October 2002 - Click on the country title above theheadlines for the entire article.
Commentary on state of tourism in SouthAfrica
SADC trade protocol to bring about regional progress
Regional trade law enactment nears
UNHCR braces for cutbacks
Customs pact ushers in free trade
Cross-border raids successful
New customs union accord to be signed
Rich rewards for SA firms moving into Africa
SA engineering companies profit from cross-border work
Africa's health sector under siege, say ministers
Comesa to apply uniform visa rules from next year
Brain Drain stunts Africa
Angola and Namibia meet over refugeesrepatriation
Vietnamese businessmen willing to invest
Refugees entering Zambia on increase
French aid for displaced people
Angola refugees troop back home
Government says humanitarian situation improving
Angola wants to re-open border with Zambia
Unita resettlement starts
Funds for displaced people resettlement
Poor conditions for returning refugees
70,000 Angolan refugees to be repatriated from Zambia
Four million people displaced during war
Over 70,000 displaced return home
Over 500,000 displaced persons return home
Humanitarian partners prepare inter-agencies call
Angolans piece together shattered families
Number of Namibian returnees diminishing
Economy in hands of foreigners, claims trade union
Botswana government probes abuse allegations against Zim
Stop selling land to foreigners, says Cabinet minister
DRC refugees flee to Burundi
Another battalion of Zimbabweans returns from DRC
DRC refugees reluctant to go home
Canadian firm fined in Lesotho briberycase
Prime Minister declares war on crime
Favouritism for Asian Malawians, chargesMP
Mauritius wants cooperation with Angola intextiles and tourism
Mauritius Freeport has many incentives
Nampula governor expresses concern overrefugee centre
Liberian refugees detained in Maputo
Mozambican biologists to train in Cuba
Less than 100 Mozambican students in Cuba
Mozambique reports tension at border with Zimbabwe
Zimbabwean troops arrested in Mozambique
Mozambican, South African police fight car theft
Trafficking in People "highly profitable"
German government "fully complied" with labouragreement
Mozambique/Zimbabwe joint commission to discuss border controls
MIDSA workshop on trafficking in persons
Minister insists on respect for deportees from SA
Angola-Namibia refugee talks
Angola and Namibia meet over refugee repatriation
Government urged to stem exodus of trained nurses
Illegal immigrants expelled from Namibia
Food aid for Caprivi returnees
Over 200 refugees return
Repatriation of Caprivi refugees successful
More exiled Namibians return home
Dwindling resources spurring exodus to towns and cities
Caprivians go home
Namibian farmers growing uneasy
Returnees from Botswana in need of food and shelter
Prime Minister blames foreigners for proliferation of firearms
Namibian official denies possible expropriation of SA-owned farms
Namibia-Angola link road to be upgraded
Namibia bars SAA to aid Air Namibia
Tourist hold-up in Windhoek
Concern raised over Oshikango prostitutes
Namibia-Zambia defence chiefs review security
Nurses leaving SA in droves, says HealthMinister
Policemen accused of robbing Somalis suspended
More stolen vehicles seized at Mozambique border
Skills flight challenges government
SA's brain drain under spotlight in Parliament
South Africa tightens checks at border posts
German tourist robbed in Transkei
Border-jumper wounded by South African soldier
Emigration threatens health system
Exporting home care
29,200 vacant posts in SA government hospitals
Mbeki name used in 419 scam
Manto moves to slow medical migration
Emigration of medical practitioners a threat: Minister
Cabinet approves more resources for border posts
Brain drain threatens health care
MPs to debate brain drain
Brain drain: health system on life support
Malawian sports star gets SA citizenship
IT professionals return to SA
South Africa closes border with Mozambique
Cuban doctors flee South Africa
Customs pact ushers in free trade
Home Affairs corruption under spotlight
SA's tourism boom continues
East Rand crackdown, 52 arrested
SA journalist seeks asylum in USA
Zimbabwe nationals rush to fix their refugee status
Cross-border anti-crime operation
CCMA to probe labour problems at ERPM
Arrest of Home Affairs official
Stock thieves arrested
Anti-graft drive at Home Affairs to be extended
Mining sector should extend worker care, says NUM
Home Affairs official arrested
Valuable skills lost in continuing brain drain
Home Affairs expands anti-corruption drive
Border deal stalls car theft gangs
Seven-year ordeal ends
Mining strike puts contracting under spotlight
Lack of IDs hampers child grant campaign
Cape Town is a safer haven for refugees
Refugee family's long walk to Cape Town
Nigeria ratified extradition treaty with South Africa
Tax money not wasted on medical training
ERPM guards court
Minister orders probe at ERPM mine
25 tourists attacked in Mpumalanga this year
Mining industry has impoverished women, says MEC
4,000 mineworkers face retrenchment
Mozambican arrested for shooting policeman
Things fall apart at ERPM
Two miners killed, 14 injured in feud with security
Two miners shot dead
Airport visitors jump over passport controls
SA to decide on extradition of Chilean academic
SAPS, Scotland Yard arrest Nigerian conment
Cuban doctor claims victimization in SA
Unpaid Indian jewellers deported
Fraudster caught with forged ID
SA court order return of assets seized from fugitive Zimbabwean
Miners demand outstanding pay
Top doctor returns to SA to head Wits hospital
Immigration act misses mark on skilled labour
Inspectors issue labour contravention notice to farm
Cosatu members ordered back to work
Smart cards possible by 2004
Use of false IDs on the increase
Nigerian scam uses fake SA banking websites
Justice Minister commends HRC for Lindela investigations
Mozambican man arrested after 'stolen goods' found
Xenophobia on the rise globally
Police raid Mkhitsini area
Dagga worth about E2 million destroyed
Over 12 Pakistani refugees kept at Sidwashini prison
Swazi workers teargassed by police at Chinese factory
Smuggled perlemoen intercepted
Tanzania deports 12 Kenyans
Commentary: End Burundi refugee problem
Minister asks Mauritius to assist Tanzanian textile sector
Tourism forum attracts more than 300 investors
Indian investors welcomed
SA insurer plans to enter Tanzanian market
Rwandan refugees to be out by December 31
Schools raise standards by hiring foreign teachers
Foreign crop buyers alleged to choke local economy
Some 2,500 Rwandans flee Tanzania to Uganda
Zimbabwe's white farmers drop interest in Tanzania
Government no longer recognises Rwanda asylum seekers
Two face court charges of illegal stay
Border tax talks with Kenya and Uganda
Hundreds more flee Burundi as conflict escalates
New bridge set to open on border withZimbabwe
Angola wants to reopen border with Zambia
Zambia welcomes Zimbabwe farmers
Better roads will assist humanitarian efforts
Local farmers come first, Zambian union warns
US government supports Zambia initiative
US donates $1 million for refugees in Lusaka
Two South African drivers in court
Zambia concerned over DRC instability
Refugees denied right to information
US company recruiting nurses from Zambia
Striking teachers barred from leavingZimbabwe
Mugabe bans farmers from removing equipment to other countries
Passports now take 10 months
Half the confiscated land in Zimbabwe lies fallow
Zimbabwe farmers continue to fight for their land
Botswana visitors allege harassment in Zimbabwe
White farmers giving up in Zimbabwe
Commentary on economic crisis in Zimbabwe
Water pipeline unfinished as Malaysians return home
Only 600 farmers still farming
Zambian conmen arrested
US hikes visa fees
Government evicts Mauritian farmers
UK considers visas for Zimbabweans
Matabele and farmers forced off land
Appeal paves way to challenge new citizenship laws
60 cane farmers evicted
Zimbabwean minister sounds alarm on manufacturing sector
Specialist doctors expected in Zimbabwe
Zimbabweans join British army and royal airforce
Government moves against farmers
State moves to restore order on farms
CAR offers refuge to Zim farmers
Government physically evicts defiant farmers
Commentary on state of tourism in South Africa(Johannesburg, Business Day, 31/10) - Tourism inZimbabwe, once as predictable as the highs and lows of itspremier attraction, the Victoria Falls, is in a trough. Touristrevenue has dropped sharply since 2000 although the falls isguaranteed steady traffic. Political and economic instabilityovershadow the country's assets, operators in the tourist capitalof Victoria Falls say. While some lodges in Livingstone , Zambia,gained from Zimbabwe's slide, others say they have local problemswith rising fees and dwindling domestic numbers eroding profits.Malawi has also been hit by declining visitors, complain lodgemanagers and operators at Cape Maclear on Lake Malawi. Tourism inthe 14 states of the Southern African Development Community felllast year after growth in the 1990s, according to an AfricanPeace Through Tourism conference in May with a few exceptionslike SA. SA Tourism (Satour) reported impressive growth in theindustry in October and SA is the primary destination for 90% ofvisitors to the region said its chief operating officer, MoeketsiMosala. From 1998 to 2001 the number of tourists crossing into SAincreased from Botswana (490000 to 641000) and Mozambique (341000to 457000), but dropped from Zimbabwe (524000 to 499000), Satourstatistics show. Garth Pritchard, head of overland specialistsWorld Adventure Travel at Victoria Falls, says: "The markethas shrunk. Everyone here says tourism last year was better thanthis year." The upmarket Ilala Lodge has since 2000 seen a"60% drop in business", mostly from American andBritish clients, says restaurant manager, Patience Musonza. Threeyears ago backpackers' favourite, Shoestring Lodge, was fullevery day and could afford to turn away overland trucks, but noworganised groups account for 90% of their business. The eclipselast June launched Zimbabwe's high season between June andOctober on a bright note. But the September 11 terror attacks inthe US had a negative impact on travel and a traditional Octoberdip did not recover. Attempts to reach the head of Zimbabwe'stourist office in Harare, Givemore Chindzidzi, for comment wereunsuccessful. It is clear, however, that tourism was battered bya warning against travel at the time of the elections, posted bythe UK and other western governments. Shoestring manager TonyHove says by April their occupancy was right down and added the"independent trade almost died". The disappearance ofthe selfdrive market from SA into Zimbabwe despite theexceptional value of the rand on the black market is one exampleof this. "We experienced a 90% drop in business. Zimbabwehad a major knock, affecting the region," said Amor Kenny,owner of Cape Town-based Zimbabwe Tours. Booking agents say manylodges and travel companies have closed at Victoria Falls inrecent years. Increased competition from Livingstone contributes."Zambia capitalised on Zimbabwe's problems and picked upsome market share," says Bruce Warr, manager of Raft Xtreme.The company runs white water trips down the Zambezi River and hasgrown 60% in the last year. The demand for rafting has sunk toabout a third of its peak five years ago, when there were about60000 clients a year. "Now there are more activities seekingthe same market," Pritchard said. Livingstone is beingmarketed as the "adventure capital of the world" sinceextreme sports never lack customers and options like bungijumping and microlighting over the falls are on offer."People will pay a high price for adrenaline activitiesanywhere, but not for accommodation," said Paul Myburgh,owner of Livingstone's Nyala Lodge. "The introduction ofdirect flights to Livingstone (from Johannesburg and Lusaka) madea difference," he says, pointing out Livingstone'sfacilities improved substantially in the last six years. Hislodge gets regular drive-in traffic and had about 60% occupancyin September. The main backpackers' accommodation, Fawlty Towers,was running at about 55%, compared with its usual 85%, said itsmanager. One problem is rising fees and licence costs in Zambia,tour operators say the fee to view the falls jumped this yearfrom $3 to 10 (20 in Zimbabwe). For tourists, however, the townis still "an island sheltered from the storms"."The fly-in option to Vic Falls is doing fine but touristsare visiting only Vic Falls. Try spotting one at Kariba,"says Zimbabwe Southern Suns marketing manager Darren Beatson.While Zimbabwe struggles, SA and Botswana surge ahead withTanzania and Mauritius as destinations of choice in the past yearsays Sandy Vicente, head of Cape Town's Wilderness Extravaganza.This suggests although from abroad Africa is seen as a countryrather than a continent travellers do make the distinction."I think is Africa picking up," Warr predicts."The Middle East and Asia are not and the next cheapestdestination is Africa."
SADC trade protocol to bring about regional progress(Luanda, Angola Press Agency, 30/10) - The AngolanMinister of Planning, Ana Dias Lourenco, said in Gaberone,Botswana, that the implementation of SADC Protocol on TradeExchange offers new opportunities of progesss for Southern Africacountries. Speaking at the opening session of SADC's ConsultativeConference, the Angolan minister said that, under the Protocol,all commercial exchanges amongst countries in the region are freeof tax until 2008 and the liberalization of sensible products ofspecific countries will be materialized until 2012. To theminister, such changes are indispensable to stability andsecurity in southern Africa region. She said to be a duty ofregional countries to avoid situations of famine and poverty, inorder to preserve the life of human beings, the reason whymembers states are implementing measures meant to improveagricultural productivity, a project which will be developed atlong term and which also aims to promote agriculture. She askedSADC cooperation partners to support the peasants who have noaccess to seeds and fertilizers, so as to avoid food crisis overthe next agricultural season. In her opinion, Southern Africapresents "the higher proportion of people surviving withless than one US dollar per day, stating to be unacceptable thatmore than 70 million of inhabitants of this region "stilllive in extreme poverty". The SADC Consultative Conferencehappens since October 27 under the central motto "thedevelopment and cooperation of countries of the region".Today were debated issues such as "the development of areasof food, agriculture, natural resources, finances, investments,infrastructures and services". Monday, participants at theconference discussed the Government Programmes, outlined actionsmeant to reduce poverty in the context of the African Union andthe New Partneship for the Development of the Continent. ThePlanning Minister is chairing the Cnference in her capacity asPresident of the Council of Ministers of the Southern AfricaDevelopment Community.
Regional trade law enactment nears (Zambia Daily Mail,30/10) - Preparations for the enactment of regionalcompetition law to deal with anti-competition practices whichhave a cross border effect on Common Market for Eastern andSouthern Africa (COMESA) member states has reached an advantagedstage. Zambia Competition Commission (ZCC) executive director,George Lipimile, said in an interview in Lusaka that consultantswho were contracted to draft the law have submitted the firstdraft to COMESA. Mr Li pimile said the law administered by COMESAwill benefit the business community in that currently,competition laws are national and are therefore, limited torespective countries with regard to their application andenforcement. He stated that it has been difficult to deal withany competition cross measures and regional concentration ofeconomic powers by multi-national companies. Mr Lipimile said theregion was witnessing a trend where one company in almost allCOMESA countries was dealing in clear beer, another one incement, sugar while others only dealt in packaging. He said thisconcentration needed to be regulated adding that matters of thisnature could only be dealt with in the regional levelscompetition policy. He said the competition law would offer astrong point to coordinate and regulate the behaviour ofmulti-national companies in the COMESA region. Mr Lipimile saidthe introduction of the Free Trade Area had encouraged businessesthroughout the COMESA market to gear themselves up for newchallenges and grasp new opportunities. The 7CC will at themonth-end of November hold a national seminar where the regionalcompetition law will be debated. Concentration of economic powerwhich leads to market dominance and eliminating competition inthe process also likely to be dealt with at the same forum. ofwhat it meant to start farming," Davidson said. Most wereunable to raise finance to begin cropping or keeping livestock,many were reluctant to start without a ready-built home andothers were allocated land unusable for agriculture. "Ifthere had been a properly scheduled take-over this trough inproduction could have been avoided," he said. "Clearlyit demonstrates it is not a land reform programme. It was donebecause there was an election coming." The CFU estimatesthere are now about only 600 of the former commercial farmersleft on their land out of about 4 000 six months ago. The FarmCommunity Trust of Zimbabwe said last week that about 250 000farm workers had been made jobless by the evictions. In August,police arrested hundreds of white farmers for allegedlydisobeying eviction orders, although many of them had obtainedcourt orders ruling that their eviction orders were illegal.Ruling party officials, usually backed by mobs of partymilitants, have forced many more farmers who have not receivedeviction notices off their land, often at gunpoint.
UNHCR braces for cutbacks (The Namibian, 25/10) - Theoffice of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees saysit may have to shut down some of its African programmes at theend of this month due to a funding crisis. It is so far unclearhow Namibia will be affected. An announcement was made this weekfrom the organisation's headquarters in Geneva, saying US$80million (N$800 million) was needed to "maintain minimumstandards for refugees". A UNHCR spokesperson in Geneva saidon Wednesday it was too early to say what impact the financialcrisis would have on programmes in Namibia because the budgetcuts were only made last week. The head office has asked UNHCRoffices to provide details about how they will trim theiroperations. Delphine Marie told The Namibian from Geneva thatsouthern Africa is unlikely to experience major cuts because theregion was "already running on a shoestring" budget.Namibia has a refugee population of more than 20 000, mainly fromAngola, but also from other parts of Africa. "Our mostpressing needs are in Africa right now, where we have numerousprotracted refugee situations," said another UNHCRspokesperson Ron Redmond in a press statement. While the needsappear to be most urgent in Africa, other programmes, especiallythe Afghanistan refugee project, have received enough fundinglargely because they have higher profiles. To illustrate theseriousness of the funding crisis, Marie said the repatriation ofCongolese refugees in Zambia had to be halted because of thecuts. Funding for UNHCR operations in Congo has already beenreduced by N$10 million. The UN's refugee agency will issueappeals for money to pay for the repatriation of Angolanrefugees, mainly scattered across southern Africa. The latestcuts are the second this year. In July, the UNHCR slashed US$96million from its initial provision of US$802 million. Over thepast two years 760 workers have been laid off, mainly fromheadquarters, but programmes aimed at improve the livingstandards of nearly 20 million refugees in the care of the UNHCRwere also directly affected. Marie said budgets cuts would nottouch what the UNHCR views as "survival programmes",which are aimed at keeping refugees fed and sheltered. "It'svery, very worrying because over the past few years we havereduced [the budget] to the strictest minimum," she said.'By contributing to the revenues of the elite networks, directlyor indirectly, those companies and individuals contribute to theongoing conflict and to human rights abuses.'
Customs pact ushers in free trade (Business Day,20/10) - The heads of five Southern African states willsign a new trade agreement tomorrow that will dramatically changebusiness patterns in the region by simplifying bureaucracy andcreating fairer trade between markets. The revised SouthernAfrican Customs Union will also make this the most economicallyintegrated region in Africa and reduce South Africa's hogging ofthe marketplace, said the Deputy Director-General forInternational Trade and Economic Development, Tshediso Matona.The accord will simplify tariffs and allow for opendecision-making on customs duties, rebates, import and exportcontrols and anti-dumping measures. The union, the oldest commoncustoms body in the world, dating back to 1910, controls tradeand regulates tariffs between Namibia, Swaziland, Botswana,Lesotho and South Africa. It was last amended in 1969 and had noclear decision-making structures until now. "The newagreement will provide business in the region with a secure,clear and institutionally sound regulatory regime in which tooperate. There was an untenable situation where South Africadictated policy in the customs union. "The other countrieshad very little say. Now there will be a co-ordination of tradepolicy between the members of the union, and a proper reflectionof industry geographically in the region," said Matona.There will be a new revenue-sharing formula so that poorernations source more funds from the customs pool. Once the unionis fully functional, it will create regional economic stability,and define how the five countries relate to the rest of theworld, he said. It is significant to South Africa in that it addssix million people from the other four countries to the market,who will be able to exploit the free trade agreement. FreddieModise of Botswana's Ministry of Finance and Development Planningsaid the new union was indicative of a more democraticunderstanding as all decisions would be made by a council oftrade ministers. The chairmanship of the council will rotate.However, the SACU headquarters will be based in Namibia. A newtariff board, made up of experts from member states, willadjudicate on customs applications. It will regulate tradepolicies, customs duties, rebates and import and export controls."It will consider applications from member states, changetariff policies and provide trade remedies in the case of unfaircompetition and practices, such as dumping," said Matona. Inthe event of a dispute, there is provision for the establishmentof a temporary tribunal. South African Trade and IndustryMinister Alec Erwin told Parliament earlier this week that unionmembers had reached agreement late last year on a new customspool. Erwin described the re-negotiation of the agreement as a"historic achievement". The National Assembly adoptedthe International Trade Administration Bill this week, which alsosimplifies customs tariffs and provides for the streamlining oftrade policies within the union. Tomorrow's agreement will haveto be ratified by the parliaments of the five member statesbefore it becomes effective.
Cross-border raids successful (Pretoria, News24,19/10) - A major multinational anti-crime drive in SouthAfrica, Lesotho and Swaziland this month has chalked upconsiderable successes, police said on Friday. SeniorSuperintendent Mary Martins-Engelbrecht said the focus ofOperation Mangochi was to combat cross border vehicle theft andsmuggling, drug trafficking, firearms trade and illegalmigration. "The first phase of this combined operation,which is taking place under a Southern African Regional PoliceChiefs Co-operation Committee (Sarpcco) mandate, was carried outin Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe during April and May,"Martins-Engelbrecht said. "In the follow-up phase lawenforcers from participating Sarpcco countries targeted crime inSouth Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland." The current phase ofthe operation kicked off on October 3 in Gauteng. During atwo-day blitz 556 people were arrested in connection with varioustransgressions and 33 stolen vehicles, a large quantities vehicleparts as well as drugs, stolen cellphones, computers andhousehold appliances confiscated. The focus afterwards shifted toLesotho where police recovered 95 vehicles of which 61 wereimmediately identified as stolen. A large quantity of dagga andstolen livestock were also confiscated, as were 30 illegalfirearms and other stolen property. The final part of the presentphase was scheduled to wind down in Swaziland on Friday night.Although final tallies were not yet available, authorities had byFriday afternoon recovered 56 suspected stolen vehicles andarrested 125 peoples in connection with various crimes. "Theoutstanding co-operation between the different Sarpcco countriesis without a doubt a winning recipe for fighting organised crimein the southern African region," Assistant CommissionerVinesh Moonoo, head of organised crime at police headquarters inPretoria, said. Divisional Commissioner Johan de Beer, NationalDetective Services head, said: "These successes are due toour commitment, dedicated co-operation and our transnationalapproach in dealing with criminal elements across regionalborders. Martins-Engelbrecht said a factor behind the successeswas that all activities were intelligence driven, meaning thatdetectives had painstakingly compiled cases and gathered evidenceon cross-border crime before striking at the right moment. Theoperation was set to continue throughout the Sarpcco region.
New customs union accord to be signed (Business Day,17/10) - Heads of state are expected to sign the newSouthern African Customs Union (Sacu) agreement next week, Tradeand Industry Minister Alec Erwin has told Parliament. He wasspeaking in debate on the International Trade Administration Billwhich was adopted by the National Assembly. Sacu members - SouthAfrica, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland - reachedagreement late last year on a new customs pool. Erwin said Sacuwas the oldest customs union in the world, dating back to 1910.The re-negotiation of the agreement had been a "historicachievement". It was hoped that the agreement would besigned by the heads of state on Monday, he said. The bill aims tosimplify customs tariffs, and provide for shared decision-makingand common policies within Sacu on trade, customs, agriculture,industry and competition.
Rich rewards for SA firms moving into Africa(Johannesburg, Business Day, 17/10) - Setting up acellular network in Africa takes up a lot of time dealing withregulatory issues and ensuring the licence is entrenched in thestatutes of the country, says Andrew Mthembu, deputy group CEO ofVodacom. It is necessary to ensure that interconnectionagreements with other network operators are in place and thatthey pay on time. It is difficult to assess markets in countrieswhen the published gross domestic product (GDP) or average incomeper capita is low, but a large percentage of economic activity istransacted in cash. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo(DRC), for example, the published GDP is only 104, but it is aknown fact that 70% of the economic activity comes from theinformal sector, which is not accounted for. "As a result,forecasts often have to be based on gut feel." Lack oftelecommunications skills is another challenge that has to beaddressed in African markets. Because call tariffs are usuallydollar based, currency fluctuation is another challenge becausethe man in the street sees this as a price increase and makesfewer calls. Political problems and infrastructure costs areother risk aspects that need to be taken into account. The latterincludes building roads in some places, putting security guardson site to protect equipment, installing generators, because thepower supply is erratic, and sourcing the diesel to fuel these.Vodacom opened in Tanzania in August 2000 and now has 300000customers, growing at the rate of about 1000 a day, whichillustrates the pent up demand for communication, says Mthembu."We were the fifth mobile network operator coming into thismarket and we now have 54% of the market." Mobile telephonyhas overtaken fixed-line use 1,19% of the 36,5-million populationhave cellular communication against 0,41% with phone lines.Vodacom opened in the DRC in May this year and already has 135000customers, growing at 1200 a day. The country has a population ofabout 60-million, with a mobile take-up of 0,08% againstfixed-line use at 0,29%. "We also have a licence in Lesotho,which has a population of 1,8-million people. We have 90000subscribers." Vodacom recently obtained the second cellularlicence in Mozambique, which has a population of 18,4-million, ofwhich 0,44% have fixed-line phones and 0,84% are cellular users.Mthembu says the average revenue per user generated by Vodacom inAfrica is a lot higher than in SA, although the GDP is lower. Forexample, in DRC the average revenue per prepaid user is 24,compared with nine in SA. This is partly because of lowerteledensity in Africa due to a lack of infrastructure, and showsthat communication is now rated as a basic need. Cellularhandsets are similar in price in African countries and SA and thesecond-hand phone market is bigger, although there is also a bigmarket for topof-the-range phones. "We are focusing on theSouthern African Development Community (SADC) on the basis that acountry in which we have a presence must not be further away thana four-hour flight." He says the company target is to derive30% of its revenue from the SADC region by 2007.
SA engineering companies profit from cross-border work(Johannesburg, Business Day, 14/10) - The civilengineering industry construction work excluding residentialbuildings has forecast a turnover of R15,6bn for calendar year2002. This is up substantially from last year's R11,6bn. Goodgrowth can be attributed to strong demand in SA, but alsoreflects increased revenue from the cross-border activityparticularly by large companies in the sector. Civil engineeringcontractors association Safcec said domestic construction nowgenerated about 35% of its revenue beyond SA borders, mostly fromAfrica. The trend has enabled companies to spread risk and toreduce their dependence on SA work. "Developing countries inthe Southern Africa Development Community (excluding SA) holdgreat promise with some countries displaying aggressive grossdomestic product growth," says Safcec's second-quarterreport. The association believes the New Partnership for Africa'sDevelopment (Nepad) "holds great promises for the civilengineering industry ". Safcec says the programme suggestsaddressing infrastructure development. This includes roads,airports, seaports and railways, using donor funding and financefrom institutions such as the African Development Bank. In SA,government provided most of the work in the industry.
Africa's health sector under siege, say ministers(Harare, The Herald, 10/10) - Problems besieging thehealth sector in Zimbabwe are not unique in Africa as almost allthe 46 World Health Organisation member states on the continentthis week said they were also under siege. It emerged from theongoing WHO 52nd Regional Committee meeting for African healthministers that drug shortages, brain drain of qualified andexperience personnel, under-funding and increasing disease burdenwere common problems in Africa. "Africa is under siege inthe health sector. African children are under seriousattack," the Botswana Minister of Health, Dr Joy Phumaphi,summed it up. All the problems, the ministers agreed, werecentred on poor financing for the health sector, which in mostcases was below 10 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Thesehad resulted in poor quality of care. As the ministers describedthe situations in their respective countries, one could onlyconclude that Zimbabwe was not alone in this predicament. Thingsare bad and most health sectors on the continent were collapsing.Migration of professionals to developed countries in search ofbetter working conditions, or brain drain as it is commonlyknown, was the most peculiar problem highlighted by mostcountries. English-speaking countries are the most affected astheir professionals were migrating either to the United States orthe United Kingdom. French-speaking countries like the DemocraticRepublic of Congo were a bit safe as France was said to haveenough of its own personnel. DRC is even offering some of itsdoctors to Zimbabwe. Dr Joseph Kalite from the Central AfricanRepublic said his government had reached a point where it was notsure how to deal with the problem of brain drain. "We nolonger know how to deal with the problem. We invest a lot intraining our professions but the brains leave as soon as they getthe qualification and experience. WHO should intervene and stopthe flow of brains from Africa," said Dr Kalite. He saidthere was no way Africa can develop its health sector as long asit continues to lose its professionals to developed countries.South African health minister Dr Mantombazana Tshabalala-Msimangsuggested that African countries work together and come up withcontinental exchange programmes in a bid to stop the brain drain.Dr Phetsile Dlamini of Swaziland came out in support of the ideasaying an intra-regional exchange programme would help countriesretain their professionals. She said Tanzania and South Africawere some of the countries already seconding their nurses anddoctors to Swaziland. She said with the current"explosion" of communicable diseases like Aids, Africancountries were in dire need of assistance. In an interview, WHOdirector general, Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland pledged herorganisation's willingness to help countries affected by theserious brain drain. She, however, said WHO was currentlyanalysing the problem at a global level to find out the rootcauses and possible solutions. Possible interventions wouldinclude the signing of agreements between countries, shesuggested. Other problems similar to those being faced byZimbabwe include shortages of drugs and consumables in hospitals.Dr Brian Chitowo from Zambia said hospitals in most of thecountries were non-functional and needed to be incorporated inthe health reform process. Professor Mamadou Saliou Diallo fromGuinea also lamented the critical shortage of essential drugs inhis country. "We have a thriving black market for drugs. Wecan never be successful as long as our people cannot accesstreatment," said Dr Diallo. Benin, Chad and Swaziland saidthey were also facing a critical shortage of vaccines. In Chadthe immunisation coverage was only 27 percent while in othercountries it was just below 60 percent. Zimbabwe is one of thefew countries with coverage of more than 90 percent. SouthernAfrican countries also have to contend with the devastatingeffects of the current drought. Dr Dlamini said nutrition was thefoundation of good health. The current famine was likely to haveserious long-term effects on health delivery in Southern Africa.
Comesa to apply uniform visa rules from next year (TheEast African, 07/10) - Citizens of the Common Market forEastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) will be free to enter any ofthe 20 member-states without visa and reside in any country forup to 90 days from next year. At a meeting of chief immigrationofficers from the region in Nairobi last week, member-statesagreed to harmonise national laws, statutory rules andregulations in line with the Comesa protocol to allow for freemovement of people. They resolved that immigration authoritiesshould accord preferential treatment to Comesa citizens. This,they said, should include establishment of Comesa counters atentry points. The free movement of Comesa nationals is the firststage of a three-phased plan that will lead to eventualelimination of visa requirements. Of the 20 countries that makeup the trading bloc, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia are already at anadvanced stage in the relaxation of the visa rules. The secondphase covers the period 2003-2005 and will require Comesa membersto apply common standards to prevent employers from employingcheap, unskilled labour and non-Comesa nationals. A Comesa travelcertificate will be launched to facilitate and simplifyformalities for cross-border movement. The third phase will coverthe period 2006-2014 and is expected to provide for rights ofestablishment and residence of Comesa nationals in Comesa states.Comesa, with a combined gross national product of $170 billionand a population of 400 million, first embarked on this projectfour years ago after member-states realised that they needed toevolve a mechanism that would enable people to move freely acrossborders. At issue was the harmonisation of visas across thetrading bloc so that by 2014 there would be unrestricted movementof people and freedom of residence in the region. The process is,however, likely to encounter setbacks in the shape outdatedimmigration and migration laws and protectionism at theimplementation stage. Speaking at the meeting, Kenya's Ministerin the Office of the President Julius Sunkuli was cautiouslyoptimistic, saying that, whereas the protocol on free movement ofpeople in the Comesa region would complement the achievements ofthe trading bloc in maximising trade opportunities acrossborders, there was also the threat of criminals criss-crossingthe borders. But the biggest challenge appears to be in thediverse immigration laws in the Comesa countries. Most members ofComesa possess laws on immigration, emigration, employment andrights of establishment that were adopted before or soon aftertheir independence, which they are still on the books. These lawshave been maintained either without realisation of their trueimpact or because of other reasons, including national security.National security considerations may yet member-countries tostick to laws they consider outdated or even contradictory totheir international obligations. Yet there is also the problem ofcumbersome documentation and diverse technical standards. Thisproblem often arises from the perpetuation of protectionistpolicies aimed at protecting an infant manufacturing base. This,coupled with the problem of administrative procedures at Customsand immigration, especially in the area of licensing, is likelyto make it difficult for Comesa countries to implement freemovement of people. Some member countries also lack sufficientpools of knowledge and skills to study their own laws andregulations and identify those that may violate Comesa rules, itis said. Despite these hitches Comesa members are optimistic andare reviewing their laws relating to immigration, emigration,employment and establishment in order to comply with the protocolon gradual relaxation and eventual elimination of visarequirements in Comesa. Boda boda (bicycle taxi) transportersnear Busia Border Customs. Immigration authorities will soon beaccording preferential treatment to Comesa citizens
Brain Drain stunts Africa (Nairobi, The East AfricanStandard, 05/10) - Loss of professionals fromSub-Saharan Africa to developed countries has raised majorconcern, as it has become one of the region's greatest threats toeconomic development. Emigration of qualified manpower especiallyacademics from African universities was one of the central issuesthat were discussed during the recent World Summit on SustainableDevelopment held in South Africa. The meeting heard that in lessthan two decades Sub-Saharan Africa has lost a third of itsskilled professionals and had to replace them with over 100,000expatriates from the West at a cost of US$4 billion a year. DrChris Buckley a senior researcher at University of Natal and anexpert on Africa's human capital flight says between 1985 and1990 Africa lost over 60,000 middle-level and high-level managersto Western economies. About 23,000 lecturers from Africanuniversities also continue to emigrate each year. "Thebiggest migratory flows are from Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria,Kenya and Ghana in that order," say labour experts at AddisAbaba based United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. Butdespite the large number of academics leaving Africanuniversities, rarely do many of them find university teaching orresearch positions. According to the Institute of InternationalEducation, a professional body that keeps track on the mobilityof students and staff from and to United States, last year therewere only 2,256 African scholars teaching in Americanuniversities as compared to 35,620 from Asia, 26,668 from Europeand 4,676 from Latin America. The big picture is that most of the80,000 foreign scholars in the American universities are engagedin high profile scientific research. Statistics from theInstitute of International Education show that 26 per cent of theforeign academics are conducting research in health sciences and14.7 per cent in biological sciences. Another cohort of 14.7percent is performing research in physical sciences and a smallsegment in engineering. Only a small minority are involved inteaching says the report. Of the 2,256 African academics workingin United States universities last year, Egypt had the largestshare of 671 a drop from 773 the previous year. South Africa camea distant second with 327 while Nigeria emerged third with 176.Although Kenya was placed fourth with 136 academics, the countryhad the highest number of scholars in United States universitiesamong 21 countries in Eastern and Central Africa. For instanceZimbabwe was second to Kenya in the region with 67 scholars andCameroon third with 56 and Ethiopia with 53. However, a majorsurprise drop was in Mauritius that had 12 scholars in US lastyear as compared to 90 in the previous year. However, assumingthat a large number of African scholars are economic migrants,one cannot rule out the significant drop among Mauritianscholars. To date Mauritius textile exports are more than therest from Sub-Saharan African countries put together. Consideringthe large number of African academics who leave the continenteach year in search of career and economic opportunities abroad,it is quite evident that most of them are getting employmentoutside academia. According to Prof Thomas Odhiambo, the reputedKenyan scientist and the founder of the International Centre ofInsect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) says highly qualifiedAfrican scholars end up as teaching and research assistantsabroad after failing to secure high profile teaching and researchfellowships. Even then, this scenario has not discouraged Africanscholars among other skilled African workers from going abroad insearch of jobs that are scarce at home. In comparison to otherdeveloping regions with high migratory flows to developedcountries, over 60 percent of migrants from Sub-Saharan Africahave tertiary education."Migration of Africans with only aprimary education is almost nil," says William Carrington, alabour economist at the US Bureau of Labour Statistics. But asthe debate of brain drain takes centre stage, the issue that islikely to arise eventually is whether African scholars are beingused as cheap labour. There is also the issue as to whether theexpatriates that sub-Saharan African countries are replacingtheir migratory scholars and skilled workers at enormous costrepresent the proverbial adage of someone trading his goldenvessel for a polished calabash.
Angola and Namibia meet over refugees repatriation(The Namibian, 28/10) - Technical teams representing thegovernments of Angola and Namibia and the United Nations HighCommissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will meet in Windhoek today todiscuss the repatriation of Angolan refugees to their country.According to a statement issued by UNHCR on Friday, the aim is toreach an agreement on establishing a commission for the promotionof voluntary repatriation of Angolan refugees between thegovernments of Angola and Namibia as well as the UNHCR. NamibianHome Affairs Minister Jerry Ekandjo, his Angolan counterpart,Joao Baptista Kasuma, and UNHCR Resident Representative inNamibia, Hesdy Rathling, are expected to sign the final documenttomorrow.
Vietnamese businessmen willing to invest (ANGOP,28/10) - A delegation of Vitenamese businessmen led byTrade Minister, Troung Dinh Tuyen, Friday in Luanda expressedtheir availabilty to invest in the various domains of thecountry's economy. The visiting foreign investors, who presentedtheir proposals during a meeting with national businesspeople,showed interest to invest in different sectors of the economylike textile, food and public works and in the pharmaceuticalindustry. On the occasion, the President of Angola's Chamber ofCommerce and Industry, Antonio dos Santos, said the occasionserved to analyse the possible investments "in the nearfuture". To him, the fields in which the Vietnamese want toinvest are "important" and believes that there ispossiblity for busnissness cooperation. The Vietnamese TradeMinister said his country is in condition to develop cooperationwith Angola, and forecasted "excellent" businessopportunities between the two states. "Our delegation cameto Angola to get acquainted with the reality and establishpartnerships with Angolan businesspeople, taking into accountyour potentialities", said the Vietnamese businessman, TranCong Trang. The Information officer with Institute of ForeignInvestment (IEE), Antonio Prata, seized the opportunity toexplain the role of his institution and inform external investorsabout priority areas of private investment and those reserved forthe Angolan government. He said all areas are opened to privateinvestment, except the making and sale of war material,activities of the central, as well as administration of airportsand ports.
Refugees entering Zambia on increase (The Post, 24/10)- The number of Angolan refugees entering Zambia hascontinued to rise, the European Union has noted. According to theEU statement yesterday, the renewed fighting in the DemocraticRepublic of Congo (DRC) had worsened the problem which had addedpressure on the already congested resettlement camps such asMaheba. The European Commission (EC) has meanwhile allocatedeuros 310,000 towards the humanitarian work of Medicines SansFrontiers (MSF) in Zambia. A framework of partnership agreementsigned recently between the EC and MSF indicates that the amountis intended to support the organisation's work of looking afterrefugees at Maheba settlement camp in North Western Province. Andthe US government has provided US$ 200.1 million in assistancefor refugees and conflict victims in Africa during the fiscalyear 2002, US embassy public affairs officer James Greene hasdisclosed. Greene said on Wednesday a total amount of $ 14.65million was earmarked for Southern Africa, including $ 7, 846,814for Zambia. "Zambia's funding included a US$ 1 millioncontribution for the Zambian initiative aimed at promoting localintegration of refugees and development of refugee hostingareas," he said. Greene said the money was from US StateDepartment's bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).Greene explained that PRM responds to emergency needs of newrefugees, improves standards of protection and care as well aspromotes appropriate durable solutions for refugees includingrepatriation, local integration and resettlement. "Inaddition to contributions earmarked by the country, PRMcontributed some US $31.4 million to United Nations HighCommission for Refugees (UNHCR) towards its global appeal forAfrica for the year 2002 and US $42.4 million to theInternational Committee of the Red Cross for its emergency appealfor Africa for the year 2002," he said. Greene said togetherwith earmarked contributions to UNHCR, the total funding to UNHCRfor Africa was US $102.85 million, representing 30 per cent ofUNHCR's Africa budget. Greene said the contribution to theInternational Red Cross represents 22 per cent of its budget forAfrica.
French aid for displaced people (ANGOP, 24/10) - Franceand Angola will on October 29 sign three integrated projects onpeace keeping, humanitarian aid, and resettlement of displaceds,says a note from the French Embassy realeased Thursday in Luanda.It adds that the protocols are aimed at facilitating the firstpost-war food campaign and the conception of a stable life forAngolan families plus lessening of land mines accidents. Francehas disbursed 13 million dollars, subdivided in seven million forthe development of an exceptional food aid program, and 1,2million dollars for seven projects of population resettlement,being two in Malanje (north) and five in Huambo (centre)provinces. The projects comprise the agricultural, education andhealth sectors, the source said, adding that another one milliondollars will be granted for complementary projects beingdeveloped in these regions from 2003, at a time a demining planwhich is under study might be carried out. Meanwhile, France willdonate some 10,000 tones of maize flour, worth usd 6,8 million,which will be distributed by the World Food Programme (WFP) tosheltering camps of Huambo province, the note adds. These aidmoves happen following the visit by the French Foreign OfficeMinister, Francois de Villepin in July, 2002.
Angola refugees troop back home (The Times of Zambia,23/10) - About five thousand refugees from Mehebarefugee camp in Solwezi have gone back to Angola following thesigning of the peace accord in that country in September. TheAngola government and the Unita rebel movement signed thecease-fire agreement following the death of rebel leader JonasSavimbi. North-Western Province Permanent Secretary GabrielNamulambe said in an interview in Solwezi that some refugees hadstarted trekking back to their country. "What we have seenis that some refugees have started going back to Angola. So farabout 5,000 have crossed over to their country. They startedgoing back when they heard the news that the peace accord hadbeen signed," he said. Mr Namulambe said Government and theUnited Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) have put inplace a programme to repatriate some refugees beginning nextyear. "There is a programme of repatriating some of therefugees by next year but some of them can't wait," he said.Some refugees were impatient and had started going back to theirnative country after hearing that peace had returned to thecountry which had been at war for years. Mr Namulambe said thatthe security situation at the borders was calm despite themovement of refugees in and out of Zambia. He, however, addedthat although some refugees were going back to Angola, some werestill coming in from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mahebahas a population of about 58,000 refugees mostly women andchildren.
Government says humanitarian situation improving(ANGOP, 19/10) - Government said thehumanitariansituation has been improving substantially. The StandingCommission of Angola's Council of Ministers Friday said thehumanitarian situation in the country has been improvingsubstantially, although it is still worrying. This statementcomes in a press note from the Council released after the meetingmeant, among other issues, to the assess the country'shumanitarian situation. The Government learnt that the mostcritical humanitarian conditions were identified in areas wherebyhigher insecurity during the latest phase of war reigned, whichled to vast displacement of people and destruction of farmingfields. Around one million nine hundred thousand people(1.900.000) are still in need of emergency aid, even in the areaswhich benefited of assistance before the signing of theMemorandum of Understanding, on April 4, 2002. As per Governmentevaluation, the populations are in need of adequate quantities offood, seeds and tools for agricultural production, medicines andblankets, in order to halt food insecurity and lessenmalnutrition and mortality rate. The Standing Commission alsoexpressed concern over the school situation of displacedchildren, acknowledging that about 60 per cent of them can notattend organised learning activities, being thus necessary torestore 600 classrooms and additional facilities for nearly100.000 pupils. Despite to have approved a programme worth 267million dollars to support the return and resettlement ofdisplaceds and relatives of former UNITA soldiers, the UNagencies and non-governmental organisations need to fund-riseabout 170 million dollars to cover part of this humanitarianoperation until December 2002. The Angolan government considersas one of its priorities the closing of camps shelteringdisplaced people, and the return of populations to their areas oforigin, before the agricultural season. This effort will begrounded on established regulations and norms for displacedpopulation's resettlement, already approved by the StandingCommission, the note says. On this regard, the Government gotacquainted with the general guidelines for the elaboration of aprogramme supporting social reintegration of populations directlyaffected by the armed conflict and rehabilitation of rural areas.
Angola wants to re-open border with Zambia (Luanda,IOL, 18/10) - Angolan Foreign Minister Joao Bernardo deMiranda said here on Friday that Angola wants to reopen itsborder with Zambia. "We want to reopen our borders to allowpeople and goods to circulate freely," said de Miranda aftera short visit to Zambia. According to the minister, the Angolangovernment has asked governors in Moxico and Kwando-Kubangoprovinces, which border Zambia, to direct talks with theirZambian counterparts over reopening border crossings. The borderbetween Angola and Zambia was closed since the 1980s when Angolawas at a civil war. Angola's civil war broke out after thecountry's independence from Portugal in 1975 and ended with thesigning of a peace accord between the Angolan government and theNational Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA)forces on April 4 of this year.
Unita resettlement starts (Luanda, News24, 16/10) - Thegovernment is preparing a gigantic operation to return about 300000 former guerrillas and their families to their areas of originfollowing the end of Angola's two-decade civil war. SocialReinsertion Minister Joao Batista Kussumua on Wednesday continuedhis week of meetings in Luanda with regional governors, policechiefs and military commanders. Those officials are to helpco-ordinate the nationwide operation, which is expected to beginbefore the end of the year. The government wants to ensure theabout 80 000 former Unita rebel soldiers are placed in areaswhere they have access to water and farm land and where there isa police presence, officials said. The government has alsopromised them training programs and financial incentives to setup small companies. Roughly 5 000 former guerrillas are beingincorporated into the national army and 500 are joining thepolice. The rebel troops and their families are currently at 37camps across the country, where they gathered after April'sceasefire. However, a shortage of food and poor sanitaryconditions at the camps have brought hundreds of deaths, whilethousands are said to have walked out of the camps to look forfood. The United Nations says about 1.8 million people need foodaid as a result of the war, which devastated this west Africannation's economy. Three previous peace deals - in 1975, 1991 and1994 - collapsed. During four years of peace after the lastaccord, Unita secretly rearmed while handing over obsoleteweapons and the foes returned to war in 1998. The civil warbetween the government and Unita - a Portuguese acronym for theNational Union for the Total Independence of Angola - began afterthe country's 1975 independence from Portugal.
Funds for displaced people resettlement (Luanda,ANGOP, 17/10) - Angolan Governemnt has put aside 2million USD for displaced people resettlement. Angolan Governmenthas put aside two million Us dollars to support the return andresettlement of displaced people and demobilised soldiers, SocialWelfare Minister, João Baptista Kussumua, said Monday in Luanda.The minister made the announcement at the end of a meeting of theNational Commission for Social and Productive Reintegration ofwar displaced civilians and demobilised soldiers and provincialpolice commanders and military chiefs. According to JoãoKussumua, the Government wants to have the sheltering areasclosed by the end of this year, so the target groups start a newyear under a more humane condition. He said as well that inaddition to lands, water and state order to help withresettlement and restart of production in the various regions ofthe country, the Government will also provide for a number ofbenefits that include training and micro-credits. However, theminister acknowledged logistic difficulties to accommodate about700,000 displaced persons sheltered in 37 areas. He appealed tothe provincial governments to seek for immediate solutionsenabling free flow of people and goods in their regions. TheMinister also said participants analysed all the processassociated with the return of the displaced and local governorswere informed about the central Government's plan on the issue.On the occasion, the chairman of the National IntersectoralCommission for Demining and Social Assistance, Santana AndrePitra "Petroff", gave an account of the ongoinglandmines and explosives removal process, stating considerableprogress has been made. The meeting was attended by the Ministersof Finance, Júlio Bessa, Planning, Ana Dias Lourenço andTerritory Administration, Faustino Muteka.
Poor conditions for returning refugees (Johannesburg,Irin, 14/10) - Angolan refugees arriving from theDemocratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are staying in "verypoor conditions" in the eastern town of Luau, the World FoodProgramme (WFP) has warned. A WFP vulnerability assessment toLuau in Moxico province, which is a major transit point forrefugees returning from DRC, found that "new returnees werestaying in very poor conditions at two transit centres with noassistance from the [government's relief organisation] MINARS orhumanitarian agencies". According to the office of the UNHigh Commissioner for Refugees, around 4,000 Angolans returnedthrough Luau from DRC in the last three months. The WFP missionrecommended the establishment of a reception/transit centre forreturning refugees with basic sanitation, food and medicalassistance, introduction of a reliable registration system, andtheir nutritional screening. The mission also urgentlyrecommended targeted distribution of seeds and tools to beaccompanied with seed protection rations. Meanwhile, a joint WFPand government mission found "serious food insecurity"among residents and displaced in the diamond-rich Lunda Norteprovincial municipalities of Lucapa, Chitato and Cambulo. The"food insecurity is a result of looting of crops, restrictedaccess to land caused by the nearby ENDIAMA diamond operation, alack of seeds and tools and exorbitant prices in local markets(in some cases three times higher than those found inLuanda)", WFP said.
70,000 Angolan refugees to be repatriated from Zambia(Lusaka, Sapa-AP, 12/10) - About 70,000 Angolans whosought refuge from their country's civil war in neighboringZambia are to be voluntarily repatriated from April next year, aU.N. official said Saturday. Angola's civil war ended in Aprilafter the army killed Jonas Savimbi, leader of the rebel UNITAmovement. Zambia hosts about 280,000 refugees, most of them fromAngola. An estimated 40,000 refugees are to be sent home nextyear and a further 30,000 in 2004, said Kelvin Shimo, a spokesmanfor the U.N. High Commission for Refugees in Zambia. "We areaware that some ... refugees, despite the repatriation to Angola,may opt to remain in Zambia," Shimo said. The Zambiangovernment and the United Nations say about 11,000 Angolanrefugees who were living in western and northwestern Zambia hadalready returned home of their own accord. Angola's war beganafter it won independence from Portugal in 1975 and has left thesouthwest African country mired in an acute humanitarian crisis.The conflict drove 4 million people, about a third of thepopulation, from their homes. Aid groups say up to half a millionpeople face starvation due to the conflict.
Four million people displaced during war (Luanda,ANGOP, 10/10) - One million people died, four millionothers got displaced and the same number of families areseparated throughout the country as a result of 27 years of armedconflict in Angola, disclosed "doctors without border"non-governmental organisation. According to a report titled"Angola, after war the abandonment" released onThursday in Luanda, war in Angola was one of the longest and mostviolent in Africa after decolonization causing a completedisarticulation of the society and the communities. Doctorswithout border calls on the government and other ngos to speed upand increase emergency aids with a view to stock food and firstneed goods at displaceds` camps and sheltering areas due to therainy reason that makes difficult access to those zones. It saysthat the ngos should assist the State in total resettlement ofthe displaced people pursuant to the rules proposed by thegovernment. The document compares situation prevailing insheltering zones during the last months of war in the country andthe current one, publishing peoples` statements with report onviolence particularly against women. Doctors without border hasbeen working in Angola for 19 years.
Over 70,000 displaced return home (Ndalatando, ANGOP,09/10) - More than 70,000 war displaced people shelteredin Angola's Kwanza-Norte Province Wednesday started to go back totheir areas of origin under a local government's programme. Thedisplaceds will be carried on particular lorries freighted by thelocal authorities that also provided them with working tools,seeds, food and clothes that will be distributed to thepopulation in their localities. A government source told Angopthat some 10,000 displaced people have already returned homefreely since April.
Over 500,000 displaced persons return home (Luanda,ANGOP, 08/10) - At least 560,000 displaced people out ofmore than three million throughout the country returned and weresettled to their areas of origin over the last five months. Theinformation was released by the office of humanitarian aidcoordination. During the period mentioned, the report from thehumanitarian aid coordination states, the pace of the displacedreturning movement sped up especially early in September, when itreached an average of 10,000 people a day. The provinces ofBengo, Bie, Huambo and Malanje recorded the highest number ofmovements. The humanitarian organisation expects that the numberof the returned resettled since the war came to an in April thisyear, may reach as many as 700,000 to 750,000 till the end ofyear, should current trends remain. Also according to the report,more than 4,000 ex-soldiers may start moving around the countryas the sheltering areas close down. Only 10 percent of thereturns is occurring under an organised plan. Most of thedisplaced are returning on their own, without any type ofassistance either from local authorities or from humanitarian aidagencies, the source also says.
Humanitarian partners prepare inter-agencies call(Luanda, ANGOP, 04/10) - Humanitarian partners arepreparing a 2003 consolidated inter-agencies appeal for Angolathat will focus on support to return, resettlement andreinsertion of the displaced people, families of Unitaex-soldiers and other needy persons. A note from the Office ofCoordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) made available toAngop refers that the call will be launched in November thisyear. United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator, Erick de Mul, saidthat humanitarian situation in Angola prompts a urgent answer,adding that the appeal helps coordination among partners instrategies development as well as in resources mobilization."The coordination is essential and we count on the supportof all partners, both in participating in the appeal and in dailyactivities countrywide", he said. Erick de Mul underlinedthat OCHA intends to assist Angolans as they come back home andresume their daily activities but added that it is necessaryengagement of all under a leadership of the government. Besidesfinancial constraints, he said, there are logistic problems, suchas transportation of goods to assist isolated areas due to theexistence of broken bridges. The humanitarian agencies havecalled for this year, initially, a 233 million US Dollars aid andin August it was revised and increased to 292 million owing tothe rise of vulnerable people that would be assisted followingthe April 4 ceasefire agreement. By the end of September 49 percent of the revised appeal had been funded and over 148 millionUS Dollars are still to be financed. The inter-agenciesconsolidated call is a document elaborated in consultation amongthe government, national and foreign non-governmentalorganizations and donors.
Angolans piece together shattered families (IOL,03/10) - The civil war in Angola has come to an endafter 27 years of fighting. With peace starts the search formissing family members. Maria Pedro, 16, slowly walks down thesteps of the aircraft marked with the well-known logo of theInternational Committee of the Red Cross. Three years earlierMaria Pedro had been abducted by Unita rebels and she hasn't seenher hometown, her house or her family since then. That day, in1999, she was home alone in her uncle's house, recovering frommalaria. After a period of sporadic fighting, the civil warbetween Unita and the government in Luanda had once againescalated to a full-scale warfare a year earlier. When her unclereturned from work that day he found the house empty. He didn'tthink he would see his little girl again. Maria Joaquim, 11, isjust a few steps behind Maria Pedro. A bit more insecure, a bitmore hesitant but still determined. Maria Joaquim fled from thefighting together with her sister in 1995. But the two wereseparated and she ended up in a Catholic orphanage in Luanda."But I remember our house, it was a small house, and when Istayed with the nuns I wrote stories about my family. I've missedthem very much," she had said earlier that day. We havetravelled to M'banza-Congo, northern Angola. During the longcivil war some four million people fled their homes and bothUnita and the government sealed the front-line to the best oftheir abilities. Contact between families across the firing linewas almost impossible. And as the weapons fell silent in thebeginning of this year, the bitter reality could no longer beignored. Tens of thousands of persons were missing and a tracingprocess begun which has become a mammoth task conducted by bothinternational and local organisations. Most of the missingpersons are likely to be dead. But even so, families are beingreunited almost every week. As they were in M'banza-Congo a fewweeks ago.. Before the two young Marias descending the steps fromthe Red Cross aircraft has even set foot on the tarmac of theairstrip, a pick-up with family members makes an abrupt halt infront of the plane. With tears streaming down her cheeks, theolder of the two, Maria Pedro, throws herself into the arms ofher long -lost and beloved uncle. The next to enfold her in hisarms is her brother. Reunions are an emotional affair - wherepure joy can also be muddied by a pinch of uncertainty. For theyounger Maria Joaquim, who was only a toddler when she last sawher brother and sister, the rush of feelings is almost too muchto handle. With a shy and quiet voice she says: "I feelgood, but I am not happy." This is the place where she wasborn, these are her roots and to be reunited with her brother waswhat she wanted most of all. But the young girl has also left herfriends at the orphanage. She has left a life of clean drinkingwater, television and electricity. "But I am so happy, ithas been so many years. I used to pray and plead in the name ofGod, that I would one day see my sister again," says MariaJoaquim's sister, Josefina Caterina. Driving her back to the homeshe has not seen for so long, Maria Pedro's uncle, Jean Longo,waves happily to everyone he knows. Finally Maria has come home."I was demoralised, I never counted on seeing my little girlagain. I thought she was dead. And it wasn't until yesterday thatthe Red Cross came to me and said they'd found her. Without themI would never have found her. I am so grateful, sograteful," Longo says. "This is a big day and we mustcelebrate. But it is also a difficult day. Maria must go toschool now and I want to give her a proper education. She is soyoung." "When I was in the bush I always dreamt aboutmeeting my family again, but I was alone and far away. Even if Ihad escaped I would have got lost on the way. I never thoughtthat I would meet them again. But I am very happy now," saysMaria Pedro as she finally reaches the house from which she wasabducted three years ago. Exactly how many are missing after thewar is impossible to say. Caspar Landolt, communications delegateat the ICRC in Angola doesn't want to give a more precise figurethan "tens of thousands". "We have registered morethan 500 unaccompanied children in our data bank. So far 50 ofthem have been reunited with their families. We have access toall municipalities through the national Red Cross with whom wecollaborate in our tracing programme," Landolt says. It'sFriday afternoon in Luanda on Largo da Independencia -Independence Square. Hundreds of people are waiting patiently totake their turn in front of the TV-camera. On a board behind theTV-team, about six thousand names are listed. Names of missingpersons. One by one, those in the queue step forward and have 20seconds to tell the TV-reporter who they are, who they arelooking for and where this person was last seen. Every week themessages are broadcast on radio and television through aprogramme called Nação Coragem (Courageous Nation). Sometimesreunions take place spontaneously at the square, and for many theTV-cameras have become the last hope of finding their lost lovedones. But the hopes of many will be raised, only to be dashedagain or to remain forever unfulfilled. Domingas Antonio, 45,holds a grainy photo in black and white of a young man, her sonValentin. "Last time I saw him was in 1993. It was a Sundayafternoon and he was going to see some friends. He never cameback. He was 18 years old and I don't know if he was captured, ifhe went to the army or if he is dead."
Number of Namibian returnees diminishing (BOPA, 21/10)- The number of Namibians refugees who volunteer toreturn to their country has been diminishing because of maliciousreports of the repatriation exercise by some in the news media.Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri, Botswana's High Commissioner toNamibia, told a gathering to mark the end of the secondrepatriation exercise at Ngoma in the Chobe District last weekthat 1 300 Namibia refugees still live at Dukwe Refugee Camp.Matlhabaphiri said the governments of Botswana and Namibia havebeen transparent on the repatriation exercise. On Thursday, 206Namibians, instead of 259, went back home through the Ngomaborder gate. A total of 490 Namibians should have left for theircountry but only 418 did. To enhance transparency, Matlhabaphirisaid, the two government invited the would-be returnees and somejournalists to visit the area where the refugees would beresettled. He criticised the private press for what he termedmalicious reporting on the issue of the repatriation of theNamibia refugees from Dukwi. Last week, Mmegi, one of Botswana'sweeklies, carried what Matlhabaphiri said was insufficientinformation on the repatriation, after it interviewed a returneebut no the officials involved in the exercise. "If some ofthese people take up this papers in the camps they willdefinitely believe what they read about Namibia," he said."As I say we are not very discouraged but we are not hundredpercent happy because of the negative reporting which we thinkled to two families of nine and five deciding at the last minutewithdrawing their decision to be repatriated. With the assistanceof UNHCR we had thought that the exercise will be completed bythen end of March next year." This is a voluntaryrepatriation and if people would not volunteer there is nothingthat the government can do and those staying in the camp will beregarded as refugees, he said. Francis Olayayiwola, a fieldofficer for United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)in Namibia, asked the press to be positive and verify factsbefore publicity to more precise. Olayayiwola said, however thatUNHCR hope more refugees will opt to go home. He saidrepatriation is a durable solution.
Economy in hands of foreigners, claims trade union(BOPA, 15/10) - It is time that government redressed thesituation whereby the economy of Botswana is in the hands offoreigners, David Mogapi, the secretary general of the BotswanaWholesale Furniture and Retail Workers Union (BWFRWU), said inGaborone on Saturday. Speaking at the union's meeting, Mogapisaid most companies deny their workers severance pay and otherterminal benefits. Mogapi said the government should act speedilyon such issues because Batswana were being denied their rights.He called on employees of wholesalers, furniture dealers andretailers to unite and speak with one strong voice. He said theworkers have the right to be listened to by their employers forthe sake of productivity that would benefit both of them. Mogapiurged the unionists to maintain the spirit of oneness in order toget maximum results and that unionism is every employee's right.He added that it is imperative that employers reward theiremployees according to how the workers performed as this couldboost productivity. He said the union as a representative of theemployee is campaigning against unfair dismissals, poor workingconditions, unpaid sick leave and overtime as well as paidmaternity leave. John Matlhasela, one of the union's officials,said some employers oppress their employees because theDepartment of Labour and Social Security is too lax on takenaction against the oppressors. Matlhasela said some labourdisputes, including unfair dismissals, have been pending at thedepartment for a long time.
Botswana government probes abuse allegations againstZim (The Sunday Mirror, 13/10) - The Botswana governmentwill institute investigations into allegations that its lawenforcement authorities are subjecting Zimbabwean visitors andimmigrants to severe beatings and other forms of ill treatment,the Botswana High Commissioner in Harare said last week. TheBotswana High Commissioner, Cecil Manyeula pledged to act afterthe Zimbabwean state-controlled media carried extensive reportsof alleged brutality and human rights abuses on Zimbabweanvisitors by Botswana authorities. After the reports, Manyeulaimmediately held a meeting in Bulawayo with Obert Mpofu thegovernor for Matabeleland north province, which covers westernZimbabwe. He was accompanied by an unnamed senior Batswanaimmigration official. The High Commissioner confirmed in apost-meeting interview that his government would investigate theclaims after which a proper response would be made. He did notdisclose more details. The reports in the state-controlled medialast week claimed that the Special Support Group (SSG), army andpolice routinely rounded up and assaulted Zimbabweans visiting orliving illegally in Botswana. In reports also carried in itssister papers countrywide, Chronicle, a Bulawayo-based dailywrote in its issue of Wednesday last week that Zimbabweans, somewith proper travel documents were being deported fromBotswana while female travellers alleged sexual abuse. The papersplashed front-page pictures of deportees bearing fresh wounds,allegedly inflicted on them after beatings by law enforcementagents in Botswana, in a story under a screaming headline, -Extreme Brutality. According to the newspaper, the Batswanaauthorities told deportees to Go back to Zimbabwe andtill your land. Botswana is a favoured destination forthousands of hard-up Zimbabweans who are fleeing economichardships at home. Thousands of others are flying to the UnitedStates, Australia, Canada or the United Kingdom daily as economicproblems, marked by shortage of basic commodities, high prices,unemployment and low wages deepen. Scores of other Zimbabweanstravel to South Africa. Thousands of informal Zimbabweancross-border traders travel between Zimbabwe and Botswana throughFrancistown in droves to conduct business in various commodities.On the other hand large numbers of Batswana shoppers routinelytravel to and from Zimbabwe and scores of Batswana students arestudying at colleges in Zimbabwe, mainly in Bulawayo, the secondlargest city. According to figures obtained from immigrationofficials at Plumtree border post, a total of 18 000 illegalZimbabwean immigrants were deported from Botswana last year, upfrom 11 000 the year before. However, in the same stories,Zimbabwe High Commissioner to Botswana, Zenzo Nsimbi said whilesome of the reports were true, the majority were false. Heacknowledged that a significant number of Zimbabweans living inBotswana were illegal immigrants. At the same meeting inBulawayo, Manyeula suggested the formation of a regional spatialdevelopment initiative, which he said, might be instrumental inresolving such immigration problems and increase co-operationbetween the two neighbouring countries. Zimbabwe already hassimilar cross-border co-operation initiatives with Zambia andSouth Africa.
Stop selling land to foreigners, says Cabinet minister(BOPA, 29/10) - A Cabinet minister has warned Choberesidents to stop selling land to foreign nationals. Lands andhousing minister Margaret Nasha said some Batswana often soldtheir plots after they were allocated to them. She urged Choberesidents to preserve land for the future generation and adhereto the Land Act provisions. Earlier, a village developmentcommittee (VDC) spokesperson spoke about a resident of Kasane whoowned 15 plots while other people were waiting to be allocatedland. Minister Nasha promised to investigate the issue, observingthat because some people had realised that the law had loopholesthey even sold their fields secretly. She added that her ministrywas in the process of amending the law. "Not many foreignerscome to Botswana and go back because they found that some peopleare easily led astray for peanuts; a land like the one closed tothe bank of the river is valued by almost everybody and should betreasured," she said. The minister is touring the country,explaining new land board election rules. She said the changeswere necessary because land boards controlled 70 per cent of theland in Botswana. The terms of the new guidelines are that whenthe time of election draws near adverts shall be made through theradio and newspapers and interested parties would then apply tothe secretary of the selection committee. Election of 15 capablecandidates shall be by secret ballot and aspirants should bebetween 26 and 65 years old with no criminal record. Voters shallbe 18 years old and above. Residents applauded Minister Nasha,saying the new system was better because under the old systempeople used to lobby for their favourite candidates. A residentof Satau also suggested that government should start buildingflats to create space for other people. In response, the ministersaid government had already embarked upon the system of buildingflats. She also said her ministry was in the process of"amending the law to ensure people do not sell landallocated to them". Nasha promised residents she would talkto the surveys and lands department so the incident that tookplace at Plateau in Kasane where people were allocated land,which was not serviced, did not recur. North West DistrictCouncil chairperson Luckson Sankwasa told the minister that Chobehad no subordinate land board. As a result, people had beenchoosing in their various villages who should represent them onthe land board committee.
Extreme brutality (The Chronicle, 2/10) - Xenophobiaagainst Zimbabweans in Botswana has reached alarming levels amidallegations that locals are being brutally assaulted andsubjected to dehumanising and humiliating treatment byauthorities in that country. Zimbabweans are also being deporteden masse from Botswana and told never to set foot in Gaborone orrisk being thrown in jail. Their crime they votedPresident Mugabe into power and assisted theGovernment to take land from whites. Go andtill your land. What do you want in Botswana when you have takenland from whites? they are repeatedly asked by the Botswanapolice who now conduct regular hunts to flush out Zimbabweans.Zimbabwean crossborder traders, shoppers, immigrants andtravellers this week revealed gross human rights abuses by lawenforcement agents in Botswana. While male travellers andimmigrants complained of brutal assaults at the hands ofBotswanas notorious Special Support Group (SSG), army andpolice, female immigrants related harrowing tales of demeaningsexual abuse. They said they are stripped naked, losing theirmoney and other valuables to the police, some of whom demand sexfrom Zimbabwean illegal immigrants to save you fromjail. Others accused male officers of indecently assaultingthem. They put their hands into our undergarments and touchour private parts during searches. Body searches on femaleimmigrants are done by male officers, especially the SSG, whichat times strips us naked, said an 18yearold femaleinterviewed in the border town of Plumtree yesterday. Someofficers demanded sex from female border jumpers, she said.Botswana has intensified its drive to rid the country ofZimbabweans. Thousands of Zimbabweans have been flushed out ofBotswana this year. Entry requirements for locals into Botswanahave also been tightened. Diplomatic sources in Gaborone saidBotswana had tacitly declared war on Zimbabweans in the country a scenario which was likely to strain relations betweenthe two nations. Zimbabweans are being rounded up on adaily basis. They are being sent naked into prison cells wherethey are denied food for weeks. The beatings are severe inprisons. Authorities take their money. Roadblocks have alsobeen set up all over the country to fish out Zimbabweans. Thereis open hatred for Zimbabweans here, the sources said. TheOfficer Commanding Matabeleland South, Senior AssistantCommissioner Casper Khumalo said he had received complaints ofassaults from Zimbabwean immigrants and had taken them up withBotswana authorities. We are always receiving thesecomplaints. We have raised them in liaison with Botswanacounterparts. They promised us that they will investigate thereports, he said. Police in Plumtree said yesterday morethan 18 000 Zimbabweans had been deported from Botswana lastyear, up from 11 000 in 2000. A total of 2 711 Zimbabweans weredeported in August this year compared to 1182 deportees duringthe same period last year. The figure represents an increase of129 percent, police said. "This year's figures are likely tobe much higher than any other year. We are receiving on average,five to six big trucks of immigrants everyday. It's reallyappalling because some of them have proper papers and passports.It seems they (Botswana authorities) are just randomly roundingup Zimbabweans," a police source said. Zimbabweanimmigrants, travellers and crossborder traders who spoke toChronicle in Plumtree yesterday accused the country's HighCommissioner to Botswana, Cde Zenzo Nsimbi of turning a blind eyeto their complaints, a charge the top diplomat vehemently denied."We are always receiving these allegations from Zimbabweans.But these people do not bring concrete evidence of abuse to us."We have also established that some of their allegations arefalse. Some Zimbabweans commit crimes and then come to us tocomplain of abuse. We obviously cannot assist such people,"said Cde Nsimbi in a telephone interview from Gaborone.
But the immigrants alleged that the country's embassy inGaborone was ineffective and mum about the issue. "We havegone to them with evidence of beatings and torture. We havewounds to prove that. We also have people whose goods, money andbelongings have been seized by the police and the SSG," saida man from Bulawayo. Chronicle yesterday witnessed thedeportations of more than 100 Zimbabweans from Botswana. Thedeportees, looking emaciated and shabby, were transported in fivetrucks by Botswana authorities. In interviews at Plumtree PoliceStation, the deportees complained of beatings, sexual abuse andbeing denied food. Said Mr Wilbert Ngwenya (28) of Bulawayo:"The SSG came to my house in Francistown at night. Theybulldozed their way into the house and started beating me up. Myneighbours also joined and beat me with fists and booted feet."The SSG had sjamboks and sticks. They were ruthless andtold me to go back to your (President) Mugabe in Zimbabwe".Another deportee, Mr Morgan Mpofu (27) said: "During thecourse of the beatings, they will be telling us to go back toZimbabwe where we are chasing away whites. They say we willstarve because we can't farm and are chasing whites". MrThandazani Maphosa (20) of Bulawayo said he had been detained atGerald Prison outside Francistown for three days without food."I was on the verge of passing out due to hunger when asympathetic officer gave me a sandwich. The treatment we receivein Botswana is dehumanising," he said. More than 20 of thedeportees who were among the group flushed out yesterday hadpassports. "We were in that country legally. They detainedus until our days (the number of days allocated to foreignvisitors at the border) had elapsed," said one deportee. Headded that once detained until after the days had elapsedBotswana immigration refuses to stamp passports. "Without anexit stamp it then becomes difficult to come back. In fact that'sthe trick they use to brand us illegal immigrants or borderjumpers,'' said a female victim from Kwekwe who was stripsearchedand lost 400 Pula. Miss Abigail Moyo (18) of Lundi Park suburb inGweru said sexual abuse of female immigrants was rife inBotswana. "The police and the SSG always force themselves onus. Some girls are released from prison after spending some timewith the authorities at their houses," she said. Meanwhile,a consortium of businessmen in Bulawayo has pledged to form anassociation to assist Zimbabwean immigrants, crossborder tradersand travellers to Botswana. The group plans to lobby theGovernment to put in place stringent entry requirements forBotswana and South African nationals to protest the illtreatmentof Zimbabweans in the two countries. "What we are saying tothe Government is that we have been too lenient to them (Botswanaand South Africa) yet they are hostile towards our people."For instance, we require visas to go to South Africa andyet South Africans have a free reign in Zimbabwe. We treat theBatswana nationals here with respect but they do not return thefavour to our people in Botswana," said Mr Charles Kaviza.Mr Bernard Choto, the managing director of Bensa Power andMechanical (Pvt) Ltd, a Botswanabased company, said it was timethe two countries' nationals treated Zimbabweans with respect."Enough is enough. Batswana and South Africans must treatZimbabweans with respect. We want to send a signal to lawenforcement agents in Botswana that if they illtreat our peoplethere, we will do the same to their nationals here. After all,Zimbabweans are developing these two nations. "We will endup having to resort to a titfortat scenario. Our association willmake sure that for every Zimbabwean harassed in Botswana or SouthAfrica, ten of these countries' nationals will face our wrathhere," he charged. Mr Tinashe Chikara, who is also behindthe formation of the new association, said the BotswanaGovernment had always been sympathetic to whites in Zimbabwe,hence the xenophobia against the country's nationals. Botswana isamong the three Southern African states named by the UnitedStates as assisting it in its plan to topple the ZimbabweanGovernment. The other two are South Africa and Mozambique. Thethree SADC states have, however, flatly denied the claims.Britain and the US have announced plans to topple Cde Mugabe.Britain has sent its elite Special Air Services commandos toSouth Africa. The SAS, which has been conducting militaryexercises with the South African National Defence Force, hasreconnoitered the Zimbabwean border in preparation for a possibleincursion into the country to "rescue" commercialfarmers. Diplomatic sources, however, say the British"evacuation" plan was a ruse to attack Zimbabwe andtopple the Government. The US, which has a large militarypresence in Botswana, has also made clear its intentions to oustPresident Mugabe.
DRC refugees flee to Burundi (Bujumbura, News24,16/10) - More than 5 000 people have fled fighting ineastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), seeking refuge inneighbouring Burundi, a local government official said onTuesday. "We've taken in more than 5 000 people since Mondaynight in the wake of the clashes," said the districtadministrator in Rugombo, 70km north of Bujumbura and across theborder from the DRC's eastern Sud-Kivu province. "People arecontinuing to flee and to take shelter in Rugombo, and thenumbers keep on going up because the fighting's still going onamong our neighbours," the administrator, JosephHavyarimana, said by telephone. Mai-Mai militia forces inSud-Kivu at the weekend took the key port town of Uvira fromrebels of the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD), who tookcontrol of much of the eastern DRC after launching an insurgencyin 1998. Uvira lies on Lake Tanganyika near the border withBurundi and is seen as a gateway to Bukavu, the Sud-Kivu capitalfurther north, and the rebel base town of Goma, chief town inNord-Kivu province on the border with Rwanda. An RCD spokespersonsaid on Tuesday that the movement was preparing to attack Uvira,after taking back three villages north of the town from theMai-Mai. "Our forces are preparing to attack Uvira,"said Jean-Pierre Lola Kisanga. "The counter-offensivelaunched on Monday allowed us to retake Sange, Luvungu andBwekera." This claim could not be independently confirmed.The RCD was backed by Rwandan soldiers until Kigali early thismonth completed the withdrawal of some 20 000 troops, leaving apower vacuum in the volatile border region. The Mai-Mai, thecollective name given to loose-knit forces of traditional huntermilitias armed in recent years with sophisticated weaponry, werein control of Uvira with their current allies, DRC Tutsis knownas Banyamulenge. In Geneva, the UN refugee agency said on Tuesdaythat the number of people who had fled to Burundi since Saturdaytotalled around 7 000 with the latest arrivals. The UN HighCommissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has sent a team to the area tocheck on the reports from Bujumbura and had on Saturday handedout basic supplies to displaced families arriving at Gatumba onthe border, its spokesperson Millicent Mutuli said. "UNHCRis extremely worried that possible fighting for Bukavu or acounter-offensive for Uvira could lead to further displacementinto Burundi which is itself fragile from years of conflict, orinto southwestern Rwanda," she said. Burundi has beengripped since 1993 by civil war between Hutu extremist rebelmovements and the Tutsi-dominated army. "RCD rebels, who hadbeen fleeing the advance of the Mai-Mai across the Rusizi plaintowards the north, have received rebel reinforcements fromBukavu, from Lodja and Lusamba, and from Goma," a rebelauthority reached in Goma said. The Mai-Mai have accused Rwandaand Burundi of sending troops to fight them via Burundianterritory. The RCD's Lola Kisanga denied this claim. The borderbetween Burundi and the DRC was closed on Tuesday morning, withno official explanation given in Bujumbura. "We're waitingto see how the situation develops and to know what the newmasters of Uvira intend," a senior interior ministryofficial told AFP, adding that a meeting between the two sideswas expected later on Tuesday. The Rwandan pullout from the DRCwas undertaken as part of a peace deal signed between RwandanPresident Paul Kagame and his DRC counterpart Joseph Kabila inSouth Africa in July. It was one of many signed since thebeginning of the year between different parties to the DRC'scomplex war, which at its height drew in seven African countries.
Another battalion of Zimbabweans returns from DRC(Harare, The Herald, 10/10) - Another battalion ofZimbabwean soldiers returned home yesterday from the DemocraticRepublic of Congo as the withdrawal of local troops from theCentral African country continues. The Zimbabwe Defence Forceshas been withdrawing its troops from the DRC since Augustfollowing the brightening of peace prospects in the mineral-richcountry. The battalion, which arrived at Manyame Air Base in theafternoon, comprised troops who operated in central DRC and inthe Kaminga and Kabala areas. Senior army officers and familiesof the soldiers thronged the air base to welcome the troops. Thecommander of 2 Brigade, to which the battalion belongs, BrigadierGeneral Herbert Chingono said the group was the first to bedeployed in the DRC at the height of the war in 1998. But it wasunfortunate that it was among the last to return home, he said.Brig General Chingono applauded the battalion for its work and injoint operations with other forces. "We are happy with thediscipline our guys demonstrated and we understand that the enemyrespects us and our achievements," Brig General Chingonosaid. He said the situation in the war ravaged DRC was now normalas evidenced by enemy troop withdrawals. "Our soldiers havedemonstrated that they are a force to reckon with in the world.They demonstrated their competence and have heightened ourspirits," he said. He added that despite some logisticalproblems in operations with other forces, they achieved theirgoals. "We encountered few logistical problems but we arehappy that the Government was always helping us," said BrigGeneral Chingono. The soldiers said they were happy to be backhome and to meet their relatives and friends. "We managed toshow the enemy that we are stronger than them. "I am veryhappy to meet my family after four years in the bush,"Warrant Officer Class One Tofara Chigogo said. Major EdwardNdlovu said he was proud to be part of the forces that havebrought peace in the DRC. "Our presence in the DRCestablished that Zimbabwe is a force to reckon with on thecontinent," said Major Ndlovu. Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angoladeployed troops in the DRC in 1998 in response to a distress callby that country following a Rwandan and Ugandan-backed invasion.Peace is beckoning in the country following the signing of peaceagreements between DRC, Uganda and Rwanda under which the latterhave undertaken to withdraw their forces.
DRC refugees reluctant to go home (The Daily News,01/10) - The planned repatriation from Zimbabwe ofthousands of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)has hit a snag, with many of them refusing to move until theirsecurity is assured. Last week more than 400 DRC nationals atTongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge told the DRC Ambassador toZimbabwe, Mwanananga Mwawapanga, that they could only berepatriated if their security concerns were addressed. There areabout 4 500 DRC refugees in Zimbabwe. About 410 are at Tongogaracamp while the rest are scattered in different cities and towns,either working or studying. Mwawapanga confirmed most of the DRCnationals were reluctant to be repatriated. "It is true thatmost people are reluctant to go back," he said in aninterview in Mutare, where he was meeting the city's businesscommunity. "But what I told them was that they shouldprepare themselves to return because the peace process is inprogress. "But they said before they could go back they wantspecific assurances that they will be safe," Mwawapangaadded. The DRC nationals are wary about their security when theyreturn home following a peace deal sealed in South Africa twomonths ago that also includes the departure of foreign troops.Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia, who joined the war in support ofthe DRC government, are pulling out their troops. Rwanda, Burundiand Uganda, who backed the rebels, have started a phased trooppullout from the DRC under United Nations supervision. Thewithdrawal of foreign troops, seen as a prerequisite for alasting peace in the Great Lakes region, has prompted the DRCgovernment to encourage its nationals in foreign countries toreturn home. Most of the refugees are from provinces in easternDRC such as South Kivu, North Kivu, Maniema and Northern Katanga,which were occupied by Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi. "Therefugees told the ambassador in no uncertain terms that theywould not go back to their country," said one source. TheDRC nationals are said to be worried about ethnic conflicts,particularly in the north-eastern region, where the Hema arelocked in a bitter war with the Lendu. An official of the UN HighCommission for Refugees in Zimbabwe said: "I am aware of themeeting between the DRC ambassador and the refugees but I do nothave details." The refugees fled to Zimbabwe after Rwandaand Uganda-backed rebels invaded the DRC in a bid to topple theKinshasa regime. Namibia and Angola joined the war on the side ofthe regime of the late Laurent Kabila, while Rwanda, Burundi andUganda supported the rebels.
Canadian firm fined in Lesotho bribery case (Maseru,The Natal Witness, 29/10) - The Lesotho High Court finedCanadian engineering firm Acres International more than U.S.$2million on Monday in a landmark case for bribery in a major waterproject in the kingdom. Acres said it is "disturbed anddismayed" by the fine, adding the same charges weredismissed by the World Bank after a comprehensive investigation.Judge Mahapela Lehohla said: "The court wants to send aclear message that companies wanting contracts should not eventhink of taking a risk in trying to bribe officials." Thejudgment and fine are landmark decisions, according to FionaDarroch, a London-based barrister attending the trial on behalfof several international non-governmental organisations."This is entirely unprecedented. This has not happenedanywhere else in Africa as far as we know," she said. TheOntario-based company was fined for its part in bribing MasuphaSole, the former head of the Lesotho Highlands DevelopmentAuthority, through an agent from 1991 to 1998. "In my viewheavy sentences are needed when bribery and corruption have beendetected," Lehohla said. He slammed Acres, saying thatcomments by some of its senior officials, who said the trialhighlighted the risk Canadian companies ran when doing businessin a country like Lesotho, were nothing short of"contempt". "There is a total absence of remorse.All that Acres appears to regret was that it was caught,"Lehohla said. A lawyer involved in the trial, who asked not to benamed, said: "The prosecution thinks we are guilty and weremain convinced that we are not." Acres was found guilty ontwo counts of bribery last month for paying money to Sole throughits agent, Zalisiwonga Bam, who received over 680 000 Canadiandollars (U.S.$436 000). Sole received 60% of that amount and Bam,who died in 1999, took 40%. Lehohla fined Acres 22 million maloti(U.S.$2,2 million). In his judgment, he said Acres paid Solethrough intermediaries to secure lucrative contracts for theconstruction of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, whichsupplies water to SA and generates electricity. Lehohla thinksAcres is the first international company to be convicted ofbribing an official. "The amount is staggering and greatharm has been done to Lesotho." Sole was sentenced to 18years in jail in June for taking bribes of over U.S$1 millionfrom international consultants and contractors in Britain,Canada, France, Germany and the U.S. Other cases are pendingagainst multinationals. Guilty verdicts are likely to jeopardiseparticipation in projects financed by institutions such as theWorld Bank and the International Monetary Fund, but Lesotho'sdirector of public prosecutions said: "We are planning toprosecute all of them."
Prime Minister declares war on crime (Mopheme News,5-12/10) - With crime deepening further the claws ofpoverty and hunger in the country and also brewing conflicts thatresults to deaths in the villages, Prime Minister Mosisili hascome very strongly against criminals, especially stock thieves,promising the nation that govent will stamp out crime completely.During his address at Pitseng lat week, Mosisili was above theusual political pep talk and even refused to read from a writtenspeech saying he wanted to talk from his heart. Hesurprised many as he mingled no words even repeatedly using somevery strong language against the criminals, asking forforgiveness from the nation for having to use such strong words.Mosisili said crime breeds instability and lack of peace addingthat Lesotho is faced with a crisis of unprecedented high wave ofcrime which government has declared war against, especiallystocktheft, which has left many communities destitute. OurLesotho has turned against us. She is no more a country of peacewhere we could move and sleep freely without fear. All these area result of a cloud of crime in all its forms that hangs over us.Peoples livestock, food and money are unlawfully seized bycriminals. Vehicles are hijacked at gunpoint; houses are burgled;women, old people and children are harassed and abused. At theworkplace there is corruption and public property is seizedfraudulently, he said. He indicated that, during the pastgeneral elections campaign, his party (LCD) promised to stamp outand uproot crime in all its forms. He disclosed that governmentwas planning to strengthen the work of the Lesotho Mounted PoliceService in order to the restore the waning public confidence inthe police force and bring back its integrity and dignity.
Favouritism for Asian Malawians, charges MP (TheNation, 28/10) - Rumphi East MP Dindi Gowa Nyasulu(Aford) has asked Minister of Home Affairs to investigateimmigration officers over what he described as discrimination inthe way they issue passports. Making his contribution toPresident Muluzi's opening speech of the 36th session ofParliament two weeks ago, Nyasulu said he was disappointed thatMalawians of Asian origin were favoured over indigenousMalawians. "Real Malawians suffer so much to get passports,waiting for months if. not years, while Malawians of Asian originget them in a matter of hours. This is extremely unfair,"lamented Nyasulu. He said some immigration officers takedeliberately too long to process the passports in order to getbribed. 'They deliberately create complexities in the system sothey should get palm oiled. But how many poor Malawians canafford to part ways with K4,000 as a passport fee and still spareanother amount to bribe someone just to do his job?" queriedNyasulu. His views were echoed by Mzimba West MP Loveness Gondwe(Aford) who said she has been receiving complaints from herconstituents that immigration officials demands bribes rangingbetween K1 ,000 to K2,000 to process their passports. "Thisis extremely unfortunate," said Gondwe. Deputy FinanceMinister Phillip Bwanali challenged Gondwe to provide evidence onwhat she was talking about. Gondwe hit back: "I have triedseveral times to catch these unscrupulous immigration officers,but I have failed, That is why I join my Rumphi East colleaguethat the Minister of Home Affairs should investigate thisissue."
Mauritius wants cooperation with Angola in textilesand tourism (ANGOP, 04/10) - Mauritius is seeking tocooperate with Angola in the fields of textiles and tourism amongothers in a process meant to finding solutions to some of theproblems facing the two countries. This was announced Friday inLuanda by Mauritius foreign minister Anil Gayan in an interviewto Angop. According to the minister Mauritius is exploringavenues of cooperation with Angola "in some fields where wehave a comparative advantage", now that peace has come backto Angola. "We are looking forward to finding ways whereAngola and Mauritius can work together to try to solve some ofthe problems all our counties face", he said. Anil Gayan,was in Luanda attending the works of the 22nd Summit of SADCheads of state and government that closed on October 3. As forAngola role in SADC community building, Minister Gayan expressedbelief that because Angola has a lot of experience in conflictresolution adding to the return of peace to the country,President Dos Santos will be able to give a sense of direction toSADC so that it becomes a leading reality. Although Angola has alot of domestic problems, "I am sure that President DosSantos will be able, together with other heads of state, to givea sense of direction to SADC", he said. There is no countryin SADC that has no domestic problems, he noted. With regard tothe results of the summit itself he said it has been a "verysuccessful one". In the view of the Mauritian Minister thefact that most heads of state were present shows commitment tothe community. "I believe that all the heads of state whoattended the summit are committed to making integration in theregion their priority. This summit has been a tremendoussuccess", he said. He acknowledged that in the next fewyears the region needs to address the issue of poverty as, hesaid, in the spite of all the immense resources the SADC haspoverty is still a big problem. "The region has the problemof HIV/AIDS which is decimating the population in many of theSADC countries. These are very urgent tasks that we need toaddress. "Of course there are problems of food security andfamine but the problem of poverty and AIDS are to be tackled. ifwe can tackle those two then there will be more hope for the manymillions who are looking to the community to get a betterlife", he stressed.
Mauritius Freeport has many incentives (Johannesburg,Business Day, 01/10) - The Mauritius Freeport Authorityone of Africa's most successful free-trade zones will again beusing Saitex as a platform to the rest of the continent.Established a decade ago, the Mauritius Freeport is a customsduty-free trade zone that enables companies to import goods forexport to different markets. Organisations can set up adistribution and marketing base in the Freeport and make use ofan integrated logistics platform for their trading activities.Companies operating in the Freeport have the benefit of a widerange of incentives, including corporate tax incentives;dividends not taxable; duty-free import of goods raw materialsand equipment; free repatriation of profits; 100% foreignownership; access to offshore banking facilities and a reducedtariff on port and handling charges. The Mauritius FreeportLogistics Platform comprises specialised infrastructure thatembraces warehouses for dry goods, cold-room facilities, businesscentres, processing centres for carrying out value-addedactivities and an exhibition centre for the marketing of productsin the region. It is situated close to the seaport and airport.Freeport Act 2001 allows companies to carry out a wide range ofactivities in the Freeport. Typical activities includewarehousing and storage; breaking bulk; sorting, grading,cleaning and mixing; minor processing and simple assembly;ship-building and repairs; storage, maintenance and repairs ofempty containers; quality control and inspection services;freight forwarding services; export; reexport as well as airportand seaport- based activities.
Nampula governor expresses concern over refugee centre(Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, Maputo, 31/10) - Thegovernor of the northern Mozambican province of Nampula, AbdulRazak Noormahomed, has expressed serious concern over conditions,mainly for accommodation, in the Maratane refugee centre, a fewkilometres outside Nampula city, reports Thursday's issue of theMaputo daily paper "Noticias". Razak described thecurrent pace at which resources are being channelled to thecentre as "slow and inadequate", and called upon theUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to speedit up, in order prevent an increase in instability among theinmates. He said that the current troubled atmosphere at Maratanemay worsen in the coming few days if urgent measures are nottaken. The centre is expected to receive a further 1,500refugees, transferred from the Bobole centre in Maputo province,which will add to the existing problems. Razak noted that about30 new refugees are arriving in Maratane every day. The localpolice is also facing serious shortages in terms of vehicles andstaff, which hampers their performance. Refugees from the GreatLakes region were recently involved in ethnic skirmishes atMaratane, and some of those involved are now under policecustody. They bring such ethnic problems from their countries oforigin, and conflicts have been occurring systematically. TheUnited States Embassy donated about 26,000 US dollars to financemicro-projects in the centre three months ago, but this money hasnot yet reached the beneficiaries.
Liberian refugees detained in Maputo (Maputo, Agenciade Informacao de Mocambique, 26/10) - The Mozambicanpolice on Wednesday detained two Liberian refugees in Maputo, andaccused them of attempting to swindle cizens with claims thatthey could turn scraps of paper into US dollar bills. TheLiberians, named as Chapae Gatar and Victor Jossoale, had beenliving at the refugee centre at Bobole, some 30 kilometres northof the capital. But when they were caught they had moved into asmall Maputo hotel. Police found them in possession of a boxcontaining a large number of rectangular slips of paper, bearingsome resemblance to US dollars. The two conmen had persuadedgullible citizens that they were sorcerers, with magical powersto transform worthless scraps of paper into real dollars - for aprice, of course. Anyone who fell for this line had to pay inadvance - and the fee was several million meticais (at currentexchange rates, 2.4 million meticais is worth about 100 dollars).The Liberians would set a date and a place for their victims toreturn and collect the vast amount of dollars promised. And,naturally, when they turned up at the agreed place, there was nosign of the Liberians. Maputo police spokesman Jacinto Cunawarned that this sort of con-trick is becoming more common, andhe urged citizens to take due precautions before accepting suchsuspiciously profitable deals.
Mozambican biologists to train in Cuba (Havana,Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, 27/10) - Mozambicanbiologists are preparing to travel to Cuba to take part inspecialist courses at the Cuban Centre for Genetic Engineeringand Biotechnology, according to Mozambique's Deputy HealthMinister, Aida Libombo. Libombo, who is accompanying PrimeMinister Pascoal Mocumbi on an official visit to Cuba, told AIMthat the preparations to send two Mozambican biologists to Cubaare now well advanced. On Friday the Mozambican delegationvisited the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Centre, andLibombo said she was very impressed. She stressed Mozambique'sinterest in increasing its cooperation with Cuba, particularly inthe area of health care and training. On Saturday, Mocumbi andLibombo visited "Los Cocos", a sanitorium that treatspatients suffering from HIV/AIDS. Since 1986, 4,350 Cubans havebeen diagnosed as infected with HIV, and 1,083 of them have died.Doctors at the sanitorium told Mocumbi that the main weapon tocombat the spread of AIDS in Cuba is "political will",as well as a programme through the national health service aimedspecifically at blood donors and pregnant women.
Less than 100 Mozambican students in Cuba (Havana,Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, 24/10) - WhenMozambican Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi arrives in Cuba onThursday, for his first official visit to the island, he willfind less than 100 Mozambican students in the country, attendinghigher and mid-level education. This is a far cry from the daysof the 1980s when, on Cuba's Isle of Youth, there were entireschools solely for Mozambicans, catering for thousands ofsecondary students. Sources in the Mozambican embassy in Havanarecognise that a certain "lethargy" has overtakencooperation between the two countries in recent years. WhenPresident Joaquim Chissano visited Cuba last year, the decline inbilateral cooperation was analysed, and the blame was put on thecollapse of the Soviet bloc, on the United States' blockade ofCuba, still in force after 40 years, and on the effects of thewar of destabilisation in Mozambique. Cooperation has continued,but at a reduced level. Currently there are 60 Cuban specialistsin various areas of health working in Mozambique, and there arealso some Cuban education personnel (AIM was unable to obtain theprecise number). The two governments are also interested incooperation in sports. The Mozambican Minister of Youth andSport, Joel Libombo, visited Cuba in 2001 and signed an agreementwith his Cuban counterpart on technical assistance, and exchangeof sports information and documentation. Mocumbi is interested inextending cooperation into other areas, including tourism, thesugar industry and fisheries. The Prime Minister believes thatMozambique can learn from the Cuban experience in tourism,notably the island's ability to attract tourists from Europevirtually all year round. Cuba's vast experience in sugar mayalso be a fruitful area fur business cooperation between the twocountries, given that Mozambique's sugar production is nowrecovering, and around 300 million dollars have been invested inMozambique's four functioning sugar companies in the last fewyears.
Mozambique reports tension at border with Zimbabwe(Maputo, Sapa-AFP, 24/10) - Zimbabwe troops deployedalong the border with Mozambique are randomly arresting andmistreating Mozambicans, Mozambique state radio reportedThursday. "The situation has worsened after Zimbabwereinforced the frontier with inexperienced soldiers," aborder official from central Mozambique, Vasco Marriquele toldstate radio. Zimbabwe has stepped up its presence along theborder and accuses cross-border traders of aggravating a foodcrisis in the country by buying up scarce commodities. Theofficial told Radio Mozambique the Zimbabwean troops confiscatedgoods and arrested and beat up Mozambicans. He said some of themwere detained for days or weeks.
Zimbabwean troops arrested in Mozambique (TheStandard, 20/10) - Mozambican police have over the lastmonth arrested scores of Zimbabwean soldiers for looting goodsfrom border jumpers, as well as for harassing Mozambicannationals along the Forbes border post in Mutare, The Standardhas learnt. The Standard is relaibly informed that soldiersmanning the border post are constantly at loggerheads withMozambican officials over the torture of Mozambican nationals bymembers of the Zimbabwe national Army (ZNA). Some of the soldiershave also been making forays into Mozambican territory where theyhave clashed with that country's authorities. Although Zimbabweanofficials denied knowledge of the arrests, a Mozambican securityofficial at Manica confirmed to The Standard on Friday that anumber of Zimbabwean soldiers had been arrested in Manica andTete for looting and illegally crossing into Mozambique."Yes we have arrested a number of your soldiers but now, Ican only give you the name of a soldier called Togara Nyika. Hehas already appeared before our courts for stealing from ourpeople on the border. Others were arrested in Tete, but I don'thave the details at hand," said the official who identifiedhimself only as James. However, Manicaland army spokesman, IsaacGoora, denied knowledge of the arrests: "We don't knowanything about that. We get information from our troops on theborder on a daily basis and we would have known of it by now. Weare also in constant communication with the Mozambican police andthey would have told us had they arrested any of our men,"said Goora. The Standard was unable to obtain comment from policein Mutare. However, reliable sources told The Standard that theconstant looting, by Zimbabwean soldiers, of goods belonging toMozambican nationals crossing the border had also irkedMozambican officials. The soldiers being arrested are part of ajoint operation launched by the police, the army and the CentralIntelligence Organisation (CIO) to clamp down on the illegalcross-border trade between Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Soldiers,police officers and intelligence officers from across the countryhave been drafted into the operation which has caused mayhem inMutare and reduced the city to a mini-military state. MutareNorth MP, Giles Mutsekwa, himself a former soldier, said theheavy presence of soldiers in the city had poisoned relationsbetween Zimbabwe and Mozambique. "They cannot militarise thecity like that. What is making it worse is that the situationdepicts a scenario that says Zimbabwe does not trust Mozambique.The presence of so many soldiers is not good for our relationswith Mozambique. They have a number of times also got intotrouble with Mozambican authorities and that is not conducive topeace. I have also received complaints from people being harassedat the border. What these people are trying to do is to just makea living and they should not be brutalised for that. "Youshould also know that people from Sofala and Manica provincesspeak the same language as Manyikas and they have intermarried sothe movement between the two countries is quite normal. It shouldnot be criminalised," said Mutsekwa. Upon capture, illegalZimbabwean and Mozambican border jumpers are taken to an armycamp in Grand Reef where they are systematically tortured. Borderjumpers who have been through the camp gave gruelling accounts ofhow they had been tortured and robbed of their goods by soldiers.Since the launch of the blitz, relations between the twocountries have soured with Mozambican officials, particularlythose from Manica and Sofala provinces, complaining ofill-treatment of their nationals. This has led to retaliatoryattacks on Zimbabweans crossing into Mozambique which has becomea no-go area for Zimbabweans. Already, two people, a Zimbabweanand a Mozambican, have died at the hands of brutal soldiers.
Mozambican, South African police fight car theft(Johannesburg, Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, 14/10) - Inthe first six months of this year, Mozambican and South Africanpolice teams recovered 150 stolen cars, with a total value of 13million rands (about 1.3 million US dollars), according to areport in the latest issue of the Johannesburg "SundayTimes". The cars were recovered in the Salamanga area, inthe far south of Mozambique, near the border with the SouthAfrican province of Kwazulu-Natal. The paper said that recoveringthese cars, stolen by organised crime syndicates, was possiblethanks to active cooperation between the two police forces. Thereport added that between November 2000 and November 2001, jointwork between the two forces led to recovering stolen vehiclesvalued at 18 million rands. The thieves tried to smuggle the carsvia Nkosi Bay, in the far north of Kwazulu-Natal, into theZitundo administrative post, in the Mozambican district ofMatutuine. The head of the South African police post on theMozambican border, Zirk Gouws, told the "Sunday Times"that, with the cooperation of the Mozambican authorities, theSouth African police had put agents on the Salamanga bridge, inthe hope of intercepting stolen cars. Vehicle theft is bigbusiness in South Africa. According to Gouws, 116,000 cars arestolen in South Africa every year, and 19,000 of these, mainlyfour wheel drive and luxury cars, are smuggled across the bordersinto neighbouring countries. Some of them are eventually sold inEurope, ending up in such countries as Portugal, Spain and Malta.Two years ago, the group "Business against Crime"launched a major investigation into the smuggling of stolenvehicles. When this group joined forces with the South Africanpolice and army, and the Mozambican authorities, it was possibleto draw up a plan aimed at ending the illegal trafficking of carsacross the border in the Nkosi Bay area. Key to this operation isthat any car that enters Mozambique here must pass over theSalamanga bridge, which crosses the Maputo river. Thus putting apolice unit on this bridge dealt an effective blow to thecriminals using this route. The police at the bridge are equippedwith computers that are linked directly to police headquarters inPretoria. With this technology, they can identify stolen carswithin a matter of minutes. Gouws said it was the Mozambicanpolice who then arrested the suspected criminals, and confiscatedthe stolen cars. The success of this operation is leading toplans to replicate it at other South African borders (withBotswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe).
Trafficking in People "highly profitable"(Maputo, Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, 10/10) - Traffickingin women and children for sexual exploitation in Southern Africais a "highly profitable business", and is difficult toidentify, because the operators "constantly change theirface" to escape the police. Jonathan Martens, of theInternational Organisation for Migration (IOM) made thisaccusation during a regional forum on trafficking in humanbeings, that ended in Maputo on Wednesday. He said that thetraffickers normally use the conventional borders, and are mostlyheading for South Africa. "All the countries in the regionmay be the destination, transit routes, or the origin, but SouthAfrica has the best conditions as the final destination, or as acountry of transit, because of its highly developedinfrastructures, particularly communications", he said.Martens argued that the main stumbling block to the fight againstthis kind of crime is the lack of specific legislation and,although it is a fast growing crime, few people are aware of it.He pointed out that another problem favouring the growth of thiskind of trafficking is that governments of the member states ofthe Southern African Development Community (SADC) have not yetestablished the fight against it as a priority, rather puttingthe stress on illegal immigration. "Illegal immigration maybe the result of trafficking in human beings. The existing lawsin the region put the emphasis on the victims, rather than on thecriminals", Martens said, calling for speedy amendments tothe laws. He noted that it is difficult to find statistics on thematter, since trafficking in humans is a "hidden"operation, involving complicated cross-border networks ofcriminals. However, he said that his organization is conductingan investigation to uncover the trafficking routes between SADCcountries. "We are trying to identify the trail of humantrafficking for sexual exploitation and prostitution. We startedin South Africa and we are advancing to other countries. We areinvolving the police, to learn of their degree of knowledge andcontact with the issue", he said. The study, which shouldtake six months, should be completed by January, since theassessment of the situation in South Africa has already beencompleted. The Maputo meeting recommended training for the policeto be able to recognise the different types of trafficking andadopt initiatives to support the victims. Participants also urgedharmonisation of legislation within SADC. "The police shouldbe helped, and one of the ways to do so is to create legislationthat allows them to act", Martens said.
German government "fully complied" withlabour agreement (Maputo, Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique,04/10) - The German government regards the dossier onthe Mozambicans who were once migrant workers in the now defunctGerman Democratic Republic (GDR) as closed A statement from theGerman embassy, cited in Friday's issue of the daily paper"Noticias", claims that all the undertakings given bythe GDR authorities, under the migrant labour agreements, were"fully complied with". Thus the demands now beingraised by the former migrants for additional payments is "aninternal Mozambican matter", the embassy said. The returnedmigrants (commonly known as "majermanes") claim thatthe government still owes them money that was deducted from theirwages in Germany and sent to Mozambique. The government hasdecided to return their social security contributions, which itworks out at a total of 7.5 million dollars, for the 11,251"majermanes" who have registered with the LabourMinistry. The former migrants say that is nowhere near enough,and some of them have even raised demands for 100 milliondollars. The embassy defends the German government's recordtowards the migrants. After the collapse of the GDR, the FederalGerman government took over its responsibilities under the 1979migrant labour agreement. It claims that it discharged theseresponsibilities fully, and never received any complaint from theMozambican authorities. The key issue, however, is not whetherthe German authorities violated the agreement - it is overexactly what amounts of money were sent to Mozambique and forwhat purposes. The versions of the government and of theMajermanes remain radically different, and the PetitionsCommission of the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of theRepublic, says it lacks the information to make any judgement onthe matter. The embassy note says that the German government canmake additional data on the payments available. "Should theMozambican government need additional information, which neitherthe Bank of Mozambique - which was responsible for financialrelations and for handling the special account opened under the1979 agreement - nor the Labour Ministry - which had a permanentdelegation in the GDR to whom the companies employing Mozambicanworkers regularly gave information on the transfer of wages - areable to supply, then the German government is willing to providethe necessary assistance", said the embassy. It also saidthat the German government had provided a considerable amount ofaid to help the reintegration of the former migrants intoMozambican society, and that some projects for German support tosmall and micro enterprises remain open for the returnees.
Mozambique/Zimbabwe joint commission to discuss bordercontrols (Maputo, Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, 07/10) - Theninth session of the Mozambique/Zimbabwe Joint CooperationCommission began in Maputo on Monday, with delegations from thetwo countries assessing the current stage of bilateralcooperation, and future prospects for improving it. According toa source in the Mozambican Foreign Ministry, the key points underdiscussion are border controls, and economic cooperation,particularly in trade, tourism and water resources. The sourcesaid that, despite the current crisis in Zimbabwe, Mozambique hasmuch to gain from cooperation with its neighbour. He claimed thatthere were "increasingly profound" relations betweenthe two countries. However, the source did not go beyondplatitudes, saying nothing about Zimbabwe's difficulty in payingfor Mozambican port and rail services, or how the Zimbabweangovernment's exchange rate policy has fuelled the smuggling ofgoods (notably sugar) into Mozambique. Monday's meeting wasbetween technical experts. On Tuesday, the foreign ministers ofthe two countries, Leonardo Simao for Mozambique, and StanMudenge for Zimbabwe, will head the talks. The last time theJoint Commission met was in Harare in 1997, when the Zimbabweaneconomy was still relatively healthy.
MIDSA workshop on trafficking in persons (Geneva, IOM,04/10) - IOM, its Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa(MIDSA) partners and the Government of Mozambique will host aworkshop on trafficking in persons in the 14 member states of theSouthern African Development Community (SADC) from 7 to 9October, in Maputo, Mozambique. With a specific focus on thetrafficking of women and children, the workshop will bringtogether the relevant governmental and intergovernmentalpartners, the United Nations Office for Drug Control and CrimePrevention (UNODCCP) the United Nations Childrens' Fund (UNICEF),INTERPOL, and NGOs. Incidents of trafficking in the SADC regionare not well documented, although preliminary data gathered byIOM suggests that trafficking, particularly for purposes ofsexual exploitation, is increasingly pervasive. South Africa,with its excellent transportation network and relative prosperityis both a destination country for trafficked women and childrenfrom its less affluent neighbours, as well as a source andtransit country for traffickers who use it as a gateway toWestern Europe, North America, and Southeast Asia. In order toraise the profile of the issue in the SADC Region, workshopparticipants will be introduced to trafficking as a globalphenomenon, with the particular vulnerability of children beingthe subject of several presentations. IOM field researchers willreport on their most recent findings of trafficking in theregion, while other presenters will focus on the legalinstruments available to combat trafficking in the region, andthe techniques used by law enforcement officials to combat theproblem. Participants will have an opportunity to apply theirknowledge during an extended break-away session in which theywill be given five hypothetical scenarios, and asked to decidewhich can be classified as trafficking situations. Of thosescenarios determined to be examples of trafficking, participantswill then be asked to come up with a series of activities foreach of the following three areas of intervention: (i)prevention,(ii)protection, (iii)return, reintegration, and/orrehabilitation. Implementing agencies will be identified tocorrespond with each activity. The timing of the Workshopcoincides with the end of the first phase of IOM's six-monthresearch assessment, during which more than 85 interviews wereconducted with government officials, NGOs, and victims oftrafficking in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, and Cape Town. Thesecond phase, set to begin following the Workshop, will take theresearchers back along the trafficking routes in the region andinto the countries of origin.
Minister insists on respect for deportees from SA(Maputo, Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, 03/10) - MozambicanInterior Minister Almerino Manhenje has insisted that only if"the human condition" of deportees is respected, willthe effects of regional integration be felt among the citizens ofthe Southern African Development Community (SADC), reportsThursday's issue of the Maputo daily paper "Noticias".Manhenje said that the human condition of deportees should berespected, even when they have been found to be illegalimmigrants. Manhenje was commenting on the attitude of the SouthAfrican police towards the Mozambican immigrants whom theyregularly deport. These Mozambicans claim that they areill-treated and are not allowed to bring any of the goods thatthey earned through their work as illegals. A trainload ofdeported Mozambicans is expected to arrive at the Ressano Garciaborder post on Thursday. Mass deportations generally happen oncea week, but for some reason none happened last week. The SouthAfrican police have been carrying out regular raids to arrestillegal immigrants, who are subsequently concentrated at theLindela prison, before deportation. In order to coordinate theseoperations and ensure humane treatment for people being deported,Manhenje said that the Mozambican government has been in touchwith the governments of the neighbouring countries. "We willremain in touch with our neighbours until adequate solutions areidentified that show a good impact of regional integration oncitizens' lives", he said. He acknowledged that the longborder between Mozambique and South Africa is vulnerable atvarious points, which makes it easy to cross the borderillegally. Manhenje said the two governments have agreed inprinciple on setting up new border posts, as has already beendone with Zimbabwe. The Maputo provincial director of Immigrationservices Mariam Omar said that 42,677 Mozambicans wererepatriated through the Ressano Garcia border last year alone,but noted that the repatriation operations have never beencoordinated between the two countries.
Angola-Namibia refugee talks (The Namibian, 29/10) - Thefate of 78 people detained at Dordabis on allegations that theywere Unita members or collaborators, is not on the agenda attalks taking place on the repatriation of Angolan refugees. Ahigh-level meeting of officials from Namibia, Angola and theUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR started inWindhoek yesterday to map out the voluntary repatriation of over20 000 Angolan refugee to their country. But Home AffairsPermanent Secretary Niilo Taapopi said the talks did not coverthose detained at Dordabis, about 100 km east of Windhoek. Therepatriation of Angolan refugees is expected to start early nextyear under a tripartite commission comprised of the UNHCR and theNamibian and Angolan authorities. "The Dordabis 78 are notpart of the (repatriation) agreement," said Taapopi. He saidthe detainees would not form part of the tripartite discussionsdespite a blanket amnesty granted to Unita rebels under aMemorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Angolangovernment and Unita in April. Nisa de Fatima, an Angolangovernment official responsible for repatriation affairs, saidthe Dordabis detainees would be dealt with at the political levelof the joint Namibian-Angolan Commission on Defence and Security.Taapopi said the Home Affairs Ministry would allow the UNHCR tocarry out an inspection to determine whether there were genuineAngolan refugees among those detained at Dordabis. "I hopewe are not going to agree to disagree. Let us form an agreementacceptable to all the parties," he said. Home AffairsMinister Jerry Ekandjo, his Angolan counterpart Joao BaptistaKasuma and UNHCR resident Representative in Namibia, HesdyRathling, are expected to sign a document this week which willpave the way for the repatriation of Angolan refugees. De Fatimasaid the agreement should be such that "the repatriation canbe carried out according to internationally acceptedstandards". "We request patience from the NamibianGovernment until we are sure that we have created the conditionfor their safe return by before the end of this year," shesaid. She said the exercise was expected to start before"the first quarter of next year".
Angola and Namibia meet over refugee repatriation (TheNamibian, 28/10) - Technical teams representing thegovernments of Angola and Namibia and the United Nations HighCommissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will meet in Windhoek today todiscuss the repatriation of Angolan refugees to their country.According to a statement issued by UNHCR on Friday, the aim is toreach an agreement on establishing a commission for the promotionof voluntary repatriation of Angolan refugees between thegovernments of Angola and Namibia as well as the UNHCR. NamibianHome Affairs Minister Jerry Ekandjo, his Angolan counterpart,Joao Baptista Kasuma, and UNHCR Resident Representative inNamibia, Hesdy Rathling, are expected to sign the final documenttomorrow.
Government urged to stem exodus of trained nurses (TheNamibian, 21/10) - Government has been urged tointroduce stringent measures to curb the loss of trained Namibiannurses who are emigrating to countries such as the United Kingdomin search of greener pastures. Deputy Minister of Justice AlbertKawana told the National Assembly last week that Namibia couldnot escape the brain drain affecting most African countries."It really pains me to know that Africa is subsidising richcountries of the North and Namibia has been adversely affected bythis trend," said Kawana. Statistics obtained from theNamibia Nursing Board (NNB) indicate that since the beginning ofthe year 125 Namibian registered nurses have left the country formore lucrative employment in Europe. However, a member of the NNBsaid that at present Namibia's nursing fraternity was notcritically affected by the departure of some nurses. She added,though, that the situation could certainly deteriorate ifGovernment did not improve nurses' conditions of service. Thereare 7 000 registered and trainee nurses in Namibian."Trained nurses from Africa are found in many hospitals inthe UK. This is politically and morally wrong. Africa isoverwhelmed by HIV-AIDS which means that we need medicalpersonnel more than any other continent on earth," Kawanasaid. The Swapo MP said he was saddened when he learned aNamibian scientist apparently worked for NASA (NationalAeronautics and Space Administration) in America. "He isleading a group of scientists for a specific project withNASA," claimed Kawana. He said African leaders shouldestablish a fund to attract home scientists who had left thecontinent for more lucrative jobs overseas. "SADC can leadthe way in this regard. We must commission a study to determinehow many African scientists are working outside the continent. Ialso appeal to our African leaders to pay adequate salaries andbenefits for the skills of the African people in order to stemthe tide," Kawana said.
Illegal immigrants expelled from Namibia (TheNamibian, 21/10) - Over 400 illegal immigrants, most ofthem Angolan nationals, appeared before an Immigration Tribunalat Ohangwena in the North on Friday. The tribunal, chaired byNamibian Police Commissioner Sebastian Ndeitunga, grantedimmigration officials the authority to deport them to theircountries of origin. The group also included a few Zambians andCongolese. Chief Immigration Officer in northern Namibia,Hiyavelwa Nambinga, told Nampa that the immigrants had beenrounded up by Police and Immigration officials in operationssince last month. He said they were arrested for entering Namibiawithout valid documents, for staying longer than the time theywere granted or for committing crimes. Angolan nationals weredeported through the Oshikango and Ruacana border posts onFriday. Arrangements are being made to deport the Zambians andCongolese this week.
Food aid for Caprivi returnees (Johannesburg, Irin,21/10) - The World Food Programme (WFP) on Monday saidit had released 52 mt of emergency food aid to 1,000 Namibianrefugees returning from Botswana. Most of the refugees haveresettled in the Caprivi region in the northeast of the country.The province has been the hardest hit by drought, with about25,000 villagers suffering the double blow of severe crop damageby wild animals. "Already 52 of the 75 mt of the food aidhas been made available for immediate distribution. Most of it ismaize meal but we have also included pulses, vegetable oil, soyablend and salt. This is expected to last for about threemonths," WFP's programme manager Abdi Rahman-Meygag, toldIRIN. The returnees were among some 3,000 Namibians who fled toBotswana in 1998 fearing a government clampdown on allegedsecessionists in the Caprivi. Following a tripartite agreementbetween the office of UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR),Namibia, and Botswana in April this year, 1,000 refugees have sofar been voluntarily repatriated. A further 400 are expected tobe repatriated in March 2003. But while the UNHCR has said thatthe returnees had settled in "nicely", the NationalSociety for Human Rights (NSHR) last week expressed concern overtheir living conditions, describing the situation as"dire". "We have systematically been monitoringthe situation of the returnees on a weekly basis and many infact, many of the returnees say they are glad to be back.However, with regards to the food and water supply, admittedlythe resources are stretched. One must remember that these peopleare returning to areas where there are people already,"UNHCR Resident Representative in Namibia, Hesdy Radhling, toldIRIN. Radhling added that the government "remained committedto addressing the situation". Under the repatriationprogramme the returnees are to be provided with reliefassistance, including adequate food, shelter, healthcare andeducation. Meanwhile, the Emergency Management Unit of the PrimeMinister's Office has begun distributing food relief to 345,000Namibians facing food shortages over the next eight months. Thegovernment has not yet requested any external assistance for thedrought operation.
Over 200 refugees return (The Namibian, 18/10) - Therepatriation of Namibian exiles from the Dukwe refugee camp inBotswana gathered momentum yesterday with the arrival of another206 people. The returnees were among thousands of Namibians whofled to Botswana alleging persecution by security forcesfollowing secessionist troubles in the Caprivi in 1998. They arebeing repatriated under a United Nations scheme. An authoritativesource at Katima Mulilo, who prefers anonymity, said the latestgroup arrived through the Ngoma Border Post at 10h30 and werereceived by Government, traditional and church leaders.Yesterday's arrivals bring the total number of people repatriatedsince the exercise started a few months ago to around 1 010. Agroup of 212 returnees returned to Namibia via the Ngoma BorderPost on Tuesday.
Repatriation of Caprivi refugees successful (SABCNews, 18/10) - An exercise to repatriate dozens ofCaprivi refugees from Botswana to Namibia has been lauded as asuccess. The last phase of the voluntary repatriation operationended today when scores of Caprivians were finally reunited withtheir families. A long journey back home has come as a relief formany who had to endure hard life in a refugee camp. They finallymade it home the Caprivi the region known for the 1999 botchedbloody rebellion led by Caprivi nationalist Mishake Muyongo. Atthe time Muyongo who is now exiled in Denmark demanded that theCaprivi region be seceded from the rest of Namibia. Human Rightgroups have raised concern about disturbing reports of continuedharassment of returnees and those who are still being tried forhigh treason. Alice Mogwe of the Botswana Centre for Human Rightssaid "During 2000 there were further reports of detaineesbeing tortured by the police during detention subsequently makingstatements and forced confessions." However, others remainhopeful that they will be allowed to be reintegrated into thegreater Namibian society. Back at the Dukwi refugee camp manyother Caprivians have refused to opt for voluntary repatriationuntil all their incarcerated leaders are released from Botswanaand Namibian prisons.
More exiled Namibians return home (The Namibian,16/10) - A group of 212 Namibians, most of them San,yesterday arrived back in the Caprivi from exile in Botswana.Caprivi Regional Governor Bernard Sibalatani, the Commissioner ofRefugees, Elizabeth Negumbo, and other senior officials receivedthe returnees at the border post at Ngoma, some 60 kilometresoutside Katima Mulilo. David Nthengwe, an information officer atthe United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR),confirmed the arrival of the refugees. Yesterday's arrivals, thethird group to return home since the exercise started severalmonths ago, brings the total number of returnees to 803."The repatriation according to the report we have received(today) was without any problem so far," said Nthengwe. Afourth group of 230 people will arrive tomorrow through the NgomaBorder Post, the UN official said. The majority of those beingrepatriated are from Cheto, Omega and Omega 3 and Bwabwata inWest Caprivi, while 38 are from the Linyanti area. People fled toBotswana, alleging harassment by security forces, following theregion's secessionist troubles. Those repatriated yesterday willbe transported to their villages today, while today's returneeswill be be taken to their home villages tomorrow, Nthengwe said.A source said the Botswana government is giving the returnees aone-month's supply of maize meal, salt, sugar, vegetable oil andkitchen sets. In a related development, the World Food Programme(WFP) has dispatched 52 tonnes of various food commodities tocover the returnees' food needs for coming months. AbdirahmanMegag, the head of the WFP in Namibia, yesterday confirmeddelivery of the food rations. He said the 52 tons dispatched tothe Caprivi two days ago were from the 75 metric tonnes donatedto the humanitarian effort. Megag said the food assistance wouldhelp the returnees "to reintegrate and to resettlewell". The rations for each returnee includes 36 kg of maizemeal and 2,7 kl of vegetable oil. They will also receive salt andsugar. The supplies are expected to last for three months. Otherassistance includes repatriation grants of N$200 for each refugee"irrespective of age", said a source close to theexercise, which is being supervised by UNHCR. They are also beinggiven shoes and travelling bags.
Dwindling resources spurring exodus to towns andcities (Oshakati, The Namibian, 16/10) - The depletionof sustainable resources in the regions has caused people toflock to towns and cities where insufficient infrastructure hasled to the growth of large informal settlements, overcrowding andincreased criminal activities. Installations and LogisticsManager of Total Namibia (Pty) Ltd Magnus Nangombe said this whenhe addressed a tree-planting promotion and award-giving functionat Owifi Combined School of Outapi Constituency in the OmusatiRegion on Saturday. Quoting estimates from the Food andAgricultural Organisation (FAO), Nangombe noted that between 1990and 1995 about 56,3 million hectares of forests worldwide weredepleted. He said the major causes of forest degradation includedthe excessive collection of firewood, overgrazing, fire,over-harvesting of timber and poor harvesting practices.According to Nangombe, Namibia's four northern regions have overthe past 30 years been subjected to severe deforestation, causingthe land surface in some places to look similar to a desert."If arable land continues to deteriorate into desert, theyields of the staple crops of these regions, such as omahangu(millet) and maize will also be severely affected and will pose aserious threat to the food security of our ruralcommunities," Nangombe. He said Total Namibia hadincorporated the environment into its corporate social investmentpolicy, which focuses on lending support to marine biodiversityconservation, the conservation of land-based biodiversity,environmental education, the conservation of natural habitats andenvironmental education for future generations. Nangombeemphasised that Total Namibia's association with the NorthernNamibia Forestry Committee (NNFC) for the past 10 years aimed topromote environmental awareness in the northern regions. Twofloating trophies, netballs and soccer balls, as well ascertificates awarded to three winning schools that took part inthe 2002 NNFC Tree Planting Promotion Competition, were sponsoredby Total Namibia.
Caprivians go home (Gaborone, News 24, 12/10) - Almost500 Namibian refugees, who fled to Botswana during unrest fouryears ago, are to be repatriated early next week, a spokespersonfor the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)said on Friday. UNHCR spokesperson Cosmas Chanda said the groupof 490 refugees, mainly women and children, would be taken homeby road. They fled an outbreak of violence in northern Namibia'sCaprivi Strip, a finger-like stretch of land sandwiched betweenZambia to the north, Botswana to the south, Zimbabwe to the eastand Angola to the west in 1999. An estimated 1 298 Namibianrefugees remained in Botswana. Earlier this week, theWindhoek-based newspaper, The Namibian, reported that an initialgroup of refugees repatriated in August were facing starvation.The National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) said about 600members, mainly from the nomadic San tribe were were "forcedto exclusively feed themselves on wild fruit, leaves, wild seedand roots". It added that other vital social services suchas education were non-existent. "The hardest hit bystarvation are pregnant women, children and the elderly," itsaid.
Namibian farmers growing uneasy (Cape Town, News 24,12/10) - As a chaotic land seizure programme plungesZimbabwe into economic ruin, white farmers in neighbouringNamibia are growing increasingly nervous. Though the Namibiangovernment says it will only acquire farms from Namibians willingto sell, President Sam Nujoma's recent statements lamenting theslow pace of land reform have raised fears he will push for amore aggressive land redistribution plan. "Our farmers areconcerned because we cannot afford a Zimbabwe situation,"said Jan De Wet, president of the 37 500 member NamibianAgricultural Union. "It is a priority of the commercialfarmers to assist the government with land reform." Morethan 70% of Namibia's 1.8 million people depend on agriculturefor a living, the vast majority of them subsistence farmers oncommunal land. Although whites form 6% of the population, theyown most of the country's 4 500 commercial farms. Many indigenousNamibians were stripped of their land under colonial rule. Whilethe government has passed legislation aimed at rectifying thepast injustices, progress has been slow and an estimated 200 000people remain landless. Last month, Nujoma told an agriculturalunion conference his government was investigating new legal waysto acquire land for resettlement because the process of findingwilling sellers was too slow, cumbersome and expensive. He saidit was unacceptable for each white farmer to own more than onefarm. "The deliberate practice of inflating land prices,which has become a common tactic of many land owners, iscounterproductive, dangerous and could backfire," Nujomasaid. "It serves only to slow down land redistribution, andthat could result in social (upheaval) as the landless peoplebecome impatient." While landless groups have occasionallysaid they planned to occupy white-owned farms, none have carriedout their threat. The ruling South West African People'sOrganisation resolved at a party congress to expropriate 192farms belonging to foreign absentee landlords. The government isstill investigating the legal implications of the decision, butsays the owners will be compensated. De Wet said the governmenthad given assurances that it would not take over any land whichbelonged to Namibians, or which was being productively used."We have assurances from the president, from the minister oflands, from the prime minister that they do not want a Zimbabwesituation in Namibia, and ... there will be noexpropriation," he said. He added that ample land wasavailable for sale, and that his union was working with thegovernment to speed up resettlement. Few in Namibia believeNujoma, a close ally of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, wouldcondone Zimbabwe-style land seizures. Namibia gained independencefrom South Africa in 1990, the last African country to gain itsfreedom. Many human rights activists see those seizures as partof a Mugabe-led campaign to crush the opposition in his countryand to shore up his popularity amid economic and political chaos.Nujoma has no need for that, said Bill Lindeque, a politicalscience professor at the University of Namibia. "Theeconomic conditions here are quite good (and) the politicalcredibility of the government and the ruling party isstrong," he said. Lindeque feels Nujoma's remarks aboutspeeding up land redistribution were a part of internal partypolitics and did not reflect the responsible policies beingimplemented on the ground. Phil ya Nangoloh, director of theNamibian Human Rights Organization and a virulent governmentcritic, disagreed, saying ruling party politicians had been theleading beneficiaries of land redistribution. "There isgenuine concern for land reform here, but it is not being done ina proper way," he said. Ya Nangoloh said Nujoma could usethe land issue to bolster his support for a currentlyunconstitutional fourth term in office and to deflect attentionaway from rising unemployment and poverty. "We are going thesame way Zimbabwe has gone," he said.
Returnees from Botswana in need of food and shelter(The Namibian, 09/10) - Close to 600 members of theminority San tribe who were recently repatriated from Botswanaunder a United Nations scheme are in dire need of food andshelter. The returnees are among some 3 000 Namibians who fled toBotswana after October 1998 following secessionist troubles inthe Caprivi Region. Those in need of food, water, shelter andaccess to health facilities are San returnees at Chetto, Omega 3and Bwabwata in West Caprivi, say human rights monitors. TheNational Society for Human Rights (NSHR) said in a statementyesterday that the San are "forced to exclusively feedthemselves on wild fruit, leaves, wild seeds and roots",while other vital social services, such as healthcare andeducation for their children, are reportedly non-existent."The hardest hit by starvation are pregnant women, childrenand the elderly," the NSHR said. The rights organisationappealed to Government to "immediately address the situationaffecting the said returnees". The refugees were repatriatedfollowing a tripartite agreement involving Namibia, Botswana andthe United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Underthe agreement the returnees were to be provided with reliefassistance, including adequate shelter, food, shelter, healthcareand education. They were also to be protected from human rightsabuses of a civil, political, social, economic or culturalnature. Some chiefs and other traditional authorities in theCaprivi recently appealed to Government to immediately dispatchrelief aid to thousands of drought-stricken villagers in theCaprivi to prevent people from starving. Food is expected to bedistributed to over 345 000 Namibians from today after theEmergency Management Unit (EMU), the Government's disastermanagement agency, invited tenders.
Prime Minister blames foreigners for proliferation offirearms (The Namibian, 08/10) - Prime Minister Theo-BenGurirab yesterday charged that "foreigners" wereinstigating the sale of illicit weaponry, such as small arms, fortheir own personal gain. He was speaking at the NationalConference on Small Arms and Light Weapons, which complements theSouthern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol onFirearms and Ammunition, which began in Windhoek yesterday andends tomorrow. Delegates from various African countries areattending. "We are dealing here with a sad irony. WhileAfrica is not really the primary source of manufacturing smallarms and light weapons, our people are today the greatestvictims," Gurirab said. Quoting a Small Arms Survey of 2001,he said small arms were involved in over 1 000 deaths a day,while the "proliferation and illicit trade in small arms andlight weapons pose many and serious challenges to ourGovernment". "It is a multi-faceted scourge thatnegatively affects all aspects of human society, security andcivilisation. It also presents a grave threat to internationalpeace and security and sustainable development," he stated.The Prime Minister said Africa was the region most affected byproblems associated with illicit trade in small firearms. Heappealed to Africans "not to hesitate to speak up, shame andblame those nations and their companies that produce, sell andbenefit from this ongoing dreaded trade, often conducted insituations of armed conflict invariably instigated andmanipulated by foreigners for their own gain". Without goodneighbourly relations among African countries, he said, the proudvision of the African Union (AU) and the implementation of theNew Partnership for African Development (Nepad) would not go farin enhancing development and social progress. "By hostingthis important and timely conference today, the NamibianGovernment is demonstrating its unswerving commitment tohonouring its obligation in combating the trade and the use offirearms and light weapons in society towards destructiveends," he said. Minister of Home Affairs, Jerry Ekandjo,said the main objectives of the conference were to raise publicawareness among civil societies; to raise Namibia's profile as acountry implementing the United Nations plan of action and theBamako declaration through a conference report. Other objectiveswere to encourage a national debate over the need for thestrengthening of firearm laws and regulations and theirenforcement capacity in Namibia in compliance with regional andinternational agreements and commitments that bind Namibia toenforce gun control. He said the conference was organised by theNamibian Police in association with the Namibia Non-GovernmentalOrganisation Forum (Nangof), SaferAfrica and SaferWorld, twoorganisations lobbying organisation the proliferation offirearms. Among those attending are local law enforcementofficials, traditional leaders and delegates from other Africancountries.
Namibian official denies possible expropriation ofSA-owned farms (Pretoria, Sapa, 04/10) - A Namibian landofficial rejected reports on Friday that his government intendedseizing about 100 farms owned by South Africans. "I can tellyou in no uncertain terms that this is not true," ChrispinMatongela, spokesman for the Namibian Land Ministry, told Sapafrom Windhoek. The ministry issued a statement on Thursday whichhe said was aimed at putting to rest fears about landgrabs."This was after commercial farmers voiced concerns aboutreports about the government seizing farms. We assured them thatno landgrabs were on the cards," Matongela said. On earlierreports quoting Namibian President Sam Nujoma as saying that anumber of foreign-owned farms would be expropriated for landlessNamibians, Matongela said: "We don't think along thoselines." No land owned by foreigners had been expropriated sofar, he emphasised. "It is not on the cards for now, maybein the future." Asked what this meant, Matongela said:"We follow the willing-buyer, willing-seller principle.Should it become necessary in the future to expropriate farms,this would be done in terms of our constitution." Such aprocess, he said, would, among other things, entail compensatingthe land owners concerned in terms of the market value of theirproperty. Earlier in the day it was reported that the DemocraticAlliance in South Africa had asked the ministries of foreignaffairs and agriculture to intervene on behalf of nationals whoseNamibian farms were set to be expropriated. DA MP Andries Bothaconfirmed to Sapa that he had submitted such a request. "Myconcern is that proper procedures should be followed in anyexpropriation move. Land owners should be consulted andcompensated." Botha said his request was prompted by mediareports that Namibia intended expropriating the property of thoselabelled absentee-landlords. A Foreign Affairs official said thedepartment was still gathering information on the matter.
Namibia-Angola link road to be upgraded (Johannesburg,Irin, 03/10) - A Namibian government project to improveone of the country's main transport routes received a boost onThursday with a US $54 million loan from Germany. Therehabilitation of the 61 km road from Ondangwa to Oshikango wasexpected to improve the transportation of goods, services andpeople in the area and enhance trade between Namibia and Angola.Roads Authority Chief Executive Justin Runji said the surface ofthe road had been badly damaged in the more than 10 years sinceit was built. The project would involve the breaking up of theold road surface and the laying of a new asphalt-concrete layerwhich was expected to last at least 15 years, Runji said."It is hoped that in the long run increased economicactivities will lead to improved standards of living for ourpeople, especially in the north. Some areas which are notserviced properly will now be reachable over a shorter period oftime," acting permanent secretary of the National PlanningCommission, Master Kiiyala, told IRIN. The northern-central areasof Namibia, along the border with Angola, are made up of the fourmost heavily populated regions of the country, home to about halfof Namibia's 1.8 million people. The development of this area hasbeen seen as crucial to the development of the entire country.The Ondangwa-Oshikango road has also been the major link withAngola and vital to trade between the two countries. SaidKiiyala: "Much has changed since the end of the war inAngola and there are a lot of opportunities which exist becauseof this. If we are to benefit from these opportunities we mustensure that our infrastructure is top rate." Meanwhile,Angola's central Benguela province government has disbursed US$600,000 for the rehabilitation of a road linking districts ofBenguela and Catengue. Aid agencies have in recent weeks calledon the government to make emergency repairs to the transportinfrastructure which was destroyed by almost three decades ofcivil war. They said the onset of the rainy season would makeaccess to remote areas even more difficult.
Namibia bars SAA to aid Air Namibia (Johannesburg,Business Day, 03/10) - The Namibian government hasbarred SA Express and SA Airlink from operating scheduled flightsfor mainly business travellers from the capital city's Erosairport to protect the interest of its ailing national airline.Transport Minister Moses Amweelo announced that the cabinet haddecided to halt all scheduled regional flights by the two SAairlines between Eros and Johannesburg and Cape Town. The twoairlines are in direct competition with Air Namibia, and the moveis seen as a patriotic one to save the struggling nationalcarrier. Amweelo said the decision was aimed at reducing the"safety and environmental hazards". However, it is anopen secret that Air Namibia, which flies to SA from Hosea KutakoInternational Airport, about 40km outside Windhoek, has seen adrop in passenger numbers because people prefer to use Erosairport, which is 3km from the city. The move shocked SA AirlinkCEO Roger Foster who questioned the decision to stop his airlinefrom operating from Eros for "safety" standards, whileat the same time allowing VIPs and foreign dignitaries tocontinue using the same airport. SA Express executive manager RayNkwe said: "We are currently studying (this) to determinethe implications this will have on our operation, and also todiscuss the matter with our relevant stakeholders." The moveto ban the two airlines will cut the annual revenue ofstate-owned Namibian Airports Company by about 20%.
Tourist hold-up in Windhoek (The Namibian, 02/10) - Thelatest robbery targeting tourists, in which property worth tensof thousands of dollars was stolen, has drawn strong condemnationfrom the business community which fears the negative impact onthe economy. Business representatives and parliamentarians havenow called for tough policing. Three men with firearms held upthree tourists at a Windhoek car hire business on Sunday lessthan an hour after they landed in Namibia. The Managing Directorof Kessler Car Hire, Ingo Bahr, said the thugs took Swiss francsequivalent to N$56 000 and other belongings valued between N$150000 and N$200 000. Bahr said the tourists were locked up in agarage while the robbers helped themselves to their goods. TheNamibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) condemned thearmed attack on the three tourists in Windhoek and called formore efficient policing. The Federation of Namibian TourismAssociations (Fenata) also expressed concern saying they woulddraw Government's attention to the impact of such attacks thatdiscourage tourists from coming to Namibia. National Assemblyparliamentarians, who are debating an increase in crime, havecalled for better training, more resources for the police, andtougher law enforcement. NCCI Chief Executive Tarah Shaanika saidthe robbery was "very worrying". He said armedrobberies such as these jeopardised the country's chances ofattracting investment. He also slammed the Windhoek Municipalityand Ministry of Justice, whose disagreements have led to delaysin establishing a municipal police force for the capital."To wait more than six months (for the establishment of theforce) is unacceptable with this high crime rate," the NCCIboss said. He said there had clearly been "a lack ofcommunication" between Government agencies on the issue,which needed to be resolved. An official in the Ministry ofJustice said they were still waiting to receive the outcome ofnegotiations between the national police force and theMunicipality, which wants its officers to have the same powers toinvestigate and arrest suspects. "We have called for theestablishment of police reservists, and a Windhoek municipalpolice, and I would like to take this opportunity to do soagain," Shaanika said. He suggested the private sector andpossibly the Chamber of Commerce invest in law enforcement,perhaps by offering scholarships to trainee prosecutors. "Alot of criminals have received very lenient sentences through badprosecuting," he said. Fenata chief executive MartinWebb-Bowen said that while the Police were trying to combat crimein many instances they were short of resources. In the NationalAssembly Hadino Hishongwa, the Deputy Minister of HigherEducation, Training and Employment Creation, warned that just afew attacks on tourists will destroy the industry that hedescribed as "fragile". Hishongwa argued that Policeare poorly equipped and that laws restrain them to act tough oncriminals. Webb-Bowen of Fenata said the members of hisorganisation "are very concerned by the incident because itwill have an impact on tourists coming to Namibia". TheNamibian has learnt that Fenata is to write to Governmentexpressing their concerns and calling for tough action. ButWebb-Bowen said they would not comment on their privatecorrespondence with Government.
Concern raised over Oshikango prostitutes (TheNamibian, 01/10) - The Regional Councillor for theOhangwena constituency has expressed concern over the increase ofprostitutes at the border town of Oshikango in the region. UskoNghaamwa said young Namibian girls were selling their bodies forUS dollars in engage for sexual intercourse with foreign truckdrivers at the town. According to Nghaamwa, many girls have evendropped out of school just to engage in prostitution atOshikango. Most of the drivers that are involved in thispractice, Nghaamwa said, come from neighbouring Angola to pick upgoods from the Oshikango Export Processing Zone (EPZ). Nghaamwafelt the Government should intervene to address the situationbefore it gets out of hand. Said Nghaamwa: "This practicewould contribute to further HIV infections, therefore, it needsto be addressed soonest." He expressed dismay over youth ofschoolgoing age dropping out of school just to become prostitutesat that remote town. This, according to Nghaamwa, needs theimmediate attention of parents, traditional and local authoritiesas well as Government ministries. Nghaamwa made these remarksduring the Ondangwa East Education Region's commemoration of theInternational Literacy Day, which was held in his constituencyover the weekend.
Namibia-Zambia defence chiefs review security (TheNamibian, 01/10) - Security chiefs who attended therecent Namibia-Zambia Joint Permanent Commission on Defence andSecurity held in Livingston, Zambia, deliberated on bilateral andregional security issues. The Joint Permanent Commission tookplace from Wednesday to Friday last week. The two partiesreviewed the security situation in Angola, the peace process inthe Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other conflicts in theregion and beyond. On Angola the Commission welcomed efforts bythe Angolan government in restoring peace and stability in thatcountry since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) with Unita in April this year. "The Commissiontherefore appealed to the international community to renderhumanitarian assistance to Angola," stated a jointcommunique issued by the two parties yesterday. On the foodsituation, the Commission noted with concern that floods anddrought affected most parts of the SADC region resulting in thedestruction of property and infrastructure on one hand and famineon the other. "In this regard, the Commission urged SADCmember states to enhance food security in order to alleviate thesuffering of the people," it said. The Commission expressedconcern on the HIV-AIDS pandemic that has continued to take itstoll on the productive human resources. In view of this it calledfor the "intensification" of the HIV-AIDS awarenesscampaign by SADC member states aimed at educating people in theregion on the danger and the devastating effects of the spread ofHIV-AIDS. Defence Minister Erkki Nghimtina led the Namibiandelegation that included Home Affairs Minister Jerry Ekandjo andspy chief Peter Tsheehama. While LM Mapushi, Zambia's HomeAffairs Minister headed his country's team.
Nurses leaving SA in droves, says Health Minister(SABC News, 31/10) - Emigration of South African nurseshas increased dramatically since 2000, resulting in a seriousshortage locally, according to Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, theHealth Minister. "Certain developed countries", hadlaunched active recruitment drives and the emigration ofqualified nurses now posed a threat to service delivery in SouthAfrica, she said in reply to a question in the National Assembly."As we continue to train highly skilled nurses, those whocontinue to poach our scarce human resources undermine ourefforts. "According to existing posts, there is a 24 %shortage of nurses in South Africa. There are, of course,variations between provinces, institutions, and urban and ruralareas," she said. The proportion of professional to enrollednurse was 2:1, while the internationally accepted ratio was 1:2.Government was implementing a number of strategies, including allCommonwealth countries signing a code of conduct for the EthicalRecruitment of health professionals. Government was alsoinvestigating, together with the Treasury, monetary andnon-monetary incentives to retain health professionals, whileexchange programmes or work opportunities with contractualobligations were also being implemented, Tshabalala-Msimang said.
Policemen accused of robbing Somalis suspended(Dispatch Online, 30/10) - Three policemen who werearrested here for allegedly robbing a group of Somali businessmenwill be immediately suspended from duty, police said yesterday.Four men, three of them policemen, were freed when they appearedin a court here on Monday in connection with the alleged theft.Charges against the policemen, some of them members of theCommercial Crime Unit, and a civilian were provisionallywithdrawn due to a lack of evidence, Captain Mashadi Selepe said.Selepe said the case had been referred to the Directorate ofPublic Prosecutions and investigations were continuing. Anotherpolice spokesman, Captain Schalk Bornman, said the four men andtwo others allegedly entered a house in Parklane Road inFordsburg around 1.30pm on Friday and demanded money at gunpointfrom the Somali occupants of the house. Apparently a struggleensued and the occupants alleged that about $5000 (about R50800)was stolen, Bornman said.
More stolen vehicles seized at Mozambique border (SABCNews, 30/10) - Five vehicles stolen in South Africa wereseized as people attempted to pass them through to Mozambique atthe Komatipoort border post, police said yesterday. CaptainMtsholi Bhembe said the five vehicles recovered in the past weekhad a total value in excess of R350 000. Two Toyota minibuses,each worth some R150 000 were among the vehicles recovered. Itwas established that both minibuses had been stolen in Tembisa. A36-year-old man was arrested and charged with vehicle theft. AToyota Venture, a Honda sedan and a Ford Bantam bakkie were alsoseized when a check showed them to have false registrationpapers.Police were conducting an ongoing intelligence operationat the border posts and were confident more arrests would be madesoon, Bhembe said.
Skills flight challenges government (Cape Town,Dispatch Online, 30/10) - The public service wasexperiencing "serious challenges" in retaining skilledprofessionals, with computer experts, health professionals andengineers in short-supply, Public Service Minister GeraldineFraser-Moleketi said yesterday. "We need sober minds todevelop remedial steps -- which is why we've decided on targetedinterventions," she told MPs during a special debaterequested by the New National Party requested on the "braindrain". Health professionals, in particular, would requirefocused attention and that department was consideringinterventions. "It is also addressing the question ofpoaching of health professionals by developed countries."The United Kingdom and the United States increasingly relyon foreign health workers to satisfy their internal demand."Some success had been achieved in reversing this tendency,Fraser-Moleketi said. All the Commonwealth countries had accepteda code on the recruitment of health professionals from memberstates, and the challenge was to extend this to other countriesthrough the World Health Organisation. Fraser-Moleketi pledged todo her utmost to create conditions favourable to the recruitmentand retention of professionals in the public service. However,she noted that skills mobility was not a phenomenon peculiar toSouth Africa, and said there was an increasing skills flowbetween different nations. Figures for the first five months of2002 showed that the total number of economically active personswho emigrated from South Africa was up by 18,4 percent,Fraser-Moleketi said. However, what the statistics did not say,was how many South Africans had left permanently. "Those wholeave often return with enhanced skills and hard currency. Thisis ploughed back into the economy through entrepreneurialactivity and investment." In his speech, NNP leader inParliament Dr Boy Geldenhuys said it was not onlyEnglish-speaking white South Africans, but black people andAfrikaners who were also leaving the country in droves. Anemigration agency indicated that 60 percent of all inquiries werefrom black people. Emigration was a serious problem, withdevastating consequences for the economy. In 2001, 884 managers,358 engineers, 353 teachers, 286 artisans and 1848 studentsemigrated to other countries. Fifty percent of all communitydoctors currently working overseas were not coming back.Twenty-six percent of doctors who graduated between 1990 and 1999had left the country, and about 5000 doctors who were trained inSouth Africa were living abroad. Three hundred nurses wereleaving the country on a monthly basis. It can now be acceptedthat 12-14 percent of all South Africans with a tertiaryeducation were living abroad, he said. On a solution, Geldenhuyssaid: "A lower crime rate, a sunset clause for affirmativeaction, flexible labour laws, improved working conditions andcompetitive remuneration packages may do the trick." TheDA's Mike Ellis said the brain-drain problem was compounded bythe effect of HIV and Aids on the skilled workforce aged between30 to 40. "Our ability to replace those leaving is alsodisappearing," Ellis said. The government itself did littleto encourage its own professionals in the public sector to stay,he said. Nurses and teachers were leaving for far better dealsoverseas. There could be no doubt that one of the reasons behindmany professionals leaving South Africa was the way thegovernment had implemented affirmative action, Ellis said. The DAsupported affirmative action, but too often the way it wasimplemented had led to highly-qualified, skilled people leaving,as there was little alternative in a country where the number ofjobs become fewer to sell their services elsewhere," hesaid. His concerns were echoed by the Freedom Front's Dr PieterMulder who urged the government to introduce special measures toassist those who were negatively affected by affirmative action.
SA's brain drain under spotlight in Parliament (SABCNews, 30/10) - South Africa's brain drain has come underthe spotlight in Parliament. Despite the ongoing loss of skilledpeople there are signs that young people were coming back in thewake of the collapse of Information Technology industries abroad.South Africa has been losing thousands of skilled people to othercountries. They include nurses, doctors, teachers, managers, andtechnicians. Government said the skills flow between countries isa global phenomenon and that initiatives have been launched toretain valuable skills. Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, the PublicService Minister, said: "I want to make that call today onbehalf of the government that 'come back on short term contract.Come back and help build capacity in government'." Someopposition parties cited crime, poor working conditions and theimplementation of Affirmative Action as factors contributing tothe brain drain.Mike Ellis, a Democratic Alliance (DA)representative said: "The DA has always supportedAffirmative Action. Yet too often the way it has been implementedhas led to many qualified skilled people having to realise thattheir talents are no longer required and they'll receive nopromotion." Although many cited varying statistics, allagreed that the problem is denting South Africa's economicperformance.
South Africa tightens checks at border posts(Pretoria, The Sunday Mirror, 28/10) - Cabinet haswelcomed initiatives by the Border Control OperationalCo-ordinating Committee to improve the effectiveness of theirwork, as part of the task of improving foreign trade and otherrelations, and at the same time deal with cross border crime.Cabinet agreed that resources would be made available to improvesuch areas as Information Technology (IT), profiling systems andinfrastructure at all ports of entry. The Border ControlOperational Co-ordinating Committee is made up of the SouthAfrican Revenue Service (SARS) as well as the departments of homeaffairs, transport, agriculture, the South African PoliceServices (SAPS), the South African National Defence Force(SANDF), agriculture, environmental affairs and tourism and theNational Intelligence Agency (NIA). They jointly monitor thecountry's border posts to deal with the challenges ofcross-border crimes such as the import and export of goodsillegally and controlling the influx of illegal immigrants andforeign trade missions. The main focus of cross-border operationslies with foreign trade, as it is believed that a large quantityof goods leaves the country illegally resulting in the countrylosing millions of Rand. Other initiatives to combat cross-bordercrimes include initiatives by the Southern African RegionalPolice Chiefs Co-ordinating Organisation (SARPCCO) established inAugust 1995. The structure draws representation from twelvemember countries. Its objective is to 'promote, strengthen andperpetuate co-operation and foster joint strategies for themanagement of all forms of cross-border and related crimes withregional implications.' SARPCCO plays a particularly importantfunction, which is to exchange information with other roleplayers and manage criminal records. It also provides support forjoint operations at border posts.
German tourist robbed in Transkei (Port Elizabeth,Dispatch Online, 26/10) - A police van overturned in theTranskei while pursuing two armed robbers who had allegedlyrobbed four German tourists near the Hluleka Nature Reserve alongthe Nqeleni coast on Thursday. Police spokesperson SuperintendentNondumiso Jafta said the two men and two women, aged between 27and 33 years were walking at about 11am with their luggage whenthey were confronted by two armed men. The tourists were robbedof their clothes, cellular phones and an undisclosed sum ofmoney. Jafta said after the patrol van overturned injuring thepolice, other police conducted an intensive search and a suspectwas arrested in possession of two unlicensed firearms. She saidpolice were still looking for the other robber who escaped withthe stolen goods. It was not known how many policemen wereinjured.
Border-jumper wounded by South African soldier(Beitbridge, The Daily News, 25/10) - An unidentifiedZimbabwean border-jumper was last week shot and seriously woundedby a South African soldier as he tried to sneak across theLimpopo River into South Africa. Sources at the Department ofImmigration said the incident occurred at the weekend. SouthAfrican sources said yesterday the soldier who shot the man hadbeen arrested and was being held at Messina but they could notdisclose the charge. The wounded man was moved to a hospital inBulawayo, the sources said. 'The victim was a border-jumper. Wehave not yet established where he came from,' said a source.'Some of these people do not carry any identity papers when theycross the border illegally.' Police in Beitbridge confirmed theshooting but refused to give further details. Thousands ofZimbabweans have been sneaking across the border into SouthAfrica because of delays in the processing of passports andfailure to obtain the visas. The immigration sources said as manyas 500 border-jumpers cross the Limpopo River into South Africadespite the risk of running into army units deployed along theriver. South Africa deports an average of 3 000 Zimbabweanborder-jumpers every month and dumps then in Beitbridge wheresome choose to hang around for days or weeks until they haveanother chance to sneak back into South Africa. A combination ofthe current economic crisis and high unemployment in Zimbabwehave been identified as major factors forcing youths to riskarrest trying to cross into South Africa. The border-jumpers alsorisk being attacked by crocodiles and being swept away by theLimpopo when it is in flood.
Emigration threatens health system (Johannesburg,Dispatch Online, 25/10) - Health Minister MantoTshabalala-Msimang on Wednesday said the continued emigration ofmedical practitioners, including doctors, nurses and specialists,posed a significant threat to both the private and public spheresof the health sector. "We believe that if there is a major-- and insidious -- threat to our overall health effort, it isthe continued outward migration of key health professionals,particularly professional nurses, with a consequent de-skillingof the professional base in both the public and privatesector," Tshabalala-Msimang said in a statement. She addedthat health professionals were the most critical resource in thedelivery of health care. "Their movement between rural andurban areas, public and the private health sector and across ourborders is bound to impact on service delivery." She saidher department was taking steps to ensure sufficient personnelwere recruited and retained to enable the health sector toprovide quality care, particularly in underserved and ruralareas. "We are extending community service to cover allhealth professions and many of the community serviceprofessionals are deployed in historically disadvantaged areas.The programme covering doctors, dentists and pharmacists isalready meeting its objectives. "Starting next year, we willbe phasing in radiographers, speech and hearing therapists,occupational therapists, environmental health officers,dieticians, psychologists and physiotherapists ending with theprofessional nurses by 2007. "This should make available apool of thousands of health professionals who can assist inproviding health services mainly in historically underserved ordisadvantaged areas," she explained. "The 254 studentswe sent to study medicine in Cuba are completing their studiesand the first group has already returned to South Africa. Theseyoung people will serve in the public sector for the equal numberof years they have spent studying. They are students fromhistorically disadvantaged communities who will get a wonderfulopportunity to come back and serve their communities asdoctors," she added. "At the World Summit onSustainable Development, we spoke strongly against therecruitment of our health professionals to the developedcountries. "We have also developed a Code of Conduct forRecruitment of Health Professionals for the Commonwealth ofNations. This initiative should... address the challenge ofmovement of personnel amongst Commonwealth member states,"the minister said.
Exporting home care (The Natal Witness, 23/10) - Anageing population in one country and tough economic times inanother are creating a new breed of migrant worker - not youngmen heading for the mines but middle-aged South African womensigning on to care for elderly British pensioners. This is nowell-paid holiday with a spot of dusting thrown in. There is funto be had but the hours are long, the work can be hard and theresponsibility is considerable. However, there are enough peoplekeen to spend a few months in Britain earning pounds for WendyErasmus of Mtunzini to have opened an agency to recruit carers tohead for Britain and look after elderly people in their ownhomes. "I worked as a carer when my twins were both goinginto tertiary education," says Erasmus. "By working fortwo or three months at a stretch and then coming home, it waspossible to educate two children at the same time." Havingenjoyed being a carer for a couple of years, Erasmus decidedthere was enough work in Britain and enough potential workers inSouth Africa for her and a friend to open an agency, liaisingwith a small, select caring agency based in the south of England.Most South Africans who do the job are doing it for the money,says Erasmus. A carer will earn around £350 a week with noliving expenses to meet. "People here are finding themselvesa bit marginalised financially," she says. "Theexchange rate makes it very attractive. And there are some who doit for adventure. They work for a few months and then do thetravelling they have never been able to do before." And, ofcourse, there are plenty of chances to travel around Britainbetween contracts. It all sounds great, and Erasmus says sherecommends it wholeheartedly, but cautions that the reality is a24-hour-a-day job. "You get two hours off during the day,usually in the afternoon. You're not expected to work all thetime but you must be there. You clean, shop, attend to bathing,personal care, giving and keeping medication and do the cookingand light housework." If the carer is frequently called atnight, they should tell their agency, as it is not part of thedeal. But they must be there. Former Pietermaritzburg residentPippa Duff, who is currently working in London as a carer for anelderly woman suffering from mild dementia, describes theconstant one-on-one relationship as "very stressful"."I take her walking in a wheelchair every day but we havevery little contact with outsiders," she says. And althoughshe is treated very much as one of the family, which is notalways the case, and there is a relief carer who comes in toenable Duff to take weekends off, she will be more than ready fora long break when her six-month contract ends. The stress andboredom of being alone with one elderly client, day in, day out,is something Erasmus understands well and makes sure thatpotential carers understand too. "They must make sure thateverything is all right on the home front before they go toBritain. You have to put your own life on hold - you can't dealwith a crisis at this end when you are responsible for a frailperson there."
A lot of time is spent doing what Erasmus calls"hovering", just being there. A carer needs to enjoyworking with the elderly and have good people skills. Part of thejob is the promotion of the client's independence. "You haveto encourage them to pursue their hobbies, whether it's music orkeeping up with world affairs." She always reminds potentialcarers that, as she says: "Old people are just young peoplewho have been around for a long time. And you must remember thatyou are the extraneous person in their home." This isimportant. The clients have made the decision to stay in theirhomes rather than go into residential care but the time comeswhen they can no longer manage alone. In the past, family memberswould have taken them in but with families spread all over theworld and more women working outside the home, this is often notan option. Inevitably, those who need carers may see the personin their home, however kind and companionable, as signalling theend of their independence and, says Erasmus, this can mean acertain amount of resentment, something the carer has to treatwith sensitivity. Of course, there is a lighter side. One carertells of a 90-year-old retired colonel who, after a couple ofgins, began to proposition her. Duff has heard of another SouthAfrican carer who was sent to a job where the wife had recentlydied - and for the two weeks the carer was there, the embalmedbody in its coffin remained in the front room. Her own clientprovided a bit of comedy when family members were dealing withthe estate documents of her late husband. No one could find thedeath certificate, so the client went off and came back with herhusband's ashes, saying, "Here's the proof you need."While the carers have to be able to laugh, compassion andsensitivity are paramount. Erasmus is adamant that theunfortunate tag of "granny bashing" the job acquiredsome years ago has no place. "We are trying to dispel thebackpacker's image that the work used to have. Young people usedto arrive in Britain and answer advertisements for carers to earnmoney to travel. They called it 'granny bashing' but it's ahorrible term and the antithesis of what we do." There areyoung carers. For young disabled people, it is more appealing toshare your home with someone of similar age and interests. Duff'sweekend relief is young but she says that if she ever needed acarer, she would prefer an older woman. And Erasmus does notencourage young people to sign up. According to statisticspublished last year in the Guardian newspaper, 200 000 people areemployed in home care in England alone, the same number as in thecar industry. A quick look on the Internet shows pages ofhome-care agencies in England and, say both Duff and Erasmus,there are numerous private advertisements in The Lady, a genteelweekly magazine that has been published since 1885 and is knownfor its classified section advertising holiday accommodation anddomestic situations. By setting up an agency here, Erasmus ismaking the business of getting into caring easier. She vetsapplicants, asks important questions such as whether a would-becarer would be able to deal with the death of a client, gets thenecessary references and advises people how to go about gettingpolice clearances. All carers need these, both from their homecountry and from the Criminal Investigation Bureau in Britain,where the vetting of those working with the vulnerable - childrenor the elderly - is currently a hot issue. Erasmus will then sendpeople to an agency in Britain, where more questions will beasked, partly to match people in terms of interests andpersonalities. Currently, mandatory training for carers is underconsideration in Britain, covering health and safety, food andhygiene and manual handling. Erasmus sounds one cautionary note:agencies in Britain will only employ carers who have British orEuropean passports or an ancestral visa. Others do sometimes goprivately, answering advertisements, but they risk beingdeported. There are plenty of people prepared to go through thevetting and police checks. The job may be stressful at times andboring at others but it offers something for those who like achallenge and have a sense of humour and want, like all migrantworkers, to earn money not easily matched at their home base.
29,200 vacant posts in SA government hospitals(Johannesburg, Dispatch Online, 24/10) - Health servicesin some areas are reported to be teetering on the brink ofcollapse as at least 29 200 vacant posts remain unfilled inpublic hospitals throughout the country. Most of these posts arefor nurses, doctors and radiographers. The country has suffered asevere brain drain because many professionals have left thecountry for better pay in developed countries. In January,KwaZulu-Natal had the highest number of unfilled posts (7 190),followed by the Eastern Cape (6216), Limpopo (4 395) and Gauteng(3 936). But Health Ministry spokesperson Sibani Mngadi said thefigures did not reflect the real situation in most hospitals,because posts could have been filled in the past few months.Figures released by the Department of Health revealed that, ofthe 6 216 Eastern Cape posts, only 491 positions were budgetedfor. Only 681 positions of the total 1 725 vacancies in NorthWest were budgeted for. And 183 of the 517 vacant posts in theNorthern Cape had funds allocated to them. The majority of theunfilled positions would not be filled for almost a year, untilthe provinces were allocated more funds in the next budget. TheNorthern Cape, Western Cape and Mpumalanga recorded the loweststaff shortages, ranging between 517 and 1 200 vacancies. Head ofEastern Cape health services Dr Siphiwe Stamper rejected claimsthat health services in traditionally black hospitals in theformer Transkei and Ciskei homelands were on the verge ofcollapse. "We have just effected a massive recruitmentcampaign in the province after receiving R121 million fundingfrom the National Treasury to redress that situation. Our servicecannot go down when we have successfully effected our operationalplans and rebuilt some of those hospitals which suffered as aresult of neglect during apartheid," he retorted. Stampersaid 600 assistant nurses had been upgraded to professionalnursing levels to reduce the 2 800 positions for professionalnurses which had not been filled. The National Education, Healthand Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) said understaffing continued toundermine the delivery of health services in most provinces."We understand that the number of vacancies is well beyond50 000 and challenge the department to show how many healthworkers have been employed in the past five years," saidNehawu national spokesperson Molantoa Molaba. Democratic AllianceMPL Jack Bloom said 5707 skilled medical staff resigned fromGauteng hospitals in 2000 and 2001.
Mbeki name used in 419 scam (Cape Town, News 24,23/10) - President Thabo Mbeki, his wife, Zanele,African leaders and well-known South Africans are the latesttargets of a 419-fraud scheme suspected to be run by Nigerians.Their names are being used in a scam designed to mislead peopleinto making big deposits in a South African bank. Bheki Khumalo,spokesperson for Mbeki, confirmed on Tuesday that thepresidential office was aware of a document that suggested thatMbeki would be host to an international conference to be held inSouth Africa in December. The letter indicated that Mbeki wouldbe one of the speakers. The presidents of, among others, Nigeria,Senegal, Egypt, Malawi, Mozambique, Angola, Lesotho and the Congo(Kinshasa) are named as also taking part in the conference.Khumalo said the presidency became suspicious when a Johannesburghotel contacted them two weeks ago about "a man who isstaying here and running up an enormous bar bill"."When the hotel asked the man to pay upfront, he said he wasworking for the president." The document referring to Mbekiand other leaders was handed to police. Director Phuti Sethathiof the police could not provide further information. SiphoNgwema, for the Scorpions, confirmed the elite unit had receiveda complaint. He could not shed more light on the case. The courtappearance of Jabulani Philip Buthelezi (42), a director withhome affairs, is allegedly linked to the arrest of a Congolesenational in a luxury hotel, about two weeks ago. Neither Khumalonot Sethathi could confirm whether the use of Mbeki's name in the419-scam was linked to the arrest of the official and theCongolese national.
Manto moves to slow medical migration (The Star,23/10) - The government has moved to halt the exodus ofhealth professionals to Commonwealth countries. South Africa issignatory to a code of conduct for recruitment of healthprofessionals by Commonwealth countries. It was developed toaddress the flight of personnel to those states. Health MinisterDr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has acknowledged that the migrationof nurses and doctors remained a threat to efforts to improve thecountry's ailing public health services. Responding to a reportin The Star that more than 29 000 posts in the Health Departmentwere vacant, Tshabalala-Msimang expressed serious concern onWendesday over recruitment of health professionals by developedcountries. "We have sought a global solution to this problemfacing developing countries," she said. The vacant postsinclude those for nurses, pharmacists, doctors, radiographers andspecialists. She also attributed the problems of deterioratingservices in some rural and historically disadvantaged areas tothe movement of health professionals to urban areas and acrossthe borders. "We have resolved to visit all provinces,together with MECs for health, to get first-hand experience ofthe functioning of the provincial and local health system allover the country. "Where there are problems, we will worktogether to ensure that they are addressed," said theminister. The department had taken several measures to ensure therecruitment of and retainment of personnel, particularly inunder-served and rural areas. "I have directed seniorofficials to work with the private sector, nursing organisations,trade unions and other stakeholders to conclude a clear frameworkfor attracting and retaining nurses," she said. Severalincentives were being considered, including the improvement ofworking and living conditions for health professionals in ruralareas. Tshabalala-Msimang has also introduced a community serviceprogramme to cover all health professions in historicallydisadvantaged areas. It involves doctors, dentists andpharmacists. "From next year, we will be phasing inradiographers, speech and hearing therapists, occupationaltherapists, environmental health officers, dieticians,psychologists and physiotherapists, ending with professionalnurses by 2007," she stated. She added that a group of 254student doctors who had completed their studies in Cuba werereturning to serve disadvantaged communities.
Emigration of medical practitioners a threat: Minister(Johannesburg, Sapa, 23/10) - Health Minister MantoTshabalala-Msimang on Wednesday said the continued emigration ofmedical practicioners, including doctors, nurses and specialists,posed a significant threat to both the private and public spheresof the health sector. "We believe that if there is a major -and insidious - threat to our overall health effort, it is thecontinued outward migration of key health professionals,particularly professional nurses, with a consequent de-skillingof the professional base in both the public and privatesector," Tshabalala-Msimang said in a statement. She addedthat health workers and professionals were the most criticalresource in the delivery of health care. "Their movementbetween rural and urban areas, public and the private healthsector and across our borders is bound to impact on servicedelivery." For this reason, she said, her department weretaking steps to ensure that sufficient personnel was recruitedand retained in the health sector to enable it to provide qualityhealth care within the public sector and particularly inunderserved and rural areas. "We are extending communityservice to cover all health professions and many of the communityservice professionals are deployed in historically disadvantagedareas. The programme covering doctors, dentists and pharmacistsis already meeting its objectives. "Starting from next year,we will be phasing in radiographers, speech and hearingtherapists, occupational therapists, environmental healthofficers, dieticians, psychologists and physiotherapists endingwith the professional nurses by 2007. "This should makeavailable a pool of thousands of health professionals who canassist in providing health services mainly in historicallyunderserved or disadvantaged areas," she explained."The 254 students we sent to study medicine in Cuba arecompleting their studies and the first group has already returnedto South Africa. These young people will serve in the publicsector for the equal number of years they have spent studying.They are students from his!es who will get a wonderfulopportunity to come back and serve their communities asdoctors," she added. "Since migration of healthprofessionals is an international problem facing many of thedeveloping countries, we have also sought global solution to thischallenge. At the World Summit on Sustainable Development, wespoke strongly against the recruitment of our healthprofessionals to the developed countries. "We have alsodeveloped a Code of Conduct for Recruitment of HealthProfessionals for the Commonwealth of Nations. This initiativeshould at least address the challenge of movement of personnelamongst Commonwealth member states," Tshabalala-Msimangsaid.
Cabinet approves more resources for border posts(Parliament, Sapa, 23/10) - More resources are to bemade available to improve infrastructure at South Africa's portsof entry, Cabinet decided on Wednesday. Briefing the media afterCabinet's fortnightly meeting at Tuynhuys at Parliament,government communications head Joel Netshitenzhe said the meetinghad received a report on the work of the Border ControlOperational Co-ordinating Committee. The committee is made up ofthe South African Revenue Service's customs section, thedepartments of home affairs, transport, agriculture, andenvironment affairs and tourism, as well as the police, defenceforce, and National Intelligence Agency (NIA). Netshitenzhe saidCabinet welcomed the measures being taken by the departments andservices to improve the effectiveness of their work to improveforeign trade and other relations, while at the same time dealwith cross-border crime. "It was agreed that resources wouldbe availed to improve such areas as IT (information technology)profiling systems and infrastructure at all ports of entry,"he said. The meeting also noted the progress made in the nationalappeal for humanitarian assistance to the people of Angola.Donations and contributions so far included about R700,000 incash, medical equipment worth R80-million, 6000kg of maize seeds,50 tons of maize meal, 100 tons of clothing, and R3-million worthof food. "Further, Eskom has made a commitment to contributetowards the rehabilitation of electricity infrastructure,erection of a medical facility, and dedicated power and watersupply around Luanda (the capital)," Netshitenzhe said.
Brain drain threatens health care (The Star, 23/10) - Health services in some areasare reported to be teetering on the brink of collapse, as at least 29 000 vacant postsremain unfilled in public hospitals throughout the country. The country has suffered a severebrain drain because many nurses, doctors and radiographers have left the country for better pay in developed countries. In January, KwaZulu Natal had the highest number of unfilled posts (7 190), followedby the Eastern Cape (6 216), Limpopo (4 395) and Gauteng (3 936). But Health Ministry spokespersonSibani Mngadi said the figures did not reflect the situation in most hospitals, as posts could havebeen filled the past few months. The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) saidunderstaffing continued to undermine delivery of health services in most provinces. "We understand that the number of vacancies is well beyond 50 000 and challenge the department toshow how many health workers have been employed in the past five years," said Molanta Molaba, Nehawu'snational spokesperson. He said the figures confirmed the unions assertion that poor health services were being caused by inadequate staffing levels. Democratic Alliance provincial legislator Jack Bloom said 5 707 skilled medical staff had resigned from Gauteng hospital in 2000 and 2001. Bloom added: "In these two years alone, one in eight of the total medical staff of 44 000 left the service."
MPs to debate brain drain (Parliament, Sapa, 22/10) - NationalAssembly Speaker Dr Frene Ginwala had agreed to a specialparliamentary debate on South Africa's brain drain as a matter ofpublic importance, the New National Party said on Tuesday. Newsfrom an IT recruitment company that the stream of ITprofessionals was not only one way out of South Africa, but thatsome "brains" were returning with enhanced skills wasgood news, NNP spokeswoman Sheila Camerer said. Unsurprisingly,one of the reasons given by returning South Africans was the goodweather, she said. "Unfortunately, the statistical pictureindicates that generally there is exponential growth in the braindrain out of South Africa during the past few years. "Thisis a matter of enormous concern and we believe Government shouldget the full picture and if necessary do something about turningthe brain drain around." It was for this reason the NNP hadasked for a special debate on the issue, Camerer said. "Thesteady loss of skills has serious consequences for the economy ofour country. The reversal of the brain drain should not just beleft to the weather." Government should get to grips withthe problem and consider how to ensure that the majority of youngprofessionals wanted to remain in or at least return to SouthAfrica, she said. A date for the debate has yet to be set.
Brain drain: health system on life support (IOL,22/10) - Health services in some areas are reported tobe teetering on the brink of collapse as at least 29 200 vacantposts remain unfilled in public hospitals throughout the country.Most of these posts are for nurses, doctors and radiographers.The country has suffered a severe brain drain because manyprofessionals have left the country for better pay in developedcountries. In January, KwaZulu-Natal had the highest number ofunfilled posts (7 190), followed by Eastern Cape (6 216), Limpopo(4 395) and Gauteng (3 936). But Health Ministry spokespersonSibani Mngadi said the figures did not reflect the real situationin most hospitals because posts could have been filled in thepast few months. Figures released by the Department of Healthrevealed that, of the 6 216 Eastern Cape posts, only 491positions were budget for. Only 681 positions of the total 1 725vacancies in North West were budgeted for. And 183 of the 517vacant posts in the Northern Cape had funds allocated to them.The majority of the unfilled positions would not be filled foralmost a year, until the provinces were allocated more funds inthe next budget. Northern Cape, Western Cape and Mpumalangarecorded the lowest staff shortages, ranging between 517 and 1200 vacancies. Eastern Cape head of health service, Dr SiphiweStamper rejected claims that health services in traditionallyblack hospitals in the former Transkei and Ciskei homelands wereon the verge of collapse. "We have just effected a massiverecruitment campaign in the province after receiving R121-millionfunding from the National Treasury to redress that situation. Ourservice cannot go down when we have successfully effected ouroperational plans and rebuilt some of those hospitals, whichsuffered as a result of neglect during apartheid," heangrily retorted. Stamper said 600 assistant nurses had beenupgraded to professional nursing levels to reduce the 2 800positions for professional nurses which had not been filled. TheNational Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) saidunderstaffing continued to undermine delivery of health servicesin most provinces. "We understand that the number ofvacancies is well beyond 50 000 and challenge the department toshow how many health workers have been employed in the past fiveyears," said Molantoa Molaba, Nehawu's nationalspokesperson. Democratic Alliance MPL Jack Bloom said 5 707skilled medical staff resigned from Gauteng hospitals in 2000 and2001.
Malawian sports star gets SA citizenship (Blantyre,African Eye News Service, 22/10) - "Local islekker" for Umtata Bush Bucks midfielder John Maduka. TheMalawi born soccer pro and captain of that country's nationalteam the Flames has officially turned South African. Maduka sayshe regards South Africa as his second home and recently acquiredhis citizenship as part of a long-term personal plan. "Iapplied for the citizenship a few months ago, he said. "It'snow out that I'm no longer registered as a foreigner with theBush Bucks but as a local." "I have been in thiscountry for quite sometime and have several personal businessesthat need me to be a citizen to run them properly," headded. Maduka also said that his son had started school in SouthAfrica and that he didn't want to disrupt his education. "Ihave his future to consider," he said. Maduka hasn't playeda single game for the Bush Bucks this season because he waswaiting for his citizenship to be approved. "I would haveplayed for the club last weekend but had to return to Malawi forthe Cosafa Castle Cup final," he said. The midfielder isdetermined to keep a foot in both fields and says he willcontinue playing for the Malawi Flames because the federation ofinternational football associations (Fifa) still recognises himas a Malawian. "There's nothing strange about my move,"he says. "Many national team players hold citizenships incountries other than their own and continue to play for theirhome country." Maduka's Zimbabwean born twin brothers,William and Wilfred Mugeyi also applied for local citizenship.The brothers also play for Umtata Bush Bucks.
IT professionals return to SA (Business Day, 22/10) - Aninformation technology (IT) recruitment company said yesterdayreports of a "brain drain" of professionals out of thecountry often ignored the numbers returning to SA, with mostlyenhanced skills. The reports said more than 7400 SA graduates andprofessionals left for greener pastures during the first half ofthe year apparently exacerbating the country's brain drain."It is true to say that a lot of people are leaving thecountry to live and work in various countries overseas,"said Org Geldenhuys, a director at a Pretoria-based ITrecruitment company. "But we are also noticing that a lot ofpeople are coming back as well and are bringing enhanced skillsback with them. "We can, of course, only talk about the ITindustry as this is our field. But during the past 12 months wehave assisted a growing number of IT workers to find employmentin SA," Geldenhuys said. He said that many South Africanswent overseas with the intention of making it their new home, butrealised that the grass was not really that green. "We haveworked, for instance, with a number of people with SAP softwareskills who have gone overseas and have gained greater experiencein the SAP field and are now returning. This is a boon to thelocal IT market," Geldenhuys said. "Interestinglyenough, one of the factors cited by those returning is that theymiss the SA weather. There are other factors, of course,including the fact that the economies of other countries, and theopportunities, are not as rosy as originally anticipated."In addition, other countries have their own problems,including political and social turmoil. "But, whatever thestatistics are, we are seeing a steady stream especially latelyof South Africans returning to local soil," Geldenhuys said.
South Africa closes border with Mozambique (Maputo,Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, 21/10) - The SouthAfrican authorities closed the South Africa/Mozambique border inNamaacha district, on Saturday, thus impeding free entry tohundreds of Mozambicans who wanted to pay tribute to thecountry's first President, Samora Machel, who died in a planecrash, just over the border at Mbuzini on 19 October 1986. Sincethe first anniversary of Machel's death, in 1987, it was agreedbetween the two countries, and became a tradition, that lastedfor 15 years, that South Africa would let Mozambicans cross theborder, with no visas, to take part in ceremonies at Mbuzini.Since the end of apartheid, a large monument, designed by aMozambican architect, has been erected at Mbuzini. But, accordingto a report in the daily paper "Diario de Mocambique",on Saturday, and with no plausible explanation, the South Africanauthorities decided, at the last minute, to close the border,demanding that whoever wanted to cross should get a visa, whichcost the equivalent of 45 US dollars. Namaacha districtadministrator Margarida Matsinhe told reporters that the Mbuziniauthorities had agreed the previous day to allow Mozambicans tovisit the crash site, without visas. But at 07:00 on the morningof 19 October, they canceled the offer. "We are frustratedwith this situation. For us, there is no logic in this, becausewe cannot find a way to transport people to Ressano Garcia (theofficial border post with South Africa), much less to pay forvisas for all these people, who want to pay tribute to SamoraMachel", she said. A strong South African police apparatuswas deployed on the other side of the border, including amilitary plane overflying the area, presumably checking onwhether Mozambicans would try to cross the border anyway. As aresult of the refusal by the South African authorities, the 500or so Mozambicans who wanted to go to Mbuzini ended up layingtheir wreaths near the border fence, in the presence of heavilyarmed policemen. Matsinhe said, that if the South Africansobstruct access to Mbuzini in future, Mozambicans will, as fromnow, pay their tribute to Machel at the border fence, which ishardly 500 metres from the site of the crash. "We intendthat people from Maputo and other parts of the country shouldcome to this place on 19 October every year, to let SouthAfricans see how much we loved our leader", she said. Allattempts by the representative of the Mozambican Labour ministryin South Africa, Custodio Cuna, to persuade the South Africanauthorities to let the Mozambicans enter, were fruitless. The menon duty claimed that they did not even have the key to the gates.He said "the South African central government gave ordersnot to open the border gates (for this purpose) as from thisdate, but gave no explanation", said Cuna. "Theycollected the keys fearing that the police officers on duty, whohave good relations with the Mozambican police, would breach theorder", he said.
Cuban doctors flee South Africa (The Natal Witness,21/10) - Ten more Cuban doctors and their families haveallegedly sought political asylum in Spain, raising the number ofdoctors to abscond in the last month to 26. Three families arebelieved to have jumped off the plane in Spain on their way backfrom Cuba, where they had to spend their annual compulsoryholiday leave. Seven other families, who left South Africa onOctober 7 for their holiday, followed suit. Most of the doctorswho fled the country worked in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape, andreportedly said they would rather work as construction workers inSpain than practise as doctors under their existing contract withSouth Africa. According to sources, the exodus of doctors hasresulted in the remaining doctors being closely watched by theirprovincial Cuban co-ordinators, who then report their movementsto the national co-ordinator Jimmy Davies. A news article in aSunday paper about the absconding of the first 16 doctors wasfollowed by an instruction from Davies to Cuban doctors to writeletters to the paper about the "success" of theprogramme, to correct "inaccuracies". Cubans who havemarried South Africans and applied for South African citizenshipand permanent residence said they have to go through trial andtribulation. The wife of a doctor said she was told by officialsat the Home Affairs Department that the department "shouldnot recommend" permanent residence for Cuban doctors."It's a real mission to get the application through. In onecase a doctor was 'forced' to divorce his newly-wed South Africanwife and instructed to return to Cuba," she said. In aSpanish e-mail (of which the Witness has a copy) translated intoEnglish by a language expert, a group of doctors based in Limpopowere informed by their co-ordinator that Ricardo Gutierrezapplied for permanent residence and should be treated as adefector. "He may not return to Cuba." Limpopoco-ordinator B.I. Monzon allegedly denies sending the e-mail, butin a recording of a conversation allegedly repeated the message.According to the instruction, Gutierrez, who is married to anAfrikaans doctor and has a child with her, will not be allowed into Cuba to visit his mother, brothers and daughter from aprevious marriage. Adding to the misery of those who apply forpermanent residence is the treatment from their colleagues, whoare apparently warned not to associate with them. "Peoplewho have been our closest friends for the past five yearssuddenly don't want to be seen with us," a doctor said. The"defectors" say their colleagues are scared of"Big Brother", as they call Davies, who has theauthority to send them back to Cuba. "They cannot apply forasylum in South Africa, and when they arrive in Cuba they have tohand over their passports to the government. Naughty boys, whocriticised the government in South Africa or did not pay theagreed 30% of their salaries to the Cuban Health Department'saccount, are 'punished' by retaining their passports," asource alleged. "We are not into politics. We just want tohave the right to live with our husbands where we want to live,and to associate with people we want to associate with. Thecurrent situation seems to benefit both governments but punishesthe people on the ground. It enables the South African HealthDepartment to pay pathetic salaries to Cuban doctors instead ofhiring more expensive people, while the Cuban government getsrevenue from the doctors." KwaZulu-Natal co-ordinator Juande Pestre said the allegations are false. "Nobody was forcedto join the programme and the contract was very clear from thebeginning. I, like many of the other 88 doctors in the province,came here to help the South African population. Like otherdoctors we work very long hours in harsh conditions in ruralareas, but we are proud to assist the patients." Davies wasunavailable for comment. He previously said the increase from 95doctors to 450 is proof of the success of the programme.
Customs pact ushers in free trade (Sunday Times,20/10) - The heads of five Southern African states willsign a new trade agreement tomorrow that will dramatically changebusiness patterns in the region by simplifying bureaucracy andcreating fairer trade between markets. The revised SouthernAfrican Customs Union will also make this the most economicallyintegrated region in Africa and reduce South Africa's hogging ofthe marketplace, said the Deputy Director-General forInternational Trade and Economic Development, Tshediso Matona.The accord will simplify tariffs and allow for opendecision-making on customs duties, rebates, import and exportcontrols and anti-dumping measures. The union, the oldest commoncustoms body in the world, dating back to 1910, controls tradeand regulates tariffs between Namibia, Swaziland, Botswana,Lesotho and South Africa. It was last amended in 1969 and had noclear decision-making structures until now. "The newagreement will provide business in the region with a secure,clear and institutionally sound regulatory regime in which tooperate. There was an untenable situation where South Africadictated policy in the customs union. "The other countrieshad very little say. Now there will be a co-ordination of tradepolicy between the members of the union, and a proper reflectionof industry geographically in the region," said Matona.There will be a new revenue-sharing formula so that poorernations source more funds from the customs pool. Once the unionis fully functional, it will create regional economic stability,and define how the five countries relate to the rest of theworld, he said. It is significant to South Africa in that it addssix million people from the other four countries to the market,who will be able to exploit the free trade agreement. FreddieModise of Botswana's Ministry of Finance and Development Planningsaid the new union was indicative of a more democraticunderstanding as all decisions would be made by a council oftrade ministers. The chairmanship of the council will rotate.However, the SACU headquarters will be based in Namibia. A newtariff board, made up of experts from member states, willadjudicate on customs applications. It will regulate tradepolicies, customs duties, rebates and import and export controls."It will consider applications from member states, changetariff policies and provide trade remedies in the case of unfaircompetition and practices, such as dumping," said Matona. Inthe event of a dispute, there is provision for the establishmentof a temporary tribunal. South African Trade and IndustryMinister Alec Erwin told Parliament earlier this week that unionmembers had reached agreement late last year on a new customspool. Erwin described the re-negotiation of the agreement as a"historic achievement". The National Assembly adoptedthe International Trade Administration Bill this week, which alsosimplifies customs tariffs and provides for the streamlining oftrade policies within the union. Tomorrow's agreement will haveto be ratified by the parliaments of the five member statesbefore it becomes effective.
Home Affairs corruption under spotlight (City Press,20/10) - Chair of the home affairs portfolio committee,Mpho Scott, has suggested corruption in the department of homeaffairs is not under control, as the department would like thecommittee to believe. He made the comments in response to apresentation by the acting director-general, Ivan Lambinon, aboutthe escalating incidence of corruption, including the selling ofservices and ID books. Scott has now invited Home AffairsMinister Mangosuthu Buthelezi to address the committee about thedepartment's plans to improve service delivery and combatcorruption. The committee's initiatives arise amid concerns thata lack of urgency in addressing these issues was damaging thecountry's image. Scott told City Press the department needed tospeed up the appointment of a director-general and two permanentdeputy directors instead of having acting ones. He said there waslack of certainty in the administration of the department, asthere were about 18 directors, all of whom were working in anacting capacity. Lambinon told the committee that at least 20 to30 cases of corruption were reported monthly. Describing thesituation as "serious", he said at least 84 cases hadbeen finalised since April 2002. During the past financial year,60 officials received verbal warnings, 120 written warnings and232 final written warnings, while 31 had been dismissed.
SA's tourism boom continues (Cape Town, DispatchOnline, 18/10) - South Africa's tourism industry looksset for another bumper year, Environmental Affairs and TourismMinister Valli Moosa said. "The boom just keeps going,"he said in a statement yesterday, marking the release of theTourism Index Quarterly Report for the period April to June 2002."The results of the latest tourism statistics once againconfirm the fact that South Africa is the best-performing tourismdestination in the world." Moosa said there had been a 7,2percent increase in foreign tourist arrivals to the country up tothe end of July this year, compared to the same period in 2001.This increase represented over 236000 extra tourists, bringingthe total number of visitors in that period to over 3,5 million."We continue to be one of the only tourism growth markets inthe world at this present time. We have managed to hold in theredespite a number of accepted barriers to growth during the periodin question." Overseas arrivals, not including Africa andthe Indian Ocean islands, had shot up by 11,3 percent, from831212 to 925043 (an increase of 93831). Among figures in thereport highlighted by Moosa were:
* Arrivals from Europe increased by 16,2 percent in the firstseven months of this year compared to January to July 2001 (from537620 to 624580);
* The number of tourists from South Africa's "numberone" market source, the United Kingdom, increased by 19,4percent over 2001 (from 195873 to 233910); and
* The number of United States tourists to South Africa increasedin July by 2,7 percent compared to July 2001 (from 19249 to19765).
"Things are most definitely looking set for a bumper year.These statistics vindicate the hard-nosed approach tointernational marketing that SA Tourism is rolling out to our keymarkets," Moosa said.
East Rand crackdown, 52 arrested (SABC News, 18/10) - Fifty-twopeople were arrested on the East Rand this week in an anti-crimeoperation, police said today. Mega Ndobe, a police spokesperson,said five people were arrested on Tuesday and charged with a R1,8million N3 highway cash-in-transit heist earlier this month. Theywould appear in the Boksburg Magistrate's Court today. TheKatlehong Crime Prevention Unit arrested two people found inpossession of stolen motor vehicles, six people for seriousassault and two others for armed robbery. A quantity of dagga wasseized and a number of people were charged with housebreaking,theft and fraud. Several suspected illegal immigrants were alsorounded up. All of the suspects would appear in court soon, Ndobesaid.
SA journalist seeks asylum in USA (Parliament, Sapa,18/10) - Government officials are trying to verifyclaims reportedly made by former Cape Town community radio andCape Talk journalist Eva Georgia in an application for asylum inthe United States, Foreign Affairs Minister Dr NkosazanaDlamini-Zuma said on Friday. The South African mission inWashington DC was in the process of verifying the authenticity ofGeorgia's asylum application with the US Immigration andNaturalisation Services, she said in written reply to a questionfrom Dene Smuts (DA). US authorities had not consulted the SouthAfrican government about Georgia's claims, Dlamini-Zuma said."The decision regarding the eligibility for asylum in the USis made based purely on information provided by the applicant andan interview with the asylum officer or immigration judge, andnot through cross-referencing to the government of theapplicant's country." Dlamini-Zuma said the South Africangovernment had no information about Georgia's alleged claims."It appears that her accusations may be levelled at privateindividuals and not the government. We are still looking into thematter, however, and hope to receive more information from the USImmigration and Naturalisation Services." Once reliableinformation was available, she would decide whether an officialstatement was required, Dlamini-Zuma said. The Los Angeles Timesreported in June that Georgia, who started Radio Atlantis inSouth Africa in 1995, was the new general manager of theleft-leaning Pacifica radio in Los Angeles. The report describedGeorgia as a pioneer in community radio in South Africa duringthe apartheid era, "when she was harassed, threatened atgunpoint, and had colleagues killed and kidnapped while they allsought to expose police corruption, the AIDS epidemic andviolence against women and children". "Radio Atlantishosted numerous party candidates before an election, andinvestigated the background of the politicians they were going tobe interviewing - standard practice in American journalism, butrisky behaviour at that time in South Africa," the reportsaid. The research led to drug and prostitution ties, and threatsand intimidation from those being scrutinised. "When eightto 12-year-old black children began disappearing, their bodieslater turning up dismembered, Georgia called the police racistfor not pursuing the cases more diligently. "That brought200 officers swarming to the radio station. "Then, whenpolice arrested a suspect on what Georgia thought was flimsyevidence, she put the accused on the air to give his side -angering the citizens of Atlantis," the report said. Thenewspaper quoted Georgia as saying that a police commissionerinvestigating corruption had died in a mysterious car crash,while a journalist subpoenaed to testify about what he haduncovered was murdered the day before the hearing. "Georgiaherself was accosted at a stoplight by an assailant who put a gunto her head, and her home was ransacked. And a friend workingwith her to uncover corruption disappeared without a trace."It was 1999 and Georgia finally reached a breaking point.Fearing the violence would reach her family if she keptmuckraking in South Africa, she fled to the United States and wasgranted asylum by the Immigration and NaturalisationService," the newspaper reported. The newspaper saidGeorgia's selection at Pacifica Radio in Los Angeles was notwithout controversy. The manager of Bush Radio in Cape Townapparently wrote to Pacifica officials saying that his stationwas the first on the air, not Radio Atlantis, as a Pacifica newsrelease about Georgia had said. He also reportedly criticised hermove in 1997 from Radio Atlantis to the commercial Cape Talkradio station.
Zimbabwe nationals rush to fix their refugee status(The Sowetan, 18/10) - More than 500 Zimbabwe nationalsyesterday flocked to the Johannesburg offices of the Black Sash,a human rights organisation, in a desperate move to fix theirrefugee status in South Africa and avoid being deported to theirtroubled country. Officials at the Black Sash said they had had ahuge influx of foreigners over the past two weeks, most of themZimbabweans seeking asylum and permits to live in South Africa.The organisation was puzzled by the sudden rush for permits. Anadditional 700 people were reportedly also crowding the officesof the Home Affairs Department in Braamfontein. When Sowetanvisited the Black Sash offices yesterday, the foreigners, amongthem women with children on their backs, were pushing in thequeue. Some of them are said to have been coming from as early as4am every day for the past weeks, hoping to gain entry to presenttheir cases to the organisation. The Black Sash's regionaldirector, Ms Tehogo Segale, told Sowetan yesterday that theyhelped foreigners who claimed to have found no joy from theDepartment of Home Affairs regarding their permits and had tohide from the police. The organisation gave the foreignersprotection letters, in which it pleaded with the department andthe police to give them a grace period of seven days while theytried to acquire the right documents. "We try to protectthese people and make sure that their rights are not fiddledwith," Segale said.
Cross-border anti-crime operation (Pretoria, Sapa,18/10) - A major multinational anti-crime drive in SouthAfrica, Lesotho and Swaziland this month has chalked upconsiderable successes, police said on Friday. SeniorSuperintendent Mary Martins-Engelbrecht said the focus ofOperation Mangochi was to combat cross border vehicle theft andsmuggling, drug trafficking, firearms trade as well as illegalmigration. "The first phase of this combined operation,which is taking place under a Southern African Regional PoliceChiefs Co-operation Committee (Sarpcco) mandate, was carried outin Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe during April and May,"Martins-Engelbrecht said. "In the follow up phase lawenforcers from participating Sarpcco countries targeted crime inSouth Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland." The current phase ofthe operation kicked off on October 3 in Gauteng. During atwo-day blitz 556 people were arrested in connection with varioustransgressions and 33 stolen vehicles, a large quantities vehicleparts as well as drugs, stolen cellphones, computers andhousehold appliances confiscated. The focus afterwards shifted toLesotho where police recovered 95 vehicles of which 61 wereimmediately identified as stolen. A large quantity of dagga andstolen livestock were also confiscated, as were 30 illegalfirearms and other stolen property. The final part of the presentphase was scheduled to wind down in Swaziland on Friday night.Although final tallies were not yet available, authorities had byFriday afternoon recovered 56 suspected stolen vehicles andarrested 125 peoples in connection with various crimes. "Theoutstanding co-operation between the different Sarpcco countriesis without a doubt a winning recipe for fighting organised crimein the southern African region," Assistant CommissionerVinesh Moonoo, head of organised crime at police headquarters inPretoria, said. "These successes are due to our commitment,dedicated co-operation and our transnational approach in dealingwith criminal elements across regional borders, NationalDetective Services head, Divisional Commissioner Johan de Beersaid. Martins-Engelbrecht said a factor behind the successes wasthat all activities were intelligence driven, meaning thatdetectives had painstakingly compiled cases and gathered evidenceon cross-border crime before striking at the right moment. Theoperation was set to continue throughout the Sarpcco region.
CCMA to probe labour problems at ERPM (Johannesburg,News 24, 17/10) - Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlanahas asked the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation andArbitration (CCMA) to probe the recruitment and retrenchment ofworkers by ERPM and its new owners. The labour department said onThursday the CCMA would investigate and ensure that therecruitment process of about 2 500 workers by the new owners wasfair and the displacement of 1 500 did not result in any furthertragedies at East Rand Proprietary Mines. Production at the mineground to a halt earlier this month when workers, whoparticipated in the Congress of SA Trade Unions' two-dayanti-privatisation strike, refused to return to work. Theworkers, all employed by Circle Labour and Accommodation(Circle), wanted the mine to employ them directly and end itsrelationship with the labour broker which they believed undulyexploited them. During the strike two miners were killedallegedly by security guards and 14 were injured. The shootingfollowed the vandalising of the mine's Far East shaft, whichsuffered damage estimated at R4m. ERPM cancelled its contractwith Circle, a move which left thousands of workers unemployed.Many of them have since been rehired. The contract was cancelledbecause the labour brokers failed to supply the mine withuninterrupted labour as stipulated in a contract. The departmentsaid on Thursday the CCMA would also ensure that ERPM, Circle,and new owners Crown Gold Recoveries, a 60-40 joint venturebetween Khumo Bathong and Durban Roodepoort Deep, followed thecorrect retrenchment procedures. These workers were entitled toseverance packages. "As government we are concerned thatanother 1 500 workers will join the pool of unemployed. Joblosses in industry are unacceptable given the socio-economicimpact these have on the poor," Mdladlana said in astatement. He said he was concerned that some mine officials wereusing labour brokers to avoid paying the minimum wage. Theminister said some labour officials had found that Circle's wageswere way below the market norm and there were irregularitiesregarding the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, with workers'contracts not showing hours worked nor rates and methods ofpayments. "We will not allow the exploitation of workers andthe violation of labour laws," the minister said. "Thedeath of workers and loss of productivity will not be tolerated.We need stability in the workplace and stability we willhave."
Arrest of Home Affairs official (IOL, 16/10) - Whenthe director of the Home Affairs office in Johannesburg heardInspector "Cowboy" Maluleke was after him, he headedfor the hills. But Phillip Jabulani Buthelezi, 40, only got asfar as the McDonald's in Melville, Johannesburg, where theStetson-wearing police detective and his posse caught up with himon Wednesday morning. Buthelezi was parked under a tree at thefast-food outlet in his luxury white Mercedes Korando 4x4 when hewas arrested by members of the Johannesburg Organised Crime Unit.Maluleke, who strolls around in his brown cattleman's hat andidentifies himself only as "Cowboy", said the arrestemanated from a R15-million 419 scam and a cheque fraud case.Police arrested a Congolese man, Motto Mabanga, last week and thesuspect was able to produce a South African ID book, passport anda birth certificate. Mabanga said a 64-year-old Soweto woman washis mother. But further investigations allegedly established thatall Mabanga's claims and documents were false and the paper trailled to Buthelezi. He had allegedly been helping illegal aliensget valid documents. Maluleke said it was suspected that theaiding of illegal immigrants at Market Street Home Affairs hadbeen going on for more than five years. Mabanga's"mother" was arrested on Wednesday, to be charged withobstructing justice and possibly contempt of court. A surprisedButhelezi called a friend to fetch his car, pleading innocence:"This is crap. I'm distressed," he said. He claimed hehad genuinely believed Mabanga was a South African. Buthelezi wasgranted R5 000 bail in the Randburg magistrate's court onWednesday. He will appear again on Thursday with Mabanga.
Stock thieves arrested (Bloemfontein, News 24, 16/10)- Two alleged stock theft syndicate members arrested byFree State police this week had pleaded guilty to the crime,police reported on Wednesday. Free State police spokespersonSuperintendent Annelie van der Bank said five alleged syndicatemembers were arrested during a special operation which took placebetween October 7 and Monday this week. They had allegedly stolenstock valued at an estimated R225 000 were stolen between Augustand October from Zastron farms along the Lesotho border. Threeothers, also Lesotho citizens, but not believed to be syndicatemembers, were arrested for the theft of sheep to the value of R8500 this month. The SA Police Service's Wepener stock-theft unitservice launched the operation in co-operation with the LesothoRoyal Mounted Police. One of the men was injured in the head,allegedly when he tried to escape by jumping from a moving policevehicle. He was being treated in hospital. Twelve of the stolensheep were also recovered during the operation. Police expectedto recover a further 29 stolen sheep and one head of cattle asthey had information on where the animals were kept in Lesotho,Van der Bank said.
Anti-graft drive at Home Affairs to be extended (TheStar, 16/10) - Project Molopo, an anti-corruptioncampaign by the Home Affairs Department and the police, is to beexpanded to include all provinces. Acting Home Affairsdirector-general Ivan Lambinon yesterday told parliament's homeaffairs committee that an average of 20 to 30 cases of corruptionwere reported monthly in the department. He acknowledged that thesituation was serious, but said his department was "honestand is staffed by honest officials, notwithstanding this".Project Molopo was launched in May and concentrated primarily onHome Affairs' head office officials in Pretoria and elsewhere inGauteng. It would be expanded countrywide at the end of themonth, Lambinon said. Task teams with special knowledge of thedepartment and of corruption would be deployed. The departmenthad also trained 99 officials to investigate lesser cases ofcorruption, as well as 113 officials to preside at disciplinaryhearings. Lambinon said that, during the year ending March 312002, 443 departmental hearings took place. Sixty officialsreceived verbal warnings, 120 officials got written warnings and31 others were dismissed after disciplinary hearings. Althoughrecords of criminal hearings were not readily available, it wasestimated that the success rate could be about 70%. Mostcorruption cases involved illegal immigrants, he said.
Mining sector should extend worker care, says NUM(Johannesburg, Business Day, 16/10) - Mining housescould soon be forced to accept financial responsibility for thehealth costs of workers for up to two years after they leavetheir employment as opposed to the current six months if theyhave contracted a disease for which compensation can be claimed,a parliamentary committee heard yesterday. The amendments, whichhave been brought in the Occupational Diseases in Mines and WorksAmendment Bill by the health department, could have far-reachingconsequences for the sector. During public hearings on thelegislation in Parliament's health committee yesterday, a jointsubmission by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and theCongress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) argued that the length oftime during which an ex-miner could apply to be medicallyexamined should be 36 months but that it accepted the 24-monthperiod suggested by the health department. NUM parliamentaryofficer Fred Gona told the committee that many diseases whichafflicted miners had a latency period which in some cases took asmuch as 10 years to manifest. He also pointed out that theInternational Labour Organisation and the World HealthOrganisation directs that health screening and surveillance ofexposed workers should be done over a period of two to threeyears. At present the law states that the owner of a controlledmine or works must pay the reasonable costs of a mineworkerassociated with having contracted a compensatable disease for aperiod of two years while he or she is still employed. Theamendment brought by the health department maintains the two-yearperiod even if the worker has left the mining house. Gona and hiscolleague, Welcome Mboniso, argued that the words"reasonable costs" should be linked to "provencosts" so that a sick worker who had to travel from ruralEastern Cape to Gauteng for medical reasons associated with adisease contracted while working in a mine was compensated by theformer employer. They said that the term reasonable costs wassubjective and left it up to the mining companies to determinewhat was reasonable. Proven costs should be paid on thesubmission of receipts and invoices, they said. "Further wepropose that these proven costs payable by the owners be extendedto cover expenses related to travelling, accommodation and foodnecessitated by such occupational diseases. The currentprovisions of the bill limit these costs to medical aidnecessitated by such occupational diseases," they said. TheNUM-Cosatu submission also welcomed the intended introduction ofa cap for agents who assist mineworkers in accessingcompensation. The bill suggests that a fee of not more than 0,5%of the benefit paid to the sick worker can be charged. "Thebill also provides for the important function of protectingunsuspecting workers who fall prey to people who rip them offunder the pretense of representing them in the process ofclaiming compensation. "Therefore we fully support thecapping of any fee claimed by assistants'," Gona said. Thecommittee will deliberate on the bill this Friday.
Home Affairs official arrested (Johannesburg, News 24,16/10) - A high-ranking home affairs official has beenarrested and charged with contravening the Aliens Control Act,say police. Superintendent Lungelo Dlamini said the 42-year-oldofficial could not be named until his appearance in the Randburgmagistrate's court, expected on Wednesday afternoon. The man wasabsent when police arrived at his office in Market Street toarrest him at 10:00 on Wednesday and he was finally traced to afast-food outlet in Melville. The court appearance is inconnection with last week's arrest in a Sandton luxury hotel ofCongolese citizen Motto Mabanga, who was in possession of falseimmigration papers. A 64-year-old Soweto woman, who made a swornstatement saying Mabanga was her son, also was arrested onWednesday. Mbanga is being held in custody and is due to appearin court on Friday, charged with operating a 419 scam involvingabout R14m.
Valuable skills lost in continuing brain drain (The Star, 16/10) - More than 7 400 South African graduates and professionals, most not even stopping to complete their airport departure forms, hit the runways for the pound seats in the first half of this year as the country's brain drain continued unabated. At the same time, unskilled and jobless wives or husbands are pouring in from the war and hunger zones across our borders in search of their own South African success story. The latest migration figures released by Statistics South Africa, collated at the country's three international airports in the first half of this year, show no reversal of a skills diaspora that began fast-tracking in mid-2001. ritain, Australia, United States, New Zealand and Namibia While the brakes appear to have been put on departing doctors and nurses, the slump in the engineering industry is already sending scores of professionals overseas - while almost two thousand graduates and budding au pairs head out for work opportunities denied them at home. Statistician-general PJ Lehohla says the gap between the documented number of immigrants and the number of self-declared emigrants, which had been "closing down" during the first half of 2001, "stopped during the second half of 2001 and during the first and second halves of 2002". Since 1998, Lehohla says, "the number of documented immigrants has remained less than the number of self-declared emigrants". But the emigration figure - which is based on the number of emigrants as recorded on their departure forms at Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban international airports only - could be far higher, Lehohla says, adding that only 50 percent of business and holiday travellers, for instance, even bothered to fill in departure forms. Moreover, Lehohla says, "South Africans who leave permanently under the pretext of temporary visits will not appear as emigrants in the emigration statistics collected." Research by the University of Cape Town's policy research unit, published by the South African Migration Project, backs Lehohla's observations. The unit says the "brain drain" of skilled professionals is much more significant, with 41 496 well-trained and much-needed professionals emigrating between 1989 and 1997 - almost four times more than the official figure of 11 255. Most, whose skills are vital for attracting foreign investment in a post-apartheid country with capacity constraint and an inefficient service sector, acquire further post-graduate training overseas. In July this year 535 self-declared emigrants jetted out, 181 of them classed as not economically active (105 classed as students and 45 as au pairs), with a substantial number of professionals, managers and clerical and sales people making up the balance. The destinations of choice, consistent through the year, were Britain, Australia, United States, New Zealand and Namibia. Overall, says Statistics SA, the number of self-declared emigrants in the first half of this year was 7 423, compared with 7 086 over the same period last year. A total of 12 260 South Africans left last year. The top 10 preferred destinations this year are Britain (2 491), Australia (1 177), United States (757), New Zealand (688), Namibia (261), Canada (233), Botswana (168), the Middle East excluding Israel (167), Germany (143) and Ireland (116). Other leading destinations were Zambia (111), The Netherlands (106), Switzerland (85) and Mauritius (78). Broken down by continent, 3 167 South Africans headed for Europe (5 316 last year), 867 to Australasia (2 912 last year) and 990 to North America (1 659 last year). Emerging economies were the least-favoured destinations, with 912 into Africa (1 583 last year), 188 to the Middle East (280 last year), 117 to Asia (226 last year), 84 to Indian Ocean islands (126 last year) and 31 to Central and South America (54 last year). A total of 67 self-declared emigrants did not specify their final destinations (104 last year). Of the 7 423 who left in the first six months of this year, 4 969 were economically active (7 591 last year). Of the 2 454 emigrants classed as not economically active (4 669 last year), 1 264 were "students and scholars" (2 386 last year), 590 were "housekeepers" (1 000 last year), 410 were children (943 last year) and 175 were pensioners (266 last year). In the professional, semi-professional and technical occupations category, 1 853 left South Africa (2 929 last year); 762 in managerial, executive and administrative occupations (954 last year); 780 in clerical and sales occupations (1 279 last year); 30 in transport, delivery and communications occupations (53 last year); 84 in service occupations (208 last year); 15 in farming and related occupations (33 last year); 169 artisans and apprentices (304 last year) and 29 mining and production supervisors and workers (79 last year). A total of 1 247 did not specify their occupations on their departure forms (1 752 last year). Of the 1 853 in professional, semi-professional and technical occupations, 826 were listed as "other" (1 453 last year), 362 were accountants (518 last year), 283 were in education (438 last year) and 246 were non-economically active engineers (348 last year). Another 86 were doctors (88 last year), 10 were dentists (27 last year) and eight were medical specialists (six last year). The South African Chamber of Business says local skills, especially in information technology, are "highly regarded" overseas "and many people are being head-hunted". South Africa, with poor opportunities, did not offer competitive salaries and labour laws placed a "heavy burden" on employers. Interestingly, of the 3 623 documented immigrants accepted into South Africa in the first half of this year (4 832 last year), 367 were in professional, semi-professional and technical occupations - mostly in education - and 232 wre in managerial, executive and administrative occupations. But a staggering 2 956 (3 879 last year) were categorised as not economically active - and 1 982 of them were classed as spouses. Statistics SA said the five leading sources in July, when 372 immigrants were approved, were Nigeria (18,3 percent), Zimbabwe (11,8 percent), Britain (7,5 percent), India (6,2 percent) and Pakistan (5,9 percent). This year, 1 346 immigrants came from Africa (mostly Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo) and 1 037 from Europe, largely Britons and Germans. A further 956 came from Asia (mostly from India, China and Pakistan), 108 from North America, 61 from the Middle East, 41 from Australasia and 31 from Central and South America - and 35, amazingly, ditched Mauritius for South Africa.
Home Affairs expands anti-corruption drive (Cape Town,News 24, 15/10) - Project Molopo, the home affairsdepartment's anti-corruption drive with the police, will beexpanded to include all provinces, acting home affairsdirector-general Ivan Lambinon said on Tuesday. BriefingParliament's home affairs committee, he said an average of 20 to30 cases of corruption were reported monthly in the department.Lambinon acknowledged that the situation was serious, but saidhis department was "honest and is staffed by honestofficials, notwithstanding this". Project Molopo, which waslaunched in May, and which concentrated primarily on home affairsofficials working at the department's head office in Pretoria andelsewhere in Gauteng would be expanded countrywide at the end ofthe month. Task teams with special knowledge of the departmentand corruption, would be deployed to form part of jointoperations with the police, Lambinon said. The department hadalso trained 99 officials to investigate lesser cases ofcorruption, as well as 113 officials to preside at disciplinaryhearings. Lambinon said that during the year ending March 31,2002, 443 departmental hearings took place. Sixty officialsreceived verbal warnings, 120 officials written warnings and 31others were dismissed after disciplinary hearings. Althoughrecords of criminal hearings were not readily available, it wasestimated that the success rate could be in the region of 70%."Most of the corruption cases involve illegal immigrants,who are needed to testify in court. However, as a result (of thefact) that witnesses do not report for court hearings, cases arewithdrawn." A police operation launched in July and aimed atcorruption in the home affairs department, resulted in the arrestof 45 officials countrywide, as well as 32 agents working withthe officials and 1232 illegal immigrants. The department hadcommissioned independent research by the University of SouthAfrica on corruption. "We are looking at the causes and whatreal decisions should be taken," Lambinon said. Committeechairperson Mpho Scott (ANC) praised the department for takingsteps to combat corruption, but said there was still concern.Cases of corruption were heard almost daily and "it's likefighting a losing battle". "It's a good picture thatyou've painted, but I think the problem is a lot worse,"Scott said.
Border deal stalls car theft gangs (Sunday Times,13/10) - A successful initiative between South Africaand Mozambique is stopping syndicates in their tracks. Tim Shieldhad barely sat down to order a beer in a pub near Pretoria when acar guard yelled that thieves had sped off in his brand new 4x4.The next day the white Isuzu double cab was found by SouthAfrican soldiers patrolling the border between KwaZulu-Natal andMozambique. That was eight months ago. The bakkie, used todeliver church food parcels to the needy, was stolen againoutside the same pub as Shield watched a cricket match lastmonth. This time it was used in a cash-in-transit robbery beforebeing found, again by soldiers, riddled with bullet holes on theMozambican border. The road engineer was reunited with his"baby" - twice - thanks to a unique deal between policein South Africa and Mozambique, who with the South AfricanNational Defence Force have stopped a major car-theft syndicatein its tracks. Armed with a computer in a remote Mozambicanvillage, they have shut the door on a "smuggler'scorridor" used by hijackers and car thieves who literallydrag luxury cars worth millions out of South Africa. Untilrecently, crime syndicates were smuggling shipments of hijackedand stolen cars through northern KwaZulu-Natal and intoMozambique. Luxury German sedans, bogged down in the sandyterrain, were simply dragged across the border behind stolen4x4s. Some of the "exports" have been driven thousandsof kilometres - sometimes as far north as Tanzania - by thesyndicates. But the brakes have now been clamped on the Kosi Baysmugglers. South African police have, for the first time, beenpermanently based in neighbouring Mozambique to help catch thebad guys. Business Against Crime launched a major investigationtwo years ago to gather intelligence on how stolen cars werebeing spirited out of the country. Joining forces with the SouthAfrican Police Service, SANDF and Mozambican government, a planwas devised to end the illegal trade at Kosi Bay. All vehiclestaken through the 54km-long Kosi Bay border have to cross asingle bridge, over the Maputo River, at the tiny village ofSalamanga in southern Mozambique. "Because of the length ofthe border between northern KwaZulu-Natal and Mozambique and thenature of the terrain, it was obvious from the outset that achoke point over the bridge at Salamanga could play a vitalrole," said Director Zirk Gouws, SAPS border police head."With the co-operation of the Mozambican authorities, we nowhave a permanent SAPS presence at the Salamanga bridge."They are equipped with computer-based technology connecteddirectly to the SAPS mainframe in Pretoria," he said. TheSouth African police team at Salamanga can tap into the vehicledatabase and identify stolen cars within minutes. TheirMozambican colleagues then move in to make arrests and seize thecars. It is the first time South African police members have beenpermanently based in a neighbouring country, said Gouws. The"choke-point team" recovered 150 stolen vehicles in thefirst six months of this year. Last year, when the project wasstill in its infancy, R18-million worth of stolen cars andbakkies were recovered in the area. The anti-crime project hasproved so successful that it is now being rolled out to borderswith Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Zimbabwe, said Gouws. Of the116 000 vehicles stolen and hijacked every year, about 19 000 endup as illegal "exports", said Gouws. "We have evenrecovered vehicles stolen and hijacked in South Africa incountries as far afield as Spain, Portugal, and Malta," hesaid. Pat McLoughlin, who led the project for Business AgainstCrime, said: "We knew the criminal syndicates were wellorganised, but it was fascinating to see first hand exactly howwell prepared they actually were. "It was mostly upmarket,expensive 4x4s and cars, like a Mercedes S500, being taken acrossthe border. "They put a stolen 4x4 or two in each batch ofvehicles to drag cars through the sandy terrain. Sometimes theyeven used recovery vehicles." In some cases the thieves torethe front and back spoilers off cars to make it easier tonegotiate bush and sand tracks. "They didn't care that thevehicles were damaged because they could easily berepaired," said McLoughlin. Gouws was upbeat about thesuccess story: "Thanks to the project and co-operationbetween all role players, including the Mozambican government, wehave managed to permanently seal the route taken by hijackers andcar thieves across the KwaZulu-Natal border to Maputo andbeyond."
Seven-year ordeal ends (Sowetan Sunday World, 13/10) -The families of two kidnapped children shed tears of joyin a heartfelt reunion with the teenagcrs this week. In a bizarrecoincidence, James Mashele and Flora Mashaba, both aged 15, wereallegedly kidnapped seven years ago and smuggled across theborder to Mozambique. James was allegedly kidnapped by his fatherin November 1995, and Flora a month later, allegedly by SimonZwane, her stepfather. Both men are from Mozambique. This week,both teenagers received an emotional welcome from their families,just one day apart. James was finally reunited with his family attheir home in Letlhakaneng near Brits on Friday, while Flora wasreunited with her family at their Mabopane home, north ofPretoria, yesterday morning. The two children never met duringtheir seven-year ordeal, but both said they were forced to workon farms and never went to school. Aubrey Sekgwelea, theinvestigating officer of the child protection unit in Mabopane,who vowed to find the children, was overcome with joy when hedelivered the teenagers to their delighted families. With tearswelling up in her eyes, Flora's mother, Maria, 32, said that shewould throw a big party at her home to welcome her daughter."I never stopped praying for my baby to come back tome," she said. "She was only eight years old when shewas taken from me all those years ago. I had three other childrenafter the kidnapping, hut not a single day went by without mythinking about Flora." Maria also lambasted the police andthe embassy officials in Mozambique for dragging their feet inreuniting her with her daughter after Zwane, a Mozambican, hadbeen arrested a year ago. Flora cannot speak Tswana, her mothertongue, and had trouble communicating with her two youngerbrothers and a sister. She speaks only Tsonga and Portuguese.Sekgwelea said he could have reunited both families long ago, butwas hindered by red tape. He said when he saw Flora for the firsttime in Mozambique, she was in "very bad shape",wearing a torn, dirty dress. Flora said during the seven yearsshe was for work on a maize farm every day. She vowed never toset foot in Mozambique again. "All I want is to start againwith my family," she said. James was only enroll school inMozamhique this year, according to the police. Like Flora, healso worked on farms. Sekgwelea said that the boy allegedly toldpolice that his lather had beaten him. "The scars on hisbody proved that the boy was suhjected to years of abuse,"said Sekgwelea. James, like Flora, also battled to communicatewith his family in Tswana. His name was changed to Antony IsandoChisonge. Sekgwelea said the boy's father, a Mozambican national,had denied kidnapping his son. He told police that after he tookJames to Mozambique on a visit, he could not return because hehad no money. Sekgwelea said that the father's pictures would beposted at the border for his arrest if he returned.
Mining strike puts contracting under spotlight(Johannesburg, Business Day, 10/10) - Following thedeaths of two workers on Monday, Khumo Bathong's chairman haspromised to phase out contract jobs. In April The NationalUnion of Mineworkers (NUM) warned that the conditions of contractworkers at East Rand Proprietary Mine (ERPM) near Boksburg wereunacceptable. Thousands of protesters converged on ERPM , handingover a memorandum to the operators of the mine, black empowermentcompany Khumo Bathong Holdings, which held a 30% stake in themine. Paseka Ncholo, executive chairman of Khumo Bathong , saidyesterday a commitment was given to phase out contract labour bythe start of next year. The changes , though, did not come fastenough and just five months after the April protests two workersare dead and 14 injured. Earlier this week, about 2000 of the4000 contract workers employed by labour broker Circle LabourHire, tried to enter the mine after an interdict had been servedbanning their entry. The ban followed a decision by the companynow managing the mine, Durban Roodepoort Deep, to terminate itscontract with Circle Labour. The events at ERPM have once againraised the issue of contract labour in SA's mining sector, andthe deaths and disturbances have led to a visit to the mine bythe director-general of the minerals and energy department,Sandile Nogxina. Nogxina was there to discuss the issues that ledto this week's tragic events and how conditions could beimproved. Durban Deep's decision to end the labour contract cameafter a week-long strike by workers, which started last Tuesdaywhen the miners joined the two-day national strike againstgovernment's privatisation plans. The miners continued theirstrike, saying the deductions being taken from their wages byCircle Hire were too great. "The events of the past few dayswere the result of misunderstandings on how the mine would bemanaged after the change of ownership," said Ncholo. NUMspokesman Moferefere Lekorotsoana had a different view and saidthat of the 4000 miners working at ERPM, the lowest-paid wasearning just R700 a month. The NUM has set an industry target forall mineworkers of a minimum wage of R2000 a month. Circle LabourHire, Lekorotsoana said, was taking more than half of thelowestpaid worker's daily wage of R70. Ncholo said ERPM'smanagement told the minerals and energy department that itintended as planned to stop using labour contractors. Under themanagement of Durban Deep, ERPM would recruit a staff of 2400."We told the (department) we have no plans to outsource ourcore mining business, " Ncholo said. Still, about 1600miners who had previously worked at ERPM, will lose their jobs.At the moment the NUM is negotiating retrenchment packages forthese employees with Circle Labour. Once these terms have beenestablished, the NUM will then begin negotiations with ERPM aboutthe numbers of workers to be rehired and the terms of employmentat the mine. Ncholo said that ERPM had made a commitment toimprove conditions at the mine, as well as the conditions ofservice and in particular the minimum wage. Of the 202000 peopleemployed in the SA gold mining sector, more than 30000 are hiredon a contract labour basis, according to the Chamber of Mines.And of the total workforce of 407000 employed across the miningindustry throughout the country, 15,2% hold their jobs throughlabour brokers. "Contract workers don't get full benefits,like the death benefits that their counterparts get. They have nomedical benefits," said Lekorotsoana. It is clear, though,that with 15,2% of the mining workforce employed on a contractbasis, the practice is quite widespread. Some in the miningindustry have suggested that such labour hiring practices allowcompanies flexibility, as it enables them to bring in contractlabour for specific jobs. That may be the case, but the unionsare still calling for a ban of the practice, and at the veryleast are calling for some kind of minimum wage or basicconditions package for those who are employed in such a way.
Lack of IDs hampers child grant campaign (Umtata,Dispatch Online, 12/10) - Eastern Cape Health MEC BevanGoqwana registered 547 people for child support grants onWednesday at the Mgungundlovu community hall in KwaMadiba Villagein Mbizana. Goqwana's visit formed part of the Imbizo Focus Weekand Public Servants' Week programmes during which governmentofficials visited different areas in the province to addressproblems faced by the people. October is also Social DevelopmentMonth, during which a large intake of people for child supportgrants is expected. The MEC raised awareness about the childsupport grant and how it could assist to alleviate poverty andthe spread of diseases in rural areas. Goqwana said he noticedthat about 1000 out of 2000 people who converged on the hall hadno identity documents. This problem impeded the progress of thecampaign to assist the provincial Social Development Departmentin reaching its target of 400000 children to be registered beforethe end of the year. ''The main problem is lack of access to theHome Affairs Department,'' said Goqwana. To counteract this, theSocial Development and Home Affairs department officials willvisit the area next week on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday toregister people to get identity documents. This will enable themto access the child support grant. Goqwana also discovered thatthe Mgungundlovu village was home to about 3000 poverty-strickenpeople, who had relocated to the area to work at the Wild CoastSun. After the casino was closed down many of Mgungundlovuresidents were retrenched. The retrenchment left only a fewpeople who still work at the Wild Coast Hotel. Goqwana alsovisited the KwaMadiba Clinic to see whether the voluntary testingand counselling (VTC) was taking place to help nurses to diagnoseHIV-positive people. Goqwana said this area showed alarming HIVstatistics. He said they would add more testing equipment onTuesday when the provincial director of HIV-Aids, NomalangaMakwedini, would be visiting the clinic and Umtata to raiseawareness about VTC. Goqwana was to make his last visit in theMbizana area today and later open the newly erected MvubukaziClinic in Mzimkhulu.
Cape Town is a safer haven for refugees (IOL, 09/10) -A rapidly increasing number of foreigners, mostlyAfrican, are seeking asylum and refugee status in Cape Town dueto the "high incidence of xenophobia" and crime inJohannesburg. Of the 800 new applications received countrywideeach week by refugee offices of the department of Home Affairs,400 are processed at the Cape Town office at Customs House on thecity's Foreshore. A spokesperson for the local refugee office,who declined to be named, said: "There is a clear trend forrefugees to come directly to Cape Town, because the city is muchsafer than Johannesburg for foreigners." A recent report bythe Human Rights Committee of South Africa states that "manyrefugees (in Johannesburg) expressed the fear that locals weregoing to kill them". It is a dog-eats-dog environment whererefugees struggle to get work even in the informal sector. TheUnited Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the SouthAfrican Human Rights Commission launched a "Roll BackXenophobia" campaign last year after several incidents ofviolence between locals and foreigners in and aroundJohannesburg. Two years ago, vicious fights erupted between localresidents of the Zandspruit informal settlement and Zimbabweannationals. Wits University Professor Rodreck Mupedziswa, theco-ordinator of the forced migration studies programme at theGraduate School for the Humanities and Social Sciences tells theCape Times: "Johannesburg has become a very undesirableplace for refugees and asylum seekers to live because the levelof competition in the city is very high. "The city hasbecome incredibly congested and it is a dog-eats-dog environmentwhere refugees struggle to get work even in the informal sector."The levels of xenophobia are very high in Johannesburg andmy understanding is that the figures for Cape Town are increasingevery week due to the relatively peaceful nature of thecity." 'There are many Somalis in Cape Town and very many ofthem are clever people' He added that Cape Town was the city withthe lowest levels of xenophobia in the country and that itsincreasingly cosmopolitan demographics made it easier for localsto accept the presence of foreigners. Department of Home Affairsspokesman Leslie Mashokwe said it was very difficult to commenton levels of xenophobia in the country, but added that Cape Townwas generally seen as a more desirable place to live thanJohannesburg. South Africa currently hosts almost 23 000 officialrefugees and asylum-seekers, including about 5 000 from theDemocratic Republic of Congo, 4 000 from Angola, 5 000 fromSomalia and 8 000 from various other countries. Africa isconsidered the most impoverished continent in the world andnearly three million Africans became new refugees or weredisplaced within their own countries last year. More than 13million Africans have been uprooted by years of war, repression,civil unrest, and politically induced humanitarian emergencies,according to a report released this year by the United StatesCommittee for Refugees. Home Affairs minister MangosuthuButhelezi estimates that there are between two and five millionillegal immigrants living in South Africa, which means that thevast majority of foreigners living in Cape Town live hereillegally. Most refugees, asylum-seekers and illegal immigrantssupport themselves by hawking, working at odd jobs, or dependingon relief organisations. The typical refugee in South Africa is ayoung man, between 20 and 30 years old with between seven and 12years of schooling and an urban background; only five percent ofapplicants are women and six percent are children. In Cape Town,foreigners tend to move in groups into city neighbourhoods. Alarge group of Democratic Republic of Congo nationals now live inMuizenberg, thousands of Nigerians live in Sea Point or thecity's CBD and an estimated 20 000 Somalis inhabit the CBD,according to Home Affairs estimates. Siad Djibril is a23-year-old from Mogadishu, the Somali capital. He says he cameto South Africa last year to escape the continual fightingbetween rival clans in and around his home city. "There aremany Somalis in Cape Town and very many of them are clever peopleand want to live a better life; we think this place is veryfriendly and we can make a better living here," he said.
Refugee family's long walk to Cape Town (IOL, 09/10) -Frolinda Zacciria, 21, came to Cape Town two years agofrom Angola to escape the ravages of war in her country. To gethere she had to walk for six months with five children and hermother. She is one of the estimated five million foreignersliving in the country legally. Cape Town currently hosts aroundone million illegal foreigners. "We lived in the bush andthe soldiers came and killed the men and took the women to havefor themselves. "I don't know where my family is now,because I left them behind when I came here and I want to seethem so badly again," Zacciria said as she waited in a queueoutside Cape Town's refugee office to have her refugee papersrenewed. Early in 2000, she started walking from Angola, throughNamibia and all the way to Cape Town to search for a better lifehere. The journey took almost six months to complete, but shesays it was worth the trouble. Today she works on a farm inKlapmuts and takes care of her mother, daughter, and the childrenof her brother and sister she left behind in Angola. "I amhappy here because I have a nice boss and we have food and aplace to live. It is so different from living in Angola; muchsafer," she said. Many refugees living in the Mother Cityagree that the standard of living here is much better thanelsewhere in Africa. "Cape Town is like paradise, because itis a beautiful place and people are very friendly. I think I'llmake the city the place where I'll stay for the rest of mylife," said David Sani, a 26-year-old former bus driver fromMalawi. Sani says he enjoys working as a parking attendant nearthe Garden's Centre. He shares a flat with seven other people inthe area. He is one of the few foreign nationals living in CapeTown with official refugee status. "Cape Town is full ofpeople from Africa, and they like living here because it is sosafe; I think Capetonians don't appreciate their city," Sanisaid. Richard George, 29, is a trained engineer from theDemocratic Republic of Congo and has been living in Cape Town forfive years. "I know how difficult it is for people to findwork here when they arrive in the city, but it is still easierthan in most African countries. Abdullah Ali, 32 has been livingin Kimberley for the past five years after coming to South Africafrom Somalia in 1997. "I think this country is so much saferthan Somalia. It is better to be here and it is still in Africa.I will always remain an African," he says proudly.
Nigeria ratified extradition treaty with South Africa(SABC News, 09/10) - Nigeria ratified an extraditiontreaty with South Africa today, hoping it will deter Nigeriansliving in South Africa from committing crimes, Jerry Gana, theInformation Minister, said. About 3 000 Nigerians are currentlybeing detained in South Africa for various kinds of crime, Ganasaid. Under the treaty, offenders will be extradited to facetrial in their home country, Gana told journalists at the end ofa weekly cabinet meeting. "We believe that this is going tobe a very beneficial treaty to Nigeria because it will allow usto effectively deal with the growing crime rate among Nigeriansliving in South Africa," Gana said. "We think it ismost unfortunate that a few of our people are giving Nigeria abad name in that country," he added. South Africaninvestigators have arrested 22 Nigerian citizens in Johannesburgwho ran an online scam claiming to represent local banks listedon the Johannesburg stock exchange, the Business Daynewspaper reported last week. The elite Scorpions unit arrestedthe racketeers, who operated seven web sites including fake SouthAfrican Reserve Bank and Development Bank of South Africa sites.Investors were duped into opening online accounts with thesebanks, the newspaper said. To register, victims were asked to pay$10 000 and an additional $40 000 in tax and insurance.
Tax money not wasted on medical training (Nelspruit,African Eye News Service, 08/10) - Taxpayers' money thatis spent on training young doctors is not going to waste, assuresMpumalanga Premier Ndaweni Mahlangu. He said government had spentthe past eight years since democracy improving medical schoolsand demanding community service and commitment from interns."We will recruit more talented people into the discipline,reward good interns for staying there, and give all interns thetraining they need," he told a group of medical graduateswho returned last week from training in Cuba. He expressedconfidence that the Cuban-trained doctors would help strengthenexisting treatment programmes and work to bring down the costs ofessential drugs through the use of generic medicines. He saidcompulsory community service offered medical graduates anopportunity to experience a deeper sense of fulfilment. "Youwill meet lots of interesting people who will enrich your lifebeyond what you thought was possible," he said. He saiddoctors' commitment to community service would make a bettercommunity and nation and urged the graduates to become informedabout critical issues that will shape the African century.
ERPM guards in court (IOL, 08/10) - Two EastRand Proprietary Mines' security guards appeared in the AlbertonMagistrate's Court on Tuesday in connection with the murder oftwo miners, police said. Captain Zithini Dlamini said the guardswere remanded in custody and their case was postponed toWednesday morning. The men were arrested on Monday after theyallegedly shot dead two miners and injured 14 others. The guardsallegedly opened fire on the ERPM employees after they attemptedto enter the mine. A court interdict was in place restrictingminers from gaining access. ERPM spokesperson James Duncan onTuesday said the mine had suspended its contract with GladiatorSecurity following the shootings. He said the mine would re-hire2 600 miners following Friday's dismissal of 4 000 workerscontracted to Circle Labour and Accommodation. The miners weresacked after they embarked on an unprotected strike over workingconditions. The strike led to the violent clashes betweenmineworkers and security guards.
Minister orders probe at ERPM mine (IOL, 08/10) - LabourMinister Membathisi Mdladlana has ordered an investigation intothe causes of the strike at East Rand Proprietary Mines (ERPM),where security guards shot dead two workers and wounded 14 otherson Monday. In a statement, he said unfair labour practices mightbe at the heart of the labour action that ended in theconfrontation between security companies and workers contractedto Circle Labour and Accommodation (Circle). Department of Labourofficials would find out "how 4 000 workers were said to beindependent contractors and not employees", said Mdladlana.They would also establish how the injured workers could behelped. Two guards were arrested after the shooting and fourfirearms seized. Last week, 4 000 miners took part in the Cosatustrike against privatisation, but failed to return to work whenthe stayaway ended. On Friday the company obtained a courtinterdict barring them. In an ultimatum to Circle, ERPM said ifthe workers failed to return to work by Sunday morning, itscontract would be cancelled. Police spokesperson Andy Pieke saidthe guards had opened fire at the Boksburg mine's Far East shaftwhen workers tried to enter the grounds. Mine spokesperson JamesDuncan said the clash followed a decision by ERPM, which wasbeing managed by Durban Roodepoort Deep (DRD), to terminate acontract with Circle because of "Circle's inability toprovide an uninterrupted labour supply". National Union ofMineworkers spokesperson Mofirifiri Lekorotsoana said the guards,acting on instructions from DRD, had told about 4 000 contractworkers recruited by Circle to pack and leave immediately. Theyhad been told that DRD wanted to recruit fresh staff.
25 tourists attacked in Mpumalanga this year(Nelspruit, African Eye News Service, 08/10) - ThreeMozambican tourists were attacked and robbed of about R38 000(about US$3 800) cash in a single day over the past weekend inSouth Africa's Mpumalanga province. Provincial police spokesmansenior superintendent Theo du Bruyn said on Tuesday that therecent incidents brought the number of attacks on tourists to 25for the period between February 1 and October 8 this year."These attacks take place mostly in the Lowveld area and onthe N4 Maputo Corridor toll road," said Du Bruyn. Two of thetourists attacked on Friday were robbed at guesthouses in theprovincial capital of Nelspruit while one came face to face withcriminals on a street. The criminals made off with cash in Randsand US Dollars, as well as cellular phones. Police have notarrested any suspects yet. Mpumalanga's tourism department hasestablished fora that meet monthly in the province's three policeregions of the eastern Highveld, Highveld and Lowveld to discusssolutions to crime against tourists. Deputy director for tourismpolicy, safety and infrastructure Judy Langley said the foracomprised tourism officials, police, soldiers and trafficofficers. "We discuss each and every incident verythoroughly, look if there's a trend and decide whether toincrease police presence in a problem area or not," Langleysaid. She said the department also arranged trips for localcommunities, free of charge, so that community members couldexperience what it's like being tourists. Langley said oneexample was when 460 Waterval Boven community members were givena free trip on a steam train on Saturday. "How can peopleunderstand tourism if they've not been tourists themselves? We'realso making them aware that criminals are killing the economicpotential of their areas," Langley said. Tourists, she said,were also given immediate support after an attack like havingtheir stolen items replaced and being given safe accommodation.Langley said the department had also established securityoperations at tourist attractions in the province. Meanwhile,four suspects are still attending court in connection withhijacking a tour bus carrying 41 Taiwanese visitors in theprovince on July 6. The hijackers, some of whom dressed aspolicemen, fleeced the Taiwanese business delegation of anestimated R2 million (about US$200 000) in cash and valuables.The delegation was on its way to the Eighth Taiwanesebusinessmen's meeting in Swaziland to welcome Taiwanese PresidentChen Shui-bian when it was ambushed by three vehicles near thesmall town of Ogies. Mpumalanga's violent and serious crimes unitcommander, Superintendent Botsotso Moukangwe, said the suspectswould appear in the Ogies magistrate's court on October 30. Onesuspect is out on R10 000 bail (about US$1000) and the rest arein custody, he said.
Mining industry has impoverished women, says MEC(Moutse, African Eye News Service, 08/10) - The miningindustry has made rural women the victims of illiteracy, diseaseand poverty, said Mpumalanga finance and economic affairs MECJacob Mabena on Tuesday. He said many women were also forced tobe the sole breadwinners after their husbands disappeared afterseeking work on the mines. "The high level of poverty thatour people are experiencing today is as a result of the migrantlabour system, which is the lifeblood of the miningindustry," he explained. Rural Moutse near Bronkhorstspruithas a 63% unemployment rate and is inhabited largely by women andyoung people, because many grown men have sought work on themines. But a group of women are using mining to earn a living andempower themselves. They're mining stone and crushing it for saleto the building industry. Mabena officially opened the Tshabadimaketse ka nete (the nation is surprised) stone crushingproject on Tuesday. The project's name recognises that manypeople may be surprised that these women have entered atraditionally male-dominated industry. Mabena said the small,medium and micro enterprises (SMME) directorate was drivingprogrammes to develop women. He said the directorate had starteda pilot local economic development model called Nkomazi to drivethe province's micro economic reform strategy. "Through thismodel, we intend to see our people being integrated into themainstream of the economy," he said. He said initiativeslike the stone crushing project needed the support of government,private sector and community. "If we intend growing theeconomy robustly and sustainably, SMME development is the way togo," he said.
4,000 mineworkers face retrenchment (SABC News, 08/10)- About 4 000 mineworkers at the East Rand ProprietaryMines (ERPM) on Gauteng's East Rand face losing their jobs. Thisas the mine counts losses of R7 million from a week's strike.Membathisi Mdladlana, the Labour Minister, has ordered aninvestigation into the causes of the strike, where securityguards shot dead two workers and wounded 14 others yesterday. Thelooming retrenchments follow an announcement by the new owners,Crown Gold Recoveries, that not all miners will be employed whenrecruitment begins tomorrow. The miners were sacked when ERPMterminated a contract of Circle Labour Recruitment, whichemployed them. Paseka Ncholo, a representative of the new owners,says: "We will most definitely be rehiring as many people aspossible but I want to believe that about 1 600 people will notbe able to come back as part of repositioning the mine."Gwede Mantashe, of the National Union of Mineworkers (Num), hasmeanwhile warned that they will not tolerate any dodgy businessfrom the new owners. He says: "If they treat our people likepieces of wood it means that we will have to deal with themeverywhere we meet them." According to management the futureof ERPM gold mine is as rosy as the garden outside the companyoffices. The new owners have also promised that mine operationswill never be outsourced again.
Mozambican arrested for shooting policeman (SABC News,08/10) - Two Mozambican gunmen were arrested inGermiston this morning after they allegedly shot and wounded apolice officer. The two gunmen allegedly opened fire on theofficer after they tried to rob him of a police vehicle at6:45am. The officer, who was waiting in the vehicle for anotherofficer, returned fire wounding one robber in the lower part ofthe body. The policeman was shot in the left thigh. The woundedrobber fled, but was arrested 500m from the scene. His allegedaccomplice was also arrested nearby. A 9mm pistol, two cellphonesand R6400 cash were confiscated from the men. Both the robber andthe officer were taken to a local clinic. The men would appear inthe Germiston Magistrate's Court soon on attempted murder androbbery charges.
Things fall apart at ERPM (Johannesburg, Miningweb,07/10) - A strike at ERPM, the mine which DRD managesand has made a joint bid to purchase, spun out of control todayafter two striking workers were shot dead by private securityforces. The incident came as 4,000 workers, all employed by anindependent labour broker, contravened the terms of an interdictobtained by ERPM management preventing their access to the mine.The workers had been on strike since last week Thursday and wereprotesting low wages paid by their employer, Circle Labour andAccommodation. Moferefere Lekorotsoana, a spokesman for theNational Union of Mineworkers (NUM), said while Circle had beenpaid R70 a day for the lowest paid mineworkers on its books, theworkers in question received wages of only R30 a day. Sandi DuPlooy, the financial manager of Circle, said the broker billedERPM R67.29 per shift for the lowest category workers, who werein turn paid R35.94 a shift. The balance, R31.35, was allocatedto worker benefits and statutory levies and taxes. "That(R67.29 a shift) is what it would cost ERPM to employ thoseworkers anyway?our management fee is invoiced separately,"said Du Plooy. According to Paseka Ncholo, chief executive ofKhumo Bathong the empowerment company which currently owns theminority share of ERPM , one of the mine overseers, Boeta van derMerwe, had incited the workforce to strike by providing them withfalse information over the difference between their wages and thelabour broker's margins. He said the NUM had been informedconsistently by management over the past week that the strikewould be unprotected and that the information workers werereacting to was incorrect. The strike then came to a head thismorning after workers were informed that ERPM terminated thecontract of Circle, leaving 4,000 of them unemployed. "Thisfollows the termination of the contract between ERPM and Circleon Sunday morning as a consequence of Circle's ongoing inabilityto provide an uninterrupted labour supply to ERPM. ERPM hadindicated that it would terminate the existing labour contract ifemployees had not returned to work by 06:00 on Sunday (6 October2002)," DRD said in a statement issued earlier today.According to Ncholo about 4,000 striking workers marched to theFar East shaft at the mine and confronted police and privatesecurity officers. "They stormed the area and brokebuildings and attacked security guards. The numbers were toooverwhelming?now two men are dead and another 14 injured,"said Ncholo. He said the security guards responsible had beenarrested by police. Planned retrenchments Ncholo said plans toretrench 2,000 workers had been drafted by DRD prior to thestrike. He said staff numbers had to be cut after an undergroundarea was "burnt beyond repair" earlier this year."Those workers ought to have been laid off then but theynever were," he said. According to one source, DRD wouldhave had to pay Circle a notice penalty if it were to reduce thelabour force at the mine by more than 10 percent. DRD and groupKhumo Bathong last month made an offer to purchase the 180,000ounce a year mine from German entrepreneur Claus Daun for R120million; at the time DRD said it would reduce cash costs at ERPMfrom current levels of $300/oz to $250/oz. The strike and theresultant termination of Circle's contract because of its"failure to provide an uninterrupted labour service" toERPM, provides DRD an elegant exit from its relationship withCircle. It has entered discussions with NUM over the number ofpeople it plans to re-employ in order to staff the mine. It willpay no retrenchment penalty to Circle. Lekorotsoana said thecause of the strike needed to be assessed. "You have to askwhy workers only found out about this wage issue now," saidLekorotsoana. Van der Merwe, the alleged instigator of thestrike, could not be reached by ERPM management. Ncholo said ERPMmanagement had obtained an interdict to prevent van der Merwefrom entering the mine premises and had, before the onset of thestrike, been in the process of finalising his dismissal. Thecurrent workforce at ERPM was almost all re-employed when themine was bought out of liquidation in 1999. At the time employeeswere not paid severance packages and now, according to the union,the dismissed workers would once again be left without severancepackages. This dispute is likely to bring the use of contractorsby South African mining companies into question. While thecountry's major mining groups are struggling under rigid labourlegislation, including a R2,000 a month minimum wage agreementand a range of other regulations making the dismissal of workersdifficult, contract labour has increased in popularity. Onesenior mining executive, who declined to be named, said hiscompany made use of contractors were there was a skills gap."We also use them typically in areas where there is onlywork to be done for a fixed term ? three months for example. Youjust can't hire and fire," he said.
Two miners killed, 14 injured in feud with security(SABC News, 07/10) - East Rand Proprietary Mines (ERPM)in Boksburg, on the East Rand, currently under the management ofDurban Roodepoort Deep (DRD), confirmed that two workers werekilled and 14 others injured at the mine's Far East shaft.Spokesperson James Duncan said the workers were killed followinga clash between contracted security companies and employeescontracted to Circle Labour and Accommodation (Circle)."This follows the termination of the contract between ERPMand Circle yesterday as a consequence of Circle's ongoinginability to provide an uninterrupted labour supply toERPM," Duncan said. Mofirifiri Lekorotsoana, the NationalUnion of Mine workers (NUM) spokesperson, said the men were shotdead when the guards were forcing workers out of the mine shaftarea. He said security told about 4 000 contract workers to packtheir bags and leave the mine immediately. The guards wereordered by DRD to remove workers recruited on ERPM's behalf byCircle. Lekorotsoana said workers were told this morning that thenew management was cancelling contracts because DRD wanted tostart a new recruitment process. Henne van Blerk, the CircleLabour and Accommodation spokesperson, confirmed that two oftheir employees were killed and 14 others injured. He said nofurther details were available. ERPM last week issued anultimatum after 4 000 miners observed the Congress of SA TradeUnion anti-privatisation stay-away but failed to return to workat the end of the strike on Wednesday night. ERPM ordered Circleto ensure that its members returned to work by yesterday morningor have its contract with management cancelled. The workers wereexpected to return to the mine by 6am yesterday at the start ofthe day's shift or its contract would be cancelled with immediateeffect. Duncan said ERPM obtained an interdict from the HighCourt on Friday, preventing access to ERPM property other thanthe two company hostels, which had been leased to Circle.
Two miners shot dead (SABC News, 07/10) - Twogold miners have been killed and at least seven others injured,when shots were fired on striking miners at a South African goldmine, a union official said. "People have been shot and twoare dead, and seven are in hospital," Gwede Mantashe, theNational Union of Mineworkers' General Secretary said. It was notclear who fired the shots. The mine official was not availablefor comment. Police at the scene said there had been a violentincident, but could not confirm the deaths. The miners are onstrike over a pay dispute at the ERPM mine near Johannesburg. Themine is managed by South Africa's Durban Roodepoort Deep.
Airport visitors jump over passport controls (SundayTimes, 06/10) - Frustrated foreign tourists are beingsubjected to delays of up to two hours at Cape Town InternationalAirport because of the shortage of immigration officers. Thedelays are so bad that some visitors have simply ignored passportcontrols, claims one witness. A senior immigration officialadmitted there were major delays and attributed this to the factthat there were only 27 immigration officials, instead of the 61needed. He said the shortage had resulted in delays of severalhours for visitors arriving on international flights and hadbecome a concern to the tourism industry. Leslie Mashokwe, aspokesman for the Department of Home Affairs, confirmed theshortage and said the department was interviewing candidates forfour managerial positions, but financial constraints limited thenumber of staff who could be employed. Each month, about 100 000travellers pass through immigration at the airport, which forfour years was named Africa's best. Cape Town businessman PeterKleye, who travels to Namibia twice a month, said he had oftenseen irate passengers. "There was one cubicle manned by theDepartment of Immigration for 200 or more passengers. It'stotally unacceptable; some of them [passengers] were so annoyedthey refused to stand in the queue and . . . promptly walked outof the airport without having their passports stamped. Who knowswhat riffraff we could be allowing into the country?" LindaChonco, a spokesman for the Airports Company of South Africa,said Acsa had asked Home Affairs to provide more staff. "Weare always striving to improve the facilities and provide theinfrastructure to facilitate the flow so that things runsmoothly. But what we can do on our own, we do. Immigration is agovernment department," she said. The immigration officialsaid staff were "overworked and underpaid", whichresulted in at least two people taking sick leave every day,further reducing the number of working staff. Mike Fabricius, CEOof the Western Cape Tourism Board, said: "The airport is nowof a world-class standard, but it doesn't make an impression oftourism friendliness if passengers have to wait."
SA to decide on extradition of Chilean academic(Sunday Times, 06/10) - A Chilean academic facingdeportation to his homeland to stand trial for assassination willthis week hear if he is to be extradited. Professor JaimeYovanovic, 54, was arrested by Interpol two months ago afterarriving in South Africa to attend the World Summit onSustainable Development. Interpol was acting on a request from aChilean military court. Yovanovic is accused of the 1983 murderof General Carol Urzua, the right-hand man of former dictatorAugusto Pinochet and the military governor of Santiago, Chile'scapital. Yovanovic was a member of the Movement of theRevolutionary Left, which was found responsible for the killing.One of Urzua's assassins fingered Yovanovic as being involved,but later retracted his confession. This week, Yovanovic wasoptimistic he would not be extradited. "I believe justiceand democracy will take their course," he said from prison."I was blamed for something I didn't do . . . If the SAgovernment decides it's a political case rather than a criminalcase, as the Chilean military is trying to make out, they won'thand me over."
SAPS, Scotland Yard arrest Nigerian conment (DispatchOnline, 05/10) - Four Nigerians have been arrested,three in South Africa and one in London, after a joint operationbetween South African police and New Scotland Yard. SA PoliceService spokeswoman Senior Superintendent MaryMartins-Engelbrecht said yesterday the arrests followed thekidnapping of a French national, Olivier Rame, 44, shortly afterhis arrival in South Africa on September 26. He was lured toSouth Africa by a Nigerian criminal syndicate operating a 419letter scam. The scam, named for the section of the Nigerianpenal code outlawing the practice, involves offering a potentialvictim a portion of a fictional amount of money a member of thesyndicate wants to move out of a country. Typically, thefraudsters pretend to be the children, wives or relatives ofdeposed or deceased African leaders, including any number offormer Nigerian dictators, Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire and lately,Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi. Others claim to be bankofficials who have access to vast fortunes that allegedly belongto no-one. Victims are confidentially asked to make their bankaccounts available to launder the money in exchange for acommission, usually itself a small fortune. They are then askedto pay an administrative fee. Most, in anticipation of riches tocome, oblige. The fraudsters then usually ask the potentialvictim to meet them. Many victims have been held for ransom,robbed or even murdered once in the clutches of the scam artists.Most 419 fraudsters were also tied to the human slave trade andinternational drug smuggling. In this case, Rame was induced topay E60000 (about R600000) into a London bank account. When hearrived in Johannesburg he was kidnapped. His captors thencontacted his daughter in London and demanded a ransom. Sheapparently called in the London Metropolitan Police's detectivesbased at New Scotland Yard, who alerted the South African policethrough Interpol. A joint operation was launched to rescue Rameand two London detectives arrived in South Africa on Wednesday.The two and commercial crime unit detectives simultaneouslyraided property in Roodepoort, Randburg and Orange Grove at 4pmon Thursday. New Scotland Yard officers raided London premises atthe same time. A slightly injured Rame was rescued. More arrestsare expected. The three arrested in South Africa will appear inthe Kempton Park Magistrate's Court on Monday.
Cuban doctor claims victimization in SA (The NatalWitness, 06/10) - Objections to the extension of Cubandoctor Dr Raul Rodriques Vazquez's registration to practise inthe country have been withdrawn by the Health Professions Councilof SA and the Medical and Dental Professional Board on conditionthat the KZN Health Department signs the recommendation. However,the department has indicated it has no intention of dropping itsobjections. The department's lawyers said the objections aremainly cost-related but "may include other aspects." ToVazquez and his South African wife Rosemary, the adjournment ofthe case until November 7 comes as a blow. The couple have spentmore than R45 000 on legal costs to have his registrationrenewed. Prior to this case they took the department to theCouncil for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. In hisaffidavit Vazquez, who has taken up SA citizenship and permanentresidence, said he had reasonable expectations that hisregistration would be extended in August. He believes he wasvictimised at the instance of the Cuban government to dissuadeother Cuban doctors from trying to remain in SA. But while lifehas been hectic for him since he criticised the Cuban governmentin public, it is believed to have been even worse for Cubansstill on the programme. Following an article two weeks ago in aSunday paper about 16 Cuban doctors who sought political asylumin Spain, the remaining 450 doctors were allegedly instructed bythe Cuban co-ordinator Dr Jamie Davies from the internationalhealth office to write letters of support to the paper, copies ofwhich had to be faxed to Davies. "They are real bully boyswho don't want the outside world to know how badly they treattheir people," a Cuban source said. She said that since theprogramme started in 1994, many doctors have fled South Africa toneighbouring countries or have absconded en route home, mainly toSpanish-speaking countries. The doctors object to obligations topay a large percentage of their salaries into a Cuban bankaccount. A Cuban economist estimated this year that $20,5 millionhas left South Africa since the programme was introduced in 1994.The Cuban "rebels" claim that only $8 million have goneinto their own accounts, with the rest going to the government.They also have to send their children back to Cuba when they turn15, and are obliged to live on the hospital premises, "oftenin atrocious accommodation". Davies responded that theSunday paper's story contained inaccuracies that had to becorrected. "If the programme has been so unsuccessful, whyhas it grown from 95 doctors to 450?" he asked. A Cubandoctor replied: "The doctors who absconded cannot apply forasylum in South Africa. None of them is working as a doctor inSpain. They would rather work as construction workers or labtechnicians than being in a contract that smacks ofslavery." KZN Health secretary Ronald Green-Thompson haspreviously said the Health Department relies heavily on Cubandoctors and other foreigners to provide services at ruralhospitals. "There are rules the foreign doctors have tofollow but we understand they are human The majority of theCubans have not absconded. We are very thankful to the people ofCuba."
Unpaid Indian jewellers deported (Mail & Guardian,04/10) - A group of 54 Indian jewellers will be deportedafter a year-long stay during which they were unpaid and oftenunfed. They are the last of a group of 110 left penniless foralmost a year after being recruited from their home country withpromises of jobs as jewellery manufacturers and designers for astate-funded gold beneficiation project. They greeted immigrationofficials with applause and relief when told this week that theywould be deported. They will leave Virginia, Free State, in twogroups. The first group of 29 will leave on Sunday and theremaining 25 on Tuesday, ending 12 months of penury and brokenpromises. The men told of their plight this week, but asked notto be named for fear of being victimised. "We lefteverything in India to impart skills and now we leave withnothing." They were brought to South Africa between Octoberlast year and February to work at the Oro-Maska jewellerymanufacturing plant in Virginia, but the plant never went intoproduction. Oro-Maska is controlled by G5 International, a goldretail company based in London with a 51% stake in the company.The other half is held by South African entities: Harmony Gold,the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Free StateDevelopment Corporation (FDC). The men had been promised salariesof R5 000 a month, but earned no more than R650 between Octoberand February. The money was paid in random, infrequent stipends.They were housed in a compound in Virginia. From February to May,when the factory went operational to test the machinery, theywere paid on average R1 000 a month. In May the factory ground toa halt and all payments ceased. They were provided with foodonly. In August a group of 34 disillusioned and homesick workersdecided to pack up and leave. Their return flights were paid forby board members of Oro-Maska, owners of the plant. Soon afterthat the factory was shut down. It now stands as a well-guardedwhite elephant surrounded by electric fences. A lone securityguard attends the gate with strict instructions to deny any formof access. By September 11 only 69 of the Indian jewellersremained. The men were arrested to be deported and dispatched topolice stations around Virginia. They were saved by theintervention of Krishnan Waran, chairperson of Oro-Maska, whotold the home affairs officials that the factory would beoperational by the end of September. Eight men were deported forbeing in possession of invalid documents. The remaining men'sfood was cut last week and they have been surviving on the littleforeign currency they had, which they pooled to buy food. Theynow want to claim the R1,8-million in back salaries for the 64who remained after the factory closed. The FDC investedR15-million to establish the factory. The IDC then put inR4,5-million. Harmony leased the premises in Virginia. G5 was tohave operational control and would provide the labour and workingcapital. Harmony was to provide the gold they processed through a$4,5-million revolving loan facility from British Aerospace(BAe), one of the major beneficiaries of the arms deal. Thefacility was to be part of BAe's offset programme set up as partof the government's R67-billion arms deal. The project was partof a move to create jobs by processing gold locally. Two of theSouth African investors disagreed on the cause of the project'sfailure and how it might go ahead, if at all. Max Makhubalo, MDof the FDC, attributed the failure to what he calls"unfortunate coincidence" and distanced hisorganisation from the treatment meted out to the foreign workers.He confirmed that he paid for the group of 34 shipped out inAugust. He has been repaid by the Bhagwanji brothers, the centralfigures in G5. "The plan was to bring out 120 skilledartisans to provide skills transfer to locals," he said.They were to be recruited and paid by G5 International and wouldstart work in November. He said the factory operated only for abrief trial period. A major hiccough occurred when BAe cancelledits loan facility. Makhubalo said Pravin Bhagwanji, one of G5'sprincipals, undertook to pay the men from India. G5 could not bereached for comment at its South African and London numbers.Keith Bates of BAe said he was bound by confidentialityagreements and could not comment. Ferdi Dippenaar, marketingdirector of Harmony, denied that the dispute with G5 affectedOro-Maska. Makhubalo expressed confidence in the project and saidhe was willing to work with the Bhagwanji brothers, but Dippenaarhad misgivings. He blamed the debacle on the major shareholder,which had been "unable to complete its commitment to theproject". "We have to be selective how we choosepartners. The project, in its current form, will not goahead." Muvhango Netshitangani, departmental head ofentrepreneurial mining at IDC, said the corporation did notdiscuss client information in public.
Fraudster caught with forged ID (IOL, 04/10) - Analert Krugersdorp bank official saved a client from losing hissavings when he noticed that a man had forged the client's ID andhad used it to open a new account in which he deposited a stolencheque worth R28 000. Johannesburg businessman Allan Renneyonly realised that someone was using a forged ID book with allhis details when Absa blocked his account and he was unable todraw money from an ATM outlet. "When I contacted my branch Iwas told that someone was trying to access my account. Luckilythe teller became suspicious and copied the ID the man gave her.The bank later found that the document was a forgery," saidRenney. In an affidavit handed to the bank and the police, Renneysaid the fraudster had tried on a number of instances to use theforged ID to try and deposit stolen cheques. According to thesworn statement, the man succeeded in changing Renney's worktelephone details and his cell number, using the forged document.As a last resort to try and stop the man, Renney and his wifeGlenda approached The Star classified section to have thefraudster's face printed in the newspaper. They were unsuccessful- the picture was too dark, they were told. When approached forcomment, Deon Oosthuizen, an Absa group media services consultantin Johannesburg, could only comment about the Krugersdorpincident where the fraudster opened an account using a stolenR28 000 cheque. He said that when a new account was openedin the name of an existing client the system automatically linkedall existing accounts. Had a new account been opened in Renney'sname, the man with a forged ID would have had access to all ofRenney's accounts and details. "The incident is an isolatedone," said Oosthuizen, giving the assurance the bank hadmeasures in place to prevent any attempts at fraud. Head ofcommunications at the Department of Home Affairs Leslie Mashokwesays when a person suspects his/her identity document has beenfraudulently obtained and then used to enter into debt or anyother transactions, they must immediately report the matter tothe police. According to Mashokwe, no provision is made in theIdentification Act, 197 (Act 68 of 1997) for the changing of anidentity number once it has fallen into the wrong hands.
SA court order return of assets seized from fugitiveZimbabwean (Johannesburg, The Daily News, 03/10) - FugitiveZimbabwean business mogul Billy Rautenbach, who is wanted inSouth Africa for massive fraud charges, may have his assets whichwere seized by the Assets Forfeiture Unit South Africa, returnedto him. The Johannesburg High Court last Friday ordered thereturn of the assets. They include several fat bank accounts, aflourishing R7,7 million (Z$42,3 million) Western Cape wine farm,an R2,7 million luxury Flacon jet, a Bell helicopter worth R5million, another farm in the Kwazulu/Natal province, and propertyin the wealthy Johannesburg suburb of Sandton, worth R3 million.Seven flats in the same area, worth R1,5 million, and furniture,were also confiscated. Together the assets are worth over R60million. The order was issued by Justice Pierre Rabie, andalthough it may come as a relief to the embattled Zimbabweantycoon, the office of the National Directorate of PublicProsecutions has indicated it still wants Rautenbach back inSouth Africa to co-operate with investigations and, possibly,stand trial. But despite the interim court order obtained by theNational Directorate of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) against thewealthy Zimbabwean tycoon, The Daily News has it on goodauthority that no official charges have been levelled against himyet. "This order doesn't mean the man is off the hook,"said a well-placed source in the offices of Bulelani Ngcuka, thedirector of public prosecutions. "We have enough evidence totake the man to court and lay charges. This is a very seriousmatter and if we can bring him back here to face trial, it willbe a major breakthrough in our bid to eradicate fraud in SouthAfrica," added the source. But the court on Friday revokedthe interim court order, arguing the NDPP had not followed properchannels in notifying Rautenbach, and had also withheldinformation in documents seized from the troubled businessman andother sources. Justice Rabie also ordered the NDPP to pay thecosts of the court action. And the NDPP has appealed against theruling and has asked the court not to immediately releaseRautenbach's assets. Rautenbach, who is believed to be inZimbabwe, is the former chief executive of Wheels of Africa, aswell as the Hyundai vehicle distributor in South Africa. Hisassets were seized by the Assets Forfeiture Unit followingdramatic, large scale fraud, theft, money laundering and importduties evasion charges by the National Directorate ofProsecutions. The assets were seized under the Prevention ofOrganised Crime Act. He then skipped the border into Zimbabwe inSeptember 2000 and has been in hiding since. Rautenbach hasrefused to travel to South Africa. Rautenbach's dramatic fallfrom grace in South Africa has been filled with drama, suspenseand intrigue. In 2000 his ex-banker, Jean-Charls Julien ArnoldPirlet, a former senior vice-president for corporate banking atthe international ABN Amro Bank in Johannesburg, was arrested forfraud and corruption involving over R345 million. Pirlet, aBelgian citizen with a South African residence permit, had hispassport withdrawn before being granted R50 000 bail. The DailyNews was unable to ascertain yesterday what happened to the case.Last year his lawyer, Nocilene Fourie, was arrested in Germiston,just outside Johannesburg, for allegedly defeating the course ofjustice. Sipho Ngwema, spokesperson for the NDPP, said at thetime that Fourie had allegedly given instructions that certaininformation be hidden from the state. Yesterday Ngwema refused tocomment on the latest developments in the Rautenbach case,arguing it would jeopardise investigations and the pendingappeal. "We will release information when the time isright," Ngwema said. Among the multiple charges Rautenbachfaces are those related to his Wheels of Africa Group ofcompanies, which was liquidated in December 1999. He is allegedto have fraudulently reduced the tax liability of the groupsubsidiaries and fraudulently sold R8 million worth of Hyundaivehicles. The state alleged Rautenbach defrauded the SA CustomsUnion of about R60 million due to it by under-invoicing the valueof the vehicles, which his Hyundai assembly in Botswana boughtfrom Hyundai in Korea. The wealthy Zimbabwean entrepreneur isalso alleged to have stolen money from his own companies. Thestate's case against him is based on evidence from several formeremployees of his and paints an intriguing picture of a web ofscores of companies established across Africa in order to hidetheft and fraud and also to conceal Rautenbach's own interests inthem. Rautenbach also stands accused of allegedly bribing twoDepartment of Trade and Industry officials to stop a high levelinvestigation into Volvo's relationship with his companies. Themulti millionaire businessman has reportedly alleged a"plot" by the SA government to nail him to prevent himfunding the war the Democratic Republic of the Congo was fightingagainst foreign-backed rebels. He is believed to have severalbusiness partnerships in the Congo and is said to havemulti-million dollar mining interests in the troubled CentralAfrican state. Rautenbach is also linked to the ruling Zanu PF,with whom he is reported to have strong ties. He is adamant theSA authorities are after him because it was perceived he was an"obstacle to the attempted removal of the Laurent Kabilaregime." "It is no secret that the SA government isstrongly opposed to the Kabila regime and is anxious to see meremoved from power," he said. His charge was contained in anaffidavit submitted to the Johannesburg High Court in a desperatebid to overturn a restraint order under which about R60 millionof some of his property was seized in 1999. Police raided hisoperations in November 1999 and confiscated three truck loads ofpapers and computer data. Rautenbach's affidavit was writtenbefore Laurent Kabila was assassinated in January last year, andthen succeeded by his son, Joseph. But it still forms asubstantial part of his case. He said Pretoria accuses him of"propping up the Kabila regime." Several efforts tohave Rautenbach extradited from Zimbabwe over the years have beenunsuccessful. So were efforts by The Daily News to contact himlate last night for comment on the latest development in hiscase.
Miners demand outstanding pay (East London, DispatchOnline, 03/10) - The Office of the Premier has beeninundated with claims over the past two weeks from former minerswanting to be paid for work done while they were employed. Theyclaim that R54million is available from the Office of the Premierfor such payments. Premier Makhenkesi Stofile was also approachedby a contingent of former miners needing assistance with regardto benefits due to them because of occupational diseases andinjuries they contracted in mines. Office of the Premierspokesperson Manelisi Wolela said a meeting was held last week inan attempt to solve the problem. At the meeting it was clarifiedthat the R54m was for an estimated 11500 former miners who werereceiving benefits through their former homeland administrations."The national Health Department lost contact with thesebeneficiaries during the change-over of administration, hence theamount rose to R54m. The department hopes to get thesebeneficiaries through the Benefit Medical Examination (BME)process if they are still alive," Wolela said. Wolela saidit was resolved at the meeting that the Health Department wouldcollate a list of all miners and former miners certified to besuffering from lung related diseases as a result of working onthe mines. He said claiming compensation and benefits would bemade in terms of the Occupational Disease in Mines and Works Act.The meeting also resolved that all affected people shouldundertake the BME process and if a person had been diagnosed ashaving contracted a lung disease, the person would becompensated. It was also resolved that the national HealthDepartment would assist the provincial department on capacitybuilding in the areas of training health workers to do BMEs.Wolela said: "The provincial department would then step upits advocacy campaign on the matter and in terms of reaching out,ex-miners' organisations will complement the efforts of thedepartment by submitting the list of beneficiaries".
Top doctor returns to SA to head Wits hospital(Johannesburg, News 24, 03/10) - A South Africanspecialist physician who has spent the last 35 years practisingand managing hospitals in the United States has returned to headthe Universityof the Witwatersrand's new specialist traininghospital. Announcing the appointment of Dr Michael Eliastam asthe head of the Donald Gordon Medical Centre, both Wits healthsciences faculty dean Professor Max Price and DGMC exco memberWendy Applebaum said the appointment was bringing "a uniqueblend of patient care, teaching, administration and businessexperience" to the hospital. Eliastam's experience has beengained from working for some of the most prominent specialisttraining hospitals in the United States. The position which hetakes up was advertised extensively nationally and abroad shortlyafter the centre's establishment was announced in February thisyear. The R170m facility will be based at the 190-bed formerKenridge Hospital in Parktown, Johannesburg, now officiallyrenamed the Donald Gordon Medical Centre. Characterised as SouthAfrica's own version of the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, thehospital's genesis was, according to Price, a vision shared byphilanthropist Donald Gordon and the university's health sciencesfaculty. The smallest cuts of all In addition to basic services,the DGMC will focus on minimally invasive surgery andinterventional radiology - two key directions medicine is takinginternationally at present. The surgery refers to a group oftechniques that permit access to the internal organs without thecustomary large incision. Interventional radiology, which isenabled by the surgery, uses image-guided, minimally invasivediagnostic and treatment techniques that are often an alternativeto invasive surgery. Price said the new facility would beequipped and staffed to international standards and would lateralso encompass satellite activities at other sites, both privateand government. According to the institution, the hospital wasmade possible by a founding donation of R100m from the DonaldGordon Foundation, a charitable foundation established 31 yearsago by Gordon. Price said: "Additional funding to meet thetotal R170m cost is being sought through other donors and bankloans. "The architectural designs for the refurbishment ofthe hospital are in the final stages and building is expected tobegin at the end of November. "The hospital will remain openthroughout the refurbishment and building phase. All buildingwork is due to be completed about the end of 2003."
Immigration act misses mark on skilled labour(Business Day, 03/10) - The passing of the newImmigration Act, which replaces the apartheidera Aliens ControlAct, should have been greeted with relief. Instead, the responseamong those concerned with economic growth has been dismay,disbelief and confusion. The bizarre parliamentary process thatproduced this act reflected deep contradictions among legislatorsand others about economic growth requirements, the legitimacy ofbusiness concerns and nonracism. It also revealed some barelydisguised xenophobia and a failure to appreciate governmentcapacity is an impediment to governance and development. The newact means that skilled immigration will continue to be difficultand slow. This is mainly because the act requires home affairs toconsult extensively with other departments labour, trade andindustry in creating an elaborate set of quota and skillscertification requirements, and then to enforce these complicatedrules. These requirements are supposed to ensure no South Africanwill lose a job to a skilled immigrant. This is a huge,impossible and wasteful task. Employers almost never prefer askilled immigrant to an equivalently skilled South African as thetotal cost of employing an SA citizen will probably be lower.Skilled immigrants can create jobs. In modern economies formalqualifications now bear very little relationship to what workpeople end up doing. Why waste time trying to forecast our needson the basis of inaccurate and out of date information when thecountry is desperate for the skills to run development projects,start new businesses, manage large enterprises and train SouthAfricans? Slow, pointless bureaucratic procedures that haveprevented foreigners from bringing their knowledge and energy toSA in the past will not be alleviated and in some respects arelikely to be reinforced. SA has two closely linked skillsshortages. One is a shortage of productive skills and practicalcompetencies, and the other is a shortage of people who areemployable, selfemployable or readily trainable by employers in aknowledge, technology and technique-based economy. Theseshortages have now been compounded by two new negative dynamicsemigration and AIDS. There are only two solutions available. Oneis a dramatic upgrading of our educational and training systems.This is vital, but the bold reforms required to equip largenumbers of South Africans with the skills our economy needs willtake years to implement. The only short-term policy option is anopen door, market-driven immigration policy coupled withaggressive recruitment of skilled people. This approach is anessential ingredient in the success of the longer-term educationand training option that will create more homegrown skills, as wedesperately need foreign teachers in our educationalinstitutions.
The view that skilled immigrants prevent South Africans fromfinding jobs should be emphatically rejected. The opposite istrue. Researchers estimate that every skilled professional,directly or indirectly generates numerous unskilled jobs. Foreignentrepreneurs create new wealth and taxes. Each new skilledimmigrant will create jobs for South Africans simply by goingabout their business, buying goods and services and paying tax.Ultimately, SA will need a bold new immigration act that createsan open door for skilled people and entrepreneurs. Capitalcriteria for business permits should reflect the reality thatentrepreneurs come in many sizes from large multimillion randinvestors to the smallest entrepreneur with just enough to starta family business. In the short term, regulations to the currentact should go as far as they can to "open the door".The act's reliance on a quota system will not make this easy.Nevertheless, correctly framed regulations could go a long way toreduce the damage. The guiding principle of the regulationsshould be to allow entry to any person whose skills, aptitudes,experience (lifelong learning) and previous occupations show thatthey will be able to earn a living in the private sector, paytaxes and consume commercial goods and services. If thisprinciple is followed, the regulations will serve the nationalinterest in economic growth and job creation. Equally, in thevery unlikely event that too many people, or the wrong kinds ofpeople, are allowed in, regulations guided by this principlecould be rapidly altered to deal with the problem. How far the asyet unknown regulations will be able to meet SA's needs remainsto be seen. In the end, however, SA needs a bold new immigrationact that really does create an open door for skilled people andentrepreneurs. Meantime, subject to the less than ideal legalframework created by the act, immigration regulations should goas far as possible to create conditions for growth and investmentby a very large inflow of skilled and entrepreneurial migrants.The new act reflects considerable ambiguity and confusion in theruling party about the importance of skilled immigration. This isdespite President Thabo Mbeki's commitment in February last yearto review immigration laws to "enable us to attract skillsinto our country". An important opportunity has beenfumbled. It reflects a failure of leadership by the president,cabinet and the African National Congress on an importantnational issue. SA is not short of job seekers. We are short oftaxpayers, people who need no support from the state and peoplewho can create jobs for others. Our immigration regulations andultimately our legislation should reflect this reality. Bernsteinis Executive Director of the Centre for Development andEnterprise. This article is based on a recent centre report, SA'snew immigration Act a salvageable instrument for economic growth?
Inspectors issue labour contravention notice to farm(Bethelehem, Sapa, 03/10) - Inspectors accompanyingLabour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana on a visit to an easternFree State asparagus export farm on Thursday issued acontravention notice to the owner, instructing him to comply withlabour regulations within 60 days. Mdladlana visited the Utopiafarm near Bethlehem as part of a three-day tour of the FreeState. The visit was arranged before-hand with the management,which employs 1180 workers during peak hours. Departmentalspokesman Snuki Zikalala said the contravention notice was issuedfor the non-distribution of hand gloves and ear plugs to some ofthe workers. Also, most of the revolving parts of machines andconveyor belts were not guarded. There were also no noisemeasurements of the workplace. The ratio of health and safetyrepresentatives in the workplace did not comply with therequirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act whilethere was only one qualified first-aid expert in the company.Utopia now has to be compliant within 60 days. Mdladlana urgedthe farm management to see to the establishment of a workercommittee, because there were no unions present. After workerscomplained to the minister about the employment of Lesothoworkers, Mdladlana said that the farm management should hireworkers through the local labour centre in Bethlehem, which keepsa register of the unemployed and can see to the training ofworkers, Zikalala said.
Cosatu members ordered back to work (Johannesburg,Sapa, 03/10) - The company responsible for therecruitment of workers for an East Rand mine was ordered onThursday to ensure that its members returned to work by Sundaymorning or have its contract with management cancelled. The EastRand Proprietary Mines (ERPM) in Boksburg issued the ultimatumafter about 4000 miners observed the Congress of SA Trade Unionanti-privatisation stayaway but failed to return to work at theend of the strike on Wednesday night. The miners were recruitedon ERPM's behalf by Circle Labour and Accommodation ERPM said ina statement that if Circle did not ensure its workers returned by6am on Sunday at the start of the day's shift its contract wouldbe cancelled with immediate effect. Mine management said it hadindicated to the National Union of Mineworkers that in the eventthat the contract was cancelled it would be prepared to recruitlabour from among the 4000 workers. Spokesman for theprivately-owned gold mine, James Duncan, said three days'production had been lost so far and amounted to about 30kilograms of gold valued at R3,25 million at current prices.
Smart cards possible by 2004 (Johannesburg, ITWeb,02/10) - The South African Home Affairs Department maystart issuing "smart ID cards" as early as 2004, iftalks on a funding model and additional functionality proceedaccording to plan, says Ernest Ledwaba, Home Affairs chiefdirector of IT. Ledwaba, addressing the Cards Africa 2002conference at the Dome at Northgate yesterday, said the newbiometric technology and enhanced security that smart ID cardscould offer would reduce ID fraud. It also had the potential toenable other applications in the government's overalle-government strategy. The project to issue smart ID cards fallsunder the Home Affairs National Identification System electronicidentification project, and replaces the initial plan to issuetwo-dimensional bar-coded ID cards that would have served purelyas a means of identification. The smart ID card will includevisual identification in the form of a photograph as well asfingerprints. It can be used by government agencies and privateentities for identification purposes. "The smart ID cardalso has the potential to enable applications such as UIF andwelfare pay-outs, so minimising the number of documents and cardscitizens must carry," said Ledwaba. Talks are under way withthe National Treasury on funding models for the new smart ID cardsystem. He says a feasibility study is to be completed this year,and Cabinet approval for the implementation plan must be securedbefore the project can begin rolling out. "It is expectedthat we will need to issue between 30 million and 40 millionsmart ID cards, and we envisage doing so over a five-yearperiod."
Use of false IDs on the increase (Pretoria, DispatchOnline, 02/10) - Organised crime syndicates areincreasingly using forged identity documents to defraud vehicledealers, Business Against Crime said yesterday. The head of BAC'svehicle crime project, Graham Wright, warned that syndicates hadbecome so sophisticated that they were actually renting officesand employing staff to answer incoming telephone inquiries toillicitly acquire vehicles. "By making use of the forgedidentity documents of individuals with a good credit trackrecord, criminals lease or buy on hire purchase several vehiclesat a time and then disappear," he said. The South Africancredentials verification company, MIE Resource Services, has alsocomplained that false IDs are turning up in growing numbers. MIEmanaging director Ina van der Merwe said that until recently mostfraudulent IDs were associated with bogus academic credentialsand false CVs. "Increasingly, however our corporate clientsreport that these false IDs are being used to defraud retailersand high on the list are high value items such as motorvehicles," she said. Last week the Retail Motor Industry(RMI) issued a warning to vehicle dealers that large crimesyndicates were targeting them and using fraudulent schemes tosteal cars. RMI chief executive Jeff Osborne said finance houseswere daily confronted with the frauds attempting to buy carsusing false identities. Osborne said it was common for criminalsto fraudulently gain access to credit bureau records to findpeople with sound repayment records. "Armed with thatinformation, they forge new IDs in the name of the unluckyvictim, clinch the deal and disappear," he said. Van derMerwe said confirming the validity of identity documents had alsobecome more difficult due to the very low level of servicedelivery in the Department of Home Affairs. "Despiteattempts by the government to improve the situation at HomeAffairs, it has become very nearly impossible to do ourverification checks through them. Instead we have to rely on ourown database and other government agencies to do thesechecks," she said. More than eight percent of all IDscurrently submitted to MIE Resource Services turned out to bebogus. Recently a syndicate rented offices and hired staff tomake it look as if they were running a thriving business. Theythen bought 16 bakkies on credit and promptly disappeared. Onlythree of the vehicles were recovered when they were stopped atborder posts. The rest were found to have been exchanged fordrugs which were in turn sold by another arm of the syndicate.Despite numerous arrests of officials on charges of traffickingin identity documents, there are indications that ID books arestill disappearing, Wright said.
Nigerian scam uses fake SA banking websites(Johannesburg, Business Day, 01/10) - The eliteScorpions crime fighting unit has arrested 22 Nigerians runningan international scam in which they claim to represent SA bankslisted on the JSE Securities Exchange SA. The racketeers operatedseven websites, including fake SA Reserve Bank and DevelopmentBank of Southern Africa websites. The websites contain SAcellphone numbers that are forwarded to telephone numbers inNigeria, the US or UK. The Scorpions say gullible"investors" are duped into opening online accounts,which reflect opening balances of $20m. To be able to access this$20m, wouldbe investors are asked to pay thousands of dollars toregister with SA-based "law firms". Many victims of thescam, most of whom are from outside SA, have already parted withmillions of rands, says the unit . In the instance of the fakeReserve Bank website, victims are asked to pay $10000 toregister, and an additional $40000 in tax and insurance. TheScorpions say 28 people were in advanced stages of negotiationson this site. One such victim was duped into paying over R2m. TheScorpions have since shut down the fake Reserve Bank(sarb.org.za) and DBSA (devbsa.org) sites, but the five othersare still operational. The five are: Continental Bank of Africa(www.continentalbankofafrica.com); Full Trust Bank(www.fulltrust.com); Afritrust Bank (www.afritrustbank.com);Chartered Investment Trust Bank (www.citbonline.com), and EagleBank Limited (www.eaglebanklimited.com). The information on thesewebsites has been lifted illegally from legitimate banksincluding African Bank and Société Générale. Scorpionsspokesman Sipho Ngwema said that three raids were conducted inJohannesburg leading to the arrests of the 22 Nigerians. Theringleader, Samuel Williams, had already been jailed for 12 yearson convictions of racketeering under the Prevention of OrganisedCrime Act.
Justice Minister commends HRC for Lindelainvestigations (Business Day, 01/10) - The biggestchallenge facing the SA Human Rights Commission is to make itmore accessible to all South Africans to make it have a meaningfor many people, warns the commission's outgoing chairwoman,Shirley Mabusela. The commission's work was misunderstood by manypeople, and improving accessibility would help the publicunderstand its role. "Many people who are able to come to usare people who are able to read and write. The majority of ourpeople still remain in the periphery," said Mabusela. Hersentiments were echoed by Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson, whosaid the commission needed to make itself more accessible toindividuals who wanted help with human rights abuses. Mabuselasaid other challenges facing the commission were to monitor thesocioeconomic rights because "many of our people are stillnot enjoying those rights." She said she was leaving thecommission with a sense of having achieved a lot. "Webrought out discussions on uncomfortable issues such as racism onthe table," Mabusela said. Chaskalson said work thecommission was involved in made it inevitable that it wouldattract controversy. "Its mandate is vast but its capacityis limited because of shortage of funds." He suggested thatthe commission focus more on monitoring socioeconomic rights andestablishing and promoting a culture of human rights. JusticeMinister Penuell Maduna said the commission had done a lot ofquality work in the past seven years. This included itsinvestigations into living conditions at the Lindela repatriationcentre near Krugersdorp, where it showed that even the rights ofillegal immigrants were taken seriously. He acknowledged that thejustice ministry and the commission had struggled to get morefunds for the work of the commission, and said there were courtswhere there were no libraries and magistrates were forced to usetheir own books. The human rights commission was commemoratingthe end of its first seven-year tenure yesterday and anannouncement on the names of new commissioners would be releasedsoon.
Mozambican man arrested after 'stolen goods' found(The Sowetan, 01/10) - East Rand police yesterdayrecovered a large quantity of suspected stolen goods, allegedlydestined for Mozambique, when they raided a makeshift warehouseand arrested a man at an informal settlement near Boksburg.Captain Fikiswa Baleni of the Dawnpark police said the value ofthe goods - which included furniture, building materials,mattresses, groceries, bicycles, TV sets, clothing and severaldrums of diesel fuel -was estimated to be between R300 000 andR400 000. Baleni said police made the discovery when they werechasing an illegal immigrant who ran into Holomisa informalsettlement near Dawnpark. "After he was cornered policenoticed a truck nearby that was loaded with goods," Balenisaid. "On further investigation, police came across variousitems inside a five-roomed shack that were neatly packed andready for shipment to Maputo. "The truck owner, who is alsothe owner of the warehouse, has since told us that he was paidregularly to transport items to Maputo. "Right now the man,who is very cooperative, is not yet a suspect. He will be takenin for questioning because he has no documents of receipts forthe goods," Baleni said. The man, whose name is known toSowetan, said he had been transporting goods to Maputo for peoplefor the past three years. "I don't ask them any questions orfor any papers or receipts. All I do is charge them according tothe weight or size of the items to be transported. This can beanything from R20 to R460," he said. He showed Sowetanrecords of the trans actions and where the goods were to bedelivered. Locals, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said theyhad always suspected that the shack was used for shady deals.Baleni later confirmed that the man had been arrested for thepossession of suspected stolen goods.
Xenophobia on the rise globally (The Star, 01/10) -The revelation by Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zumaleft many activists petrified. Attacks on foreigners are on theincrease in Russia, a former strong supporter of Africanliberation movements. The victims aren't ordinary immigrantsonly. In separate incidents, former ambassador Sidney Makana andMinister Counsellor Mpendulo Khumalo were assaulted by groups ofyoung men. The current ambassador's wife, Julia MathaabeMasisiSeekoe, was burnt with cigarettes on the chest and verballyabused. Kiba Kekana and William Baloyi, members of mayorSmangaliso Mkhatshwa's delegation, were saved by the municipalpolice from violent attacks. They were lucky. During Frenchelections earlier this year, candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen defeatedthe incumbent socialist opposition leader Lionel Jospin with hisanti-immigration, anti-crime election campaign. A tacticalpolitical alliance denied him a presidential victory and theopportunity to implement his reactionary policies. In Holland,the List Pim Fortuyn Party has championed a similar xenophobiccause. Its assassinated leader Pim Fortuyn is best remembered forlabelling Islam, and by implication Muslims, as"backward". His assertion that "Holland isfull!" found fertile ground as voters catapulted the partyto second spot in parliament, in addition to its spot in theRotterdam municipality Rightsving parties with a xenophobiccharacter enjoy parliamentary presence in 13 European Unionstates. Following the September 11 attacks in the US, negativesentiment towards Arabs/Muslims has increased. In many states,victims of physical attacks have filed charges. In addition tothe attacks, it seems the racial-religious-cultural identity ofArabs/Muslims appears to be sufficient grounds for abuse. Theattacks on foreigners in Russia; the growing influence ofrightwing parties in Europe: and the physical attacks onArabs/Muslims in the United States marks a growing shift to theright in politics. Immigration remains a contentious politicalissue, and this is compounded by its perceived link with crime.The xenophobic manifestations ignore historical immigrationpatterns and their benefits for recipient states. Europe andNorth America have been destinations for migrants for centuries,conditioned by different factors at different historical periods.The Atlantic slave trade, with its devastating effects on Africa,was beneficial to the industrialisation, economic development andprosperity of these continents. In later years, slave lo.bourben-uno inimical to industrialisation, and was replaced with asystem of free labour and free migration policies. Underdifferent conditions, but with the same economic benefits torecipient states, immigrants continued to populate thesecontinents. The reconstruction of Western Europe in the aftermathof the second world war required an enormous amount of labour.Temporary international migration within Europe itself, and overshorter distances, increased during this time. Labour recruitmentby European states peaked during the 1960s, but this pattern wasreversed during the next decade due to the non-renewal of labourcontracts and the decrease of labour activity after the oilcrisis. The Cold War added to international migration asthousands of uprooted Africans, Asians and Latinos sought refugein the Northern Hemisphere. Those people displaced by proxy warswere additional to the refugees generated by national liberationstruggles during the preceding decades, and later products ofcivll wars in Africa and Asia, and the conflagrations in theBalkans and Caucuses. The education and skills of many refugeeshave boosted economic development, apart from diversifying thesocial and cultural character of recipient states. Unfortunatelyeconomic migrancy and refugee-specific movements have becomeintertwined, and many states are torn between compliance withlegal migrant and refugee obligations on the one hand, andcitizen demands for stricter immigration and anti-crime measureson the other hand. The disintegration of the Soviet Union andcollapse of the East bloc have lifted the barriers to freemovement of people. Although successor states had emerged in thisregion, migration became an option reinforced by the economicrestructuring and privatisation processes. One unintendedconsequence has been an increase in ethnicity. In times ofeconomic decline, immigrants become the easiest and most obvioustarget for resentment, and are often projected as tbe cause ofsocial ills in the host country. It is clear that internationalmigration is nowadays perceived by many in the northernhemisphere as unwanted and difficult to control, Its link tocrime has rendered international migration a political hot potatowithin many states. Meanwhile, we had the privilege to host theWorld Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination,Xenophobia and Related Intolerance one year ago. The conferenceattempted to invigorate the political commitment to eliminate allforms of discrimination across the globe, including xenophobia.The Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declarationof Human Rights state unequivocally that all humans are born freeand equal in rights and dignity The inalienable and indivisiblecharacter of all our rights are emphasised. These instrumentsacquire special significance in addressing xenophobia as acontemporary form of discrimination. Xenophobia has beenconditioned by the experiences of slavery, colonialism, apartheidand genocide and is linked to poverty, underdevelopment, economicdisparity and social exclusion. Regardless of the contexts,xenophobia remains a violation of the rights contained in theseuniversal instruments. The increased economic disparity betweenrich and poor countries has contributed to internationalmigt'ation. An estimated 35-million people have migrated to thenorthern hemisphere since the 1960s. Nearly one third of skilledworkers, including 60 000 middle and senior man-agers, migratedto Europe and North America between 1985-1990. Migrant workershave contributed to the industrial and agricultural developmentof the northern hemisphere states over many decades. Lately ithas become increasingly difficult to gain entry to Europe as manystates are amending their laws to curb the influx of immigrants -including asylum seekers, thus curbing the unconditional right tothe asylum procedure. Despite their invaluable contribution,immigrants continue to be victims of physical attacks, racialabuse, exploitation and extortion. Restrictive immigration lawswill not curb economic migrancy and refugee flight, which in turncan foster positive economic development, promote democratic andinclusive societies, and harness peaceful relations betweenpeople, civilisations and states. Here, I do not suggest thatstates should abdicate their duty to exact compliance with theirimmigration requirements. Quite the contrary.
In Europe, rightwing voices have been able to increase theirsupport by exploitin immigration anxieties exacerbated by joinsecurity and the effects of globalisatio Populist forcesfrequently expose flaws domestic policies and exploit voteanxieties to drum up support for the cause. Other citizens simplyvent the' frustrations on immigrants. In Pretoria, Ethiopianrefugee Haille Shamebo has become the latest know victim ofxenophobic attacks reported on the increase in the nation'scapital. Last week, one man chased him down a stree punched himin the face, kicked him in the ribs and back while hurling verbalabuse a him. Comparatively speaking, his exper ence was"mild." The previous week Sudanese refugee Adan Akotwas admitted to the Pretoria Academic hospital, paral ysed andsuffering memory loss havin been thrown from a taxi and assaultedby passengers. Akot had previously seen the ugly face ofxenophobia when he was beaten with an iron bar on a train toJoburg. In Russia, the increase in attacks on foreign nationalshas led the African Corp and the Commonwealth Group ofAmbassadors to raise the issue of the protection of diplomatswith the Russian authorities Russian President Vladimir Putin hasnoted the "seriousness of the problem" and hasinstructed his chief prosecutor to enact legislation that bans orsuspends organisations that promote xenophobia, racism andfascism. Security services have also been instructed to be morevisible in certain public places, and to act againstperpetrators. In France, President Jacques Chirac has promised"strong" and "resolute" action to resolveneglected problems, fight intolerance and roll back xenophobia.The resurgence of xenophobia within a year of the worldconference demonstrates the enormity of the problem globally.States must implement comprehensive plans of action which includemassive conscientisation because political pronouncements andpolicies do not necessarily translate into a progressiveconsciousness. The fact that xenophobic attacks occur in statesthat are committed to rooting out xenophobia, such as SouthAfrica with its roll-back-xenophobia campaign bear testimony tothis reality. Neglected voter concerns also boost the appeal ofrightwing parties, with dire consequences for internationalmigration foreign relations and the enjoyment of universal humanrights by all.
Police raid Mkhitsini area (The Times of Swaziland,23/10) - Defiant and stubborn dagga growers here atMkhitsini fled from their homelands yesterday as the Mongochioperation led by the Anti-drug Unit from the police force raidedthe area in search of the illegal herb. A joint operation by thelocal police force, Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force and otherpolice officers from Mongochi operation (Lesotho, South Africa,Mozambique and Botswana) was a right recipe for the recommendablejob, which was done by the police here. Two helicopters from theUSDF were used to reach all the targeted places. The people fromthis area could not believe themselves when they woke up in themorning to find two 100-seat busses, two trucks and several carsfrom the police force parked at the football pitch just a fewmetres from where the operation took place. The arrogant citizenscould not face the enthusiasm of the close to 200 cops who wentfrom house to house and into the green fields of dagga in theshores and gorges of the Mkhitsini Mountains. The area was quietlike an emply church hall in the early hours until late yesterdayleaving a lot to be desired about what happened in the afternoonsince the police were keen to apprehend the culprits. In one ofthe the homesteads the cops seized a two-two rifle and six bagsof unprocessed dagga. They found a two-year-old kid playingoutside and they could apprehend the kid because of this age.Water drainage, pipe lines canals, bags of manure, seeds, hoesand other equipment were set ablaze together with the greenplants by the police officer who by the time we compiled thereport about three football pitch sized dagga field and theoperation was continuing in ten different places. Officer incharge of the operation Jerome Ndlangamandla said they will leavethe place after they have been satisfied that they have destroyedevery dagga field. "We cannot be in a position to state thereal day as to when we will open ends because we are being guidedby the amount of the field which we have to destroy here and aswell as other operations which we undergo," he said. Policepublic relations officer Vusi Masuku mentioned that crimes likedrug trafficking, most wanted car theft and other crimes arereferred to as cross-border crimes thus the co-operation of othercountries was seen necessary. "This is part of the Mongochioperation which started last week recovering stolen cars anddetaining illegal immigrants so today we are here to raid all thedagga fields around the Mkhitsini mountains and the operationwill continue until we see that everything has beendestroyed," said Masuku.
Dagga worth about E2 million destroyed (The Times ofSwaziland, 22/10) - The police force, in conjunctionwith the Vmbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF), yesterdaydestroyed about 19 hectares of dagga plants, amounting close toE2 million. Three female suspects have been arrested inconnection with the dagga. The police force is currentlyconducting a Mangochi Operation, which started last week with thebusting of car smugglers and the rounding up of illegalimmigrants in the country. The Mangochi Operation was introducedin Lesotho two months ago, where countries including Swaziland,South Africa and Mozambique, agreed to help each other infighting cross border crimes which include car theft, drugtrafficking rounding up most wanted criminals and other seriouscrimes. The police raided the arrogant dagga growers here in theearly hours of Tuesday, and the operation could not be completedthe same day, because of the huge fields which had to bedestroyed by the over 200 police force. The police also seized 17bags of dagga from different homesteads and its street value isabout E8.500. It is here where the police arrested the threewomen, however in some homestead they found doors closed, or somehad minor kids who were left by their parents as they ran forcover. The police also confiscated about 19 kg of dagga seeds andother weapons including a rifle. Police public relations officerVusi Masuku confirmed the reports. He mentioned that theoperation will be continuing, until they are satisfied that theyhave eliminated every dagga plant in this area. 'There are threewomen who have been arrested in connection with the dagga. whichwas found in bags in their homesteads. The police force, membersof the USDF and other officers from Mangochi Operation memberstates, are still busy down there and we will leave the placeafter being convinced that every dagga plant has been eliminated,we hope it will be soon," he said. On car theft, theoperation managed to impound close to 100 cars that weresuspected to be stolen. However, no one was arrested as Masukuexplained that they are yet to investigate each case before thenext move. The same exercise was carried in South Africa,Mozambique and Lesotho where it was launched.
Over 12 Pakistani refugees kept at Sidwashini prison(The Times of Swaziland, 16/10) - Over 12 refugees fromPakistan have been added at Sidwashini prison institution, whichhas otherwise become so extremely overcrowded such that theprison cells are accommodating beyond their original capacities.Correctional services spokeswoman1 Noma Nsibandze, in aninterview, said the Pakistanis were brought from Nhlangano afterthey were arrested by the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF)for trespassing into this country. The Times established that thePakistanis who comprise both women and men have been at theinstitution for close to two weeks. Consequently, the number ofrefugees currently residing at Sidwashini prison has increasedtremendously because those that rebelled against the Kingdomabout two months ago are still residing there. Dlamini revealedthat the rebellious refugees from different countries in northernand central Africa comprise 28 males1 four females and eightchildren. "The major problem in this institution is too muchovercrowding as more people are added on. The institution wasoriginally meant to accommodate 400 prisoners but at the presentmoment, the number ranges up to 600 people," cited thespokeswoman. Nevertheless, the country has seen resurgence in thenumber of refugees from all over Africa but this is not anentirely new thing. Some of these refugees usually cross thiscountry to South Africa and other neighbouring states while otherchoose to settle here because they have heard about the peacethat exists in this country. Thousands had to be deported fromthis country over the last ten years. However, refugees from theMiddle East are not common here.
Swazi workers teargassed by police at Chinese factory(Nhlangan, IOL, 07/10) - More than 600 rioting workersat a Chinese garment factory in southern Swaziland at the weekendclashed with police who fired at them. Employees of FTM Garments,a Chinese company, are engaged in a go-slow strike over what theyclaim is poor salary payment instigated by the government. Thestrike has been going on for over a week now. Two weeks ago KingMswati III refused to officiate in the official opening of thesame factory after an employee of the company was killed bypolice. The employee was killed after the police fired teargascanisters at the employees who refused to go work. DuringSaturday's clash pandemonium broke out as early as 7am when someworkers prevented their colleagues from entering the factory.Talks between the Swaziland Manufacturing and Allied WorkersUnion and the management collapsed after the employers told theworker's union that they were told by the Enterprise andEmployment Ministry to pay the salaries they were paying theirmembers. This is not the first time the same ministry has beenimplicated in instigating low pay for Swazi employees employed byChinese companies in the kingdom. In Matsapha, employees ofTuntex Textiles were told the same story when they demandedsalary increases. In this company the manager is alleged to havetold the workers that they pay a monthly allowance of R50 000 tothe Minister of Enterprise and Employment, Senator Lutfo Dlaminiand some officials in the Swaziland Investment PromotionAuthority (SIPA), which is responsible for recruiting foreigninvestors to invest in Swaziland. However, Dlamini came outpublicly to deny that he receives bribes, but his denial wasridiculed when an official from SIPA, John Creamer, blew thebribery whistle when he was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Uniton charges of accepting bribes from the same Chinese investors.Creamer is still to appear before the High Court of Swazilandwhen it resumes the last session next month.
Smuggled perlemoen intercepted (Hoedspruit, News 24,06/10) - Limpopo police are questioning a pilot and acrewmember of a rented Swaziland military plane - carrying alarge load of illegal abalone (perlemoen), en route to Zimbabwe -after the pilot was forced to make an emergency landing at theair force base in Hoedspruit. Police suspect that the two menfrom Swaziland may have unwittingly been involved in the abalonesmuggling. Superintendent Ronel Otto, police spokesperson, saidthe plane was on its way to Harare on Saturday morning about11:00, when one of its engines started giving problems and thepilot had to make an emergency landing. The pilot was alreadyover Phalaborwa and first attempted to land at the town, butairport personnel advised him to turn back to Hoedspruit where helanded at the military base. A thorough search of the plane wasconducted, according to strict air force procedures regardingfreight documents and cargo of international planes, as set outby the customs and excise division of the department of internalaffairs. Boxes full of abalone were found on the plane althoughthe freight documents indicated that the cargo was "frozenfish". On only one of the freight documents, the word"abalone" was added in brackets. Otto said policeconfiscated 90 boxes of frozen abalone. The mass of the abalonewas 1 890kg, which meant that the value could be estimatedat around R2m. The cargo plane carrying the abalone was rented byScab-air in Swaziland to carry a load of "frozen fish"from Manzini in Swaziland to Harare in Zimbabwe. From there itwould have been transported to Hong Kong, where abalone is ahighly sought after dish in restaurants. The abalone wasapparently delivered to the airport at Manzini by a truck fromMozambique. Police suspect, however, that the abalone initiallycame from the Cape coast. Customs and excise officialsconfiscated the plane and the abalone. The abalone will be keptin a fridge at the air force's food factory in Hoedspruit untilit is handed over to the police's unit for endangered species forfurther investigation. The abalone find is the largest ever foundin Limpopo and the second within a year. Otto said policeconsider this unexpected find as a breakthrough in their attemptto curb abalone smuggling that is stripping the South Africancoast. The find comes exactly one year after a pilot fromGauteng, Tony Robinson (55), died near Weipe when the plane hewas using to transport 800kg of illegal abalone to Harare crashedon a farm and the boxes of abalone crushed him to death. Theboxes in which the abalone found at the weekend were packed, werethe same as those used in the Weipe cargo. Police areinvestigating a link between the two incidents. Police are alsoinvestigating the possibility that several other loads of SouthAfrican abalone may have been transported to Hong Kong viaSwaziland and Zimbabwe. Indications are that similar flights haveoccurred since August last year.
Tanzania deports 12 Kenyans (Nairobi, The East AfricanStandard, 29/10) - Twelve Kenyans of Somali origin whoentered Tanzania illegally and were convicted for the offencelast week are to be repatriated. The 12, who were arrested inMwanza after entering Tanzania through the Sirari border point,are expected back in Kenya this week after the Tanzaniangovernment ordered them to leave. Tanzanian state radio at theweekend quoted an immigration official, Rashid Matama, as sayingthe 12 Kenyans had no valid travel documents and had fake KenyanID card. A private radio in Mwanza, "Radio Free Africa"quoted the Kenyans as claiming they had fled the country in fearof violence due to the impending General Election.
Commentary: End Burundi refugee problem (The Guardian,23/10) - It has just been reported that close to 100,000Burundi refugees have registered themselves for voluntaryrepatriation. The news comes in the wake of Tanzania's call forthe establishment of refugee zones inside Burundi. We all knowhow heavy is the responsibility to host hundreds of thousands ofrefugees in a developing country, given the fact that theinternational community, including the United Nations, does notcontribute adequately to the needs of the asylum seekers, to theextent that the main burden is left in the hands of the hostcountry. Tanzania has to feel the impact of refugee influx, rightfrom when they enter the country, some carrying arms, someinjured. These refugees will be pressed with humanitarian needs,including food, shelter and clothing. Again, Tanzania has to meetthe challenge-in fact at any cost-including loss of lives, assome of the immigrants will not waste time using the arms theyhave smuggled against an innocent population. Once they enter thecountry, and because refugees are human like the rest of us, theywill have some other wants which cannot be met inside the camps.By then, their hearts have already been poisoned by hatred, afterthey had lost their loved ones in a cruel way back home, and aredesperate and rebellious. They will thus seek other extra-legalmeans to cater for their unfulfilled human needs and cool theirvendetta. This kind of situation puts the local population livingnear the camps in a perilous state. The innocent citizens willstart being killed in robbery activities master-minded by thevery people they have allowed to come in and be shelter, pluswitnessing a rise in rape, bus-hijackings and highway robberies.The refugees, who will be involved in such activities, perhapsonly a minority of them, might be compelled to act thus becausethey are homesick and also due to the fact they feel likerevenging on each and everybody. These homesick refugees may evensneak across the border to make sporadic attacks and settlescores. Given this background, it is thus easy to understand whyTanzania is calling for establishing safe zones inside Burundi,which will be manned by the international community. Such anarrangement will allow countries, which share boundaries withwar-torn countries not to shoulder the high material, and humancost that goes with the existence of refugee camps. We thereforethink that Tanzania's proposal, once implemented, will helpremove suspicion held by Burundi authorities who have frequentlyalleged that there are some rebels attacking Burundi from theTanzanian side. Once the refugees are repatriated, they willeasily settle within the international safe zones because theyare familiar with the surroundings. Also, when the war is over,it will be easy for them to be absorbed by the society. We alsocaution that proper and adequate security arrangements must bemade to ensure that the safe zones inside Burundi are indeedsafe, and that the United Nations plays its role in financing thecamps and sustaining the manpower.
Minister asks Mauritius to assist Tanzanian textilesector (IPP Media, 23/10) - Tanzania is now seekingassistance from Mauritius to take full advantage of the US-AfricaGrowth Opportunity Act (AGOA) in order to increase employment forTanzanians. The appeal was made recently by the Deputy Ministerfor Industry and Commerce, Ms. Rita Mlaki, during her four-dayvisit to Mauritius. During the visit, Ms Mlaki met with Mauritianbusinessmen and discussed with them various investmentopportunities that exist in Tanzania. Ms Mlaki told thebusinessmen that Mauritius had made notable advances in thetextile and garment sectors. She said Tanzania could offer greatopportunities for invest in. these sectors , and that suchinvestment would help reduce the current unemployment rate whichis estimated to be at around 30 percent. The AGOA is not limitedto the textile and garment industries, but covers a wide range ofproducts, and with Mauritian expertise in marketing and know how,other products could also be exported from Tanzania to the USmarket. Tanzania has 60 million cattle and produces coffee, teaand tobacco. Mauritian businessmen could also invest in thecanning and leather industries Following the Ministersvisit, and parliaments approval of the Export ProcessingZones (EPZ) Act in April this year, Mauritian businessmen are setto flock into the country to seek investment opportunities. TheEPZ Act allows all export oriented companies to benefit fromincentives such as exemption from Custom Duty on the rawmaterial, and zero income tax for the first 10 years, amongothers. The meeting between Ms Mlaki and the Mauritianbusinessmen was set up by the Chinese Business Chamber andattended by more than 60 businessmen. The Mauritian businessmenare likely to take the AGOA advantage through the Tanzaniaopportunity partly because Mauritius is not a beneficiary of theAct. Also , the political instability that has surfaced in someAfrican countries including Mauritius itself, and the market sizeof regional organizations such as the Southern Africa DevelopmentCommunity (SADC) and the East Africa Community (EAC) to whichTanzania belongs, are all likely to influence the businessmen intheir decision to come and invest in Tanzania. The effortsby Ms Mlaki to woo Mauritius investors into Tanzania have come ata time when stakeholders in the agricultural sector are making asurvey to identify obstacles that have for a long time preventedthe sector from attracting large scale investors. The report andsuggestions from stakeholders will be presented to the comingNational Business Council meeting under the Chairmanship of thePresident of the United Republic of Tanzania.
Tourism forum attracts more than 300 investors (TheArusha Times, 19-25/10) - All roads will be leading toArusha, as more than 300 investors and service providers convergefor the grand Tanzania Tourism Investment Forum (TTIF) takingplace at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) fromOctober 22-24. The President of the United Republic of Tanzania,Benjamin William Mkapa will officially open the Forum on Tuesday.Apart from also giving a keynote address, he will be availablefor one-on-one sessions with individual investors. In herinvitation letter to the potential investors, the Minister forNatural Resources and Tourism, Zakia Hamdan Meghji (MP), said theForum will unveil the results of the last two years work inwhich the government in collaboration with private sector leadershave been identifying further growth opportunities in theindustry. Meghji added that the group of government and privateexperts also addressed the existing obstacles which have beenproving to be major setbacks in the sectors development.The efforts started with a consensus building workshop involvingover 80 key public and private sector tourism stakeholders, whichtook place in Dar es Salaam in July, last year, followed with yetanother capacity building workshop in September 2001. The tourismForum, including its preceding efforts is facilitated theTanzanian Ministry of Tourism with support from the MultilateralInvestment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the European Union (EU) andthe Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA). Two governmentsof Japan and Switzerland have also pledged their supports towardsthe project which is not only aimed to highlight opportunitiesfor private investment to tourism in Tanzania but also togenerate projects that will strengthen and support the localbusiness community. The programme director of MIGA, Dr. Ken Kwakusaid the intensified focus in Tanzania will actually paydividends for the entire continent since the country will nowserve as the major building block for the increasing tourisminvestment interest in Africa. During the three-day Forum, a teamof expert will present the full particulars of more than 201investment opportunities in Tanzania as discovered in the two-year research. The Director of Institute of Economic and SocialResearch Foundation in Dar es Salaam, Prof. Sam Wangwe willpresent a summary speech on the 7th session of the forum beforethe closing ceremony. The President of the RevolutionaryGovernment of Zanzibar, Amani Abeid Karume will officially closethe Forum in the evening of Wednesday the 23rd of October. Asform Thursday the 24th of October, the delegates will be treatedfirst to half day trip to Tarangire National Park and othercustomized programs. Tourism industry is expected to experienceover 1.6 Billion international arrivals with more than US$ 2Trillion to be raised in the industry, world wide by the year2020. The World Tourism Organization predicts 170 per cent growthin the East African Tourism sector with Tanzania showing morepotential.
Indian investors welcomed (IPP Media, 18/10) - Despitethe fact that Tanzania is a developing country, Indianbusinessmen have been urged to invest in Tanzania in order toenhance business links, and improve the volume of bilateral tradebetween the two countries, the TCCIA President has said. ThePresident of Tanzania Chamber of Commerce,Industry andAgriculture (TCCIA), Elvis Musiba, told a 14 member delegation ofthe Indian Plastics Industry, who visited Tanzania, to widentrade and economic ties between Tanzanian companies and Indianindustries. Tanzania has so far created a good legal framework,good policies,and a good business environment in order to attractforeign investors. Tanzania has a lot of potential, pleasecome and invest here to support our efforts to achieve economicdevelopment, Musiba told the Indian delegation lastweek, He also added that TCCIA and TIC would assist them toobtain more information on investing in Tanzania. He said ifIndian businessmen invested in the production of plastics inTanzania, they would create job opportunities for Tanzaniaspeople, reduce poverty, and improve the standard of living in thecountry. Meanwhile, Mr T.Vijaya, Bhaskar Director of BommidalaFilaments Ltd based in India, who was visiting Tanzania to findbusiness partners added that his company is looking for businesspartners who wish to enter into joint ventures in Tanzania. Hesaid his company has launched a synthetic rope product under thebrand name POWER, which has found a niche in majorinternational markets and in different states of India. Hiscompany has begun the preliminary work for obtaining ISOcertification for its manufacturing process. He added thatBommidala Filaments Ltd, one of the largest manufacturers ofsynthetic ropes in India was established in 1936 with theobjective of manufacturing different types of ropes made frompolyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), danline), nylonmultifilament, polyester, PP multifilament, Kuralon, sisal, andmanila. Presently his company exports POWER ropes to Tanzania,Sudan, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Dubai, Yemen, the Sultanate ofOman, Quata, Jordan, the United States of America, Iceland,Norway, Kenya, Algeria, and Eritrea.
SA insurer plans to enter Tanzanian market(Johannesburg, Business Day, 17/10) - AFRICAN Life,having rebounded from the pounding its took over the governmentpayroll-deduction system, is looking to grow its businessaggressively outside of SA. Having already opened an operation inZambia this year, African Life CE Jeremy Rowse said it planned toenter the Tanzanian market next year. The group would enterMozambique and Uganda in 2004 and 2005. African Life services thelower- income life insurance market, and has operations in SA,Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Ghana and Zambia. The group beganoperating in Zambia this year, and this week it began sellingindividual life recurring policies in the Zambian market.Previously it only provided group policies. SA still dominatesthe company's business, with African Life SA valued at abouttwo-thirds of the group's embedded value of R632m. "We wouldprefer this to be divided 50/50 between SA and externaloperations, but while the SA operation is growing as it is we arenot complaining," said Rowse. He said the group had not yetdecided whether to buy a stake in an existing Tanzanian lifeassurance operation or to set up a new operation in that country.An acquisition would be the more expensive route. In Kenya, thegroup spent R45m on buying a 46% stake in an existing company,but in Ghana it spent a fraction of this in establishing agreenfields operation. "We do a complete scorecard ofterritories and look at factors including whether they havepayroll deductions and how reliable their debt certificatesare," he said. Rowse said that after the Tanzanian,Mozambique and Ugandan operations were up and running, AfricanLife would look further afield. While Nigeria presented potentialfor huge profits, Rowse said there were huge problems with thatmarket, including the reliability of debt certificates. TheInternational Finance Corporation holds a 7% stake in AfricanLife. African Life said that because the Corporation worksthroughout the continent, no African country had been excludedfor the future. "Our strategy is to enter one new country ayear, so no country has been excluded for the future," hesaid. Rowse said that all its existing operations outside SA hadshown growth this year, with Botswana and Kenya being thehighlights. However, SA remained the core African Life business.For the six months since March, African Life SA had gained newbusiness recurring premiums to the tune of R147m. The companysaid new business had showed 19% compound annual growth in SA,suggesting that it had put the painful Persal saga behind it.African Life earnings showed a 55% drop in its 2001 financialresults after government halted public-sector payroll deductionsoff the Persal system. The group rebounded, however, in its 2002results to the end of March, with headline earnings increasing37% to R175,1m. The group made a commitment to government torationalise all policies affected by the Persal system and isexpected to achieve this by March next year.
Rwandan refugees to be out by December 31 (Nairobi,The East African, 14/10) - Burdened by vast numbers ofrefugees from the war-torn countries in the Great Lakes regionand the Horn of Africa, the Tanzanian government has given allthe 22,000 Rwandan refugees remaining in the country up toDecember 31 to leave its territory. The decision by Tanzania willalso affect Burundi and Congo refugees. The United Nations HighCommission for Refugees (UNHCR) has described Rwanda and Burundias safe at present. Tanzania insists that 540,000 Burundirefugees living in Tanzania be "repatriated to their countryimmediately." About 96,000 Burundi refugees want to returnhome voluntarily, 28,000 of whom have already been assisted byUNHCR to settle in their country after the establishment of asafe environment. Minister for Home Affairs Mohammed Seif Khatibsaid in Dar es Salaam last week that UNHCR and the Rwandagovernment had agreed to facilitate the return of refugees. MrKhatib said Lukole "A" and "B" camps at Mbubain Ngara district, where the Rwandan refugees have been living,would be closed down soon. Last week, Tanzania UNHCR externalrelations officer Ivana Unluova told The EastAfrican that theUNHCR supported the repatriation of the refugees after"assurances by the Tanzanian and Rwandan governments thatsecurity in Rwanda had improved." Ms Unluova, however, saidthat there were still a few refugees who were entering Tanzaniafrom Rwanda. "UNHCR insists that the exercise be done on avoluntary basis and the Tanzania government respect anindividual's right to seek asylum if he/she qualifies forit," she said. Ms Unluova added, "The Rwanda governmentmust do the groundwork to ensure that the refugees' security andaccommodation are available. "At present, we do not know whowill be responsible for the security of the returnees," shesaid. The Kigali government, through its embassy in Dar, and theMinistry of Foreign Affairs said last week that security inRwanda was normal. "The returnees have nothing tofear," said an official in Rwanda's Ministry of ForeignAffairs. The repatriation agreement on the refugees was reachedduring a meeting at the 53rd Session of the Executive Committeeof UNHCR in Geneva, Switzerland, between September 30 and October4. Rwanda's Minister of State for Social Affairs Odette Nyimilimoand UNHCR director of African bureau David Lambo attended themeeting. According to the agreement, there would be an educationcampaign and confidence-building measures that would be concludedby the end of this month. "The UNHCR will strengthen itsreturnee-monitoring and assistance mechanism inside Rwanda toensure the reintegration of Rwandan refugees. "The UNHCR hasagreed to implement the agreement and the government of Rwandawill receive the refugees; we are going to be relieved by theirdeparture," said Mr Khatib. Tanzania has been pushing forthe repatriation of the refugees, citing the burden theirpresence has placed on security. It has on several occasionsasked for the refugees to be accommodated in camps in their owncountries, as was the case in former Bosnia, rather than crossingborders. In July 2001, Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa urgedthe international community and UNHCR to repatriate all Burundiand Rwanda refugees, saying that his country was burdened by therefugees. "We have done a lot for the refugees; they shouldbe repatriated to their countries," said the presidentduring a meeting with roving UNHCR ambassadors who were visitingthe Great Lakes region.
Schools raise standards by hiring foreign teachers(The Arusha Times, 12-18/10) - As more students keep ongoing to the neighbouring countries of Kenya and Uganda, insearch of quality education, local school owners on the otherhand are laying strategies to curb the practice by employingforeign teachers. The Director of Fikiria Kwanza Academy WillbardPallangyo told the Arusha Times that Kenyan teachers are good,but live and work in dire conditions, and therefore they can belured into the country by providing them with better working andliving conditions. Pallangyo, who plans to establish a highschool in Usa River area said when good teachers become availablein local schools, there will be no need for children to flee thecountry in search of education. Patrick T. Khanya, who is thedirector of Saint Patrick Trust Academy, said the trend of takingchildren to other countries should be outdated by now becauseunlike in the past, the country now has better schools offeringsuperior education compared to neighbouring countries. However,Khanya pointed out that, other countries such as Kenya have theirGovernments in full support of local education includingexempting schools from various taxes, thus ensuring bettereducation. The St. Patrick Trust Academy director, suggestsimproved learning facilities pointing out that most children whogo to study "abroad" suffer dire living conditionsthere. According to Khanya better local facilities are attractingKenya and Ugandan teachers and so far he has "three filesfull of teachers applications from those countries. The directoralso added that, of late even pupils and students from othercountries have been coming to his Sakina area based school,seeking places. The Director of studies of the Oloirien- basedNaasha Junior Academy, David A. K. Nzofu, said the advantage ofblending both the Kenya and Tanzanian curriculum is placing localprivate schools miles ahead of their Kenyan or Ugandancounterparts. Recently, large numbers of local students studyingin Kenya were forced back home following a teachers strikein that country. Some parents who spoke to this paper commentedthat children safety in countries such as Kenya and Uganda shouldnot be taken lightly and that parents should work in improvinglocal schools other than risking abandoning their children inother countries.
Foreign crop buyers alleged to choke local economy(The Arusha Times, 12-18/10) - The Government has beenasked to control farm produce buyers from neighbouring countrieswho make their purchases directly from farmers. Speaking onbehalf of fellow crop traders at the Kilombero Market, theChairman of the Association of Crop Sellers, Mr. Spear Francissaid that previously businessmen from the neighbouring countries,especially Kenya were the main buyers in the Market but of latethey have been going directly to villages to buy farm produce atlow prices. Mr. Francis said that despite offering low price tothe farmers, they were not even paying any levy to the ArushaMunicipal Council nor to the respective villages where they buycrops. Normally local crop traders are liable to pay Council levyfor their purchases. The traders have also alleged that thesystem of directly buying crops from the farmers, has renderedmore than 1,000 youths at the Kilombero Market jobless. TheChairman gave an example of onions which alien traders buydirectly from Mang'ola in Karatu District at shs 7,000 per bag of100kg instead of shs. 11,000 at Kilomebro market. Confirming theanomaly, an agent for Municipal Council levy collection, Mr.Daniel Materu of H. M. Tyres said that after buyers fromneighbouring countries had bypassed the market transactions, levycollection per day has dropped from Shs. 300,000/= to Shs.30,000/=. The traders said that despite that Tanzania hasaccepted trade liberalization, petty businesses should beconfined to Tanzanians in order to boost the local economy.
Some 2,500 Rwandans flee Tanzania to Uganda (Nairobi,Irin, 09/10) - Some 2,500 Rwandan refugees have fledfrom camps in western Tanzania over the last six to eight weeksto the area around Lake Nakivale in southwestern Uganda, aspokesman from the Office of the United Nations High Commissionerfor Refugees (UNHCR), Jonathan Clayton, told IRIN on Tuesday. Hesaid their flight appeared to have been triggered by fears thatthe ongoing voluntary repatriation process for Rwandan refugeesin Tanzania could become compulsory. Rwandan officials were keento see the remaining caseload of refugees, who fled to Tanzaniain the aftermath of the 1994 genocide, return home because thepresence large numbers of Hutus outside the country was regardedas a potential destabilising factor. Tanzanian officials,moreover, have stated publicly that the country can no longerbear the burden of hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees, andthat Rwanda is stable enough for their return. Meanwhile, theRwandans are entitled to UNHCR protection only in Tanzania, asthe first country where they had sought asylum. "On adviceof UNHCR, the [Ugandan] government stopped recognising Rwandanasylum seekers from Tanzania since they were already accessinginternational protection [in Tanzania]," the independentMonitor newspaper quoted Ugandan Minister for DisasterPreparedness Moses Ali as saying on 1 October. He was speaking atthe 53rd session of the executive committee of the UNHCRprogramme in Geneva, Switzerland. Ugandan officials, who aremonitoring the situation, fear that if assistance is offered tothe refugees, it may act as a magnet for others who wish to leaveTanzania, Clayton said. Negotiations were ongoing regarding avoluntary return to Tanzania, he said, and it was essential thatthe refugees understood that they could not be forciblyrepatriated to Rwanda. There were an estimated 22,500 Rwandanrefugees in Tanzania at the end of August.
Zimbabwe's white farmers drop interest in Tanzania(IPP Media, 08/10) - Unfavourable environment forinvestment in the agricultural sector, particularlyinfrastructure, has made interested white Zimbabwean farmersbecome reluctant to come and invest in the country, the TanzaniaInvestment Centre (TIC) has said. Speaking to The Guardian in Dares Salaam yesterday, the TIC Information Officer, Edgar Mbano,said following the current land crisis in the central Africanstate, some white Zimbabweans had shown interest to invest in thecountry. Some white farmers from Zimbabwe early this yearhad contacted the TIC through e-mail and by telephone asking forpossibilities to invest in the country, Mbano said, addingthat since then the contacts had naturally stopped. Mbano saidthat in an attempt to find out the reason for the decline, theTIC discovered that investors found it expensive to invest as thecountry is plagued with poor infrastructure in most of its ruralsettings where agriculture is conducted. You know, thesefarmers have been there for three generations or so. Along withthe key investment on agriculture, they have already installedinfrastructure facilities in the estates there. They did not findit feasible to come here and start afresh, Mbanosaid. He said that according to the current regulations ofthe TIC applicable to foreign investors, the farmers could havebeen accepted in the country since the door is open for suchinvestments. Tanzania is one of the countries that have supportedZimbabwes land reform programme.
Government no longer recognises Rwanda asylum seekers(Kampala, The Monitor, 07/10) - Ethnic Rwandese asylumseekers entering the country from Tanzania are no longerrecognised by this government, minister for Disaster PreparednessBrig. Moses Ali has said. "On advice of UNHCR governmentstopped recognising Rwandese asylum seekers from Tanzania sincethey were already accessing international protection," Alisaid. Ali who is also second deputy premier, was Oct. 1 speakingat the 53rd session of the executive committee of The UN HighCommission for Refugees programme at Geneva in Switzerland. Hesaid that before this decision was taken government had resettled8,000 Rwandese refugees from Tanzania this year alone. Alirevealed that currently 2,168 Rwandese asylum seekers fromTanzania are now illegally in the country. "They are alienson humanitarian grounds because they are not receiving assistanceof any kind as they are not recognised as refugees," hesaid. Ali also condemned the August attack by Kony rebels on AcolPii refugee settlement that left 23,000 refugees, who had livedthere for 10 years, displaced. He said they will be relocated tosafer settlements which have natural barriers like the RiverNile. Ali said refugees coming into Uganda are mainly from the DRCongo and Sudan. He said the refugee problem could only be solvedwhen peace returns to their home countries. He said about 40percent of the refugees are food sufficient as a result ofgovernment's policy of integrating them into local communities.He however, appealed to UNHCR to increase its budget. "Witha small UNHCR budget, government has to step in. Thisintervention however is inadequate and we appeal for increasedsupport.
Two face court charges of illegal stay (The ArushaTimes, 5-11/10) - Two persons alleged to be foreignershave appeared before the Resident Magistrate, Patricia Fikirini,to answer charges of being in the country illegally. One of theaccused, Naima Rashid Othman (40) is reported to be a resident ofSomalia while the other defendant Beamlaku Bekele Araya (27) issaid to be an Ethiopian from Addis Ababa. Presenting both chargesin court, Immigration prosecutor, Erasmi Francis said that thefirst accused Naima, who is a Somali was arrested on the 20th ofSeptember this year, in Arusha town. The other accused was alsoarrested on the same day at the Namanga border town. Naima isstill under court custody after lacking the relevant sureties toback her open bail bond of Tsh.500,000. The defendant has deniedthe charges and the case will be coming up for mention on the30th of October 2002. Araya however, has admitted his mistakealthough also he is still in custody pending further policeinvestigations on his case.
Border tax talks with Kenya and Uganda (Kampala, NewVision, 04/10) - Talks on harmonising on-tariff barriersalong their common borders are scheduled for Nairobi later thismonth. Yesterday, tourism, trade and industry minister, Prof.Edward Rugumayo was meeting the Kenyan assistant minister fortrade Mohamed Abdi Mohamed at Farmers House. "I am meetingwith your senior colleague this month in Arusha to iron out theissue of non tariff barriers along our two common borders so thatthe business communities in the two countries can transactbusiness with minimum delays and inconveniences," Rugumayosaid. Abdi is leading a delegation of Kenyans, includingexhibitors from 22 firms, which are exhibiting their products andservices at this year's Uganda Manufacturers international tradefair at the Lugogo showgrounds.
Hundreds more flee Burundi as conflict escalates(Nairobi, Irin, 02/10) - A recent influx of some 900Burundians into Tanzania brings refugee arrivals to at least3,000 in September, the office of UN High Commissioner forRefugees (UNHCR) reported on Tuesday. It said this represented anearly a 10-fold increase from August. Most of the refugees hadfled "after a period of internal displacement", theagency reported, while others who had previously been inTanzanian refugee camps and gone home only to find themselveshaving to flee the current fighting between government and rebelforces. A UNHCR report from Kibondo, Tanzania, near the borderwith Burundi, said many of the new arrivals were in poor health,"with children showing signs of malnutrition". Therefugees had said the fighting between the army and the rebelshad escalated, and that some soldiers had burnt down their homesafter accusing them of complicity with the rebels. Meanwhile, theflow of Burundian returnees had dropped dramatically, the UNHCRspokesman, Kris Janowski, said on Tuesday in Geneva. In recentweeks, he said, an average of 600 refugees had gone home eachweek, compared to up to 1,500 per week a few months ago. At least45,000 Burundian refugees have returned home since the beginningof the year, 25,000 of them with UNHCR help. The agency hasmaintained that it is only facilitating the return of refugees torelatively safe parts of northern Burundi. Tanzania was hostingsome 350,000 Burundian refugees in camps, UNHCR reported, withnearly 500,000 others living on their own outside the camps.
New bridge set to open on border with Zimbabwe (TheDaily News, 25/10) - Traffic congestion and theresultant delays of truckers and other trans-border road users onthe Zimbabwe-Zambia border is set to ease when the new two-laneChirundu Bridge is opened next week. A huge amount of work oneither side of the new bridge has been completed to ensure thattraffic flows smoothly across the bridge between Zimbabwe andZambia, over the Zambezi River. More than 133 000 square metresof earthworks were carried out at Chirundu by local constructioncompany, Forit Contracting, using mainly Caterpillar (Cat)equipment supplied by Barzem Enterprises. Forit built theapproach road to the new bridge and serviced the area where thenew Zimbabwe Revenue Authority customs offices are located. Thisinvolved an almost total levelling of the hill that stood betweenthe old road and the site of the new bridge. The old bridge,which is still in use, can take only one lane of traffic so thatvehicles can only cross in one direction at a time. As a result,the Chirundu border post has been characterised by long queues oftrucks and other vehicles on either side of the border as driversawait the clearance of one car at a time, by customs officials.Traffic on each side of the bridge is halted to allow one car onthe bridge at a time. The new bridge, road and parking area wereconstructed to solve this long-standing problem. BarzemEnterprises, which supplied the equipment used for constructionof the new bridge, is a well-established technical back-upprovider, that also carries out on-site repairs where possible.It was decided that instead of repairing the old bridge, theconstruction of a new facility that could accommodate greatervolumes of traffic, would be more beneficial to the motoringpublic. Meanwhile, the State Procurement Board has, through aGovernment Gazette dated 11 October, invited tenders for therepair and repainting of the Birchenough Bridge in Manicaland.
Angola wants to reopen border with Zambia (Luanda,Zambezi Times, 18/10) - Angola wants to re-open itsborder with Zambia, closed since the 1980s when Angola's longcivil war was at its height, the foreign minister said on Friday."We want to re-open our borders to allow people and goods tocirculate," said Foreign Minister Joao Bernardo de Mirandaafter a short visit to the Zambian capital, Lusaka. Luanda hasasked governors in Moxico and Kwando-Kubango provinces, both ofwhich border Zambia, to start direct talks with their Zambiancounterparts, with a view to re-opening border crossings, DeMiranda said. The border between the two southern Africancountries was closed in the 1980s, after Angolan troops wereaccused of launching incursions into Zambia to hunt down rebelsfrom the Union for the Total Liberation of Angola (Unita) duringthe civil war. The 27-year war ended this year, following thedeath in combat of Unita leader Jonas Savimbi in February and thesigning of a ceasefire agreement between Luanda and the rebels inApril. Last November, the Zambian government accused Angolansoldiers of killing seven Zambian villagers during an incursion.And in May 2000, a Zambian soldier was killed and three otherswere wounded by Angolan troops in northwestern Zambia, accordingto Lusaka. Diplomatic ties were never broken off between the twoneighbours, despite the altercations in the border region, andthe long border closure never stopped people living in thefrontier region from crossing into the neighbouring country.
Zambia welcomes Zimbabwe farmers (The Daily News,11/10) - Zambia is benefiting from the mistakes made byZimbabwe. It is welcoming large-scale commercial farmers, evictedby President Mugabe, with open arms. Once a country which onlypromoted copper mining, Zambia is expanding its economic base toother areas such as agriculture - which is a priority -manufacturing and tourism. Zambia, whose economy wascommand-driven in the days of former President Kenneth Kaunda,has liberalised its markets. But while Zambia's economy improves,Zimbabwe's is sinking. "You Zimbabweans used to laugh at uswhen we used to cross the Kariba border to purchase basiccommodities in Zimbabwe. Now it is your turn to visit oursupermarkets in Lusaka as well as Siyavonga district," saidHumphrey Lumbwe, a Zambian. Siyavonga district lies south ofZambia and is near Kariba. Zambia has experienced severeshortages over the years despite good rains. This year, about 2,5million people are facing starvation in that country. While thereare food shortages in Zambia, one can find a bag of maize-meal inany supermarket in Lusaka. Food is readily available in Zambia,because its economy is liberalised. There is a different scenarioin Zimbabwe, which used to be Southern Africa's breadbasket, andwhere more than six million people are facing starvation. Itwould be a miracle to find a bag of maize-meal in a supermarketin Zimbabwe. Even if one queues for maize-meal, it would be anachievement to procure a 5kg bag in a single day's queuing. Infact, there is no need to queue because the maize is not there.Besides drought and a reduction in plantings caused by the landreform programme, controls on the marketing of basic commodities,have worsened the food situation in Zimbabwe. The Grain MarketingBoard which has the monopoly to import maize and wheat, isoverwhelmed and is unable to cope because it has no foreigncurrency with which to import food. Zambia has no foreigncurrency problems because its government is promoting exports.There are shortages of foreign currency in Zimbabwe because of apoor export performance caused by the fixed exchange rate policywhich has squeezed profits. Although Zimbabwe experienced poorrains in the past two years, disturbances in the commercialfarming sector as a result of the land reform programme have seenfarmers, who have irrigation facilities, reduce maize productionby about 60 percent from last season.
The bulk of the large-scale commercialfarmers, who produce about 45 percent of the maize in Zimbabwe,were given eviction notices to stop farming by 10 August. About125 of these farmers are seeking farming opportunities in Zambia.About three Zimbabwe farming concerns have already been issuedwith farming licences in Zambia. The three have already investedabout US$1,2 million (Z$66 million) in Zambia. The Zambiangovernment is giving the former Zimbabwean farmers preferentialtreatment and has even said they would be assisted. "Let thefarmers come and produce for us," is what most Zambians aresaying. Zambia's Vice-President, Enock Kavindele, was quoted inthe state-run Times of Zambia as saying: "I can confirm thatwe have received about 125 white farmers who have indicated togovernment that they want to invest in agriculture. "Webelieve that their input will add value to the development of theland." Soon after being sworn in as head of state, PresidentLevy Mwanawasa of Zambia this year launched a drive to diversifythe country's one-commodity economy from the troubled copperindustry, placing agriculture at the centre of future economicgrowth. Mwanawasa has set aside funding to support farmers andthis includes domestic and foreign investors, who want to farm inZambia. While President Mugabe has told investors to "goaway" and leave "his Zimbabwe," foreign investorsother than farmers from Zimbabwe, are flocking to Zambia. Head ofa Zambia farming venture, the Golden Valley Agriculture ResearchTrust (GART), Steven Muliokela said: "The British, Americanand the Norwegians are queuing to assist us. They want to workwith us and we are even getting confused as everybody wants towork with us." The GART project, which is funded by theZambian government and non-governmental organisations, producesmilk, goats and cash crops on its 1 000-hectare farm. GART, whichmade a profit of K1 billion last year, exports some of itshorticultural produce. Zambia National Farmers' Union executive,Lovemore Simwanda, said: "The Zambian government hasintroduced many programmes to support resource-poor farmers."Electricity and fuel tariffs have been reduced and manyfarmers who had reduced production in the past years, areincreasing hectarages under food crops." When FrederickChiluba came into power in 1991, he did one good thing for theZambian economy. He liberalised the economy. This has promotedinvestment in Zambia. The opening up of markets has seen SouthAfrican investors erecting multi-billion-dollar shopping mallssuch as Manda Hill in Lusaka. Manda Hill, which is the equivalentto Zimbabwe's Westgate shopping centre in Harare, is probablyZambia's most luxurious shopping complex. The government offormer President Kaunda imposed a controlled economy under whichproducts such as Coca-Cola were banned at some stage in order topromote indigenous brands. The indigenous brands failed to supplythe Zambian market, hence the serious food shortages onceexperienced in Zambia.
But now food is readily available althoughit is expensive for Zambians. A 10kg bag of maize-meal costsabout K18 000 ($2 571). The difference with Zimbabwe is that thefood is available. In Zimbabwe a 10 kg bag of maize costs about$248 on the official market, but it it hardly ever in stock. Onthe parallel market, a 10kg bag of maize costs about $2 500.Zambia faced severe fertiliser shortages because fertiliser firmsclosed. President Mwanawasa's government has injected money intothe fertiliser industry and companies such as Nitrogen Chemicalshave been re-opened. Zambia is now awash with fertiliser. Theagricultural chemicals sector is the second largest industry inZambia, after the mining sector. Meanwhile Zimbabwe, isstruggling to supply fertiliser to its farmers because of seriousforeign currency shortages. Recently, the government of Zimbabwe,made available US$2 million (Z$110 million) to fertilisercompanies to assist them in the importation of raw materials.This however falls short of the US$15 million (Z$825 million)required by fertiliser companies. Zambia recently banned importsof Zimbabwean goods, because they distort prices in theircountry. Zimbabwean products were being sold at cheaper pricesthan Zambian goods. The Zambian kwacha has stabilised at K4 500to US$1 dollar. It has been at this level for the past year. Thekwacha is catching up slowly with the Zimbabwe dollar, now at K7against Z$1. The Japanese are improving the roads in Lusaka,which were in a poor state during Kaunda's time.
Better roads will assist humanitarian efforts(Johannesburg, Irin, 10/10) - The urgent improvement ofZambia's road network would allow for a more effective responseto the current humanitarian emergency in the country, thegovernment and aid agencies agree. With 2.9 million Zambiansexpected to be in need of food aid by March 2003, the countryurgently needs to boost agricultural production to avoid asimilar crisis in the future. "We are dealing with a crisisand that's the only way to look at it. But we have to be able toproduce the food that we need to eat. The country is so richagriculturally we should be exporting food," said Ministerof Agriculture Mundia Sikatana. As early as 1999, a researchpaper entitled Impediments to Agricultural Growth in Zambia notedthat "the main constraint to a more intense use of land isthe limited infrastructure. An improvement in roads, electricity,water supply ... would best serve a more efficient usage of theland resource" and increase agricultural production. Thepaper was a product of the Trade and Macroeconomics Division ofthe International Food Policy Research Unit based in the UnitedStates. Sikatana told IRIN that the government was aware of therole transport infrastructure played in agriculture and foodsecurity, and that steps were being taken to reverse thedegradation of road networks. "The president has ordered theZambia National Service to release all of its equipment for theimmediate maintenance of the feeder roads so inputs [such as seedand fertiliser] can reach the farmers and whatever little isthere [in the way of food] can be purchased," he said. WorldFood Programme (WFP) spokesperson in Lusaka Joanne Woods toldIRIN the repair and maintenance of roads was especially urgent asthe coming rainy season would make many areas inaccessible."Logistical issues are critical here. The roadinfrastructure is not well developed and to get into some of theworst affected [food insecure] areas can be challenging.Especially with the rains due within the next month," saidWoods. "If the government is considering putting more moneyinto this area it would definitely assist us in our efforts toget food to those who are most vulnerable, and thosebeneficiaries who are most vulnerable are in quite inaccessibleareas. It will make a difference," she added. Sikatana addedthat there was 300,000 mt of cassava available in the Northern,North-Western and Luapula provinces which the government intendedto purchase for the relief effort. "We are encouraging thosethat have the crop to dig it up and we'll buy it up," hesaid. Meanwhile, Woods said the latest joint food securityassessment by WFP and the government had found that while theSouthern province was "still going to be a priority",areas had been identified in the Eastern and Western provinceswhere WFP "would need to pre-position food before the rainstarts, otherwise it will be completely inaccessible". Itwas for such reasons that road infrastructure was "ofcritical concern for us", said Woods.
Local farmers come first, Zambian union warns (TheDaily News, 09/10) - The Zambia National Farmers' Union(ZNFU) has warned their government not to prioritise commercialfarmers fleeing President Mugabe's land reform programme at theexpense of the Zambian indigenous farmers. The ZNFU is the mainfarming union in Zambia, with a membership of both black andwhite farmers. The black farmers, the majority of whom aresmall-scale, account for about 75 percent of the union'smembership in 40 districts in Zambia. Large-scale farmers, thebulk of whom are white, have a membership of 25 percent of totalZNFU membership. There are a total of 5 000 paid up members ofZNFU. In an interview in Lusaka last week, the ZNFU executive,Lovemore Simwanda said: "We are aware that some farmers fromZimbabwe have been making enquiries to invest in Zambia. If thegovernment is accepting them, it should make sure that its ownindigenous farmers are assisted first before helping the foreigninvestors. "The farmers should also be scrutinised in casefake farmers come into the country." About 125 large-scalecommercial farmers, most of whom were issued with evictionnotices which expired in August 2002, are in Zambia exploringpossible agricultural investments there. About 2 900 commercialfarmers were given a 10 August deadline to vacate theirproperties as part of the government land reform programme. Someof the farmers have left the country to invest in Zambia,Mozambique, Botswana, Uganda, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, theUnited Kingdom and Angola. Zambia's President Levy Mwanawasa, whohas introduced a programme to support farming in the country,ravaged with food shortages over the years, has received theZimbabwean farmers with open arms. Mwanawasa has set aside fundsto assist both local and foreign investors to boost the country'seconomy, which relied solely on copper for its foreign currencyearnings. The Zambia government has said the Zimbabwean farmers'input would add value to the development of Zambia but said itwould make sure its people came first. Farmers coming fromZimbabwe and investing in Zambia are reported to have startedmaking an impact in Zambia's economy. The Zambia InvestmentCentre's (ZIC) latest monthly information bulletin said theagriculture sector recorded the highest investment of US$1,2million ($66 million) in August this year because many Zimbabweanfarmers were investing ZIC. This was followed by the Zambianmanufacturing sector which had an investment of US$767 000 ($42,1million). Agriculture has always been regarded as costly andrisky in Zambia. About three Zimbabwe farming firms have beenissued with investment certificates since June this year. Theyhave injected about US$1,2 million ($66 million) into the Zambiaeconomy. There are unconfirmed reports that about 74 Zimbabweanfarmers have settled in Chisamba commercial farming area, innorthern Zambia. Chisamba is one of Zambia's prime farming areas.ZNFU information manager, Ben Mwale, said: "The ZIC issaying that it has been receiving enquiries from Zimbabweanfarmers, but does not have specific figures of how many havesettled in Zambia. "No farmer has been refused entry as longas they satisfy ZIC requirements." Asked if some Zimbabweanfarmers had joined the union, Mwale said: "At the moment, wecannot say officially that there are Zimbabwean farmers who havejoined ZNFU. The farmers who have approached us wanted to findout how the union operates." While Zambia has one mainfarming association, Zimbabwe has three farming unions - theCommercial Farmers' Union, mainly for white farmers, the ZimbabweFarmers' Union, for black communal and small-scale farmers, andthe Indigenous Commercial Farmers' Union, which represents blacklarge-scale commercial farmers.
US government supports Zambia initiative (Washington,US Department of State Press Release, 07/10) - The U.S.Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees, andMigration is providing $1 million to the Office of the UnitedNations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in support of the"Zambia Initiative." The "Zambia Initiative"is a new effort by the Zambian Government and the Office of theUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to integratelong-staying Angolan refugees in Zambia's Western Province inways that will benefit both the refugees and their hosts. Zambiahas generously hosted refugees from neighboring countries fordecades, including Angolans throughout that country's thirty-yearcivil war, and has assured the refugees that they will not beforced to leave. The U.S. contribution will help fund suchdiverse activities as construction of primary and secondaryschools along with teacher training and educational supplies forschools where refugee and host community children learnside-by-side; community-based tree planting; diversification ofagricultural crops; and establishment of an STD/HIV/AIDS drop-incenter to promote HIV/AIDS awareness among refugees and theirhost community. A number of other donors, including Japan,Denmark, Sweden, and the European Community's Humanitarian Office(ECHO) have indicated that they will also support activitiesunder the "Zambia Initiative." The "ZambiaInitiative" is already being eyed as a model for otherprotracted refugee situations where it is important to linkrelief and development. The United States is pleased to supportthe effort and urges widespread donor support for this importantundertaking. In fiscal year 2002, the U.S. has provided, throughthe State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees andMigration, over $187 million for refugees and conflict victims inAfrica.
US donates $1 million for refugees in Lusaka (Luanda,ANGOP, 07/10) - The United States will disburse onemillion US Dollars to the UN High Commissioner for the Refugees(UNHCR) to support "Zambia initiative" aimed to assistAngolan displaceds in this neighbouring country. A communiquéfrom Embassy of the US to Angola refers that the American aidwill help to finance school construction, teachers' training andsetting up of a centre of combat to sexually transmitteddiseases. It adds that the Zambia initiative is an effort of theUNHCR and Zambian government based on integration of Angolanrefugees that have been living in eastern of that neighbouringcountry that will benefit both the Angolans and Zambians."The project is seen as a model to follow in othersituations that involve refugees and be necessary to conjugatehumanitarian aid and development", reads the note. Thedocument states that several donors, such as Japan, Denmark,Sweden and the European Union Humanitarian Office also pledged toassist the Zambia initiative. Nearly 187 million US Dollars havealready been granted by the United States this year to supportwar victims in Africa.
Two South African drivers in court (Times of Zambia,03/10) - Two South African truck drivers yesterdayappeared in the Lusaka magistrates court jointly charged with twoZambians for allegedly diverting three truck loads of mealie-mealdestined for a Zambian company from South Africa. The twodrivers, Louis Johanes Botha and Jacobus Marthinus Andreasappeared before principle resident magistrate Frank Tembo on acharge of theft of goods on transit. Evidence before the courtwas that on February 6, 2001, while working with Zambians, AdrianBanda and Rueben Hampela, they allegedly stole 3,520 bags ofmealie-meal valued at K95,040,000 from three trucks which wereconveying the bags from Meway Procurement and Trading of SouthAfrica to C and S Investment in Lusaka. During continued trial awitness for C and S Investment Sunday Maluba, the companyaccountant told the court that his firm had ordered themealie-meal from South Africa and confirmed with the suppliers(Meway) that the consignment was being sent. But the drivers uponarrival in Lusaka allegedly off loaded the mealie-meal at awarehouse in Chinika area instead of C and S Investment. MrMaluba said he intercepted the truck on its way back to SouthAfrica without the mealie-meal. He said he questioned the driverson the where about of the mealie-meal who later led him to awarehouse in the industrial area of Lusaka. All the accused areon bail and trial continues on March 25. And a senior manager atSun Hotel in Livingstone who was charged with possession of drugswas yesterday acquitted of the case. Senior resident magistrateChristofer Syachifula, acquitted Bruce Williams , 32, warehousemanager who was arrested on January 17 for allegedly being inpossession of 04g of marijuana and was later released on bond. Inpassing judgment, Mr Syachifula said Mr Williams had beenacquitted because the evidence was based on tip from public andthat no one appeared to adduce evidence. The accused had noknowledge of the drugs, and there was enough evidence to show thedrugs had been planted , as three workers involved had testifiedthat they had been sent to plant the drugs.
Zambia concerned over DRC instability (Johannesburg,Irin, 07/10) - The withdrawal of foreign forces from theDemocratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been applauded by Zambia,but the southern neighbour is also worried by the instabilitythat could follow, Zambian officials told IRIN. "There arestill some clashes here and there and things are not going assmoothly as we would have expected. That causes concern for us,as when affected people start running, the first place they endup is Zambia," a government official, who asked not to benamed, explained. A communiqué on 27 September at the end of atwo-day meeting of the Zambia/Namibia Joint Permanent Commissionon Defence and Security expressed "serious concern [over]the continued instability prevailing in the eastern part of theDRC". The commission "called upon the United NationsSecurity Council to speed up the deployment of an effective peacekeeping force". Rwanda is in the final stages of its troopwithdrawal from the DRC under the terms of a July peace agreementmediated by South African President Thabo Mbeki. Some analysts,however, have warned that the pullout of one of the moredisciplined forces in the DRC could create a power vacuum andlead to even greater chaos. The Economist Intelligence Unit saidin a recent report that the Rwandan-backed rebel group governingmuch of the eastern DRC, the Rassemblement congolais pour lademocratie (RCD-Goma), now looked more vulnerable. Clashesoccurred last month with Mayi-Mayi militia in the Pweto area ofeastern DRC that led to a fresh trickle of refugees into Zambia.According to the office of the UN High Commission for Refugees,around 100 Congolese cross into Zambia each month fleeingsporadic skirmishes. There have also been reports of gunmen fromthe DRC harassing Zambian villagers. Security has been beefed upalong the border, "but it is a very long border and we can'tguard all of it", the government official told IRIN."We really need a lot of help." At the end of 2000,fighting in the Pweto region led to DRC and Zimbabwean governmentsoldiers fleeing across the border, creating a security scare forZambia. "It's a case of once bitten, twice shy," ahumanitarian worker said, referring to the difficulty theauthorities had in separating soldiers from civilians. "Thepresence of soldiers can cause havoc," he added. Zambiashelters around 55,000 DRC refugees. The Zambian governmentofficial acknowledged the international community lacked theappetite for peacekeeping in the DRC. However, he said he wassure "neighbouring countries would be willing to put inforces at the disposal of the UN", but would not identifypotential troop contributing nations. Three of Zambia'sneighbours - Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe - have provided vitalmilitary support to the DRC government since the beginning of theconflict in 1998. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan last monthrecommended an increase in the size of the UN OrganisationMission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) from5,537 to 8,700 military personnel. By the end of August, MONUC'stotal deployment of uniformed members, including militaryobservers and troops to protect them, numbered 4,302.
Refugees denied right to information (Times of Zambia,03/10) - Government has bemoaned the continuous denialon the right of information and communication to refugees inSouthern Africa by society unknowingly. Information andBroadcasting Deputy Minister Webby Chipili said the refugees havebeen denied information and communication for them to makeinformed decisions. Mr Chipili said though most of the problemsfaced by the refugees such as provision of basics were beingtackled, information on how to deal with poverty, HIV/AIDS,reproductive health, violence and gender imbalance had beendenied. The deputy minister said this during the official launchof the information and communication rights for refugees inSouthern Africa at the Commonwealth Youth Centre yesterday. Theworkshop was organised by Africa Literature Centre (ALC) andfunded by the World Association of Christian Communicators in theAfrican Region (WACC-AR). He said refugees did not even haveaccess to the major sources of information such newspapers,radios and television. Refugees cannot express themselvesto the rest of the world not because they do not want, butbecause they have no access to communication channels, hesaid. He challenged the workshop participants drawn across theregion to seriously address the apparent information imbalancebetween refugees and the rest of the society. He called on allthe co-operating partners to come up with the means to helprefugees get attention from the people in society. And theminister said Zambia currently has 250,000 refugees from Angola,Congo and other war-torn countries. And ALC director JacksonMbewe said the workshop was aimed creating awareness amongsociety on the refugees right to information.Refugees should be afforded the opportunity to expresstheir views on issues that affect them. The three-dayworkshop has attracted participants from Zimbabwe, Lesotho,Botswana, Malawi, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Ghana, Cameroun,Rwanda and Zambia to work out a lasting solution on the right toinformation.
US company recruiting nurses from Zambia (ZambeziNews, 03/10) - RGB Group, Inc (RGB), an experienced andwell-respected professional company in the healthcare industrywill recruit degreed nurses, who are willing to work and residein the United State, from Zambia. This project will begin inSeptember and continue for, at a minimum, during the next fiveyears. The project is focused towards providing an immediate andlong-term solution to the approximate 26,000 nurses shortage inthe State of Florida and RGB is planning to hire at least 1.000nurses. Candidate selection has already begun in South Americancountries such as Venezuela, Argentina and Uruguay (where a largeamount of candidates demonstrated great interest and where wehave received great support from the media). Nonetheless, becauseof language specifications, RGB is now focusing its search forqualified English speaking professionals. The minimumrequirements for a qualified candidate include a Nursing Degree,RN and at least two years of professional experience. RGB willprovide our selected candidates with lodging, education andrevalidation tools for their U.S. degrees and licenses, a workingposition, and sponsorship for visa and legal working status inthe U.S.
Striking teachers barred from leaving Zimbabwe(Johannesburg, The Financial Gazette, 31/10) - Theimpasse between striking teachers in Zimbabwe and the governmentover better pay continued this week as a further 230 teacherswere served with letters of suspension. So far close to 700teachers have been ordered not to turn up for work following abreak-down in talks between the government and the ProgressiveTeachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), the union said."Contrary to reports, none of the 627 teachers that werefired had been reinstated. In fact, just today (Tuesday) 230 ofour members received letters of suspension. They have beenordered to stay away from schools," PTUZ spokesman MacdonaldMangauzani said. Mangauzani added that the suspension held forthree months and that teachers would not be remunerated duringthis time. Moreover, teaching staff would not be allowed to leavethe country without the permission of the ministry of educationand could not seek other employment while under suspension. Theteachers, who began the nationwide strike on October 8, aredemanding a 100 percent salary increment backdated to Januarythis year and another 100 percent cost of living adjustmentbackdated to June. On Monday, Education Minister AeneasChigwedere announced that the government would assess theconditions of service for teachers in a move that will see themreceiving hefty salary increments in January next year, thestate-controlled Herald newspaper reported. Zimbabwean teachersare among the poorest paid in the region. A high school teachertakes home $20 000 (US $365) a month.
Mugabe bans farmers from removing equipment to othercountries (Johannesburg, IOL, 29/10) - Zimbabwe hasbarred about 300 white farmers evicted from their land frommoving their equipment to neighbouring countries where they havebeen allocated new land to farm. Commercial Farmers' Uniondirector David Hasluck said the government's move to preventfarmers from moving their equipment was illegal. Hasluck saidfarmers were either being prevented from moving their equipmentoff their farms or were being stopped on the roads. Many farmersforced off their land by President Robert Mugabe's land reformprogramme have been migrating to neighbouring Zambia, Mozambiqueand Botswana to begin a new life. Some have been offered land inthe Central African Republic and Uganda. About 125 farmers havebeen prevented from moving their equipment to farms acquired inZambia. News reports quoted Zimbabwe's High Commissioner toZambia, Cain Mathema, as saying his government would not allowwhite farmers to remove equipment from the seized properties asthat would amount to sabotage.
Passports now take 10 months (The ZimbabweIndependent, 25/10) - As the passport queues continue togrow at the Registrar-General's office, it has emerged that thewaiting period for the processing of a new passport has increasedfrom three to 10 months. Sources at the RG's office this weekconfirmed that the processing of a new passport was now takinglonger than before because of the shortage of the special paperneeded for the passport pages. "Actually, we will be facingeven more problems in future because there is no paper and aboveall the paper is expensive," said a source at the RG'soffice. The demand for the passports has increased countrywide asZimbabweans flee economic hardships and misrule to settle inneighbouring countries and the United Kingdom. This developmentcomes after Mudede's office announced a more than 100% increasein passport fees as part of a plan to ease congestion at MakombeBuilding and to cushion the RG's office from the costs ofproducing a passport.
Half the confiscated land in Zimbabwe lies fallow(Harare, Mail & Guardian, 23/10) - Only about halfof the farm land confiscated by the government in one of thecountry's formerly most productive agricultural areas has beenoccupied by new settlers, close to a month after the expiry ofthe first deadline for them to move on. David Karimanzira, thegovernor of Mashonaland East province in northern Zimbabwe, thebiggest tobacco producing region and a major source of othercrops and livestock, said only 50,5% of the people allocatedplots on the confiscated farms had moved on. "We have giventhem a deadline up to the end of this month, failure of which theland will be given to other applicants," he said in thedaily Herald newspaper on Monday. It is the second deadlineissued in two months to the new settlers. The farm seizuresinclude the homesteads and billions of Zimbabwe dollars ofequipment from combine harvesters to thousands of tons offertiliser. Amid a famine in which half of the country's13-million people are facing starvation, agricultural output inthe country once dubbed "Africa's breadbasket" hasdropped to at least a quarter of normal, according to foodmonitoring agencies. "We want production on the farms andpeople should be on their farms before the end of the rainyseason," said Karimanzira. The Herald has reported that asurvey of the rate of occupation of seized farms in the country'sother nine provinces was not complete. In August, localgovernment minister Ignatius Chombo who heads the government'sresettlement committee, gave the intended new farmers a month inwhich to move on to the land allocated to them. He said then"about half' of the land seized all over the country hadbeen occupied by new settlers. Gerry Davidson, chief executive ofthe Commercial Farmers' Union, said the real rate of occupationwas likely to be much lower. Local farmers' associations stilloperating around the country "would not even put the figureas high as half', he said. Farms designated for new blackcommercial farmers had been split into at least 12 plots fortheir new "If there are three or four people on the land,its surprising. The end result is a serious decrease inefficiency." On several farms one new settler has moved intothe plot around the homestead, but the rest of the plots werevacant. "A lot of these people didn't realise theimplications of what it meant to start farming," Davidsonsaid. Most were unable to raise finance to begin cropping orkeeping livestock, many were reluctant to start without aready-built home and others were allocated land unusable foragriculture. "If there had been a properly scheduledtake-over this trough in production could have beenavoided," he said. "Clearly it demonstrates it is not aland reform programme. It was done because there was an electioncoming." The CFU estimates there are now about only 600 ofthe former commercial farmers left on their land out of about 4000 six months ago. The Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe saidlast week that about 250 000 farm workers had been made joblessby the evictions. In August, police arrested hundreds of whitefarmers for allegedly disobeying eviction orders, although manyof them had obtained court orders ruling that their evictionorders were illegal. Ruling party officials, usually backed bymobs of party militants, have forced many more farmers who havenot received eviction notices off their land, often at gunpoint.
Zimbabwe farmers continue to fight for their land(Harare, Mail & Guardian, 19/10) - Hundreds ofZimbabwean farmers have quit production, but continue their fightagainst land grabs. Justice for Agriculture (JAG) representativeJohn Worswick said on Thursday that only about 200 commercialfarmers were still trying to keep producing this season althoughabout 600 commercial farmers were still on their properties."Many farmers are no longer able to farm and thousands oftheir employees are unemployed, homeless and destitute and oversix million Zimbabweans face starvation," JAG representativeJenni Williams added. So far approximately 500 of the 2 900commercial farmers issued with eviction orders have successfullychallenged their validity and more cases are pending. JAG wouldalso launch a court challenge on the basis of unconstitutionalityonce President Robert Mugabe promulgated another amendment to theLand Acquisition Act, making it easier for the government toseize farms. "Most farmers are committed to a depoliticisedagrarian reform programme based on sound economic principles andwhere commercial production is not compromised. Many who haveleft would not need more than one invitation to return to rebuildan integrated farming sector," Williams said. This week theHarare High Court nullified 11 more eviction orders issued towhite commercial farmers in Mashonaland because they were notproperly served and last week the Bulawayo High Court issued aprovisional order that all Matabeleland farmers forcibly andillegally evicted by the Zimbabwe Republic Police be allowed toreturn. About 75 Commercial Farmers Union members brought theurgent court application on the basis the evictions were unlawfulbecause some of the white farmers removed from their farms hadnot been issued with eviction notices although the ZRP hadallegedly forcibly evicted about 90% of white farmers in theprovince by the end of last week. The High Court gave the twomost senior police officers in Matabeleland 10 days to fileopposing papers if they wished to contest the order. FinanceMinister Herbert Murerwa has been quoted in Zimbabwean media assaying his annual budget next month would concentrate resourceson helping the 300 000 blacks being resettled on the confiscatedfarms. But Oliver Gawe, representative for the Zimbabwe TobaccoAssociation, presented a paper to parliament last week in whichhe said the land redistribution program was badly damaging thetobacco industry. The industry used to account for 30% ofZimbabwe's foreign exchange. Gawe rejected government claims thatthe 300 000 black Zimbabweans to be resettled on the land couldspeedily restore production levels. "From our experiencedealing with smallholder farmers, it takes five to six seasonsfor a farmer to master the crop and get the quality right,"he said.
Botswana visitors allege harassment in Zimbabwe (TheZimbabwe Independent, 18/10) - In what seems atit-for-tat measure after Botswana's criticism of PresidentMugabe's land reform programme, Batswana who recently visitedZimbabwe have complained of harassment by police at roadblocksbetween the Ramokgwebana border and Bulawayo. Phase FourCustomary Court president, Paul Motshwane, said they were shockedat the way the police had handled them. "What happens at theroadblocks there is a clear form of discrimination. Despitedriving an immaculate car you are simply signalled off the roadand subjected to a thorough check whilst Zimbabwean vehicles aregiven the green light to proceed," he protested. Afterproducing all the necessary documents, the police reportedly movearound the vehicle looking for something to charge the driverwith. "I was charged $500 for a cracked vehicle wheel studwhich I paid on the spot. I was not given a receipt. Given thepolice hostility we encountered, we decided not to wait to demandone," he said. At another roadblock, Motshwane and hiscompanions were inexplicably asked to produce foreign exchangedeclaration forms and the declaration for all the goods they hadin their possession. "All the police demands were simply arepetition of the point of entry procedures," Motshwanesaid. He asserted that the behaviour of the Zimbabweans was aclear sign of xenophobia. "Even the remarks they made whilstthey were seeing to us were really worrying but we gave them adeaf ear because we were not there for confrontation," heasserted. He stated that he had been to Zimbabwe several timesbefore, but the treatment he encountered on his last visit onSeptember 29 was unusual. Motshwane said they incurred morehostility at the Bulawayo Sun. "We entered the hotel talkingamongst ourselves in our own language when a boisterous andrather negative Shona-speaking man turned on us and shouted: 'YouBatswana, you should leave us alone. And as for the SouthAfricans, we will soon demand visas from them. You Batswana, youthink you are smart and can simply come into our country and buyZim dollars when you like'," Motshwane said they were told.The man went on to pronounce himself a Zanu PF man who would dieas such. Motshwane's experience on his way home the following dayat the roadblocks was not any better. His advice to Batswana whoenjoy their shopping in Bulawayo is to "act with a lot ofcaution". Police officer Goitsemodimo Mogale who accompaniedMotshwane on the visit was shocked that a neighbour and fellowSadc country could mistreat innocent people. "Batswana aregenerally peace-loving people who also respects the rule of law.It seems those officers were really looking for us," hesaid. Meanwhile, the Officer Commanding Francistown PoliceDistrict, Senior Superintendent Boikhutso Dintwa, has expressedignorance about the ill-treatment of Batswana in Zimbabwe. Heindicated that the Botswana Police and their Zimbabweancounterparts were working well together. "The relationshipbetween us and our Zimbabwean counterparts remains cordial,"Dintwa said.
White farmers giving up in Zimbabwe (Ananova, 17/10) -Hundreds of white farmers in Zimbabwe are giving uptheir efforts to farm. Farmers' groups say they have been forcedto do so after 30 months of harassment under Robert Mugabe's landredistribution programme. Almost 7 million Zimbabweans, more thanhalf the population, are facing hunger because of a sharp drop inagricultural production blamed on a drought and the landpolicies. In the corn and tobacco region north of Harare, whitefarmers have conceded defeat in their efforts to continuefarming. A statement, believed to be issued on behalf of severalhundred farmers, said: "We have tried to continue productionfor the last 30 months under near-impossible conditions - we nowgive notice we cannot continue any longer. "The effectivedestruction of commercial farming is causing far worse starvationthan previously estimated and has put the economy in freefall." The white farmers say much of the seized land islying fallow because the government has not given poor blacks theresources necessary to start farming. Jerry Grant, deputydirector of the Commercial Farmers Union, says only 600 whitesare left on farms, "the rest have been driven out".Dairy farmers are warning of an imminent shortage of milk as aresult of eviction notices served on more than half the nation'sdairy farmers. There are already shortages of corn meal, bread,cooking oil and sugar, as well as long lines at filling stationsfor petrol.
Commentary on economic crisis in Zimbabwe (TheFinancial Gazette, 17/10) - Zimbabwe is heading for asummer of discontent as the impact of the government's economicmismanagement begins to manifest itself in industrial unrest thatwill further damage a sinking economy already in a third year ofrecession. Economic analysts this week warned that industrialstrikes that rocked Zimbabwe's public sector in the second halfof this year were only the beginning of a wave of labour unrestlikely to sweep through the country in the next few months. Ableak Christmas and New Year period beckons, they said. SinceJuly - when most workers are awarded cost-of-living pay increases- doctors, city council workers, paramedical staff as well asengineers from the country's national airline Air Zimbabwe havedowned tools demanding sharply higher salaries to compensate forgalloping inflation. Last week, school teachers nationwide andlecturers of the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) also went on striketo press for better wages and working conditions. Althoughgovernment officials have dismissed some of the industrial actionas the work of the opposition, analysts say the truth is that thegovernment is only reaping the bitter harvest of its own economicbungling. "All what is going on is a symptom of theinability of the government to govern effectively," UZpolitical science lecturer Elphas Mukonoweshuro told theFinancial Gazette. "It's up to the government to governeffectively or announce to the nation that it has failed togovern. If it doesn't, the situation will go from bad to worse."There will be a lot of unrest as people fail to meet theirindividual commitments and this will only result in instabilityfrom which no one can benefit." Zimbabwe's powerful labourwatchdog, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, has alreadywarned of "spontaneous reaction" by workers to theharsh economic climate. Analysts this week said further labourturmoil was inevitable as the distortions and hardships caused bythe government's mismanagement of the economy becameunsustainable. The major impetus for the strikes is soaringinflation, which has eroded wages, making it impossible for manyworkers to make ends meet. "As long as inflation remainshigh, then this problem (of unrest) will persist," FirstMutual Life fund manager Nyasha Chasakara said. "Invariablywhen wages are not catching up with inflation, people won't beable to make ends meet." A commercial bank analyst said:"This is really just the beginning. We haven't really seenworkers in the private sector coming on board but it's only amatter of time.
"There's no way we can avoid it given the way things areshaping up. On the one hand, you have price controls and foodshortages forcing people to queue to buy the most basicessentials, which more often than not are unavailable. When theyare, they are being sold at exorbitant prices. "Then youhave people outside the country just buying up everything insight because of the distortions in the economy, and pushing upprices. It's all fuelling inflation, which is raising the cost ofliving. "People can't cope, they want more money and if theycan't get it, they will go on strike. What it is really is thechickens coming home to roost for the government because all thiscan be laid at its door." According to official statistics,Zimbabwe's year-on-year inflation rose to a record high of 135.1percent in August. But analysts fear that this is not a truereflection of conditions on the ground, where price controls andfood shortages are pushing up the cost of basic commodities.State-imposed price controls and food shortages caused by droughtand the government's controversial land reforms have spawned athriving black market in basic foodstuffs, lifting the prices ofthese by more than threefold in the past year alone. Prices areexpected to rise further in the next few weeks following a 25percent devaluation of exchange rates on the parallel market forforeign currency. Most of Zimbabwe's forex transactions areconducted on the black market because of a severe hard cashcrisis and because the government refuses to devalue the Zimbabwedollar from $55 against the United States dollar, even though ithas allowed nine other devaluations of the dollar to meet theinterests of specific sectors. Opposition Movement for DemocraticChange economic committee member Eddie Cross said: "The USdollar is now up to $900, the rand is over $80 and the pound isabout $1 200 (following last week's depreciation)." Cross, aBulawayo-based industrialist, added: "It has been like thatfor about 10 days now and the business community here is startingto adjust its prices accordingly. That will have seriousimplications and knock-on effects on inflation." Foreigncurrency dealers said rates on the parallel market were likely todevalue further because of increased capital flight and becausemore speculators are likely to invest in the foreign currencymarket, further putting upward pressure on the cost of living.They said an increasing number of Zimbabweans were leaving thecountry, selling their assets and converting them into forex,while some companies uncertain about their future in Zimbabwewere also doing the same. A rising number of workers were alsousing their earnings and other assets to invest in forex.Economic consultant John Robertson said: "What has becomecommon now is that people want to cash in their assets and usetheir Zimbabwe dollars to go shopping for foreign currency. I'msure people have little shoe boxes full of US dollars stashedaway." This is increasing demand for hard currency anddepreciating the Zimbabwe dollar, forcing up commodity prices andinflation. The crisis has been compounded by economic refugees,said to be sending at least 20 million pounds into Zimbabwe everymonth, which is driving up asset prices. "If you look at the(high) prices being asked for houses now, they are the kind ofprices that were being asked for commercial buildings at thebeginning of the year," Chasakara said.
"This is making life difficult for people who are earningZimbabwe dollars and it pushes up costs for companies as peopleask for higher wages." The analysts said with mostZimbabwean firms already struggling to remain in business becauseof the economic crisis, many workers would be forced to resort toindustrial action to press for higher wages that companies couldnot afford. This would hit the economy through lost production.Increased production costs would force more firms to downsize andeven shut down. "A lot of companies which export and cantrade in foreign currency will be able to afford these wageincreases and workers in these companies will probably be eggingon others to strike," Robertson said. "But thosecompanies that have no exports and depend on importing rawmaterials for production will be in trouble. We are workingourselves into a corner where there won't be an easy escapewithout a lot of pain to everyone. We need to desperately changeour policies so that we don't get in any deeper than we alreadyare." Mukonoweshuro added: "What is happening in thiscountry requires a joint national effort. The government mustmake an appeal to various sectors of society to bring about abroad national solution to issues that are confronting thenation. "The hardheadedness that the government isdemonstrating is not good for the people of Zimbabwe and thatkind of approach to problem-solving is not likely to help anyone.It's time the government shows some maturity."
Water pipeline unfinished as Malaysians return hom(Bulawayo, The Financial Gazette, 17/10) - Theconstruction of the water pipeline from the Zambezi River tosemi-arid Matabeleland remains in limbo after Malaysianscontracted to build the first phase of the project - theGwayi-Shangani Dam - disappeared from the site six months ago.Investigations by the Financial Gazette show that the BulawayoCity Council, the designated implementer of the scheme costingbillions of dollars, has been left in the dark on how the projectshould proceed. Bulawayo municipal officials say details of thefunding of the entire scheme are sketchy and that DumisoDabengwa, the chairman of the project, is running it as a one-manshow. Dabengwa, a former government minister, has denied thecharge. Information with this newspaper shows that efforts bycouncil officials, including mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, to meetthe Malaysian investors who are said to be interested in fundingthe project have failed. It is now clear that not much work hastaken place in starting to build the Gwayi-Shangani Dam, thefirst phase of the water pipeline that is meant to irrigateperennially parched Matabeleland and turn it into a greenbelt.Ndabeni-Ncube said this week his council was very disappointed bythe information blackout regarding the project, especially on thespecifics of its implementation. He confirmed that the Malaysianengineers, said to be on site in Gwayi, had long gone back homeand had only visited the area to tour the proposed dam site."As far as council is concerned, the project is at astandstill and might not even be implemented," Ndabeni-Ncubetold the Financial Gazette. "We are being kept in the darkbut we find this strange because we are supposed to be theproject's major stakeholder. As the main customer, in terms ofutilising the water, if ever the project comes to fruition, weexpected the Malaysians to pay us a courtesy call and not just toread in the Press about their presence. "The long and shortof it is that the project has not started. How many times have weheard that the project is starting soon and that the Malaysianshave already cleared the site of the dam? The project is adisappointment to the council." But Dabengwa said theproject was very much alive, pointing out that a road was beingbuilt from the main Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway to the dam'ssite. "Why worry? The project is very much on," hesaid. "I don't want to dwell much on it now. I will tell youwhen the time comes." He said Malaysian financiers had showninterest in bankrolling the entire scheme but declined to saywhen they would be coming back to build the dam. Ndabeni-Ncubesaid: "If the Malaysians have committed themselves to theproject, I sincerely think that as the major stakeholder weshould be having correspondence to that effect, but we don't haveit. "We wish the project to start and succeed but theinformation that we have points to the contrary. The projectmight never be implemented. Most of what we read in the Pressabout the project is verbal and it all comes from the chairman(Dabengwa)."
Only 600 farmers still farming (The Financial Gazette,17/10) - Only 600 white commercial farmers out of atotal of 4 500 have been left farming in Zimbabwe after thegovernment's controversial fast-track land reforms, theCommercial Farmers' Union (CFU) said this week. CFU deputydirector Gerry Grant said 90 percent of the farmers had beenevicted from their properties by the government since the startof the often violent reforms in June 2000. "Only about 600farmers are on the ground after the rest have been drivenout," he told the Financial Gazette. "In fact, many ofthose evicted are frantically looking for alternativeaccommodation in cities." According to farming industryofficials, over 400 farmers have left Zimbabwe permanently andmore than 3 200 have migrated into towns and cities. About 600farmers occasionally visit their properties if the securitysituation permits but are unable to farm because of seriousdisruptions to their work by ruling ZANU PF supporters who occupymost of the farms. Zimbabwe's commercial farm production isvalued at $69 billion, representing 14 percent of the country'sGross Domestic Product (GDP). If 90 percent of farmers stopproduction, as they have now, about $62 billion will be lost,representing 12.7 percent of GDP. Commercial agriculturecontributed US$765 million in exports last year, or 38 percent ofZimbabwe's total exports. Zimbabwe stands to lose US$689 millionif 90 percent of the commercial farmers cease production. Grantsaid court orders barring some farmers from being evicted fromtheir properties had become irrelevant because the orders werebeing ignored by the government's land committees overseeing theallocation of land to newly resettled black farmers. This wasalso despite a High Court interim ruling in Bulawayo last Fridayby Judge Misheck Cheda ordering police in Matabeleland provincesto stop evicting any farmers until the administrative court hadconfirmed the government's acquisition of farms and the evictionshad been served properly. The order also states that any farmerbeing unlawfully evicted from his farm should be permitted tostay on the property. The government, which has refused to paycompensation for the farms it is seizing, gave the farmers up tomid-August this year to leave their properties or be evicted.Many are challenging the legality of the order on constitutionalgrounds. President Robert Mugabe, the architect of the reforms,told Southern Africa Development leaders in Angola two weeks agothat no farmer would be left without land. Commercial farmersemploy about 300 000 workers, with an annual wage of $15.1billion. The closure of 90 percent of the farming sector willresult in a loss of $13.6 billion in wages for the farm workers,most of whom have been left out of the land redistributionprogramme. The land chaos has triggered Zimbabwe's worst foodcrisis, which has left more than seven million people, or halfthe population, in need of imported emergency food aid. It willcut output next year of the staple maize, soya beans and tobacco,deepening the country's economic crisis that is shown out byshortages of virtually all essentials. Soya bean production fromthe commercial sector in the 2003 season is projected at 60 000tonnes, down from 170 000 tonnes. The output of tobacco, thesingle biggest earner of critically short foreign exchange, isexpect to touch a record low of 60 million kilogrammes versusthis season's 170 million kilogrammes. Maize output, which fellby 60 percent this season partly as a result of drought, is seencollapsing further because the new black farmers do not have farminputs.
Zambian conmen arrested (The Chronicle, 14/10) - Policein Bulawayo yesterday said they have arrested two Zambians, whoposed as prominent businessmen, after they allegedly tried to cona local businessman out of $165 000. Police spokesperson forBulawayo, Inspector Smile Dube, said on 8 October the pair phoneda city businessman on his cellphone and purported to bebusinesspeople from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Theyallegedly asked the businessman to meet them in the city centreat 1400 hours for a business discussion. The two, who pretendedto be brothers, met the businessman whom they told that they werein the country to build a shopping complex and a church inBulawayo. They allegedly told the businessman that they wereheirs to their late father's estate and were due to receive US$30000 (Z$1,7 million), which they intended to invest in Zimbabwe.They then asked the businessman to give them US$3 000 ($165 000),which they allegedly wanted to use in facilitating the release ofanother $30 000 from the United Nations. The alleged conmen toldthe businessman that they would give him 25 percent of theirshares in their proposed business if he helped them. Thebusinessman became suspicious of the two men's actions andreported to the nearest police station. Two officers in plainclothes were sent and witnessed the alleged illegal deal beforearresting them. We recovered $20 000, which the two men hadreceived from the businessman earlier, said Insp Dube. Hesaid later the police established that the pair was using stolenpassports on which they had inserted their photographs. Insp Dubesaid the pair would appear in court soon on allegations of theftby false pretences and contravening a section of the NationalRegistration Act. He called upon members of the public tosecurely keep their passports, to avoid them falling into thehands of international criminals.
US hikes visa fees (The Standard, 13/10) - Zimbabweansfleeing biting economic hardships and President Mugabe'sauthoritarian rule, will now have to fork out more if theirchosen destination is the United States. According to a statementreleased by the US state department last week, the US has hikedits visa application fee from US$65 to US$100. The new increasetranslates to Z$70 000 on the thriving black market where mostZimbabweans now source foreign currency. However, at the officialrate this translates to only Z$5 500. The increase, which becomeseffective next month, is the second such hike in the last sixmonths. Zimbabweans, reeling under the hardships caused byPresident Mugabe's mismanagement of the economy, have beenleaving the country in droves to become economic refugees inother countries. Canada, the United Kingdom, South Africa and theUnited States have been the favoured destinations forZimbabweans. In justifying the hike, the US state department saidthe current fee was no longer sustainable. "The departmentis facing a critical revenue shortfall because the $65 fee simplydoes not recover the full cost of service. In consultation withthe White House's Office of Management and Budget, the Departmentdetermined that the shortfall should be met by an increase in thefee rather than by an appropriation of US tax revenues. Thisadjustment will bring the fee into line with the actual costs ofadministering the non-immigrant visa services," read astatement from the department. The department agreed that the newfee would result in a drop in visa applications: "TheDepartment is well aware that this fee increase may furthersuppress the demand for non-immigrant visas. However, the new feeaccurately reflects the costs being incurred in the post November11 environment." The US suffered serious terrorist attackson 11 September last year resulting in a slump in visaapplications. "Since the terrorist attacks of September 112001, visa demand has dropped by approximately 20% and the trendcontinues downward. In August, non-immigrant visa demand was downby approximately 33%. There has been no corresponding decline inthe costs of running non-immigrant visa operations, because theprocessing of each application is more time consuming and labourintensive as a result of enhanced security screening requirementsinstituted since 9/11," read the statement.
Government evicts Mauritian farmers (The ZimbabweIndependent, 11/10) - In a move likely to sour bilateralrelations between Zimbabwe and Mauritius, government has evicted39 Mauritian farmers and their families from sugar cane farms inthe south-east Lowveld in its on-going land grab, the ZimbabweIndependent has learnt. Justice for Agriculture spokespersonJenni Williams said the farmers, though of Mauritian ori-gin,were naturalised Zimbabweans. "The evictions of the farmersbegan on Monday and continued to be carried out during theweek," said Williams. Government has been trying to promoteexports of Zimbabwean goods to Mauritius and last year a businessdelegation visited the Indian Ocean island to assess tradeopportunities. The Mauritian Foreign Minister Anil Gayan lastweek criticised President Robert Mugabe for his handling of theland reform exercise which he said was gradually undermining thewhole region. Two of the farmers, Greg Henning and Cecil deRobillard, both single farm owners, have subsequently had Section8 orders withdrawn and were given letters to continue farming bythe district administrator. The evictions were likely to impactnegatively on sugar production. "The production of sugar inthe Chiredzi area has been severely compromised following theevictions of sugar cane farmers who met the bulk of the country'ssugar requirements," said Williams. Up to 21 other sugarcane growers were also evicted from the area.
UK considers visas for Zimbabweans (The ZimbabweIndependent, 11/10) - The British government is planningto introduce visas for Zimbabweans travelling to the UnitedKingdom as a way of stemming the tide of economic refugees fromthis country, the Zimbabwe Independent heard this week. Sourcesin Whitehall said the visas are set to take effect in November.Currently the British government does not require visas forvisitors to the UK. There has been a marked increase inZimbabweans seeking work in Britain recently as opportunities foremployment diminish at home and the value of the Zimbabwe dollarplummets. The Independent submitted written questions to theBritish High Commission at 9am yesterday. At 5pm spokespersonSophie Honey said: "It is not our practice to comment onrumours of this kind. Visa regimes world-wide are subject toconstant review." She said the British High Commission inHarare had in the past year issued 2 600 visas for Zimbabweansseeking temporary residence in the UK. But she said the HighCommission did not have statistics on how many Zimbabweans hadentered the UK as visitors as these did not require visas. Themove to introduce visas for Zimbabweans is designed to cut downon the number of people visiting the UK purportedly on holidaybut then taking up jobs. Many have taken up menial work in thatcountry.
Matabele and farmers forced off land (Bulawayo, TheFinancial Gazette, 10/10) - White farmers in thesouthern Matabeleland region yesterday said the government hadintensified a crackdown against them, sending in armed police andsoldiers to forcibly remove farmers off their properties. Theysaid 90 percent of the farmers had been evicted by middayyesterday. Both the main farmers' representative body, theCommercial Farmers' Union (CFU), and the smaller Justice forAgriculture (JAG) group said government officials aided by armedunits of police and soldiers maintained pressure on the farmersthroughout the week. Zimbabwe army spokesman Mbonisi Gatshenidenied that the army was engaged in any operation to drivefarmers off their farms. Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena saidthe police were merely enforcing Section 8 eviction orders issuedby the government to nearly 3 000 farmers across the country toquit their properties by mid-August. But CFU regional presidentfor Matabeleland Mac Crawford told the Financial Gazette:"There are virtually no farmers left on farms inMatabeleland. The farmers have been forcibly evicted. "Thishas been happening since last week. The armed forces were verybusy over the week and I tell you about 90 percent of the farmershave moved out." JAG spokeswoman Jenni Williams saidgovernment officials were targeting farmers who had High Courtorders that they remain on their farms. The government officialswere telling farmers that they were acting on orders from ahigher authority than the court, she said. Williams said thecrackdown was being extended to the sugar cane producing southeastern Lowveld, where she said about 60 farmers had been orderedby government officials and armed police and soldiers to startvacating their land this week. The government is seizing landfrom white farmers under its chaotic and often violent fast-trackland reform programme which it says is aimed at giving land tomillions of landless black peasant families. But critics say mostof the land has ended up in the hands of supporters of the rulingZANU PF supporters and President Robert Mugabe's top officials.Some of the white farmers whose land was targeted for acquisitionby the government obeyed a government deadline to vacate theirfarms by August 10, but several hundreds more ignored it. Othersare challenging the eviction notices in the country's courts.Bvudzijena said: "The police are only following up onSection 8 notices served on certain farmers. "Those farmerson the farms with notices that have expired are breaking the law.There are farmers on the farms violating the law, hence thepolice presence. I don't think the police are there to evictanyone who has a right to be on the farms." Distancing thearmy from the latest drive against farmers, Gatsheni said:"This is not a military authorised operation. We (army)don't have soldiers on the farms. "It's probably the policealone but remember the (police) have uniforms like those of thearmy. The police are in a better position to know." TheEuropean Union, the United States, Canada, Switzerland and NewZealand have imposed targeted sanctions against Mugabe and histop officials over the land seizures and the government's bloatedhuman rights record.
Appeal paves way to challenge new citizenship laws(Harare, Business Day, 10/10) - The Zimbabwe-born son ofHungarian refugees yesterday won the right to challenge PresidentRobert Mugabe's Draconian new citizenship laws that threaten toleave 2-million Zimbabweans stateless. Leslie Leventhe Petho, aHararebased businessman, won his appeal in the supreme courtagainst a ban on a class action lawsuit on behalf of the childrenof immigrants who have been refused Zimbabwean passports on thegrounds they might secretly hold an illegal second citizenship,inherited through their parents. Supreme court judge WilsonSandura overruled an earlier high court ban on Petho's case, forwhich he needed special permission under newly enacted Zimbabweanlaw. Sandura directed Petho, whose case is backed by the LegalResources Foundation, a civic lobby group, to advertise his legalaction so people in the same situation would be aware of thelikely effect on their rights. The supreme court is expected tohear Petho's case he is campaigning to have his Zimbabweanpassport and citizenship restored within the next six months,setting a precedent for Zimbabweans of Malawian, Mozambican,Indian, SA and British descent, who have been turned away byregistrar-general Tobaiwa Mudede. Legal sources said that morethan 2million people might be affected by Mugabe's move to stripZimbabweans with foreign-born parents of their automatic right tocitizenship. Dual citizenship is already banned, but Mugabeclaimed white critics of his regime were secretly flouting theban. Petho, whose parents fled the 1956 Hungarian uprising, wasborn in Zimbabwe in 1960. He was told by the Hungarian embassy inPretoria that he could only obtain legal proof he had no claim toHungarian citizenship by successfully applying for it and thencompleting renunciation procedures. But the application wouldirrevocably strip him of Zimbabwean citizenship. He said he waspleased with his court success. "I think I did the rightthing to find out what my rights were and stand up for them incourt," he said. A US state department human rights reportalleges there is rampant corruption in Zimbabwe's passportoffice, with bribes often needed as a precondition for grantingpassports and citizenship proof. Meanwhile, University ofZimbabwe political analyst John Makumbe said yesterday thatMugabe's policies had reduced the country to a vast swathe of"economic rubble". At the Confederation of ZimbabweIndustries congress in Harare, Makumbe said: "There can nodisputing of the fact that Mugabe's policies have destroyed theeconomy. The unleashing of war veterans on the general populace,white farmers, the opposition and critics has inflicted untolddamage on the socioeconomic situation in Zimbabwe.""Each of government's tactics its attacks on farmers,opposition, private press, and the judiciary has deepenedZimbabwe's economic troubles. All major sectors of the economy,agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and tourism have experiencedsharp decline," he said. Makumbe, a trenchant Mugabe critic,said political violence, lawlessness, hunger, humanitariancrisis, social services collapse, foreign currency shortages,capital flight and brain drain were the result of Mugabe'smisrule.
60 cane farmers evicted (The Daily News, 10/10) - Morethan 60 sugar-cane farmers in the Lowveld have been ordered tovacate their farms. The orders came from government, police andarmy officials, who declared their orders superseded any HighCourt rulings. Sugar, most of whose cane is grown in the Lowveld,is one of the basic commodities in short supply in Zimbabwe. Asenior government official led a group of about 20 localofficials, lands committee chairman, police officers-in-chargeand Central Intelligence Organisation officials to a meeting withthe farmers. The farmers were ordered to vacate their propertiesby yesterday morning, whether or not they had received Section 8notices. The 60 farmers each employ about 60 workers.
Zimbabwean minister sounds alarm on manufacturingsector (Harare, Business Day, 09/10) - Zimbabwe'sFinance Minister Herbert Murerwa said yesterday the country'smanufacturing industry was in a sharp decline, inflicting greatdamage on the rest of the economy. Murerwa, who was recentlyreappointed to his former ministry in a cabinet reshuffle, told aConfederation of Zimbabwe Industries congress that themanufacturing sector's dramatic fall must be halted to stop theeconomy collapsing. "The Zimbabwean economy in general andthe manufacturing sector in particular, has been contractingduring the past five years," he said. "Over the period1998 to 2002, the manufacturing sector, in cumulative terms, hasdeclined by 25,8%, while the aggregate output cumulativelydeclined by 37,5%." Zimbabwe has one of Africa'sfastest-shrinking economies. Murerwa attributed the economiccontraction to acute foreign currency shortages, a brain drain,hyperinflation, falling agricultural production due to"drought", low rates of savings and investment, andglobalisation. Confederation president Jacob Dube said thesector's contribution to the gross domestic product has plungedfrom 25,8% to less than 15%. "The manufacturing sector hasexperienced a major decline over the past three years as a resultof the economic crisis," he said. "On average,manufacturing volumes in 2001 were down 11,5% from levelsachieved in 1995, according to statistics produced by the CentralStatistics Office." Thousands of companies have either shutdown, downsized operations or retrenched employees to cut costs."The major challenges facing the manufacturing sector arethe shortage of foreign currency, high inflation, price controls,declining demand for products, loss of export competitiveness,and understandably high wage demands by workers," Dube said.
Specialist doctors expected in Zimbabwe (Harare, TheHerald, 08/10) - At least 30 African-American specialistdoctors are expected in the country before the end of the year ona fact finding mission, which will pave way for the secondment ofmore practitioners to alleviate the critical shortage in publichealth institutions. A visiting African-American delegation whichyesterday met the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr DavidParirenyatwa, and some of his senior officials pledged tofund-raise for the health sector and the National Aids Counciland to source for the much needed essential drugs and othermedical consumables. Head of delegation, Mr A Akbar Muhammad, theinternational representative of the Nation of Islam AfricaMission, also presented a sample of the more than $5 millionworth of drugs and syringes to Dr Parirenyatwa. Dr Earlene Green,a representative of an organisation known as Helping AmericansObtain Medication founded by Jewell Williams, the staterepresentative of Pennsylvania, also presented a proposal toimplement the same programme in Zimbabwe. The programme linkspatients with drug manufacturers. In an interview after themeeting with the minister, Mr Muhammad said the visit had been aneye opener for him and his delegation, which consisted of mainlyjournalists, medical doctors, a nurse and farmers, on theproblems besieging the health sector. He said as soon as the teamreturned to the US, it would start mobilising resources to assistthe health sector, which he said, was in a "crisis".Recruitment of doctors would be a priority as the ongoing braindrain was causing a lot of suffering to ordinary Zimbabweans. MrMuhammad said the team would negotiate with the Ministry ofHealth and Child Welfare to have the doctors come and work ingovernment hospitals as early as December. "I am targeting30 doctors and this is going to be a Christmas gift forZimbabweans. The doctors will be diagnosing patients and makingrecommendations. "They will also bring with them medicines.More will follow after this and probably stay for longerperiods," he said. There are over 30 000 black doctors inthe US the majority of whom are out of practice because of thediscriminatory system in that country. Very few white Americanscan stand being attended to by a black doctor while the managedhealth care system had made the situation even worse. Under thesystem, patients are referred to particular practitioners bytheir medical insurance and the majority of those benefiting werewhite doctors. Most of the African-American doctors could alsonot afford the exorbitant insurance levied on doctors by theAmerican government. There were also many retiredAfrican-American doctors who would be willing to spend sometimein Zimbabwe. Mr Muhammad took a swipe at European and Americancompanies for taking advantage of the current economic situationin the country by recruiting local health professionals."This is not fair. There seems to be concerted effort bythese companies to pull professionals away from Zimbabwe. If thecompanies were sincere they would stop advertising these jobsleaving people here to suffer. This is not normal, but acrisis," he said. He said he hoped the group of journalistsin his delegation would reach out to the African-Americancommunity and highlight to them the real situation on the ground."Some African-Americans do not know what is happening herebecause the Western media has demonised President Mugabe. Thisissue is about people and goes beyond politics," Mr Muhammadsaid in reference to the ongoing land redistribution. The groupalso later toured Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals and HarareCentral Hospitals where they got a feel of the situation on theground. They were briefed on the problems being faced by theinstitutions and also visited various departments.
Zimbabweans join British army and royal airforce (TheSunday Mirror, 07/10) - Zimbabwean nationals are joiningthe British army and the Royal Air Force in increasing numbers,triggering fears that the countrys national security mightbe compromised, The Sunday Mirror has established. Britishofficials have however played down the recruitment of theZimbabweans, saying it is normal for the British uniformed forcesto engage qualified personnel from the rest of the world.Zimbabweans reportedly represent the largest number of recruitsin the British army and Airforce from any foreign country, afterFiji and South Africa, according to figures published by theSunday Mirror of London in its edition of July 14. The Ministerof Defence, Sydney Sekeramayi, confirmed that officers from theZimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and the Airforce of Zimbabwe werejoining the ranks of the British army. I know for sure thatthere are defence personnel being recruited by the Britisharmy, said Sekeramayi. Some army officers are reportedlygoing to Britain ostensibly on holiday but never return. Some ofthem are allegedly tendering their resignations from abroad, amove that an army official said was unprocedural and punishable.The officers, alongside Airforce of Zimbabwe staff, are reportedto be lured by the strong pound at a time when the Zimbabweandollar is at its weakest since independence in 1980. Zimbabweansin general are leaving the economically troubled Southern Africancountry in droves, mostly to do menial jobs in Britain. They sendmoney to their families and a significant number has turned intoovernight millionaires since the Zimbabwean dollar is trading atmore than Z$1 000 for a single British pound on the black market.According to a document in the possession of the Sunday Mirror,all soldiers from foreign countries are paid the same as Britishrecruits. Privates receive a basic UK12 500 pounds per annum.This is a huge amount as it translates to about Z$18 million onthe black market. Sekeramayi admitted that the recruitment of theZimbabweans posed a danger to the countrys nationalsecurity but warned that his ministry was prepared for anyeventuality. Definitely, such a trend causes one to worryabout our security. However, as the Ministry of Defence, we willtake the most appropriate action to defuse any threateningaction, said Sekeramayi. There are fears that some of theofficers, who held high positions in the ZNA and Airforce ofZimbabwe, might pass on sensitive military secrets to theBritish, information which could easily be used forcounter-intelligence purposes. Relations between Zimbabwe andBritain are at their worst, following charges by Britain that theGovernment of President Robert Mugabe has shown massivedisrespect for human and property rights, with particularreference to the land reform programme. Britain seesZimbabwes land reform programme as a vindictive way ofgrabbing farms from white farmers. Mugabe has hit back, sayingthe Tony Blair-led British Government is trying to meddle in theaffairs of a sovereign country. In August, the British DailyTelegraph reported that Britain had positioned a 300-men crackteam of its world-famous Parachute Regiment along SouthAfricas border with Zimbabwe with the intention oflaunching an invasion of the country for the purpose ofevacuating white farmers. The paper quoted British defenceofficials as saying the paratroopers would definitely move inif the war veterans start to evict farmers and there isslaughter of UK nationals. The reported intended invasion,however, did not take place. Under normal circumstances,foreigners from the Commonwealth can join the British army onlywhen Britain has been invited to recruit by Club members. TheBritish Ministry of Defence (MOD) recruitment head, ColonelAlisdair Loudon, acknowledged this. We do not recruit in aCommonwealth country unless invited to do so, but we areincreasingly finding large numbers of high-quality people wishingto join us, said Loudon. However, the Zimbabwean Governmentdenied ever inviting Britain to recruit from the country.Sekeramayi said he was not aware of any application that Zimbabwehad made to have its citizens absorbed into the British militaryranks. A highly placed source said it was not a secret thatZimbabwean citizens were joining the British army to fill a quotathat had been allocated the Southern African country.Zimbabwe has the biggest number of people currently joiningthe British army in a genuine quest for jobs that are provingvery hard to find at home. They are taking advantage of a quotasystem created by the British Government, said the source.
Britain is said to prefer Zimbabweans for numerous reasons,which point to the high compatibility of Zimbabwean soldiersrelative to the British military structure . Up to 1965 theRhodesian army was only an extension of the British Royal Army.From 1939, the Royal Rhodesian Air Force was set up and theestablishment was used for training purposes by the British RoyalAirforce. Officers were therefore interchangeable. In addition,as one military expert pointed out, the Zimbabwe Defence Forcesmiltary customs and etiquette are the same as those of theBritish military. Also, he said, the British Military Advisoryand Training Team (BMATT), which was in the country since 1980,retrained returning guerillas and Zimbabwean soldiers inpost-independence Zimbabwe, a process that naturally turnedZimbabwean soldiers into replicas of British servicemen. BMATTpersonnel headed the Zimbabwe Staff College up to 2000 when theymoved away following increasingly strained relations betweenLondon and Harare. But, by then, nearly all Zimbabwean generalshad studied at Sandhurst, Britains famous military trainingcollege. The British High Commission in Zimbabwe quashed theclaim that British Army and Airforce were targeting Zimbabwe. Theembassy spokesperson, Sophie Honey said: It is completelyuntrue that British Army and Airforce are targeting Zimbabweansfor recruitment. This is simply nonsense. She said theclaims were being circulated to try and give substance tothe empty claim that the British Government is planning some sortof invasion of Zimbabwe. Honey said Britain was not engagedin an active programme to absorb Zimbabwean nationals.There is no question of Zimbabweans being given preferenceover anyone else. Nor is the British Government activelyrecruiting Zimbabweans, said Honey. The number ofZimbabweans in the British army jumped from a paltry 26 in 1995to 190 in July this year. The latest figure is however said to bean understatement of the actual number of Zimbabweans serving inthe British military. Reportedly, there are hundreds ofex-Rhodesian white soldiers and airmen who fled the country inthe 1980s and settled in Britain where they assumed Britishcitizenship. These former Rhodesian Airforce and SAS officers, asignificant part of which is said to be still serving, are notincluded on the list of foreign servicemen because they are nowbeing regarded as British nationals. There are 55 Zimbabweanwhites, ironically referred to as Rhodesians, who areemployed by the British MOD. There are hundreds of Rhodiesin the British army who are dying to come back and fight againstthe Government of (President) Mugabe. They boast that they arefamiliar with the terrain in Zimbabwe and are bettertrained, said a ZNA officer. In addition to Zimbabwe othercountries with significant numbers of nationals serving in theBritish army are South Africa, Fiji, Australia, Jamaica, StVincent and the Republic of Ireland. A total of 66 countries havetheir citizens serving under the MOD, 9 of which are from Africa.With time, these may eventually comprise the bulk of futureBritish groung and combat air force personnel in high riskscenarios such as Iraq and Afghanistan. It looks like Africansare again set to be exploited as mercenaries in European wars.
Tourism recovering (The Standard, 06/10) - TheHospitality Association of Zimbabwe (Haz) is somewhat bullishabout the outlook of tourism, a sector that had been goingthrough very difficult times over the last two years. Hazpresident, Shingi Munyeza, told Standard Business last week thatthere were signs pointing to a recovery of the sector which isone of the country's major foreign currency earners. "Istrongly believe that the worst is over for tourism. That doesn'tmean that the worst is over for the economy in general. If thepositive trend that has been witnessed of late continues, tourismthen becomes a meaningful avenue to sort the economy out becauseof its hard currency earnings," said Munyeza. Receipts fromtourism have gradually declined over the years, from a peak ofUS$239 million ($13,145 billion at the official exchange rate) in1996, to US$81,4 m ($4,5 billion) last year. During the firstquarter of 2002, the industry raked in US$17,6 m ($970 m),compared to more than US$22 million ($1,2 b) over the same periodlast year. The sector, which contributes about 8% to the grossdomestic product, has also seen more than 30 000 people losetheir jobs since 1999. The tourism sector is estimated to beoperating at about 60%, but Munyeza's says things are changing."The occupancies in our tourism centres have begun toimprove and the mixes are fairly good. Where last year we wereaveraging about 90% local against 10% international, we'rebeginning to move towards the 80:20 ratio now. This is a signthat the tourists have begun to come back, although not in largenumbers. An ideal situation would be to have a 60:40 mix inplaces like Victoria Falls," Munyeza, who is the chiefexecutive of hospitality giant, Zimsun Hotels said. Oninternational arrivals, Munyeza said the the last three monthshad recorded some improvement. "The volumes on the currentairlines flying into Zimbabwe have improved, particularly in thepast three months. What this means is that flights into majorhubs, such as Harare and Victoria Falls, will increase if thistrend continues, which will increase capacity andoccupancies," said Munyeza. Confirmation on this could notbe obtained from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe as theorganisation's chief executive, Karikoga Kaseke, was said to beattending a funeral. "Right now he is in Kadoma attending afuneral. He is the only person who can give comments to thepress," Kaseke's secretary said when Standard Businesscalled his office. Munyeza said a general rise in touristarrivals would justify the return of direct long haul carriers toHarare. Since political problems erupted in February 2000,Zimbabwe has been deserted by all major airlines flying into thecountry, save for British Airways and South African Airways.International airlines which used to service the country includedAustrian Airlines, Air France, Quantas, Lufthansa, KLM and SwissAir, among others. "Our desire is not only to have those whodeserted us return, but to have direct flights from at least oneof the Far East destinations," said Munyeza. On the domestictourism front, the Haz president said that there has been atremendous improvement and people are appreciating the beauty oftheir environment. An official at Zimbabwe Tourism Authority(ZTA) confirmed that there was an improvement in domestic-basedtourism. "Our occupancy rates have increased as a result ofthe domestic market which is growing at a very positiverate," the official told Standard Business. The organisationcould not confirm reports that there was an increase ininternational arrivals as it only had statistics up to June 2002.But environment and tourism minister, Francis Nhema, last weeksaid tourism was on its way to recovery. "Our industry hasshown signs of recovery. As we have gone through these last fouror five months tourist arrivals have improved. For the last sixmonths, occupancy rates for the industry have been above 70%.Familiarisation tours by tour operators who have come here in thepast months have resulted in the uplifting of travel warnings inmany source countries," Nhema told Standard Business at theRainbow Tourism Group's 10th anniversary promotion cocktailreception in Harare.
Government moves against farmers (The ZimbabweIndependent, 04/10) - The government's National LandTaskforce has set today (Friday) as the last day for commercialfarmers served with Section 8 eviction notices, but who are stillcontesting the orders in the courts, to vacate their properties,the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt. Sources close to the taskforce said the process was expected to be finalised by today whendistrict land committees throughout the country were expected toreport back on the forced removal of the remaining whitecommercial farmers. The sources said the decision to drive outthe farmers was reached at a meeting convened in Bulawayo thisweek and attended by National Task Force members, districtadministrators and the Matabeleland Land Taskforce. "Thepolice will this week accompany the land committee membersthroughout the province to ensure that the farmers move off theirfarms and make way for resettled farmers," said the source."This is despite the fact that some of the white commercialfarmers are still contesting the acquisitions in the courts whileothers are still negotiating with government." Thegovernment on May 10 issued more than 2 500 white commercialfarmers with Section 8 orders to vacate their properties but themajority have contested the orders in court while the rest havebeen forcibly driven off the land by government militias orpowerful individuals. The two Matabeleland provinces have about500 farmers sitting on Section 8 orders that expired on August10. The chairman of the Commercial Farmers Union in Matabeleland,Mac Crawford, told the Independent that his association was awareof the visit to farms by the land committee and said thecommittee members, accompanied by the police have been to mostparts of Matabeleland where farmers were told that they had onlyan hour to vacate their farms. "They have been to Figtree,Nyamandlovu and Kezi where they have been ordering the farmers topack their belongings and leave their properties within thehour," said Crawford. The sources said the police in theprovince would enforce the orders of the land committees duringthe exercise. The government has so far acquired 11 millionhectares of land and is still appropriating more farms for itscontroversial land reform programme. The sources said thethree-day exercise will see all farmers issued with Section 8orders vacating their farms before the National Land Taskforcemoved the exercise to other provinces. Agriculture ministerJoseph Made last week warned government would no longer entertainwhite commercial farmers who wanted to negotiate with thegovernment over acquired farms.
State moves to restore order on farms (The ZimbabweIndependent, 04/10) - As President Robert Mugabecontinues to come under heavy international pressure to haltchaotic land reforms, government is moving to clean up its actand re-establish order on the farms. Vice-President Simon Muzendaissued a directive after meeting ministers involved in the landreform programme on September 11 ordering that all activities onthe farms which contravened official policy should stop. Muzendawas acting president at the time while Mugabe was in Libya on anofficial visit and later in New York attending the United NationsGeneral Assembly.The ministers who attended the special meetingincluded those of Agriculture, Local Government, Rural Resourcesand Water Development, Defence, Home Affairs, State Security andthe newly-established Land Reform Programme. Muzenda'sco-vice-president, Jose-ph Msika, who is also chair of thenational land acquisition committee, was tasked to spearhead theland reform face-lift and report to cabinet. In a note copied toall diplomatic missions and international organisationsaccredited to Harare, Muzenda said he had issued a directive that"any action on the ground that is not consistent with ourpolicy and laws be discontinued forthwith. "No-one," heinstructed, "should take any action that contradicts ourpolicy and laws and embarrasses His Excellency the President whohas received international acclaim as a champion of social equityand justice." The land reform process has been characterisedby violence, a breakdown in the rule of law, and impunity forindividuals involved in wrong-doing. Government in the pastrefused to intervene to stop the mayhem claiming landlesspeasants were "demonstrating" for land. But it latertranspired that authorities had instigated the farm invasions andthen jumped on the bandwagon of land-grabbing. Muzenda claimedthe landredistribution has been under-taken "within ourpolicyframework which emphasises social equity andempowerment ofthe indige-nous (people) without necessarily depriving thosewhite commercial farmers who want to continue to farm". Hesaid the resettlement programme was done with-in "theframework of our laws and statutes, however imperfect some ofthem may be". Mugabe has repeatedly said no commercialfarmer would go without land. But over 1 000 single farm-ownershave so far been dispossessed of both compensation and theprospect of alternative farms. No-one so far has been arrestedand successfully prosecuted for killing or perpetrating egregioushuman rights abuses in the name of the agrarian revolutiondespite the fact some of the offenders are well-known. Observerssaid this week the circulation of Muzenda's statement todiplomats reflected official sensitivity to views expressed byMugabe's allies, particularly the South Africans, that landreform must be conducted within the framework of the law. Lastweek Botswana's ruling party compared Zimbabwe's land reformprocess to a runaway vehicle where the driver had lost control.
CAR offers refuge to Zim farmers (The FinancialGazette, 03/10) - The Central African Republic (CAR) hasbecome the latest African country to offer refuge to Zimbabweanwhite farmers chased off their land under the governmentsagrarian reforms. CAR Prime Minister Martin Ziguele last weeksaid his country was ready to receive Zimbabwean farmersdisplaced by the chaotic land redistribution programme pursued byPresident Robert Mugabe since 2000. Ziguele, who also doubles ashis countrys finance minister, told journalists at the endof a meeting of African ministers at the International MonetaryFund (IMF) headquarters in Washington last week that the CAR hadlarge tracts of rich farmland that the Zimbabwean farmers coulddevelop. "The Central African Republic wants to contributeto the resolution of the Zimbabwean problem in its own waybecause, as I have said during my mission, we are ready toreceive Zimbabwean farmers and let them live in our country todevelop our farmland because we have 620 000 square kilometresbut we are only a few hundred thousand inhabitants," Ziguelesaid. About 75 percent of the CAR is made up of forests andwoodlands, with only three percent of land being presentlyutilised. The central African country borders Cameroon, Chad, theDemocratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan. "We would liketo have contact with organisations for Zimbabwean farmers so thatwe can concretely see what might be done," said Ziguele.Justice for Agriculture (JAG), a militant grouping that brokeaway from the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) this year andwhose members have vowed to fight the government over the landgrab policy, this week said similar offers had been received fromBotswana, Malawi, Mozambique and Uganda. JAG spokeswoman JenniWilliams could however not say how many farmers had taken up theoffers. No comment was available from the CFU, although farmingindustry sources said it was difficult to determine how manyfarmers had so far left the country since the exodus was notcoordinated. "There are no figures relating to how manyfarmers have so far taken up the offers to go and farm inneighbouring countries because this is being done individuallyand there is no way of knowing who has left the country,"one farmer said. Mugabe says Zimbabwes drive to reform landownership is a belated righting of the wrongs of more than acentury of colonial rule that left about 4 500 white farmers incharge of more than 80 percent of the countrys arable land.At least 2 900 white farmers have been ordered to leave theirproperties to make way for landless blacks.
Government physically evicts defiant farmers (TheFinancial Gazette, 03/10) - A government task forceassisted by police this week began physically evicting whitefarmers in a move seen as the government's last push to removethe farmers from their land before the start of the rainy seasonnext month. The Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) chairman forMatabeleland, Mark Crawford, said about 40 farmers had beenevicted in Matabeleland province alone between Monday andyesterday. The task force, which includes provincial and districtland committees, moved to Matabeleland South yesterday aftertouring farms in Matabeleland North on Monday and Tuesday andevicting the farmers. "About 40 farmers were forcibly andphysically evicted from their farms by the police between Mondayand today (Wednesday)," Crawford told the Financial Gazette."This government task force is going around with the police,and when they leave a particular farm, police members remain onthe farm to evict the farmers by giving them between one hour and36-hour notices." Crawford said most of the farmers beingevicted had contested the government's eviction orders in courtand were awaiting judgment on their cases. Most of them havehowever left for safe havens in Bulawayo, he said. The task forceis expected to start touring farms in other provinces next week.Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday denied knowledge ofthe forcible eviction of the farmers by the police. CFU presidentColin Cloete said the government was continuing with itsonslaught on the farmers, adding that efforts by CFU members tosubdivide their farms and share them with black farmers were notbeing recognised. He said a sizeable number of farmers would beforced off their properties today after the expiry of theirSection 8 eviction notices, but he was not able to indicateexactly how many farmers would be affected. Some agriculturalindustry sources said more than 300 farmers would be evictedbetween today and November 8 when their Section 8 orders expire.More than 360 farmers have been arrested since August 10 fordefying a government order to vacate their properties after thelapse of the 90-day period they were given by the government towind up their operations. "A batch of farmers will have toleave the farms tomorrow (today) when their Section 8 ordersexpire but I am not too sure of the number," Cloete said."This will go on until the middle of November when most ofthe farmers will have left." More than 2 500 farmers whoseSection 8 orders expired last month are still on theirproperties, but Cloete said with the amendment of the LandAcquisition Act last month, most would be evicted by the middleof November.
This pagelast updated 09 July 2004.