beforeresponding to measures against hardline measures taken by foreignnations against Harare. "In implementing these measures, wewill take into cognisance the international law of reciprocity aswell and we are busy exercising our minds in this regard,"Nkomo told the paper. The opposition Movement for DemocraticChange (MDC) has welcomed the EU's sanctions against the rulingparty. Earlier this week, Foreign Affairs Minister Stan Mudengetold a press conference that coming up with measures againstunwanted European visitors were "not bad ideas". Sofar, four officials from ZANU-PF have been barred from travellingto, or transitting through EU member states.
Judith Todd finally gets passport (The FinancialGazette, 01/08) - Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede thisweek finally issued human rights activist Judith Todd a passportfollowing a High Court order directing him to do so within 14days. The order was made two weeks ago by High Court JudgeJustice Benjamin Paradza. "I actually got the passport onTuesday this week and it is valid for one year," Todd toldthe Financial Gazette yesterday. "The Registrar-General hascomplied with the High Court order, although he has appealed tothe Supreme Court. Until that ruling, he has been made to treatme as a Zimbabwean citizen," she said. Mudede had strippedTodd of her Zimbabwean citizenship on the grounds that she tookno steps to renounce a possible claim to a New Zealand passport.Justice Paradza however granted Mudede permission to appealagainst his ruling in the Supreme Court. If the higher courtrules in favour of Todd, the ruling could have major implicationsfor millions of Zimbabweans of foreign descent. In anothercitizenship case in March this year, former Rhodesian premier IanSmith was denied a new Zimbabwean passport until he renounced hisBritish citizenship. Smith was however yesterday not available athis Harare home or Shurugwi farm to comment on whether he hadbeen issued with a new passport. The government last yearintroduced tough new citizenship laws which stripped thousands ofwhite Zimbabweans of British origin the right to vote in theMarch presidential poll, saying they had not properly renouncedtheir British citizenship. The amended Citizenship of ZimbabweAct, which bans dual citizenship, could affect more than twomillion Zimbabweans with Malawian and Mozambican parentage.Mudede has demanded that Zimbabweans suspected of having a claimto a second citizenship must produce proof from the foreigncountry that they do not secretly hold its passport. Todd wasborn in Zimbabwe, but her father, former Rhodesian premier SirGarfield Todd, 93, was born in New Zealand. Sir Garfield was notallowed to vote in the March election because he was told that hehad ceased to be a Zimbabwean citizen. In May this year HighCourt Judge Justice Sandra Mungwira, ruling in Toddscitizenship case, declared Mudedes actions as illegal andrefused him the right to appeal against that ruling. But Mudedeclaimed Justice Mungwira should not have heard the case becauseher husband might have a secret claim by descent to Malawiannationality and approached Justice Paradza for permission to takethe matter to the Supreme Court.
Shock passport fee hike planned (The FinancialGazette, 01/08) - The Registrar-Generals Officeplans to increase passport fees from $600 to $5 000 starting thismonth because of what officials say are soaring production costs.The officials said this week passports were heavily subsidised bythe state and the passport office wanted applicants to meet thefull costs of producing them. "The fees for a singlepassport will definitely go up any time this month to $5 000 fromthe current $600 fee," one official told the FinancialGazette. "We want to recover the full cost of producing apassport from the applicant, as is being done by other countries.You can subsidise birth certificates and identity cards buttravelling is voluntary and so it should follow that applicantsshould meet the full cost," the official said. The officialsdefended the planned increase in the cost of passports, sayingthe cost of stationery for producing the travel documents hadrisen sharply and, at any rate, the passports were valid for 10years. The Registrar-Generals Office last Novembersuspended the issuing of emergency passports because of what itsaid was a dramatic increase in the number of applicants. Theplanned hike in the fees comes amid persistent reports of a scamallegedly involving passport officers who process traveldocuments for desperate individuals intending to travel abroad onemergency medical, educational and business trips. Sources chargethat desperate individuals fork out as much as $40 000 for apassport to be processed within two days. Although details werestill sketchy this week, there were allegations that hundreds ofindividuals could have parted with large amounts of money inorder to be quickly issued with a passport, which normally takessix months to be processed. A senior official at theRegistrar-Generals Office said: "There have been suchreports and we are closely monitoring the situation. But it willnot be easy to identify such activities if members of the publicare willing participants. "In such situations, you alwaysget desperate applicants and there are some people willing toprovide a service at a higher cost, illegally as it might be,although we do not encourage it." Before last yearssuspension of the issuing of emergency passports, the passportoffice was inundated by applications from scores of Zimbabweanswho were fleeing political violence while others were leaving insearch of better working conditions. When the Financial Gazettevisited the passport offices in Harare this week, there wasuncertainty on the planned fee hike, with some officials sayingthey were still to be informed of it. Registrar-General TobaiwaMudede could not be reached for comment. Officials said he wasrecuperating from a bout of flu at home.
This pagelast updated 09 July 2004.