November 2002 - Click on the country title above theheadlines for the entire article.
Launch of Transfrontier Park
Mozambique/SA joint projects on track
Ministers meet on Nacala Development Corridor
Tourism ministers to meet over Transfrontier Park
South Africa is regional drug trafficking hub
Post-war Angola prepares for return ofthousands of refugees
First wave of Angolan refugees to go home next year
Authorities sign repatriation accords with Zambia and Namibia
Namibian and Angolan parliamentarians visit northern Angola
A new beginning for the internally displaced
Refugees demonstrate in Luanda
Tourism charges criticized
Botswana students assaulted in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe bullying Botswana citizens, says Butale
MP criticizes Zimbabwe on migration
Botswana successful in luring Chinese investors
UNHCR issues ID cards to refugees
75,000 displaced in Katanga province
New wave of displaced people in Eastern Congo
Peace deals fail to improve lives of 2.2 million IDPs
"Humanitarian catastrophe" emerging in DRC, UN says
UN to resume voluntary repatriation of Rwandan Hutus
Access "impossible" to 900,000 IDPs
Expulsion of Rwandan refugees
Treatment of workers at foreign-ownedfactories
Committee to protect Malawi against foreign encroachment
Malawi resumes fuel imports through Nacala
"Majermanes" demonstrate again in Maputo
American citizen shot
"Majermane" stage protest march
Animal trainer arrested after bid to crossborder
Police seek suspected Eastern European thieves
Families fined for entering Angola
African tourists on the rise
Cause of ID delays identified
Namibian workers replaced by South Africans
German fraud fugitive to lodge request for bail
Tourism report shows visitor numbers back up
Announcement of minimum wages for farmworkers expected
High Commission protests death of Nigerian
Fired for having AIDS?
SA fast becoming a playground for crooks, says report
Traffic accidents a threat to foreign visitors
Another Nigerian killed in South Africa
Foreigners start cancelling trips to Mpumalanga
High Court to expedite tourist cases
364 foreign tourists killed on SA roads in one year
More nurses than ever flock to Britain
DA proposes tourist safety plan
Beit Bridge border congestion problems
Cubans to train SA teachers
Jobless to protect East Cape Tourists
Crowd protests at court against tourist attacks
British tourists wary of SA
Top detectives focus on crime in Mpumalanga
Germans the latest victims of Mpumalanga crime
Task team to target crimes against tourists
SA and Zimbabwe seek to ease border congestion
Local motorists benefit from cheap Zimbabwe petrol
Visitors flock to SA despite attacks
'Bring back our nurses', Zwelithini calls on state to stop healthbrain drain
Docket opened into the death of Nigerian national
Pact signed to bring Cuban tutors to SA
Dual citizen South Africans may use foreign passports abroad
Zimbabwean wins crucial refugee rights case in South Africa
SA, Mozambique to work on migration problem
Traders cry foul over SA travel rules
Estate agent defends home sales to foreigners
Autopsy will reveal how Nigerian died in custody
Nigerians death sparks violent protest
30 000 refugees still waiting for asylum
Protest at death of Nigerian in police custody
AIDS mining summit postponed
Refugees can work while they wait for asylum
Foreign land investigation not a witch-hunt, says Land Affairs
British may revise travel advice for UK tourists
Kilgore's bail application
South African tourism CEO condemns attack
Tourist attack condemned
British tourist gang-raped, Mozambican Samaritan murdered
AngloGold miners start antiretroviral therapy
Kilgore re-arrested under Aliens Control Act
Congolese refugee jumps to his death
Cape court sets Kilgore free
Government should clarify foreign land ownership issue, says DA
Foreigners' ownership of land probed
Cameroon pair in court for stolen computers
Gold mines account for 64% of SA mine deaths
Safety plan for tourists in Mpumalanga
Buthelezi to table damage control law
Protestor in Pretoria a 'DRC refugee'
Government researching foreign ownership of land
Chinese investor's murder leads to factory closure
New return for cross-border transactions
US will ask SA to extradite Kilgore
Top NIA official slated for Home Affairs D-G job
South African mistakenly deported
Cuban doctor gets green light to stay
Chinese nationals arrested for dealing in Perlemoen
SA has not received extradition request of American fugitive
Emigration hits companies hard
Report on drugs, crime and migration
SA expatriates impact cheap labour to Australia
Brain drain hits KZN health hard
21 migrants held in Sunnyside
South Africa "hopelessy" unprepared for refugees, saysNCRA
Alleged conmen in court
20 immigrants held in Pretoria raid
Increase in tourists benefits hotel industry
Anglo American faces heavy AIDS bill
Foreigners assured of property rights
Foreign ownership won't hurt land reform, says DA
ANC policy on foreign land ownership
Raids by labour inspectors in Ga-Rankuwa
Plans to keep health workers in SA
International organisation of foreigners to take action
Let's oppose xenophobia
Ex-miners and lung disease
Migrant labour agreements promised
Illegal South African migrants in Australia
443 Home Affairs officials charged with corruption
Drugs worth R24m seized, four arrested
No place for refugees fleeing Africa's tyrants
Australia clamps down on SA 'slave rackets'
Nine illegal immigrants deported back toIndia
Refugees face new challenge
US criticizes Tanzania on people trafficking
UN facilitates more refugee repatriations
Passport bill debated in Parliament
Tourism enjoys steady growth
UNHCR donates 2 ambulances
Ban on Zimbabwean imports fuels smuggling
Goods seized at Malawi border
Scramble for non-genetically modified food for refugees
Government probes award of land to South African businessman
Danish government aids refugee communities
Wife of fomer Finance Minister seeks asylum in South Africa
Foreigners arrested for drug trafficking
Building industry dominated by foreign contractors
Police probe cheap fuel sales at SA border
Zimbabwe refuses to renew work permit for press bureau chief
Zimbabweans flee food shortages into neighbouring countries
EU's ban on two ministers welcomed
Tourism tumbles in Zimbabwe
MDC activists seek asylum in US
SA probes Zimbabwe role in smuggling racket
Zimbabwe's tourism revenue drops 44%
Two ministers slip through EU travel ban
US embassy staff assaulted
Government decision on visas bad for tourism
Police killing of American citizen
Tourism on the rebound
Government vows to arrest banned citizens if they return
Steep visas, high air fares to stem exodus to UK
'Great Trek' deprives Zimbabwe of skills
Plans to open more border posts
Blair should rethink on visas: commentary
Visa requirements a blessing in disguise: commentary
Zimbabwe bans Blair, top UK officials from entry
Zimbabwe imposes visa restrictions on British nationals
Starving citizens resort to desperate cross-border measures
UK tries to stop entry of Zimbabweans
Victoria Falls braces for solar eclipse tourist boom
UK imposes visa requirements on Zimbabweans
Livestock theft fueled by lucrative Mozambique market
SA farmers appear in Zimbabwe court
Zimbabwean travellers still stranded in SA
State plans to tax expatriate Zimbabweans
SA cuts off fuel supply
Impact of land reforms
Tighter EU sanctions on Zimbabwean officials
Mugabe plans to tax Zimbabweans abroad
Launch of Transfrontier Park (Harare, The Herald,27/11) - Presidents Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Joaquim Chissanoof Mozambique and Thabo Mbeki of South Africa will officiallylaunch the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park next month. Thelaunch will take place on the Mozambican side of the new parkbelieved to be one of the world' largest transfrontierconservation areas. The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park linksGonarezhou National Park on the Zimbabwean side, Gaza NationalPark in Mozambique and Kruger National Park in South Africa.Tourism ministers from the three countries, Cde Francis Nhema ofZimbabwe, Mr Fernandos Sumbana of Mozambique and Mr Mohammed ValiMoosa of South Africa met in Harare yesterday to finalisepreparations for the launch. Cde Nhema told participants at themeeting that as the three countries moved closer to the launch,it was important to address inherent challenges in a newinnovative and creative manner. "We must have the courage torecognise our successes, mistakes and failures in the past anduse them in a positive manner for the future. "A balancedapproach, carrying the necessity to be flexible and recognisingour different capacities will ensure that we move together inharmony and that there will be no loss for anyone involved but again for us all," said Cde Nhema. The permanent secretary inthe Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Ambassador Lucas Tavaya,said the signing ceremony was scheduled for December 8 or 9 inMozambique. "Final preparations have already been completedand everything is set for next month. "The opening of thenew park is expected to attract several thousands of touristsstarting from next year," he said. Ambassador Tavaya saidthe park was expected to unlock great potential for tourismrevival and investment in Zimbabwe and the region. Apart from theGreat Limpopo Transfrontier Park, Zimbabwe was also linking upChimanimani National Park in Manicaland with Mozambique. InVictoria Falls, another conservation area, the Okavango-UpperZambezi Mega Park, would benefit Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia andZambia. The countries have removed border fences to allowelephants and other game to follow traditional migration routesand tourists to travel across boundaries without facing bordercontrols.
Mozambique/SA joint projects on track (Maputo, Agenciade Informacao de Mocambique, 21/11) - Joint projectsbetween Mozambique and South Africa in various areas areprogressing satisfactorily, thus paving the way for theimplementation of new ones. This was the upbeat assessment whendelegations of the two countries, headed by Mozambican PresidentJoaquim Chissano and his South African counterpart Thabo Mbeki,met in Maputo on Thursday to make a balance sheet of theimplementation of the projects. According to Mozambican FinanceMinister Luisa Diogo, this was another routine meeting betweendelegations of the two countries, that broached issues related toareas such as tourism, immigration and labour, energy,transports, and trade. Addressing a joint press conference withSouth African Trade and Industry Minister Alec Erwin, Diogo saidthat on tourism, South Africa has completed its part of a roadfrom South Africa to the Mozambican tourist resort of Ponta doOuro, while on the Mozambican side, the project is still at thestage of feasibility studies, that should be completed within thenext two months. She said that this study, being conducted by aSouth African consortium, will determine the cost of the project,and how much Mozambique is to contribute. Another tourismproject, the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, encompassingparts of South Africa, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, should have itsofficial treaty signed before the end of the year, by the headsof state of the three countries. To a question on reports thatthe European Union was reluctant to finance the project becauseof the crisis in Zimbabwe, Erwin said "the project does notdepend on the European Union. We have the resources to implementit on our own". According to those reports, the EuropeanUnion is demanding that Zimbabwe be excluded from the project asa condition for the funding, but Erwin, again said that"there is no reason to exclude Zimbabwe". As forenergy, Diogo said that the Pande/Temane natural gas project,that includes the building of a pipeline between the gas fields,in the southern province of Inhambane, to South Africa, isrunning on schedule. She expressed satisfaction at the fact thatMozambican companies are involved in the transport of the tubesnecessary to build the pipeline. She told reporters that themeeting did not discuss in depth the issue of the Cahora Bassadam, since this is to be dealt with in an appropriate forum, thatincludes also Portugal, the major shareholder in the damoperating company, HCB. As for the projected new dam at MepandaNcua, also on the Zambezi, 70 kilometres downstream from CahoraBassa, Diogo said this was not discussed, because it is part of abroader forum, in the context of the New Partnership for Africa'sDevelopment (NEPAD). She said that in order to reduce illegalimmigration into South Africa, the meeting believed it wasnecessary to create an agency to contract Mozambicans to work inSouth African farms. Diogo also said that the two countriesshould establish projects to cater for returning Mozambicanminers, in their home areas, in order to help them developsustainable small projects. In the area of transport, the twodelegations decided that an agreement for leasing out theMaputo-South Africa railway to a consortium headed by the SouthAfrican rail company Spoornet, should be signed before the end ofthe year.
Ministers meet on Nacala Development Corridor (Maputo,Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, 19/11) - A meetingof the Nacala development Corridor Committee of Ministers isbringing together delegations from Mozambique, Malawi, and Zambiain the northern port city of Nacala, on Tuesday to prepare aninvestors conference for the Nacala corridor. The Tuesday sessionwas preceded by a meeting of experts of Technical Units of thethree countries that made recommendations on the dates for theconference, which will be confirmed by the ministerial committee.The Mozambican delegation is headed by Transport Minister TomasSalomao, while the others are led by Salomao's Malawiancounterpart, Clement Stambuli, and by the Zambian deputyTransport Minister Wile Nsanda. During their stay in Nacala, thedelegations will be present at the unloading of new trains andother railway equipment that have been imported to strengthen theoperating capacity of the Mozambican railway company CFM, whichis ferrying maize and fertilisers to Malawi, Zambia, and otherhinterland countries. A press release of the Mozambican TransportMinistry says that these actions are part of the emergencyprogramme to mitigate the effects of drought in the SouthernAfrican region. The Nacala Corridor investors conference isbudgeted at 300,000 US dollars, half of which has been granted bythe South African government, and the remainder is to becontributed by the governments of Mozambique, Malawi, and Zambia.
Tourism ministers to meet over Transfrontier Park(Harare, The Herald, 18/11) - Tourism ministers fromZimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa will meet in Harare nextweek to finalise preparations for the launch of the Great LimpopoTransfrontier Park being established among the three countries."We have to meet and review our position and see howlogistically possible it is to launch the park in December,"Environment and Tourism Minister Mr Francis Nhema said. He saidthe date of the launch of the park would be set at the meeting.Set on 37 000 square kilometres, the park will be one of theworld's largest transfrontier conservation areas linkingGonarezhou in Zimbabwe, Gaza in Mozambique and Kruger NationalPark in South Africa. Apart from the Great Limpopo TransfrontierPark, Zimbabwe was also linking up Chimanimani National Park inManicaland with Mozambique while in Victoria Falls, anotherconservation area, the Okavango-Upper Zambezi Mega Park, wouldbenefit Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia and Zambia. The countries haveremoved border fences to allow elephants and other game to followtraditional migration routes and tourists to travel acrossinternational boundaries without facing border controls. The parkis expected to unlock great potential for tourism revival andinvestment in Zimbabwe and the region. Meanwhile, Mr Nhema calledon local authorities and Members of Parliament to makepreparations for National Tree Day, which is held every year onthe first Saturday of December. "They must start looking forareas where they will plant trees in preparation for theday," he said.
South Africa is regional drug trafficking hub(Johannesburg, Irin, 07/11) - South Africa is theregional hub for drug trafficking, and the largest transit zonefor illicit drugs in Southern Africa, the United Nations Officeon Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said on Thursday. The country alsoearned the dubious honour of being upgraded by British officialsas the most significant source of cannabis smuggled into theUnited Kingdom. Interpol listed it as one of the world's top foursource countries for the illegal herb, according to the firstUNODC country profile on drug and crime in South Africa, launchedin Pretoria, on Thursday. While cannabis was the most widely useddrug in South Africa, followed by methaqualone (known as Mandrax)and cocaine, the study noted an increase in heroin use,particularly among white school children. Arrests for heroin useincreased eight-fold since the mid 1990s and, worryingly, 51percent of the people treated for heroin addiction in one studysaid they had injected the drug, a method not previously used inSouth Africa. This had serious implications for the spread ofHIV/AIDS in the country. There had also been an increase in themanufacture of drugs, mainly Mandrax, reflected in the discoveryof vast quantities of raw chemicals seized in police raids. Drugtrafficking and organised crime had grown in South Africa sincethe mid 1990s, and had drawn on factors like the country's porousborders, the increase in immigrants, and international tradelinks. An example was the exchange of hijacked cars across SouthAfrica's land borders in return for illicit drugs. Drugtrafficking was an "extremely profitable enterprise"for the over 200 organised crime syndicates in South Africa.There were links between the drug trafficking activities oforganised crime groups and other criminal acts, ranging from carhijackings and robberies to the smuggling of firearms, stolencars, endangered species and precious metals, the report said.While Nigerian syndicates were heavily involved in cocaine andheroin trafficking the report noted that most Nigerian immigrantsin South Africa were law abiding. However, there was alsoprominent involvement in the trade by nationals from Tanzania,Burundi, Kenya and Ethiopia, often under the misnomer "WestAfrican nationals". Crime was still the most pressing andvisible social problem in the country, the report said. Violentcrimes, such as attempted murder, aggravated robbery and violenceagainst women and children, had shown a general increase since1994 with a slight downturn in 2001 and 2002. "Reportedrates of rape are at the most serious levels in the world, andthere is much concern about the increase in violence againstwomen and in particular against children," the study found.A contributor to the study, Ugljesa Zvekic said: "Theeffects of apartheid on crime are still enormous. South Africahas the second highest income disparity in the world and fromresearch there is a direct linear association between incomedisparity and income levels. "That is something thatapartheid has left democratic South Africa to deal with," hetold delegates at the launch of the report.
Post-war Angola prepares for return of thousands ofrefugees (Luanda, Sapa-AP, 28/11) - Zambia and Namibiasigned an agreement Thursday to help coordinate the return ofabout 160,000 Angolan refugees living in their countries. Therefugees are to return to Angola between May and June next yearwith the help of the United Nations, said Joao Batista Kussuma,Angola's Social Reinsertion Minister. There are roughly 136,000Angolan refugees in Zambia and 24,000 in Namibia, he said. Thosecountries are to provide transport for the refugees' return.Ibrahim Gambari, the U.N. special representative to Angola, saidhe recently visited the refugee camps. "All those peoplewant to do is go home," he said. The refugees fled Angola'scivil war that ended seven months ago. Others are to return inlater stages, Kussuma said. A total of about 1 million Angolanrefugees are believed to be living in neighboring countries. Toprepare for the refugees' return, U.N. aid agencies are to helpthe government establish infrastructures, including schools,hospitals and sanitation, in towns and villages. About 70,000refugees have already returned to Angola since the two-decade warended, the government estimates. Congo and the Republic of Congoare home to hundreds of thousands of Angolan refugees, accordingto the government. Civilians driven from their homes by the warbut still inside Angola are placing a heavy burden on thegovernment and international aid agencies. The United Nationsrecently estimated there are about 3.7 million Angolans dependenton aid. Of those, 2 million need emergency food aid, the worldbody said. The war began after Angola won independence fromPortugal in 1975. Three peace deals collapsed before thegovernment and UNITA rebel group agreed in April to end thefighting.
First wave of Angolan refugees to go home next year(Johannesburg, Irin, 28/11) - The first wave of 170,000Angolan refugees are set to return home next year following adeal between the governments of Angola, Namibia and Zambia onThursday. The tripartite agreements, brokered by the office ofthe UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), is the fourthattempt to repatriate close to half a million refugees who fleddecades of civil war. "Previous attempts to bring peopleback home failed because of the ongoing war, but since theceasefire in April, most people and leaders believe that peace isirreversible in the country. The UNHCR is optimistic about thisattempt," UNHCR spokeswoman in Angola, Lucia Teoli, toldIRIN. However, organised repatriation will only start after therainy season ends in May/June 2003. In January 2003, UNHCR saidit would carry out a "repatriation test" from campsnear Kimpese, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to Zaïreprovince in Angola. But already some 70,000 refugees havespontaneously returned home since February, UNHCR said. Over thesame period, some 860,000 internally displaced Angolans wereestimated to have gone back to their home areas. To cope with thereturns, UNHCR has strengthened its presence in the north ofAngola, in Uige and Zaïre provinces, and established a permanentpresence in Luena, Luau, Cazombo and Lumbala N'Guimbo in theeastern Moxico province. One of the key concerns has been thesafety and protection of the returnees. Angola is one of the mostmined countries in the world, and each year civilians are killedby unexploded ordinance. "Before May next year the UNHCRwould have set up seven field offices in provinces across thecountry. These offices will coordinate the registration ofreturnees, the distribution of relief items and conduct mineawareness campaigns. It is important that the returnees feel safeand have at least access to basic facilities," Teoli said. Afurther 70,000 refugees are set to return by the end of 2004.UNHCR has appealed for US $34 million to implement the two-yearprogramme.
Authorities sign repatriation accords with Zambia andNamibia (Luanda, Angola Press Agency, 28/11) - TheGovernments of Angola, Zambia and Nambia on Thursday here signedan agreement of organized voluntary repatriation of about 500.000Angolans refugees in those countries, in an operation takingplace from May to June 2003. Signing the accords were the AngolanSocial Welfare Minister, Joao Baptista Kussumua, the NambianAmbassador, Charles Namolo, the Permanent Secretary of Zambia'sHome Ministry, Piter Momba, plus the UNHCR Representative toAngola, Kalu Kalumya. The operation is worth US 36 milliondollars, being six million disbursed by the Angolan government tobe used during the first phase. A source with the Social WelfareMinistry said 200.000 refugees are in Zambia, 24.000 in Namibiaand 195.000 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Before theceremony, Joao Baptista Kussumua said these accords areinstrumens which will allow to create conditions for the startingof organized repatriation of the thousands of citizens in 2003.Attending the ceremony were the UN Secretary-GeneralRepresentative to Angola, Ibrahim Gambari, the Angolan Ministerof Agriculture and Rural Development, Gilberto Lutukuta, theActing UN Humanitarian Coordinator to Angola, Francisco RoqueCastro, and the Director of the National Children's Institute,Eufrazina Maiato.
Namibian and Angolan parliamentarians visit northernAngola (Uije, Angola Press Agency, 14/11) - A team ofNamibian and Angolan deputies is meeting on Thursday in Angola'sNothern city of Uije and will manifest their solidariety to thepopulation who suffered the effects of the war recently endedcountrywide.Mpla Ruling Party deputy Manuel Ginga, head of thedelegation, said that during the visit they will change opinionswith the local authorities on the initiatives to reduce theshortages the local population is facing and matters related touije's development. During their few-hour staying in uije, theparliamentarians will visit facilities the Luquixi hydroelectricdam, the health technical school plus the sleeping disease healthcentre. The team comprises three Angolan deputies, four Namibianand a representative of the Embassy of that African country.
A new beginning for the internally displaced (Irin,14/11) - Victims of the tactics of two armed forces,Angola's four million internally displaced persons (IDPs) face afuture as uncertain as their past. Adelino Chipala and BentoFaria are both recent additions to Angola's tally of IDPs. On abitingly cold night earlier this year in the Angolan highlands,they sat by a wood fire next to the rows of white tents at theMedicines Sans Frontieres (MSF) compound in Chipindo, Huilaprovince. Both had found employment as guards with MSF. But thestories of how they came to be here could hardly be moredifferent. "All these people were UNITA people," saidChipala, 48, indicating the IDP settlement where some 13,000people currently live. "When the last war broke out UNITAwas affected by [UN] sanctions - after the sanctions UNITA loststrength. Previously, the people were working in their fields andproducing well. Then the government won a battle ... [and] forcedall the people to come here, to government held territory."After they forced the people to come to Chipindo, all thefood that the people had grown before the war, remained behind,their animals too - and the UNITA troops ate it. Here, there wasnothing for the people, no food. "That was in November ...until April people were here in Chipindo with no food, nothing.Every day, more than 20 or 30 people died. Now people arestarting to eat something," Chipala said. By contrast,Faria, 32, always considered himself a supporter of thegovernment. Originally from Malanje in northern Angola, he tookadvantage of the brief interlude of peace in the early 1990s tocarry out "candongo" (informal trade) in the east ofthe country. Captured by UNITA in 1992, he spent 10 years on themove with the rebels. "My mother disappeared in the war. Myfather disappeared in the war. My grandfather, my sister. I amalone here in Chipindo," Faria said.
Throughout 2001 and the first quarter of 2002, UN figuresindicate that the number of new IDPs in Angola fluctuated between20,000 and 50,000 each month, the number rising to over 60,000 inSeptember 2001 owing to a massive movement of people followingUNITA rebel attacks in the north of Bengo province. The centralprovince of Bié, the scene of bitter conflict, saw an average ofover 10,000 people displaced each month throughout this period.Yet the precise numbers of people displaced may never be known.In Chipindo, for example, the IDP settlement is home to about13,000 people - yet more than 2,000 fresh graves hidden away inthe bush are testimony to those who did not live to be includedin the statistics. All of these people died between November 2001and April 2002. They had been forced out of their homes and intomunicipal centres where nothing was provided for them, until thehumanitarian agencies arrived in June this year. The UN figuresfor new IDPs dropped dramatically - from 24,000 in April 2002 to8,000 in May - following the 4 April peace accord between thegovernment and UNITA. The forced displacement tactics of thegovernment and UNITA armies had come to an end, and improvedaccess for humanitarian agencies meant that people did not haveto travel as far as previously to get help. People neverthelesscontinued to move. For some of the survivors of the war, many ofwhom had been living on the move for years, this was the firstchance they had to make their way to a place where help wasavailable. Those figures also mask a huge movement of peoplewhich began after the signing of the peace accord. Between Apriland July more than 80,000 UNITA soldiers and over 300,000 oftheir relatives made their way to designated quartering areas aspart of the demobilisation process. In accordance with the peaceplan, the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) have absorbed 5,000 soldiers- responsibility for the remainder now passes to the government'snewly established Commission for the Social and ProductiveReintegration of the Demobilised and Displaced. These people donot form part of the IDP statistics, but they areindistinguishable from IDPs in terms of their vulnerability andneed for humanitarian assistance.
The government has announced that the 42 quartering centreswould be closed by the end of the year, and humanitarian staffare apprehensive that the former UNITA soldiers and theirfamilies could end up becoming another burden on over-stretchedaid agencies. UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Angola, Erick deMul, said the 'fluid' situation was causing some difficulty."The main problem is with the former UNITA combatants. Ittook weeks, months, to create and establish the necessarylogistics to get the necessary stuff to them, then the momentthat this is more or less running smoothly, then the decision istaken that these camps where the people are, are to be closed,and this interrupts the whole picture again," De Mul toldIRIN. "It would have been useful if this had been done in anorderly manner, with warning to the international community whenthis was going to happen. I guess the decision was a politicalone and taken in what looked like some haste. Things seemed toslow down a bit because either in places the conditions are notthere, the logistics are in place or it's not clear where thepeople are going to," he said. The UN has estimated that bythe end of the year, 900,000 IDPs will have returned to theirhome areas. "The bad news is that not all of them havereturned home while the authorities were respecting the rules ofthe game, the norms. But increasingly it seems these norms arebeing respected," De Mul said. "Thirty percent [of thereturns] complied with the norms. It's a question of is the glasshalf full or half empty - you could say it could have been a lotbetter - in fact 70 percent better - but could also have been 30percent worse. I think most of us feel it could have beenworse," he added. As people leave the camps, relief agenciesacknowledge the importance of breaking dependency on handouts,and are seeking to provide seeds and tools so people can startfarming once again. Angola's fertile soils, reliable rainfall,and low population density bode well for this approach. Yet humanrights advocates say there is a danger in putting pressure onIDPs to go home without adequate preparation. "Most peoplelost everything that they had and most people are in a situationwhere they have to start from the beginning," said FernandoMacedo of the Association for Justice, Peace and Democracy - anAngolan organisation which worked with Human Rights Watch on areport on the situation of Angolan IDPs. "We think thesepeople must be assisted in basic humanitarian needs, which meansraising funds to give them the tools to cultivate the land.People must not be forced to return to places where they do nothave the conditions to live decently," Macedo said. Otherswarn that farming skills have been lost among communities inwhich a whole generation had grown up as IDPs. "In somefamilies there is no agricultural tradition. The people are soused to getting food from the international and nationalorganisations that it will take some time [for IDPs to resumefarming], and some people may refuse to go back to their place oforigin when they have received food for so many years," anaid worker in Kuito warned.
Refugees demonstrate in Luanda (Luanda, News 24,06/11) - About 50 representatives of refugees from fourAfrican countries demonstrated on Tuesday in Angola, going toparliament in the capital Luanda to demand decent livingconditions and a move abroad. Police broke up the demonstration,but not before refugees from Rwanda, Sudan, the DemocraticRepublic of Congo and Congo-Brazzaville handed in a letter to theparliamentary human rights commission, an AFP journalist said.They accused the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR) of "depriving them of all decent living conditions,drinking water and shelter", said the letter, made availableto AFP. Driven away from the parliament building by police, thedemonstrators then marched through the streets of the coastalcapital in the southern African country, which is emerging from a27-year civil war. Youths, women, babies and elderly people havebeen squatting since August 9 outside the UNHCR offices in thecity centre, sleeping under the open sky, to protest against thetreatment of refugees by the UN agency. The refugees had beenplaced by the UNHCR in a camp at Kifangondo, about 20km north ofLuanda, some weeks ago, but the protesters said in the letterthat it "doesn't meet the necessary conditions"."The only lasting solution would be re-installation" inanother African country under the terms of the Geneva Conventionon Refugees, the letter added. "We are not asking forrepatriation to our countries of origin. Let's be clear aboutthat, because the Geneva Convention provides for freedom ofchoice," it said. Refugee representatives have alreadywritten to President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, to the Luandagovernment and to the United Nations. The UN DevelopmentProgramme last week warned in a report that the war has left some1.4 million people in Angola, both displaced local people andrefugees, entirely dependent on food aid. The report said thecountry faced an "extremely serious humanitariancrisis".
Tourism charges criticized (Gaborone, Sapa, 30/11) - Tourists,tired of high prices were crossing Botswana off their list ofpreferred destinations, Debswana managing director Louis Nchindohas warned his countrymen. Tourist operators were pricingthemselves and Botswana out of the international and localmarkets. "One of the biggest criticisms of Botswana bytourists is that Chobe is a rip-off. I have heard this all overthe world," Nchindo said. Chobe is the north eastern area ofBotswana around Kasane. Its main attraction is the Chobe NationalPark, which is home to a large variety of major game. Debswana isthe 50/50 partnership between the government and De Beers whichmines Botswana's diamonds. Nchindo was speaking at a Christmasparty for the Botswana media on Friday and used the occasion todefend his company's entry into the tourism business to assistthe country's programme to diversify from its almost totaldependence on diamond revenues. The development of tourism is amajor part of this programme. Debswana is to finance thedevelopment of three major tourist hotels; one in Chobe, one inMaun which is the entry point to the Okavango Delta, and one inGaborone. "We have done a lot of research on this project.Why is Chobe a rip-off? Because a lot of hotels there chargephenomenal prices for very poor offerings. This is one of thethings that has driven us to go into tourism: to try and bringback the tourists who have run away from Botswana because theyfind the Chobe a rip-off," Nchindo said. "The touristoperators' charges are ridiculous: they charge in dollars -Isuppose they are ashamed to tell you what it is in our currency.They have priced themselves out of the local and internationalmarket. Tourists expect to pay certain prices for certainservices. They compare Botswana with other destinations. We aregoing into tourism to try and revive some interest in the Chobe,so our country can derive some benefit from its (tourist)assets." Travel agents polled on Saturday were divided onNchindo's view. Most saw the operators in Chobe as not the worstoffenders. Prices there ranged from 1,240 pula (200 dollars) to514 pula (85 dollars) a night, out of reach of most localresidents, but with a favourable exchange rate, still saleableinternationally. It was destinations in the Delta that werebecoming too expensive to attract foreign tourists, they said."The problem is in the Delta," one agent said. "Atsome camps you can pay 20,000 pula (3,350 dollars) for three daysand nights." There has been strong criticism of Debswana'splan and the mining giant has been told by the tourist operatorsto mind its own diamond business. The overall plan is thatDebswana will seed the hotels and go into partnership withoperating companies, international and local. Black empowermentwill be dominant and Nchindo sees the hotels eventually owned byBatswanans. Debswana group corporate development manager JoeMatome said at an earlier briefing the 631 million pula projectwas intended to put many more Batswana into hotel and tourism."The first hotel will be a 194 million pula development inKasane and land has been secured on the edge of the nationalpark. It is scheduled to receive its first guests before the endof 2004. The others, a 108 million pula development in Maun and a329 million pula development in Gaborone, will follow within twoyears," he said. "Debswana believes that more touristswill come to Botswana if more five star accommodation pricedconsistent with world class service levels is available."
Botswana students assaulted in Zimbabwe (ZimbabweIndependent, 15/11) - In what could result in adiplomatic row between Zimbabwe and Botswana, the allegedharassment of Botswana nationals in Zimbabwe was highlighted lastweek during a parliamentary debate in Gaborone on PresidentFestus Mogae's State of the Nation address. Contributing to thedebate, Botswana's North East member of parliament, ChapsonButale, complained about the treatment of Botswana nationals inZimbabwe, especially in Bulawayo. The MP alleged a number ofstudents had been assaulted in the city while another one wasstabbed with a knife. Reports to the police had not achievedanything. He said Zimbabwean police did not entertain complaintsby Botswana students. "The students reported the assaults tothe Zimbabwean police only to be told that the Zimbabweans wereretaliating," said Butale. A number of Zimbabweans havereportedly been ill-treated on visits to Botswana. However,police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena dismissed the allegations,saying that the Zimbabwe Republic Police had no culture ofharassing foreigners. "If an offence is committed there areprocedures to follow and we communicate with embassies. We alsohold joint meetings with Botswana police," Bvudzijena said."The Botswana police have not mentioned these allegations inour regular meetings with them and we wonder where they arecoming from." The two countries' media have given muchattention to the alleged inhuman treatment of their respectivecitizens by the other nationals. The Bulawayo-based Chroniclelast month carried articles reporting brutality againstZimbabweans by Batswana while Botswana's main newspaper, Mmegi,carried stories highlighting what they termed Zimbabwe policeharassment of its nationals. Butale said Botswana nationals wererequired to pay transport fees in pula while they were inZimbabwe. He also questioned the relevance of bilateral meetingsbetween Zimbabwe and Botswana and argued that they benefited theZimbabweans only. The trading of these accusations beganimmediately after Botswana criticised President Mugabe's landreforms and then demanded payment for a 20-million-litre fuelcredit line it extended to the government in March 2000.Allegations of Zimbabwean police brutality worsened last monthwhen a Botswana customary court president and a police officeralleged harassment while they were in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe bullying Botswana citizens, says Butale (TheBotswana Gazette, 13/11) - North East member ofparliament, Chapson Butale's patience with the government ofZimbabwe is running out amid public concerns that Batswanastudying in that country were living under constant harassmentfrom Zimbabweans. Butale told parliament that there is growingevidence of unprovoked ill treatment of Batswana in Zimbabwe,particularly in the city of Bulawayo, where they go to school andto shop at weekends. He said a young Motswana studying there wasrecently beaten up in an unprovoked public attack, forcing her toabandon her studies and flee back to Botswana. Another one, hesaid, was stabbed with a knife in broad daylight and l.ft fordead in the streets of Bulawayo. Butale said what worries himmost is the fact that these series of attacks often fail toattract the intervention of the police even after they have beenreported. Last week, the MPs concerns set him on a collisioncourse with Foreign Affairs Minister, Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe,whom he accused of remaining silent in the face of atrocity.Butale challenged the Minister to take bold steps to protectBatswana living in Zimbabwe before the situation gets out ofcontrol. He said Zimbabwe was in the habit of "bullyingBotswana" at every corner, yet nothing was being don.. Hesaid recently the government of Zimbabwe unilaterally dosed railtraffic between Ramokgwebana and Plumtree without regard to theinconvenience to Botswana. Butale's verbal attack on Zimbabweattracted a side remark from a fellow BDP back boncher aboutBotswana's P1 million fuel donation to Zimbabwe in the wake ofthe fuel crisis in that country. The back bencher expressed doubton the possibility of Zimbabwe paying back Botswana for the fuel,or returning the favour in any other way. To this Butaleremarked: "If they (Zimbabwe) can't pay back the IMF, whoare we to be paid back?', in apparent reference to Zimbabwe'sforeign debt crisis. Citing another example, the MP said Batswanapassengers using public transport in Zimbabwe were often requiredto pay in Pula as opposed to the local currency to take advantag,of the strength of the Pula. On other issues, Butale complainedthat water in Botswana was being distributed in a way thatfavours communities in the southern parts of the country overthose in the north. He said it was ironic that some villages inhis constituency have been without water for more than 10 yearsin spite of their proximity to the Shashe Dam, one of thecountry's largest sources of water.
MP criticizes Zimbabwe on migration (Mmegi, 8-14/11) -The Member of Parliament for North East, Chapson Butalewas in his element when he debated President Festus Mogae'sspeech on Wednesday. Zimbabwe featured prominently in hisdeliberations. Butale pointed out that he is amazed that a lot ofZimbabwean buses are licensed to operate here when not manyBotswana buses are allowed to operate in Zimbabwe. He said hesuspects that Zimbabwe is bullying Botswana. He asserted thatthough there is no passenger train between Francistown andRamokgwebana, the route becomes alive when Zimbabwe needssomething from Botswana. "The trade is one-sided in favourof the Zimbabweans," he said. Butale said there was no wayZimbabwe would pay fuel supplied by Botswana in 2000 if they haverefused to repay their loans to the International Monetary Fundand the World Bank. The former Cabinet Minister stated that hehas received reports that some Batswana who stay in Zimbabwe arebeing terrorised. "When they go to report to the police theyare told that the Zimbabweans are revenging." Butale saidone Botswana student was stabbed and left for dead in Zimbabwe.He urged Foreign Affairs Minister, Mompati Merafhe to dosomething to correct the situation. Butale disagreed with the wayZimbabweans are being treated in Botswana. He said whenZimbabweans enter Botswana illegally, they should be tried withinthe confines of the laws of the country. "I don't agree withtheir being caned," he said. The MP instead suggested thatborder patrols be increased. Butale strongly spoke about how thestaff of the Department of Tribal Administration is neglected. Hesaid the best that they can get is a two weeks course at IDM. Hesaid the Ministry of Local Government in conjunction with UBshould come up with a comprehensive course for court clerks."The Department of Tribal Administration is a frustrated andforgotten department," Butale emphasised. On another matterButale said he did not like the idea that District Commissionersshould review cases from customary courts. He said DCs are nottrained on legal matters. Instead he argued that judicialofficers have to be increased in districts so that they canreview the cases. He said it is important that the role of theDCs are defined and clarified because they also clash withcouncils. In his contribution, the Deputy Speaker and MP forMaun/Chobe, Bahiti Temane said he expected the President to havetalked about the role of the Vice President, Ian Khama as thecustodian of projects. He said in the past, the president tooktime to explain why he granted Khama the sabbatical leave as wellas when he recalled him. Temane said he will express his opinionon the matter when NDP 9 is debated. He said the president couldhave briefed parliament on the Khumalo Commission. "We onlygot to hear about the Commission from the media but not frominstitutions which are supposed to inform us," he added.
Botswana successful in luring Chinese investors (BOPA,01/11) - Botswana has been generally successful in herendeavour to attract foreign investment from China, says tradeand industry minister Jacob Nkate during a dinner he hosted forthe visiting Chinese foreign trade and economic co-operation viceminister Wei Jianguo at the Gaborone Sun. He said a number ofChinese construction companies, including Complant Corporation,had established themselves in the country. Nkate said there werenine industrial licence holders of Chinese origin in Botswana,whose companies had created employment opportunities for about 1450 people. He said Botswana was grateful for the employment andhousing, which Chinese companies had contributed towards theircreation. Minister Nkate expressed hope that China will exploreinvestment opportunities that exist in Botswana so as to assistin "the much needed economic diversification process".He said Botswana had an investment climate conducive for privatesector development and government would continue to improve it.Nkate also announced that corporate tax rate has been reduced to25 per cent and that of manufacturing to 15 per cent while thetop rate for personal income tax was also 25 per cent, whichmakes it one of the lowest in the world. "Other facilitiesand advantages we offer include good infrastructure such as anexcellent road network, world class telecommunicationsfacilities, air connections and rail linking Botswana to othercountries" . Earlier, Jianguo paid a courtesy call onPresident Festus Mogae at the Office of the President. Mogae saidBotswana had benefited more than China from the Botswana-Chinarelationship, which has been in existence for a long time. Hesaid Botswana's access into the European Union market wasgoverned by the Lome Convention and that negotiations for newarrangements that could replace the convention were on going.Jianguo commended Mogae for his "wise leadership",which he said had resulted in a smooth and fast development inthe bilateral co-operation between Botswana and China. He hopedBotswana would contribute to peace, stability, economicdevelopment and integration in SADC. Jianguo said theinterest-free loan agreement, which he and finance anddevelopment planning minister Baledzi Gaolathe signed, was anindication of China's commitment to contribute to Botswana'seconomic growth. Jianguo said Beijing wanted to intensifyinvestment and use Botswana's raw materials to manufacture goodsfor export to neighbouring countries. President Mogae saidBotswana looked forward to increased co-operation and investmentto help diversify her economy. He hoped more Chineseentrepreneurs would set up factories in the country through whichBotswana would export to the United States of America underAmerican Growth and Opportunity Act 2 (AGOA 2).
UNHCR issues ID cards to refugees (Nairobi, Irin,25/11) - The Office of the United Nations HighCommissioner for Refugees has started issuing identity cards totens of thousands of refugees and asylum seekers in theDemocratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and neighbouring Republicof Congo (ROC), the agency reported. "Not having an ID cardmeans that a refugee can run into all kinds of problems and getquestioned by the authorities," said Mohamed Dayri, thedeputy representative for protection in UN refugee agency'sregional office in the DRC capital, Kinshasa. The agency reportedthat the move "could improve protection for some 440,000people in the region". It would target "all refugeesand asylum seekers above the age of 14" in both countries.The joint effort, between the agency and the two governments, waslaunched on 22 November in Kimaza, about 140 km west of Kinshasa.The agency said at least 2,000 ROC refugees in the DRC town ofKamina would receive their identity cards within days. Theoperation would then move to Pointe-Noire, ROC, in December,before continuing in the southeastern DRC city of Lubumbashi, theagency said. The two governments estimate there are 330,000refugees and asylum seekers in the DRC and 110,000 in the ROC."Angolans make up the majority of them in bothcountries," the agency reported. In addition, it said, therewere some 75,000 Sudanese and 22,000 Rwandans hosted in the DRC."Most of the refugees in the two countries are located inareas bordering on Angola and its Cabinda enclave, with a largeSudanese refugee population in northeastern DRC," the agencysaid.
75,000 displaced in Katanga province (Kinshasa, Irin,22/11) - An estimated 104 civilians were killed and75,000 displaced during recent fighting between government troopsand Mayi-Mayi militias in the town of Ankoro, in northern KatangaProvince of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). AbbotFrancois Mwila Bweno, who is in hiding in the southeastern cityof Lubumbashi, said the fighting erupted when government forcesbegan burning and pillaging homes and shops in the area. A localhuman rights NGO, the Commission de Vulgarisation des Droits del'Homme et de Developpement (CVDHO), reported that this began on10 November. Bweno said that the soldiers began their reprisal onSunday against local Mayi-Mayi fighters who had beat up asoldier. "It has been a chain of settling of accounts withthe other, as the Mayi-Mayi sought revenge for one of their ownwho had been beat up on Saturday by soldiers [of the FAC] whotried to take away his weapon," said Mwila. Abbot Leon Simbiof the Saint Antoine parish in Ankoro said the human toll hasbeen particularly brutal. "Some were burned, and thesoldiers threw some bodies in the river to try and hide theevidence," Simbi said from a hideout in Lubumbashi. TheLubumbashi-based CVDHO reported at least 1,200 homes were burnedon 15 November, with 29 corpses left in the rubble, while otherswere thrown in the Congo River. It added that a warehouse storingfood for internally displaced persons was also looted anddestroyed. The United Nations Mission in the DRC confirmed thatthere were skirmishes in Ankoro, but did not give any details.The government also refused to comment. The priests andjournalists who have published information on the events havecomplained that they have been pursued by DRC security serviceagents, forcing them into hiding. "The security serviceshave taken another abbot, whose name is also Francois,"Simbi said.
New wave of displaced people in Eastern Congo(Nairobi, Irin, 19/11) - Hundreds of people are againarriving in North Kivu Province in eastern Democratic Republic ofthe Congo (DRC) following fierce fighting between two rebelarmies for control of Bafwasende and Niania in the neighbouringOrientale Province, World Vision reported on Tuesday. TheRassemblement congolais pour la democratie-Kisangani-Mouvement deliberation (RCD-K-ML) of Mbusa Nyamwisi seized Bafwasende andNiania from Roger Lumbala's RCD-National forces; triggering amass exodus to Luna, Eringeti and Beni, the main town in northernNord Kivu Province and Nyamwisi's base. "The number ofinternally displaced people (IDPs) has swollen by hundreds. Wehad registered about 33,000 two weeks ago," said RichardMugambi, acting manager of the Beni Project of World VisionEastern DRC in Goma. The IDPs were registered within a 50-kmstretch of road in the urban centres of Eringeti, Oicha, Mbau,Ngadi, Mavivi, Mutwanga and Beni, World Vision reported."Hundreds of displaced people are scattered in villagesalong the roads without food, shelter, housing, clothing andother basic needs," said Kangala, one of the displacedpeople who walked to Beni. Between August and October, WorldVision said, the first wave of IDPs fled decades old conflictsover land between the Hema and Lendu people and communities akinto each side. The fighting between rebel forces, originallybattling to oust the government of Congolese President JosephKabila, has fuelled the ethnic conflicts and displacement, WorldVision said. In August, the Congolese Patriotic Union of ThomasLubanga, supported by Hema militias, dislodged Nyamwisi's forcesand those of his allies from Bunia, the main town in IturiDistrict. RCD-K-ML then set up base in Beni, and took revenge onJean-Pierre Bemba by grabbing the town of Mambasa from hisMouvement de liberation du Congo, in late October, World Visionreported. "Rival tribes have always taken advantage of rebelrivalries to stage revenge massacres and rebel armies too haveused ethnic conflicts to advance their motives. The situation innortheastern DRC remains volatile and people are likely to bedisplaced from time to time," World Vision said. Congolesepoliticians, representatives of RCD-Goma, Memba's movement aswell as those of the government in Kinshasa, are in Pretoria, theadministrative capital of South African, to work out a deal for atransitional government in the DRC.
Peace deals fail to improve lives of 2.2 million IDPs(Nairobi, Irin, 14/11) - Despite the almost completewithdrawal of Rwandan and Ugandan forces from the DemocraticRepublic of the Congo (DRC) in recent weeks, fighting hasintensified throughout eastern regions of the country where mostof the over 2.27 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) arelocated, according to the United Nations Office for theCoordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as at August 2002[See "
Meanwhile, a rush to fill the power vacuum left in the wake ofRwandan and Ugandan withdrawals has meant that Congolesecivilians continue to pay the price of war, moving from villageto village, town to town and province to province in the hope ofeluding attacks and reprisals by various armed forces. With overtwo million IDPs, the DRC has one of the highest rates ofdisplacement on the African continent. Along the eastern borderwith Rwanda and Uganda in the provinces of Ituri, North and SouthKivu, and farther west in the provinces of Maniema and Katanga,movements of populations are on a scale difficult to monitor, letalone break down into categories of newly displaced, not so newlydisplaced, old returnees, new returnees, successfully resettled,not so successfully resettled and so on. But if North KivuProvince is any indication, relentless and exhaustingdisplacement has become the rule rather than the exception ineastern DRC. According to an OCHA study, four-fifths of the ruralpopulation of North Kivu has been displaced at least once sincethe beginning of the conflict in August 1998. "Practicallyeveryone in eastern Congo has been displaced at some point oranother," Joel Hirst, of World Vision in Goma, said."The strange thing is that one persons secure area iswhere the next person has run away from." The main road toGoma, going to Sake in the west and branching off to Bukavu inthe south, is a perfect illustration of this phenomenon. On oneside of the road, people with large bundles on their heads streamtowards the relative security of the urban centre; on the other,people with more modest bundles move in the opposite direction,determined to regain their fields after months of increasinglyharsh and impoverished permanence in Goma. As in conflictselsewhere in Africa, the effects of constant displacement are theall too familiar ones of sickness and malnutrition determined, inthe first case, by the lack of access to health care and, in thesecond, by the inability to plant and harvest. In North Kivu,malnutrition has reached such levels that only the young andrelatively strong manage the passage to the few existing feedingcentres. In the meantime, lack of access to medical facilitieshas raised female mortality at childbirth in the DRC to threetimes the average of other African nations, according to a WorldHealth Organisation report published in July 2001. For thehumanitarian community, perhaps the most maddening trait of thewar in the DRC is the inability to discern patterns ofdisplacement. "It would be nice if there were some kind ofmethod, but there isnt," said Sarah Cushing of WorldRelief. The sheer number of parties to conflicts - as many aseight in some places - and the different dynamics of attack andreprisal render even the largest shifts in population hard topredict. In the area known as the Hauts Plateaux in South KivuProvince, for example, few could have anticipated the recentmayhem. Although discontent was rife among the Banyamulenge -Congolese ethnic Tutsis who were often said to be associated withthe Rwandan occupying force - the revolt of Patrick Masunzu,formerly an army officer with the Rwandan-backed Rassemblementcongolais pour la democratie (RCD-Goma), gained unexpected scopeand momentum, with one humanitarian source telling of "largenumbers of troops and helicopters" dispatched by Rwanda toquell the rebellion. The resulting exodus from the area of combat- roughly 50,000 people - caught most humanitarian playersunawares. In Kindu, a town west of Bukavu in Maniema Provinceunder RCD-Goma control, the extraordinary besieging of as many as40,000 civilians by the Mayi-Mayi remains a geographical oddity.To achieve the siege, the Mayi-Mayi - native Congolese combatantsopposed to all foreign forces - moved well beyond their regulartheatre of operations, walking hundreds of kilometres westward.The result, after three years of relative quiet, was the completedisruption of life in the countryside around Kindu, with peopleabandoning their fields to seek sanctuary in the town.
Nowhere, however, has the scramble for the DRCs mineralwealth wreaked consequences as bloody as those in the Ituriregion of Orientale Province. The interference of the Ugandanarmy in the ancient conflict between Hema pastoralists and Lenduagriculturalists has produced the largest ethnic massacre in theregions history, displacing half a million people,according to humanitarian sources in the region. Tens ofthousands more have crossed the provincial border into NorthKivu, descending en masse on the towns of Beni and Lubero. Beniwas already hosting several thousands of refugees displaced byfighting between the Ugandan army and a Uganda rebel group in1993. As for Lubero, it had absorbed several waves of Rwandanrefugees, some of them associated with the genocide of 1994.Taken as a whole, however, North and South Kivu provinces face byfar the most serious crisis, hosting over 50 percent of the wholedisplaced population of the DRC, or roughly 1.2 million people,according to OCHA. Paradoxically, only a fraction of the fightingat the root of such massive displacement is between Rwanda andits original enemies, the Interahamwe (Rwandan Hutu militias) andthe ex-FAR (Forces Armees Rwandaises, the former nationalmilitary), both of whom were held largely responsible by theRwandan government for the 1994 slaughter of some 800,000 ethnicTutsis and politically moderate ethnic Hutus, and in whosepursuit the Rwandan army crossed the border into Congo. "TheRwandan army has departed, but the surrogate RCD-Goma army isstill present with RPA [Rwandan Patriotic Army] cadres indisguise, and will work for the secession of Kivu if they cannotwin power in Kinshasa," said US former Assistant Secretaryof State for Africa Herman Cohen during a recent interview with
"I believe [MONUC] already has both the mandate and theresources to make a difference and to have a decisive influence,the source said. "What is needed is leadership and a swiftreallocation of resources. MONUC should immediately establish astrong political office in Goma, staff it properly, and sendcapable political officers for extensive missions to Bunia,Bukavu, Uvira and wherever else necessary." The sourceadded: "The main task in the very near future is political,not military. There is no need for 10,000 peacekeepers, but for10 skilful political officers/facilitators." One regionalanalyst said that reaching out to the Mayi-Mayi would be key toany political efforts. The Mayi-Mayi are not one cohesiveorganisation, but at least half a dozen groups each operatingwith considerable independence. Their communication capacity hasalways been poor and, according to the source, they have not hadtime to prepare politically for the departure of the Rwandan armyand the collapse of RCD-Goma. "If an Ituri-like scenariowith commercially-motivated warlordism is to be avoided, theinternational community has to facilitate contacts among theMayi-Mayi, the Banyamulenge and RCD dissidents, and activelypromote inter-community reconciliation," the source said."And this has to happen fast, i.e. in the coming weeks. Itcan work, and it can lead to the restoration of peace in theKivus, which is in everybodys interest. But if nobody doesanything, there is a high risk of political and militaryfragmentation and further trouble." Finally, according toCohen, it is important that the DRC government send a message toCongolese Tutsis that they are considered to be Congolesecitizens with all the rights and privileges attached to thatcitizenship. "Because of the grievous errors committed bythe National Conference, some Congolese Tutsis joined with theRwandans who attempted to overthrow the Kabila regime,"Cohen said. "These Tutsis were exploited, betrayed, andkilled by Kigali in the Mulenge highlands. The vast majority ofCongolese Tutsis wish to remain Congolese and contribute to thecountry's development. They should be reassured and reintegrated.
"Humanitarian catastrophe" emerging in DRC,UN says (Kinshasa, Irin, 14/11) - A growing humanitariancatastrophe is unfolding in Ituri District, eastern DemocraticRepublic of the Congo (DRC), as rebels and ethnic militia battlefor dominance, according to a UN official. "We are greatlyconcerned," Hamadoun Toure, the spokesman for the UN Missionin the DRC, told reporters in the DRC capital, Kinshasa, onWednesday. "The confrontation between rebel factionssupported by Uganda [on the one hand] and ethnic militias [on theother] is producing a humanitarian catastrophe." He saidhumanitarian organisations had confirmed a large number of peoplehad been displaced by the fighting. The UN Office for theCoordination of Humanitarian Affairs has reported at lezast500,000 displaced people in the district. "This fighting isquite pointless. Everyone, including the belligerents, agrees.Yet nobody appears to be able to stop the fighting," Touresaid. His remarks related to recent meetings between the UNSecretary-General's special representative to the DRC, AmosNamanga Ngongi, and two rebel leaders. He met Jean-Pierre Bemba,the leader of the Mouvement de liberation du Congo, in thenorthwestern town of Gbadolite on Saturday. Subsequently, Ngongimet Mbusa Nyamwisi, the leader of the Rassemblement congolaispour la democratie-Kisangani/Mouvement de liberation (RCD-K-ML)."Both of them seem to have opted for peace," Touresaid. The belligerents' call for the establishment of an Ituripeace commission failed to materialise, because, Toure said, ofdemands made by Thomas Lubanga, the leader of the Hema rebelmovement, Union du people congolais (UPC). Lubanga's movement, asplinter group of the RCD-K-ML, had called on the governmentrecognise Ituri (which UPC controls) as an autonomous province.The government refused, so the idea of setting up a peacecommission flopped. "We must now hurry and set up thiscommission, because that task cannot be left to the peoplethemselves," Toure said. In fact, the Ugandan army, whichwas keeping the peace in the area, has pulled out two battalionsfrom the DRC, and is due to withdraw the remainder of its troopsin December.
UN to resume voluntary repatriation of Rwandan Hutus(Kinshasa, Irin, 07/11) - The voluntary repatriation ofdisarmed Rwandan Hutu militiamen and their families currentlyconfined at a military base in the south of the DemocraticRepublic of the Congo (DRC) will resume on Thursday, the UNpeacekeeping mission in the DRC, known as MONUC, has said. Justover 200 fighters remained at the Kamina base in Katanga Provincefollowing a mutiny by some 1,300 of their colleagues. Ten oftheir leaders then broke into an armoury, killed seven Congolesegovernment soldiers and wounded five others. The attackers wereoverpowered and then flown to Rwanda, prompting protests by otherHutus against forcible repatriation. "The intimidators haveleft. We have information that the rest want to return toRwanda," Peter Swarbrick, the MONUC divisional chief for thedemobilisation, disarmament, repatriation and reintegrationprogramme for armed groups, told IRIN. The 200 are were amongnearly 2,000 Rwandan Hutu militiamen who had been disarmed andconfined to barracks at Kamina for a year. MONUC said 240 hadalready gone home since the start of voluntarily repatriationsthree months ago. This and efforts by the DRC government toimplement the 30 July Pretoria peace accord between it and theRwandan government have heightened fears among Hutus from Burundiand Uganda that they will also be sent home. But the UN and DRCofficials have said that nobody will be forcibly sent home."MONUC's form of repatriation remains voluntary," AmosNamanga Ngoni, the Special Representative of the UNSecretary-General, said on Wednesday. "The government is notchasing out the Rwandans. They are our neighbours," NtumbaLuaba, the DRC human rights minister, said. "They can stayin our country so long as they abide by our laws."
Access "impossible" to 900,000 IDPs(Nairobi, 06/11) - Access to at least 900,000 internallydisplaced persons (IDPs) in eastern Democratic Republic of theCongo (DRC) remains "impossible", according to theUnited Nations Office for the Coordination of HumanitarianAffairs (OCHA). Of this total, some 500,000 IDPs are in the IturiDistrict, fleeing ongoing fighting between the Lendu and Hemacommunities. The number of IDPs was expected to rise asinstability was continuing in the region, the internationalrelief NGO, World Vision, reported on Wednesday. The groupreported that many of these IDPs were leading "wretchedlives" in camps, churches, warehouses and with relatives ina string of towns along a 200-km stretch between Bunia and Beni.Most of the IDPs are living in Eringeti, 50 km north of Beni,with others in Mayi-Moya, Mbau, Mavivi, Ngadi, Mutwanga and Beni,according to World Vision. They need food, clean water, shelter,medicine, clothing, blankets, kitchenware and utensils.Meanwhile, another 400,000 IDPs are scattered throughout SouthKivu Province, many as a result of recent fighting betweenCongolese Mayi-Mayi militias and the Rwandan-backed Rassemblementcongolais pour la democratie rebel movement, in the wake of alarge-scale withdrawal of Rwandan forces as agreed under the 30July peace accord signed in the South African administrativecapital, Pretoria. Negotiations are said to be"ongoing" by humanitarian organisations withauthorities of Mayi-Mayi factions and RCD-Goma, for access to thepatchwork of areas under their respective control.
Expulsion of Rwandan refugees (Nairobi, Irin, 01/11) -Eight members of the political wing of a Rwandan Huturebel group, who were refugees in the Democratic Republic of theCongo (DRC), were expelled from the country on Wednesday. In astatement released on Thursday, the United Nations Mission in theDRC, known as MONUC, said it had been informed of therepatriation of the eight, all members of the Forcesdemocratiques de liberation du Rwanda (FDLR), the same day. MONUCemphasised that it had not been involved in the exercise in anyway, stating that the eight were neither ex-combatants nor theirdependents, nor individuals wanted by the International CriminalTribunal for Rwanda. Moreover, the repatriation had nothing to dowith MONUC's ongoing disarmament, demobilisation, repatriation,reinstallation and reinsertion programme (DDRRR) programme, theorganisation said. Exactly who had conducted the repatriationremained unclear on Friday, with both the Rwandan and DRCgovernments reportedly accusing South Africa of beingresponsible. A spokesman for the Office of the United NationsHigh Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Ron Redmond, said onFriday that the UN agency had learned "with greatconcern" of the "refoulement" of the eightrefugees. This constituted a violation of the basic refugeeprinciples enshrined in the 1951 refugee convention, he said. Theeight were part of a group of 20 members of the Rwandan politicalparty, who were recognised refugees, Redmond confirmed. He addedthat UNHCR was sending a letter to DRC President Joseph Kabila onFriday seeking an explanation of the incident. He added thatUNHCR was presently trying to gain access to the eight in Rwanda.The eight FDLR members had been held in detention since 2October, MONUC said. The government of the DRC on 24 Septemberannounced a ban on all armed Rwandan groups operating in thecountry, saying that their leaders had been declared personae nongratae on DRC territory. A communique issued by Vital Kamerhe,the government's commissioner-general for the peace process,specifically referred to the FDLR, adding that its leaders had 72hours to leave the country. The step was taken as part of thePretoria accord, signed on 30 July, between Presidents PaulKagame of Rwanda and Joseph Kabila of the DRC, which committedthe latter to the disarmament and repatriation of Rwandan rebelgroups in exchange for a Rwandan withdrawal from DRC territory."This group [FDLR] is among the factors disrupting thedisarmament of armed groups," Kamerhe told IRIN. The eighthad reportedly returned to the DRC from neighbouring Republic ofCongo, where they had taken temporary refuge after the banning.
Treatment of workers at foreign-owned factories(Maseru, Mopheme/The Survivor, 05/11) - It is high timegovernment and non-governmental organizations teach managers offactories about the importance of respect and observance of humandignity. As Basotho women and men work hard in theAsian-controlled textile and clothing industries to improve andboost the economy of Lesotho, some members of the Management ofthese factories continue to harass and abuse their employees,especially women. Despite the fact that the hard work anddedication of these Basotho men and women working in the textileand clothing industries have put Lesotho amongst the top 10countries in the sub-Saharan Africa exporting textiles to theUnited States under the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act(AGOA) which generates a lot of income for the country and thefactories themselves, these poor workers are treated as dogs andoutcasts. What is also amazing and annoying at the same time isthat ill-treatment of the men and women in the Asian textile andclothing factories is perpetrated by Basotho who hold seniormanagerial and administrative position within those companies. OnMonday, November 4, 2002 little did Thenjiswa Ntsaku ofLifelekoaneng, Ha Mabote, Maseru know that she would end up atthe Queen Elizabeth II Hospital after having been assaulted by anAssistant Personnel Manager at the 58 Textile Factory at theIndustrial Area in Maseru. As usual the cause of the assault wasa long-standing dispute over monthly wages between the workersand management of the 58 Textile Factory. "On Friday,November 1, 2002 about 60 workers working in that factorycomplained to the management that every month-end we did not getour full wages. We took the matter up with the Labour Departmentwho visited the said factory and held consultations with themanagement. After that we were told that we should continue withour work and will get our full wages at the end of the day.However, that did not happen. My monthly wage is M560.00 but Iwas given only M458.00. This also happened to my colleagues andhappens every month," she said wiping her swollen partiallyclosed blue eye, which resulted from the assault.
Ntsaku, a married mother of two children,indicated on Monday she went to work as usual, but they foundthemselves locked out of the factory compound by the managementof 58 Textile Factory just because they had complained aboutirregularities in their wages the previous Friday. "As westood outside the factory compound somebody from inside thefactory compound threw a stone at us. The stone nearly hit me andfell on top of a vehicle parked next to where were standing. Allof a sudden, the Assistant Personnel Manager by the name ofMolise appeared from nowhere and started punching me on the faceand thrice on my right eye. He was accusing me of being one ofthe people who threw stones into the factory compound. He punchedme until my nose bled while at the same time he was calling forthe factory security guards to bring his gun," she addedwhile still wiping her swollen rheumy right eye. Ntsaku indicatedafter her fellow workers came to her rescue, she reported thematter to the Hoohlo Police Station situated in the area, and thepolice gave her a medical form to present to the doctors at theQueen Elizabeth II Hospital where she was treated and discharged.According to the Medical Officer's Report, the degree of forceinflicted on Ntsaku was considerate (just short of severe) whiledanger to life and degree of immediate disability were bothmoderate. The degree of long -term disability was found to bepartial (also short of severe). "However, the police did notarrest or question the culprit, Molise. Instead it is Molise whophoned the police upon my arrival at the police station claimingthat he [Molise] had been assaulted by a worker," she said.At the time of going to print, Ntsaku was still awaiting resultsof police investigations into the case. In the meantime,Bahlakoana Lebakae of Lesotho Clothing and Allied Workers Union(LECAWU) told Mopheme that his Union expected Molise to bebrought before the courts of law within three days after theincident. "If the police do not take action, we willcomplain to the police headquarters. If they also do not take upthe matter seriously we will be left with no choice but toconsult with our Union's lawyers," he concluded.
Committee to protect Malawi against foreignencroachment (Blantyre, Malawi Insider, 28/11) - Foreignersillegally in possession of land along Lake Malawi's shore areasthereby displacing Malawians risk eviction and their structuresdemolished following an early government intervention. Ministerof Lands Physical Planning and Survey, Thengo Maloya, recentlytold a news conference in Blantyre that the government hasrevived a lake shore watchdog body known as Lake ShoreDevelopment Committee that had been inactive for about sevenyears. The major function of the watchdog body is to protectinterests of indigenous Malawians who were displaced byforeigners who constructed cottages along the lake shore areas."There is uneconomic use of prime land by cottage developers[foreigners], living much of the land idle. Some cottages havebeen linked with environmental pollution through discharge ofuntreated sewage into water bodies, and seepage from septictanks," he said. The minister said that on October 18, 2002the government approved the revival of the committee, which hasbeen dormant since 1995. In addition, government has extended theLand (Development of Lake Shore Plots) (Control) Order. He saidthe new government Order now covers all lake shore areas andmajor water bodies, which include lakes Malombe, Chirwa, Chiutaand the Shire River. The order also covers the exploration of thelake shore areas as a catalyst for tourism attraction. "Theoverall objective of the Lake Shore Development Committee is topromote economic, orderly and efficient development along theshores of Lake Malawi and the shores of the other major waterbodies of Malawi, and to protect the interests of indigenousMalawians against arbitrary displacement and disruption of theirwater-related activities," he said. Maloya said that theLake Shore Development Committee, will regulate the developmentactivities along the entire lakeshore of Lake Malawi and theshores of other major water bodies of the country.
The committee, according to Maloya, willalso stop illegal developments along the lake shores and riverbanks, facilitate the promotion of tourism along the lake shoresand main river banks of Malawi, in particular the Shire River.The committee would also protect indigenous villagers againstland encroachers and illegal developers, protect fishing groundsthereby, promoting orderly fisheries development in the lakes andother major water bodies and enhance environmental quality bypromoting sound and sustainable environmental management, hesaid. He noted that prior to 1987, there was rampant developmentalong the shores of Lake Malawi especially along lake shore areasin Mangochi by non-Malawian developers who acquired the landillegally. The minister blamed some traditional leaders along thelakeshore areas whom he said sell land to foreigners for personalgains at the expense of poor villagers. Maloya, therefore urgedMalawians along the lake shores to seek consent from his officebefore any developer would be allocated a piece of land. Maloyaobserved that indigenous Malawians are blocked to get to waterfronts by brick and barbed wire fences that were constructedaround cottages denying the indigenous owners of the land to usethe beaches. Cottage development proliferation has a negativeeffect on the overall tourism industry in general since accruedbenefits are not easily taxed, the minister said. He said in someinstances, foreign visitors transact and effect payment outsidethis country whereby visitors only come here for accommodation.In this way, he said, government loses foreign exchange asopposed to the hotel industry, which is taxable and is a majorsource of employment opportunities.
Malawi resumes fuel imports throughNacala (Maputo, Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, 12/11) - Malawihas changed its mind about abandoning use of the Nacala Corridorin northern Mozambique. According to a report in Tuesday's issueof the Maputo daily "Noticias", Malawi has decided toresume, as from this week, the use of the Nacala rail and portsystem, at least for its fuel imports. The Malawian authoritieshad suspended use of the Nacala Corridor, the country's shortestand cheapest route to the sea, since April, for alleged lack ofsafety along the railway. The executive director of the northernbranch of the publicly owned Mozambican port and rail company,CFM, Filipe Nhussi, said that the decision was issued by theMalawian government, through the Malawian fuel import company.The Malawian government justifies its change of attitude bysaying that it found that conditions have been established forthe safe transport of fuel from Nacala port. Nhussi explainedthat, to begin with, there will be two trains carrying 1,400cubic metres of fuel to Malawi every week, and an increase ofthis figure will depend on the improvement in CFM's carryingcapacity. As for the losses caused by the Malawian unilateraldecision to interrupt the use of the Nacala Corridor, Nhussi saidthat CFM will be unable to reach its target of moving 60,000tones of fuel this year.
"Majermanes" demonstrate again in Maputo (Maputo, Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, 23/11) - Dozens of Mozambicans who once worked in the now defunct German Democratic Republic (GDR) marched on Friday for the second time in two weeks through the streets of Maputo in protest against the delay in the Assembly of the Republic, the Mozambican parliament, arbitrating on the dispute that pits them against the government, reports Saturday's issue of the daily paper "Noticias". The "majermanes", as the former migrants are commonly known, have been demanding the repayment of social security and other contributions deducted from their wages while they were working in East Germany under an agreement between the governments of the two countries, signed in 1979, and that came to an end with the fall of the Berlin Wall. The coordinator of the Forum of Returnees from the ex-GDR, Alberto Mahuai, commended the police attitude during the march as "a good sign" of cooperation, since the police did not interfere with the demonstration, although, at police insistence, it was re-routed. He said that the police behaviour showed that the demonstrators' rights were respected, in contrast to other occasions when "majermane" demonstrations were met with police violence. After a census of the former migrants, the government has decided to repay the social security contributions, calculating the total amount involved as 7.5 million US dollars. The payments are being made in installments and began on 15 August. Most of the returnees have already received part of the money, but others refuse to accept their cheques, saying that this amount does not correspond to the money deducted from their wages in Germany. The Forum is claiming much more, and some of its members have even put the social security payments at the extraordinarily high figure of 100 million dollars. The Forum has appealed to the Petitions Commission of the Assembly, so far to no avail. Mahuai announced that a seminar will take place in Maputo on Monday, gathering former migrants, representatives of the Mozambican and the German governments and a number of NGOs to discuss ways of reintegrating the "majermanes" into Mozambican society.
American citizen shot (Maputo, Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, 14/11 - Armed assailants attacked and seriously injured an American citizen, Lesley Rock, in one of the plushest parts of Maputo on Tuesday night. Rock is a consultant for the American company JSI, which works with the Mozambican Health Ministry. She was staying at Maputo's best known hotel, the Polana, and was walking back to the hotel with a male colleague, after dining in a restaurant in the same street. Two assailants attacked her outside the Norwegian Embassy, about 200 metres from the hotel, and demanded her purse. According to an American source contacted by AIM, Rock was thrown to the ground. One of the thieves was making off with her purse, when he turned round and shot her in the head at point blank range. Rock was rushed to a clinic in South Africa where she underwent surgery. As of Wednesday night, her condition was said to be stable. Asked about this attack at his Thursday morning press briefing, Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi said that robberies in this area have been rare. However, AIM understands that this has been the second such mugging in the space of three weeks. Mocumbi said the police "are following up clues as to the identity of the assailants, who are believed to have been stalking their victim". He added that the government is committed "to strengthening the capacity of the police" to avoid such attacks. The government had been in contact with the US embassy about the shooting, but there was so far no official reaction from the embassy.
"Majermane" stage protest march (Maputo, Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, 13/11) - About 150 Mozambicans who had once been migrant workers in the former German Democratic republic (GDR) staged a march through the streets of Maputo on Tuesday to protest against the delay by the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, in dealing with their grievances. The former migrants (colloquially known as "Majermanes") claim that the Mozambican government still owes them money, allegedly sent by the East German authorities to Maputo in the late 1980s, before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The government has agreed to repay the "Majermanes" their social security contributions, and it works out that this amounts to a total equivalent to 7.5 million dollars. Leaders of the Forum of Returnees from the ex-GDR, which claims to represent the "Majermanes", claim this is nowhere near enough. The Forum submitted a petition to the Assembly in December 2001 asking for it to arbitrate in the case. The Assembly's Petitions Commission has investigated the matter, but so far has been unable to reach any conclusion, for lack of adequate information on the transfers of money from Germany to Mozambique in the 1980s. Displaying German and UN flags, the marchers were accompanied by a strong police apparatus, including a contingent of riot police, but no violent incident was reported. The forum coordinator, Alberto Mahuai, said that the group is planning other peaceful demonstrations aimed at some entities they believe could help solve the problem, including the German Embassy. The Embassy has not clarified how much money was in fact sent from Germany to Mozambique. Instead it merely issued a press release stating that the German government has fulfilled all its obligations under the migrant labour agreement signed in 1979. The note added that the embassy has nothing further to say on the matter, and that the dispute is solely between the former migrants and the Mozambican government.
Animal trainer arrested after bid to cross border (TheNamibian, 28/11) - Animal trainer Daniel Radziej hasbeen moved to Windhoek, where he remains in Police custody, afterhe was arrested while allegedly trying to take a lion and twoleopards into South Africa illegally last week. Radziej (30)appeared in the Karasburg Magistrate's Court on Monday, shortlyafter Judge Sylvester Mainga issued an order in the High Court inWindhoek to set aside an earlier court interdict which preventedMinistry of Environment and Tourism officials from confiscating alion and a leopard from him. The two animals have been accused ofattacking people at the Namib Desert farm Probeer, where Radziejruns an animal training business, Ongwe Animal Actors. In thelatest incident the young lion is suspected of killing a farmemployee, Levi Nyumba (51), on October 22 - some two and a halfmonths after Radziej got the court order to prevent Environmentand Tourism officials from taking the animals. His permits tokeep the animals were cancelled at the beginning of August,prompting Radziej to sue the Minister of Environment and Tourismto have the cancellation set aside. It was indicated from withinthe Ministry on Tuesday that the three animals are being kept ata facility equipped for keeping such carnivores. A decision onwhat to do with them is expected to be taken soon. Another urgentapplication in the High Court to determine the animals' fate isalso a possibility, it was indicated. Radziej faces four chargesafter he was arrested while allegedly trying to illegally takethe lion and leopard involved in the first court case, as well asa young leopard, out of Namibia at Noordoewer on Thursday nightlast week. The charges are counts of remaining in Namibia withouta valid permit, transporting the animals without valid permits,keeping the animals without permits, and failing to ensure thatthe animals do not get injured while being transported.Magistrate Betty Aluteni remanded Radziej in custody when shepostponed his case to January 24 for further investigation on therequest of Public Prosecutor Stephan Coetzee.
Police seek suspected Eastern European thieves (TheNamibian, 25/11) - The Police have asked the public tohelp them find two fast-fingered women and a man, suspected to beEast Europeans, who are accused of having embarked on a spree ofhand thefts across Namibia. The three - a grey-haired manestimated to be in his 40s, a blonde-haired young woman and anolder, dark-haired woman - are accused of being the main actorsin a string of alleged thefts in which shopkeepers in Windhoekand as far afield as Otavi and Walvis Bay, and also a bank tellerin the capital, have found themselves hoodwinked and wads of cashpoorer because of the trio's lightning-handed trickery. TheCommanding Officer of the Namibian Police's Serious Crime Unit,Detective Chief Inspector Nelius Becker, on Friday provided themedia with still visual material that had been gleaned from avideotape recording of a visit by two of the three to a branch ofthe Commercial Bank of Namibia in Windhoek. It is hoped that thismaterial will help the Police get hold of the slippery trio.During this visit on November 8, the older of the two women wascaught on a surveillance camera approaching a teller in the bankand asking him in what is thought to be an eastern Europeanaccent - which is believed to possibly be Russian, Bulgarian orRomanian - to change money into US dollars. She then managed toperpetrate a theft so sneaky that not even the teller noticed ituntil afterwards, as she took a wad of US currency away fromunder the teller's eyes, hid it behind her back, and left, US$2000 richer. The trio have been identified as having beenresponsible for a string of similar incidents at shops andsupermarkets throughout Windhoek and elsewhere in Namibia,including Walvis Bay and Otavi, Becker said. Becker asked anyonewith information on the three suspects' whereabouts to contacthim at cellphone no.
Families fined for entering Angola (The Namibian,20/11) - Three Himba families from the Kunene Regionhave been fined N$4 000 each by the Angolan police for takingtheir cattle herds across the border in search of better grazing.Three families from Orokaue village, about 40 kilometres fromEpupa, were accused of illegally entering Angola with theirlivestock. Tjikaepo Ngombe, Kariura Tjiosa and Ngongo Tjiposa andtheir families crossed into Angola on September 16 due to thesevere drought in the Kunene Region. Ngombe said they wereintending to stay at Ombauejatjinanga in Angola until grazing inthe Kunene Region improves. The families and their livestockcrossed the Kunene River at Otjiborombonga village, which istraditionally used as a livestock crossing point even thoughthere are no police stationed there. Ngombe said Himbas had usedthat crossing point to take their cattle into Angola for yearsand he could not fathom why the Angolan police arrested them. Heindicated that he failed to understand why they had to pay anamount as high as N$4 000 when Angolans are also crossing intoNamibia without facing such punishments. "The Angolan policeare destroying the good relationship which exists between the twocountries," Ngombe claimed. He told Nampa that he had tosell three cattle and one goat to raise the N$4 000.
African tourists on the rise (The Namibian, 19/11) - Thenumber of foreign visitors to Namibia increased by 13,5 per centlast year but with a worrying reduction in visits from Germanyand America, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism says in anew report. The report, released to the media yesterday by therecently restructured Directorate of Tourism, said foreignvisitors increased from 758 989 in the year 2000 to 861 184 lastyear, with 670 497 of them being tourists in 2001. Thisrepresented a 13,5 per cent increase in the number of foreignersentering Namibia. The average intended length of stay of thetourists last year was 17,8 nights. The statistics indicated thatbetween 1998 and 2001, visits by African tourists increased by14,3 per cent, while Europe's share of tourists declined by sevenper cent. "A decline of tourists from Germany and UnitedStates of America was recorded over the same period. This trendis particularly disturbing for the German market which is one ofour main overseas markets," the report said. It said theindustry in Namibia was in a healthy state after a"slight" decline was experienced during the first halfof 2001 due to the world recession, September 11 attacks in theUS, instability in Angola and Zimbabwe, economic recession inGermany and the decline in direct air connectivity from long-haulmarkets to Namibia. Interestingly, while the number of arrivalsby German, British, French and Scandinavian nationals decreasedfrom 1996 to 2001, the number of Zimbabwean visitors almostdoubled - up to 48,1 per cent. Nationals from Botswana (39,6 percent), Angola (32,6 per cent) and Italy (14,7 per cent) alsoincreased over the period 1996 to 2001. Approximately 51 per centof the tourist arrivals in Namibia indicated that the purpose oftheir stay was for leisure, recreation and holiday. Some 24 percent came to do business. Statistics provided by Government andthe tourism industry in the past have often contradicted eachother with the industry accusing Government of using too wide adefinition of who passes for a "tourist". TheEnvironment and Tourism Ministry said it relied on informationprovided at border posts and other points of entry by peopleentering the country, but the industry argued that theinformation did not paint a true picture of the situation on theground. It said intra-regional travel was "reasonablylow" and called for further investigations for the reasons.The report said tourism contributed up to eight per cent of theGross Domestic Product last year, which was about N$2,1 billion."But this estimate excludes potential revenue generated fromtourism's multiple impacts on the economy," it said. Most ofthe tourists for 2001 entered by road (69,5 per cent), while 26,6per cent came by air. Some 48,2 per cent of those who enteredNamibia by air used South African Airways while 34,3 per centused Air Namibia. British Airways accounted for 8,9 per cent.
Cause of ID delays identified (The Namibian, 18/11) - TheMinistry of Home Affairs is installing an automated fingerprintservice to speed up the issuing of identity documents (IDs). HomeAffairs Minister Jerry Ekandjo attributed delays in issuing IDsto the slow processing of fingerprints. He said once the processhas been automated, ID applications will be processed quicker.Ekandjo was speaking during debate on the Additional Budget forthe Civic Affairs Department of his Ministry in the NationalAssembly on Friday. He said Civic Affairs faced a legal suit fornot meeting its contractual obligation towards the companymaintaining its current ID production machine. "I haverequested N$3 million to meet these contractual obligations." He said the amount had not been allocated in the mainBudget. As a result, the company doing maintenance wasthreatening to take the Ministry to court to recover money owedfor work carried out.
Namibian workers replaced by South Africans (TheNamibian, 05/11) - Namibian workers at the N$3,2 billionSkorpion zinc mine in the Karas Region are accusing constructioncompanies of laying them off and replacing them with SouthAfricans. They allege they are being punished for taking part ina strike two months ago. Several workers told The Namibian onFriday they were laid off on Thursday - according to them a dayafter 16 South Africans were brought to the mine to do exactlythe same jobs from which they were removed. Martin Wills, HumanResources Manager for the Operation Team of NamZinc, the companyoverseeing the construction at Skorpion, confirmed that workershad been laid off, but said both South Africans and Namibianswere affected. "As the project progresses," said Wills,"we are moving into work that requires sophisticatedskills." He added that many workers were being"demobilised because their construction work has beencompleted". The Namibians felt they were targeted forstriking in August to protest what they claimed was the favouringof South African workers. They said South African workers werepaid more for doing the same or lesser jobs. The strike actionbrought work at the mine to a standstill. After violent clasheswith the Police, 3 000 of the 3 500 construction workers weredismissed. They were all re-hired, with the prospect ofdisciplinary charges against the strike leaders.
German fraud fugitive to lodge request for bail (TheNamibian, 05/11) - German fraud suspect, Hans-JuergenKoch, who is under arrest at Tsumeb pending possible extraditionback to Germany, is expected to launch a formal application to bereleased on bail tomorrow. Koch's Tsumeb-based attorney, FrancoisPretorius, confirmed yesterday that his client is set to bringthe application in the Tsumeb Magistrate's Court tomorrow. LouisBotes and Rudi Cohrssen from Windhoek have been instructed torepresent the 54-year-old German businessman, who is wanted inhis country of origin to stand trial on some 203 charges offraud, 12 counts of tax evasion and four charges of forgingdocuments. Koch has reportedly been in Namibia since late 1999,and has set up base at the La Rochelle Hunting Lodge in theTsumeb district. He was arrested there three weeks ago on thebasis of an arrest warrant issued for him in Munich, Germany, inApril last year. Koch has been kept in Police custody at Tsumebsince this arrest. Pretorius said yesterday that his client wasdoing well and that he was not complaining about the treatment hewas receiving in custody. Koch also made another appearance - histhird since his arrest - before Magistrate LK Amutse in theTsumeb Magistrate's Court yesterday. He is still set to gothrough an extradition hearing at Tsumeb, at which the Magistratewill have to decide whether it has been shown that he is wantedin Germany on charges recognised under Namibian law as settingout extraditable offences. It is alleged that he defrauded Germanlocal authorities of some 84 million Deutsche Mark (some N$430million) between 1994 and 2000, allegedly by operating a loanscheme in which he facilitated lending and borrowing amongstlocal authorities, and then diverting some of the money into hisown pockets, it is charged.
Tourism report shows visitor numbers back up (NambiaEconomist, 01/11) - Earlier indications of a goodtourist season have been confirmed by a broad spectrum ofoperators in the sector. By all indications, tourism, one ofNamibia's largest potential earners of foreign currency, isflourishing. It appears overseas tourists are returning instrength and some holiday spots are struggling to accommodate theinflux. The Federation of Namibian Tourism Associations (Fenata)this week confirmed the upswing. There's definately anincrease of tourists to the country, in spite of hurdles in thelast few months, said Allan Kirby, president of Fenata,which comparises nine local tourism associations. You'regetting a wiser tourist from overseas, he said. Theyknow a lot more about their destination than, say, three yearsago. And they are much more socially aware. In other words, theywant to see their holiday-money benefiting localcommunities. Kirby says perceptions of local instabilitycan be devastating to the industry. Government should keepin mind that things are often perceived wrong when spoken from apodium. He says the land redistribution issue is worrying.A perception that Namibia is going the way of Zimbabwe isserious. We're not going that way of course, but the perceptionis enough to scare off tourists. The deputy director forTourism Development, Dr Rukee Tjingaete, will release a reportsoon which shows tourism is returning to levels it held beforethe decline in 2000 and 2001. We shouldn't get tooexcited, cautioned a source close to Tjingaete's report.There are lots of factors that could mislead the casualobserver, such as business visitors from Angola, who are alsodefined as tourists. But indications from the industry are thatwe're returning to a healthy situation. A drop in tourismin 2000 and 2001 was due to sporadic violence in the north andthe infamous attack on French tourists two years ago, which madeworld news. Tourism all but dried up in the north and manyguesthouses and lodges closed shop. In the Kavango alone, some 23accommodation establishments shut down or went dormant. Mostlodges that remained open in the area have since said tourism isbooming. Most guesthouses and lodges arefully-booked, says JC Bothma, assistant-manager atHakusembe Lodge in Rundu. Overlanders, tourists fromGermany and especially South Africans are returning enmasse. Airlines are recording good bookings. I wouldsay between 30% and 50% of bookings are connecting flights fromJohannesburg, carrying tourists from Europe and the US,said the manager of South African Airways (SAA) Namibianoperations, Heinz Benzler. I can't give you figures rightaway, but I feel it's looking much better than last year.This was confirmed by Merrill Poller, of Sure Ritz Travel, one ofthe country's three largest travel agencies. We'reextremely busy, she said. The black-listing of Namibia byIATA (International Air Transport Association), after acommunications shambles at the Outjo relay station this weekseems to have had no affect on tourism, since IATA's gradings arenot directly published to tour companies.
Announcement of minimum wages for farm workersexpected (Bloemfontein, Sapa, 30/11) - Minister ofLabour Membathisi Mdladlana was to announce minimum wages for thecountry's farm workers on Monday, Agri SA director KobusKleynhans confirmed on Saturday. Commenting on recent mediareports, Kleynhans said the announcement was to be made on thefarm Elsenburg in the Western Cape. A two-tier minimum wagesystem, ranging from R600 in poorer parts of the country to R800in more affluent areas, was most likely. This was considerablylower than labour unions' initial proposition of a minimum ofR1200 a month. Organised agriculture, on the other hand, earlierproposed a uniform minimum wage of R500 countrywide. Free StateAgriculture manager Pieter Moller warned that if media reportswere accurate, hundreds of farm workers could expect to losetheir jobs from January. He said farmers would be hard-pressed ifin kind compensation, including food, grazing rights and housing,was restricted to between 10% and 20% of the total wage. "Alarge percentage of farm workers are kept on by farmers forpurely humanistic (sic) reasons. With a minimum wage of R800, itwould be impossible for many farmers to still employ theseworkers." Moller added that the expected minimum wages weretoo high to serve as entrance wages for new, inexperienced anduntrained workers. "It would be a pity if the ministershould announce these minimum wages, forcing farmers to decreasetheir workforce, because agriculture has great potential to be ajob-creating industry," Moller said.
High Commission protests death of Nigerian (Vanguard,29/11) - Nigeria High Commission in Pretoria has askedthe South African government to provide a "full report"on last week's killing of a Nigerian, Dominic Onyeanusi.Onyeanusi was allegedly beaten to death by three South Africanpolicemen following an arrest. In a formal protest delivered tothe South African government through the country's ForeignAffairs department in Pretoria, the Nigerian embassy alsodemanded a copy of the autopsy report to be conducted on thedeceased with a pathologist appointed by the mission inattendance. Reports say that 35-year-old Onyeanusi collapsed anddied last Wednesday inside the Hillbrow police station in centralJohannesburg, having been fatally assaulted and kicked in histesticles by three South African policemen who arrested him.Onyeanusi was stopped while driving in a car belonging to hisfriend who was involved in a court case which the leader of thepolice team that brutalised him was investigating. The deceasedwas to give evidence in court the next day at the resumed hearingof the case. Onyeanusi's killing in the hands of South Africanpolice enraged the Nigerian community in Johannesburg who wentwild in demonstration when the sad news went round andimmediately organised a protest march to the Hillbrow PoliceStation where the Onyeanusi's corpse was lying. In the protest tothe South African government, the Nigerian embassy recalled theunresolved murder of another Nigerian, Ikechukwu Obiakor,recently at the Lindela Detention Centre, west of Johannesburg,and requested for the prompt action of the South Africangovernment on the killings and preventive measures to forestallsimilar incidents in future. "These untimely deaths ofNigerians in the hands of South African law enforcement agentsare creating both apprehension and restlessness within theNigerian community," said the high commission. The embassycalled on the South African government to resolve the matter"satisfactorily and expeditiously to avoid overheating thesystem". Following the incident, the embassy has invited theNigerian community in South Africa to a meeting to address thegrowing tension over the incessant harrasssment of Nigerians bySouth African security agents. Meanwhile, South Africa'sIndependent Complaints Directorate has called on Nigerians whowitnessed the incident to give statements to the lawyer appointedby the consulate who would lodge it with the ombudsman.
Fired for having AIDS? (The Star, 28/11) - Firsthe was told he was HIV-positive. Then he was fired for havingAids. This is the story of Vincent Ralikhuthe, a mineworker whosays he lost his job because he is HIV positive. And afterworking for 11 years for one company, he was given abrass handshake of only R9 000. But he is determinedto challenge what he sees as unfair dismissal. He said a medicaldoctor attached to the mine, Douglas Colliery in Witbank,Mpmumalanga, allegedly conspired with the management to terminatehis contract on grounds of medical incapacitationbecause he suffers from a terminal illness. Although he istraumatised by what he believes to be the minesdiscriminatory behaviour, he is determined that he will notreturn to his native Lesotho to die. He knows hecannot find work to support his family. The 39-year-old father oftwo says he has been denied medical attention after the mineallegedly cancelled his medical aid. The mine has dismissed theaccusation of unfair dismissal. Luis Pinel, the general managerof the mine, said Ralikhule was HIV-positive and his contract wasterminated because of his terminal illness. He denied, however,that the management decision to terminate his service was unfairand was based on discrimination against his medical condition.Ralikhuthe and his union officials have the right to theiropinion but we are also prepared to contest their case to itslogical conclusion, he said. Pinel further maintained thatthe decision to fire him was taken after protracted meetingsbetween labour representatives and the management. JosephMathunjwa, president of the Association of Mineworkers andConstruction Workers Union, said the union had sought assistancefrom the legal resources centre. Ralikhuthes fate isuncertain. He is pinning his hope on the Labour Court to reversethe dismissal. Ralikhuthes case has raised concerns over anumber of mining companies that employ mineworkers fromneighbouring countries, only to send them home when they fallill. Lesotho and Mozambique have been cited by unions as havingsome of the highest figures of migrant workers contractingHIV/Aids and related illnesses on the mines. Lesothoslabour attaché, Attlee Lebetsa, said he was aware of minersbeing sent home because they were suffering from terminalAids-related illnesses. He condemned the termination ofRalikhuthes contract, saying it wasdiscriminatory. He said his government pledged toinstitute legal action on Ralikhuthes behalf against themine. The Association of People Living With Aids nationalcoordinator Joe Manciya said: Ralikhuthes case isblatant discrimination and in violation of his right to voluntarydisclosure. He said the forthcoming Worlds Aids Dayon Sunday would focus on ending discrimination qainat peopleaffected by HIV/Aids.
SA fast becoming a playground for crooks, says report(Cape Times, 28/11) - South Africa's porous borders aremaking the country vulnerable to international terrorism,criminal syndicates, drug smuggling, money laundering andorganised prostitution, a new study has warned. Writing in theNovember edition of th Institute for Strategic Studies journal, StrategicReview for Southern Africa, GeolgeKruys, a brigadier general and research associate at theInstitute, says that South Africans would be naïveto think the country was immune to international terroristattacks. South Africans ... believe the demise of apartheidand communism has made the country immune to most threats. In thelight of the prominent role the country is playing ininternational politics, this is a naïve belief. No matter howgood the intentions of the South African government, sooner orlater it will anger extremists. This may well lead to terroristactivities. Kruys said that to deter terrorist andcriminal activity in South Africa, the planning for and resultingsecuring of the borders must receive much higher priority."Identity fraud and illegal migration were essential to thecontinued existence of global terrorist organisations and bothwere rife in South Africa. Noting that evidence, before theUnited States Congress was that Osama bin Ladens alQaedamovement had established links in South Africa, Kruyssays a horrifying scenario could involve the smuggling ofnuclear weapons in trucks or shipping containers.Such threats make the improvement of border securityurgent. This has not received priority in military and securityplanning as yet. Turning to organised crime, Kruys writesthat international crime syndicates have established thatSouth Africa is an easy target for their activities.A tremendous increase in drug smuggling, money launderingand prostitution has taken place. Nigerian drug syndicatesoperate in South Africa and are reported to be heavily involvedin prostitution. In the Western Cape, staff at thedepartment of home affairs were being overwhelmed byillegal immigrants seeking permanent residence. The province hadonly 11 immigration officers. In the Western Cape, theChinese and Russian Mafia contravene the immigration legislationand Nigerians exploit the refugee act with too few officialsavailable to trace people who break the law. As a result ofthe lack of staff, there are many cases of fraudulent marriages,fraudulent late registrations of births, and foreigners withillegal identity documents. Since the demise of apartheid,the emphasis in patrolling borders had moved from keepinginsurgency in check to the opening up of borders for freercommercial activity. This had led to a dramaticincrease in crime and corruption. "The control system'sfacilities and staff have been overwhelmed by the mass of peopleand goods moving in and out of the country," Kruys said.Illegal goods are costing the country around R17 billion a yearin lost duties and the movement of drugs, weapons and stolenvehicles "present very serious problems for South Africa.Unless security needs ... force a change in priorities, which isunlikely, South Africa is doomed to receive more and moreimpoverished people to add to the large population ofpoverty-stricken people," said Kruys.
Traffic accidents a threat to foreign visitors (CapeTown, Business Day, 28/11) - A total of 32522 foreignvisitors and tourists were involved in road traffic accidents ineight of SA's provinces in the year to the end of March,Transport Minister Dullah Omar revealed yesterday. Theinformation adds a new dimension to the threats facing foreigntourists visiting SA several have recently been killed or rapedin violent incidents in Mpumalanga. Replying in writing to aparliamentary question, Omar said 364 of the 32522 foreignvisitors and tourists were killed, 1781 were seriously injured,4027 sustained slight injuries and 26350 escaped without injury.The vast majority (223) of those killed were involved inaccidents in Mpumalanga, compared with 73 in Gauteng, 33 in NorthWest and 16 in Western Cape. Most of the serious injuries (975)occurred in Mpumalanga. Of the foreigners killed, 161 weredrivers of vehicles, 185 were passengers and 18 pedestrians. Thefigures exclude KwaZulu-Natal as its system is not able toprovide the information. Omar said the Road Accident Fund hadconsidered 341 claims totalling R152,5m an average of R447278each from visitors from 48 countries in the year to the end ofSeptember. In all, 29 claims were lodged for death and 309 forbodily injuries. More than half the claims came from Mozambique,Britain, Lesotho, Germany, US and Swaziland, while claims worthR135m came from five countries Belgium (R60m), Britain (R44m),Germany (R17m), US (R10,6m) and Mozambique (R3m).
Another Nigerian killed in South Africa (Lagos, ThisDay, 28/11) - The Nigerian High Commission in SouthAfrica has protested the killing of a Nigerian by South Africanpolicemen at Cape Verde. Mr Dominic Onyewusi was allegedly beatento death in Johannesburg by three South African policemen at theCape Verde Police Station. This is the second time this year thata Nigerian would be killed by agents of the South Africangovernment. In the protest letter to the South African Departmentof Foreign Affairs, the Nigerian High commission said that theuntimely deaths of Nigerians in the hands of South African lawenforcement agents was creating both apprehension andrestlessness within the Nigerian community. The Commissiondemanded full report of the incident and a copy of the autopsyperformed on the deceased. Only recently, another Nigerian MrIkechukwu Obiekwu who was killed by south African policeattracted a similar protest but has remained unresolved.
Foreigners start cancelling trips to Mpumalanga(Nelspruit, African Eye News Service, 27/11) - Foreigntourists, mostly Britons, are either rearranging itineraries tobypass Mpumalanga or cancelling trips altogether following therecent spate of attacks on foreigners in the region. Localtourism promotions company, Lowveld Tourism, says thecancellations have been minimal however, and urged both thetourism industry and tourists not to panic. "Crime is...aproblem all over the world and is not unique to SouthAfrica," said Lowveld Tourism spokesman EtienneGarnett-Bennett. "For example, 29 British tourists wereraped in Australia last year." At least 30 attacks have beenreported on foreign tourists in Mpumalanga since January,including the murder of one British woman and the rape ofanother, within the past five weeks. Garnett-Bennett describedthe crimes as "hideous" and said government and thelocal tourism industry were planning several joint initiatives toensure that Mpumalanga is safe again for tourists. Theseinitiatives include a police anti-crime strategy over the festiveseason, a task team comprising police and tourism stakeholders toseek solutions to fighting crime, and an awareness programmetargetting tourists from neighbouring Mozambique and Swaziland.Mozambican and Swazi tourists are easy crime targets becausetheir car number plates give them away and they carry largeamounts of cash on them. Garnett-Bennett said 103 tourism safetymonitors were being trained to patrol main tourism attractions inthe Lowveld and to work with police. He said it was important tocounter negative publicity and continue to vigorously promotetourism in the province. He said the Kruger National Parkexpected a good season in December, which should have positivespin-offs for the entire industry in the Lowveld. "The localtourism industry is experiencing a bumper year and hopefully itsmomentum will carry us through until the (crime) situation can bebrought under control," he said. Meanwhile, a volunteerorganisation called "Eblockwatch" has established"Operation Cuppa Tea" through which its network ofmembers across South Africa help tourists in trouble. Strickentourists call the Eblockwatch call centre and Eblockwatchimmediately sends SMS alerts to members in the tourists'vicinity. "Members that are available will then assist thetourists, give them a cuppa tea and make them feel safe,"explained Garnett-Bennett. For more details on the Eblockwatchcall centre or to register as a volunteer, visitwww.eblockwatch.co.za.
High Court to expedite tourist cases (Pretoria, Sapa,27/11) - The Pretoria High Court has pledged itswillingness to expedite cases involving offences against foreigntourists, Transvaal Judge President Bernard Ngoepe said onWednesday. He had contacted National Director of PublicProsecutions Bulelani Ngcuka in this regard earlier in the week,Ngoepe said at the opening of the revamped Palace of Justice inPretoria. "I said to him if this would help expedite thefinalisation of such cases, I am willing to make specialarrangements at this court ... in order to cause minimuminconvenience to foreigners. "As soon as such cases areready for trial ... we will do our best to give such casespriority." This was not because other cases were lessimportant, but to save foreigners the inconvenience of having totravel to and fro, Ngoepe explained. Last month, British touristDiane Conway was shot dead by a robber when she and her husbandwere attacked at a Pilgrim's Rest hotel. On November 17, four menabducted another British tourist, Julie Stevens, at roadsidepicnic spot in Mpumalanga and raped her before shooting dead aMozambican man, Domingo Chambal, who came to her rescue. Lastweek, a mugger stabbed a British tourist in the eye while thevisitor was sunbathing on Trafalgar Beach on the KwaZulu-Natalsouth coast, and took his personal belongings.
364 foreign tourists killed on SA roads in one year(Cape Town, Sapa, 27/11) - A total of 364 foreigntourists and visitors were killed on South African roads in eightprovinces during the year ending March 31, 2002, TransportMinister Dullah Omar said on Wednesday. Two Belgians injured in acar accident were compensated R30-million each from the RoadAccident Fund (RAF), while a Briton received R24,8-million forinjuries sustained. The road accident figures excludedKwaZulu-Natal, as information could not be extracted from theprovince's system, Omar said in written reply to a parliamentaryquestion from Dickson Mkono (UDM). A total of 32522 foreignvisitors and tourists were involved in road accidents in theeight provinces for that period, he said. In addition to the 364fatalities, 1781 tourists were seriously injured, 4027 sustainedslight injuries and 26350 escaped uninjured. Of the personskilled, 161 were drivers of vehicles, 185 were passengers and 18were pedestrians. Most fatalities were in Mpumalanga (223), withthe rest in the North-West (33), Northern Cape (4), Limpopo (4),Gauteng (73), Western Cape (16), Free State (9), and Eastern Cape(2). Some of these foreign visitors and tourists, or theirfamilies, received compensation from the RAF, Omar said. A totalof 341 claims from visitors from 48 countries were submitted andconsidered over a period of 12 months from October 1, 2001, toSeptember 30, 2002. Altogether 29 claims for death, 309 forbodily injures, and three unknown cases were submitted, totallingR152,5-million, with an average claim value of R446278, he said."In this regard it should be noted that some claims arestill pending and the figures provided include estimatedamounts." A total number of 38 claims were submitted foramounts more than R500,000 each. This included R30-million eachto the two Belgians, and R24,8-million to the Briton. Most of theclaims in this category were from visitors from Britain (9), theUnited States (6) and Germany (5). A total of 16 claims belowR500,000 were submitted - the largest for an amount of R305706from a British tourist. Four claims in this category were fromvisitors from Mozambique. Six claims for death were not paid out,Omar said. The countries of origin with the highest number ofclaims - 54 percent of all claims - were Mozambique (55), Britain(54), Lesotho (21), Germany (20), United States (18), andSwaziland (14). The five countries with the highest claimamounts, a total of R134,9-million or 88,5 percent of all claims,were: Belgium (R60-million); Britain (R43,7-million); Germany(R17,2-million); United States (R10,6-million); and Mozambique(R3,1-million). Claims from other countries included: Angola (2);Australia (1); Bermuda (1); Botswana (7); Burundi (1); Cameroon(1); China (1); Cuba (2); Democratic Republic of Congo (1); Egypt(1); France (1); Gabon (1); Ghana (1); India (4); Ireland (3);Italy (5); Zimbabwe (10); United Arab Emirates (2); Swaziland(14); Nigeria (6); Lesotho (21); and Malawi (7).
More nurses than ever flock to Britain (Cape Times,27/11) - Britain is systematically stripping thedeveloping world of its nurses to shore up the National HealthService, despite a government ban on recruiting from the ThirdWorld. In the five years since former president Nelson Mandelaappealed to Britain to stop poaching nurses from South Africa,the numbers entering the country have risen more than fivefold -from 393 in 1997/98 to 2 114 in 2001/02. Two thousand nursesare needed to run a 600-bed hospital in the United Kingdom.Recruitment is also spiralling from other African countriesincluding Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Botswana and Malawi. In total,these five countries supplied 986 nurses to Britain last year,compared with 91 in 1998/99, figures from the Nursing andMidwifery Council show. Ministers urged NHS trusts to stopactively recruiting in South Africa in response to Mandela'sappeal, but did not formally ban them until 1999. The banincluded Caribbean countries and recruitment from there has sincedeclined (although they still supplied 248 nurses in 2001/02).Last year the government published a code of practice extendingthe ban to all developing countries except where the hostgovernment had invited the UK to recruit. The ban did not extendto commercial recruitment agencies, which critics say are nowdoing the NHS's "dirty work". A Department of Healthspokesperson said NHS trusts were "encouraged" to useonly those agencies which followed the code of practice, but theycould not be ordered to do so because of government policy.
DA proposes tourist safety plan (Cape Town, Sapa,26/11) - The Democratic Alliance proposed a plan onTuesday to ensure the safety of tourists in South Africa,following several attacks on foreign visitors over the pastmonth. DA MP Roy Jankielsohn said tourism was one of the fastestgrowing economic sectors in the country and needed to beprotected from the "menace of crime". The SA PoliceService was already faced with shortages of personnel and otherresources. "With additional local and foreign visitors totourist areas during holiday periods, the police are stretched tobreaking point," Jankielsohn said. He said rather thanmanaging negative perceptions created about South Africa withadvertising and "propaganda", the government needed toaddress the situation to reassure visitors they would beprotected. To this end, the DA proposed that tourism safetycentres be set up at key tourist sites and that procedures beestablished to ensure visitors had swift access to embassies,translators and new documentation. The plan also called for acentral control centre to monitor crime against tourists, aspecific security focus on transport hubs, a commitment tomaximise policing in city centres and the development of touristprotection programmes at a local policing level. The governmentshould not have to wait for attacks on tourists to realise theseriousness of neglecting police shortages. Last month, Britishtourist Diane Conway was shot dead by a robber when she and herhusband were attacked at a Pilgrim's Rest hotel. On November 17,four men abducted another British tourist, Julie Stevens, atroadside picnic spot in Mpumalanga and raped her before shootingdead a Mozambican man who came to her rescue. Last week, a muggerstabbed a British tourist in the eye while the tourist wassunbathing on Trafalgar Beach on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast,and took his personal belongings.
Beit Bridge border congestion problems (Pretoria,Dispatch Online, 26/11) - Zimbabwean and South Africanofficials will hold talks next week to iron out congestionproblems at the Beit Bridge border post, the Cross-Border RoadTransport Agency said yesterday. Agency chairman George Negotasaid the two camps had to decide on a joint traffic managementmechanism. One option was to hold bus, taxi and truck trafficfrom South Africa at Musina -- just short of the border --allowing only a few vehicles through at a time. Negota saidZimbabwean authorities had agreed to halt construction on theirside of the border post from next week for holiday traffic. Amajor headache, he added, was large numbers of buses, taxis andtrucks all arriving at the border post at the same time. He urgedoperators and drivers to adhere to their timetables and not leavefrom departure points at the same time, in a bid to easecongestion. The agency would work closely with operators tore-arrange their timetables, Negota said. He was addressing ameeting in Pretoria to announce the agency's plans for saferfestive season road use. The body advised taxi operators totravel by day rather than at night and to keep to the 100km/hspeed limit imposed on them. Truck drivers were urged to stay inthe left-hand lanes and not to overload their vehicles. "Wecall upon all passengers in buses, taxis and tourist vehicles tobe vigilant and not allow themselves to be victims ofirresponsible drivers," Negota said, adding that a hotlinenumber would be announced shortly for passengers to reportdangerous driving. He urged all road users to take responsibilityfor their own safety and that of others. "Let driving be apleasure, don't rush, let us not be another statistic on ourroads this year," he said.
Cubans to train SA teachers (Pretoria, DispatchOnline, 26/11) - An agreement signed here will pave theway for 50 Cuban tutors to train South African maths and scienceteachers. An advance group has been in South Africa sinceSeptember, deputy education minister Mosibudi Mangena toldreporters. They will travel back to Cuba shortly and return withtheir colleagues in April. The lecturers will do six-month stintsover a three-year period, Mangena said. The agreement signed byEducation Minister Kader Asmal and his Cuban counterpart, LouisGomez Guitierrez, deals with matters such as travel arrangements,accommodation, medical assistance and minimum payment for thetutors. "They have to certify to us the tutors' knowledge ofEnglish," Asmal said. Guitierrez said more than 50 lecturershad been trained to communicate in English, mainly for thepurposes of the co-operation with South Africa. "They willnot substitute any South African teachers. The Cubans will comevoluntarily just to help South Africa." Asmal said thetutors would concentrate on 100 schools identified for intensivemaths and science education. He pointed out that Cuba had donatedsolar panels and audio visual equipment to a school in Limpopo.Teachers ascribed the school's improved matric pass rate -- from27 percent in 2000 to 62 percent last year -- to the donation.One panel was stolen, but the Cuban government replaced it.Guitierrez said: "We will continue exploring other fieldswhere we can establish effective co-operation".
Jobless to protect East Cape Tourists (Bisho, DispatchOnline, 26/11) - The Eastern Cape Unemployed WorkersOrganisation (Ecuwo) is to launch a tourist-protection projectnext month. The organisation plans to have their membersaccompany visitors to Eastern Cape tourist sites and ensure theirsafety -- for a fee. Ecuwo President Jabu Ntusi said last weekthat they were fed up with violence against internationaltourists. He said the violence perpetrated against tourists had anegative impact on the economy. The organisation has called onunemployed people with firearms to "come on board" asthey were needed to safeguard the tourists during their stay inthe province. The project -- Ikhakhalabatyeleli (tourist's spear)will be launched at King David Hotel in East London on December12. Speaking about the British tourist who was raped in Gautengearly this week, Ntusi said: "It's a pity it has alreadyhappened".
Crowd protests at court against tourist attacks(Barberton, African Eye News Service, 26/11) - About 200people protested outside the Barberton magistrate's court inMpumalanga on Tuesday, brandishing placards demanding "nobail for tourist rapists and murderers" and saying "welove tourists visiting Mpumalanga - don't be scared we willprotect you". The crowd was protesting against the recentspate of attacks on tourists in the province while two of foursuspects accused of raping a British woman and murdering aMozambican man appeared inside the court. Zimbabwean nationalMichael Dube (20) and South African Sipho Mbokane (29) were notasked to plead on charges of abduction, rape, attempted murder,murder and armed robbery. They were remanded in custody untiltheir case is transferred to the Nelspruit regional court onDecember 2 when they are expected to make a formal bailapplication. "Police will probably oppose bail because ofthe nature of the charges and because one of the suspects is aforeigner and might skip the country," said Barberton policespokesman Inspector Faizel Essack. The other two suspects, EricMsibi and Willie Ngwenya, are expected to appear before theBarberton magistrate's court on December 10 on condition thatthey have recovered sufficiently to be discharged from hospital.The two men were shot while allegedly trying to evade arrest andare currently under police guard in hospital. Dube and Mbokanewere arrested on November 17, hours after 29-year-old JulieStevens and her 25-year-old South African friend Tinus Oppermanwere hijacked while sightseeing at the Long Tom Pass betweenSabie and Lydenburg. Stevens decided to disclose her namepublicly as her way of hitting back at her attackers. Four menapproached the pair and told them they had waited for almost fourdays for easy targets before they bundled them into Opperman'sred Toyota Venture at gunpoint. The men drove the pair to variousshebeens around the province's southern Lowveld where theyallegedly drank and boasted to patrons and friends that they weretravelling with "white flesh". The ordeal ended only 14hours and 220km later when the tourists' van overturned along theBarberton/Badplaas road in the early hours of November 17. Anunsuspecting motorist, Domingo Albert Chamber (37) of Mozambiquestopped to help and was fatally shot in the head. Police arrestedDube and Mbokane near the scene that day while Msibi and Ngwenyaat Masoyi village near KaBokweni outside White River two dayslater. Mpumalanga MEC for health Sibongile Manana participated inthe protest in her capacity as a member of the ANC Woman'sLeague. "As women, we want to see the law taking itscourse," she said. "We have given birth to thesecriminals, we should not be scared of them, let's help thepolice," she added. The South African National CivicsOrganisation in Umjindi also supported the protest. The branch'ssecretary general James Nkambule said: "We lack words todescribe how badly these attacks on tourists are affecting ourcountry."
British tourists wary of SA (Bisho, Dispatch Online,26/11) - The British High Commission's office has beenflooded with inquiries about safety and crime in some of SouthAfrica's tourism hot spots, including the Eastern Cape, BritishHigh Commissioner Ann Grant said here yesterday. "Britishtourists planning to visit South Africa are concerned and haveinquired about their safety in the country." The concernfollows the brutal attack and rape of two British tourists inMpumalanga earlier this month. The incident has drawn angryresponses both in South Africa and abroad. The British governmenteven updated its Foreign and Commonwealth office travel advisoryon South Africa, stressing the dangers tourists face in certainregions, particularly rural areas. Several local newspapersstated that the overall tone of the travel advisory emphasisedthat "although crime levels were relatively high, mostvisits to South Africa are trouble-free". Visitors arecautioned to "avoid isolated picnic spots" andunfortunate victims of a mugging or hijacking should "remaincalm, offer no resistance and hand over possessions without anyquestions". Yesterday Grant said the advice on the HighCommission's website was created to "caution and highlightproblems and risks" while travelling in South Africa and notcreate shock and horror. "We made it clear that the attackswere not frequent occurrences. "It is fair for us not tomake things look bad. I'm confident that tourists will stillvisit this country, particularly the Eastern Cape."
Top detectives focus on crime in Mpumalanga (SABC,25/11) - A unit of ten top detectives is to take overall cases involving attacks on tourists in Mpumalanga. ProvincialCommissioner of Police, Eric Nkabinde, has given this order afterthe latest incident. Foreign tourists in Mpumalanga have recentlycome under attack and some killed in the past year. Three Germantourists were robbed and hijacked near Malelane at the weekend.This followed recent murder and rape incidents involving Britishtourists. Last week a South African tourist was killed during anarmed robbery at a Hazyview hotel. Izak Van Zyl, SAPSspokesperson in Mpumalanga, says the new unit will concentrate onthe Mpumalanga Lowveld, a prime tourist destination. TheMpumalanga Department of Finance and Economic Affairs, inconjunction with the SAPS, Department of Safety & Securityand the private sector, has started rolling out a comprehensivesecurity plan to protect tourists and their property during thefestive season. Police spokesperson Christabel Hlatshwayo saysthe plan includes visible policing at prime tourist spots, andincreased N4 toll road patrols. More than a hundred youth are tobe deployed as safety and awareness monitors at key touristattractions. Hlatshwayo says there will also be safetyconsultations with local and foreign tourism stake holders.
Germans the latest victims of Mpumalanga crime(Nelspruit, African Eye News Service, 25/11) - ThreeGerman tourists became the latest victims of a spate of attackson tourists in Mpumalanga prompting the launch of a specialisedpolice team on Monday to deal directly with crimes on foreigners.Provincial police commissioner Eric Nkabinde ordered theformation of a team of ten detectives to take over investigationsof the recent attacks and of any future crimes committed againstforegin visitors in Mpumalanga, said Nkabinde's spokesmanSuperintendent Izak van Zyl. The task team will speed upinvestigations and the conclusion of cases by ensuring closeliaison between the courts and investigators. The team will alsobe included on the government's tourism safety priority committeeformed in 2000 and will exchange information on how the communitycan be included in tourism safety. In the latest incident,Winfried Birwe, his wife Monica and a friend Rita Speckt weretravelling to Swaziland when they pulled over at the Crocodilegorge on the N4 between Nelspruit and Malelane on Saturday."The two women remained in the car while Birwe left torelieve himself when an armed man jumped into the drivers seatand pulled off,' said Mpumalanga Lowveld police spokeswoman,Captain Mary Gama on Monday. The suspect drove about 30km beforedumping the petrified women on the side of the road. The womenwere forced to hitchhike back to the site where they originallystopped but were told that Birwe had already left to report theincident to Matsulu police. The car was later recovered inKaNyamzane near Nelspruit but the Germans' luggage and personaleffects were missing. The incident was yet another blow toMpumalanga's tourism industry, which is reeling from the effectsof at least 30 attacks on foreign tourists alone in the lastyear. Tourism generated R34,3-billion (about US$3,43 billion) forSouth Africa last year. Mpumalanga wants more of the tourism cakeand has embarked on a massive drive to promote seven touristroutes, but attacks on tourists is seriously undermining suchefforts. There have been at least 30 attacks on foreign touristsalone in the province since the start of the year. The mostrecent incident was the rape of a British woman who was abductedwith a South African friend at a viewing site on the Long TomPass near Sabie last weekend. Last month, a British woman waskilled in her hotel room in Pilgrim's Rest and her husband wasinjured. Suspects have been arrested in both cases. Theprovincial branch of the New National Party on Monday called foran urgent meeting between regional and local tourism authorities,municipalities and relevant government departments to draw updefinite proposals to combat tourist attacks. They also wanttourist safety brochures to be handed out to sensitise foreignersto the dangers of travelling in Mpumalanga. Provincial NNP leaderChris MacPherson said: "The survival of tourism in ourprovince rests on all our shoulders, not just the police or thegovernment".
Task team to target crimes against tourists(Nelspruit, Sapa, 25/11) - Mpumalanga policecommissioner Eric Nkabinde on Monday ordered the formation of atask team to deal with all crimes related to internationaltourists in the province. Superintendent Isak Van Zyl saidNkabinde told Lowveld commissioner Frank Sibulela to form a teamof ten detectives to take over all investigations into a spate ofattacks on tourists in recent weeks. The team will also beresponsible for dealing with any future crimes. The most recentof attacks was on Saturday when three German nationals werehijacked near Nelspruit. Van Zyl said Winfried Birwe, his wifeMonica and a friend Rita Speckt were driving in a hired MercedesBenz on their way to Swaziland when they were hijacked by twoarmed men. The two men approached the car after Mr Birwe left thevehicle briefly. They smashed a car window and drove off with thetwo women inside. The hijackers then dropped the woman off at at-junction outside Kanyamanzane near Nelspruit and made off withthe car and the Germans' possessions. The car was found abandonedby police on Sunday. All the luggage and documentation had beenstolen. Six men are expected to appear in court this week inconnection with crimes against tourists. Four suspects areexpected to appear in the Barberton Magistrate's Court on Tuesdayin connection with the rape and abduction of a British touristand the murder of Mozambican man. Eric Msibi, Willie Mgweneya,Sipho Mbokane and Zimbabwean Michael Dube, will stand trial forthe 14-hour attack on the 29-year-old Briton and her 26-year-oldSouth African friend on November 17. Mozambican Domingo Chambalwas murdered when he came to the aid of the couple. Two men -Prince Mogane, 19, and Richard Mashego, 42 - will appear in theGraskop Magistrate's Court on Wednesday in connection with themurder of British tourist Diane Conway, 59, at the Royal Hotel inPilgrim's Rest on October 22. Her 55-year-old husband Jon wasshot in the neck and seriously wounded.
SA and Zimbabwe seek to ease border congestion(Pretoria, Sapa, 25/11) - Zimbabwean and South Africanofficials will hold talks next week to iron out congestionproblems at the Beit Bridge border post, the Cross-Border RoadTransport Agency said on Monday. Agency chairman George Negotasaid the two camps had to decide on a joint traffic managementmechanism. One option was to hold bus, taxi and truck trafficfrom South Africa at Musina - just short of the border - allowingonly a few vehicles through at a time. Negota said Zimbabweanauthorities had agreed to halt construction on their side of theborder post from next week for holiday traffic. A major headache,he added, was large numbers of buses, taxis and trucks allarriving at the border post at the same time. He urged operatorsand drivers to adhere to their timetables and not leave fromdeparture points at the same time in a bid to ease congestion.The agency would work closely with operators to re-arrange theirtimetables, Negota said. He was addressing a meeting in Pretoriato announce the agency's plans for safer festive season road use.The body advised taxi operators to travel by day rather than atnight, and to keep to the 100km/h speed limit imposed on them.Truck drivers were urged to stay in the left-hand lanes and notto overload their vehicles. "We call upon all passengers inbuses, taxis and tourist vehicles to be vigilant and not allowthemselves to be victims of irresponsible drivers," Negotasaid. A hotline number would be announced shortly for passengersto report dangerous driving. Passengers should also remain soberthroughout their journeys and not take too much luggage as thiscould lead to overloading, Negota said. He warned that notransport permits would be issued without a roadworthycertificate. Negota urged all road users to take responsibilityfor their own safety and that of others. "Let driving be apleasure, don't rush, let us not be another statistic on ourroads this year," he said.
Local motorists benefit from cheap Zimbabwe petrol(SABC, 25/11) - Filling station owners in Musina in theLimpopo province are up in arms. Petrol bought in Zimbabwe isbeing sold cheaply across the border on the black market, at BeitBridge and Musina. Some Zimbabweans buy petrol in their countryand then cross into South Africa at the Beit Bridge border postto sell it at reduced prices. Petrol costing R87,40 per 20 litresin South Africa is being sold in the street for R50. Localmotorists and taxi operators are only too happy to oblige. Mostof the taxis that operate between Beit Bridge and Gauteng aredependent on Zimbabwean fuel. The petrol from across the borderis being carried in motor tanks and then drained into 20 litrecontainers for selling in the streets. The dealers say they aretrying to make a living. Three trips a day are enough to putbread on the table, they say. Local motorists also cross theborder into Zimbabwe to fill up their tanks at a much lowerprice. However, local garages are losing business, as the LimpopoShell Ultra City is only able to get enough customers when thesupply line from Zimbabwe runs dry. Anel Theunissen, manager ofthe filling station is concerned about his business. "It isaffecting us quiet a lot, we heard that the people are bringingin the petrol and diesel from Zimbabwe across the border andselling it on the bridge. But at this stage we can't do anythingabout the situation as we don't know who this people are,"says Theunissen.
Visitors flock to SA despite attacks (Johannesburg,Sunday Times, 24/11) - Tourists to South Africa aretaking the two recent brutal attacks on visitors to Mpumalanga intheir stride. Top tourist destinations in the country, includingMpumalanga, have reported no cancellations following the recentabduction and rape of a British tourist near Sabie and thekilling of a British woman in Pilgrim's Rest. Both places are ineastern Mpumalanga. Instead, the tourist industry is bracingitself for a bumper festive season to cap a record year for SouthAfrica. This week, Tourism Minister Mohammed Valli Moosa told anational tourism conference in Polokwane that 4.6 millionforeigners had visited South Africa between January andSeptember, 1.2 million more than last year. The figure, which had"exceeded expectations", was boosted by the WorldSummit on Sustainable Development, which hosted 93 000 delegates.Moosa said the United Kingdom was SA's top tourism market, with20% more Britons flocking to the country this year. Tourists fromthe US increased by only 3.3%, due mainly to American nervousnessabout foreign travel following terrorist mass killings over thepast year. Sue Ricketts, marketing manager for Southern AfricaTours - a British operator based in York in the UK - said recentterrorist and criminal attacks in Bali, the Philippines andAustralia were seen as far more serious than the Mpumalangaattacks. Provincial tourism chiefs have also said that theattacks have had no effect so far. Neil Markovitz, the WesternCape chairman of the Federated Hospitality Association of SouthAfrica , said he had received no reports of cancellations ordeclining numbers of visitors. He said the province wasanticipating a bumper season. Cape Town Tourism manager SherylOzinsky said: "We're probably going to have one of the bestseasons we've ever had - growth in international arrivals is upby 14%." Port Elizabeth - where the mugging of a Dutchacademic in September was the most serious incident this year -is also expecting a great festive season. The city's foreignrevenue is expected to rise by 450% this season following a dealwith Scandinavian tour operators. Martin Goodman, who helpedbroker the Scandinavian deal, said there had been nocancellations. "After the murder in Pilgrim's Rest,Scandinavian tourists told me they were surprised it was such bignews all the way down here. "Although troubling, thoseattacks have not been seen as a threat," he said. However,Goodman said the rape incident would "definitely" meanfewer British tourists to the region this summer - and blamed"sensationalist reporting" by British papers for theloss. Danie Malan, managing director of the luxury Shamwari GameReserve, said no cancellations had yet been recorded. But hewarned that South Africa had been given "one of its lastchances" by the British High Commission, following its mildreview of advice issued to travellers. On Wednesday, the BritishHigh Commission in Pretoria updated the UK Foreign andCommonwealth Office travel advisory on SA, warning that"South Africa has a high incidence of rape". "Aswith other crimes, most incidents occur in the townships andisolated areas, and the risk to tourists travelling to the maindestinations and taking sensible precautions is not sohigh." High Commission spokesman Nick Sheppard told theSunday Times: "We won't say 'Don't visit South Africa' or'Don't go to a major tourist destination in the middle of theday'." Director Sally de Beer, a spokesman for PoliceCommissioner Jackie Selebi, said visible policing would bestepped up in all provinces over the festive season.
'Bring back our nurses', Zwelithini calls on state tostop health brain drain (The Independent, 23/11) - ZuluKing Goodwill Zwelithini has criticised the South Africangovernment for allowing a situation where thousands of healthprofessionals leave South Africa every year to seek "greenerpastures" elsewhere. Speaking at the official opening of theR1,2-billion Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital at Cato Manoron Friday, Zwelithini said it was time the government devisedstrategies to enable these doctors, nurses and paramedics tostay. He said South Africa had invested millions in the educationof these health professionals and yet the country was notbenefiting from that investment. People in the United Kingdom,Canada and the Middle East were now the recipients of suchtraining, Zwelithini said, adding that this trend should not beallowed to continue. "We need to get them back. Thegovernment must get them back home," he said. Replying tothe accusations, national Health Minister MantoTshabalala-Msimang, said that the government acknowledged therewas a problem with working conditions in provincial hospitals.However, she said, the health department had recently awarded itsstaff a nine percent salary increase. Tshabalala-Msimang saidmany health professionals had found that the grass was not alwaysgreener on the other side. She said South African healthauthorities were working on a "government togovernment" arrangement under which staff originally in theemploy of the state would have job security when they returned toSouth Africa, having worked in a government hospital orinstitution in the United Kingdom. KwaZulu-Natal Premier LionelMtshali also acknowledged the challenge of the loss of skills inthe province's hospitals. He said he wanted to convey thegratitude and indebtedness of the provincial administration tothose highly-skilled professionals who had remained in the publicsector. They had resisted the attraction of the private sectorand emigration abroad. About 2 500 people attended the officialopening, which was performed by Zwelithini and Deputy PresidentJacob Zuma.
Docket opened into the death of Nigerian national(SABC, 22/11) - An official inquest docket has beenopened into the death on Wednesday night of a Nigerian nationalunder arrest in Johannesburg for cocaine possession. SchalkBornman, police spokesperson, said an autopsy was carried outyesterday morning. He says the pathologist's report will formpart of an investigation including forensic tests and an inquestto establish the exact cause of the man's death. The Nigerian wasarrested and taken in a car to the Hillbrow police station,accompanied by three police officers. On arrival at the stationhe collapsed. Paramedics declared him dead on the scene. Rumoursbegan circulating that police had assaulted the man, causing hisdeath. An angry crowd staged a demonstration which policedispersed.
Pact signed to bring Cuban tutors to SA (Pretoria,Sapa, 22/11) - An agreement signed in Pretoria on Fridaywill pave the way for 50 Cuban tutors to train South Africanmaths and science teachers. An advance group had been in SouthAfrica since September, deputy education minister MosibudiMangena told reporters. They would return to Cuba shortly andreturn with their colleagues in April. The lecturers would dosix-month stints over a three-year period, Mangena said. Theagreement signed by education minister Kader Asmal and his Cubancounterpart, Louis Gomez Guitierrez, deals with matters like thetravel arrangements, accommodation, medical assistance andminimum payment for the tutors. "They have to certify to usthe tutors' knowledge of English," Asmal said. Guitierrezsaid more than 50 lecturers had been trained to communicate inEnglish, mainly for the purposes of the co-operation with SouthAfrica. "They will not substitute any South Africanteachers. The Cubans will come voluntarily just to help SouthAfrica." Asmal said the tutors would concentrate on 100schools identified for intensive maths and science education. Hepointed out that Cuba had donated solar panels and audio visualequipment to a school in Limpopo. Teachers ascribed the school'simproved matric pass rate - from 27 percent in 2000 to 62 percentlast year - to the donation. One panel was stolen, but the Cubangovernment replaced it. Guitierrez said: "We will continueexploring other fields where we can establish effectiveco-operation."
Dual citizen South Africans may use foreign passportsabroad (Pretoria, Sapa, 21/11) - Home Affairs MinisterMangosuthu Buthelezi reaffirmed on Thursday the right of SouthAfricans holding dual citizenship to use their foreign passportsabroad. "As far as I am concerned, the public may bereassured that I remain committed to respecting the values of theConstitution and those entrenched in international law,"Buthelezi said. Both the South African Constitution andinternational law suggested that the government should notinterfere with the rights of citizens to use the passports ofother countries, he said in a statement. Buthelezi's commentsfollowed media reports suggesting South African citizens who heldthe passports of other countries would no longer be allowed touse these passports. "I wish to reassure the public that atleast for as long as I am Minister of Home Affairs, there is noneed for concern about dual citizenship holders having to choosebetween South African and foreign citizenship." Home Affairsis responsible for issuing and administering passports.
Zimbabwean wins crucial refugee rights case in SouthAfrica (The Daily News, 21/11) - A Zimbabwean asylumseeker in Cape Town has won herself and the rest of thecontinent's displaced nationals a crucial court battle allowingrefugees to work and live in South Africa while their status isbeing ascertained, and their applications processed. The rulinghas brought a deep sigh of relief to thousands of Zimbabweansfleeing their crumbling economy and the political crisis in theircountry. But the biggest challenge now is to prove they fallunder the definition of refugees, legal experts said on Monday.The ruling in the Cape High Court gives the refugees the right towork and live in the country while their applications are beingprocessed. It may take up to a year for applications to beprocessed. And all refugees fleeing African tyrants haveZimbabwean Murial Millie Wachenuka to thank. Lawyers forWachenuka, her disabled son Sipho Mlagisi and the Cape Town-basedRefugee Centre, which looks after jobless refugees while theywait to be granted asylum seeker status, took the Department ofHome Affairs to court to challenge the constitutionality of theRefugees Act. They argued that it was an infringement ofrefugees' constitutional rights to equality, human dignity, lifeand just administrative action, not to allow asylum seekers towork or study while waiting for their applications to beprocessed. Every month South Africa deports thousands of illegalimmigrants, mostly from neighbouring states, particularlyZimbabwe and Mozambique. But the Cape Town court found that aministerial blunder in the regulations that created the ban meantthe regulations were unlawful and unconstitutional. This meantthat it was unnecessary for the court to rule on the infringementof fundamental rights. The battle started in February. Wachenukaand her son applied for asylum in Cape Town, and they were notallowed to work and study respectively. The fiery Zimbabweanenlisted the services of the Legal Resources Centre and took onthe Minister of Home Affairs, the director-general and thechairperson of the standing committee on refugee affairs,demanding she be allowed to work, and her son to study. In hisjudgment, Justice Hennie Erasmus noted that the standingcommittee consisted entirely of Home Affairs officials, and washeaded by the deputy director of refugee affairs. Justice Erasmussaid it was unnecessary to find that the standing committee wasappointed unlawfully as he had already set aside the ban onworking and studying because of the mistake in the issuing ofregulations. The Refugees Act, which came into effect in April2000, was created to give effect to international conventionsrelating to asylum seekers. But barely five days after it becamelaw, the Minister of Home Affairs passed a set of regulationsthat would allow asylum seekers to stay in the country butprohibited them from working or studying. But the passing of theregulations failed to recognise that the legal requirement thatthe standing committee on refugee affairs should determinewhether or not refugees could study or work. South Africa hasbeen battling the influx of illegal immigrants since thecountry's first ever democratic elections in 1994. It losesmillions each year repatriating illegal immigrants, most of whomreturn to what they see as the land of milk and honey. Accordingto the Act, refugees are people and their dependants who havefled their countries of origin or can't return home because ofthe well-founded fear of being persecuted by reason of theirrace, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of aparticular social group. Wachenuka and many other Zimbabweansfall into this description. Political violence and the generalcollapse in the rule of law are driving Zimbabweans into exile inSouth Africa. Although there was no comment from Wachenuka or herlegal representatives on Monday, it was clear the ruling would because for celebration among many refugees in South Africa, whichboasts the best constitution in the world, and democracy.
SA, Mozambique to work on migrationproblem (SABC, 21/11) - South Africa has agreed toexplore granting legal status to thousands of Mozambicans whohave settled there illegally in search of jobs, Luisa Diogo,Mozambique's finance minister, has said. She told a newsconference after a meeting between President Thabo Mbeki, andJoaquim Chissano, the Mozambican President, that the two leadershad discussed how to fix the problem, a source of constanttension between the two countries. The South African governmentdeports between 1 000 and 2 000 illegal Mozambican immigrantsevery week, but many of them are long-time illegal settlers inSouth Africa and sneak back within days, Mozambican officialssaid. Dozens of Mozambicans seeking lucrative jobs in SouthAfrica have been killed by wild animals over the years afterattempting the risky crossing of the border via the KrugerNational Park. "We explored whether there might be a way inwhich the status of illegal Mozambican immigrants could belegalised," Diogo told reporters. "It is a questionclose to all of us. Any deal would affect only those Mozambicansalready in South Africa illegally." Mbeki's one-day visitcame during a high-profile murder trial in Maputo that has putthe spotlight on corruption threatening to tarnish the country'seconomic achievements since a civil war ended in 1992. Diogo saideconomic growth would remain strong in 2002, boosted by largeinvestments from diversified miner BHP Billiton and South Africansynthetic fuels group Sasol.
Traders cry foul over SA travel rules (Nairobi, TheEast African Standard, 21/11) - Hundreds of curiotraders destined for Johannesburg yesterday protested what theytermed "hostile treatment" by the South African HighCommission in Nairobi. The group protested a new rule requiringthem to deposit $3,000 (Sh210,000) before they can be cleared tovisit that country. They termed as "harsh" the new rulewhich was introduced last May, claiming some of them have beenforced to forfeit the money on failing to return home in thestipulated time. "You are given the time limit in SouthAfrica, and failure to return by the stipulated date you lose themoney," charged the angry traders. However, a spokesman fromthe High Commission, Mr Solly Thivhula, dismissed some of theallegations as baseless. Thivhula conceded the High Commissionhad issued the rules requiring travellers to pay $3,000 but saidis was necessary to prove the financial viability of those goingto do business in Johannesburg. The traders who visited our TownHouse offices along Kaunda Street accused the South AfricanGovernment of allegedly imposing unfair trade practices onKenyans. "The South African businessmen coming to Kenya gettheir visas at the airport, but Kenyans headed for South Africaare forced to go through rigorous procedures before they aregranted visas," said one of the traders. The group claimedtheir passports are sometimes detained "even for a wholemonth" awaiting to be processed, thus denying them businessin Johannesburg. "The South African High Commission inNairobi is making it impossible for us to trade in their countryand this is unfair because Kenyans have been hospitable to theirtraders," the group said. They produced a letter from theEmbassy dated May 21, 2002 stipulating that any trader destinedfor South Africa has to deposit $3,000 before the visa can beprocessed.
Estate agent defends home sales to foreigners(Pretoria, Business Report, 21/11) - Pam GoldingProperties (PGP) group chief executive Andrew Golding hasdefended the sale of residential properties to foreign investors,emphasising that these sales represented only about 1 percent oftotal residential sales. Responding to the recently proposedgovernment audit of property sales to foreign investors, Goldingsaid statistics on such sales were readily available at the deedsoffice. In addition to injecting foreign capital into thecountry, he said, offshore buyers often invested in businessesand contributed towards job creation. It was important that SouthAfrica did not create negative perceptions that would deter thismuch-needed investment, particularly given the increased globalfocus on the country as a safe haven amid global uncertainty,Golding said at a function in Cape Town earlier this week. Salesto foreign investors represented about 8 percent of PGP'snational unit sales, he said, but because the average price paidby foreign buyers was in the region of R1.2 million, these salesmade up 17 percent of the company's turnover. Golding added thatabout 10 000 homes were sold during the past 12 months, with PGPaccounting for about 10 percent of total local residentialproperty sales, which positioned the company as the market leaderin residential real estate. PGP achieved just more than R3billion in residential sales over the six months to August, a51.5 percent increase over the same period last year. The companywas well on track to turning in record sales of about R6 billionfor its financial year to February, he said. About 10 percent ofsales were to the emerging black middle class, a rapidlyincreasing sector of the market which was augmenting the strongdemand for properties. There was also a huge demand for golfestate properties, which continued to escalate among both localand international buyers, Golding said. PGP had opened 27 newoffices over the past two years and was continuing its expansionprogramme, focusing on increasing market share. Another 10 newoffices were due to open locally and internationally over thenext 12 months. While the Rode report put the national averageselling price of homes in the region of R400 000, the averageprice of properties sold by PGP was about R630 000, up from R535000 a year ago. Golding said the past year had been characterisedby strong demand for property and this trend was expected tocontinue.
Autopsy will reveal how Nigerian died in custody(SABC, 21/11) - Johannesburg police say they willrelease the results of the post mortem on a Nigerian nationalwhose death in custody triggered clashes in Hillbrow last night.Schalk Bornman, a police spokesperson, says the Nigerian'sidentity will be released together with the pathologist's reporton the cause of his death. The man collapsed and died as healighted from a police van outside the Hillbrow police stationafter being arrested for cocaine possession. Police initiallysaid he appeared to have died of a drug overdose. A few hourslater, a large group of Nigerian expatriates gathered outside thestation, claiming the police had assaulted the man. Protestersthrew stones at the station and police fired rubber bullets,after which the crowd dispersed.
Nigerians death sparks violent protest (The Star,21/11) - Chaos reigned outside the Hillbrow policestation when a demonstration over the death of a Nigerianarrested for possession of cocaine turned violent. Up to twothousand Nigerians gathered outside the police station onWednesday night after a man arrested for cocaine possessioncollapsed and died as he got out of a police vehicle. Theprotesters claimed that the three policemen who arrestedDominique Onyeagwasi, had fatally assaulted him. AccordingCaptain Schalk Bornman the suspect was believed to have died of adrug overdose. "The Hillbrow Tracing Unit took the man tothe Hillbrow police station, where he was to be charged. Whenthey arrived there, he got out of the vehicle then collapsed anddied ... just like that," said Bornman. Although policebelieved Onyeagwasi had died of an overdose, the exact causewould be established only once a post mortem had been conducted.It was expected to be done on Thursday. Charles Diko, who led theprotest march, said Onyeagwasi had allegedly been picked up bythree policemen known to terrorise Nigerians in thearea."The man was driving along the street not far from thepolice station when he was stopped by three policemen. "Theydemanded that he take them to his house and when he asked why hewas forced out of the car, handcuffed and bundled into the policevan. "Two of his friends followed the van to Hillbrow policestation and saw police assaulting Dominique. "They kickedand punched him until he lost consciousness and died. He hadapparently been kicked in the testicles." A witness said hesaw Onyeagwasi lying on the ground with two men standing next tohim. "I thought he was ill and the police were waiting foran ambulance. He was facing upwards with his boots next to him.After a few minutes I saw a group of Nigerians in full force,singing." As the crowd became rowdier and smashed thewindows of police cars, police fired rubber bullets and the crowddispersed. No one was injured. However, the crowd re-groupedafter about an hour, and as they converged on the police station,a white BMW drove through the throng. No one was injured. Bornmansaid a full departmental investigation into the allegations ofpolice brutality would be carried out, as well as a probe by theIndependent Complaints Directorate. ICD spokesperson Steve Mabonaconfirmed that the directorate, which had had people presentduring the protests on Wednesday night, would be conducting itsown investigation. "We will definitely be investigating asthere are contradictory statements on both sides," saidMabona. He added that the post mortem examination "shouldclear up some of the contradictions".
30 000 refugees still waiting for asylum (Cape Town,News24, 20/11) - Nearly 30 000 refugees, persecutedin their own countries, are still waiting for official asylum inSouth Africa. In reaction to a question from Sakkie Pretorius(New National Party MP), Home Affairs Minister MangosuthuButhelezi said about 25 000 of the refugees were already inSouth Africa. They were on the run because of race, tribe,religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of aparticular organisation, he said. They mainly came from Africa,the Far East and the former Soviet republics. Buthelezi also saidtens of thousands of illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe (nearly40 000 this year) and Mozambique (about 60 000) to bedeported on a regular basis. Although the number of people whohad to be repatriated had decreased this year, immigrants fromthese two countries and Lesotho (about 4 000) were stillcausing problems for his department. Buthelezi said it wasimpossible to determine the number of illegal immigrants in thecountry. These immigrants, he added, mainly came from countriesthat were politically and economically unstable.
Protest at death of Nigerian in police custody (SABC,20/11) - More than 800 people protested outside theHillbrow police station in Johannesburg tonight following thedeath of a Nigerian national in police custody. The man, who wasarrested for possession of cocaine, died after falling from apolice van in front of the station. Schalk Bornman, a policespokesperson, says police found a small amount of cocaine in thesuspect's possession. "We suspect the suspect may have diedof cocaine overdose, but an investigation is under way."
AIDS mining summit postponed (Business Day, 20/11) - TheNational Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has slammed a decision bygovernment departments and the Chamber of Mines to"indefinitely" postpone an HIV/AIDS summit for themining industry. The union says third postponement raisesquestions about its commitment to combating the disease in theindustry. The union expressed its disappointment at the setbackto the development of a unified approach by government, labourand business to tackle the spread of HIV/AIDS, in an industryvulnerable to the disease. Chamber executive manager PeterBunkell denied that it had postponed the summit. He said thechamber shared the NUM's disappointment. The mining industry wasstill committed to holding a tripartite HIV/AIDS summit and wouldcooperate with government and the union to set up another datefor the summit, he said. NUM spokesman Moferefere Lekorotsoanasaid the summit was initially planned for December last year butrescheduled to February . It was again postponed to November 26,and last week it was postponed indefinitely. The decision topostpone the summit was taken without consulting the union, saidLekorotsoana. "What is of greater disappointment is that thelabour and health ministries, who came late to the process, vetoarrangements that are already at implementation stage."Insiders say that the postponement was made because the healthdepartment was not ready. The health ministry referred enquiriesto minerals and energy , which was not available for comment. Thelabour department was shocked to learn of the postponement as itwas fully behind it, said spokesman Snuki Zikalala. Lekorotsoanasays the postponement means efforts to combat the disease wouldnow be left to individual mining companies, instead of through anindustrywide strategy. Several mining companies have recentlysigned HIV/AIDS agreements with unions. Some of them makeprovision for free antiretroviral medicines to infected workers,among other services.
Refugees can work while they wait for asylum (IOL, 19/11) - Refugees seeking asylum in South Africa have won the right to work and study in the country while their applications are being processed, in terms of a Cape High Court ruling. It is expected that Monday's ruling will bring some relief to the Cape Town Refugee Centre, which tries to look after refugees while they wait - without an income and often for many months - for permission to stay in South Africa. Now refugees will be able to earn a living while they wait to find out if they will be given asylum. Lawyers for Zimbabwean Muriel Millie Watchenuka, her son and the Refugee Centre argued that refugees not having the right to work or study pending application for asylum infringed their constitutional rights to equality, human dignity, life and just administrative action. The court, however, found that a ministerial blunder in the regulations that created the ban meant the regulations were unlawful and unconstitutional. This meant it was unnecessary for the court to rule on the infringement of fundamental rights. In February, Watchenuka and her disabled son, Sipho Ezekiel Mlagisi, applied for asylum in Cape Town. While waiting for their application to be processed, she was not allowed to work and her son not allowed to study. With the help of the Legal Resources Centre she took the minister of home affairs, the director-general of home affairs and the chairperson of the standing committee on refugee affairs to the Cape High Court, asking the court to order that she be allowed to work and her son to study. The Refugees Act came into operation in April 2000, to give effect to international conventions relating to refugees. Five days after the act came into effect, the minister of home affairs passed a set of regulations that would allow an asylum-seeker to stay in the country but prohibited him or her from working or studying. The passing of the regulations failed to recognise the legal requirement that the standing committee on refugee affairs should determine whether or not refugees could study or work. In his judgment, Justice Hennie Erasmus said that the standing committee consisted entirely of home affairs employees, and was chaired by the department's deputy director of refugee affairs. He, however, said it was unnecessary to find that the standing committee had been appointed unlawfully as he had already set aside the ban on working and studying because of the mistake in the issuing of regulations. Refugees are categorised as:* People and their dependents who have fled their country or cannot return to it because of a well-founded fear of being persecuted by reason of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group.*People unable to call on the protection of their own country.*People who flee their home country because of external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or events seriously disturbing or disrupting public order there. These disruptions must be of such a nature that they 'compel refugees to leave their place of habitual residence to seek refuge elsewhere'.
Foreign land investigation not a witch-hunt, says LandAffairs (Cape Town, Sapa, 19/11) - The stateinvestigation into foreign ownership of land in South Africa willimprove efficiency in government and should not be seen as awitch-hunt, the department of land affairs said on Tuesday. Landaffairs chief director for communications, Abbey Makoe, told Sapathe internal department study had already begun and should becomplete early in 2003. It did not signify a threat to foreignland owners, he stressed. "It should never be seen as awitch-hunt or anti-foreign ownership... we are a constitutionaldemocracy, and protection of property is enshrined in theConstitution. "There is no threat to land ownership."Makoe said it was important government had a clear picture of theextent of foreign ownership of land, allowing for an informeddebate on the issue. "We don't want to wake up one day, andto our dismay, find that 90 percent of South Africa is now in thehands of foreigners, without us knowing." The criticismlevelled at the investigation, and the motive for the inquiry,was "premature". Makoe said the results of the studywould be made available to the public as soon as theinvestigation was complete. "As government, we are concernedabout the data on ownership of land by foreign individuals,companies and multinationals. "When we went into thegovernment archives we found that there has never been such aninvestigation," he said. Deputy President Jacob Zuma said inthe National Assembly last week that while there were no plans atpresent to limit foreign ownership, land affairs was conductingresearch into the extent of foreign-owned land. He said thegovernment acknowledged there were "concerns that need to beaddressed", but options would only be considered once theresearch was complete. A draft African National Congressresolution, to be discussed at the party's national conference inStellenbosch next month, calls for a careful examination of landownership and usage patterns in the country. There is a concernamong some members of the ruling party that the sale of land toforeigners is pushing land prices beyond the reach of SouthAfricans. The Democratic Alliance has called on government to"come clean" regarding the investigation, saying itmade no sense to waste time and taxpayers' money on aninvestigation if the government had no plans to limit foreignownership of land. Foreign purchases of land were a form offoreign direct investment. "If the ANC continues to engagein vague and secretive investigations into foreign landownership, it will scare off foreign investors and undermine ourall-important tourism industry," DA land affairs spokesmanAndries Botha said.
British may revise travel advice for UK tourists(SABC, 18/11) - The British High Commission says itmight review the travel advice given to British nationalsvisiting South Africa. Nick Sheppard, the commission'sspokesperson, says they need to strengthen the wording in thecurrent travel advice document in the light of recent attacks onBritish citizens. Sheppard was responding to an incident in whicha 29-year-old British woman was repeatedly raped after she andher South African friend were hijacked by four men at a viewingspot outside Sabie, in Mpumalanga, at the weekend. The suspectsshot dead a motorist, Domingo Campbell, and wounded anotherperson when they stopped to help. The raped woman sufferedlacerations to her wrists and her friend also sustained bruiseson the wrists. He was also knifed in the leg and suffered woundsto his back. Both victims were severely traumatised and are beingtreated in a local hospital. This is the second incident in lessthan a month in which a British national has become a victim ofviolent crime in Mpumalanga. Last month Diane Conway was killedand her husband, Major John Conway, wounded in a robbery atPilgrim's Rest. Sheppard could not say what changes to the traveladvice would be, saying: "If we decide to make someadditions in the document, those changes will be pronouncedapproximately in the next 48 hours." He says the currenttravel advice document warns British tourists against hijackings,incidents of rape and other violent crimes prevalent in SouthAfrica.
Kilgore's bail application (Business Day, 18/11) - USterror suspect James Kilgore is to appear in the WynbergMagistrate's Court in Cape Town for a bail hearing today afterspending the weekend in jail on immigration and fraud-relatedcharges. There was drama in court on Friday after magistrateHafifa Mohamed ordered his release as there had been no formalrequest from the US in terms of its extradition agreement with SAand no documentation from the state to explain why he wasdetained. The magistrate said extradition law allowed the matterto be postponed only once and that had already happened. Kilgorewas walking out of the cells at the Wynberg court when he wasrearrested for violations of the Aliens Control Act for enteringSA on a false passport, much to the dismay of his supporters andwife, Terri Barnes, who had gathered at the court for his trial.He appeared a second time before magistrate George Claasen.Justice department spokesman Paul Setsetse said the US wasevidently still busy with the extradition paper work, which mighttake three weeks. Kilgore's advocate, Anton Katz, insisted hisclient had a wife and children and was no flight risk. Kilgore,who has been living in SA under the alias Charles Pape, has beena fugitive from US justice for 27 years. He is wanted for murderand armed robbery, committed while he was a member of theSymbionese Liberation Army.
South African tourism CEO condemns attack(Johannesburg, Sapa, 18/11) - SA Tourism chief executiveofficer Cheryl Carolus said on Monday attacks on tourists wouldnot be tolerated. She was commenting on the gang-rape of a29-year-old British tourist, the assault on her South Africanfriend and the murder of a man who stopped to help the couple inMpumalanga on Saturday. "Naturally, our heartfelt sympathygoes out to the victims, and their families, of this horrendouscrime and we will do everything in our power to give supportwherever possible to those who have so tragically been affectedby this senseless act of violence." On a day in which theBritish High Commission said it was considering reviewing itstravel advice given to its nationals visiting South Africa inlight of the attack, Carolus said SA Tourism would not allowattacks to kill the tourism industry, national and international."We are working closely with the province's tourism andsafety and security departments - as well as relevant nationalgovernment departments ...- to ensure that tangible measures areput in place with immediate effect." The Democratic Allianceand the New National Party both expressed shock at the incident,sympathy with the victims and their families and concern over itspossible effect on South African tourism. "South Africa'sholiday season could not have (got) off to a worse start. Thenews that a 29-year-old British tourist was repeatedly raped inthe Nelspruit area (Mpumalanga) comes just weeks after (Britishtourist) Diane Conway was killed and her husband injured inPilgrim's Rest," said DA tourism spokesman Roy Jankielsohn.NNP tourism spokesman Wilhelm le Roux said: "Unfortunatelynobody feels safe in South Africa anymore. The Department ofTourism is actively engaged in promoting our country as a primedestination. However, if the perception prevails that SouthAfrica is crime-ridden, our beautiful scenery, diverse populationand game parks will not draw any visitors anymore. "Thewarning lights are flashing." Carolus said SA Tourism was"fully supportive" of the additional security measuresannounced by the province's Department of Safety and Security toimmediately address the situation. She also called on communitiesto aid the police in apprehending criminals. Mpumalanga wasdependent on tourism for its "bread and butter" and itstourism industry played an integral economic role, especially interms of job creation. "The reality is that the overwhelmingnumber of visitors to our country - as well as those who traveldomestically - have had a thoroughly enjoyable time withoutincident. However, we all know the sad reality that it is thoseincidents that involve serious crime that - rightfully - receivethe highest media profile." Carolus warned those withviolent and criminal intent that "the tide has nowturned". "Neither the government nor local communitieswill tolerate the continued acts of crime against society that soadversely affect our move towards economic prosperity for allSouth Africans."
Tourist attack condemned (Johannesburg, Sapa, 18/11) -While authorities on Monday expressed outrage at thehijacking and gang-rape of a British tourist in Mpumalanga thisweekend, Britain urged its citizens to exercise "extremecaution" when visiting South Africa. The British Foreign andCommonwealth Office said it had not yet changed its officialtravel advice to Britons visiting South Africa. However, earlieron Monday, the British High Commission in South African said itwas reviewing its advice to visitors in the light of the attack.The 29-year-old Briton and her South African friend were hijackedon the Sabie-Lyndenburg road on Saturday. Their ordeal finallyended 14 hours later early on Sunday morning with the death of apassing motorist, Domingo Chamber, 34. Chamber and his friendspotted an overturned Toyota venture on the Badplaas-Barbertonroad and decided to help when they came under fire. Chamber waskilled and his friend wounded while the Briton and her26-year-old friend managed to escape. "We need to perhapsstrengthen the wording in the current travel advice document inlight of the recent attacks on our fellow citizens," saidNick Sheppard, a spokesman for the British High Commission. Hesaid he did not know what the changes to the travel advice wouldbe. "If we decide to make some additions in the document,those changes will be pronounced approximately in the next 48hours." The advice given to visitors to South Africa on theForeign and Commonwealth Office's website, currently reads:"Most visits to South Africa are trouble-free, but visitorsshould be aware that the overall level of crime throughout thecountry remains high." It also warns: "South Africa hasa high incidence of rape. As with other crimes, most incidentsoccur in the townships and isolated areas, and the risk totourists travelling to the main destinations and taking sensibleprecautions is not so high." The site was last updated onOctober 31, after the Soweto and Bronkhorstspruit bombings. Theattack on a British tourist is the second of its kind in lessthan a month. In October, Diane Conway, a Briton, was killed andher husband, Major John Conway, was wounded in an armed robberyat a Pilgrim's Rest hotel. South African Tourism's chiefexecutive Cheryl Carolus said on Monday that attacks on touristswould not be tolerated. "Naturally, our heartfelt sympathygoes out to the victims, and their families, of this horrendouscrime and we will do everything in our power to give supportwherever possible to those who have so tragically been affectedby this senseless act of violence," Carolus said. She alsowarned those with violent and criminal intent that "the tidehas now turned". "We are working closely with theprovince's (Mpumalanga's) tourism and safety and securitydepartments - as well as relevant national government departments...- to ensure that tangible measures are put in place withimmediate effect." In Mpumalanga, the MEC for safety andsecurity, Thabang Makwetla, who strongly condemned the"ghastly and uncivilised act of senseless violence, rape andmurder," said the province had a comprehensive plan for theapproaching festive season. He said the plan, which had a specialemphasis on tourism safety, included increased police patrols onthe N4 freeway particularly in areas where there were highconcentrations of tourists. Democratic Alliance tourism spokesmanRoy Jankielsohn said that South Africa's holiday season could nothave got off to a worse start. "The news that a 29-year-oldBritish tourist was repeatedly raped ... comes just weeks after(British tourist) Diane Conway was killed and her husband injuredin Pilgrim's Rest. "We would like to express our sympathyand share the outrage in the manner in which she was assaulted.We hope her attackers will soon be brought to book," saidJankielsohn. The New National Party's Wilhelm le Roux said:"Unfortunately nobody feels safe in South Africa anymore.The Department of Tourism is actively engaged in promoting ourcountry as a prime destination. "However, if the perceptionprevails that South Africa is crime-ridden, our beautifulscenery, diverse population and game parks will not draw anyvisitors anymore. "The warning lights are flashing," LeRoux said. The SA Police Service, meanwhile, launched a manhunton Monday for two of the four alleged hijackers who escaped onfoot after they overturned the vehicle they had hijacked in theearly hours of Sunday morning. The other two men - a 20-year-oldZimbabwean national and a 29-year old South African fromNhlazatashe in Mpumalanga - were apprehended on Sunday, just fivekilometres away from where police recovered the hijacked car.They were found in possession of a wallet and a cellphonebelonging to the South African hijack victim and they wereexpected to appear in the Barberton Magistrate's Court on Tuesdayto face charges of armed robbery. According to police spokeswomanSenior Superintendent Mary Martins-Englebrecht, the allegedhijackers would probably face further charges of rape,kidnapping, assaults and murder once police gathered moreevidence. Martins-Englebrecht also said that the two hijackvictims, one of whom suffered stab wounds in the leg and theother who suffered rape-related injuries, were released fromhospital on Monday. She said they were reportedly severelytraumatised and were recovering at the South African victim'shome in Mpumalanga.
British tourist gang-raped, Mozambican Samaritanmurdered (Nelspruit, Mail & Guardian, 18/11) - Ayoung British tourist was repeatedly raped after she and herSouth African friend were hijacked on the Sabie-Lydenburg road onSaturday afternoon. "The couple stopped about 7km outsideSabie to admire the view when they were approached by four men,one armed with a revolver. They tied up the couple and forcedthem into their vehicle and drove off," Inspector MarleneWaldeck said on Monday morning. The gangsters raped the womanseveral times over a period of 14 hours and early on Sundaymorning overturned the vehicle, a red Toyota Venture, about 28kilometres outside Barberton, Waldeck said. A passing motoristDomingo Campbell stopped to assist. The gangsters shot him deadand ran off. Waldeck said police later arrested two of thegangsters. The raped woman suffered lacerations to her wrists andher friend also sustained bruises on the wrists. He was alsoknifed in the leg and suffered wounds to his back, Waldeck said.Both victims were severely traumatised and were being treated ina local hospital.
AngloGold miners start antiretroviral therapy(Johannesburg, Business Report, 15/11) - AngloGold, thecountry's largest gold producer, spends R1 billion a year onhealthcare for its employees in South Africa. The company, whichbegan administering antiretroviral therapy to the first of itsHIV-positive employees yesterday, said this healthcare spendingincluded medicines, medical staff and insurance. Bobby Godsell,the chief executive of AngloGold, said it was time that HIV/Aidswas treated like any other disease and antiretrovirals weretreated like any other form of therapy. "Aids is notsomething South Africans should be fighting each other about. Youjust have to see the daily funerals to know how the disease ismaking its presence felt." AngloGold started three miners onregimes yesterday as the first phase of its antiretroviralprogramme aimed at developing an understanding of the challengesinherent in the use of the drugs in the gold mining industry.Theprogramme's launch follows Anglo American's announcements earlierthis year that the group intended to offer HIV-positive employeestreatment free of charge. Godsell emphasised that the programmewas being implemented in partnership with the government and notin opposition to state policy. "We as a society arebeginning to move beyond denial. It's funny, but the reality ofepidemic only becomes real when everyone knows someone whodies." AngloGold estimates that between 25 percent and 30percent of its 40 000 employees are HIV positive. It has securedthe drugs at preferential prices from pharmaceutical companyGlaxoSmithKline. Colin Eisenstein, medical consultant toAngloGold and managing director of AngloGold Health Service, saidthe first-line triple therapy regime, or drug cocktail, waslikely to cost R840 a worker each month. The company was quoted afigure of R1 200 two months ago. "The price has come downand there is no question that the cost of new regimes will dropas all the pharmaceutical companies come to the HIV/Aids tabletoo," he said. Eisenstein said the next goal was to developa vaccine. Petra Kruger, AngloGold's HIV/Aids and Aurum manager,said 800 employees had been identified as immediately eligiblefor the drugs. Before the inclusion of antiretrovirals in itsHIV/Aids programme, the company said HIV/Aids was costing it $4to $6 an ounce of gold. Unmanaged, these costs would escalate to$9 an ounce, the firm said.
Kilgore re-arrested under Aliens Control Act (IOL,15/11) - United States terror suspect James Kilgore wasre-arrested on Friday for an alleged violation of South Africa'simmigration law, his attorney Michael Evans said. The arrest tookplace after a Wynberg magistrate ordered that he be released fromjail after the State failed in its bid to keep him in custodypending an extradition request from the United States. MagistrateHafifa Mohamed found there had been no provisional request fromthe US in terms of its extradition agreement with South Africafor Kilgore's arrest. Nor had the State given her anydocumentation on why he was detained. It was "shocking andstrange" for the court to hear that there had still been nodocumentation from the US. The court did not find it in theinterests of justice to keep Kilgore in detention any longer, shesaid. However, Kilgore's freedom was short-lived and he wasre-arrested at court soon after the ruling. Evans told reportersshortly after 12pm that he had not seen a formal charge."From the discussion with the investigating officer it seemsas though the charges relate to an allegation that he entered thecountry under a false name. "He'd been released, they'dsigned his release, they'd opened the gate to let him out, whenthey advised him he was being charged under the Aliens ControlAct." Evans, Kilgore's advocate Anton Katz, along withKilgore's wife Terri Barnes and a handful of supporters, werestill at the Wynberg court. Asked whether a bail hearing waslikely to happen on Friday, Evans said: "We've been toldthere is a magistrate available to hear it, and the prosecutor isstill here, so the signs are good." One of Kilgore'sfriends, who did not want to be identified, described there-arrest as a "total abuse of court process"reminiscent of apartheid-era practice. Another friend, Rick DeSatge, said it had been expected that if Kilgore won his freedomon the extradition grounds, the State "would probably havesomething up its sleeve". Using the Kilgore's alias, hesaid: "For John (Pape) to have been released would have beenan embarrassment."
Congolese refugee jumps to his death (IOL, 15/11) - Aman who threatened to torch himself on top of a Pretoria buildingthis week, jumped to his death on Friday, police said. Congoleserefugee David Leon leapt from the eighth floor of a building inVan der Walt Street in central Pretoria around noon, said policeInspector Percy Morokane. Police were at the scene at the time.Leon on Wednesday disrupted traffic when he took up a position ontop of a building on the corner of Schoeman and Andries streets,threatening to set himself alight with petrol. Police eventuallytook him into custody for questioning. Morokane on Friday said itwas not clear as yet when and why Leon was released. From aposter he carried on Wednesday it appeared that Leon hadgrievances against the office of the United Nations HighCommissioner for Refugees. It read: "UNHCR violent racisttribalisme."
Cape court sets Kilgore free (IOL, 15/11) - UnitedStates terror supsect James Kilgore should be freed, Cape Town'sWynberg magistrate's court ordered on Friday morning. MagistrateHafifa Mohamed said she found it "shocking and strange"that there had not been any extradition documentation from theUnited States. Earlier, Kilgore's legal representative, AntonKatz, argued that his client should be released from detentionimmediately. He was opposing a state application for Kilgore toremain in custody pending an extradition request from the US.Prosecutor Anthony Stephen told the court he had been assured bythe American Consul that the papers should be in South Africa inthree weeks. Katz said Kilgore was ready to comply with theextradition process, which had already been under discussion forsome months. "He is not fighting the extradition assuch." The state was not entitled to ask for a postponementbecause the extradition itself was not yet before the court."There can't be a postponement of nothing. There isnothing." Kilgore's legal team was asking for his dischargebecause that was the only option the court could exercise now."My client, on the strength of a phone call, will turn upwhenever he's requested," Katz said. "My client wantsto go back to the United States sooner than later, but it must bein terms of a documented request." As in Kilgore's firstappearance on Monday, the public gallery was packed with friendsand supporters, including former cabinet minister Derek Hanekom,who was seated next to Kilgore's wife Terri Barnes. The US consulin Cape Town, Steve Nolan, was also present. Before the courtproceedings, a police official and Katz both asked supporters notto clap when Kilgore entered court, in order to preserve thedignity of proceedings. Kilgore gave a cheerful thumbs up to thegallery when he entered the dock. Supporters waved in reply. Hewas dressed casually in a windbreaker and open neck shirt, andwas chewing gum.
Government should clarify foreign land ownershipissue, says DA (Cape Town, Sapa, 14/11) - The DemocraticAlliance on Thursday urged the government to "comeclean" about its investigation into the foreign ownership ofland in South Africa. "It makes absolutely no sense to wastetime and taxpayers' money on an investigation into the extent offoreign land ownership if the government has no plans to limitforeign ownership of land in South Africa," DA land affairsspokesman Andries Botha said. He was reacting to Deputy PresidentJacob Zuma's comments in the National Assembly on Tuesday thatthe land affairs department was conducting research into theextent of foreign ownership of land in the country. Botha said ina statement the African National Congress should play open cardswith people. The government should answer the followingquestions:
- Who is conducting the investigation?
- What are the terms of reference for the investigation?
- What is the timeframe for the investigation?
- How much is the investigation going to cost?
Foreign purchases of land were a form of foreign directinvestment, Botha said. "If the ANC continues to engage invague and secretive investigations into foreign land ownership,it will scare off foreign investors and undermine ourall-important tourism industry. "It is! time for the ANC tocome clean." Zuma emphasised in the Assembly on Wednesdaythat the government had no plans at present to limit ownership byforeigners. "The research, amongst other matters, willaddress the numbers and types of cases involved, and will alsoentail a comparative study of countries facing similarchallenges," he said It would also look at whether foreignownership of land was enhancing economic growth. Zuma said thegovernment acknowledged there were "concerns that need to beaddressed" but options would only be considered once theresearch was complete. "If government were to considerrestrictions on land ownership, such an issue would have to bethoroughly discussed between various government departments andother stakeholders."
Foreigners' ownership of land probed (Cape Town,Business Day, 14/11) - Government has no plans to limitthe foreign ownership of land in SA, Deputy President Jacob Zumasaid yesterday, but acknowledged that the matter was the subjectof a governmental investigation. The possibility of a ban onforeign ownership of land in the country was raised earlier thismonth in the context of a resolution which will go before theAfrican National Congress's (ANC's) national conference nextmonth. The resolution calls for "usage patterns in thecountry, especially the sale of land to foreigners, which leadsto pricing beyond the reach of South Africans" to beinvestigated. Both the conference resolution and theinvestigation are signs of government's way of managing theincreased pressure on it over land reform ahead of the ANCconference. Last week the ANC acknowledged increased pressurearound land hunger with the issue being described as "anational grievance" but insisted that property rights,including those of foreigners, were constitutionally protected.Zuma, in reply to a question from Democratic Alliance MP NickClelland-Stokes, said: "The land affairs department iscurrently conducting research into the matter of foreignownership of land in SA. The research, among other matters, willaddress the numbers and types of cases involved and will alsoentail a comparative study of countries facing similarchallenges. "Government has no plans at present to limit theforeign ownership of land. However, government acknowledges thatthere are concerns that need to be addressed. However, optionscannot be considered until the research is completed. "Ifgovernment were to consider restrictions on land ownership, suchan issue would have to be thoroughly discussed between variousgovernment departments and other stakeholders."Clelland-Stokes, in a follow-up question, said that foreignpurchases of land were a form of direct foreign investment and assuch were little different from selling portions of state-ownedenterprises to foreign investors. Zuma strongly disagreed, sayingthe two issues could not be compared. He said the whole of Telkomcould be sold, but that did not mean that the land of a countrywas lost. He suggested that in an extreme scenario a people couldend up with a country that was wholly owned by a foreign company.Pan Africanist Congress leader Stanley Magoba welcomed the newsthat an investigation into land matters was under way. He saidland was too important to leave to chance. Last week ANC chiefwhip Nathi Nhelko said that land deprivation was a nationalgrievance for South Africans. "They want to own land. Theydid not say government must ban land ownership byforeigners." He stressed that all property rights wereconstitutionally protected, but government did have the right toknow who owned what land in the country.
Cameroon pair in court for stolen computers (SABC,14/11) - Two Cameroonian men arrested for being inpossession of suspected stolen computers will appear in theJohannesburg Magistrate's Court today. Police say the 43-year-oldowner of a second-hand computer dealership in Orange Grove andhis 37-year-old technical assistant were arrested on Tuesday.Police seized around 100 personal computers, laptops, copiers,fax machines, servers, TV sets, and M-Net and DSTV decoders. Theequipment is valued at an estimated R2-million. The two suspects,both legal immigrants, were arrested after three reservistscarrying out routine inspections became suspicious when theycould not produce proper papers for the equipment in the shop.
Gold mines account for 64% of SA mine deaths (CapeTown, Sapa, 14/11) - Almost two-thirds of accidentfatalities on South African mines last year occurred on goldmines, the Mine Health and Safety Inspectorate said yesterday. Inits annual report for the year to March, tabled in parliament,the mining watchdog said there were a total of 298 fatalities inthe industry, of which 192 (64.4 percent) happened on gold mines."The high labour intensity and geology of our gold minesresult in these mines having high accident rates, and hencefatalities, when compared with coal, platinum and othermines." Rock falls remained the major cause of death,accounting for 121 of the 298 mine fatalities, the report stated.The gold mining industry "remains the main contributor tomining-related accidents", it said. "As miningcontinues to go deeper E rock bursts are bound to affect theseverity of accidents, and often cause serious productionlosses." The inspectorate said that, with the increase inthe price of gold and the devaluation of the rand, mining houseswere increasingly looking at reserves that until now were notconsidered economically viable. "High fractured roofs, highrock stresses and the problems associated with coursingventilation for long distances through mined-out areas are but afew [of the risks]," the report said. The latest fatalityfigures for the gold-mining industry marked an increase over theprevious year, when 173 workers were killed. During the periodcovered by the report, there were 50 fatalities on platinum minesand 17 on coal mines. The watchdog noted that fatality rates inSouth Africa's coal sector had for the first time "reachedlevels comparable to Australia and North America. This is anachievement to be proud of and we must not be complacent."There are 1 345 mines in South Africa, of which 775 areregistered operating mines. Fatal accidents in 2001 occurred at26 percent of them.
Safety plan for tourists in Mpumalanga (Nelspruit,African Eye News Service, 13/11) - Mpumalanga'sambitious safety plan for tourists aims to protect visitors overthe festive season, but only at major tourist attractions and notat hotels and lodges. Provincial safety and security MEC ThabangMakwetla said during a media conference on Wednesday that thegovernment could not afford to provide safety that ordinary SouthAfricans couldn't get. "It would be misleading to say we canafford to provide safety and security that is above what SouthAfricans can get," Makwetla said. "Crime in the countryaffects everyone." At least 27 foreign tourists have beenattacked in the province since the beginning of this year. Threeof the most recent attacks took place at a Pilgrim's Rest hoteland at two guesthouses in the province's capital of Nelspruit.Makwetla said that the government couldn't establish"islands of security" for tourists at lodges andhotels. "We want to make the province secure for everyone,and [tourist accommodation] is just everywhere and would beimpossible to protect," Makwetla said. The MEC announced,however, that about 100 youngsters would be trained to providesecurity, intelligence information, increased visibility andcustomer care at the province's crime-ridden tour sites inWaterval Boven, Nelspruit, Malelane and Pilgrim's Rest. Therewould be immediate 24-hour deployment of police at the historicWaterval Boven tunnel, where several tourist attacks have beenreported. Makwetla said that a task team has also beenestablished to co-ordinate the training and ensure tourists'safety on the N4 toll road and the Ultra City filling station inMiddelburg. Finance and economic affairs MEC Jacob Mabena saidcommunities, small businesspeople like car washers and streetvendors, would be involved in tourism safety as part of a mediumand long term plan. Mabena said that border posts officials wouldalso be involved to ensure that chances of them colluding withcriminals were closed down. He said that the budget for theprogramme hasn't been quantified yet. Tourism generatedR34,3-billion (about US$3,43 billion) for South Africa last year.
Buthelezi to table damage control law (Parliament,Sapa, 13/11) - Home affairs minister MangosuthuButhelezi says he will soon table a damage-control bill toprotect the state from being sued because the extension of formerdirector-general Billy Masetlha's contract was invalid. This wascontained in a speech prepared for delivery to the home affairscommittee at a meeting which was cancelled at short-notice onTuesday. He asked committee chairman Mpho Scott to distribute thespeech to members and on Wednesday also made it available to theParliamentary Press Gallery Association. Buthelezi criticised thecommittee for not taking his concerns seriously when hecomplained about Masetlha whom he said did not have a validcontract. Buthelezi took the unprecedented step in October lastyear of presenting a list of 64 complaints about Masetlha to thecommittee, including one of insubordination. "When I pointout problems, it is because I feel that they are real. When Iseek solutions, I only think about the interests of our peopleand our country," his undelivered speech says. "Youwill remember that when I brought to this committee the realissue relating to the failure on the side of Mr Masetlha tocomply with the legal requirements applicable to his contract,there was suspicion that I was pursuing a personal agenda, ratherthan exposing a real problem of the state." Auditor-generalShauket Fakie has since found that the extension of Masetlha'scontract for a year to June 20 was in fact invalid, as wasoriginally claimed by Buthelezi. Fakie's report noted that theexpenditure incurred by Masetlha while his appointment "wasnot in accordance with ... legislative requirements"amounted to about R839-million for the period June 21, 2001 toMarch 31 this year and a further R332-million for the periodApril 1, 2002 to June 20 this year. Buthelezi previously warnedthat because Masetlha was not legally appointed, this would raisequestions about the legality of thousands of actions taken by theDepartment of Home Affairs over that period, includingdeportation notices. In his speech to the committee, Buthelezisaid: "I came to you in humility and at the request of thiscommittee but I was treated with suspicion. "Now we all dealwith the report of the auditor-general which highlights how theincident in respect of which I cried for assistance, in factconstitutes one of the major breakdowns in our administration anda possible source of major liability for the state."Although the standing committee on public accounts might be ableto deal some of the issues raised "by this major failure inthe functioning of the administration", other matters mayneed to be addressed by an ad hoc law, Buthelezi said. "Ihave directed for this law to be drafted and it will be tabledbefore Cabinet as soon possible. In this fashion we will be surethat the state is protected from liability which may arise inrespect of third-party actions. "It is a painful step totake but it seems to be an unavoidable one." Buthelezi hasalso told committee members that he is not dragging his feet inappointing a new director-general to replace Masetlha. He wasready "to take the process forward through the requiredCabinet procedure". Buthelezi would not be drawn on the factthat African National Congress Cabinet colleagues who served on aselection committee favoured the appointment of NationalIntelligence Agency deputy director-general Barry Gilder.Buthelezi supports the acting director-general Ivan Lambinon.Scott has previously expressed concern that the delay in theappointment of a director-general had an adverse effect onservice delivery. In his speech to the committee, Buthelezi saidthere were a number of government departments which had an actingdirector-general for some time and no one had raised an issueabout it. What was important was to pursue and protect theinterests of the state, which depending on the circumstances,might require an expedited filling of the position. In the caseof his department there had been no delay, "but I must takeexception to those who feel qualified to double-guess how I servethe interests of my customers and that of the state and mycompetence to do so".
Protestor in Pretoria a 'DRC refugee' (IOL, 13/11) - Alone protestor from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) wassubdued by South African police on Wednesday after he climbed ahigh building in central Pretoria and threatened to set himselfalight. The man, identified by members of a refugee assistancecentre as Silvano Mtobwa was reportedly subdued by special policetask force members around noon. Hundreds of onlookers gathered asMtobwa, believed to be a refugee from the DRC, doused himselfwith petrol and occasionally drank from a fuel canister on top ofthe eight-storey building. He tossed down two placards saying:"UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) are violence,racist, tribalism" and "Justice must be done-UNHCR". Joan Pearton, national director of the JRS RefugeeServices, which has offices in the building, said Mtobwa came tothe centre a week ago, looking for medical assistance. She added:"He came to the office this morning. In fact he wentstraight to the eighth floor. The next thing we heard there wassomeone on the roof with fuel and a lighter who was threateningto torch himself." Police spokesperson Percy Morokane saidthe man was taken to Pretoria central police station forquestioning. "We are also making arrangements that heundergoes mental observation," Inspector Morokwane added. Hesaid police decided to end the drama because of the "timethat was being wasted, the danger posed by the large crowd thathad gathered, and because it was causing a serious trafficjam."
Government researching foreign ownership of land(Parliament, Sapa, 13/11) - The department of landaffairs is conducting research into the extent of foreignownership of land in South Africa, Deputy President Jacob Zumasaid on Wednesday. However, the government had no plans atpresent to limit ownership by foreigners, he said in reply toquestions in the National Assembly. "The research, amongstother matters, will address the numbers and types of casesinvolved, and will also entail a comparative study of countriesfacing similar challenges." It would also look at whetherforeign ownership of land was enhancing economic growth. Zumasaid the government acknowledged there were "concerns thatneed to be addressed" but options would only be consideredonce the research was complete. "If government were toconsider restrictions on land ownership, such an issue would haveto be thoroughly discussed between various government departmentsand other stakeholders." A draft African National Congressresolution, to be discussed at the party's national conference inStellenbosch next month, calls for a careful examination of landownership and usage patterns in the country. There is a concernamong some members of the ruling party that the sale of land toforeigners is pushing land prices beyond the reach of SouthAfricans. In reply to a question from the DA's NickClelland-Stokes, Zuma said it was wrong to equate the sale ofshares in state-controlled telecoms company Telkom to the sellingof land to foreigners. "You can buy the entire Telkom... andyou will still have a country, but if you sold all the land, youwill be staying in a country that is not your own." He saidthere was no timeframe for the study, but because of the seriousconcerns raised about foreign landowners in some quarters,government would try to expedite the research. Dr Stanley Mogobaof the Pan Africanist Congress warned that "aliens"taking over much of the country's land while South Africans werewaiting for land restitution could lead to a "very explosivesituation".
Chinese investor's murder leads to factory closure(Bronkhorstspruit, African Eye News Service, 12/11) - Theruthless murder of a Chinese investor has sparked diplomaticprotests and prompted the closure of a brand new R7 millionfactory in Mpumalanga. Not even the intervention of nationalpolice commissioner Jackie Selebi has calmed investor outrageafter Ran San Rong was gunned down in an apparent mugging outsidehis Baotou Focus factory in Ekangala last month. The factoryproduced electrical switching gear for powerlines, and providedfulltime employment for 30 core staff. The Chinese Embassy has,Mpumalanga authorities confirmed, warned that scores more foreigninvestors will pull their money unless violent crime levels arebrought within internationally accepted norms. "Chineseinvestors created at least 500 jobs in Mpumalanga this year injust two flagship factories. Asian investors also, we estimate,account for almost half the R5 billion foreign direct investmentto Mpumalanga during 2002," said Mpumalanga InvestmentInitiative (MII) chief executive Musi Skosana. "We've beenflooded with protests since Rong's murder. The murder is the mostserious attack yet, but not the first violent crime. Robberiesand burglaries are very common." The recent bombing, bysuspected rightwingers, of the Buddhist Temple inBronkhorstspruit last month has also sent shock waves through theregion's Chinese community. "There is a fear that Chinesebusinessmen are being singled out as soft targets. The Baotoufactory deal took us three years to put together, only to bedestroyed in minutes by some petty criminal," said Skosana.The MII and its partner parastatal, the Mpumalanga EconomicEmpowerment Corporation (MEEC), are considering a multi-millionrand security initiative to build electric fences and placeprivate security guards around foreign factories in places suchas Ekangala. "It's money that could have been spent onschools or clinics, and the taxpayer will end up paying, but we'dlose even more if the Chinese disinvest," said Skosana. Anational police task team is meanwhile still searching for thekiller, and believes that former factory employee Xolani Dlaminimight be able to assist in investigations. "Dlamini workedlate the night of the murder, and might have seen something thatwill help us find the killers," said Captain WilsonMahlangu. Dlamini disappeared immediately after the murder.Please later recovered Rong's stolen car near the factory.
New return for cross-border transactions(Johannesburg, Business Day, 11/11) - The SA RevenueService has introduced a tax return for companies that docross-border transactions, says PricewaterhouseCoopers associatedirector Karyn Moraitis. The new return which has sharp teeth isindicative of revenue's commitment to keeping its eye on transferpricing. Taxpayers who fail to make full disclosure oftransactions face hefty penalties, interest and, in manyinstances, secondary tax. Moraitis says the new return has"far-reaching consequences". In 1996 the revenueservice introduced a provision to the company tax return whichrelated to transfer pricing. "The provision was badlyworded, with the result that taxpayers were unsure how tocomplete the return." Revenue expected to receiveinformation from taxpayers involved in internationaltransactions. This would have included details of the prices thatwould have been used had the transaction been between independentparties dealing at arm's length. Moraitis says revenue would thenaudit a taxpayer's transfer pricing on the basis of the answersprovided in the return. "In light of the ambiguousterminology used in the return, it was clear that it needed arevamp," she says. This has been done. The new returnrequires taxpayers to provide the revenue service with details oftheir cross- border transactions, as well as a transfer-pricingpolicy document to support the transactions. The taxpayer'sauditors must also review the company's compliance with pricingpolicies. Moraitis says taxpayers who fail to comply with theprovisions not only face the accusation of nondisclosure, butalso an "unwelcome adjustment to their taxable income,penalties, interest and, in many cases, secondary tax". Atransfer-pricing policy document is required for any company thatcarries out transactions with international affiliates.
US will ask SA to extradite Kilgore (Cape Town,Dispatch Online, 11/11) - Federal prosecutors in theUnited States were drafting a request to have one of the FBI'smost wanted criminals, a fugitive of 27 years, accused of a 1975bank robbery and murder, extradited from South Africa, anofficial said yesterday. James Kilgore, 55, who was a member ofthe Symbionese Liberation Army best known for kidnappingnewspaper heiress Patricia Hearst, was arrested in Cape Town onFriday night. The extradition request, which will be certified bythe US justice and state departments before being forwarded tothe South African government, would take between three and eightweeks to process, said Brian Penn, a spokesman for the USconsulate in Cape Town. "A lot depends on whether (Kilgore)contends the extradition request or not," he said. Kilgorespent the weekend in a cell at a Cape Town police station,pending his appearance in a Cape Town court today. Mike Evans,his lawyer, declined to comment on the case. While Kilgoreviolated local immigration laws, police have indicated they wouldfavour his extradition rather than have him prosecuted in SouthAfrica. Justice Ministry spokesman Paul Setsetse said SouthAfrican laws prevented Kilgore from being extradited if there wasthe possibility that he may be executed. US officials saidKilgore was unlikely to face the death penalty. Police were toldthree months ago that Kilgore was hiding out somewhere in SouthAfrica and eventually found him living under the alias, CharlesPape, in Claremont. Kilgore received an undergraduate degree ineconomics from the University of California at Santa Barbara andworked as a cook and house painter during his radical years. Nowmarried with two children, he has worked at the University ofCape Town since 1998 as a senior researcher in the InternationalLabour Resource and Information Group. Police believe Kilgorelived in Zimbabwe and then Johannesburg before moving to CapeTown. Kilgore became a fugitive in 1975 to escape charges ofpossession of explosives. His arrest came just a day after fourof his former comrades pleaded guilty to the murder of MyrnaOpsahl, who was depositing a church collection when she waskilled by a shotgun blast during the 1975 hold-up of the CrockerNational Bank in suburban Sacramento, California. Kilgore and hisfour colleagues were charged in January with Opsahl's murder.American law enforcement and defence attorneys said Kilgore hadbeen communicating with authorities, seeking a plea deal similarto those the other defendants received.
Top NIA official slated for Home Affairs D-G job (CityPress, 10/11) - A top intelligence official has beentipped to take over the reigns as director-general in thedepartment of home affairs, replacing Billy Masetlha who left thedepartment after his contract expired in June. Masetlha had alsopreviously worked as an intelligence agency official beforejoining the department. He left the department after severalfights with Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi who on anumber of occasions had questioned the validity of his contractand accused him of insubordination. Although Buthelezi has notmade recommendations to cabinet about the appointment,departmental staff are speculating on National IntelligenceAgency deputy director-general Barry Gilder. Sources within thedepartment said an appointment to the position was imminent sinceinterviews were conducted in the first week of October.``Reasonable and legitimate expectations have been created afterthe shortlisting, interviewing and selection process wascompleted early last month,'' an official in the department said.Some officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it was``common knowledge'' within the department that a cabinetsub-committee had made recommendations. They said they werewaiting for Buthelezi, who chaired the sub-committee, to write arecommendation to cabinet and President Thabo Mbeki for finalapproval. They said there was anxiety about the long-awaitedappointment within the department, leading to speculation thatButhelezi may want to retain or prolong the stay of acting D-GIvan Lambinon in the position. Lambinon confirmed he was one ofthose who were interviewed for the D-G's position but could notsay whether Buthelezi regarded him as a preferred candidate.Chairman of the portfolio committee on home affairs and ANC MPMpho Scott has raised concerns that the delay in the appointmentof the D-G was having an adverse effect on service delivery.Buthelezi had previously raised concerns about the employment ofa former intelligence official in the department.
South African mistakenly deported (City Press, 10/11)- A 22-year-old man has been deported from the Lindelarepatriation centre to Zimbabwe by South African immigrationofficials amid claims by his family that he is South African.Despite possessing an identity document and passport declaring heis a South African citizen, Lungani Richard Zwane of Mzimhlope,Soweto, was transported with illegal immigrants two weeks ago tothe South Africa/Zimbabwe border post at Beit Bridge. Zwane'suncle, Alex, said Lindela officials went ahead and deported himeven after he had shown them his valid South African ID. Thisweek City Press visited Lindela to check the records. We foundthere was an entry showing Zwane's admission to the centre onOctober 17 and his repatriation to Beit Bridge on October 23.Alex said Zwane was arrested on October 10 by the police inBooysens while on his way home from work. He stayed at the policestation for eight days before he was taken to Lindela. On hearingof his nephew's detention, Alex rushed to Lindela with Zwane's IDto negotiate his release with the officials. ``After his arrest,he phoned and informed the family. We sent his ID and passport tohim at Lindela to secure his release. But we were shocked when hewas deported a week later,'' he said. Alex said that while tryingto secure his nephew's release, officials at one stage said theycould not help as the computer was down. When he went back thefollowing day, no officials were available except for a securityguard, who told him there was no electricity. Alex returned thenext day and finally met one official. However, he was shockedwhen he was shown documents stating that his nephew had beendeported to Beit Bridge. ``I phoned the Beit Bridge police andthey told me they do not deal with illegal immigrants. ``I havelodged a complaint with Lindela and the home affairs department.I want my nephew back,'' said Alex. Alex said Zwane, who survivedon casual jobs, was born in Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal. Hismother, Soliwe Zwane, died in March 1987. After his mother'sdeath he went to stay with his grandmother, Greta Zwane, who wasmarried in Zimbabwe. He stayed there until March last year whenhe came back to South Africa. Home affairs spokesperson LeslieMashokwe insisted Zwane is not a South African. He said Zwanecame into the country in March last year on a Zimbabweanpassport. He then fraudulently obtained a South African identityin February this year. Mashokwe said his real name was RichardLungani and Zwane was an assumed surname.
Cuban doctor gets green light to stay (Johannesburg,Sunday Times, 10/11) - A Cuban doctor suspended formarrying a South African has won a High Court battle to continuepractising in this country. Dr Raul Rodriquez Vazquez, 37, fromUmkomaas on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, was suspended by theDepartment of Health in November for marrying Rosemary Buckley,31. But this week the Pietermaritzburg High Court ordered theMedical and Dental Professional Board and the Health ProfessionsCouncil to renew Vazquez' s registration as a doctor. The ordermeans that the Department of Health is obliged to set hissuspension aside. The judgment implies that Cuban doctors whopreviously could have been fired for marrying South Africans arenow free to do so. The court also ordered the Department ofHealth to contribute R15 000 towards Vazquez's legal costs.Vazquez, from Havana , came to Durban in 1996 on the basis of anemployment agreement between the two governments . He and Buckleymarried in 1998. "It was love at first sight. We wereimmediately drawn to each other and although there was a languagebarrier at first, this didn't stop the relationship fromblooming," said Vazquez. But the relationship has been underconstant strain since last November when the Department of Healthsuspended Vazquez for marrying and becoming a South Africancitizen. This, the department said, contravened his contract."I couldn't believe that my job had been taken away from mesimply because I became a South African," Vazquez said."I had no income and I didn't know where to turn. It was avery stressful time." Vazquez challenged his suspension and,after the matter went to arbitration, he was reinstated inFebruary this year. But in August his application to renew hisregistration as a medical practitioner was turned down. Thistime, he took his case to the Pietermaritzburg High Court wherethe order was granted this week. " I'm relieved that thiscourt case is over. My wife and I can return to our normallives," he said. Rosemary Vazquez commented: "All wewanted was for my husband to be treated fairly. He was wrongedbut it has now been rectified." But Vazquez faces anotherbattle with officialdom. Since he was granted permanentresidence, he said, the Cuban government had refused to allow hisson to leave Cuba to visit him. Vazquez's attorney, IshanaHassim, said the case would set a precedent for other Cubandoctors who would now be able to marry South Africans withoutfear of losing their jobs. Phephela Makgoke, a spokesman for theHealth Professions Council , said the matter was between theDepartment of Health and Vazquez. "In brief, the councilcannot extend his registration on its own as the application hasto be supported by his employer," he said.
Chinese nationals arrested for dealing in Perlemoen(Pretoria, Sapa, 09/11) - Four Chinese nationals, aSouth African and Mozambican were arrested for operating anillegal perlemoen (abalone) warehouse in Vereeniging, south ofJohannesburg, on Friday, the elite crime busting unit, theScorpions, said on Saturday. Spokesman Sipho Ngwema said the unithad been investigating Chinese syndicates running illegalbusinesses in the country. He said the investigation led them tothe warehouse and perlemoen worth R6-million as well as equipmentwere seized. More arrests were expected, Ngwema said. The fourwill appear in court on Monday.
SA has not received extradition request of Americanfugitive (Johannesburg, Sapa, 09/11) - South Africa'sgovernment has not yet received a formal request to extraditeSymbionese Liberation Army leader James Kilgore to the UnitedStates, Justice Ministry spokesman Paul Setsetse said onSaturday. "We have not received an application for hisextradition," Setsetse said. "If indeed we receive it,we will consider it on its own merit." Kilgore, 55, the lastremaining member of the SLA, a radical group that committedpolitically motivated crimes in the United States in the 1970s,might not be extradited if Washington does not promise not toexecute him. Setsetse said that in terms of South Africa'sextradition laws, a person could only be extradited after thecountry requesting the extradition stated clearly what sentencewould be imposed. "If the crime committed carries a deathpenalty, then our extradition act prohibits us to extradite thatperson to the requesting state," said Setsetse. Kilgore hadbeen on the run from the FBI for the past 26 years. South Africanpolice traced him to his home in Claremont, Cape Town, andarrested him at 7.15pm on Friday. He had been living in Cape Townfor the last five years under the name Charles Pape. He is wantedfor murder, armed robbery and illegal possession of destructivedevices. The last charge refers to homemade bombs. SeniorSuperintendent Mary Martins-Engelbrecht said it was thought thatKilgore had been in Zimbabwe before he moved to South Africa.South African police began searching for him at Interpol'srequest about three months ago. The most notorious of the SLA'scrimes was the kidnapping of American newspaper heiress PattyHearst in 1974. The SLA brainwashed Hearst into joining them. Shewas convicted of bank robbery committed while part of the SLA,but was later pardoned by then-president Gerald Ford. The SLAthought of their crimes as revolutionary justice on behalf ofracial minorities in the US. Kilgore will appear in the WynbergMagistrate's Court on Monday.
Emigration hits companies hard (Cape Town, News24,08/11) - The number of companies in South Africaexperiencing a significant lack of skilled and competentpersonnel as a result of emigration has increased drasticallysince 1994. A reply by Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana to aquestion in Parliament revealed that a third of companies whichtook part in a survey by the Southern Africa Migration Project(SAMP) say emigration has resulted in a significant loss ofskilled and competent personnel. In a survey before 1994 only 2%regarded it as significant. Mdladlana acknowledged in his replythat the skills pool is not sufficient to meet the needs of thebusiness sector in South Africa. This is confirmed by informationobtained from the skills development authorities for the varioussectors (Setas) as well as from research by SAMP. Mdladlananevertheless stressed in his reply that the skills shortagesbeing experienced by South African companies are not attributableonly to the emigration of professionals and skilled people. Someof the other factors also contributing are deficiencies in theeducation system, low levels of training in the industrial sectorand socio-economic conditions. SAMPs research shows that78% of the companies participating in the survey indicated before1994 that emigration had no effect on the availability of skills,21% said the effect was minimal and 2% that it was significant.In the latest survey, the figures had changed to 41% (no effect),26% (minimal) and 33% (significant). The sectors sufferingas a result of the emigration of skilled personnel are thecomputer and high-technology sectors, the industrial sector, thebanking and financial sectors, education and the health sector.In sectors such as construction, recreation and tourism, therewas virtually no change in the figures.
Report on drugs, crime and migration (Johannesburg,Dispatch Online, 08/11) - South African has the largestnumber of mandrax users in the world, a UN report has confirmed."The extent and trend of the illicit consumption of mandraxin South Africa is unique in the world. Anecdotal evidenceindicates that South Africa is by far the world's leadingconsumer of the drug. "Some estimates suggest that as muchas 80 percent of worldwide clandestine production of mandrax maybe destined for the South African market." The reportpointed a finger at connection between Nigerians and the spreadof drugs in the country. The UN Office for Drug Control and CrimePrevention's representative in South Africa, Rob Boone saidNigerians were merely exploiting South Africa's openness toexpand on activities they had started in their native country.The report also stressed the nexus between the spread of HIV-Aidsand drug use. Though dagga was still the dope of choice for manySouth Africans, the use of heroin and Ecstacy had increasedsignificantly in the last year. The report on drugs and crime hasreiterated the connection between the drugs and high levels ofcrime in South Africa. A South African Narcotics Council onAlcoholism and Drug Dependence (Sanca) spokesperson, JudithShopley, said the report was old hat. "The report tells uswhat we have always known. What it will do is strengthen Sanca'scase when submitting project proposals to prospectivedonors," said Shopley. Also, according to the report, theNational Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS) which was started tocombat organised crime, white collar crime and gender violence,was now playing second fiddle to law enforcement plans."While the NCPS remains the overall framework for thegovernment's programmes to counter crime, the reality ofday-to-day department interventions suggests that it carries lessweight than it did between 1996 and 1999."
SA expatriates impact cheap labour to Australia (IOL, 08/11) - A South African bricklayer at the centre of an alleged Australian slave trade racket, says he was promised a "bundle of money" (klomp geld) for his work in that country. Oagile Stephen Malothane, who was injured in a building accident in Australia, where two workers including his employer died, said on Friday he was paid an allowance of between R450 and R480 a month although he worked seven days a week. However, the 42-year-old father of four did not complain because he trusted the man who had recruited him and he wanted to finish the job quickly so that he could return home and get the "klomp geld" he was promised at the end of the contract, he said. He added that, although no written deal was signed and no amounts were mentioned, he expected between R60 000 and R80 000 for his three months' work. Malothane was in the news last week after South African diplomats claimed Australia's "lax" immigration policies enabled SA expatriates to import cheap "slave" labour. The Australian government said it was tightening up on the issuing of visas to South Africans in the wake of the accusations. Malothane said he had been recruited to Australia by a South African expatriate, Anton Beytell, whom he had known and worked with for nine years on the strength of his ability as a bricklayer. "He knew my work and so he asked me to come over to Australia because there was a dam to be built. "When I asked him about money he said I should not worry as I would get a 'klomp geld' (lots of money). I did not ask how much that was," said Malothane. According to Malothane, Beytell's father arranged a passport and a visa, enabling him to fly out to Australia in early August. Beytell died when the wall of the dam they were building collapsed. Malothane injured his left knee. Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said the South African Trade Mission in Australia visited Malothane while he was being treated in hospital and found that his visa was one issued to business people to explore business opportunities in Australia. Clearly he did not fall into this category. According to Mamoepa, Malothane told the trade mission that he was made to work a full seven days without taking time off. When the trade mission made a follow-up visit, they found he had been discharged from hospital and had left the country. Malothane said Beytell's widow, Linda, arranged for flight tickets after he was discharged from hospital and gave him R4 500 on arrival in South Africa. "She did not say what that money was for and I did not ask her," he said, adding that he was offered a further R40 000 which he was to pick up from a Potchefstroom bank. Malothane has, however, declined to take up the offer. Part of the verbal agreement between Malothane and Beytell was that his family was to be given a R1 000 monthly allowance but the family's bank account was only credited with between R450 and R480 a month for the three months Malothane was away, he said. "It made me sad that my husband was so far away for so little," said his wife Kesebelwang Malothane.
Brain Drain hits KZN health hard (IOL, 07/11) - KwaZulu-Natal's overworked health department is understaffed by more than 10 000 people, largely because of vacancies caused by the huge number of qualified nurses who have left to work overseas. Inadequate funds and delays in training new nurses to replace those who have left have also exacerbated the staffing situation in provincial hospitals and clinics. But despite the severe constraints under which the remaining health personnel are now working, the department has made great strides in curbing malaria and cholera and has made inroads with its HIV/Aids programmes. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Wednesday the department had made far-reaching impacts in the reduction of malaria cases and had almost totally wiped out cholera in the province. Briefing the finance portfolio committee during the mid-year budget review hearing in Pietermaritzburg, Mkhize said his department was short of 10 000 nurses. The mid-year budget review is a new feature introduced by the committee to beef up its oversight role and to ensure that funds allocated to the departments are spent timeously and for their stated objectives. Understaffing in the health department, includes 6 000 nursing staff and 4 000 in administrative and other specialised areas. Mkhize said despite this severe understaffing the department had recorded "tremendous successes" in its fight against malaria and cholera. He said two years ago there had been more than 47 000 cases of malaria in the province, but these had now been reduced by 80 percent to fewer than 9 000 cases. "That is an achievement done by people who are understaffed. Cholera is now almost forgotten, but two years ago we had over 120 000 cases of cholera." He said his department had also managed to roll out the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/Aids programme (PMCTC) to most of the hospitals in the province and was now rolling out the voluntary testing programme with at least 12 000 people tested. Mkhize said the department was now rolling out the programme of making available anti-retrovirals to victims of rape in some clinics and hospitals in the province. With regard to expenditure, Mkhize said the department had initially projected for over R400-million expenditure as a result of funds spent in fighting cholera and preparing for the rolling out of the PMTCT programme. However, he said there were now strong indications that the department would be reimbursed either by the national or provincial treasury for this over-expenditure. The department was now projecting verexpenditure of R30 million.
21 migrants held in Sunnyside (Sowetan, 07/11) - Twentyillegal immigrants and a suspected drug dealer were arrested inSunnyside during an early morning raid yesterday, Pretoria policesaid. Two buildings in Sunnyside had been identified as"hotspots" where suspected criminals congregated anddrugs were sold. Apart from the twenty immigrants, a man wasarrested on an outstanding warrant of arrest for possession ofheroin and theft. Police also uprooted several dagga plants and aplastic gun was confiscated.
South Africa "hopelessy" unprepared forrefugees, says NCRA (Musina, African Eye News Service, 07/11) - PresidentThabo Mbeki's soft-line on the growing crisis in Zimbabwe hasleft South Africa hopelessly unprepared for any mass influx ofeither political or famine refugees, a new hard-hitting academicresearch report warns. The report, drafted by Wits University'sRefugee Research Programme and underwritten by the NationalConsortium for Refugee Affairs (NCRA), warns that South Africa'srefusal to commit politically on the crisis in Zimbabwe hasprevented government disaster relief agencies from accessing thenecessary funds or resources to prepare for a possible massinflux of refugees. Senior government officials responsible fordisaster planning excused their inaction, the report claims,because preparations would have been interpreted as acknowledginga brewing crisis in Zimbabwe and would therefore contradict thePresidency. "It would be interference in the internalaffairs of a neighbouring sovereign state," and "wouldcreate tensions bilaterally and within the SADC region," theunnamed officials told researchers. Refugee Research Programmedirector Hernan del Valle, who co-authored the report, says thelack of political commitment ultimately resulted in thefinalisation of a disaster plan just one day before Zimbabwe'sviolent March 2002 general elections. "But, even then, thefinal plan had a very limited scope, providing assistance foronly 1000 people for three days. It was presented only one daybefore the elections, and even then there were still significantgaps, such as how and by whom food, safe water, cooking fuel,electricity, toilets, and fire protection would beprovided," he writes. "If a mass influx of refugees hadindeed occurred, South Africa's response would have failed tomeet the basic needs of refugees, let alone conform tointernational standards, and would thereby [dis]honour ourcommitments as a signatory of international refugeeconventions." Del Valle adds that the lack of politicalcommitment continues to fatally undermine South Africa's attemptsto prepare for any future refugee crisis caused by growing hungerin Zimbabwe and elsewhere in southern Africa. Internationalagencies report that an estimated 12,8 million people in theregion are already at risk of starvation between now and March2003. Almost half these people are believed to be in Zimbabwe,with this percentage set to increase in the wake of the meltdownof Zimbabwe's currency over the past three weeks.
"Political considerations vie withlogistical imperatives, and lead to a distinct vacuum ofpolitical leadership for effective preparedness. Within thiscontext, it is unfortunate and incongruous that the preparednessprocess in South Africa was broken off a few weeks after theelections," says Del Valle. Other key failings identified bythe report include South Africa's apparent inability to appoint alead government department or agency to co-ordinate all disasterplanning and budgets, resulting in haphazard and sometimesineffectual planning. Although the home affairs department wasmandated to co-ordinate all preparation, Del Valle notes thatargument about the impasse became so heated that the public worksdepartment withdrew from all planning sessions in protest. Thecountry's existing emergency relief regulations also currentlydon't allow planners to access funding until after a disaster hasbeen officially declared -- undermining any attempts to put rapidresponse systems in place. And, in a country with a propensityfor xenophobia, authorities have also repeatedly failed toconsult with border communities or to publicly explain SouthAfrica's obligation to care for both refugees and asylum seekers.In fact, Del Valle writes, South African police, army and homeaffairs officials continued deporting Zimbabweans they believedto be illegal immigrants during the election crisis. "It isdangerous being a foreigner in South Africa. Zimbabweanimmigrants, whether asylum seekers, illegal entrants, or legalworkers, are faced with rampant xenophobia and a generalatmosphere of hostility from citizens, police and governmentofficials. Needless to say, this atmosphere, encouraged byinstitutional ambivalence, stands in contrast to the ideals ofprotection and humanitarian assistance South Africa has obligeditself to provide," says Del Valle. Noting that the Zimbabweelection crisis was the first time South African institutionsneeded to prepare for a mass influx of refugees, Del Ville warnsthat any failure will severely compromise the region's onlysuperpower's credibility both within Africa and on the widerinternational stage. The report challenges government to learnfrom its bungled handling of the Zimbabwe election crisis, andimmediately implement a proposed 24 step restructuring programmethat will neutralise the impact of political ambivalence duringdisasters and will create an early warning system, as well asclearly defined lines of command, proper communication systems,and coherent co-operation with both local and international aidagencies. Home Affairs spokesman Lesley Masaokwe declined tocomment on either the criticisms or recommendations until afterthe department had studied the full report. Home Affairs actingdirector general Ivan Lambinon was also unaware of the report onThursday but insisted that the country's refugee planning hadbeen adequate and dismissed the report as 'uninformed' and'confused'. "We adopted a combined [responsibility] forpreparations and although no influx occurred, preparations wereon the ball," said Lambinon. The full Wits Refugee ResearchProgramme report can be read online at
Alleged conmen in court (East London, Dispatch Online,07/11) - The trial of three alleged conmen who operateda "black dollar" money scam has been set for February2.The three appeared in the magistrate's court here yesterdaycharged with fraud. Flahn Emmanuel Zweh, 27, from Liberia,Starford Mwanza, 40, from Malawi, and Idris Serry, 27, fromSierra Leone, were arrested on September17. It is alleged theyoperated out of the Quigney area and conned their victims bytelling them they were able to turn paper into USdollars. Thevictims paid a R5000 deposit for "black paper" whichthey were allegedly told would be changed into the equivalent ofR2million in USdollars. The accused were remanded in custody.
20 immigrants held in Pretoria raid (News24, 06/11) - Twentyillegal immigrants and a suspected drug dealer have been arrestedin Sunnyside in an early-morning raid on Wednesday, say police.Inspector Anton Breedt said two buildings in Sunnyside had beenidentified as hotspots where suspected criminalscongregated and where drugs were being sold. About 06:30 onWednesday, police with the defence force and Tshwane metropolice, raided De Villiershof in Mears Street and the Len-Danbuilding in Church Street. Apart from the 20 immigrants, a manwas detained on an outstanding warrant of arrest for possessionof heroin and theft. Police also uprooted several dagga plantsand a plastic BB-gun was confiscated. Breedt said the plastic gunclosely resembled a real one and could possibly have been usedfor criminal activities. We confiscated the plastic gunjust as a precautionary measure, he said. SuperintendentMorné van Wyk said there was an increase in drug trafficking andother criminal activities in Sunnyside, Hatfield and PretoriaCentral, especially in areas where there were a lot of nightclubs. He said police regularly mounted crime-preventionoperations in those areas. These paid off, he said, as there wasa marked decline in crime in those areas for a while after apolice raid.
Increase in tourists benefits hotel industry(Johannesburg, Sapa, 06/11) - The increase in the numberof tourists coming to South Africa is benefiting the country'shotel industry and this trend is likely to continue well into2003, the Southern Sun hotel group said on Wednesday. Statisticsfrom the hotel industry showed an 11,7 percent increase inoccupancy at South African hotels in the first nine months ofthis year compared to the previous year, said Southern Sunmanaging director Helder Pereira. This follows a three percentdrop in occupancy in the January-September period of 2001,compared to 2000. He told reporters in Sandton that statisticscontained in the annual Hotel Industry Benchmark Survey showedthat there was also a significant rise in international visitorarrivals in the first eight months of this year. The survey,based on input from over 200 participating hotels, including allthe major South African hotel chains and numerous independentoperators, was conducted by Deloitte & Touche. Pereira saidthe upturn was driven by a few events, including majorconferences such as the World Summit on Sustainable Development,and a positive attitude to South Africa by long haul travellers,especially after the September 11 attacks on the United States.The survey showed that five star hotels saw an 18,9 percentincrease in occupancy and an increase of 17,4 percent in theAverage Room Rate, resulting in a rise of 39,5 percent in yield.The comparable figures for four star hotels was 12,3 percentoccupancy increase, 12,9 percent rate increase and a yield growthof 26,8 percent. At three star hotels, there was a 8,3 percentoccupancy growth, 11,1 percent rate increase and a yield growthof 20,3 percent. Pereira said although international events werea major catalyst for the improved occupancy in Johannesburg andDurban, the country's hotel industry also benefited from theoverall growth in international tourism to the country as well asgrowing domestic leisure and corporate market. Internationalvisitors arriving by air between January and August rose to1157000, up by 118000 over the same period last year. The UnitedKingdom was again the main source of visitors to South Africa,with arrivals reaching 225000 in the first eight months of theyear. Germany replaced the United States as the second mainsource of visitors, followed by France and the Netherlands. Indiafeatured for the first time on the list of top 13 source markets,in eighth position behind Italy and Australia, but ahead ofBelgium, Canada, Switzerland, Japan and Brazil. He said Chinashowed arrival growth of 27,2 percent signalling the"huge" future potential of this market which wasanticipated to show exponential growth once the ApprovedDestination Status was signed between South Africa and China.Pereira predicted that the upturn in the hotel industry andtourism in general would continue next year and be bolstered by,among others, the Cricket World Cup. However, he warned the hotelindustry was still not able to sustain the essential new growthneeded for tourism expansion. To achieve an acceptable return onany new investments, he said one would have to achieve between 18percent and 50 percent growth on current average room rates inthe three, four and five star sectors. Pereira said airlinecapacity to the country remained a critical driver for the growthof international tourism and SA Tourism was now addressing thisissue. He said if capacity was not constantly addressed insupport of market requirements, it would become a criticalbarrier to South Africa's growth.
Anglo American faces heavy AIDS bill (Johannesburg,Business Report, 06/11) - Johannesburg - Anglo American,the world's second-largest mining company, had effectively agreedto foot the lion's share of the local industry's bill toinvestigate the efficacy of antiretroviral drugs given to minerswith HIV/Aids, it emerged yesterday. Anglo American was expectedto pay more than R450 million a year, or R15 000 for eachHIV-positive employee, to provide antiretroviral drugs to thosewith the disease, after promising to supply the infected 23percent of its 134 000 Southern African workforce with the drugs.HIV/Aids prevalence rates in the mining industry are 17 percenthigher than those of the base population, at between 20 percentat coal mines and 30 percent at gold mines. Barry Davison, thepresident of the Chamber of Mines and executive chairman of AngloPlatinum, said at the chamber's annual general meeting yesterdaythat data acquired from the antiretroviral drug roll-out would bemade available throughout the wider mining industry. This has ledto the chamber abandoning a planned R60 million to R70 millionfeasibility study on the uptake, adherence and side effects ofantiretroviral drugs on miners. Fazel Randera, the health adviserat the chamber, said most companies agreed the need for the studyhad been overtaken by Anglo's decision to roll outantiretrovirals. The three-year feasibility study had planned touse volunteers from Anglo American and De Beers operations andmonitor the effects of the regime on a practical level. Theindustry could now, however, expect the first data from the Angloprogramme within six months, with AngloGold recruiting miners forthe antiretroviral programme this month. Con Fauconnier, thevice-president of the Chamber of Mines and chief executive ofKumba Resources, said mining companies would still have toconduct pilot studies of their own despite the medicalinformation that would now be shared by the industry. "Everycompany would have to get first-hand information on how they willbe implicated in ensuring compliance with the treatment onceagreeing to supply the drugs," Fauconnier said. He saidKumba was mulling the supply of the drugs to its employees, and arecommendation would be made to the company's board by the closeof the year. Gold Fields, Harmony Gold Mining and ImpalaPlatinum, while supporting education and wellness programmes, donot give antiretrovirals to mineworkers with HIV/Aids.
Foreigners assured of property rights (Cape Town,Dispatch Online, 06/11) - Private property ownership wasprotected by the Constitution and the ANC had no intention ofbanning foreign ownership of land, the party's chief whip, NathiNhleko, said yesterday. He was reacting to a statement by theDemocratic Alliance's Dan Maluleke which said that the ANC was indanger of scaring off investors by even considering banningforeign ownership of land. The DA was reacting to a draft ANCresolution on land reform, which calls for careful examination ofland ownership and "usage patterns in the country,especially the sale of land to foreigners, which leads to pricingbeyond the reach of South Africans". The resolution will bedebated at the ANC's national conference in Stellenbosch nextmonth. Nhleko has previously said the resolution should notnecessarily be interpreted as a call for a ban on foreignownership. Yesterday Nhleko took exception to Maluleke'sstatement and accused the DA of irresponsibility. "The claimthat the ANC-led government is considering banning foreignownership of land in South Africa is devoid of truth andlogic." He said statements saying the ANC is "scaringinvestors" is mischief-making by the DA just to assume aninternational character as a party that can be trusted. Nhlekosaid the ANC's land reform resolution was crafted to assist thegovernment to "know who owns what when it comes to land.Foreign ownership is one of these." Nhleko urged Maluleke toact in a patriotic manner "because the question of landneeds all of us to engage with it". Land deprivation was anational grievance as far as South Africans were concerned."They want to own land. They did not say government must banland ownership by foreigners. That is a DA call not ANC(call)." He repeated the ANC's view that in South Africa therule of law existed and the government would not tolerateland-grabbing. "Our people will not be deterred by liesspread by forces of darkness. "Land owned by foreigners isprivate property and protected by the Constitution. "Noperson has a right to tell the ANC what to think or not. Ourpeople can think for themselves. South Africans have a right toknow who owns what in their country," Nhleko said. In aninterview last week, Nhleko told Sapa the land reform resolutioncalled for an examination or a process of review around thequestion of sale of land to foreigners. "There are a numberof things that are involved. You could find there are pieces ofland owned by a foreign company. You also find land owned byindividuals who are not South African, and then you also have asituation of landlessness in South Africa." Nhleko saidthere were landless people who complained that land that used tobelong to them was now in the hands of foreigners. It wastherefore necessary to have "a very careful and sensiblekind of discussion around the issue". "My view is thatthe resolution does not necessarily call for a ban of landownership by foreigners. "It does not do that," hesaid.
Foreign ownership won't hurt land reform, says DA(Cape Town, Dispatch Online, 05/11) - Foreign ownershipof land did not compromise the government's ability to make landand housing available to South Africans, the Democratic Alliancesaid yesterday. It was reacting to a draft African NationalCongress resolution on land reform, which calls for carefulexamination of "land ownership and usage patterns in thecountry, especially the sale of land to foreigners which leads topricing beyond the reach of South Africans". The resolutionwill be debated at the ANC's national conference in Stellenboschnext month. ANC chief whip Nathi Nhleko is on record as sayingthis should not necessarily be interpreted as a call for a ban onforeign ownership. However, DA land spokesman Dan Maluleke saidin a statement yesterday that the ANC was in danger of scaringoff investors by even considering banning foreign ownership ofland. "It is a foolish and ill-advised idea to limit or banforeign ownership of land in South Africa. Foreign ownership ofland in no way compromises our ability to make land and housingavailable to South Africans. "Focusing unnecessarily onforeign ownership of land is simply a means of ignoring orobscuring the real causes of the delays and backlogs in givingSouth Africans access to land and housing." Moreover,foreign ownership of land was a form of foreign investment,Maluleke said. "There is no in-principle difference betweenselling a foreign investor a piece of land and selling off apiece of Telkom to a foreign company." There were also othereconomic spin-offs. For example, foreign property owners servedas ambassadors for South Africa, and positively represented thecountry abroad. "It is madness, in a climate ofafro-pessimism and economic downturn, to alienate the veryforeigners who are most positive about South Africa. "Theyare buying land to develop it, and this shows they haveconfidence in our economy. Positive steps should be taken inorder to welcome foreign visitors and investors, not to scarethem away," Maluleke said. In an interview published at theweekend, Nhleko told Sapa the resolution called for anexamination or a process of review around the question of sale ofland to foreigners. "There are a number of things that areinvolved. You could find there are pieces of land owned by aforeign company. You also find land owned by individuals who arenot South African, and then you also have a situation oflandlessness in South Africa." Nhleko said that during hisconstituency work he had come across a case of a 500 hectare farm"that has never been sighted by its owner", who wasliving in Malaysia. People questioned why the land was owned by aforeigner who was never there. "When you talk to people it'sabout the nature of ownership. Why are foreigners allowed to ownland in South Africa? Why is government allowing that?"
ANC policy on foreign land ownership (Cape Town, Sapa,05/11) - Private property ownership was protected by theConstitution and the African National Congress had no intentionof banning foreign ownership of land, the party's Chief WhipNathi Nhleko said on Tuesday. He was reacting to a statement bythe Democratic Alliance's Dan Maluleke saying that the ANC was indanger of scaring off investors by even considering banningforeign ownership of land. The DA was reacting to a draft ANCresolution on land reform, which calls for careful examination ofland ownership and "usage patterns in the country,especially the sale of land to foreigners, which leads to pricingbeyond the reach of South Africans". The resolution will bedebated at the ANC's national conference in Stellenbosch nextmonth. Nhleko has previously stated the resolution should notnecessarily be interpreted as a call for a ban on foreignownership. On Tuesday, Nhleko took exception to Maluleke'sstatement and accused the DA of irresponsibility. "The claimthat the ANC-led government is considering banning foreignownership of land in South Africa is devoid of the truth andlogic. 'Scaring investors' is mischief by the DA just to assumean international character as the party that can betrusted." Nhleko said the ANC's land reform resolution wascrafted to assist the government to "know who owns what whenit comes to land". "Foreign ownership is one ofthese." Nhleko urged Maluleke to act in a patriotic manner"because the question of land needs all of us to engage withit" Land deprivation was a national grievance for SouthAfricans. "They want to own land. They did not saygovernment must ban land ownership by foreigners. That is a DAcall, not (an) ANC (call)." He repeated the ANC's view thatin South Africa the rule of law existed and government would nottolerate land grabbing. "Our people will not be deterred bylies spread by forces of darkness. Land owned by foreigners isprivate property and protected by the Constitution. "Noperson has a right to tell the ANC what to think or not. Ourpeople can think for themselves. South Africans have a right toknow who owns what in their country," Nhleko said. In aninterview last week, Nhleko told Sapa the land reform resolutioncalled for an examination or a process of review around thequestion of sale of land to foreigners. "There are a numberof things that are involved. You could find there are pieces ofland owned by a foreign company. You also find land owned byindividuals who are not South African, and then you also have asituation of landlessness in South Africa." Nhleko said thatduring his constituency work he had come across a case of a 500hectare farm "that has never been sighted by itsowner", who was living in Malaysia. People questioned whythe land was owned by a foreigner who was never there. "Whenyou talk to people it's about the nature of ownership. Why areforeigners allowed to own land in South Africa? Why is governmentallowing that? I remember that was one question at the meeting.So you have all sorts of things. "Combined with that, youwill have people who say: 'See, we don't have land, but our landis in the hands of foreigners... and this land used to belong tous'." Nhleko said it was therefore necessary to have "avery careful and sensible kind of discussion around theissue". "My view is that the resolution does notnecessarily call for a ban of land ownership by foreigners. Itdoes not do that," he said.
Raids by labour inspectors in Ga-Rankuwa (SABC, 05/11)- A locked gate and an unrelenting factory managerstalled attempts by labour department officials this morning toinspect the premises of a plastics manufacturer in Ga-Rankuwa,north-west of Pretoria. The manager, Louis Human, refused to letthe group of officials in, saying he wanted to consult his lawyerfirst. Police were called in but Human would not budge. After astandoff of more than an hour, members of the police left tofetch a tool to cut the lock. Departmental inspectors raided thefactory, Kingdom Poly, in August, and found working conditionswere unsafe in several respects. Exposed electrical cables andunhygienic facilities were among the shortcomings. Some employeeswere found to be illegal immigrants. The owners were then givenan ultimatum to rectify the situation within 60 days or faceclosure. One of the workers, Mozambican national Robert Ngoatau,said -speaking through the fence - that he began working at thefactory last year for R6 a day. Earlier this year, he allegedlylost his index finger after his right hand got stuck in amachine. "I was not compensated for my injury. Instead, theowner accused me of deliberately putting my hand in themachine," Ngoatau said. Another worker, Zuki Ngokga ofGa-Rankuwa, said his wages came to RI 5 a day, depending onproduction levels.
Plans to keep health workers in SA (Dispatch Online,05/11) - Special steps were being considered to make iteasier for South African health professionals to resist the lureof greener pastures overseas, Health Minister MantoTshabalala-Msimang said yesterday. "The department (ofhealth) is engaged with treasury in investigating monetary andnon-monetary incentives as one of the strategies forretention," she said here. "Urgent communications havebeen embarked upon with the treasury department to improve thelot of our skilled health professionals." Ardent attemptswere under way to address conditions of service in rural andunder-served areas, the minister said in a speech prepared fordelivery at the official inauguration of Health ProfessionsCouncil of SA (HPCSA) president, Thanyani Mariba, and his deputy,Saths Cooper. Tshabalala-Msimang said transformation of healthstatutory councils such as the HPCSA was still incomplete.Councils should not lose sight of the fact that they existed toprotect the public, and not to serve the interests of theprofessionals they represented. "Councils should outline themechanisms they will use to be receptive to community and publicinterest so as not to become a law unto themselves," theminister said. Charters governing the conduct of councillors alsohad to be developed. Mariba told the gathering the council wouldcontinue to vigorously pursue transformation. While most of itsmembers were professionals of integrity and high moral values, ahandful of others spoiled their good name, he said in a preparedspeech. "Media coverage by newspapers in recent years,exploitive headlines targeting matters such as perverseincentives and other eye-catching allegations of misbehaviour mayhave tainted our reputation and painted a whole different pictureregarding our profession. "Through perseverance and greatstrife, the professions have been attempting to rectify thisperception by opening up and advertising themselves to thewonderful people of this country by also being prepared to pay ahigh price for this job." Mariba took over from SorominiKallichurum after she retired in March. Mariba, a cardiologist,was formerly a senior registrar of medicine at the MedicalUniversity of SA, and is also the dean of the University ofPretoria's health sciences faculty. Cooper now fills the positionpreviously held by Mariba. Tshabalala-Msimang also officiated atthe launch of the HPCSA's new logo, described as a modernimprovement on its old coat of arms. The new logo sports theletters HPCSA in violet, includes a global map with Africa andSouth Africa highlighted, as well as the colours of the SouthAfrican flag. "The development of the logo serves to launchthe HPCSA into the new era and thus enhance its new image,"the council said in a statement. "It is an image which willset the HPCSA into new heights and signifies our shift from thepast."
International organisation of foreigners to takeaction (Sowetan Sunday World, 03/11) - The Family ofLucia Buque, 38, who died in police custody after being arrestedfor alleged drunk driving, is to sue the state for negligence.Buque collapsed at the Hillbrow client service centre after shehad been taken to the district surgeon for blood tests. She wasarrested for drunk driving on Saturday night at Bruma Lake,Johannesburg. Buque's son Ino, 19, claimed his mother was notdrunk at the time of the arrest and alleged they were verballyabused by the police. The family is angry that the police tooktwo hours to call an ambulance for Buque after she collapsed. Bythe time paramedics arrived, she was dead. Buque's husband, ChrisOrakwe, claims the police would not allow him to take his wife tohospital. Captain Mashadi Selebe, a Gauteng police spokeswoman,said no one has been held accountable for Buque's death, but aninquest docket has been opened. Blood tests and postmortemresults will only be available next week. The IndependentComplaints Directorate is also investigating the death, she said.Buque was a hairdresser and fashion designer. Also fuming overBuque's death is the International Organisation of Foreigners(IOP), which supports the Buque family's intention to sue thestate. "Clearly, the rights of the deceased and her son wereviolated," said Thami ka Ndala, the organisation's generalsecretary. We are going to press charges and we will be suing theminister of justice." Buque was buried yesterday in Maputo,Mozambique. The IOF will also continue with its campaign to havethe Lindela repatriation centre in Krugersdorp shut down. Illegalimmigrants are held at the centre before being deported.
Let's oppose xenophobia (City Press, 03/11) - CityPress editor, Vusi Mona has done it again, for which he deservesmany congratulations. In his Sunday Talk column (City Press,October 20) he identifies one of the regrettable features of ourlives - the way we treat foreigners in our midst. Our wholehistory, as a history of struggle and liberation, has drawn onour internationalist traditions. That is why we have taken greatcare to ensure our immigration and other policies do notdiscriminate against our brothers and sisters from Africa. Thisarises not only out of the fact that so many of our front-linestates provided us with assistance, succour and friendship inthose grim and painful days of our struggle, including our exile,but also because they held out the hands of friendship to us.Mona's criticism of those who stereotype particularly our blackbrothers and sisters is of enormous importance. There should beno place in our society for those who are guilty of xenophobiaand chauvinism. There must be a conscious and deliberate attemptto discuss these issues and look at ways to combat all forms ofxenophobia. It touches on those issues of prejudice, such asforeigners taking our jobs, being responsible for the circulationof drugs and sponging off our social security system. These arethe kinds of stereotypes we at present find in Europe, wherethere is an enormous revival of racism under the guise of dealingwith the negetive effects of immigration. Unlike the Europeans,we should be quite honest and say that immigrants have made anextraordinary contribution to our lives, particularly in the last10 years, in terms of culture and enterprise. This is why we havein our National Curriculum Statement embarked on an approach thatidentifies common values Which bind us together as a nation.These values are those, not only of non-racism and non-sexism,but also the need to recognise the "strangers at thegate", as one writer put it. These so-called strangersshould also have all the protection the law and the Constitutionallows. Such stereotypes can have very negative effects. I recallwhen the police were charged with setting dogs on human beings.The media referred to the victims as either immigrants or illegalimmigrants, thereby providing a justification for such policebehaviour. It is quite irrelevant when the law is broken in sucha serious way to designate the victims as either immigrants orillegal immigrants. Such an approach conditions our response, butfortunately we did not all falL into the trap. The school systemcannot be the only institution to deal with the pathologies ofour society. It is time grown-ups recognised that our youngercitizens are more understanding of people in their midst. It isreally a problem of grown-ups and what we need here is a nationalcampaign to oppose xenophobia and chauvinism. This includes theremoval of terms, as Mona rightly says, such as makwerekwere. -PROFESSOR KADER ASMAL, MP and education minister
Ex-miners and lung disease (Business Report, 03/11) - AUniversity of Transkei study has uncovered some of the hiddenhuman costs of mining in South Africa. A horrifying 78 percent offormer miners tested at the university's Umtata General Hospitalhave lung disease. Some had worked for only one year on themines, others for as many as 31 years. They brought back not goldor platinum but tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonarydisease, silicosis and other sicknesses. Encouraged by poverty,poor nutrition and inadequate healthcare, the infectious lungdiseases spread through rural communities. Where does theresponsibility of the mine owners begin and end? The days ofapartheid are over and it is no longer acceptable to employ aman, expose him to conditions that are a threat to his life,dismiss him when he gets sick and send him back to die where hecame from. Paying dues to workers' compensation funds is notenough. Doctors involved in the University of Transkei study sayin many cases former mineworkers are not paid compensationbecause no link has been made between their illnesses and theiroccupation. A partnership between the mines and the department ofhealth, as suggested by one of the doctors, could help to extendhealthcare beyond the miners' working lives. This would require abold gesture of goodwill from the mining companies, many of whichhave chosen to hide behind actuarial excuses about the difficultyof putting an accurate value to potential claims rather than toaccept some responsibility. It is time for the shareholders whohave done so well out of the mines to show compassion for thosewho made this possible.
Migrant labour agreements promised (SABC, 01//11) - MembathisiMdladlana, the Labour Minister, says the movement of peoplewithin the southern African region must be regulated in order toavoid tensions among workers. Mdladlana met his Zimbabweancounterpart, July Moyo in Cape Town yesterday. Both ministers sayZimbabweans who seek jobs in South Africa must be legallyemployed. Research by the labour department show that 75% of farmworkers in Soutspansberg, in the Limpopo Province, are illegalimmigrants. "One of the things we need to answer as thedepartment of labour is that indeed the skill the farmer wants,is it available in South Africa or not. If the skill is availablein South Africa, there is no reason why you go and ask for theskill illegally elsewhere," Mdladlana says. "What wewant to discuss is the question of exploitation, abuse and misuseand the violation of our law. Even if they come from Zimbabwe,Mozambique or Lesotho, when they are in the farm, for God's sake,South African law must apply. You must treat these workers likeother workers." The minister says South Africa will in thenear future sign memoranda of understanding with neighbouringstates on the issue of migrant workers.
Illegal South African migrants in Australia (BusinessReport, 01/11) - Globalisation and the deregulation oflabour markets have created conditions for an internationalsystem of hyper-exploitation of migrant labour. This point wasbrought home dramatically in Australia last week when a SouthAfrican worker was injured on a remote construction site 500kmwest of Sydney. Oagiles Malothane was severely injured whenscaffolding and 120 tons of cement collapsed at the site of a newwater tower he was working on. Another worker and the SouthAfrican-born construction boss, Anton Beytell, were killed andtwo other workers were injured. The injured men - one of whomlost a leg - were rushed to hospital. After six days, Malothanewas suddenly taken from hospital and put on a flight back toSouth Africa. "He was whisked away," said South Africanhigh commissioner Zolile Magugu. "There is something fishyabout the whole thing." The high commission had been underthe impression that Malothane would spend at least another 10days in hospital and would undergo extensive physiotherapy."He was still in a lot of pain and we certainly did notauthorise his discharge," said high commission firstsecretary Rasheeda Adam. What the high commission had been ableto establish was that the return air ticket was bought byBeytell's widow. The injured Malothane was met at JohannesburgInternational Airport by a reported labour broker, Ladus Erasmus,who took him home to Potchefstroom and presented him with a"gift" of R4 000. The local Construction ForestryMining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has also established thatMalothane was only paid A$100 (about R560) for more than threemonths of seven-days-a-week labour. "We believe that hisfamily were also given A$100 a month," said CFMEU regionalsecretary Andrew Ferguson. "It was an obvious scam."However, Australia's controversial immigration minister, PhilipRuddock, this week lashed out at the high commission. "Theyare making claims with no evidence," he said. But unioninquiries have already unearthed the fact that Malothane arrivedin Australia on August 5 on a visa that declared him to be apotential investor. Yet within days he was at work as a labourer.This week the union had a senior health and safety official,accompanied by a lawyer, at the remote site of the accident."This was clearly unlawful and we're looking into the wholequestion of unpaid wages and compensation," said Ferguson.But he stressed that the incident was not an isolated one. Whatthe Malothane case had done was to highlight a major and growingproblem of the gross exploitation, on an international basis, ofmigrant labour.
"It's another price workers are having to pay forglobalisation and deregulation," Ferguson noted. Driven bypoverty and joblessness and lured by unscrupulous employers,thousands of workers were constantly on the move around theworld. More industrially developed countries with strongercurrencies were an obvious attraction to the poor desperatelyseeking work. They were also attractive to migrant employers whofind that the quickest way of establishing themselves in theirnew environment is to contract for work at lower rates than moreestablished businesses. "That usually means cutting cornerson safety and illegally paying lower wages," said Ferguson.Nationally, the CFMEU has established that, on average, migrantworkers employed in this way are paid only half the legal minimumwage. Many, as in the case of Malothane, are paid even less. Thelocal trade union movement now estimates that there are between60 000 and 70 000 "overstayers" in Australia who areworking, many for low pay in dangerous conditions. Added to thiswere several hundred thousand individuals who gained work whileon tourist visas. This was a contributory factor to the deathrate of one a week on average on construction sites in Australia."Construction workers now account for 18 percent of allindustrial injuries here every year," Ferguson added. Manyof the illegal migrant workers were employed by companies run bylegal migrants from their own countries. "But we have yet tohave a prosecution of an employer for illegally employing suchpeople," said Ferguson. He felt this was evidence thatgovernment agencies and employers often colluded in practicesthat not only lowered wages and worsened conditions but alsoweakened trade union organisation. However, the unions werefighting back. While the problem of illegal exploitation ofmigrant labour was growing, gains had been made in terms ofconditions in some sectors. By this week, for example, more than50 local construction companies had agreed to a 36-hour workingweek. "We're not kidding ourselves that this will stop theslave labour that is going on. But it is the start of afightback," Ferguson said.
443 Home Affairs officials charged with corruption(Cape Town, Dispatch Online, 01/11) - Altogether 443Home Affairs officials were charged by the department inconnection with corruption and misconduct between April 1 lastyear and March 31 this year, according to Home Affairs MinisterMangosuthu Buthelezi. Replying to questions in the NationalAssembly, he said 31 officials were dismissed after disciplinaryhearings. A further 232 officials received final writtenwarnings, 120 received written warnings, and 60 verbal warningswere issued.
Drugs worth R24m seized, four arrested (Johannesburg,Sapa, 01/11) - Four men appeared in the Kempton ParkMagistrate's Court this week after drugs worth about R24-millionwere seized at Johannesburg International Airport, police said onFriday. Superintendent Eugene Opperman said detectives foundabout 200kg of dagga and about 275kg of hashish -- the resinextracted from dagga -- hidden in a container under a load ofpeaches. The container was en route to Manchester in England.Opperman said the case against the four men, two South Africans,a British national and a Zambian, was postponed to Monday. Theywere not asked to plead. The four -- Frazier Heesom, 33, fromBritain, Mulenga Mwenso, 32, from Zambia and South Africans,David Masina, 32, and ML Masango, 62 -- would remain in custody.Opperman, who was not able to say when the men appeared in court,said more arrests could be expected.
No place for refugees fleeing Africa's tyrants (SundayIndependent, 27/10) - Legal bodies and human rightsorganisations have launched a major attack on the department ofhome affairs for alleged contraventions of South Africa's lawsand international treaties for handling refugees. Three key casesare under way and a plethora of new research by human rightsorganisations will be launched within the next few weeks thatshows abuses ranging from corruption to beatings of refugees, andlegal contraventions. Organisations calling for urgentinvestigations into the system include the Human RightsCommission, the Human Rights Committee, the Black Sash, Lawyersfor Human Rights, the Wits Law Clinic and the Legal ResourcesCentre, among others. Leslie Mashokwe, a home affairsspokesperson, said the department could not comment until thejudiciary has made its rulings. The legal actions and research,including an urgent application against the minister of homeaffairs brought by the Wits Law Clinic late on Friday, detail:
Rejections of those seeking refugee status often seem basednot on the merits of a case, but on a list of refugee-producingand non-refugee countries, and many rejection letters do not dealwith the basis of the claims, Professor Lee Anne de la Hunt ofthe Cape Town Legal Aid Clinic claims. She cites the example of amale nurse from the Congo having his application rejected. Theidentical text for his rejection letter was used in allsubsequent rejections to Congolese. The Wits Law Clinicapplication on Friday was on behalf of Ernest Ncube, aZimbabwean, and former soldier who joined the Movement forDemocratic Change in January 2001. Since then his family has hadto move towns three times to escape alleged harassment fromZanu-PF supporters, youth militia and war veterans, finallyfleeing the country for South Africa. He has queued at the homeaffairs refugee office from 5.30am on four occasions since hisarrival but has never once been seen. The office deals withsouthern African refugees only once a week and takes no more than20 applicants a time. In her affidavit, Bhamjee says that inJanuary she "became aware of the fact that the department ofhome affairs was... refusing Zimbabweans the right to apply forasylum". Judge Jajbhay of the Johannesburg high court ruledthat home affairs has to accept Ncube's application on Monday.Wits Law Clinic will pursue an action in the high court inFebruary calling for all Zimbabweans to have this right. Bhamjeesays: "Zimbabwe is in a crisis and it's time home affairsacknowledged that. Everyone should have access to administrativejustice." The department of home affairs said that 498 356Zimbabweans entered South Africa legally during 2001. An averageof 50 000 Zimbabweans enter the country legally per month. Manyare informal traders who regularly move back and forth. FiveZimbabweans have been recognised as refugees in South Africasince April 2000. Bhamjee says she does not expect a huge influxof refugees into South Africa, but South Africa currently onlyhas provision for accommodating 20 000 refugees compared withcountries such as Zambia and Botswana who on occasion have housed500 000 when neighbouring countries have been in crisis.
Australia clamps down on SA 'slave racket' (IOL, 01/11) - Australia has introduced tighter visa regulations for South African citizens in response to allegations by the SA High Commission in Canberra that slack visa rules had allowed "a fraudulent visa racket using black South Africans as slaves". The alleged racket came to light when a white SA expatriate died and a black labourer was badly injured in a workplace accident this week. The high commission alleged the white expatriate had brought the black South African to Australia as a virtual slave, paying him R600 for four months' work. The new regulations announced this week, for both business and tourist visas, will involve more stringent "bona fides" tests for short-term visitors, said a spokesperson for Australian immigration minister, Philip Ruddock. South Africans applying for short-term visas would now have to show original documents rather than certified copies of originals at the Australian High Commission in Pretoria. "It depends on the class of visa being applied for, but these documents can include educational qualifications, company records, and so on," the spokesman said. "Until now we have accepted certified photocopies of the originals, but we will no longer do so," he said. More visa applicants would also now be required to appear in person for an interview at the high commission, the spokesman added. "Unfortunately, the increased bona fides checking will probably mean some delays in visa processing, but we are determined to stop any abuse of the system." The tightening up of visas was a direct response to a row between the Australian government and the SA High Commission in Canberra over an alleged "slave trade" in black South Africans. The commission said white former South Africans now based in Australia were using business and tourist visas to get black South Africans to Australia to work for paltry wages. It cited one case of a black labourer who, it said, had been paid just R600 for four months' work in Australia, before being sent back to South Africa on Tuesday with a serious leg injury from a construction-site accident. On Thursday, Immigration Minister Ruddock said there was no evidence of any widespread abuse of Australia's visa system by SA applicants. "Nobody has a perfect record, but our statistics indicate South Africans have a high level of compliance with visa conditions, compared with the citizens of other countries," Ruddock's spokesman said. The first secretary at the SA High Commission, Rasheeda Adam, said: "We are glad the Australians are treating this matter seriously because we are very concerned about the exploitation."
Nine illegal immigrants deported back to India(Mbabane, Times of Swaziland, 01/11) - Nine illegalimmigrants from India have finally been deported out of thecountry back to India after languishing at Sidwashini prisoninstitution for close to two weeks. It was gathered that theywere actually shipped out of the continent via Mozambique tolessen deportation costs for government. In an interview withcorrectional services PRO Noma Sibandze, she confirmed theexpatriation of the latter and further disclosed that they leftthe country last Thursday. However, one Indian national is stillin the country but out ofjail on bail as his case is still beingdealt with at court level, explained Sibandze. Prior to thedeportation, the Indians were arrested two weeks back during apolice operation to nab illegal immigrants in the city. They werefound mostly in shops and flats and hauled into police vansimmediately. At the Mbabane police station, they were ordered toproduce their residential documents in the presence of animmigration officer to check their authenticity. Some were ableto satisfy the officer whereas others failed to evenproduce a document or argue that they were still waiting for areply from the home affairs ministry after applying for residencepermit. Nevertheless, the illegal immigrants were fined E60 eachon admission of guilt at court but they continued to be detainedin jail pending preparations for their deportation last week.Meanwhile, there are over thirty refugees still accommodated atthe otherwise congested. Sidwashini prison institution. Some ofthese refugees are those that refused to go back to Ndzevane, anarea designated for refugees, because they wanted to be deportedout of the kingdom.
Refugees face new challenge (Kanebwa Camp, Irin,29/11) - It took courage for Noe Sebisaba to tell hisfellow Burundian refugees in Kanenbwa camp, in western Tanzania,that he was HIV positive. Sebisaba had known since 1998, but fearof stigma in a society where issues involving sex are not openlydiscussed had kept him silent. It was only when his wife died ofAIDS in 2001 that he decided to disclose his status, and to go onand create an organisation to help educate people about thepandemic. "Yes, to be HIV positive is a shame in our refugeesociety," he wrote of his dilemma in a refugeeorganisation's annual report. "To say it openly is likesaying that you are a prostitute. A long time ago, in Burundicustom, to stand accused of sexual intercourse outside marriagemerited death as punishment. Even though that doesn't happennowadays, we feared the community would reject us." "Ihave chosen to say it openly. [But] I seek when and to whom tosay it. I fear to be rejected. I'd like to change the way thingsare, but HIV/AIDS is fatal and there is no cure," Sebisaba,34, wrote. In the face of fear and ignorance, Sebisaba's exampleis one of just a few cases where refugees have felt able toopenly declare their HIV-positive status. Sebisaba'sorganisation, Stop AIDS - Nkebure Uwurriva, has brought togethermany of the camp leaders and, in collaboration with theTanganyika Christian Refugee Service, has set about educatingrefugees on HIV/AIDS through workshops, drama and videopresentations. "Stigma and discrimination are considered tobe the major issues for refugees that are HIV positive,"said Terry Pitzner, a community services officer for the UN'srefugee agency, UNHCR. "However, it's nothing that westernculture didn't experience at first. It took a while to get overthe stigma that it could be passed in a multitude of ways, notjust through sex outside marriage." Humanitarianorganisations have been able to find Tanzanian HIV-positivegroups to promote HIV awareness among their staff, but within thecamps such associations are only just beginning to be formed,Pitzner noted. One of the basic problems, he said, was thetraditional taboo in Burundian culture for parents to discussissues related to sex with their children. As a result, youthgroups and social centres within the camps are now being targetedas a way to help educate young refugees about HIV/AIDS. Theconcept of the youth centres is simple. Rather than trying topromote HIV/AIDS awareness in health clinics, where elder membersof the community or their family are also likely to be, sexeducation is taken to the youth centres, where the adolescentsgather anyway to play sport, watch TV or use a library. However,as a recent UNHCR/World Health Organisation (WHO) commissionedreport on HIV/AIDS programmes in Tanzanian refugee campssuggested, there were still cultural issues that complicated sexeducation. In some cases, for example, it was considered"inappropriate" for unmarried Burundian girls tosocialise with males at the youth centres. Religious leaders thatdemand HIV tests before marrying couples have also contributed tothe problem, the report added. There were cases of marriagesbeing called off as a result of positive HIV tests and "theresulting stigma would have been caused almost solely by the factthat religious leaders or other authority figures obligedyoungsters to go for an HIV test." "We have to becautious about this issue because we can't force people to takethe HIV/AIDS test. We have worked with the religious leaders totry and get them to understand that," Pitzner said.
The cramped living conditions of a refugeecamp environment and the resulting lack of privacy, are alsocontributing factors. "With so many people living together,and just three metres between some of the houses, it is difficultto hide information, so when there is an issue, everybody knowsabout it before long," said Dr Amey Kouwonou, InternationalRescue Committee's health coordinator in Kibondo, a refugee campfor some 40,000 Burundians. "We cannot completely avoidthis, but we have to try and reduce it." He said thatincreased privacy and confidentiality at Voluntary Counsellingand Testing (VCT) centres was helping reduce the stigma andincrease the numbers of refugees coming for tests - from about 10refugees per month per camp in 2000, to about 80 per month percamp. "Now for VCT, we make sure you go in the same door asanyone else just going to see the doctor," he added."Also, there is a coding system to make sure that is onlythe HIV counsellor that can identify the test results with aparticular person." Kouwonou said the predicament was forthose with full-blown AIDS, where with symptoms as proof,discrimination developed. "In fact, there is a big problemat camp level and we even get people that prefer to stay inhospital than discharge themselves and return to face theirfamily and the community," he noted. To tackle this, UNHCR'simplementing partners in the refugee camps have since 2000 beendeveloping home-based care teams to identify people sufferingchronic illnesses and then to provide guidance to their familiesand other people that would be looking after them in thecommunity. Initially composed of a doctor, medical assistant,nurse nutritionist, community health worker and a social worker,the teams first sensitised the communities. Religious leaders andcounsellors were invited to awareness raising sessions andinvited to join as caregivers. While humanitarian workers admitthere is little data on HIV/AIDS in refugee camps, there seems tobe a worrying trend that the pandemic is getting a grip in thecommunities. Lifestyles have been forced to change in the camps,and the system of closely packed huts creates an environment inwhich it is difficult for families to maintain the traditionalroles of authority and control. "In the crowded camp,adolescents have more new freedoms and options - includingopportunities for early sexual experimentation - than werepossible in the rural settings of their original homes," theUNHCR/WHO report said. Also, while poverty drives many women intoprostitution, the report suggested that with humanitarianagencies fulfilling many of the roles that were traditionallyassociated with the men in society, "idle, frustrated men inthe camps also have increased opportunities for sexualliaisons."
US criticizes Tanzania on people trafficking (Dar esSalaam, Irin, 28/11) - Financial constraints, pervasivecorruption, porous borders and a poor understanding of the scopeof the problem have contributed to Tanzania's failure to meet theminimum requirements to eliminate trafficking in persons,according to a recent US State Department report. These findingscome despite the government's acknowledgement of the problem andthe "significant efforts" it has made to eliminate thecrime in Tanzania, which was described as a source country fortrafficked persons in the 2002 Trafficking in Persons Report."Available information indicates that trafficking inTanzania is most often internal and related to child labour,including child prostitution in the larger cities. Children aretrafficked from rural to urban areas within the country fordomestic work, commercial agriculture, fishing and mining,"the report said. It also said there was some evidence to suggestthat trafficking of women and girls to South Africa, the MiddleEast, North Africa, Asia and Europe in order to work asprostitutes also took place. The report suggests that althoughsome efforts have been made by the government to clamp down onthe practice, the measures have not been supported bysufficiently tough penalties for traffickers. "A new sectionof the penal code criminalises trafficking within or outside ofTanzania; however, the penalty is relatively light. Amulti-agency government task force coordinates on child labourissues, but does not specifically address trafficking inpersons," it stated. However, Tanzania is participating in apilot programme that brings together government agencies, tradeunions and social welfare organisations, in collaboration withthe International Labour Organisation (ILO), to try to eliminatethe worst forms of child labour. "This ILO project is makingprogress and there is also an ongoing review process of all thelabour laws, as well as some training of inspectors. But we needto see this all translated into action," Sally Neuman, aprogramme analyst in the State Department's Office to Monitor andCombat Trafficking in Persons, told reporters in Tanzania onTuesday. The US, which itself had no anti-trafficking legislationuntil 2000, has classified Tanzania as a Tier 2 country, in asystem that places countries that have made the best progress intackling trafficking in Tier 1, and those with the poorest trackrecords in Tier 3.
UN facilitates more refugee repatriations (Nairobi,Irin, 27/11) - With Rwandan refugees in Tanzaniaincreasingly eager to go home, the Office of the UN HighCommissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Tuesday that it hadstepped up its operations to facilitate their return. In aweeklong effort starting on Monday with the departure of 479refugees, the UNHCR said it was helping some 19,000 others at theNgara camp in northwestern Tanzania to follow suit. "Thenumber of Rwandan refugees wishing to go home with UNHCRassistance has increased gradually since April, when more than124 returned," the UNHCR reported. "So far in November,more than 2,000 Rwandans have decided to repatriate." At theend of the current operation, during which daily return convoyswill make the run, "the repatriation operation should returnto its normal schedule of twice-weekly convoys through the end ofthe year", the agency said. People want to go back, it said,partly as the result of confidence-building measures such as tworecent "go-and-see" visits to Rwanda. "Themajority of the recent returnees say they feel encouraged to gohome after the installation of the gacaca tribunals, localtraditional courts working to resolve judicial matters datingback to the 1994 genocide," the UNHCR said. Therepatriations are being effected within the framework of theTripartite Commission for Voluntary Repatriation to Rwanda signedin September by the UN refugee agency and the governments ofRwanda and Tanzania. UNHCR said some 7,100 Rwandans had returnedvoluntarily so far this year.
Passport bill debated in Parliament (The Guardian,04/11) - The government should think of providing someprivate individuals with diplomatic passports as recognition oftheir contributions to the nation in terms of their investmentsand service delivery. A Member of Parliament for Musoma Rural(CCM), Nimrode Mkono, made the suggestion when debating a Billfor issuance, control and cancellation of passports and traveldocuments tabled on Friday in Parliament by the Minister for HomeAffairs, Mohammed Seif Khatib. He said the position of thePrivate Sector (individuals) does not feature in the bill.These individuals do a good job through their investmentsin services and industries. Some could be good performingfarmers. The Foreign and Home Ministers should be entitled toprovide them with diplomatic passports, he said. He saidwhen such entrepreneurs go out of Tanzania; they act as Tanzanianambassadors in their various activities. Mkono gave as example ofsuccessful sportsmen like those who get Olympic medals likeFilbert Bayi did in the past and some boxers to be accorded withdiplomatic passports, after all they were very few. The MP alsourged the government to either provide all religions leaders withdiplomatic passports or deny them altogether instead of leavingthat decision into the hands of immigration officers. He warnedthat without a clear statement, the provision could lead todiscrimination as officers may decide to give or not depending onthe religion. He also said there were many Tanzanians who wereatheists who would not benefit at all from the diplomaticpassports. Ponsiano Nyami (Nkasi) suggested that immigrationofficers be attached to Tanzania embassies abroad in order totake care of immigration issues and avoid problems currentlyresulting from their absence. Nyami also urged the government tostate measures, which should be taken against holders ofdiplomatic passports who do not return them or use them afterexpiry of entitlement to hold them. Tabling the Bill, MinisterKhatib mentioned types of passports and travel documents to beissued as ordinary passports, service passports, diplomatic andEast African passports, an emergency travel documents,certificate of identity and Geneva Convention travel documents.The Bill includes titles of persons entitled to hold servicepassports in the civil service and diplomatic passports whoinclude government leaders, judges, speakers of National Assemblyand Zanzibar House of Representatives, army officers of the rankof Major General and above and some chief executives of Stateorgans.
Tourism enjoys steady growth (Financial News, 01/11) -Europe and North America are the major sources oftourists to Tanzania whose earnings from foreign tourism haveconsistently increased, it has been learnt. A survey done byNational Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says that earnings fromtourism in Tanzania increased sharply from 95m dollars in 1991 tonearly 740m dollars in 2000, while tourist arrivals climbed fromabout 190,000 to 502,000 in the same period. Although earningsfrom international tourism have grown more rapidly than arrivalsin nominal terms, real earnings have grown less significantly, itsaid, noting that this reflects a general increase in pricelevels. Expenditure per tourist is high in Tanzania, increasingfrom 330 dollars in 1986-1990 to nearly 1,500 dollars in 2000,the report says. An average of about 400 dollars in touristspending per person was still the case for Africa generally, itsays. Earnings from tourism as a share of the Gross DomesticProduct (GDP) increased significantly, from about one percent inthe period 1986-1992, to over six percent in the 1993-1998period. Data from East African countries shows that tourismearnings as a share of GDP inreased marginally from 1.5 percentto about 2 percent over the same period. A Bank of Tanzania (BoT)survey last year showed that direct and indirect benefits oftourism in Tanzania represent a combined contribution of some12.4 percent for 1999. As a share of total exports, tourismearnings increased from 12 percent in 1990 to abaout 40 per centin the late 1990s becoming the second largest foreign exchangeearner in Tanzania after agriculture. The sector requires 44 percent of its imputs from other sectors, far above the average of26 per cent for all sectors. It led the other three sectors interms of backward and forward linkages and was second toagriculture in terms of inter-sector effects among 23 sectors.The number of hotels and beds available increased more slowlythan the growth of arrivals. Receipts suggested a rise incapacity utilization of accomodation although room accupancyrates increased only by 76% between 1991 and 2000, it noted. TheTanzanian tourism industry is based mainly on wildlifeattractions, and its operations are largely concentrated in theNorthern Wildlife Area (NWA), the city of Dar es Salaam, andZanzibar.
UNHCR donates 2 ambulances (Zambia Daily Mail, 21/11)- The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR) has donated two ambulances worth over K320 million to theMinistry of Health. The ambulances will be given to Shangombo andMporokoso health centres. UNHCR representative, Ahmed Gubartalla,said at the hand-over ceremony in Lusaka yesterday that UNHCRdecided to give Mporokoso and Shangombo districts because of therole the community plays in hosting refugees in the two areas. MrGubartalla said UNHCR was grateful to government for itscontinued hosting of refugees. He re-affirmed UNHCRs commitmentto continue working with Government in assisting and protectingrefugees. He urged Zambians to continue treating refugees aspartners in development and not as a burden. And Health Minister,Brian Chituwo, said government was grateful to UNHCR for thetimely donation. Dr Chituwo said transport had been a problem inthe country especially in rural areas. He said the ministrydistributed 18 vehicles to some districts four months ago butthat Shangombo was left out. He noted that it was impossible forgovernment to solve problems single-handedly and urged otherstakeholders to assist. He directed the permanent secretary inhis ministry to ensure the ambulances were used for the intendedpurpose saying he would not condone indiscipline. Governmentwould continue looking after refugees in partnership with UNHCR.He urged UNHCR to extend its assistance to other areas.Meanwhile, Mr Gubartalla disclosed that UNHCR has proposed aglobal budget for the repatriation of Angolan refugees at US $34million. This will not only be meant for Angolan refugees inZambia but also in the DRC and Namibia. The money will enableUNHCR provide organised repatriation and basic re-integration ofthe refugees.
Ban on Zimbabwean imports fuels smuggling (The DailyNews, 19/11) - Since Zambia banned certain imports fromZimbabwe early this year, there has been rampant smuggling ofbanned commodities from Zimbabwe using the railway line. Tradersin Livingstone started smuggling the goods after unfruitfulcomplaints to the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and the Zambiangovernment to rescind its decision. The traders say the bannedgoods are not readily available in Zambia and are expensive onthe Zambian market. Ms Rhonda Mbewe, a cross-border trader fromLusaka, said traders had resorted to using the railway linebecause they had no alternative. "We wait until it is darkthen we cross the border using the rails. Once we are in Zambia,we hire taxis to ferry our goods to town," Mbewe said. Shesaid that at times the traders hired young men who smuggled thebanned goods on their behalf. Mbewe said: "There are timeswhen we reach the Zimbabwean border post in the morning and onsuch occasions, we cross to back into Zambia and leave the goodswith our friends in Zimbabwe. Our friends then help us to smugglethe goods into Zambia." Livingstone's Town Clerk, GeorgeKalenga, confirmed the illegal importation of commodities fromZimbabwe. He said that the council would soon carry out a cleanup campaign. He said: "We are planning to deploy patrolofficers along the railway line, with the help of the ZambiaPolice and ZRA. This trend has been going on for quite some timenow." Kalenga said: "We are working with Zimbabweanauthorities in an effort to stem the practice. We hope tointensify security and improve the situation." Kalengadismissed the assertions by some traders that the smuggled goodswere not readily available in Zambia. "That is not true. Thegoods are available, the only thing we are trying to do is tocreate a fair market and promote local products," Kalengasaid. The Zambian government banned commodity imports fromZimbabwe in June this year citing unfair competition caused byZimbabwean goods on the Zambian market. Zimbabwean goods werereportedly cheaper than Zambian ones and the move threatenedZambians. Among the goods banned from Zimbabwe are cement,bananas, construction materials, and dairy products.
Goods seized at Malawi border (The Post, 12/11) - ZambiaRevenue Authority (ZRA) has seized over K250 million worth ofsmuggled goods in Chipata brought into the country from Malawi,ZRA spokesman Daniel Msoka has said. Msoka, in an interviewyesterday, said the seizures were carried out in the last twoweeks under Operation Restore Sanity (an anti-smuggling commiteeset up) which has intesfied operations at its Chipata offices. Hesaid the operation was aimed at curbing smuggling and the passageof illegal goods. Also seized in the operation were goods alsoleaving the country which included one large truck, two salooncars which had been fradulantly registered, 110 cases of softdrinks and juices. Other seized items included 64 packages ofbicycle spare parts, 32 drums of 20 litres of petroleum fuels, apackage of powers No. 1 spirits, an assortment of two cartons ofcigarettes and unprocessed tobacco including iron sheets,batteries, plastic shoes, medical equipment and general hardware.He said smuggling of fertiliser and other goods from Malawi intoZambia had risen to high levels in Chipata. He said most traderswere concealing the fertiliser in non-fertiliser bags which couldnot be easily detected by customs officers at the boarders. Hewarned that ZRA would no longer be reluctant in checking thegoods that passed through the borders. He also revealed that ZRAhad intercepted a number of drug trafficking cases which werehanded over to the Drug Enforcement commission (DEC). He said onOctober 16, 2002, his organisation seized 100 kilograms ofcannabis with a street value of K75 million . He said many otherbuses had also been impounded at the border stations because theywere carrying cannabis.
Scramble for non-Genetically Modified food forrefugees (Johannesburg, Irin, 12/01) - A government banon genetically-modified (GM) foods has resulted in a scramble tosource stock to feed the thousands of refugees camped in Zambia.The World Food Programme (WFP) was forced to distributeUS-donated milled GM maize to refugees in the first week ofNovember, as the government ban was announced on 29 October,giving the agency little time to source non-GM food. The Zambiangovernment banned GM grain due to concerns over the health andenvironmental impacts of GM organisms. "From now on onlynon-GM food will be distributed in camps, we have sent truckswith non-GM food to all six [refugee] camps already," WFPspokesman Richard Lee told IRIN on Tuesday. WFP was feeding110,000 refugees from Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congoin Zambia. "Basically what we've done is, we did have somenon-GM coming in for the camps so we have now moved that to thecamps and during the course of the month we will divert somenon-GM food from the Zambian emergency operation to thecamps," he said. The feeding programme in the refugee campswas separate from the overall Zambian emergency operation, Leeexplained. "In Zambia as a whole, as we've said before, itwill be difficult for us to fill the gap this month with non-GMstock. The last distributions we did [of GM food] were in thefirst week of November. "The government's final decision [onGM] was on 29 October, so there was not enough time [to source]alternative stocks, so we agreed to do one more distribution inthe camps," Lee added. He said the GM maize that wasdistributed in the camps was milled beforehand "under very,very strict supervision". This was "obviously done inconsultation with the authorities". WFP still had some 3,000mt of GM maize prepositioned in the camps. "Now we areconsulting with government and donors as to where to move that,we'll be discussing where we reallocate it in the region,"Lee said.
Government probes award of land to South Africanbusinessman (The Post, 04/11) - A probe into the'irregular' awarding of a 20 km by 20 km piece of land to SouthAfrican businessman Laban Naidoo without the lands ministry'sknowledge has been launched, lands minister Judith Kapijimpangahas said. Kapijimpanga yesterday stated that as far as herministry was concerned, no such piece of land had been given outby her ministry. She said Naidoo has had no dealings with herministry whatsoever, regarding the acquisition of land in Chiawa."It is however possible that he may have dealt withtraditional leaders of the area who have not brought this matterto the attention of the ministry," Kapijimpanga said. Butthis is however contrary to a letter dated July 25, 2002, toPlatinum Holdings of Sandton, South Africa, the partners in theproject, by labour deputy minister John Mwaimba who assured thatthe Zambian government had welcomed Naidoo's venture. "Wewelcome the idea of your investment of US $150 million in ourcountry and we are glad that you chose our country for yourinvestment," the letter read in part. "To speed up theprocess of your investment, I took it upon myself to invite Dr.Naidoo to join us at State House, where the project was discussedin detail with Dr. Moses, the economics advisor to the President.We also had a meeting with Dr. Lewanika, the permanent secretaryfor the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry. You have ourfullest support in your project subject to contractconditions." But Kapijimpanga further stated that procedurewas that when an investor approached a traditional leader theyneeded to get express permission from the Minister of Lands ifthey were to hold land in excess of 250 hectares. "No suchpermission has been sought or issued by this ministry,"Kapijimpanga said. And Rainbow monitor president Reverend LloydSalimboshi yesterday described Naidoo as a danger to Zambia'sdevelopment process. Reacting to the government's awarding of a20 km by 20 km stretch of land in chieftainess Chiawa's area fordevelopment into hotels, a residential and commercial complex toNaidoo, Rev. Salimboshi, in a telephone interview from Kosovo,asked government to immediately deport Naidoo. "Governmentmust expel Naidoo because he has placed our country intodisrepute," Rev. Salimboshi said. He warned that Zambiawould fail to attract good foreign investors if it was dealingwith businesspersons with questionable character. Rev. Salimboshisaid it was retrogressive for government to start dealing withquestionable characters when it had embarked on a campaignagainst corruption. He asked government to reflect on the dangersof dealing with individuals. "Look at what happened whengovernment engaged Binani group of companies. Do you want to haveanother experience similar to that of Luanshya?" he asked.Rev. Salimboshi appealed to President Mwanawasa to caution hiscabinet ministers who were using their offices to help dubiouscharacters invest in the country. He asked President Mwanawasa totake stern action against erring ministers. State House spokesmanAuthur Yoyo in a statement yesterday said President Mwanawasa hadno knowledge of the "heaven on Earth" project. He,however, said State House had instituted investigations into thematter. According to the project proposal and the heads ofagreement Naidoo is supposed to develop a 20 by 20 km area whichwould have shopping malls, game reserves, eco tourism, showrooms, golf course and landing strips, residential propertydevelopment at the Chongwe river and the Zambezi.
Danish government aids refugee communities(Johannesburg, Irin, 01/11) - The Danish government hasgiven the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) US $2.6 millionfor refugees and their host communities in Zambia's WesternProvince. "The money will be spent on health, schools,community projects and social services in refugee hostingcommunities," UNHCR spokesman Kelvin Shimo told IRIN onFriday. In addition, the Danish embassy would start theconstruction of two schools in Senanga, in the west, and Kaoma inthe north-west next month. The projects formed part of the ZambiaInitiative, which aims to uplift communities hosting refugeesfrom neighbouring countries living in Zambia, after it was foundthat many of the host communities themselves were extremely poorand battling to cope with the increased demands. Zambia is hometo more than 270,000 refugees, some 225,000 of which areAngolans.
Wife of fomer Finance Minister seeks asylum in SouthAfrica (The Post, 01/11) - Former finance ministerKatele Kalumbas wife, Lumba, is seeking political asylumfrom the South African government. Intelligence sources disclosedthat Lumba went to the South African High Commission yesterdaymorning with all her children claiming their lives were underpolitical threats. The wife to Katele and the children havebeen to the South African High Commission to seek politicalasylum claiming that they were being harassed politically,a source said. The source said Lumba had been at the HighCommission from morning until later in the afternoon. An officialfrom the South African High Commission promised to get back toThe Post after finding out what had transpired. He, however, didnot get back as late as 22:00 hours last night. And policeservice spokesperson Brenda Muntemba said there was no need forLumba to panic because the task force investigating the plunderof national resources were only after her husband. Muntemba saidthe task force lawyers could have gone to enquire aboutKalumbas whereabouts from his wife but did not harass her."His wife is not our concern but if people went to ask abouther husband, that is expected and that cannot be called aninterview," Muntemba said. We can only interviewsomeone of interest to the case and in this case she is a freeperson. Opposition Patriotic Front president Michael Satasaid no one should blame Kalumba if he had fled the countrybecause he was given enough room to get away from the arm of thelaw. I warned them that Katele was being given too muchrope to escape, Sata said. Muntemba also said the taskforce would launch a manhunt for Kalumba if he fails to respondto an appeal to report for interviews. She said Kalumba only hadup to midnight last night to give himself up to the policefailure to which they would look for him.
Foreigners arrested for drug trafficking (Zambia DailyMail, 01/11) - The Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) hasarrested 2,710 people for drug trafficking or being in possessionof narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances from January thisyear to end of October. DEC commissioner Mukutulu Sinyanidisclosed this when he officiated at a media workshop atLusakas Lima Garden Motel yesterday. Mr Sinyani said ofthese, 133 were foreigners among them 32 from the DemocraticRepublic of Congo (DRC), 21 from Angola, 11 from South Africa, 11Chinese, six Zimbabweans and nine from Tanzania. Others were fourIrish, three Britons, three Indians, two Koreans, two Canadians,two Dutch and seven Somalians. Mr Sinyani also disclosed that thedemand reduction section of DEC has been active in awareness andcounselling. He said the division from January to August thisyear has counselled 156 persons of whom 14 were referred toChainama Hospital, the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) andMama Soko for treatment while the rest were under the counsellingprogramme. Mr Sinyani said DEC believes there were many more whofear stigmatisation and had not gone to the commission forassistance. He said the media can do a lot in helping break thestigma so that people could realise and accept the need forseeking assistance from specialised services without fear.The Drug Enforcement Commission values having an informedpartner in the fight against drugs. Mr Sinyani said drugtrafficking and drug abuse has been increasing in the countrylike an epidemic which if left unchecked will underminesocio-economic growth and eat away the very foundations of adecent society. Mr Sinyani said DEC had become increasingly awarethat drug trafficking and drug abuse as well as money launderingactivities constituted a criminal menace which worked toundermine efforts to sustainable economic and social development.He said drugs had brought a lot of misery and suffering amongsome families who had fallen prey to this scourge. Mr Sinyanisaid the objective of the media workshop was to nurture interestand advocate support from the media for their role in fightingthe drug scourge in the nation.
Building industry dominated by foreign contractors(The Times of Zambia, 01/11) - The National Council forConstruction (NCC) has complained about the continued dominationof the local industry by foreign contractors who are getting mostof the major jobs from Zambian professionals. According to NCClatest edition of CONSTRUCTION NEWS obtained in Lusaka yesterday,this is despite numerous calls from NCC itself and otherinterested parties for Government and the private sector to uselocal experts. Despite our appeals to Government and the privatesector to use local professionals, foreign contractors havecontinued to dominate the Zambian construction industry, thenewsletter reads. The publication says that all major works seemto be carried out by firms of foreign origin and so far noZambian contractors are rising to the challenge. "Forinstance, the Press has reported a housing complex to beundertaken by Landmark International, a South African company.Even if the developers are themselves not Zambian it would beexpected that they use local expertise" it reads. It saysthat there are many other projects being carried out by foreigncontractors, especially in the roads sector, and none of thelocal firms seems to be able to compete.
Police probe cheap fuel sales at SA border (Musina,Sapa, 26/11) - Police were investigating reports onTuesday of Zimbabwean fuel being sold cheaply to South Africansat the Beit Bridge border post and near Musina in Limpopo. Borderpolice and customs officials held a meeting in the morning atBeit Bridge to determine whether there was any truth to therumours, said provincial operational response services headSenior Superintendent Gert Nel. "We still do not have anyclarity," he said on Tuesday afternoon. A meeting would beheld with Zimbabwean police on Wednesday morning in a bid to findout more. The SABC earlier reported that a news team foundZimbabwean petrol being sold at a lower price than the SouthAfrican product at the border post. Zimbabwean fuel sells forabout R2,50 a litre, compared with over R4,20 in South Africa,the reports said. Musina police and the minerals and energydepartment said they had received no reports to this effect, butwould investigate. Departmental spokesman Kanyo Gqulu said anyfuel being sold in South Africa had to be priced in line withlegislative regulations. "You can't charge a price lowerthan that regulated by our law," he said. SA PetroleumIndustry Association director Colin McClelland advised motoristsnot to buy such petrol. "It is not only illegal, but alsoextremely dangerous," he warned. Petrol was allowed to besold in South Africa only at properly constituted fuellingstations and at the regulated price, McClelland said. "Whatis of greater concern, however, is that this practice is posingdanger to life and limb." Petrol was a very hazardous andflammable substance. There was also a possibility that petrolbeing sold cheaply was contaminated with, for example, paraffin.This would damage a car's engine. "I would certainly not putit in my own car," McClelland said.
Zimbabwe refuses to renew work permit for press bureauchief (Harare, Sapa-AFP, 26/11) - The Zimbabwegovernment on Tuesday refused to renew the work permit of the AFPbureau chief in Harare, who must now leave the country by the endof the week. AFP's chairman and chief executive officer BertrandEveno expressed the international news agency's "deepregret" at the decision in a letter to the Zimbabwegovernment. Stephane Barbier, 43, who has been the bureau chiefin the five-country regional office in Harare since July 2001,must leave by Saturday when his current work permit expires.Eveno said in the letter that AFP has maintained a regionaloffice in Zimbabwe for 22 years "acting always in good faithand strict compliance with all laws and regulations of yourcountry." "I am obliged to register AgenceFrance-Presse's sincere disappointment in this matter,"Eveno said. In September the Zimbabwe authorities refused torenew the work permit of Griffin Shea, a US national working forAFP. Barbier's initial one-year permit had been extended by sixmonths in June this year. Information Minister Jonathan Moyo inJuly indicated to AFP that under the country's new press law,only Zimbabwean journalists would be allowed to work in thecountry. President Robert Mugabe enacted a law in March thatimposed stringent limits on press freedoms for independent andforeign journalists working in the country. The Access toInformation and Protection of Privacy Act allows only permanentresidents or Zimbabwean nationals to operate as journalists on along-term basis. Foreign journalists may work only for anunspecified "limited period" or cover specific events.The Supreme Court is due to make a ruling in a lawsuit filed byZimbabwean journalists challenging the constitutionality of thelaw. Subject to registration under the new law, AFP plans to keepits Harare office manned by Zimbabwean journalists but theregional office will move to Johannesburg, South Africa. TheHarare bureau covers Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia andZimbabwe.
Zimbabweans flee food shortages into neighbouringcountries (Refugees International, 26/11) - South Africais home to countless asylum seekers from neighboring countries.Many others migrate to South Africa from Zimbabwe to find work."Thousands come over every day," South Africa's chiefdirector of disaster management told Refugees International (RI).In Messina, a town that borders Zimbabwe near the Limpopo River,RI was able to learn about the lives of those leaving the hungerof Zimbabwe and crossing to what they believe will be a betterlife. Zimbabwe, once a food surplus producing country, has nowhad the heart of its economy ripped out. Erratic rainfall, aseries of dry spells, political mismanagement of production, andland reform policies have created a major shortage of food inZimbabwe (see Zimbabwe: Survival Strategies in the Face ofStarvation) and the RI Bulletin: Zimbabwe from Bread Basket toBasket Case). The cycle of migration, from Zimbabwe into SouthAfrica and back, has been happening for years. Normally peoplecross into South Africa and purchase food and send it back orfind work on farms and return to Zimbabwe a few months, orsometimes even years, later. The South African army apprehends,in its estimation, 2,000 people per month. However, a researcherat the University of Witwatersrand, who recently conducted asmall study of migration in Messina, found that the movement ofpeople has slightly increased because of hunger in Zimbabwe. RIspoke with individuals at a detention center in Messina who havecrossed from Zimbabwe to South Africa and had been caught anddetained. "I am suffering. When I get money I can go back tomy home. It has been hard finding work here. If I keep crossingover I'm afraid something bad will happen to me," David, an18 years old detainee told RI. In this detention center, which isactually a police station and prison, detainees are fed one meala day and sleep outside on the ground. Men, women, and childrenwho are found crossing into South Africa from Zimbabwe are takento the detention center. Women and children are deportedimmediately to avoid spending the night in prison. The journey toSouth Africa to Zimbabwe can be very dangerous and expensive.Edward, a 23-year-old man with whom RI spoke told of the expensein trying to migrate to South Africa. "You must pay someoneto get the right route to get in safely." He explained thatit usually costs 300 South African Rand or $500 Zimbabwe dollars(roughly 31 US dollars) and "if you don't pay they turn youin". Once Edward arrived in Messina he was going to findwork and send money back to his younger siblings and grandmotherso they could eat and attend school (he's the oldest sibling inthe family and his parents are dead). But while he was walkingalong the road looking for work a white man gave him a lift andsaid he would take him to the nearest farm. Instead he tookEdward straight to the police station; he was going to bedeported back to Zimbabwe the next day.
One barefoot young man that RI spoke with explained theperilous journey to get to South Africa as well as thedifficulties he faces as a Zimbabwean in South Africa. When hearrived in Messina from Zimbabwe his identity papers and shoeswere stolen. He talked about the many people who cross the riverand get killed by crocodiles. But he said, "We [Zimbabweans]have to get money and food somehow." Those individuals whodo not get caught, detained, and deported by the police havedifferent experiences. RI spoke with three young men on the sideof the road who had walked all day to get to Messina fromZimbabwe and had not yet eaten. They were all trying to secureemployment on the farms in South Africa near the border. "Weneed a job. We need food," the three young men told RI. Whenasked if they were to be deported would they come back to SouthAfrica, they, in unison, said yes and emphasized that they haveno other choice. Even if they do find work on a South Africanfarm they are sometimes treated poorly and not paid. According tothe director of Legal Services in Messina, many illegalimmigrants work for six months on the farms without pay. Then,despite verbal agreements that they will be paid on their lastday of work, the farm owner calls the police prior to providingtheir wages and has them deported. This type of migrationdemonstrates how determined individuals are to survive, makingthe movement inevitable. RI met three boys aged 20, 18, and 16who were brothers. The three of them came through the river toSouth Africa a few days before. Their parents had died and theywanted to build their lives in South Africa because they areunable to make a living in Zimbabwe. They want to try to findwork on a farm. They sleep in the bush at night because they havenowhere to stay and can't afford to pay for a hotel room."If we get caught by the police and get deported we willcome back to South Africa again," they said. Given thecurrent levels of political instability, economic turmoil andhunger prevalent in their country, Zimbabweans will continue tomake the dangerous and perilous journey. Each Zimbabwean willdetermine for himself or herself if the risk is worth it. Reportscontinue to stream in about the government's lack of politicalwill to feed starving Zimbabweans and that the government isdeliberately withholding food from certain populations. TheRefugee Research Programme of the University of the Witwatersrandhas just released a report entitled "Emergency Preparednessin South Africa: Twenty-Four Lessons from the ZimbabweanElections," commissioned by the National Consortium ofRefugee Affairs with support from the Foundation for HumanRights. The report tries to address the level of preparedness ofSouth Africa for a sudden influx of refugees. The situation inMessina, and the stories of the Zimbabweans there, demonstratesthe fine line between economic migration and refugee flows. Themigrants are on a desperate search for employment so that theyand their families can survive. Yet the conditions that they arefleeing in Zimbabwe include political persecution, systems ofeconomic management, and internal food distribution systems thatare biased against certain political and ethnic groups. RefugeesInternational continues to monitor the situation in Zimbabwe andto advocate for increased food assistance and unbiased fooddistribution. In addition, RI continues to hold discussions withSouth African officials on the level of emergency preparedness inthe event of a large influx of Zimbabweans to their country.
EU's ban on two ministers welcomed (The Daily News,25/11) - The MDC has welcomed the position taken by theEuropean Parliament to bar two of President Mugabe's ministersPaul Mangwana, Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals andChris Kuruneni, the Deputy Minister of Finance and EconomicDevelopment, from entering its premises in Brussels. In astatement at the weekend, the MDC's shadow minister of ForeignAffairs, Moses Mzila-Ndhlovu said parliament is the cradle ofdemocracy, where people's rights are represented and protected."The two ministers represent the narrow interests of aninsidious autocracy," Ndhlovu said. He said the decision bythe Zimbabwe government to send two banned ministers can only beinterpreted as an attempt to goad the European Union (EU)."Members of the European Parliament cherish their democratictrack records and the core values that define democraticsocieties, such as freedom from persecution. Zanu PF has totalcontempt for all forms of democracy. "The presence of bannedZanu PF ministers in the European Parliament would defile anhonourable institution. They are an integral part of a regimethat sponsors brutal attacks on opposition MPs, a regime thatencourages State-sponsored terror against opponents andsystematically starves its own people to punish them for theirpolitical beliefs. "Twenty-nine people have died ofstarvation Binga after Mugabe closed down food aid operationsbecause Binga is an MDC stronghold," Ndhlovu said.Meanwhile, the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries' meetingin Brussels on Saturday maintained their position that Zimbabweandelegates to the fifth ACP-EU parliamentary session should beallowed into the European Parliament. The ACP countries heldemergency talks last week and threatened to boycott the meetingif Zimbabwe's delegates were barred from attending the session.
Tourism tumbles in Zimbabwe (Johannesburg, BusinessDay, 22/11) - Zimbabwe's once-thriving tourism sector isfacing a further dramatic tumble due to the current nationalemergency, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has said. In itslatest report, ZTA said tourism is declining at an alarming rate.Tourist arrivals in Zimbabwe from the country's largest foreignmarkets, the UK and Ireland, dropped 51% while those from thesecond biggest market, US and Canada, fell by 42% over the pastyear. Arrivals from Australia, New Zealand and others in theregion declined by 36%, while German visitor numbers dropped 17%.Overall, there was a 43% drop in tourist arrivals from Europe andAmerica. The number of holidaymakers from SA and Botswana fell by1%, while the number from Zambia Zimbabwe's biggest regionalsource market nosedived by 78%. There was an average 38% drop inAfrican tourist arrivals. This resulted in tourist receiptsfalling from US124,7m to US81,4m, which in turn has worsenedZimbabwe's foreign currency crisis. "Tourism has experiencedrapid growth since the country gained independence in 1980,"ZTA said. "During the decade 1989-99, tourist arrivals grewat an average rate of 17,5% whilst tourism receipts increased atan average annual rate of 18% in US dollar terms and 25% inZimbabwe dollar terms." But the situation has changed. ZTAsaid: "The prevailing economic, social, and politicalenvironment has seen the sector experiencing the worstperformance since independence. The country has experienced an11% drop in tourist arrivals between 19992000 and a 38% drop inreceipts within the same period." "Since the beginningof 2001, there has been a significant increase of 14% in arrivalsfrom regional markets, but these are low spenders and the impactof this increase to foreign currency generation has beenminimum." Increased arrivals were recorded from Mozambique,East Africa and Asia. The Netherlands was the only Europeancountry from which the flow of tourists increased, by 7%. But thetotal national tourist arrivals decline was 38%. Finance MinisterHerbert Murerwa admitted, during his national budget presentationto parliament, that the tourism sector was currently depressedand would further tumble in tandem with the continued economicdecline. Zimbabwe's economy is expected to contract 11,9% thisyear and shrivel 7,2% next year. Officials are hoping the solareclipse on December 4 will attract enough visitors to provide alift.
MDC activists seek asylum in US (Zimbabwe Independent,22/11) - Two of the three Movement for Democratic Change(MDC) activists who attended the Washington meeting at which theUnited States administration announced its interventionist plansin Zimbabwe are reportedly seeking asylum in the US for fear ofretribution back home. The Zimbabwe Independent heard this weekthat former magistrate Johnson Mnkandla and Bulawayo Residents'Association chairman Edward Simela, who were expected back in thecountry last week, are considering staying on in the US due toofficial threats and statements portraying them as saboteurs.While their families refused to discuss the two's decision, afamily friend from Bulawayo, who said he had talked to the two ona number of occasions on the phone, confirmed they were afraid toreturn home. Mnkandla and Simela, whose "crime" was toexpress the known complaints of the people of Matabelelandincluding the government's 1980s atrocities, have delayed theirdeparture, lending credence to reports that they were seekingasylum. A friend said the two former Zanu PF members hadexpressed fears for their safety upon returning home followingthreats from Justice and Foreign Affairs ministers, PatrickChinamasa and Stan Mudenge, that their conduct was"unacceptable" and bordered on sedition. "They areconcerned about their safety," said a friend of Simela inBulawayo on Monday. "Remember Mnkandla has worked in thejudicial system in this country so he knows how one can beprosecuted even without having committed a crime." Last weekChinamasa told parliament that Zimbabweans working abroad forprivate radio stations would be arrested on their return.Security minister Nicholas Goche at the same time announced acrackdown on NGOs including the Zimbabwe Democracy Trust which,together with the Centre for International and Strategic Studies,helped to organise the Washington meeting. A colleague of thetwo, Ernest Mthunzi, who took part in the Washington meeting,skipped the country to settle in the United Kingdom some fouryears ago. The US embassy had not responded to written enquiriesabout the two by the time of going to press. Government accusesthe three of colluding with British intelligence to push for an"invasion" of Zimbabwe and for whipping up anti-Mugabesentiment following US assistant secretary for African affairs,Mark Bellamy's comments during the meeting. Already the officialmedia have linked the three to British intelligence and to adocument detailing a Shona-initiated Ndebele annihilationprogramme which has been knocking around for years and is atransparent fabrication. Simela and Mnkandla's friends inBulawayo this week said the war veterans were already beingmobilised by Zanu PF to de-campaign the two as saboteurs whilesecurity agents scavenged for legal grounds for theirapprehension. The two are accused of having dumped Mugabe' partyto join the MDC. "There is a lot of talk here about the twohaving to be arrested and they already know about it," afriend of one said. "With these funny laws which you alsoknow of they can be arrested upon arrival. Actually thisgovernment doesn't need any law these days, they can just arrestanybody for the sake of it."
SA probes Zimbabwe role in smuggling racket (ZimbabweIndependent, 22/11) - South African police areinvestigating the possibility that Harare is being used as atransit corridor for perlemoen that is smuggled into the countryin light aircraft en-route to lucrative markets in the Far East.South African police instituted investigations into the matterafter a South African pilot Tony Robinson died when the lightaircraft he was flying crashed in Limpopo province near theZimbabwe border.Investigators found that the plane was carrying800kg of frozen perlemoen raising fears there was massivesmuggling of the ocean produce from the Cape to destinations inHong Kong and China through Zimbabwe. Police Superintendent RonelOtto, quoted in the South African press, said Robinson was hiredto transport the frozen perlemoens from Swaziland to Harare.Perlemoen, also known as abalone, is an edible mollusc with anear-shaped shell lined with mother-of-pearl. According to SouthAfrican press reports it sells for R1 000 or more per kg in theFar East market. South African police said the evidence gatheredindicated that to avoid customs inspections at ports and majorairports, smugglers were transporting the illegal Cape perlemoenby road to Swaziland. The smugglers then hired light aircraft tofly the cargo to Harare where it was put on flights connecting toHong Kong. However, Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ)chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke shot down the reports andsaid Zimbabwe has no connecting flights to Asia. "Theseallegations have no substance but are meant to tarnish Hararebecause South Africa is the one with direct flights toAsia," said Kaseke. "It would be difficult to smuggleperlemoens to Europe and then to Asia." However, customsofficials said it was easier to clear consignments in transitcompared to those for a single destination.South African policehave intensified the tracking down of the smugglers with thearrest last week of three Cape Town men while they were loadingperlemoen into a light aircraft destined for Harare.The threeappeared in court last Thursday and were denied bail.Otto saidthere were two other incidents that involved smuggling ofperlemoen by light aircraft that was destined for HarareInternational airport. Press reports from South Africa saidpolice arrested a pilot after his plane developed engine problemsand made a forced landing at Hoedspruit in Mpumalanga. Ninetyboxes containing 890kg of perlemoen worth R3 million were foundon the aircraft.The aircraft captain Aaron Dlamini confirmed theplane was hired by a private company to deliver the cargo toHarare.
Zimbabwe's tourism revenue drops 44% (FinancialGazette, 21/11) - Zimbabwe's tourism receipts dropped by44.3 percent to US$24.1 million in the first half of this yearbut a ministerial task force on tourism says the completion ofthe government's controversial land reforms will result in thesector generating as much as 11 percent of the country's totalexport receipts. Zimbabwe's export receipts are expected todecline to US$1.4 billion this year from US$1.7 billion in 2001.In its October economic update report released this week,Intermarket Holdings says tourist arrivals in Zimbabwe in thefirst six months of 2002 declined by 48 percent. "Perceivedinsecurity of tourists on the back of political violence hascompromised Zimbabwe's image, hence negatively impacting ontourist traffic," it said. "During the first half of2002 tourism receipts dropped by 44.3 percent over last year fromUS$43.3 million to US$24.1 million." But Intermarket saidthe sector was projected to register a major rebound in the lastquarter of this year due to anticipated revenue windfalls fromthe Solar Eclipse, which will be experienced in the southernparts of Zimbabwe on December 4 2002. A ministerial task force ontourism, which is working on ways to revitalise Zimbabwe as asafe tourism destination, said the government should provide atimetable for the completion of its fast-track land reforms underwhich hundreds of white farmers have been expelled from theirproperties to make way for blacks. The task force also said theprivate sector should invite the diplomatic community to workwith stakeholders in the tourism industry to remove the negativeperception by inviting influential people from their countries tovisit Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has lost more than US$582 million intourism receipts in the past three years due to the unstableoperating climate and poor strategies used to revive the ailingindustry. The country's tourism recovery programme has beenhindered by a barrage of negative publicity accompanying thegovernment's land reforms and political violence during therun-up to the June 2000 parliamentary elections and the March2002 presidential elections. The Central Statistics Office saysonly US$80 million was generated from tourism the whole of lastyear. But the ministerial team was however optimistic thattourism could contribute more than six percent of Gross DomesticProduct (GDP) and 11 percent of Zimbabwe's export earnings."The sector (has the) potential to contribute 6.5 percent ofGDP and earn as much as 11 percent of total exportreceipts," the task force said. It noted that presentlythere was no coherent strategy to promote Zimbabwe's touristresorts in new markets by both the government and the privatesector. Tourist arrivals from traditional markets such as Europeand the US have nose-dived by 68.2 percent since 2000 whiledirect flights to Zimbabwe by virtually all major airlines havebeen halted.
Two ministers slip through EU travel ban (The DailyNews, 20/11) - There is likely to be heated debate inthe European Parliament after two Zimbabwean junior ministerswere granted visas to travel to the European Union headquartersin Brussels, despite the EU travel ban slapped on them. The twoare scheduled to attend the African, Caribbean andPacific-European Union (ACP/EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly from24 to 29 November. It emerged yesterday that the Belgian embassyin Harare had granted visas to Chris Kuruneri, the DeputyMinister of Finance and Economic Development, and Paul Mangwana,the Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals, despite atravel ban slapped on President Mugabe's government by the EU.The Belgian ambassador to Zimbabwe, Benedicte Frankinet, couldnot be reached for comment yesterday on how the ministers hadobtained the visas. The ambassador was said to be out of theoffice, but officials at the embassy confirmed the two had beengranted visas. Reports from Brussels said two British Members ofthe European Parliament, Glenys Kinnock (Labour) and Geoffrey vanOrden (Conservative), are leading a campaign to bar the Kuruneriand Mangwana from attending the meeting. Kinnock is reported tohave taken up the matter with the President of the EU Parliament,Pat Cox. "Responding to Glenys Kinnock, who raised thequestion of the issuing of visas by the Belgian authorities totwo members of the Zimbabwean delegation on the EU banned list tonext week's meeting of the ACP/EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly inBrussels, President Pat Cox said this would be considered by theconference of Presidents," reads part of a report onMonday's deliberations in the EU parliamentary session inStrasbourg, France. "One possibility, he said, would be tobar the delegates from Parliament's building next week."Reports from Belgium said the two ministers are scheduled totravel via Germany, another EU country. Concerns have been raisedover the weakness of the EU travel ban, which has allowed severalsenior government officials to travel to European capitals. SomeEU MPs are said to be strongly against the presence of theZimbabwean ministers in the European Parliament, which they argueis a symbol of democracy, a value not associated with Zanu PF.The MDC shadow minister for Foreign Affairs, Moses Mzila NdlovuBulilimamangwe North) is scheduled to attend the same meeting.
US embassy staff assaulted (The Daily News, 19/11) - Barelya week after the Zimbabwean police shot dead an American citizenin Mutare, the United States embassy in Harare yesterday revealedthat so-called war veterans had beaten up their staff in Melfortgoing about their normal diplomatic work. The US governmentimmediately expressed concern over the incident and urged theauthorities in Harare to identify and arrest the perpetrators.The US embassy said, in a statement on Friday, that two of itsemployees, accompanied by a United Nations officer and aZimbabwean citizen, were detained and subjected to hostileinterrogation by a group of men who identified themselves as warveterans. The embassy said in its statement that one of theiremployees, a Zimbabwean citizen, and another Zimbabwean werebeaten up and some personal and official items were stolen in theattack. "The assault took place near Melfort as the embassyemployees were conducting a survey of displaced farm workers inorder to assess the needs for humanitarian food assistance inZimbabwe," the embassy said. Visits by staff are part of thenormal work of embassy personnel in fulfilment of theirdiplomatic and humanitarian mission. The assault allegedly tookplace at a site where former commercial farm workers weresubsisting on a diet of berries and termites. "The UnitedStates government is deeply concerned by this incident. It issymptomatic of the lawlessness that has affected Zimbabwe for thepast two years. It is the same sort of intimidation and violencesuffered by thousands of Zimbabweans since the rule of law waseffectively suspended," the embassy said. "The USgovernment has protested the incident to the government ofZimbabwe and called for swift action to identify and arrest theperpetrators. We call once again on the government of Zimbabwe torestore the rule of law and respect for human rights." Avisiting American citizen, Richard Gilman, was shot dead by thepolice in Mutare last week on Monday. They alleged he was tryingto flee in his vehicle from a roadblock. His brother, Howard, aresident of Zimbabwe, denied the allegation, saying Richard couldnot have attempted to flee from the police when he had in factreturned to the roadblock after collecting from his brother'shome some documents he had been asked to produce at theroadblock. Richard was involved in charity work in Manicaland.The US government has since called for a full investigation intohis death.
Government decision on visas bad for tourism (ZimbabweIndependent, 15/11) - Government's decision last week tomake visas compulsory for British visitors to Zimbabwe willfurther hurt the already severely damaged tourism sector,analysts have said. They said while Zimbabwe's action was notunexpected given its hostility to the British government, it waslikely to negatively impact on tourism because it amounted toanother damaging political decision. In a move apparentlycalculated to escalate the contrived current diplomatic row withLondon which is serving President Robert Mugabe'spolitical-survival agenda but not the economy, Harare downgradedthe UK to a lower visa classification. This effectively meansthat British nationals travelling to Zimbabwe will now needvisas, either in advance through Zimbabwe's diplomatic missionsor at the port of entry. On top of visa restrictions, touristsvisiting Zimbabwe will now pay US$60 in entry and departure fees.Zimbabwe's decision was accompanied by the imposition ofretaliatory targeted sanctions against British Prime MinisterTony Blair, his ministers, leading opposition members, and somedissenting locals living in the UK. This made it appear like acounter-offensive after the UK imposed visa requirements lastFriday. Analysts said although this decision would not undermineZimbabwean tourism completely, it would however hit thestruggling national carrier, Air Zimbabwe, whose lifeline hasalways been the Harare/London route. Air Zimbabwe spokesman DavidMwenga confirmed this. "At the moment it's too early to tellbut we believe every airline, including Air Zimbabwe, flying outof Zimbabwe to the UK carrying Zimbabweans will certainly beaffected in the short-term," he said. Analysts said thebiggest casualty of the Zimbabwean decision on visas wouldhowever not be Britain but local tourism. This is primarilybecause the UK and Ireland remain Zimbabwe's largest sourcemarket of foreign tourists despite dwindling arrivals over thepast two years. According to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA)overseas market share statistics for 2001, the UK/Ireland are thebiggest source of tourists with 34% of the total arrivalsfollowed by the United States/Canada with 19%, Australia/NewZealand (12%), Europe in general (8%), Germany (7%), Netherlands(5%), Asia (5%), America in general (4%) and Switzerland (2%).
But the latest ZTA preliminary statisticsshow that the number of visitors from the UK/Ireland dramaticallyplunged by 51% from 119 113 between January and August last yearto 57 896 between the same period this year. Arrivals from otheroverseas countries also declined. Although there has been anincrease of tourists from some parts of Africa and the rest ofthe world, these are not big spenders. As a result tourismreceipts fell from $5,3 billion in 2000 to $4,5 billion last yearand are set to drop further this year. Zimbabwe badly needstourism, which was until recently a large foreign currency earnerand major contributor to gross domestic product. It has enormouspotential to attract investment, enhance economic growth, createemployment and improve standards of living. UTc managing directorPatrick McCosh said the imposition of visas on UK tourists wouldworsen the tourism tumble. "It's not a positive developmentand obviously it will affect tourism," McCosh said. "Adeveloping nation like Zimbabwe should be opening up its marketand removing obstacles to attract more tourists. That is why weare concerned with this issue on visas." Hong Kong is onedestination whose relatively open tourism policy has increasedtourist inflows and revenue. Most visitors to Hong Kong still donot need a visa. Despite its return to the communist motherlandof China in 1997, this tradition continues. British travellerscan still stay for up to six months without a visa. Citizens ofother Commonwealth countries do not require a visa for a stay ofup to three months. Tourism minister Francis Nhema said the visarequirement would not undermine tourism. "I don't think itwill affect our tourism because there was no major policyshift," he said. "The British are used to the issue ofvisas because in most countries they get visas at the ports ofentry. As long as there will be no threats to their lives theywon't be bothered." But commentators said the visa movecoupled with the current anti-British official rhetoric could bea deadly blow to the already prostrate tourism sector. Othersthought it wouldn't make much difference. Zimbabwe Council ofTourism president Shingi Munyeza said the visa regime was afarce. "Relations between Zimbabwe and Britain are alreadybad," Munyeza said. "So this will not really changeanything in terms of tourist arrivals. "The inflow oftourists from the UK is at an all-time low and what this means isthat the visa requirement is just another nuisance which willreally have a minimal negative impact on tourism." Analystssaid the visa demand flew in the face of Zimbabwe'smuch-trumpeted Tourism Recovery Programme, which has so farfailed to revive the collapsing sector, and was likely tocompound the country's economic problems by starving it ofmuch-needed foreign exchange at a time when the need had neverbeen more critical. "It's yet another own goal for theeconomy," one analyst who asked not to be named said thisweek.
Police killing of American citizen (The Daily News,15/11) - David Coltart, the MDC shadow Minister forJustice, told an American audience on Tuesday the shooting of aUnited States citizen at a roadblock in Mutare on Monday was asign of growing lawlessness and proof of a trigger-happy policeforce. According to the Washington File, Coltart, the BulawayoSouth MP, said the event projected the lawlessness thatZimbabweans have to contend with under the increasing despotismof President Mugabe. "I'm afraid our police force has becometrigger-happy," said Coltart. He was addressing students,journalists and African specialists at a discussion sponsored byGeorge Washington University's Elliot School of InternationalAffairs. The Washington File reported that Congressional sourceshad confirmed that the slain American, Richard Gilman, who wasvisiting Zimbabwe as a tourist, is the cousin of Scott Palmer,chief of staff to Speaker of the House of Representatives, DennisHastert. US Embassy officials in Harare have already startedinvestigating the shooting. Gilman died after a policeman at aroadblock near Mutare fired a shot at his car, which allegedlyricocheted to inflict a mortal wound on him. Howard Gilman, thevictim's brother who lives in Zimbabwe, said it was his brother'sthird trip to Zimbabwe where he did charity work for localschools. His most recent project was a feeding programme for 850rural school children. Howard has refused to accept the policeversion of the events leading to the shooting. He said hisbrother could not have tried to flee when he had initially andvoluntarily left the car at the roadblock to fetch documentsrequired by the police from Howard's home. In the US on Tuesday,Coltart said: "What has happened in our country is that aculture of impunity has developed where people responsible forgross human rights violations, including the police, for manyyears have never been brought to book." Coltart and threeother unnamed Zimbabwean opposition leaders visited the US aspart of the international "Save Zimbabwe" campaign tomake Americans aware of the growing man-made famine in Zimbabwe,and the need for free and fair elections.During the discussion,Coltart detailed the "reduction in democratic space" inZimbabwe. Coltart reportedly told the audience: "I spoke inParliament just three or four weeks ago about the increasingevidence of police-initiated torture in our country. That has notbeen tackled and I'm afraid that what has happened (in the Gilmancase), whichever side of the story is correct, is the inevitableconsequence of a lawless society. It is the inevitableconsequence of impunity in our society." Coltart said thereshould be a full investigation and those responsible for thekilling prosecuted.
Tourism on the rebound (Harare, The Herald, 14/11) - Thetourism industry that has been in a deep recession afterexperiencing a downturn in business in the past three years isnow picking up. The increase in the inflow of tourists in thecountry has been as a result of marketing strategies employed bytourism players to help restore the industry to its peak levelsof the late 1990s. Victoria Falls, which is the country's primetourist attraction, has reported brisk business from March todate and the trend is likely to spill over into next year,judging by the interest being shown by tourists from as far asAsia. Most players in the industry, who spoke to The Herald, saidthe opening of new non-traditional markets in the Far Eastcountries has contributed to an influx of foreign visitors in thepast few months. The opening up of non-traditional markets was aresult of an aggressive marketing campaign, which saw theGovernment allocating a budget of $276 million towards supportingoverseas offices during the current year. The chief executiveofficer of Rainbow Tourism Group, Mr Herbert Nkala, said thedecline in the sector in the last three years resulted from thenegative publicity the country was receiving owing to theagrarian reform and the March presidential election. Mr Nkala,however, noted with satisfaction the significant improvement inthe tourism industry. He attributed this to the opening up of newmarkets, new support from the domestic market and change ofperception by many tourists who had in the past regarded Zimbabweas an unsafe destination. New tourist markets that have opened upinclude Italy, Japan, Singapore and France. "Facts arestubborn. Despite the negative publicity that the country hasbeen getting, it is still a fact that Zimbabwe is the safestdestination in the world," said Mr Nkala. In its Septemberissue, a tourism magazine, "Gateway" reported thatdespite the negative publicity Zimbabwe has received in the pastmonths, it is still one of the safest tourist destinations in theworld. Mr Nkala also attributed the influx of tourists to SouthAfrican tour operators, who were marketing their country andlinking it up with the Victoria Falls, as part of the package.
This has resulted in some tourists booking their accommodationin Zimbabwe and taking part in other tourist activities afterhaving witnessed the hospitality of Zimbabweans. "I wouldalso want to pay tribute to local operators who are working hardto promote the December 4 solar eclipse and the Miss Malaikabeauty pageant scheduled to take place next month. "In fact,our two hotels in Victoria Falls are fully booked until the endof December, an indication that the tourism industry is indeed onthe road to recovery," he said. A survey conducted by TheHerald in the resort town of Victoria Falls recently revealedthat most lodges, hotels and other facilities that offer touristactivities were fully booked until early January next year. Ahuge increase in tourist traffic in Victoria Falls in the pastfew months has been noted with most visitors coming from the FarEast, Australia, Namibia and Zambia. Most hotels in the resorttown have now re-gained their occupancy rates of between 52 and70 percent with some recording a 100 percent booking especiallyfor the forthcoming festive season. Hotel Mercure generalmanager, Mr Shephard Chinhoyi said business had picked upsubstantially over the past few months. The hotel has reportedbrisk business since June and it is already fully booked for thefestive season and the Miss Malaika show. "Business startedpicking up from June and at the moment our bookings are aboveaverage for the first time in months. "For the first time weare seeing tourists from as far as France who are making bookingswith us. Historically, the country has always had tourists fromEurope, and the number of visitors from these countries hassignificantly gone down" said Mr Chinhoyi. Mr Chinhoyi saidthe sudden turnaround of the fortunes in the tourism industry hasbrought life back into many resorts that were slowly dying owingto inactivity. He also attributed the improved performance to arise in domestic industry, as a significant number of locals arevisiting local resorts for their holidays. Previously, going onholiday was considered a preserve of the white community. MrChinhoyi, however, noted that although notable achievement hasbeen made in the industry, a lot of work has to be done tosustain the progress made to date. "There is need to embarkon an intensive marketing strategy by players in the tourismindustry to promote the industry, not only for immediate gainsbut for the sustainability of the industry in the longterm," he said. The marketing manager of Tourism Services ofZimbabwe, Ms Margaret Chaneta, reiterated the need to intensifymarketing campaigns especially to the new markets, as they areindications that these could turn out to be the nerve centre ofthe industry. "More than 50 percent of tourists who arevisiting the country are coming from new Asia markets such asSingapore, Japan and Taiwan. "There isn't much activity fromour traditional markets in the United Kingdom and other Europeancountries, which have been on the decline in the past twoyears," said Ms Chaneta. The future of the tourism sector inZimbabwe looks bright although much still needs to be done toensure that the lucrative sector remains vibrant.
Government vows to arrest banned citizens if theyreturn (The Daily News, 14/11) - The government warnedyesterday that expatriate Zimbabwean citizens working for privateradio stations who were last week included on a list of peoplebanned from visiting the country, would be arrested once they setfoot in Zimbabwe. In the same vein, the government said it wasclosely monitoring the activities of non-governmentalorganisations (NGOs), which it said were supporting theopposition MDC and the independent Press in trying to unseat thegovernment. Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Patrick Chinamasa,the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, saidZimbabweans who were included on a list would be allowed back,but they would be arrested. Asked what the government would do tobanned Zimbabweans who held only Zimbabwean passports, Chinamasasaid: "They are free to come back, but they will be welcomein our prisons. Those citizens with other foreign passports arenot Zimbabwean citizens because we cannot have these peopledemonising the government every day on the radio. "EveryZimbabwean has a right to be in Zimbabwe and has a right to comeback to this country. It is a right guaranteed by theConstitution, but we cannot allow dual citizenship - our peopletravelling with British and Dutch passports but who engage inacts of broadcasting information that denigrates thecountry." Chinamasa was responding to a question by HarareNorth MP, Trudy Stevenson, on whether it was government policy toban Zimbabwean citizens from visiting the country. Last week, ina retaliatory move following the decision by the European Unionto slap travel bans on the Zanu PF elite, and another decision byBritain to introduce visas for Zimbabweans, the governmentpublished its own list of banned visitors. The list includedBritish Prime Minister Tony Blair and his government ministers,as well as Zimbabweans working for the independent SW RadioAfrica (SWRA), which broadcasts from London, and the Voice of thePeople (VoP), which broadcasts from the Netherlands. The SWRAworkers were named as John Matinde, Gerry Jackson, GeorginaGodwin, Simon Parkinson, Mandisa Mundawarara, Violet Gonda,Tererai Karimakwenda and Graeme Counsel, while Lodewijk Bouwenswas named as being employed by VoP. In another crack-down onNGOs, July Moyo, the Minister of Public Service, Labour andSocial Welfare, told Parliament that Amani Trust was not properlyregistered and its leadership risked being arrested. He said theorganisation had only registered its constitution with the DeedsRegistry Office, but had not regularised its registration inaccordance with the Private Voluntary Organisations Act. Inanother response to a question read on his behalf, the Ministerof State Security, Nicholas Goche, said the government wasmonitoring the activities of NGOs. He said NGOs were used byforeign powers to unseat governments in small countries and toforce a regime change. Goche said most NGOs were disguising theirnefarious activities with semantics such as support for democracyand human rights. He again cited Amani Trust and the WestminsterFoundation for Democracy (WFD) which he said was involved insupporting several projects for the opposition MDC and helpingplan its election strategy. Goche said in 2000, the WFD providedthe MDC with money, which he said was still flowing into theparty's coffers. He also cited the Zimbabwe Democracy Trust andthe Southern Africa Media Development Fund (SAMDEF) . Goche saidwhen The Daily News was facing financial problems, it receivedUS$526 000 (Z$28,93 million) from SAMDEF.
Steep visas, high air fares to stem exodus to UK (TheDaily News, 14/11) - The United Kingdom is still thefavourite relocation destination for Zimbabweans seeking respitefrom the economic hardships at home, despite the introduction ofstringent visa restrictions and a steep rise in air fares.Hundreds of people, desperate to flee economic hardships andgovernment-sanctioned political violence at home, yesterdayjostled for positions in a long-winding queue at the British HighCommission offices in Harare to secure the much-sought-aftervisa. The British High Commission last Thursday announced new UKvisa requirements and fees costing $72 000 for a six-months visain that country. The visa requirement coincided with the increaseof Air Zimbabwe fares to London. Harare-to-London Air Zimbabwefares last Thursday rose from $500 000 to $1,2 million. SophieHoney, the British High Commission spokesperson, yesterday saidit was still too early to comment on the impact of the stringentvisa requirements. Honey said: "It is a bit too early tomake an exact overview of how the announcement of visarequirements has affected immigration trends. "However, wehave noted long queues of people seeking the immigrationdocuments outside our offices." The British government lastweek introduced visa endorsements for Zimbabweans visiting the UKin an effort to stem the flood of economic refugees and asylumseekers to the UK. The move was also expected to bring respite tothe Registrar-General's Office, which was failing to cope withthe long queues of Zimbabweans applying for passports so theycould leave the country and seek economic refuge elsewhere.According to reports in the British Press, an estimated 150Zimbabweans leave the country every week to settle or seekemployment in the UK. Most of the people gathered outside theBritish High Commission offices yesterday said they were notdeterred by the restrictive visa requirements and steep air faresbecause they were prepared to pay through the nose just to getaway from the depressing economic environment in Zimbabwe.Nomathemba Sibanda said she was being forced to leave the countrybecause of unemployment. She said: "I am a universitygraduate who can't seem to get a job anywhere besides possessingadequate qualifications for my chosen profession. "I willpay anything possible as long as I get to leave the country andsettle in a better environment. "It is such a sad scenario,but there is no choice for most of us but to seek greenerpastures elsewhere and in my case, the United Kingdom is mychosen destination." Zimbabwe's unemployment level is peggedat 70 percent.Alfred Mapedzauswa, who was also queueing for avisa, said the introduction of the high fees were not a deterrentat all. Mapedzauswa said: "Though the visas are expensive,they will also save Zimbabweans from being harassed by Britishimmigration officials."
'Great Trek' deprives Zimbabwe of skills (FinancialGazette, 14/11) - Zimbabwe's skills base is shrinkingfast in the face of an exodus of hundreds of its nationals wholeave the country every week to look for better workingconditions. Business analysts now fear that the Great Trek willhamper future economic recovery. The exodus, mostly to the Westand to South Africa and Botswana, has dealt a blow to efforts byboth the government and the private sector which sunk in billionsof dollars in new skills training for most of the departingZimbabweans. Figures obtained this week from the CentralStatistical Office (CSO), a government agency, show that 2 559skilled people officially left Zimbabwe between January and Junethis year compared to 6 739 during the whole of last year. Butemployers and business analysts dispute the official figures,saying they are not a true reflection of the real situation onthe ground. They note that thousands of Zimbabweans have streamedout of the country unofficially, especially into southern Africa,while others have left on the pretext of going on holiday butnever return. According to the CSO, 539 075 locals went abroadlast year compared to 374 994 in 2000 and analysts say a sizeablenumber of these people did not return home. EmployersConfederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) executive director JohnMufukare said the country's deepening economic and politicalcrisis was the major force fuelling the brain drain, a viewshared by independent economist John Robertson. Mufukare saidalthough it was difficult to quantify the brain drain in terms ofloses to the economy, Zimbabwe's human resource base wasshrinking at an alarming rate. He pointed out that there was highdemand both regionally and internationally for Zimbabwe's skilledhuman resources. He said employers could do little to keepskilled personnel when the salaries of workers was behindinflation, which surged to a record 139.9 percent high inSeptember and is forecast by the World Bank to hit the 500percent mark next year. "The figures (of the departingZimbabweans) are a barometer of the performance of theeconomy," Mufukare noted. "But you should know thatthese are official figures and the unofficial ones are muchhigher." Economist Witness Chinyama said Zimbabwe was now atraining ground for staff who were internationally marketable.The CSO figures show that up to June this year, 955 Zimbabweansemigrated to Botswana, 532 to the United Kingdom, 324 to SouthAfrica and 114 to New Zealand. Last year 2 953 locals officiallyemigrated to Botswana, 664 to South Africa, 315 to the UnitedStates, 1 221 to the United Kingdom and 150 to Australia. Only752 people immigrated to Zimbabwe in 2001.
Zimbabweans who emigrated were employed inthe technical, professional, administrative andproduction-related jobs. While the health sector has been thehardest hit by brain drain, the private sector has not beenspared. Chinyama said billions of dollars invested in humanresources training were going to waste, adding that Zimbabwe'seconomic reconstruction would be difficult with many of itsskilled people leaving the country. "What Zimbabwe is losingis human capital because those who have left are professionalsand skilled people," he said. "Labour is an importantfactor of production, and with all this brain drain things arenot looking good for the economy." Emcoz's Mufukare saiduntil the government reined in runaway inflation, there waslittle the country could do to stop the brain drain. He saidinflation, a result of shortages of hard cash on the officialmarket and the printing of money by the country's central bank,was a monster that had to be contained before any meaningfuleconomic recovery plan could be implemented. An official atinternational courier service Federal Express, now handling visaapplications of all prospective travellers to Britain, said thecompany had been inundated by thousands of applications since theoperation started last Saturday. It is believed that more than 3000 Zimbabweans who entered Britain last year alone did notreturn to Zimbabwe, with most of them claiming to be attendingschools there. Robertson said with the local currency in a tailspin, working abroad had become more attractive because exiledZimbabweans repatriated their hard cash to trade it on thethriving parallel market. Zimbabwe has been in political turmoilsince February 2000 when the country's opposition parties andcivic groups ganged up to reject a state-sponsored constitution,a development that was quickly followed by the invasion ofcommercial farms. Hundreds of farmers have also emigrated toAustralia, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola, fleeing violence ontheir farms by militant supporters of the ruling ZANU PF partywho took over the properties in the name of land hunger."People are no longer certain of their future,"Robertson said. "If they get jobs outside Zimbabwe, theywill jump on to such opportunities. Each day that passes, we arelosing skilled manpower."
Plans to open more border posts(Harare, The Herald, 12/11) - The Zimbabwe RevenueAuthority (Zimra) is working on plans to open three new borderposts to ease congestion at the current points of entry. Zimracommissioner-general Mr Gershem Pasi said the opening of theborder posts was in keeping with the authority's desire to beefficient in the discharge of its mandate. "We place muchvalue in our stakeholders and as such we are creating aclient-oriented organisation. "It is our purpose to embraceonly the best practices in the provision of our services by,among other things, opening up new border posts at Mphoengs,Maitengwe and Mukumbura," he said. Mphoengs and Maitengweare located in the south-western region of the country. They areboth 100 kilometres east and west of Plumtree, respectively. Thetwo posts will provide additional gateways to Botswana, as thePlumtree border post already services traffic between the twonations. Botswana is now one of Zimbabwe's biggest tradingpartners, justifying the need to increase capacity to handleever-increasing volumes of goods and traffic. The third postwould be located at Mukumbura to the north of the country. Thisentry point will facilitate traffic of goods and services toMozambique and Malawi. Indications are that the first of thethree entry points could be operational after the first quarterof next year. Zimbabwe currently has border posts at Beitbridgeon the border with South Africa, Plumtree, Nyamapanda, VictoriaFalls, Kariba, Chirundu, Kanyemba and Forbes in Manicaland. Thecollection of revenue is set to become more efficient with theopening of additional border posts. In the first half of theyear, customs revenue under-performed by 50 percent, partly dueto smuggling of goods from and into the country in light of thepersistent food and allied product shortages currently beingexperienced. Mr Pasi acknowledged that the authority still hassome inefficient officers despite huge investments put intraining and equipping customs officers who man the borders."I urge all to be our partners in our endeavour to eradicatesmuggling and corruption. "We realise as an organisationthat there are still some bad apples among us and we needco-operation to weed out this cancerous habit," he said.Zimra is in the process of setting up toll-free hotlines to aidwhistle blowers report corrupt revenue officials.
Blair should rethink on visas: commentary (ZimbabweStandard, 10/11) - For those of us who cherish people topeople ties between Zimbabwe and Britain, current developments inthe stand-off between the two countries are particularly painful.The new policy requiring ordinary Zimbabweans to fork out $72 000for a visa on top of the prohibitively expensive airfare of morethan one million Zimkwachas is extremely harsh. Worse still isthe equally prohibitive cost of a $54 000 visa for merely passingthrough the United Kingdom on the way to a third country. Inmaking the policy change, British Home Secretary, David Blunkett,said: "I have decided to bring in a visa programme forZimbabwe to deal with what is a very significant abuse of ourimmigration controls by Zimbabwean nationals-large numbers arerefused entry to the UK and returned, others are grantedshort-term entry, many as visitors, but fail to return home. Inaddition, the UK has experienced increasingly large numbers ofunfounded asylum claims from Zimbabwean nationals." OrdinaryZimbabweans are deeply grieved. It is most regrettable that thepeople of Zimbabwe now have to suffer the consequences of ZanuPF's misrule. There is no doubt in anybody's mind that PresidentMugabe and his government are 100% to blame for the increasingnumber of economic refugees fleeing to other countries,particularly the UK. We are witnessing the indifference of thegoverning elite to the feelings of the governed. We canplaintively ask the Zanu PF regime: What the bloody hell do youthink you are doing to your own people? But having placed theproblem where it rightly belongs, the key point to be made isthat the United Kingdom cannot escape responsibility for poorZimbabweans. Whilst the reasons given by the British authoritiesto institute a visa regime on Zimbabwe may appear outwardlyreasonable in that Britain is trying to protect its nationalinterests, the inescapable point is that the British have aresponsibility to come to the aid of the ordinary people ofZimbabwe who have become victims of a regime whose policies haveresulted in the destruction of a once fairly strong, vibrant andpromising economy. The people of Zimbabwe should be aware thatthe imposition of a strict entry visa regime is not new. Theywill recall that the South African government has imposed similarstrict requirements to stem the tide of economic refugees as theeconomy of Zimbabwe continues to decline. It is likely that othercountries affected by the potential influx of Zimbabweans seekingeconomic and political asylum may follow suit.
We say Britain has a responsibility towardsZimbabwe because there has always been people to peoplecommunication between Zimbabwe and the UK for historical,educational and cultural reasons. This is the bottom line. Nevermind the intense hostility between Robert Mugabe and Tony Blair,particularly the overheated rhetoric of the former towards thelatter. "Tony Blair, keep your England and I will keep myZimbabwe" which has absolutely no place in the people topeople ties that have been going on between Zimbabwe and Britainsince time immemorial. In any event, countries are never theprivate properties of individuals, of mere mortals. It is not forthe sake of it that Zimbabweans try to seek refuge in Britain.Zimbabweans feel much more comfortable seeking refuge in Britainbecause of their language and education which is modelled on theBritish system. Most of the things here have their roots inBritain. Zimbabweans and the British have and always will bejoined together-for good or ill-by history and culture. Smartsanctions by the EU, the USA and other countries have beentargeted at the Zanu PF leadership in the hope that the regimemay change course for the benefit of the people of Zimbabwe. Itis not right that ordinary Zimbabweans are made to pay for thesins of their leaders. In our present predicament, we need thegoodwill and understanding of our friends worldwide, particularlyBritain. Zimbabwe needs the international community much morethan the world needs Zimbabwe. It is therefore laughable for theMugabe regime to try to impose retaliatory sanctions on Britain.Even more daft is the requirement for the British passportholders to apply for visas to enter Zimbabwe. What this will doto our tourism industry is too ghastly to contemplate. The lessonmust not be lost that British Airways is the only remainingforeign airline flying into Zimbabwe and introducing a visaregime will definitely have a negative impact on tourist arrivalsinto the country, with terrible implications on forex inflows.The government's move to retaliate is bound to hurt ordinaryZimbabweans much more than the fat cats in government. The pointmust also be made that members of the British government do nothave as much need to come to Zimbabwe as Zanu PF leaders have.The frequency with which President Mugabe and cabinet ministersused to visit and transit UK is quite legendary-for meetings,shopping and simply relaxing 'in the mother country'. Theevidence is clearly there.
No useful purpose will be served bymeaningless tit-for tat to and the feeling that 'we have alsodone something'.Only diseased regimes feel this way. Not tomention the madness of declaring war on your own citizens justbecause they happen to work for foreign-based radio stations youdisagree with. In closing, we would want to reiterate that thevisa regime which has been introduced by the British governmentis rather insensitive. We would therefore like to appeal throughthe good offices of the British High Commissioner, BrianDonnelly, for a rethink on the part of the British authoritieseither to reverse or relax the conditions of the visa programme.In making this appeal, we are fully cognisant of the fact that itis incumbent on the present government to come up with a cleareconomic and political blueprint to reverse the ruinous coursethat it has set the country on. In our view, such a blueprintwould only work in a socio-economic environment characterised bygood governance, democracy, observance of the rule of law,correct macro-economic fundamentals which will lead to thecountry's acceptance by the international community andconfidence in Zimbabwe as an investment destination
Visa requirements a blessing in disguise: commentary(Harare, The Herald, 09/11) - The imposition of visarequirements for Zimbabweans intending to travel to the UnitedKingdom could prove to be a blessing in disguise both politicallyand economically. For the first time, the British government hasadmitted that the majority of these travellers were fakepolitical asylum seekers but had chosen to keep quiet since itfitted well into its campaign to depict the situation in Zimbabweas dire. Now that the international campaign to demonise andremove President Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF Government frompower has failed dismally, the British are now trying to closethe floodgates. For the past two years or so, the British havefound it convenient to turn a blind eye to the hordes ofZimbabweans who were flooding in daily to take up the cheap andmenial jobs that no British person wants. Unemployed Britishnationals would rather go on the dole than earn sub-standardwages doing back-bending and generally low down work. Only a foolwould believe that the British have only just found out that thebulk of Zimbabweans entering London were fake asylum seekers.They were willing to tolerate this as long as it fitted into thebig picture of their scheme of things, the portrayal of anoppressed people fleeing a repressive government and a collapsingeconomy. Of course, as things worked out, the Zimbabweans alsoprovided a cheap source of labour for Britain's nursing homes.And so there was no real harm in letting them in as no taxpayer's money was being spent on their upkeep. They were anecessary inconvenience, serving a purpose. It is an indisputablefact that most Zimbabweans in the UK are working almost as slavelabour, oftentimes sleeping on the train en route from one job toanother in order to raise enough money for food and rent as wellas a little extra to send back home. They toil night and day forpittance in the hope that the little they earn will multiply onthe black market back home. Those who have been to London willtestify to the sorry state that most Zimbabweans are livingunder. Some have become such nervous wrecks, owing to lack ofproper rest and the cruel working conditions, which often entailcleaning old helpless Britons or invalids who treat them withscorn. Despite living in the glitter of one of the world'srichest capitals, they have no real experience of the worldfamous London, theatres, chic boutiques, restaurants and thethings that make the British capital famous. The truth of thematter is that the quality of life they endure in London is worsethan the so-called poverty they are running away from at home butare courageously soldiering on to better their lives when theycome back to Zimbabwe. Unfortunately, instead of bolstering theZimbabwean economy with their foreign currency earnings, they areinadvertently fuelling the black market and inflation. Most ofthat money is not finding its way into the system where it couldassist with vital imports such as fuel, power, industrial inputsand so on but is being banked in London by forex dealers who thenpay the Zimbabwe dollar equivalent at the black market rate tothe expectant relatives back home. All of a sudden, the countryfinds itself awash with Zimbabwe dollars that no one can properlyaccount for because the economy is not performing so well. Thisis the money that is going into housing, expensive vehicles andother luxuries resulting in a mismatch between the state of theeconomy and the amount of money circulating in private hands.Consequently, inflation continues to shoot up as too much moneychases too few goods while property and equity markets havetotally gone haywire. The visa restrictions will ensure that thelittle foreign currency in the country will not be taken out ofour coffers, given the rate at which people were going to Londonwith almost everyone carrying the minimum of £300 required byBritish immigration. That saving of more than £1 million a weekwill come in handy for the more productive sectors and the socialneeds of Zimbabwe. So, for once, the British have actually doneus a good turn albeit unintentionally.
Zimbabwe bans Blair, top UK officials from entry(Harare, Dispatch Online 09/11) - Zimbabwe has bannedBritish Prime Minister Tony Blair and scores of his top officialsfrom entry. It has also imposed visa requirements on Britishcitizens in retaliation for European sanctions, state radioreported yesterday. Britain announced on Thursday that mostZimbabweans will need a visa to enter that country. This seemedto signify a change of policy aimed at reducing the number ofZimbabweans violating British immigration rules. The move comesmonths after the EU placed a travel ban on all Zimbabwean Cabinetministers and top ruling party officials after March presidentialelections that many independent observers condemned as badlyflawed. The sanctions have infuriated Zimbabwean officials.President Robert Mugabe has been prevented from leaving Europeanairports while travelling to UN meetings in New York andelsewhere, for which he only has UN travel status. State radiosaid yesterday that Zimbabwe was retaliating for the sanctions bybanning 119 of its critics abroad from travelling here. The listincluded Blair, about 90 British government ministers andofficials, some members of the European Parliament and leaders ofexternal pro-democracy pressure groups. Former Australian PrimeMinister Gareth Evans and his American deputy, John Prendergast,of the International Crisis Group were also listed in theannouncement. Prendergast was turned away at the Harare airportearlier this year after his group issued a series of reportscritical of Mugabe's dictatorial rule and the government'seconomic mismanagement, including the seizure of white-ownedfarms. Nine broadcasters were also banned from the country. Thebroadcasters, most of them Zimbabwean nationals, work for radiostations beaming to Africa what the government calls"anti-Zimbabwe propaganda" from Europe on short-wavetransmissions. When Britain announced its visa restrictions onZimbabweans, officials said that in the first half of 2002, about400 Zimbabweans disappeared in Britain after being grantedtemporary admission. And "increasingly large" numbersof unfounded asylum claims were being received from Zimbabweans.At least 6,7 million Zimbabweans -- more than half the population-- face starvation and the country has been wracked by more thantwo years of political and economic turmoil widely blamed on theruling party. *The EU has rejected Zimbabwe's demand for Europeand Britain to compensate white farmers evicted from their farmsunder Zimbabwe's contentious land reform programme. "That isnow unacceptable, these reforms were conducted with minimumrespect for the rule of law," Danish Minister for EuropeanAffairs Berterl Haarder said on Thursday. Haarder's comments cameafter the first day of a two-day meeting between top EUgovernment officials and their counterparts from the 14-memberSouthern Africa Development Community (SADC) in the Mozambiquecapital. He said a normalisation of relations between Zimbabweand the EU could not be expected soon, but everything would bedone to ensure the continuation of dialogue.
Zimbabwe imposes visa restrictions on Britishnationals (Harare, The Herald, 08/11) - Zimbabweyesterday imposed retaliatory sanctions against Britain whileLondon introduced visas for Zimbabweans travelling to the UnitedKingdom in response to the growing number of people entering thecountry on unfounded claims of political asylum. In a statement,the Government said the decision to impose the sanctions wastaken to safeguard the country's sovereignty, secure its nationalinterests, peace and stability. The sanctions are with immediateeffect. The Government will also freeze with immediate effect,all local assets associated with or traceable to the listedpersons. In addition, the Government downgraded the UnitedKingdom from category "A" to category "B" ofits visa regime with effect from today. "This means allpersons travelling to Zimbabwe on British passports will requirevisas either in advance through Zimbabwe's diplomatic missions orat the port of entry," the Government said in the statement.A total of 23 members of the British Cabinet including PrimeMinister Tony Blair and his deputy Mr John Prescott are nowbanned from travelling to Zimbabwe. At least 70 junior ministersand heads of government departments cannot also enter Zimbabwe.Members of Britain's opposition Conservative shadow cabinet andleaders of other opposition parties have also been slapped withtravel restrictions. Others affected by the sanctions are membersof organisations that have been campaigning for the isolation ofZimbabwe and those which Britain has been using as conduits tofund the opposition MDC. Five patrons of the Zimbabwe DemocraticTrust (ZDT) - Sir John Collins, Lord Hurd, Lord Steel of Aikwood,Lord Taylor and Malcolm Rifkind have been banned from visitingZimbabwe. Three members of the board of governors of theWestminster Fund for Democracy - MP Ernie Ross, MP Michael Mooreand MP Michael Trend have also been slapped with the sanctions.The ZDT and the Westminster Foundation are two of theorganisations that Britain has been using to fund the MDC. Sevenmembers of the European Parliament Parties - Chris Pattern, JohnCorrie, Nirj Deva, Jacqueline Foster, Glenys Kinnock, Neil Parishand Geoffrey Van Orden - are also banned from travelling toZimbabwe.
Nine workers of two radio stations SW Radio Africa and Voiceof the People, which have been broadcasting propaganda againstZimbabwe, have also been slapped with the travel restrictions.Among the nine are Zimbabweans and former ZBC radio andtelevision personalities John Matinde, Gerry Jackson, GeorginaGodwin, Simon Parkinson, Mandisa Mundawarara, Violet Gonda andTererai Karimakwenda who are all with SW Radio Africa. GraemeCounsel completes the list of the station's workers banned fromentering Zimbabwe while Lodewijk Bouwens of Voice of the Peopleis also restricted from visiting the country. Britain, otherEuropean Union members, the United States, New Zealand andrecently Australia, have imposed travel sanctions on seniorGovernment and Zanu-PF officials as well as businessmen andbankers. On the other hand, Britain announced yesterday thatZimbabweans intending to travel to the UK are now required tohave visas. London also admitted for the first time that a lot ofZimbabweans were entering the UK after making unfounded claimsfor political asylum. "It (the visa requirement) is aresponse to the large and growing number of Zimbabweans seekingto enter the UK contrary to immigration rules, failing to returnat the end of visits or making unfounded claims for politicalasylum," reads a letter by the British High Commission tothe Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Zimbabweans wishing to enterinto the United Kingdom would now have to fork out an extra $72000 for a six month visa from tomorrow. British High Commissionerto Zimbabwe, Mr Brian Donnelly, told journalists at a pressconference that even those on transit would have to buy a directtransit visa at $54 000. There were no visa requirements forZimbabweans who entered the UK in the past. But even having avisa is not a guarantee for one to have their way into the UKsince the final say rests with the immigration officers at thecountry's entry points. Mr Donnelly said the move wasnecessitated by the increasing number of Zimbabweans who werebeing turned away at British airports. "We want to make lifeas easy as possible for genuine Zimbabwean visitors," saidMr Donnelly. "But the final arbitrator will be theimmigration officer so the visa is not a guarantee."
But Mr Donnelly struggled to explain why a transit visa wasneeded if one proved that they possessed all the documentsrequired by the country they were visiting. Mr Donnelly saidthere was nothing sinister on the visa requirements since peoplefrom other African nations also required visas to visit the UK.Mr Donnelly said genuine visitors would be those who had means tosustain themselves while in the UK without seeking employment andcould afford the airline ticket. The British used the blackmarket rate to come up with the visa fees since the internationalvisa fee for those entering in the UK is at 36 pounds. Theofficial rate for the British pound is at $88, which means thevisa should have been pegged at $3 168 if the official rate wasused. But the British used the rate of one pound to $2 000 tocome up with the visa fees. The visa requirement was earlierannounced by the British Home Secretary, Mr David Blunkett in theUK. The application for the visas would be lodged with FedEx thatwould take them to the British High Commission for processing."There is no need to visit the High Commission inperson," said Mr Donnelly. "Straight forwardapplications will be dealt with within seven days." "Ifthere is a query, you will be invited for an interview at theHigh Commission. FedEx will deliver your passport with a visa toyour home address if your application has been successful."Mr Donnelly said those who did not require a visa to UK includedthose who were legally settled in there and have been away forless than two years. Those previously granted leave to enter orremain in the UK for a period of more than six months and whowere returning for the same purpose before that period expiredwere also not required to have the visa. This also applied tothose who had a certificate of entitlement to the right of abodein the UK. Those who had already made arrangements to visit theUK were granted a two-week grace period. Mr Donnelly said atleast 60 000 Zimbabweans visited the UK last year, with 2 115being asylum seekers and only 115 being granted asylum. He saidat least 852 Zimbabweans were turned away from the UK in thefirst three months of this year. A return ticket to London nowcosts more than $1 million and it would be difficult for ordinaryZimbabweans intending to visit the UK to raise the extra moneyfor the visa. But Mr Donnelly said the fact that those peoplecould afford the expensive airline ticket meant they could alsoafford the visa.
Starving citizens resort to desperate cross-bordermeasures (Johannesburg, Business Day, 08/11) - Carryingheavy bags of maize-meal on their heads and clutching paper bags,a long line of people stretches across the New Limpopo Bridgefrom the SA border towards Zimbabwe. As they approach the customspost, about 100 men and women of all ages suddenly bolt from themain road through holes in the security fence and rushhelterskelter into the bush. At Beitbridge customs, people lookstunned and begin to whistle, prompting those who have gonethrough the fence to increase their pace. Packages are dropped;touts at the border post join the fray, rushing to grab the itemsleft behind. As the scene gets more chaotic, the police stand byand watch the drama unfold. These events were observed lastweekend, but similar scenes are playing themselves out on a dailybasis here at Beitbridge border post the busiest port of entry insub-Saharan Africa where thousands of Zimbabweans are smugglingfood into their own country to avoid starvation. Apart from maizemeal, they also squeeze in with sugar, salt, beans, milk, cookingoil and even bread. Some people crossing the bridge say shortagesand hunger have forced them to visit Messina, 12km away fromBeitbridge, to buy food. "There is nothing in ourshops," one person says. "The reason why we go throughthe fence and not customs is that custom officials only allow ustwo bags of maize-meal when we need much more than that."Armed police at the openings through which most people evadecustoms say they cannot stop the human flow. "What can Ido?" asks one officer. "Do you want me to arrest themso that their families can starve? There is hunger in Zimbabweand these people are just trying to survive." While mostpeople in Zimbabwe's big cities are getting used to having to dowith substitutes, those near border posts such as Beitbridge,Victoria Falls, Chirundu, Mutare, and Plumtree resort toimporting staples from neighbouring countries. Zimbabwe isgripped by an unprecedented food crisis. According to the WorldFood Programme, about 6-million people nearly half the country'spopulation are facing starvation. The food crisis has beenattributed to drought and the effects of Harare's land reforms onagricultural production. The crisis is expected to sharpen in thenext few months as food supplies dry up. Donor groups such asChristian Care have warned that government's policies arehindering them from bringing in and distributing food freely tothe needy. British organisations such as Oxfam have been bannedfrom distributing food aid as the Zimbabwean government chargesthem with trying to influence domestic politics through fooddistribution. For its part, government is unable to importsufficient grain due to a lack of foreign currency. Meanwhile,the private sector is not allowed to import grain. According togovernment regulations passed last year in the face of loomingfood shortages, the state marketing board is the only entityauthorised to import grain. US ambassador to United Nations (UN)food agencies, Tony Hall, warned recently it could soon be toolate to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe. "Zimbabweis headed for famine and people will die," he said."I'm not sure we can stop it." The programme says it isbattling to expand its food relief activities to preventspreading starvation. A spokesman for the food programme, LuisClemens, says the UN relief agency is stepping up efforts tocover those areas where the food shortages are worsening rapidly."We are working flat out to prevent famine," he says."By the end of the month we should have moved from 20 to 28districts. We are trying to feed everyone who is hungry and wewant to reach about 3,9-million people by March or April nextyear," says Clemens. Zimbabwe is just one of the countriesin the region experiencing severe food shortages. The food agencysays that more than 13-million people in southern Africa facestarvation.
UK tries to stop entry of Zimbabweans (The Daily News,08/11) - In a move certain to dash the hopes ofthousands of Zimbabweans seeking economic refuge in the UnitedKingdom, the British High Commission in Harare yesterdayannounced that Zimbabwean nationals visiting the UK will nowrequire a visa. Previously, Zimbabweans did not need such anendorsement on their passports. An estimated 300 Zimbabweans,fleeing an economic meltdown in their motherland andgovernment-sanctioned political violence, seek asylum in Britainevery two weeks. In June, British Press reports cited Zimbabwe asamong the countries with the highest number of refugees seekingasylum in the UK during the first three months of this year.Zimbabwe became the third largest source of people seeking refugein the UK - behind Iraq and Afghanistan. Under the newarrangement, which comes into effect tomorrow, Zimbabweans willhave to fork out $72 000 for a visa, apart from the prohibitiveairfare of more than $500 000 to London. Zimbabweans wishing totransit through the UK to and from a third country will alsorequire a visa. "The current fee for a standard visitor'svisa, allowing entry into the UK for up to six months, is $72000. A direct transit visa currently costs $54 000," theHigh Commission announced. The visa applications will be handledby a special operator, FedEx, which has offices in Harare,Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and Victoria Falls. Last night, theBritish envoy to Zimbabwe, Brian Donnelly, denied the newmeasures were part of the stand-off between his country andZimbabwe. He said the new visa requirements were intended toreduce the rising number of Zimbabweans seeking asylum in the UK.Donnelly said in 2001 only 115 were granted political asylum outof 2 115 applicants. He disclosed that 2 800 Zimbabweans hadsought asylum in the first six months of this year. The BritishHome Secretary, David Blunkett, was quoted as saying the newmeasures are in line with a new policy to overhaul the Britishimmigration and asylum system. "I have decided to bring in avisa programme for Zimbabwe to deal with what is a verysignificant abuse of our immigration control by Zimbabweannationals. Large numbers are refused entry into the UK andreturned, others are granted short-term entry, many as visitors,but fail to return home," he said. "In addition, the UKhas experienced increasingly large numbers of unfounded asylumclaims from Zimbabwean nationals. "We have put in placespecial arrangements to help those who already have a confirmedticket to travel to or via the UK, and can show that it waspurchased on or before 7 November 2002." Exempted from visasare those who are due to arrive in the UK on a direct flight or adirect transfer flight via Johannesburg before midnight on Fridaynext week. Those who are due to transit the UK before midnight onFriday are also exempted. Also exempted from visas are Zimbabweanpassport-holders who are legally settled in the UK, those withcertificates of entitlement to the right of abode and those whohave previously been granted leave to enter or remain in the UKfor a period of more than six months but are returning beforethat period has expired. The High Commission said straightforwardapplications would be dealt with within seven working days andthat all those with queries would be invited for interviews attheir offices in Harare. "FedEx will deliver your passport,with a visa if your application has been successful, to your homeaddress," the High Commission said. n In an apparentretaliatory move, ZBC announced last night that the Zimbabweangovernment had imposed a travel ban on 119 people, includingBritish Prime Minister Tony Blair and Zimbabweans working for SWRadio Africa, which broadcasts from London. ZBC added thatBritain had been downgraded, in terms of visa requirements, fromcategory A to B. This means British passport holders will now berequired to apply for visas to enter Zimbabwe.
Victoria Falls braces for solar eclipse tourist boom(The Daily News, 07/11) - Victoria Falls has requestedsecurity and immigration authorities to step up security for thehuge number of tourists expected in the resort town on 4 Decemberfor the solar eclipse and the Miss Malaika pageant, scheduledthree days later. It was, however, not immediately clear whetherthe gala would be held in Victoria Falls. There have beenconflicting reports that the organisers may opt for a dualbroadcast link between the Victoria Falls and Harare, with thefinals being held at the Harare International Conference Centre.Victoria Falls, with a population of 60 000 directly orindirectly employed in the tourism industry, was one of thefastest growing towns in the country. Unfortunately, crime wasdeveloping at a similar pace, hence the need to beef up securityduring the two major events. Tom Chuma, the chairman of theZimbabwe Council for Tourism sub-committee in Victoria Falls,said there had been an increase in the harassment of tourists byvendors, illegal foreign currency dealers and blind beggars. Hesaid there had been a few reported cases of armed robberyinvolving tourists and tour operators. "We have engaged thepolice and the Immigration Department to assist us in this regardbecause of the increase in crime levels and to alleviateharassment of tourists by foreign currency dealers," saidChuma. Chuma said the tourists were annoyed by mobs of peopletrying to buy foreign currency from them, and by youths selling avariety of wares. Chuma said there was an urgent need for theestablishment of the long-talked-about tourist police to curbrising crime in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe's premier touristdestination. In an effort to fight crime the business communityin Victoria Falls was paying for security guards and fundingneighbourhood watch committees. He said hotels had experiencedlow room occupancy since the beginning of the year, as a resultof political violence which had plagued the country sinceFebruary 2000. In 1999, Victoria Falls hotels and lodges had anaverage of only about 58 percent room occupancy. That went downto 35 percent in 2000, 37 percent in 2001, and 34 percent in2002. "This year's low occupancy rate could be attributed tothe violence preceding the March presidential election and thepolitical uncertainty of the following months," Chuma said.He said there was now guarded optimism that the town wouldrecover its lost lustre. At Plumtree, solar eclipse preparationsstarted slowly due to lack of resources. Plumtree, Maphisa andVictoria Falls are the places where a full eclipse was expectedto occur. The Plumtree rural district council said it washard-pressed to raise about $10 million for the successfulhosting of this event as thousands of tourists were expected inthe area in December. David Luthe, the Plumtree district councilchief executive officer, said they had already spent about $1,2million on solar lenses and printing promotional material."We are in the process of constructing public toilets at anumber of sites, and each was expected to cost $2,3 million. Weare also upgrading public car parks. But you must appreciate thatwe do not have enough funds for all the projects we would like toundertake," said Luthe. He said the council was not veryconcerned about the presence of foreign illegal currency tradersin the border town. Luthe said the eclipse was an opportunity forthe resort town to make money. Schools in the district areputting together packages offering accommodation, food, and insome cases, entertainment.The community near Mhlanga Dam isdesigning and creating a permanent camp site near the dam for thetourists.
UK imposes visa requirements on Zimbabweans (London,News24, 07/11) - Zimbabwe yesterday imposed retaliatorysanctions against Britain while London introduced visas forZimbabweans travelling to the United Kingdom in response to thegrowing number of people entering the country on unfounded claimsof political asylum. In a statement, the Government said thedecision to impose the sanctions was taken to safeguard thecountry's sovereignty, secure its national interests, peace andstability. The sanctions are with immediate effect. TheGovernment will also freeze with immediate effect, all localassets associated with or traceable to the listed persons. Inaddition, the Government downgraded the United Kingdom fromcategory "A" to category "B" of its visaregime with effect from today. "This means all personstravelling to Zimbabwe on British passports will require visaseither in advance through Zimbabwe's diplomatic missions or atthe port of entry," the Government said in the statement. Atotal of 23 members of the British Cabinet including PrimeMinister Tony Blair and his deputy Mr John Prescott are nowbanned from travelling to Zimbabwe. At least 70 junior ministersand heads of government departments cannot also enter Zimbabwe.Members of Britain's opposition Conservative shadow cabinet andleaders of other opposition parties have also been slapped withtravel restrictions. Others affected by the sanctions are membersof organisations that have been campaigning for the isolation ofZimbabwe and those which Britain has been using as conduits tofund the opposition MDC. Five patrons of the Zimbabwe DemocraticTrust (ZDT) - Sir John Collins, Lord Hurd, Lord Steel of Aikwood,Lord Taylor and Malcolm Rifkind have been banned from visitingZimbabwe. Three members of the board of governors of theWestminster Fund for Democracy - MP Ernie Ross, MP Michael Mooreand MP Michael Trend have also been slapped with the sanctions.The ZDT and the Westminster Foundation are two of theorganisations that Britain has been using to fund the MDC. Sevenmembers of the European Parliament Parties - Chris Pattern, JohnCorrie, Nirj Deva, Jacqueline Foster, Glenys Kinnock, Neil Parishand Geoffrey Van Orden - are also banned from travelling toZimbabwe. Nine workers of two radio stations SW Radio Africa andVoice of the People, which have been broadcasting propagandaagainst Zimbabwe, have also been slapped with the travelrestrictions. Among the nine are Zimbabweans and former ZBC radioand television personalities John Matinde, Gerry Jackson,Georgina Godwin, Simon Parkinson, Mandisa Mundawarara, VioletGonda and Tererai Karimakwenda who are all with SW Radio Africa.Graeme Counsel completes the list of the station's workers bannedfrom entering Zimbabwe while Lodewijk Bouwens of Voice of thePeople is also restricted from visiting the country.
Britain, other European Union members, theUnited States, New Zealand and recently Australia, have imposedtravel sanctions on senior Government and Zanu-PF officials aswell as businessmen and bankers. On the other hand, Britainannounced yesterday that Zimbabweans intending to travel to theUK are now required to have visas. London also admitted for thefirst time that a lot of Zimbabweans were entering the UK aftermaking unfounded claims for political asylum. "It (the visarequirement) is a response to the large and growing number ofZimbabweans seeking to enter the UK contrary to immigrationrules, failing to return at the end of visits or making unfoundedclaims for political asylum," reads a letter by the BritishHigh Commission to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Zimbabweanswishing to enter into the United Kingdom would now have to forkout an extra $72 000 for a six month visa from tomorrow. BritishHigh Commissioner to Zimbabwe, Mr Brian Donnelly, toldjournalists at a press conference that even those on transitwould have to buy a direct transit visa at $54 000. There were novisa requirements for Zimbabweans who entered the UK in the past.But even having a visa is not a guarantee for one to have theirway into the UK since the final say rests with the immigrationofficers at the country's entry points. Mr Donnelly said the movewas necessitated by the increasing number of Zimbabweans who werebeing turned away at British airports. "We want to make lifeas easy as possible for genuine Zimbabwean visitors," saidMr Donnelly. "But the final arbitrator will be theimmigration officer so the visa is not a guarantee." But MrDonnelly struggled to explain why a transit visa was needed ifone proved that they possessed all the documents required by thecountry they were visiting. Mr Donnelly said there was nothingsinister on the visa requirements since people from other Africannations also required visas to visit the UK. Mr Donnelly saidgenuine visitors would be those who had means to sustainthemselves while in the UK without seeking employment and couldafford the airline ticket. The British used the black market rateto come up with the visa fees since the international visa feefor those entering in the UK is at 36 pounds. The official ratefor the British pound is at $88, which means the visa should havebeen pegged at $3 168 if the official rate was used. But theBritish used the rate of one pound to $2 000 to come up with thevisa fees. The visa requirement was earlier announced by theBritish Home Secretary, Mr David Blunkett in the UK. Theapplication for the visas would be lodged with FedEx that wouldtake them to the British High Commission for processing."There is no need to visit the High Commission inperson," said Mr Donnelly. "Straight forwardapplications will be dealt with within seven days."
"If there is a query, you will beinvited for an interview at the High Commission. FedEx willdeliver your passport with a visa to your home address if yourapplication has been successful." Mr Donnelly said those whodid not require a visa to UK included those who were legallysettled in there and have been away for less than two years.Those previously granted leave to enter or remain in the UK for aperiod of more than six months and who were returning for thesame purpose before that period expired were also not required tohave the visa. This also applied to those who had a certificateof entitlement to the right of abode in the UK. Those who hadalready made arrangements to visit the UK were granted a two-weekgrace period. Mr Donnelly said at least 60 000 Zimbabweansvisited the UK last year, with 2 115 being asylum seekers andonly 115 being granted asylum. He said at least 852 Zimbabweanswere turned away from the UK in the first three months of thisyear. A return ticket to London now costs more than $1 millionand it would be difficult for ordinary Zimbabweans intending tovisit the UK to raise the extra money for the visa. But MrDonnelly said the fact that those people could afford theexpensive airline ticket meant they could also afford the visa.
Livestock theft fueled by lucrative Mozambique market(Harare, The Herald, 07/11) - Livestock theft hasreached alarming proportions in Masvingo province where 508cattle worth about $20 million were stolen in September alonethis year. The drought coupled with general economic hardshipshas seen scores of people resorting to livestock theft in theseven districts of Masvingo. In September the province recorded258 cases of livestock theft and at least three suspected thieveswere brutally murdered by villagers after being caught redhanded. Masvingo provincial police spokesman Inspector LearnNcube yesterday said that 508 beasts worth $19,9 million werestolen. "In September this year, there were 258 casesinvolving 508 beasts worth $19,9 million," said Insp Ncube."Basing on last year's cases of stocktheft there has been anincrease of 63 percent and many cases were reported from aboutApril to September, the time when livestock is let loose duringthe dry season," he said. Most of the cattle were stolen inMasvingo East commercial farming area, which covers areas likeGutu, Bikita, Zaka and Chisumbanje in Chiredzi. "Theincrease of stocktheft in Chisumbanje was mainly due to thieveswho were selling meat across the border in Mozambique, wherethere was a lucrative market for beef. We deployed more policeofficers to the area and the situation is now undercontrol," said Insp Ncube.
SA farmers appear in Zimbabwe court (Bloemfontein,Dispatch Online, 09/11) - Farmer Crawford von Abo andnine other South Africans are to appear again next Friday in aZimbabwean court on charges of contravening the country's LandAcquisition Act. Von Abo told Sapa yesterday he was waiting fornext Friday to see whether he was "state-less" orwhether the South African government would afford him and hisfellow South Africans "due diplomatic protection" fromthe actions of the Zimbabwean government. "I am waiting tosee whether the South African government regards me as one of itscitizens. I expect diplomatic protection as part of myconstitutional rights. This protection implies that the SouthAfrican government protects its citizens in Zimbabwe fromdispossession and arrest -- like other foreign governments haveprevented their citizens' Zimbabwean land from being taken,"Von Abo said. Practically all of Von Abo's Zimbabwean farms wereinvaded and taken over in the country's land reform campaign.
Zimbabwean travellers still stranded in SA (Harare,The Herald, 05/11) - Eleven Zimbabweans who were deniedpermission by security officers to board a United Kingdom-boundSouth African Airways plane at Johannesburg International Airportlast Tuesday are still stranded in South Africa. An official atthe Zimbabwe Consulate in Johannesburg yesterday said his officewas frantically trying to secure an audience with the airlineauthorities as part of efforts to resolve the crisis. "Theissue has not yet been resolved because we have not yet met SouthAfrican Airways officials to resolve the issue. Our attempts tohold a meeting with the relevant officials have so far beenunsuccessful," said the official. He said the consulate'sposition was that if the airline maintained its stance that itwould not allow the stranded passengers to proceed with theirjourney, it must fully refund the passengers the cost of theairline ticket to the United Kingdom. "The information thatwe have so far received is that the airline is unwilling to makethe full refund. In fact, one of the stranded passengers told usthat airline officials said that they would effect a penaltycharge, which will be deducted from the cost of the airlineticket. Most of the affected travellers are against theidea," he said. An official from South African Airways'office in Harare declined to comment and referred the matter tothe airline's Johannesburg-based communications manager, MrRichard Mkhondo, who was said to be out of the office. TheZimbabweans were part of a group of Malawians and Zambians whowere barred from boarding the South African Airways flight byairport security officers just before take off to London lastTuesday. Mr Mkhondo said over the weekend that the Zimbabweanswere stopped from travelling after some of them had indicatedthat they were going to the UK to seek political asylum.According to international civil aviation laws, an airline is notsupposed to ferry someone to another country while knowing thatthe person will seek political asylum. In recent years, thousandsof Zimba-bweans have been lured by the value of the Britishpound, which is fetching as much as $1 800 on the black market,to the United Kingdom where they engage in odd jobs. Under normalcircumstances, a traveller from Harare to the UK is expected tohave at least a return air ticket and a minimum of £300. Visascan be obtained from the British High Commission offices in one'scountry of origin or at the port of entry into the UK.
State plans to tax expatriate Zimbabweans (The DailyNews, 04/11) - The government is planning to tax allZimbabweans working outside the country in an ambitious move thathas already caused a stir among some of the estimated threemillion citizens who have left the country in the wake of aserious economic and political crisis in the country. A SouthAfrican newspaper, The Star, reported last week that thecash-strapped government is planning to levy taxes on anestimated three million Zimbabweans working abroad in a desperatebid to raise cash for fuel and electricity imports. The newspaperquoted Deputy Minister Finance and Economic Development, Dr ChrisKuruneri, as saying the government was planning to levy incometax on Zimbabweans working abroad "in a bid to benefit fromthe brain drain and strengthen the country's revenue base".The planned move was reportedly met with resistance from somecitizens working abroad, who said the government could not levythem when it had disallowed them from exercising their right tovote in the presidential election in March. The Star reportedthat the unofficial response was that there would be "notaxation without representation". Jeremy Dube, a Zimbabweanworking in Johannesburg, is quoted as saying: "I am notprepared to subsidise Mugabe's regime when I was denied myinalienable right to vote." The government's rationale isthat the State invested in their education, and so is entitled toa return in the form of taxes. It was unclear how the governmentintends to enforce the new expatriate tax, which it hopes toimplement early in 2003. In a letter published by The Standardnewspaper yesterday, two Zimbabweans working in the UnitedKingdom said: "It is an insult to Zimbabweans living abroadwho have been labelled stooges of the imperialists to be expectedto pay tax both to the imperialist and to the Gaddafi-ledZimbabwean government." Most Zimbabweans working abroad weredriven out by the harsh economic climate, political violence,including inflation now standing at 140 percent, unemployment andshortages of basic foodstuffs. Yesterday, Eric Bloch, an economiccommentator based in Bulawayo, said the government's plan wasunrealistic and far-fetched. "It is unrealistic in thatZimbabwe has double tax agreements with over 19 countries,including the United Kingdom and South Africa, and thoseagreements provide that an individual can only be taxed in thecountry where they are earning their money," he said."I do not think the government has the capacity to do thatand this is a desperate move to raise money. It is a far-fetchedattempt to raise revenue."
SA cuts off fuel supply (The Standard, 03/11) - Zimbabwe'sprecarious fuel situation is set to deepen following revelationsthat South African fuel company, Sasol, has stopped its suppliesto Zimbabwe following last week's expiry of the US$20 millionfacility which saw the country receive fuel from across theborder, The Standard has learnt. The deal between Zimbabwe andSasol had resulted in the southern and central parts of thecountry receiving fuel overland from South Africa from 2000. Itcould not be established whether fuel from another South Africancompany, Engen which was also being sourced for the southern andcentral parts of the country, was still flowing in. The fuelprovided by the two companies amounted to 30% of the country'stotal requirements. But with the facility now exhausted, thereare signs that national fuel procurement entity, Noczim, willstruggle even further to cope with demand. For the past twoweeks, the southern and central parts of the country have beenexperiencing sporadic stock outs at filling stations, whilesupplies in the capital Harare have also been inconsistent. TheStandard understands that last week, the government sought forexfrom local financial institutions in a desperate bid to renew thefacility with Sasol. The government is also said to have goneonto the black market to source forex for another fuel deal withLibya, causing the latest crash in the dollar which is nowtrading at up to 1 800 against the US dollar. The US$360 millionfacility with Libya, which was personally signed by PresidentMugabe and his Libyan counterpart, Muammar Gaddafi, in September,was supposed to assure Zimbabwe of uninterrupted supplies untilthe same month next year. The Libyans normally supply 70% ofZimbabwe's fuel needs. But with news that the forex-starvedcountry is defaulting on payments, the Libyans are said to haveshut their pumps until all dues have been settled. Apart from ashortage of petrol and diesel, Zimbabwe is experiencing the moresevere shortage of paraffin and liquid petroleum gas (LPG).
Impact of land reforms (The Sunday Mirror, 02/11) - Theexodus of white commercial farmers from the beleagueredCommercial Farmers Union (CFU) to join the black-dominatedIndigenous Commercial Farmers Union (ICFU) has been viewed as anapt manifestation of the demise of the white bourgeoisie inZimbabwe. Coming on the heels of the resignation last week of theCFU president, Colin Cloete and director David Hasluck, analystssay the floor-crossing by disgruntled white farmers may be thefinal nail in the coffin of the white dominated farmersorganisation. Hasluck had been a member of CFU since 1977 and itsdirector from 1984. About three years ago, before the advent ofthe fast track land reform programme, CFU was a powerful andfinancially sound organisation capable of standing up togovernment and causing it to change its decisions. It enjoyed abustling membership of more than 4 000 farmers, spread throughoutthe country and had security of property, mostly based on thefarmers large tracts of land, in addition to movable andimmovable farm equipment. Commercial farming was synonymous withthe CFU. Cloete resigned from the position he held since Augustlast year, citing personal reasons but some insiders say heresigned under pressure from the radical component of hisorganisation. He gave one months notice and willeffectively step down this month, paving way for fresh elections.His resignation comes at a time when sharp ideological divisionsare reportedly rocking the union. At this years CFUcongress, Cloete fought hard to try and convince the membershipof his organisation to adopt a less radical andnon-confrontational attitude in dealing with the government whenaddressing agrarian issues. "The imminent demise of the CFUis brought about by two contradictory positions. On the one hand,there is a conservative group that prefers to confront thegovernment. On the other, there is a group, represented byCloete, which wants to positively engage the government,"said Clement Mautsa, the Director of the Indeginous CommercialFarmers Un3ion (ICFU). Mautsa said those who chose to confrontthe government were misplaced since the position wasunsustainable since it was obvious that there was no going backon the land reform programme. He called for reconciliation andracial harmony in the agriculture industry. He said it was hightime that CFU shed its superiority complex and accepted blacks aspartners both in business and from a social point of view. Mautsasaid they should take a leaf from the constitution, whichstipulates that all citizens of Zimbabwe are equal. In a moveheralding a new twist in the developments in the CFU, Mautsaannounced that former members of the union were already crossingthe floor to the ICFU.
Even though he would not give figures, a reliable source saidabout 300 white farmers had joined the CFU. "I can onlyconfirm that they are coming to our offices every day. In anycase, there is nothing unusual about this trend since they arealso indigenous," said Mautsa. This latest development hasdeep-seated implications for the CFU as an institution. Itdemonstrates a growing realisation for the need to beincorporated in structures that have minimal confrontation withthe government. Analysts say it also shows that the CFUsdays as a white-dominated body are numbered. After the Augustdeadline for the white farmers to vacate their former farmers,only about 400 were remaining, with some successfully applyingfor plots on their former domains. Taking the 300 who arereported to have crossed the floor, it would mean the CFU remainswith a mere 100 members. Within the ranks and file of the CFU aremembers who feel that the way forward is to take the governmenthead on instead of toeing its line. They argue that the landreform programme is an illegal exercise that has no respect forproperty rights. As a result, they say, being diplomatic with thegovernment is tantamount to giving blessings to anunconstitutional exercise. The fast track land reform programmewas officially adopted in June 2002. The adoption of theprogramme came after war veterans led unsanctioned occupations ofmostly white owned farms protesting against the Governmentsslow pace in distributing land to the majority of Zimbabweans whowere confined to the unfertile and exhausted communal areas. Thefast track exercise became the third phase in the government ofZimbabwes agrarian reform. The first phase started in theearly 1980s when several hundreds of families were resettled onland bought by the government. The basic objective of the firstphase was to reward the rural electorate for their part in thearmed struggle while pushing for social advancement. The secondphase started in the 1990s as the government realised the needfor stepped up efforts in redistributing land. During the secondphase, most farmland was obtained from commercial farms on awilling-buyer-willing-seller basis. However, the commercialfarmers, most of whom belonged to the CFU, were not willing tosell their farms, leading to increased impatience withingovernment and the landless majority. Considering that the ICFUand the ZFU have thousands of members, the CFU therefore runs thedanger of being dwarfed out of existence. This is coupled withthe fact that by and large, there now remain few white commercialfarming interests to be meaningfully represented by the CFU.
The CFU, in order to protect and safeguard its membersfarms from the time the land reform programme was started,embarked on a series of legal battles to challenge theacquisition of farms. It scored several victories, with thelatest being in August 2002 when some white farmers successfullyapplied to the High Court for their eviction to be rescindedfollowing governments procedural gaffes. However, the merefact that the land reform programme, which lost the countrydonors and investors over the haphazard manner in which it wasbeing conducted, continued in spite of the legal challenges, isto many a demonstration that the CFU is becoming increasinglyinsignificant. The question being asked now is whether theagricultural fraternity will see the reincarnation of the CFU inthe form of another pressure group. Justice for Agriculture(JAG), is widely seen as representing the radical approach somewhites choose to follow. It has been fighting bitterly to ensurethat the government does not nudge white commercial farmers outof existence. JAG is seen as an organisation that might mobilisethe disintegrating membership of CFU and provide a front for arenewed fight with the government.
Tighter EU sanctions on Zimbabwean officials (TheSunday Mirror, 02/11) - In a move seen by analysts as aface-saver, the European Union (EU) has stepped up its efforts totighten travel sanctions on Zimbabwe's high- ranking officials.Diplomatic sources told The Sunday Mirror that efforts were underway to plug loopholes that had seen government officials andsupporters of the Zanu PF government slip into Europe, despitethe imposed sanctions. Some of the officials, who are part of the57member list, have slipped into Europe without anyinconvenience, making a mockery of the September resolution onZimbabwe by the EU. Since the imposition of sanctions in Februarythis year, government officials have frequently visited Europe,rendering the travel bans impotent. Police Commissioner AugustineChihuri, who is on the list was in Geneva on Interpol business.Right in the EU backyard the Minister of Higher education, SamuelMumbengegwi was in Brussels after the imposition. The visits havebeen a source of embarrassment for the EU. Diplomatic sourcessaid that the Union was working in partnership with other keyinstitutions to ensure that Zimbabwean officials will not getinto Europe again. "They are looking at key institutionsoperating within the Union and the ratified conventions thatregulate their operations. They are asking them to adhere to theEU resolution, in this instance upholding the travel bans,"said one EU source. The sources said that the EU will only allowofficials from the Zimbabwean government to attend meetings thatwere being held under the auspices of the United Nations.Fransisca Mosca, the EU ambassador to Zimbabwe admitted that theprobability of such actions from the EU were there. "Therewas already a decision to impose travel sanctions on theZimbabwean government. Right now I do not have any informationabout the EU tightening the travel bans, but it can certainly behappening," she said. The clampdown was signaled by therelocation of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)-EUsummit to Mozambique. The summit was relocated after the EUrefused to invite the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stan Mudenge.The planned 4-6 November summit in Copenhagen was to bringtogether leaders from the EU and the Southern African DevelopmentCommunity (SADC), of which Zimbabwe is a member. Several EUcountries, notably the Netherlands and the UK were opposed toinviting a delegation from Zimbabwe. Maputo was a compromisevenue for the summit. Dernmark, the current holder of the EUPresidency is under great pressure to intensify the blitz againstofficials from Zimbabwe. Danish foreign minister Per Stig Moellerhas reportedly said that the Zimbabwean situation has evenworsened after the imposition of sanctions, and sources said theEU was becoming more and more embarrassed about the sanctionsloopholes. Dan Fredriksen of the Danish Ministry of ForeignAffairs said: "As the situation in Zimbabwe has evenworsened since the sanctions were imposed, the EU is not tooexcited about granting an exemption to the ZimbabweanMinister." According to Fredriksen, the SADC Secretariat hasasked the EU to move the summit to Maputo, Mozambique. Thus, aZimbabwean delegation would not travel to the EU and no sanctionswould be violated. However, the move is widely seen by analystsas only symbolic and not effective. One analyst said the ongoingrebuttal was just to save face. "The EU has already imposedtravel sanctions on Zimbabwe and these are not very effective.What can they achieve from these fresh efforts," she said,dismissively. Movement for Democratic Change legislator, TendaiBiti said smart sanctions on the government's top officials werenot effective and the latest efforts were of no significance."The EU already has sanctions on the government, yet thesehave failed to stop the many trips to Europe. The recentrelocation of the SADC-EU to Maputo, which is trumpeted by thepublic media as a victory was actually a step in the rightdirection for the EU," Biti said.
Mugabe plans to tax Zimbabweans abroad (Harare, TheStar, 01/11) - President Robert Mugabe's cash-strappedgovernment is planning to levy taxes on three-million Zimbabweansworking abroad in a desperate bid to raise cash for fuel andelectricity imports. But expatriate Zimbabweans are mostlyscoffing at the attempt, noting that the same government hadbanned them from voting in the March presidential election."No taxation without representation" is the unofficialresponse. "I am not prepared to subsidise Mugabe's regimewhen I was denied my inalienable right to vote," Jeremy Dubesaid in Johannesburg on Thursday. Others circulated emails amongthemselves dismissing the planned taxation. Deputy FinanceMinister Chris Kuruneri said the Zimbabwean government wasplanning to levy income tax on Zimbabweans working abroad"in a bid to benefit from the brain drain and strengthen thecountry's revenue base". The government's rationale is thatthe state invested in their education, and so is entitled to areturn in the form of taxes. It was unclear how the governmentintends to enforce the new expatriate tax, which it hopes toimplement early in 2003. It claims that foreign governments willhelp, but, given Zimbabwe's world standing, this seems wishfulthinking. Most Zimbabweans working abroad were driven out by theharsh economic climate, including inflation of 140 percent,unemployment, and shortages of basic foodstuffs such as bread andmilk.
This pagelast updated 12 February 2003.