October 2003 - Click on the country title above the headlines for the entire article.
Trans-Kalahari corridor to be developed
First phase of work begins on Transfrontier Park
Agoa offers template for growth
Animals without borders in transfrontier parks
Angolan returns cross 40,000 mark
About 19,000 refugees back home
Over 3,000 illegal immigrants repatriated -
Situation of Malian citizens analysed
Over 40,000 displaced people resettled
Botswana deports 1000 Zimbabweans per month
Botswana, Zimbabwe to construct new border post
Police fight Zimbabwean prostitution
Batswana films lose out to foreign firms
Cost of students who remain abroad
Botswana and Zimbabwe sign border agreement -
Domestic workers from Zimbabwe
Conflict over influx of Zimbabweans
Black market trade with Zimbabwe
Tourists numbers going down
Bangladesh nationals barred entry
Maputo police on alert after drug bust
South African investors flood Mozambique
Resettled farmers face uncertain future
South African drug trafficker arrested in Maputo
Fictitious university in Beira
Concern over South African immigration legislation
Mozambique border now open longer
Mozambique, Zimbabwe agree to re-demarcate border
Cross-border smuggling with Zimbabwe and Swaziland
University of Namibia concludes probe into fake papers
Border campaigner turns up
Namibian treason trial starts
Malaysian factory takes aim at critics
Border man still missing
Caprivi accused cry foul
Transfer of immigration function to police
Osire camp calm after disturbance
Home affairs to revive old border post in north
Chaos erupts at Osire Refugee Camp
Malaysian firm criticized for employment standards
Spokesman for border group goes missing
Home Affairs passport scam
Border activist gunned down
Asian workers face boot from hostel
Cross-border thefts from Botswana
More Cuban doctors for Seychelles
Fighting cross-border crimes
Immigration officers boost efficiency
Skills flight from SA worsening
SA's policy towards refugees praised by UNHCR
Woman held after false documents seized
Home Affairs official in court
False ID syndicate bust in Joburg raid
Jail and heavy fines for employing illegal immigrants
SA signs health brain drain agreement with UK
SA, UK in doctors and nurses pact
Police arrest Home Affairs official
Focus on teaching brain drain
SA needs 40,000 new engineers per annum
Cuban doctors dismayed by court rulings
Foreign investors snap up property in KZN
South Africa tightens Zimbabwean visa requirements
Mbeki claims millions of Zimbabweans in SA
Fewer people leaving SA
Illegal immigrants are a perpetual problem, says Buthelezi
SA lacks strategy to manage illegal immigrants, says HRC -
Deportation of disgraced South African doctor from Canada mooted
Anglo launches multi-million rand AIDS project
Police bust Nigerian heroin smuggling ring
Brain drain reversal
Dozens of fake marriages come to light
Zimbabwean murdered over watermelon
Government moves to save SA property in Zimbabwe
Hefty prison sentence for Nigerian drug dealer
Human smugglers out on bail
Medical brain drain impact
South African response to movement protocol
Report of false marriage scam
South African id books easy to forge say experts
Illegal immigrants syndicate members in court
Commentary on "border chaos"
Illegal immigrants syndicate busted
Illegal immigrants arrested in
No pay for foreign doctors
Swazi women lured into prostitution in SA
South African Swazis seek reunification
Focus on the impact of hosting refugees
Government will not sell ranches to foreigners
Human rights commission and immigrant rights
Factors spurring refugees to go home to Burundi
Mbinga health centre gets ambulance
Bogus immigration officers solicit bribes
Anti-South African sentiment increases
South African presence grows
Over 2,000 Burundi refugees return home
MIDSA Workshop on forced migration
1Immigration authority hunting for human traffickers
15,000 Angolan refugees return home
South African urged to create employment in Zambia
New Zambian passports required
More Zimbabwean farmers settle in Mkushi
Zimbabwe cross border traders in Zambia
Ex-Zim farmers excel in Zambia -
Parliamentary committee set to fight medical brain drain
South African companies have scavenged Zambia
Impact of doctors strike and brain drain
Exploitation of Zimbabweans in South Africa
Zimbabwe faces brain drain
Plight of displaces farm workers
Nurse-training to improve health delivery system
Passport officer faces charges for theft
White farmers from Zimbabwe seek land in Mozambique
Local firms to clinch construction deals in Angola
Brain drain hits city health system
Trans-Kalahari corridor to be developed (Johannesburg, Sapa, 29/10) - South Africa, Namibia and Botswana are to sign a memorandum of understanding for the further development of the Trans-Kalahari Corridor. The transport ministers of the three neighbours are to meet in Walvis Bay, Namibia, on Monday to put their signatures to the document, said Frank Gschwender, business development executive of the Walvis Bay Corridor group, which acts as the secretariat for the Trans-Kalahari Corridor Management Committee (TKCMC). The memorandum, drafted by the government-sponsored TKCMC, would serve as the basis for joint efforts between the three countries to streamline transport operations along the Trans Kalahari Corridor. The corridor runs from Gauteng, through the Kalahari desert in Botswana to Walvis Bay's port, and gives Gauteng traders quick and cheap access to international markets. However, the corridor has still to be further developed and the Trans-Kalahari Memorandum of Understanding outlines the basis for this development, the ultimate aim of which is to make the Southern African Development Community (SADC) globally competitive. The TKCMC, which comprises stakeholders from the public and private sectors of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, has since its establishment in 2000 been working on streamlining border and customs operations in the corridor. It has also been working on improving infrastructure, easing trade into and out of the SADC region and co-ordinating border post operations. Border opening times have already been extended by both Botswana and Namibia, and South Africa is to soon follow suit. Gschwender said: "The historic signing of the Trans-Kalahari Memorandum of Understanding ... underlines the importance of utilising the possibilities for increased regional trade offered through the Nepad (New Partnership for Africa's Development) initiative".
First phase of work begins on Transfrontier Park (SABC, 23/10) - The first phase of development towards the establishment of the Transfrontier Park, to be jointly managed by South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, has begun on the South African side of the border. Picnic sites and new buildings are being constructed at the Giriyonda border post linking the Kruger National Park with Mozambique. Piet Theron, the South Africa National Parks co-ordinator, says R40 million has been set aside for the mission. The creation of the large ecological region that straddles between the three countries is expected to be completed in 15 years.Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou Park will be that country's contribution to the new park. Theron says, however, the area that Mozambique will provide, adjoining the eastern border of the Kruger Park, is just barren bush and will have to be developed from scratch. He said nearly 2000 animals have been moved to Mozambique so far, including giraffe, zebras, wildebeest, two rhinoceroses and 111 elephants.
Agoa offers template for growth (Business Day, 21/10) - Countries that have taken advantage of the provisions of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), notably Lesotho and Swaziland, have enjoyed an enormous increase in formal employment. There are early indications Agoa is helping these states to climb a rung higher on the industrialisation ladder, and may offer other African nations a template for success. Agoa was ratified by the Bush administration in October 2000. In December 2000, President George Bush extended duty-free treatment under the generalised system of preferences (GSP) to Agoa-eligible countries for more than 1800 tariff line items in addition to the standard GSP list of about 4600 items available to non-Agoa GSP beneficiary countries in effect, including almost everything except those items deemed too sensitive to US industry. Agoa 2, signed into law in August last year, substantially expands preferential access for imports from beneficiary subSaharan African countries. It provides for duty-free and quotafree access to the US market without limits for apparel made in eligible sub-Saharan African countries from US fabric, yarn and thread. The act provides for substantial growth of duty-free and quota-free apparel imports made with fabric produced in beneficiary African nations. It offers a special rule for lesser developed beneficiary nations by allowing them to import third-country fabric until September 30 next year. Nations with per capita gross national product of less than 1500 in 1998 meet this criterion. SA is ineligible for this exception. However, SA got other benefits, notably in the areas of cars and spares (BMW currently exports about half of its annual three-series output to the US); minerals and metals; chemicals and related products; agricultural products; and textiles and apparel. It is estimated Agoa raised African exports to the US by 1000% in the first two years, created 60000 jobs and brought another 1bn worth of new investment. According to the US commerce department, Agoa imports to the US last year totalled U9bn, or half of total imports. Three-quarters of imports were petroleum products, and with these excluded, Agoa imports were $2,2bn, of which textile and apparel imports were $803m and transportation equipment (cars) 545m. Agricultural products grew 38% to 212m. Despite the absence of formal diplomatic links with SA and Lesotho, Agoa has generated a substantial increase in Taiwanese investment in southern Africa, with about 32 garment and textile factories operating in Lesotho, employing 50000, or 20% of the kingdom's workforce. The number of textile factories in Swaziland has grown from three to 29 in three years, providing 23000 jobs. There are also three factories in Botswana and two in Namibia. The production figures are staggering. In Lesotho, the fivefold increase in exports in four years, now totalling more than 400m, translates into more than 3,5-million garments a month, 99% of which are destined for the US market.
Lesotho is today the largest manufacturer of jeans in the southern hemisphere. The number of Basotho in the garment industry will soon overtake the 54000 mining migrants who remit R625m annually from SA. These enterprises are gradually moving into the mid- and upstream areas, reflecting partly the scheduled termination in September next year of the thirdcountry exception rule. Although there is an "Agoa 3" lobby to extend this special rule to September 2006 and the act through to 2020, its success is doubtful at this stage given Washington's intention that Agoa be a once-off stepping stone to improved competitiveness enabling the establishment of an African-US free trade area after 2008. If third-country yarn is disallowed, it is forecast that investment in the textile and related (yarn, spinning, packaging and labelling) industries in Lesotho could increase through such vertical integration to a target of 2bn of exports and one million jobs within a decade. There is still some way to go for these countries to reach the quota restriction enforced by Agoa, and to reach the sort of level of development enjoyed in textiles elsewhere in the developing world. Bangladesh, for example, currently exports $6bn in garments to the US market. There are weaknesses that worry investors, including, most importantly, the appreciation in value of the rand which has pushed most garment factories in Swaziland (where labour costs are, on average, 20% to 30% higher than Lesotho) into the red. Also cited are the high costs of transportation to and from Durban harbour, port inefficiencies, shortage of skilled labour, and low and fluctuating productivity. In Swaziland it takes a team of 40 to produce 1200 crew-neck T-shirts in a nine-hour shift. In Indonesia, 35 workers produce 2800 in eight hours. Perversely, perhaps, the greatest threat to Swaziland's Agoa status is the reason for its attractiveness to some investors its circumscribed union rights. Under pressure from the American Federation of Labour-Congress of Industrial Organisations, the US trade department has asked for Swaziland to be taken off the list of states eligible for Agoa benefits. Swaziland is counterlobbying this in Washington, but the imperative for labour reform remains. Swaziland's loss of Agoa beneficiary status would be catastrophic for investors, workers and their families, but could also precipitate far broader social upheaval in the kingdom. In Lesotho and Swaziland sustainable competitiveness is a major concern, especially relative to China where Taiwan is now the major investor with a stake of about 100bn, and where production costs are low and the internal market apparently limitless. China poses a major strategic threat to Africa in its quest for investment and development, offering a larger market (1,2-billion versus Africa's 650-million people), centralised planning, comparative political stability, and twice Africa's per capita wealth. The textile sector in SA has not benefited from Agoa to the same extent as the two kingdoms. There has been a post-1994 trend of disinvestment by Taiwanese businesses. This translates into, for example, the cost of landed Chinese denim being between 30 to 40% cheaper, and of better quality, than its SA-manufactured competitor. Ultimately, of course, this is not a zero-sum gain. If these job opportunities were not available in the neighbouring states, it is likely their citizens would be in SA to seek work. Lesotho and Swaziland could, if current developments continue, be well-placed not only to offer a template for African industrialisation, but compete successfully without preferences in free trade arrangements. Mills and Hughes are, respectively, national director and parliamentary research fellow at the SA Institute of International Affairs.
Animals without borders in transfrontier parks (The Japan Times, 17/10) -It was snowing in Berlin that day in November 1884, but the conference delegates around the horseshoe-shape table in Prince Bismarck's house on the Wilhelmstrasse had little thought for the local weather. Africa had their full attention.A lion roars (above) perhaps at the prospect of pursuing prey across international borders. Elephants likewise can roam freely in new transfrontier parks. In recent years there had been an increasingly unseemly "scramble for Africa" involving missionaries, explorers, gunboats and small armies haring around in a frantic race to get their national flags up before anybody else. In the name of the "three Cs" -- Commerce, Christianity and Civilization -- the Berlin Conference had convened to sort out the "Dark Continent" in a decent, orderly manner and put an end to the skirmishes, sabotage and general anarchy. Even Henry Morton Stanley, the explorer, gun-toting maniac and supremely successful self-publicist was impressed by the atmosphere of greed in the room. It reminded him, he subsequently wrote, of "how my black followers used to rush with gleaming knives for slaughtered game on our travels."In Berlin it was the colonial cake that was being carved up.Britain's slices were large and rich (Kenya, South Africa, etc.); France's helpings were smaller but a considerable mouthful nonetheless (much of west Africa); Germany picked up drier chunks (Namibia, Tanzania); and the Portuguese returned home to Lisbon with a plateload of Mozambique and Angola.King Leopold II of Belgium didn't drop by Wilhelmstrasse in person but still managed to hog a vast portion -- not for his country, but for himself (most of the Congo basin, a rubber-rich area 76 times larger than Belgium).Fish River Canyon dubbed "Africa's Grand Canyon," is located in the Ais Ais Richterveld Transfrontier Conservation Park. In the Berlin Conference's eagerness to establish colonies with clearly defined borders (and lots of nice straight lines), a number of things were overlooked.
The Africans, for one. The wildlife, for another. In human and ecological terms, this oversight proved destructive."Africa is always on the move and always has been," writer and conservationist Laurens Van Der Post once remarked.It's true.Very few precolonial indigenous cultures embraced permanent, stone-built settlements, instead migrating as season, rains and intertribal warfare dictated.The Berlin-drawn borderlines intersected shifting tribal territories with blithe indifference. Overnight, neighbors became foreigners.Borders also cut across some of the key migratory routes for Africa's megafauna: elephant, plains grazers and the predators that follow the herds. As conservation awareness increased, national parks were established to provide living space for the continent's wildlife, but -- ouch! Those borders again! Each nation acted independently, so parks were separated from those in neighboring countries, often with fences preventing traditional game movement, and management was fragmented.What happened at Kruger National Park typified the problem. This magnificent park up by the South African border with Mozambique is almost the size of Israel. But it runs north to south. All its rivers flow west to east. When Kruger was fenced, tens of thousands of zebras and wildebeests died attempting to follow the watercourses that were their traditional migratory routes. Times, however, are changing. Last month, we saw a type of conference very different from that held 120 years ago in a snowy Berlin. Hosted by the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, delegates flocked to the coastal city of Durban for the World Parks Congress of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), a gathering that takes place only once a decade.If Berlin was about drawing borders, Durban was about erasing them.The concept of Trans Frontier Conservation Areas, more popularly known as "Peace Parks," was first mooted in 1990. It has since taken off with all the energy of a herd of migrating wildebeest. Leading the charge, appropriately enough, is Kruger. For years, conservationists were aware that over the border in Mozambique, smack bang against Kruger, was a huge area of natural habitat desperately needed to restore migration routes as well as absorb Kruger's growing number of elephants.
But cutting the fences was, for many, anathema. Mozambique's civil war and rampant poaching had all but exterminated any wildlife larger than duiker antelopes. Take down the fences, open the borders and Kruger's animals, it was feared, would migrate merrily off into a hail of hungry gunfire. As one park ranger told me on my first visit in 1992, "We're running a national park here, not a bloody larder for the Mozzies [the good citizens of Mozambique]." Then peace came to Mozambique -- and with it, the flagship of the peace parks, the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. This vision encompasses Kruger, a newly gazetted national park in Mozambique (with the somewhat unromantic name of Coutada 16), Mozambique's Limpopo National Park and Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou National Park. The involvement of local people is central to the TFCA philosophy, and tribes on communal lands absorbed by the park will benefit from tourism revenue and improved infrastructure.Limpopo is an international park, a sort of "Super Park." Seven thousand animals, including 1,000 elephants, have been shifted to Coutada from Kruger. Others are just wandering north of their own accord.The Peace Parks Foundation is active in seven other areas, notably the Namibia/South Africa border where Namibia's magnificent Fish River Canyon is being linked up with the Richtersveld to the south, and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park which connects Kalahari zones between Botswana and South Africa. A further 14 TFCAs are envisaged with a combined area of more than a 120 million hectares.People being people, peace isn't always given a chance. Particularly if it involves territory. There are squabbles, arguments about who should pay for infrastructure (the Germans obliged in the case of Limpopo) and about who should benefit from the tourism revenues. Then of, course, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's current bout of dictatorial lunacy hasn't been entirely helpful. But as the South African travel magazine Getaway pointed out, "the [peace] park initiative will have to face this sort of situation many times in the future. After all, Angola and the Congo lie in store for peace-parks evangelists, so best they hone their mediation skills . . ."Indeed. Particularly as the Peace Park concept is poised to go intercontinental. The IUCN has identified 169 potential TFCAs involving 113 countries -- including the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.
Angolan returns cross 40,000 mark (Luanda, UNHCR, 28/10) - After helping more than 40,000 Angolan refugees go home amid challenges in the last four months, the UN refugee agency is expecting the pace of returns to slow down as the rainy season starts in some parts of Angola. This week, the number of refugees returning to Angola with UNHCR assistance since the start of voluntary repatriation in June passed the 40,000 mark. Nearly half of them came from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC, nearly 20,000), followed by Zambia (nearly 17,000) and Namibia (over 3,000). Despite the encouraging numbers, UNHCR still faces many challenges in its return operation. About 40 percent of the intended districts of return for refugees remaining in neighbouring countries are still closed for return due to the presence of landmines and other unexploded ordinance, as well as the lack of infrastructure and basic services. The local population and aid agencies alike are facing the continued danger of landmines in Angola. Two separate incidents were reported last week alone and four people have been injured in one of these incidents. The onset of the rainy season and the resulting road conditions are likely to add to these obstacles and slow down the pace of repatriation to Angola. UNHCR is, however, assessing the viability of continuing repatriation convoys through the rainy season. Depending on road conditions, the agency may still launch a pilot convoy this year from the DRC to Maquela do Zombo, in northern Uige province – a new return route that had not been opened up until now due to bad roads and broken bridges. Returns from Namibia are expected to continue well into November as the rains start later in southern Angola, which borders Namibia. UNHCR is planning the first movement to Cuangar in Kuando Kubango province, possibly as early as next week. Other factors, such as the start of planting season in neighbouring DRC, may also affect repatriation as some Angolan refugees have also decided to postpone their return till after the harvest early next year. There are still an estimated 300,000 Angolan refugees in neighbouring countries. The figure may be lower because more refugees could have gone back on their own than the 160,000 spontaneous returns recorded by the local authorities since April 2002, when a cease-fire agreement marked the end of the civil war in Angola. UNHCR hopes to help 145,000 refugees return to Angola next year. Under the agency's repatriation initiative, returnees receive transport, food, relief items, as well as training on landmine and HIV/AIDS awareness. To help them reintegrate in their home communities, UNHCR and its partner agencies also run projects in health, water, sanitation and education, in addition to rehabilitating roads and other infrastructure for returnees and their communities. Spontaneous returnees are assisted in the same way as those who return with UNHCR convoys, provided they present themselves to one of the agency's eight reception centres or offices along Angola's border provinces. Only onward transport may not be provided if they originate from areas which have not been declared open for return.
About 19,000 refugees back home (Je, Angop, 24/10) - At least 19,000 Angolan people, who were living in the Democratic Republic of Congo, have returned to the country during the last eight months, in the ambit of the repatriation process of the Angolan citizens living in that country. The citizens entered into the country through Quimbata border post, located in Maquela do Zombo district, some 293 kilometres north of Uije city. According to Zombo's municipal administrator Mr Afonso Cuca, the returnees were already resettled in their respective areas of origin. Mr Afonso Cuca added that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is building a sheltering centre for the Angolan citizens who are living in several refugee camps in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Over 3,000 illegal immigrants repatriated (Dundo, Angop, 23/10) - At least 3.049 illegal immigrants were repatriated in eastern Lunda-Norte Province, over the first half of 2003, by the Migration Services.The local Migration services Director, Joao Matamba, said that among the deportees 2.924 citizens are from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the other 120 from West Africa countries, namely Mali, Senegal, Gambia and Guinea Conakry.These people were dealing in illegal trafficking of diamonds and commercial activity in the districts of Cambulo, Lucapa, Cuango and Chitato.
Situation of Malian citizens analysed (Angop, 16/10) - Malian Ambassador asks MPLA support for the legalization of his felow citizens in Angola. The situation of the Malian citizens residing illegally in the country was today in Luanda analysed by Angola's ruling MPLA party secretary general, João Lourenço, and ambassador Farouk Camara. The ambassador to Angola asked the Angolan ruling party to utilise its influence in facilitating the regularisation of the immigration status of the Malian citizens residing illegally in the country. Speaking to journalists at the end of the audience, Farouk Camara said the granting of resident permits to about 1.200 fellow citizens of his seems to be the best way to resolve the situation as this would avoid high costs with their repatriation. According to him, his embassy is already engaged in sensitising his fellow countrymen to register with the country's immigration authorities. He said that in his turn, the ruling party's secretary general promised to refer the case to the country's concerned authorities.
Over 40,000 displaced people resettled (Ndalatando, Angop, 14/10) - Some 45,000 war displaced people out of the 104,318 previously controlled by the authorities have been resettled in their areas of origin, in the Northern Kwanza-Norte Province, since the beginning of the resettlement process in 2001, ANGOP has learnt.A source with the Social Welfare Ministry said an estimated 40,000 war displaced people, who were living at Cazengo, Cambambe and Golungo Alto districts are now resettled in their areas of origin, whereas others preferred to remain in Luanda and other cities.The source added that 51 refugees, who were living in Zambia and Namibia are expected this year in the country. They will be sheltered in a transit centre, set up at Sassa locality, in Cazengo, from where they will leave for their areas of origin.Foodstuff, blankets, tents and mattresses are already available in Ndalatando city for those citizens, assured the source.
UNHCR steps up repatriation (Johannesburg, Irin, 10/10) - Due to the onset of the rainy season, the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) plans to step up its voluntary repatriation programme for Angolan refugees living in neighbouring countries. The UN refugee agency this week said some 15,000 Angolans had returned from Zambia, mainly from Meheba camp near the border with Angola. "On Saturday [4 October], the first convoy carrying 505 Angolans set out from Mayukwayukwa camp in western Zambia for the four-day trip over 2,000 km to Cazombo in the Angolan frontier province of Moxico. It is the second camp in Zambia where UNHCR is organising return convoys." The organisation noted that it had had to arrange convoys from Mayukwayukwa "because hundreds of Angolan refugees could not wait and have returned spontaneously". Due to the lack of basic infrastructure in some areas of return, the aid agency had decided to organise repatriation to "areas with the capacity to receive the refugees". "Against all odds, UNHCR is continuing efforts to open up new districts in Angola for returns, ensuring that there is water, sanitation, schools, medical services and shelters. In Moxico province - the destination for a majority of refugees and one of the most inaccessible - the agency is developing the more remote districts near the border. Five out of 20 communes in the province have been opened for repatriation from Zambia and the DRC," it said. UNHCR added that in Zaire province in the north of Angola, six of the 10 communes could now receive returnees, and four out of five communes in Cuando Cubango in the south have been prepared for Angolans in Namibia. "Last week the first convoy of about 120 refugees arrived in Calai, near the Namibian border. Five more convoys are expected to follow, carrying between 500 and 900 returnees. An additional 2,000 to 3,000 will return to Cuangar, near Calai," the agency noted. Countrywide, up to two-thirds of the returned families have been able to reach their final destinations in Angola. The rest are still awaiting onward transportation at reception or transit centres. UNHCR has also assisted 17,000 spontaneous returnees - 50 percent of refugees going home on their own in 2003 - with the same package given to those who joined its convoys.
Government to reintegrate over 5 million people (Luanda, Angop, 02/10) -The Angolan Government has as priority for 2004, the return and reintegration of over five million people affected directly by the armed conflict, said Social Welfare Minister Joao Baptista Kussumua. The minister, who was speaking at the 54th session of the Executive Committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), pointed out that among this total, about 4 million are displaced people, 85,000 ex-soldiers and 288,756 their respective families. The Minister added that the repatriation of about 450,000 refugees exiled in the neighbouring countries, as well as the creation of conditions for their self-sufficiency are also some of the Government priorities. The event, that is taking place since September 29th and scheduled to end today, has as aim to analyse the current state of the organised and voluntary repatriation of the Angolan refugees, which started in last June 20th, and the returning, resettlement and reintegration process.
Botswana deports 1000 Zimbabweans per month (Daily News, 31/10) - Over 1 000 illegal immigrants from neighbouring Zimbabwe are repatriated to their county every month, says labour and home affairs minister Thebe Mogami. Addressing kgotla meetings in Lerala and Maunatlala recently, Mogami said immigrants crossed into Botswana hoping for better conditions of life. Some, he said, come into the country through gazetted points "but will then violate the conditions of their stay in the country by either overstaying or engaging in criminal acts". Mogami said the situation often created animosity between citizens and the immigrants as the former felt disadvantaged by the latter. According to the minister, citizens felt employers preferred foreigners because they provided cheap labour. He reminded the audience that it was against the law to employ illegal immigrants. Mogami, who was on a tour of border posts as well as holding consultative meetings with villagers near the common border, said his ministry was negotiating with its South African counterpart for the extension of operating hours at some of the shared border posts. One of them, Martin's Drift Border Post had become extremely busy, hence the need for longer operating hours, he said. On another issues, Mogami expressed concern over the increasing number of new churches being registered with his ministry. A significant number, he said, were either owned by foreigners or had foreigners as partners.
Botswana, Zimbabwe to construct new border post (Bopa, 20/10) - Botswana and Zimbabwe plan to construct another border post at Mashambe in the Bobirwa Sub-district. The Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Thebe Mogami, told residents of Bobirwa in a series of kgotla meetings that the two governments have already agreed on the location. However residents of Gobojango, Semolale and Motlhabaneng villages suggested that the border post be constructed at Mmamabaka instead of Mashambe, because it was more convenient for them. The minister said Botswana could not make a unilateral decision and as such their proposal was to be discussed with his Zimbabwean counterpart. And only after the Zimbabweans give the go-ahead would the site be changed, he said. Mogami was also concerned about the number of illegal immigrants crossing into Botswana and said government was spending millions of pula repatriating them to their countries. He cautioned residents against violating immigration laws and urged them to follow the right channels when they want to bring in relatives to Botswana from neighbouring countries. The minister also warned them that it was unlawful to harbour illegal immigrants, some of whom end up committing crime. He urged residents to collect their Omang cards and register for the 2004 general election. Gobojango residents complained that they spend a lot of money engaging consultants to fill CEDA forms and requested that government should intervene. They also suggested that the elderly should receive their old age pension when they turn 60, not 65 as it is the case now. At Semolale, residents complained of an acute water shortage while Motlhabaneng residents were concerned about delays in issuing citizenship to people who have long applied. The area MP, James Maruatona, said people who have been living in Botswana since independence, must be assisted to acquire citizenship.
Police fight Zimbabwean prostitution (Bopa, 20/10) - Gaborone West police recently arrested and charged eight Zimbabwean prostitutes for loitering and being a nuisance at a night-spot in Gaborone West Mall. Assistant Superintendent Goganang Pule told BOPA that the women, aged between 21 and 42, were fined between P20 and P30 before they were released. He said Middle Star Mall and Extension 9 (opposite the Gaborone Sun Hotel) were the hunting grounds for sex workers in Gaborone. Superintendent Moatlhodi Thokweng of the Central Police Station said Batswana and Zimbabwean prostitutes are nabbed in daily raids at Extension 9. Although males can also be arrested for prostitution, principal state counsel in the Attorney General's Chambers, Susan Mangori said police normally found no case against the men because they were always in their vehicles. "Men just pick up the women and drive away. Ordinarily the police would target the merchant and if the service provider is removed then the trade is stopped," she said. Mangori said the "law covers all cases," whether heterosexual or homosexual. Prostitution is selling of sex for cash or valuables, while loitering is described as wandering or idling for the purpose of attracting and soliciting clients for prostitution. Mangori said prostitution is outlawed because it is a social evil when viewed from a religious, social or moral perspective. However, Oteng Motlhala, of Boko Motlhala and Company attorneys, said it is difficult to prosecute someone for prostitution. "One has to prove before court that the fee was paid and the actual act of love making took place," he said. He said the police lay a charge that they can prove before the court of law while the culprits always agree to pay the admission of guilt fine and then return to their trade. Motlhala said it is difficult to arrest clients of prostitutes as they often claim they were just passing by and the lady stopped them to ask for a lift home. Gaborone Sun Hotel marketing manager Lesedi Moakofi said their security work around the clock to keep away prostitutes and as a result, the women wait for their customers across the street from the hotel. "I acknowledge that they do enter the hotel, but the situation is not alarming because security personnel chase them away." Also, if hotel customers complain about some ladies, they are barred from re-entering the hotel. "We do not have control over the women when they are outside our premises, but if they become a nuisance we call in the Special Support Group (SSG) or police who are always helpful," she said. A Zimbabwean prostitute who agreed to be interviewed by BOPA at Gaborone West Mall, on condition of anonymity, said the going rate is P30 for a period usually not exceeding one hour and P130 for the whole night, depending on the distance from the pick-up venue. The money is usually paid before departure and is left with friends in case the client is tempted to take it back, or refuses to pay for services rendered. "Customers used to pay afterwards, but now they pay upfront as they have a tendency of saying they do not have enough money or just refuse to pay because they know we have nowhere to complain." She said there "is a lot of money to be made in Botswana" as P10 is equivalent to about 8 000 Zim dollars, which no man is prepared to pay in Zimbabwe.
Batswana films lose out to foreign firms (Mmegi/The Reporter, 17/10) - Government is denying local entrepreneurs the right to operate in Botswana in favour of foreign contractors, said the Chairman of the Association of Citizen Development Consultants (ACDC), Lediretse Molake. Molake accused government of excluding local entrepreneurs from government contracts by using the excuse that local entrepreneurs lack the experience and skills for big development projects. "The common perception is that citizen firms are set to fail because they are awarded jobs that do not make sense. This includes work such as installing electricity in toilets in primary schools, but not in classrooms and administration blocks where people work. "Local contractors consequently do not benefit from locally generated knowledge and experience acquired by foreign firms, who swallow up the big contracts. "Indigenous consultants are also denied jobs in local councils because contracts are awarded to foreigners. There is a direct correlation between the predominance of expatriate manpower and the awarding of a lion's share of jobs to foreigners", says Molake. As a result of this practice, Batswana engineers and contracting firms are "missing out on immense economic opportunities because they are not gaining experience". They can therefore not compete in other SADC countries such as Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The preferential scheme targeting citizen firms in the construction industry provides no structures to implement it or recourse to address complaints. There are also no benchmarks to assess quality and integrity of the work done, or objectives set, said Molake. "Government's traditional harping on services, manufacturing and agriculture as new engines of growth, away from mining, has seen the contribution of those industries to the GDP declining over decades. The immense value and contribution to the GDP, which can be unlocked by investing in intellectual capital, has been ignored even though it can only be developed when local expertise is fully utilised," he said. Addressing discrimination against consultants in favour of contractors, Molake pointed out that while only 30 percent of all construction jobs are reserved for citizen contractors, the same does not apply to citizen consultants. They are only awarded a monetary ceiling of P5 million of government consulting jobs. "This is despite the fact that in the nature of the industry, such jobs are rare." He revealed that the problem is being compounded by the predominance of construction companies whose management lacks the necessary skills to manage construction project. "How do you supervise a project in which you lack the skill or expertise? There is need for the state to draw a distinction between ownership and management". The marginalisation of citizen engineering consultants can also be illustrated statistically by the fact that currently, 79 per cent of all construction jobs have been awarded to foreign construction firms leaving only 12 percent to citizen contractors and a mere 9 per cent to joint ventures. "The government is asking for trouble if there is visible preferential treatment towards foreign firms and consumption of foreigners while equally competent citizens are merely spectators," said Molake.
Cost of students who remain abroad (Mmegi, 17/10) - Students who study abroad on government loans and fail to return, are spoiling the chances of other students securing such loans. Bosele Radipotsane, Assistant Director of Student Placement and Welfare, said students who did not return, negatively impact on cost recovery measures. Radipotsane said the problem is common among those who go to the United States. Once students are sent there, they do all that they can to stay longer. "Some extend their studies, while others start doing courses they did not go there to do," he said. However, Radipotsane said since the introduction of a grant loan system, the situation has somewhat improved. More students are coming back home after completing their studies. The department closely monitored students sent abroad to make sure that they return. "The education attachŽs there also help by sending information about the progress of students and these make it easier for us to trace students," Radipotsane said adding that the newly introduced system of cost recovery is likely to yield better results. "The system started early this year and we have a team of people working on it. So itwill not be easy for students to escape," he said. He added that better paying jobs abroad attracts a lot of students. Speaking oncondition of anonymity, a student who studied abroad said working conditions in Botswana are frustrating. "First world countries have better economic conditions and the pay is better," he said. The government has also been blamed for its failure to retain workers. Some students claim that finding jobs here is quite difficult for Batswana while every lucrative job seems to be reserved for expatriates. One doctor said that after serving her country for 10 years, she was turned down from opening her own surgery for no apparent reason. She said she had followed all the right channels and talked to various people but to no avail. "I went to see the then Minister of Health, Joy Phumaphi, her Permanent Secretary, Dr Patson Mazonde, and even my MP, but all these efforts proved fruitless. The only response I got was that government had no control over the medical aid schemes which provide most business these days," she said. She added that while it is difficult for citizens to break into business, President Festus Mogae is daily flying out to woo foreign investors "because nobody has confidence in our own people. "Recently, another Motswana, Doctor Kgarebe, was refused permission to offer a service our people have to pay for through their noses to obtain in South Africa. That is while there is expertise here at home.
Botswana and Zimbabwe sign border agreement (Bopa, 14/10) - Works and Transport minister, Tebelelo Seretse and her Zimbabwean counterpart Dr Witness Mangwende signed a memorandum of understanding concerning the construction and maintenance of both Maitengwe and Mphoeng/Matsiloje bridges. Seretse said it was necessary to facilitate free movement of goods and passengers between the two countries, as agreed in principle in 1995. The minister said the departments of Customs and Excise and that of Immigration in the respective countries proceeded with speed to ensure that the two projects were implemented. Seretse said the two border posts, which have been operational since July 1997, facilitated the interaction of both Batswana and Zimbabweans even before the projects were implemented. She mentioned that though the signing of the memorandum of agreement could have taken place earlier It was delayed due to the consultations that had to be undertaken in the respective countries. The minister was happy however, this did not badly affect the project implementation, noting that the Maitengwe Bridge was completed and opened to traffic in August 2002. She stated that Botswana government financed the construction of Maitengwe Bridge while Zimbabwe would pay for the construction of Matsiloje Bridge. Concerning future maintenance of the two bridges, the minister said this would be done jointly by the two countries. For his part, Zimbabwean Transport Minister, Dr Witness Mangwende, said the new bridges could not been built at a better time. He said trade between Botswana and Zimbabwe has improved tremendously and that the high traffic levels passing through Plumtree Border Post were at times difficult to handle due to the limited capacity of the border. He said it was therefore anticipated that the two bridges would further strengthen the existing bilateral relations to benefit other SADC trading partners. Mangwende said the onus is now upon the Zimbabwean government to expedite the completion of Matsiloje/Mphoeng Bridge. He pointed out that the construction of the bridge has been contracted out and that the bridge should be completed by the end of next year.
Domestic workers from Zimbabwe (Mmegi, 13-16/10) - Laws are needed to protect domestic workers in Botswana, says gender activist, Peter Tshukudu. Tshukudu accused Batswana employers of not attaching value to their housemaids, resulting in domestics regularly changing employers. But Batswana employers say they rather employ illegal Zimbabwean immigrants to work in their homes "because the Batswana are lazy and too expensive. Zimbabweans are not expensive and for P100 a month she will work for 72 hours a week", said an employer, who declined to be named because he regularly employed illegal immigrants. According to Tshukudu, domestic workers were being treated as informal employees. Because of the lack of laws protecting domestics, Batswana opted for Zimbabweans. "This makes the Zimbabweans vulnerable because for them it is a take it or leave it situation. People often say you cannot bite the hand that feeds you, but why can't you if that hand is not kind to you. "There must be laws to regulate domestic work and prevent the exploitation of workers in this sub-sector," he said. Another man, who employed Zimbabweans illegally, said the Zimbabweans were there for his pleasure. "If I want them to do extra work at no pay, they will because they are staying under my roof. "Although they have passports it doesn't mean that they are here legally.
Conflict over influx of Zimbabweans (Bopa, 10/10) - Residents of Bokaa and Morwa villages in the Kgatleng West constituency are appealing to the government to beef up police patrols by bringing in Special Support Group (SSG) and the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) to fight the escalating crime wave. Speaking in a kgotla meeting addressed by Kgatleng West MP Rakwadi Modipane this week, residents said the rate of crime in the area has gone out of hand and that is why they want the SSG and the BDF to assist Mochudi police. The residents said almost all cases of house breaking are reported but the stolen items are never recovered. They said they suspected that most of the offences are committed by foreigners who then cross the border with such items. They suggested that buses operating between Botswana and Zimbabwe should be stopped and searched as they travel at night and could be used by thieves to transport stolen goods to foreign lands. At Bokaa, the residents said they are alarmed by killings by estranged lovers, especially men. They called for government-organised seminars to teach people about the sanctity of life and the consequences of love-related murders. At Morwa, residents complained bitterly about some foreigners, especially Zimbabweans, who roam the streets, hawking without licences when the business is reserved for Batswana. The residents also said they are worried about contractors, who take time to complete the projects such as the school kitchens. They called on the Kgatleng District Council to monitor the contractors to ensure projects are completed as planned.
Black market trade with Zimbabwe (Botswana Gazette, 01/10) - Despite several warnings, some Batswana are continuing to play a role in the foreign exchange black market - particularly at the Gaborone Bus Rank. Every day these illegal foreign exchange traders - who change South African Rands and Zimbabwe dollars into Pula - can be found near the Rustenburg and Francistown taxi ranks. Bank of Botswana Acting Public Relations Officer, Mr Chepete C , pete, said they have received isolated reports of people who are engaged in the illegal sale of foreign exchange. "Most illegal market currency trading appears to involve one currency namely the Zimbabwean dollar. It should be appreciated that due to the chronic economic, social and political problems currently be-devilling Zimbabwe, the country's dollar value has been declining, lack of stability in the exchange rate and the restrictions on the holding of the currency imposed by the government has resulted in banks and other economic agents in Botswana being reluctant to hold the currency." Chepete added that the reports they received do not suggest that the problem is rampant, nor that it is carried out or limited to specific groups of people or places in Botswana. He warned people who deal in foreign exchar'ge illegally that the trade is contrary to The Bank of Botswana Act of 1996 that prohibits persons from indulging in foreign exchange business without a license from the licensing authority. " However the currency black market in Botswana remains relatively small and has no impact on the economy of the country." concluded Chepete. Mr Hambira, of Borakanelo Police station in whose jurisdiction the Jus rank area falls, said as from 1 st of January to 18th September a total of 33 people were charged for illegal transaction of foreign currency. Out of these, 23 paid P200 admission of guilt, three appeared before the Magistrate court; one was fined P5000 and two fined P1000 and each case the money was forfeited by the state.
Tourists numbers going down (Nation Online, 28/10) - The Ministry of Tourism Parks and Wild Life says although it has not completed computing tourism numbers, there are indications that the figures are going down compared to last year. Assistant director of tourism Patricia Liabuba said the department has to intensify its destination marketing to ensure that tourism, identified as one of the lead sectors in the economic development of this country after agriculture, manufacturing and mining, lives to its expectations. Experts say the effects of the September 11 attacks and the negative publicity on the food crisis have had a severe and highly damaging impact on international tourism, forcing Malawi to compete for the few visitors to Africa. Liabuba said this is why the department of tourism will next January relaunch the country's eco-tourism products in South Africa to recapture some of the lost opportunities. She said the launch was supposed to take place in June but it had to be postponed it because this is a better time since most tourists trek to southern Africa during summer. Liabuba said that the product will be relaunched in SA's three major cities: Johannesberg, Cape Town and Durban. Liabuba, who said the total budget has not been worked out explained that the relaunch will involve a press conference about the launch, workshops informing people about Malawi's products, cocktail receptions and exhibitions. The ministry launched the logo in Blantyre last November to reposition the marketing strategy to show that apart from Lake Malawi, the country also has national parks and game reserves which are inhabitants to unique fauna.
Bangladesh nationals barred entry (Nation Online, 27/10) - Four Bangladesh nationals aboard Kenya Airways were barred from entering the country through Lilongwe International Airport (Lia) on Sunday afternoon because immigration officials suspected foul play. Lawyer for the four nationals, Gift Nankhuni of Makolego and Company said in an interview on Monday, the four, who he said, were tourists, were returned around 1 :30pm after landing at the airport around 11 :30am. Nankhuni said he failed to convince the Immigration officials to allow the four into the country because they said there was a ban barring Bangladesh nationals from entering into the country. Chief Immigration officer David Kambilonje confirmed on Monday that his department returned four Bangladesh nationals because government has problems with Bangladesh nationals saying "they pose as tourists but they use the country to go to Europe". "These people are coming here on pretext that they are visitors while they are not. They would like to go to European countries using our country. That's why we return them. "We don't want them to use our country to go to other countries. If they want to go to Europe we told them that there is a direct flight from their country to Europe," he said. Kambilonje said it was not the first time they have returned Bangladesh nationals, adding that most of the time when they enter the country, they book in shabby rest houses or stay in groups of more than 18 people in one house in Area 18 in the capital Lilongwe, which, he said, is not expected of visitors. "Most of the time the Bangladesh nationals exchange their return tickets for cash," he said. Director of Tourism Tressa Namathanga said in a separate interview that although her department's goal is to sell Malawi as a tourist destination, it's the job of the Immigration to ensure that the country is not used for unscrupulous and clandestine things. "The travel industry is a very sensitive industry because it can be used by some unscrupulous people to do their own things. So it's the duty of Immigration officials to put some measurers to make sure that the country is not misused. "By opening up to tourism we are not open to everything. We are not sending a bad signal but we are a sovereign state and have a duty to protect our country," said Namathanga, who confirmed to be aware of the issue of Bangladesh nationals.
Maputo police on alert after drug bust (Johannesburg, Business Day, 31/10) - The Mozambican police were placed on maximum alert this week for drug traffickers, said to be using Maputo International Airport as a point of transit, according to Nataniel Macamo, head of public relations in the interior ministry. The Mozambique Information Agency reported Macamo as saying traffickers were bringing cocaine from Latin America to South Africa, via Maputo. "The planes they catch take them from Brazil via Lisbon to Maputo," he said. The traffickers, mostly women, were working for a powerful network, with headquarters in SA, and had chosen Maputo as a safe corridor. Macamo was speaking after the arrest of a South African woman the second arrest in 10 days at Maputo airport at the weekend. The woman was found to be carrying "30 balls of cocaine", each weighing five grams, in her stomach. Zelda Haas, 25, was flying from Sao Paulo, Brazil, via Lisbon, with an onward connection to SA. Another SA woman, Singathawa Mandongana, who was allegedly carrying 700g of cocaine, had followed the same route and was arrested at Maputo airport last week, thanks to cooperation with the Portuguese police. Haas told police that she should have been carrying 69 balls of the drug, but she had "complications" in swallowing them and fainted. Her companions decided to stop after she had swallowed only 30 balls, and submitted her to intensive treatment before she left. She also explained that she had been scheduled to depart on October 19, but the trip was postponed after the news of the arrest of Mandongana. The two suspects are in police custody in Maputo, and the police hope for more arrests.
South African investors flood Mozambique (Sunday Times, 26/10) - With average GDP growth of about 8% and billions in foreign direct investment (FDI) entering the economy, primarily for infrastructure development and privatisation programmes, the outlook for Mozambique is extremely buoyant. The country has attracted huge volumes of FDI, which is managed through Mozambique's Investment Promotion Centre (CPI). The centre has been instrumental in attracting a cumulative 4.7-billion in FDI between 1993 and 1999, according to its figures. South Africa is now Mozambique's largest investment partner, with South Africans responsible for a reported 300 out of 1 607 projects approved between 1990 and 2001. The information is contained in a 2002 report on the economic links between South Africa and Mozambique, compiled by Carlos Nuno Castel-Branco for the British government's Department for International Development. Castel-Branco says South African investors control three out of four sugar estates, three out of four breweries, all soft-drink bottling plants, large cereal milling plants and most of the tourism facilities. The World Bank notes in its 2003 country brief that "real GDP growth since 1995 averaged 8.5% and was 9.9% in 2002, with a projected growth rate of 7% in 2003". This phenomenal growth is due to an aggressive privatisation and foreign investment drive by the Mozambican government, co-ordinated through the CPI in the Ministry of Planning and Finance. Geoff Blackbeard, director for Africa operations at Deloitte & Touche, is upbeat about the country, in which his company has been active for the past decade. "Unfortunately, when Mozambique was picking up three or four years ago, the successive years of flooding hit the economy really badly," Blackbeard says. "I think a lot of aid money went into re-establishment as opposed to the next wave. "In terms of its position in Southern Africa it is really important for us to be involved there. If it hadn't been for the floods Mozambique would probably be pretty much where Angola is right now - attracting a lot of further development." The success story of the day, and a major catalyst supporting this growth, is undoubtedly the Mozal project.
This project, which has attracted $2.4-billion in investment, contains all the elements of a good investment project, including foreign direct investment, capital expenditure, infrastructure development, job creation and social investment. The Development Bank of Southern Africa, for example, has committed R2.2-billion in Mozambique over the past three years, says Tladi Ramushu, the bank's manager of international finance. "It accounts for nearly 40% of our portfolio - that is very significant. We are very strong supporters of the economic and political reform, which is manifest in the level of investment activity." These investments include Mozal, two sugar estates, the Maputo port rehabilitation, electricity and telephone utility expansions, and rehabilitation. "For many of the landlocked countries it is the least-cost route for their exports," Ramushu says. The World Bank, in its report Fuelling Economic Growth in Mozambique, says Mozal has had a " tremendous impact on the development of the host country". According to the report, Mozal contributed an estimated 10% to Mozambique's GDP in 2001, introduced new technical skills, created thousands of jobs and contributed to local infrastructure development. Some of the big-name South African companies that have invested in Mozambique include Standard Bank, Glenrand MIB, Vodacom, DBSA, the Industrial Development Corporation, Sasol, SAB, Illovo and Murray & Roberts. Power utility Eskom has also gotten in on the act, enabling it to realise Eskom Enterprises' goal of meeting Africa's energy needs. Also within the energy sector, South Africa is soon to benefit from Sasol's involvement in the development of the Temani natural gas fields. Another major initiative that has already boosted Mozambique's exports is the 15-year concession granted in March to the Maputo Port Development Company to operate Maputo's harbour. The company said at the time it would invest $70-million in an upgrade programme. This development has a downside for the South African Port Authority because local manufacturers have threatened to move their exports to Maputo unless service and congestion are improved. Motor manufacturers BMW and Ford and steel producer Highveld Steel & Vanadium have already made noises to that effect. Mozal has single-handedly changed the export picture, with its exported output doubling Mozambique's exports, generating more than $400-million in foreign exchange earnings a year, according to the company.
According to the latest figures available from the Department of Trade and Industry, Mozambique is on the verge of overtaking Zimbabwe as South Africa's primary SADC-region trading partner. Investment is facilitated by an environment that abounds with opportunities. This is driven primarily through spatial development initiatives such as the Maputo Corridor, which stretches from Mpumalanga to Maputo, and the Nacala Development Corridor between Mozambique and Malawi. The creation of industrial free zones (IFZs) has given further impetus to the FDI inflows. Investors are offered attractive incentives such as exemption of customs duties. A 10-year exemption from tax on dividends is thrown into the pot to sweeten the deal. The government has identified certain "mega-projects" that focus on infrastructure and capacity building. According to the CPI, these include the Mozal aluminium smelter; the Maputo iron and steel project; the Pande and Temani gas and pipeline projects; the Beira iron ore project; the Moatize coal mine; the hydro-electric power station at Mepanda Uncua; Billiton's heavy sands mining and titania slag smelter operation; the rehabilitation of the Maragra and Xinavane sugar mills and the rehabilitation of the Matola oil refinery; and building a new refinery in Nacala. The economy has been given tremendous impetus by the government's aggressive privatisation programme, in which practically all state businesses have been privatised through the establishment in 1995 of the Unidade Técnica de Restruturaço Empresarial (UTRE). The UTRE was set up to oversee the privatisation and restructuring of about 20 big enterprises. This led to the creation of about 85 enterprises from these 20, with most shares privatised. Foreign aid is also an important catalyst to the economy, with donors having contributed about 8-billion over the past 14 years, according to the SADC's Trade and Investment Review 2003. It is estimated that almost half of this was contributed by way of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank's Heavily Indebted Poor Countries debt relief initiative. Its external debt now stands at about $1-billion. Summing up, Castel-Branco remarks that major strengths for further integration of the Mozambican and South African economies are "the historical economic links that already exist, the current level of trade and investment between them, as well as the change that is occurring towards replacement of labour migration with FDI".
Resettled farmers face uncertain future (Maputo, Irin, 22/10) - Thirty-nine-year-old Julieta Hobjana, a single mother of three children, has mixed feelings about her new home, situated on high ground in the flood-prone district of Manhiça, in the southern province of Maputo. True, her old home in the lowlands evokes traumatic memories of the devastating floods that peaked in February 2000, claiming hundreds of lives, washing away crops and destroying infrastructure including roads and bridges. Hobjana did not lose any family members, but she lost all her possessions for the second time in her life. Just over eight years before the floods, her community had suffered repeated attacks during the 16-year-long civil war between the government and RENAMO rebels. She was abducted and had her farming tools stolen and oxen killed.The risk of more floods is the reason for the move to her current home. She still remembers the 2000 disaster as if it had happened yesterday. Hobjana and her two children, aged seven and eleven years at the time, had to seek refuge at the top of a tree to escape the roiling flood waters below. "We saw an old woman, who had climbed to the roof of her house, being washed away. There was nobody that was not terrified," said Hobjana. "The children were crying. We stayed the whole night in the tree until the arrival of a helicopter the next morning. When the men inside the helicopter told me that the children go first, I was frightened that they were taking my children away and would leave me behind." Her children were also reluctant to go. Julio, now 14 years old, said being pulled by a rope into the helicopter from the tree was the worst part of it all. "I was scared of the helicopter. I preferred to stay in the tree."To avoid such a disaster again, the government, with the support of the United Nations and NGOs, has resettled tens of thousands of families on higher ground. Some 20,000 families have been resettled in Manhiça alone. Hobjana has built a small two-roomed home of cane with zinc roofing. She has nearby potable water and her two older children are in a local school. But since relocating her family a couple of years ago, Mozambique has suffered erratic rainfall. Hobjana's plot of maize in her new home has dried up for the second consecutive year. The flood-prone lowlands are the only area that has had some rainfall. Like many others in the community, Hobjana has now built a temporary grass hut in the lowlands where she still has a plot of land. But this year there has been so little rain that her plot there has failed too. The local administration official in Manhiça, Fanuel Fumo, said the authorities accept that the people who have been resettled are returning to the lowlands to farm because there is usually some rainfall, even during periods of drought in the rest of the region, and the land is more fertile. "We advise them not to set themselves up permanently there because of the risk of floods, but we can't stop them farming, as we don't want them to go hungry."Fumo said survival in the region has always been precarious. "There is never any peace for us here: we have had war, floods, and now drought and the HIV/AIDS epidemic."HIV/AIDS has further increased the urgency of the humanitarian crisis, as those sick with AIDS-related illnesses are facing food shortages when, more than ever, they need nutritious diets to survive. Dire poverty is also widespread. Many of the households in the southern part of Mozambique are female-headed as the men seek employment in neighbouring South Africa, often staying there for years at a time, or sometimes never returning if they raise new families. Hobjana's first husband was shot dead in South Africa in 1991. The father of her last-born child has another wife and does not support her.
At first, the resettled families received free food. Now they can participate in food-for-work projects, which the World Food Programme (WFP) supports. Yet, this is becoming increasing inadequate, given the growing food crisis in the region.WFP has warned that millions of people in southern Africa, especially in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, will face massive food shortages from this month – the lean period - due to significant funding shortfalls. In July, WFP appealed for US $308 million to fund some 540,000 mt of food, enough to feed 6.5 million people until June of next year in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Swaziland, Lesotho and Malawi. Despite repeated appeals, WFP has received only 24 percent of what is required, and has unmet needs amounting to US $235 million.In Mozambique an assessment by WFP, the Food and Agricultural Organisation and the UN Children's Fund identified 659,000 people in 40 districts, including Manhiça, as "extremely food insecure". They need immediate and continued assistance until the next harvest in March/April 2004. The survey also identified a further 255,000 people in those district who are at risk of deteriorating food insecurity from this month onwards."Now we're in the lean season, WFP was planning to increase its level of assistance, but due to the underfunded operation and severe commodity shortfalls in the country, we will have to curb our assistance at the current levels," said Katerina Gola, the WFP reporting and information officer.It was the afternoon and Hobjana and her children had not eaten anything all day. She was hoping to scrape together sweet potato leaves to cook with maize meal. Hobjana said their situation should get better this month because it was her turn to take part in the food-for-work programme, and she is about to receive rations for her family.WFP's 40 NGO partners are providing 526,656 people in Mozambique with assistance through food-for-work, group feeding for those classified as "vulnerable", and school feeding in the drought-affected provinces of Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane in the southern region of the country, parts of Sofala and Manica provinces in the centre, and Tete province in the north.In Manhica, some 500 people have benefited from the food-for-work programme, but it is only able to run on a rotational basis as there is not enough food to allow everybody in need to participate each month. "We feel that we shouldn't have to be doing a rotation system, as people need to have food every day," Tom Shortley, WFP's emergency coordinator told IRIN. "Our partners and the communities have to make difficult decisions as to who should get food. The difference between those classified as high- and low-risk people in Mozambique is minimal."Anita Watch, the district aid food monitor for WFP in Manhiça, confirmed the pressure on households. They consume all the food rations they receive in exchange for their labour, rather than selling some of it for vital items like soap. "The food is enough for the family each month, but the food-for-work programmes are not enough for the population who have been resettled," she explained. Hobjana said she enjoyed participating in the food-for-work. Her job was to clear roads and drains in her community. "It will give us something to eat," she said simply. For the month's work, Hobjana will receive 77 kilos of maize, almost three litres of oil and 7.5 kilos of beans.She reminisced about happier times as she sat outside her cane home with Domingo, her youngest child, aged two. He looked lethargic and was stunted for his age, with a swollen belly and spindly, thin legs. Hobjana conceded that she has not weighed Domingo for a long time. She appeared to be unaware of the importance of taking him to the health centre for regular check- ups. The lack of food for the family was her more immediate concern.She remembered the past, when she had oxen to help her cultivate her large plot of land in the lowlands. She grew maize, beans, onions and tomatoes and was able to feed her family, and even had a regular surplus to sell.Asked about her future, she says she thinks about a lot of things, but "since I've never been to school, the main thing I want to be able to do is to farm again".
South African drug trafficker arrested in Maputo (Maputo, AIM, 22/10) -The Mozambican police arrested a South African woman at Maputo international airport on Saturday for the possession of 700 grams of the drug cocaine, reports Wednesday's issue of the daily paper "Noticias". 23 year old Singathawa Thobela Mandongana, was travelling from Sao Paulo, in Brazil, where it is believed that she acquired the cocaine, which she was carrying in her stomach. She was heading for Johannesburg via Lisbon, and Maputo. She has been admitted to a Maputo hospital in a weak condition, and the police say that more quantities of the drug are being extracted from her stomach. Mandongana possessed two air tickets, one for a direct flight between Sao Paulo and Johannesburg, and the other, the one the she used, via Lisbon and Maputo. The police found yet another air ticket in her possession, in the name of Fifi Mario, for a Maputo-Johannesburg trip. Mandongana had been arrested once before at Johannesburg airport for drug trafficking, and had been released on bail. The police said that, since she was arrested in Mozambique, she will be tried in this country, under Mozambican law
Fictitious university in Beira (Maputo, AIM, 17/10) - The Mozambican police are looking for a Congolese citizen who swindled people in Beira by claiming that he was the director of a university which turns out not to exist. According to the Sofala provincial director of education, Francisco Itai Meque, cited in Friday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias", the Congolese, Anacleto Tzitsekedi, was recruiting students for something he called "the Mennonite University of Mozambique". Tzitsekedi's "university" had no premises, and he was operating from a building belonging to a Mozambican with an import/export licence. Since he started enrolling students in July, he had succeeded in deceiving 630 people, each of whom paid him 200,000 meticais (about eight US dollars). To convince them, he produced papers bearing an official- looking stamp from "the Mennonite University of Mozambique". When the matter was raised in the Sofala government, provincial governor Felicio Zacarias contacted the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, who confirmed that there was no such university. Likewise, the Mennonite Central Committee, which is an American religious body, through its representative in Mozambique, Glenn Klaassen, denied that Tzitsekedi has any relation with the perfectly genuine Mennonite Evangelical Church of Mozambique, or with any other Mennonite body in Africa. Klaassen also revealed that about eight years ago Tzitsekedi was a student at an Anglican school in Maputo, where he committed another fraud. He promised to arrange a trip to Europe for his fellow students. They paid up, he pocketed the money and disappeared. "This institution is bogus", declared Meque, "and we are looking for this man. Currently he's not in Beira. We greatly regret this because people have already lost money. This is a flagrant violation, and we must take measures".
Concern over South African immigration legislation (Maputo, AIM, 09/10) -Mozambican Labour Minister Mario Sevene has expressed concern that new South African immigration legislation, due to take effect as from 1 December, could lead to massive redundancies among Mozambican migrant workers - but on Thursday, Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi downplayed the problem. The new law imposes a heavy cost on the South African employers of migrant workers: they will have to pay two per cent of the salary of each foreign worker to a fund to pay for the professional training of South African workers. Sevene, who has just returned from a visit to South Africa, told the daily paper "Noticias" he was afraid the new law might lead employers to sack their Mozambican workers. He noted that the law is not consensual within South Africa, which is why implementation was postponed from October to December: furthermore the companies will only start paying the two per cent as from February 2004. Sevene said the Mozambican government will be working with TEBA, the mine labour recruitment agency, to persuade the South African authorities to exempt the mining industry from the two per cent payments. The new law contains other provisions which are downright inhuman. One is that, after ending his contract, a foreign worker must leave South Africa within three days - if he fails to do so, he risks losing any opportunity of obtaining a new contract. This has outraged the executive director of TEBA, James Motlatsi, who asked what crime Mozambicans could possibly be committing if they decided to stay in South Africa for a week or two after the end of their contracts. He pointed out that some migrants father children with South African women: were they really to be told they could not spend any time with these children ? Mocumbi, however, questioned at a Thursday press briefing in Maputo about the apparent hostility of the South African authorities towards ordinary Mozambicans, claimed that the problems would be solved by applying the decisions taken at the regular meetings between presidents Joaquim Chissano and Thabo Mbeki. He was sure that the labour ministries of the two countries were working to overcome difficulties, and noted that during Sevene's visit to South Africa about 1,500 illegal Mozambican immigrants had their status legalised. "We have to educate Mozambican citizens so that they have the right papers when they travel", he said. "We have also given instructions to all our embassies and consulates to help Mozambicans in difficulty to legalise their situation". AIM pointed out that aspects of South African government policy deliberately discriminate against Mozambique. This is the case, for instance, with subsidised rail transport: by subsidising rail freight within South Africa the government undermines the port of Maputo. It becomes artificially cheaper for South African companies for whom Maputo is the nearest port to use Durban or Richards Bay instead. Mocumbi replied that the only way forward was "to compete on the market. We must improve the services we provide. We must provide better port services, which is what the new management of Maputo port is doing. We must continue to have more competitive prices". As for the South African subsidies, Mocumbi was optimistic that "the days of subsidies are numbered".
Mozambique border now open longer (SABC, 02/10) - Good news for motorists and other travellers to Mozambique is that the operational hours on the border post between South Africa and Mozambique have been extended from this week. Travellers wanting to visit can now cross the border post until late at night, thanks to a joint agreement between the governments of the two countries. Traffic between South Africa and Mozambique has been on a steady increase since the advent of democracy in the RSA and the end of the civil war in Mozambique. The home affairs department and the government of Mozambique have decided to extend the closing time by three more hours and from this week the gate stay open until ten at night.
Mozambique, Zimbabwe agree to re-demarcate border (Swazi Observer, 02/10) - Mozambique and Zimbabwe have agreed to re-demarcate their border in the wake of reports of illegal land occupations on both sides, a senior Mozambique officer said Tuesday. "We have agreed to re-demarcate the entire border in order to end border, violations, mostly by farmers and prevent any major land conflicts," said Elias Mucombo, head of Mozambique's land management directorate DINAGECA. Mucombo said technical teams from both countries would start "reconnaissance missions" in early October so that work can begin in November on the 1 134-kilometre-long (roughly 700-mile-long) border.
Cross-border smuggling with Zimbabwe and Swaziland (Maputo, AIM, 01/10) -Mozambican police in the central province of Manica have seized about four tonnes of contraband sugar, smuggled into the country from Zimbabwe, reports Wednesday's issue of the Beira daily "Diario de Mocambique". According to Pedro Jemusse, head of public relation in the Manica provincial police command, the sugar was seized in areas of Sussundenga and Mossurize districts, near the border with Zimbabwe. It had been stored in huts, preparatory to distribution and sale. The smuggling of sugar from Zimbabwe, made artificially cheap by the Zimbabwean government's exchange rate policy, is a major threat to Mozambique's own sugar producers. Vast sums have been spent on rehabilitating the Mozambican sugar industry, particularly the mill at Marromeu on the south bank of the Zambezi, which had been thoroughly sabotaged by the apartheid- backed Renamo rebels in 1986. This investment could all be wasted if the Mozambican producers are unable to sell on the domestic market because of unfair competition from contraband. Jemusse claimed that the smuggling of sugar, cigarettes and alcoholic drinks from Zimbabwe has been on the decline in recent months. He attributed this to joint Mozambican/Zimbabwean police patrols along the border. Further south, police sources say smuggling is getting worse along the border with Swaziland. Anibal Bachir, police commander in Namaacha district, said the smugglers are breaking through the border fence, and carrying quantities of sugar, meat, maize flour, potatoes and drinks, amongst other produce, for sale on the informal markets in Maputo. Last week alone the Namaacha police caught 50 smugglers who had violated the border fence.
University of Namibia concludes probe into fake papers (The Namibian, 31/10) - The University of Namibia (Unam) has concluded its internal investigation into allegations that several students, mostly from Angola, were studying at the institution with fake Grade 12 certificates. Unam Director of Communication and Marketing, Edwin Tjiramba, told The Namibian this week that the report of the internal probe team, with recommendations, will be discussed at a special meeting of the Unam Senate, scheduled for mid-November. "When it comes to academic matters the university management cannot take decisions. The Senate is the highest decision-making committee of the (Unam) Council on academic matters and will be expected to pronounce itself on the report to be tabled," Tjiramba said. The Namibian two months ago disclosed how a large number of Angolan students had for years been using fake Grade 12 qualifications to study at Unam. Information obtained by The Namibian pointed to the existence of a shady syndicate, comprising Angolan nationals and some Unam staff, which allegedly sold fake Angolan "matric" certificates with inflated pass marks to gain access to the university. Since the scandal was unearthed, only one person has been arrested and charged with the crime. Tjiramba could not speculate on the possible action to be taken against any student found guilty. But, sources have hinted that dozens of Angolan students could be expelled from the institution if found to be linked to the scam.
Border campaigner turns up (Oshakati, The Namibian, 27/10) - Erastus Nghifoovo, an official with a group campaigning for Namibia's northern border to be shifted, has turned up at Oshakati - about two weeks after he was reported missing.Nampa reported yesterday that Nghifoovo, Secretary of The Age of March (Tagoma), had been away in the Kavango Region and in Windhoek.Fears were expressed about Nghifoovo's safety after the leader of Tagoma, Bernard Nakale Shevanyenga, was murdered at Oshikuku in the Omusati Region two weeks ago.Nghifoovo's family reported him missing to the Police in the week after Shevanyenga's murder on October 11.Nghifoovo claimed to Nampa that Swapo leaders in the Omusati Region had threatened that Tagoma leaders would be killed.He said the assassination threats were followed by a Swapo-led demonstration outside his and Shevanyenga's houses at Oshikuku in March this year.Tagoma "is a civil organisation, not a political party to challenge Swapo.But they kept on threatening us, calling us names and even called on us to leave Oshikuku," Nghifoovo charged.He said the organisation would not give up its campaign to have the Namibia-Angola border shifted up to 300 km inside Angola.Nghifoovo denied that he went into hiding following the murder of Shevanyenga, adding that he left the North in September on a Tagoma mission to Windhoek and the Kavango Region.Nghifoovo told Nampa that he arrived in the North on Thursday and had been at Oshakati since then, as he feared for his safety at Oshikuku.* Last week Congress of Democrats (CoD) leader Ben Ulenga asked Minister of Home Affairs, Jerry Ekandjo, to inform the National Assembly on progress made towards catching those who killed Shevanyenga."Given the raging controversy around this tragic incident, can the Minister share with this House any information regarding the progress made in resolving the crime, and bringing before the courts of law those involved in the killing," Ulenga asked on Thursday.The CoD President also asked Prime Minister Theo-Ben Gurirab to explain how Government views Tagoma and its legal status in Namibia.Shevanyenga (33) was gunned down in cold blood at his cuca shop at Oshikuku, about 30 km from Oshakati, on October 11.The murder was carried out by three men armed with AK-47 rifles.Human right activists in the North have not ruled out the possibility that the Tagoma leader might have been assassinated.The Prime Minister and Ekandjo are both expected to respond to Ulenga's queries next week.
Namibian treason trial starts (Grootfontein, News24, 27/10) - A trial of 121 Namibians accused of killing 13 people during a secessionist bid in 1999 started Monday, but the case was adjourned after arcane legal arguments. The hearing opened with an application by 13 of the suspects who claimed they were abducted by Namibian security forces from Zambia and Botswana where they had fled after the attempt to establish the independence of the northeastern Caprivi region. They told the hearing at the Grootfontein High Court, 500 kilometres (300 miles) northeast of Windhoek, that they were illegally held by Namibian security forces for six months before appearing in a court. The application was opposed by Deputy Prosecutor General Herman January. "We ... argued that it was a criminal court case and not a civil matter", January told AFP. "Judge Elton Hoff must give a ruling on that Tuesday morning," he said. The secessionists attacked Katima Mulilo in the Caprivi Strip on August 2, 1999 with rocket launchers, mortars and assault rifles. A police station, border post, the offices of the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation, a military base and a bank came under attack in the regional capital of the finger-shaped stretch of land north of Botswana. Of the original 132 Caprivi suspects, 11 have died in custody. On October 16, 2003 former police officer Oscar Lupalezwi, who had sued the state for severe torture after alleged beatings, became the latest suspect to die. The accused face 275 charges each, sprawled over 370 pages, including high treason, murder, attempted murder and sedition. They met for the first time with their defence counsel -- five attorneys from Zambia and Zimbabwe and four from Namibia -- for one hour in the courtroom on May 6, when the trial was postponed to October 27. The directorate of legal aid in the Namibian justice ministry looked for defence lawyers outside Namibia because they said Namibian lawyers were too expensive.
Malaysian factory takes aim at critics (Windhoek, The Namibian, 24/10) -The billion-dollar Ramatex Textile Factory yesterday moved to counter recent criticisms of its operations in Windhoek. The factory says charges levelled against it are unfair. "Ramatex does not claim to be perfect and where it has made some inadvertent mistakes, it is prepared to correct them," the company said in a statement yesterday. The response follows hot on the heels of a report last week on the labour situation at the factory, released by the Labour Research and Resource Institute (LaRRI). The report criticised working conditions at the factory and charged that violations of Namibian laws were being deliberately overlooked by Government. Several directors and the Ramatex Berhad Company's Chairman Datuk Zahid took President Sam Nujoma on his first tour of the factory yesterday. Zahid assured the media of the factory's longevity. He said the company's massive financial investment in the factory, which employs about 7 000 people, was testimony to this. Zahid said although the factory enjoyed full political support from Government, it did not receive any special treatment other than being part of the Export Processing Zone. He denied claims that workers were underpaid, and said wages were based on the performance, productivity and the skills of the employee. Zahid said the factory had set aside N$50 million for training. He challenged Namibian institutions to also start training textile workers. "The unskilled trainees are being paid N$1,50 per hour for training. This may be viewed by certain quarters as low and exploitative. However one fails to realise that the consumable-like fabrics used during training are costly," said Zahid. Trade and Industry Minister Jesaya Nyamu added that "rather than be vilified as exploitative, Ramatex should be recognised for its tangible contribution to the provision of modern industrial skills to a largely unskilled labour force". He claimed that the findings of the LaRRI report were based on a random sample of seemingly disgruntled employees. Ramatex officials also tried to dispel environmental concerns - even before the factory was built, fears were expressed that such a vast operation could damage the environment. The findings of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) have never been made public. Some have subsequently questioned whether a properly conducted environmental impact assessment (EIA) actually exists. According to Ramatex Executive Director in charge of the Namibian operations, Albert Lim, an EIA was submitted to the City of Windhoek. He maintained it was not common practice to publicise such information as it contained valuable and sensitive material. Lim said assessments were also being conducted by foreign consultants on a regular basis, with the last one in April. "We will continue to take all possible precautions and investigative actions to prevent any adverse environmental impact to mother nature. All possible threats are taken up in our scenario analysis and environmental research". Lim claimed that experts in southern Africa exercised bias when conducting environmental assessments and so "impartial" Danish consultants had been contracted for this work. By next year, the factory should employ as many as 10 000 workers who will contribute to increasing its current monthly exports from about N$50 million to N$72 million worth of garments.
Border man still missing (The Namibian, 24/10) - He disappeared over four weeks ago.Police at both Oshikuku and Oshakati told The Namibian that they have not received any information on the whereabouts of Nghifoovo.He is the Secretary of The Age of March (Tagoma), which wants the Namibian-Angolan border to be shifted northwards.Tagoma's Chairman Bernardo Nakale Shevanyenga (33) was shot to death at his cuca shop at Oshikuku in the Omusati Region on October 11, this year by three gunmen.No arrests have been made.* The Congress of Democrats (CoD) has condemned the murder of Shevanyenga .In a statement this week, the CoD said the murder of Shevanyenga tarnished the progress which Namibia had made in the last 13 years towards a multi-party democracy.The CoD Liaison Officer Agapitus Hausiku said the recent killing portrayed a culture of intolerance.He said if anyone believed that killing and abducting people can resolve issues then they should think again.The CoD called on the Government, particularly the Namibian Police, to apprehend the culprits and bring them to book.
Caprivi accused cry foul (Windhoek, The Namibian, 23/10) - Thirteen of the 121 remaining accused in the Caprivi high treason trial plan to claim on Monday that they were abducted to Namibia and unlawfully kept in custody for as long as six months before they first appeared in court. Defence lawyers acting for the 13 men last Monday pulled out a potential ace that they had been holding up their sleeves for the past five months. One of the defence team, Patrick Kauta, filed an application giving notice that they will ask the High Court at Grootfontein to find that it lacks jurisdiction over the 13. Monday marks the start of the long-delayed treason trial. Some of the 13 are believed to be principal figures in the case, accused of having spearheaded an alleged plot to force the secession of the Caprivi Region from Namibia. They include suspected Caprivi Liberation Army commander John Samboma, and a group of accused who it is claimed were among the masterminds of the alleged Caprivi separatist movement. The accused, including a former Namibian Broadcasting Corporation announcer, the late Stephen Mamili, were brought to Namibia from Zambia shortly after alleged members of a separatist movement in the Caprivi Region were blamed for surprise armed attacks at Katima Mulilo on August 2 1999. The leader of the prosecution team that will represent the State during the trial, Deputy Prosecutor General Herman January, said from Grootfontein this week that the prosecution had received notice of the application and were working on a reply. January said the defence's application would be opposed.
Apart from asking the court to find it lacks jurisdiction, the defence will ask it to declare that the 13 men's "apprehension and abduction" from Zambia and Botswana and their transportation to Namibia - as well as their arrest and detention in Namibia - were in breach of international law, wrongful and unlawful. All the affidavits on which the application is based were made on May 13 this year. Four of the 13, including Samboma, claim in their affidavits that they were illegally abducted to Namibia from Zambia on November 6 1999. The four - Samboma, Richard Libano Misuha, Oscar Muyuka Kushaluka Puteho and Richard John Samati - claim that they were secretly detained at the Grootfontein military base from November 7 1999 to April 29 2000, when they were moved to Grootfontein Prison. They made their first court appearance on May 2 2000 - almost six months late in terms of the Constitution. The Constitution says that, except during a declared state of emergency, all arrested people must be brought before a court within 48 hours. During their detention at the military base, Misuha, Puteho and Samati claim, they were kept in handcuffs for some six months, disallowed all visits, and intimidated into making statements.Samboma claims to have been kept in handcuffs for four months - until, he says, the International Committee of the Red Cross was advised of his "unlawful arrest" and started to investigate his whereabouts. Samboma claims this was followed by his secret transfer from the military base to the Grootfontein Prison one night in April 2000, before his first court appearance. That first appearance, along with Misuha, Puteho and Samati, on May 2 2000 took place in camera. It was only on July 31 2000 that the Police first publicly confirmed they had arrested Samboma - who had been depicted as one of the top figures in the alleged Caprivi separatism movement - and claimed the arrest had taken place on April 29 2000. The leader of the investigation team working on the case, Deputy Commissioner Abraham Maasdorp, did not want any other information about the arrest of the Sambomba four and three other suspects revealed at that stage, describing such information as "critical and sensitive". The other suspects who will contest the court's jurisdiction on Monday are Thaddeus Siyoka Ndala, Martin Siyano Tubaundule, Oscar Nyambe Puteho, Moses Limbo Mushwena and Charles Mafenyaho Mushakwa - the remaining members of the so-called Mamili group, who claim to have been brought to Namibia on August 7 1999, after having been abducted from Zambia; Fred Maemelo Ziezo and Andreas Mulupa, who claim to have been abducted from Zambia on December 22 1999; Charles Kalipa Samboma, who says he was abducted from Zambia on March 19 2001; and Osbert Mwenyi Likanyi, who claims he was illegally brought from Botswana to Namibia last December.
Transfer of immigration function to police (The Namibian, 23/10) - The case in which the Namibia Public Workers' Union (Napwu) took the Home Affairs Ministry to court over plans to transfer the functions of immigration officials to the Police has been called off. Yesterday the two parties announced that instead they intend to discuss the matter afresh through collective bargaining in accordance with their recognition agreement. In July there was an outcry among the country's estimated 400 immigration officials who protested against the Ministry's move, accusing Minister Jerry Ekandjo of unilaterally changing their conditions of service. They accused him of ignoring legislation governing their employment. But the Minister said he was merely carrying out a Cabinet resolution. When the matter went to court for the first time early last month, Government agreed to halt any moves that would lead to a transfer of duties until the dispute was heard before the High Court - originally scheduled to start yesterday. "No step shall be taken to implement any earlier decision relating to the functions presently performed by the Immigration Officers," Napwu Secretary General Petrus Nevonga told a media briefing. He added that "a final decision as to the structure relating to those functions shall only be taken and processed after the exhaustion of collective bargaining". Risto Kapenda, President of the umbrella union body, the Namibian Union of Namibian Workers' (NUNW), denied that the settlement was a compromise, saying the decision was based on compliance with legislation. "Laws are made to be obeyed. Procedures are not to be sidelined. This should be seen as a process being followed. The labour movement is not adverse to the state. We are social partners. We are moving in the same direction to see to the needs of our people," said Kapenda. But Home Affairs Permanent Secretary, Niilo Taapopi, who was present at the joint announcement, was reluctant to comment on why the Ministry did not engage in collective bargaining on the matter from the outset. He maintained that the plans were still being considered "in-house". Taapopi also said he was not in a position to comment on an earlier announcement by Ekandjo that draft legislation to facilitate the revamp was already in the pipeline. In the court papers, Ekandjo charged that Kapenda was in fact behind the proposal to reorganise the unit.
However, Kapenda yesterday defended his position. He said while he was party to a decision taken at a Swapo congress to recognise the Home Affairs Ministry as a "special" and "sensitive" one which was more selective in its choice of staff, he did not suggest a transfer of duties. "It's us [Swapo Central Committee] who initiated this resolution. We don't want to see every Tom, Dick and Harry given the responsibility of the security of the country. We don't want unscreened people, maybe even those with convictions work there and tomorrow they are selling our documents to foreigners. To keep control we need specific selected people. It can't be accessible to all," he told the media. Nevonga said that this most recent decision had already been communicated to the Secretary to Cabinet and that the first consultative meeting on the matter had already been held. Union officials did not want to commit themselves to a time frame for ironing out the matter, but gave an assurance that the affected employees were well informed on the process and that everything would be done to ensure they were happy with the outcome of the collective bargaining process.
Osire camp calm after disturbance (Johannesburg, Irin, 21/10) - The office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees is preparing to repatriate about 200 Angolans from the Osire refugee camp in Namibia. The repatriation process has been going on for some months, UNHCR spokesman Hesdy Radhling told IRIN, and 3,480 refugees have been returned to Angola from the camp so far this year. In July, when UNHCR issued ration cards, it registered over 15,000 refugees in Osire camp.The Osire camp was the scene of unrest on Friday last week, after a dispute over ration cards erupted, but UNHCR said the situation in the camp had returned to normal. The disturbance was sparked when the agency wanted to verify ration cards, as some refugees may have been in possession of ration cards issued to persons who had already been repatriated. "It does happen, especially now - with the repatriation we find refugees in the camp with one or more ration card. Of course, you have to account for that. When they present themselves it has to be verified - at least 248 ration cards needed to be verified. After verification it appeared that the majority of them were indeed genuine. So we said, 'Go and collect your food,' but about 24 cards were found to be dubious", Radhling explained. "We could not find [the 24 ration cards] in the database," he added. The refugees concerned would not allow UNHCR to keep the "dubious" ration cards to do a proper verification, which led to the disturbance at the camp. "A few students were agitating, and then started throwing stones. At that moment my colleague, of course, felt threatened and called in the police for protection. Police then attempted to control the crowd, and what I understand is that a pistol accidentally went off and wounded a student, who is now out of danger after being treated," Radhling said. A few windows were broken during the disturbance, but otherwise the UNHCR office was operational. "The point is also that those who were afraid they would be caught with fraudulent ration cards are the ones who had caused the problem - it was a handful of people," he commented. UNHCR held a meeting with refugee leaders on Tuesday "to explain the situation properly. Everything went well and the refugees apologised for not having themselves [under] control"."The remaining people who [did not receive food on Friday] are now receiving food. In the meantime, we are also preparing for repatriation. We have two teams at the camp - one doing distribution and one preparing the convoy to be leaving tomorrow," Radhling said.
Home affairs to revive old border post in the north (Ondangwa, The Namibian, 20/10) -Government plans to revive the old Omuvelo wa Kashamane border post between Oshikango and Omahenene in the Omusati Region. Deputy Director of Immigration, Nkrumah Mushelenga, told The Namibian last week that residents of Omusati, especially business people, had appealed to the governments of Angola and Namibia to re-open the border. "I think the residents have a point and reason to demand the declaration of Omuvelo wa Kashamane to a full immigration and customs border post. Oshikango (in the east of Kashamane) and Mahenene (in the west) are far from Omuvelo wa Kashamane where you have many people travelling to and and from Angola," the Home Affairs official said. Mushelenga said Government had already agreed to requests for the Kashamane border post to be upgraded and officially proclaimed. Mushelenga said it was now just a matter of finding financial resources to restructure the border post. Earlier this year, villagers, led by the Vice Chairman of the Omusati Region branch of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), Robby Amadhila, held a meeting at Onandjaba village at which it was agreed to push Government to consider re-opening the Kashamane border post.
Chaos erupts at Osire Refugee Camp (Windhoek, The Namibian, 20/10) - One person was shot and several injured when Police fired at refugees protesting over food distribution at the Osire refugee camp on Friday morning. Rioting refugees smashed the windows of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office at the camp and broke the doors. It was unclear late yesterday how many refugees were involved. The UNHCR said "only a handful" took part, while the National Society of Human Rights (NSHR), quoting its sources on the ground, said in the region of 300 refugees rioted. UNHCR representative at Osire, Darlinda Thomas, whom the refugees accuse of causing the riot, was removed to safety after Police had called in reinforcements from Otjiwarongo. Police Spokesperson Warrant Officer Christopher Munyika confirmed that Angolan national Antonio Lucas (21) was injured when Police shot into the air to disperse the angry crowd. He was injured in the right collarbone and has been hospitalised at Otjiwarongo. Munyika said Lucas was not shot at intentionally and a case of attempted murder is being investigated. Trouble began to brew on Thursday when the organisation that distributes food to the refugees, Africare, reportedly told Angolans that they would not receive food immediately because there was uncertainty over who should receive food. The leader of the refugees' committee at Osire, Jorge Manuel, said through an interpreter that the food distribution was halted after it became apparent that a list the UNHCR had provided contained names of people who had already been repatriated to Angola, but omitted some people who were still living in the camp. Manuel said he had been asked to tell the refugees that the UNHCR was preparing a new list but the people insisted on going with him to the offices of the agency. He claims that on the way there, stones were thrown at him. "Then the Police came to intervene to disperse the crowd. Then one Policeman opened fire" and the bullets "unfortunately landed on someone," said Manuel. "When they [the crowd] saw someone was shot they started to throw stones at all the offices. They entered the UNHCR offices destroyed windows and took chairs". Afterwards the Police shot in the air, witnesses said, as they pushed the crowds away. The rioters consisted mainly of secondary school students. It is not clear how many people were injured or what kind of injuries they sustained. One of the refugees, Souleymane Kabwe, blamed the UNHCR, saying the agency not only submitted a wrong list, but was allegedly arrogant when it came to clarifying the matter. Other sources indicated that some refugees attempted to obtain food rations with fraudulent cards on Thursday and were told to wait until the next day so that the details could be verified.UNHCR spokesperson in Windhoek, David Nthengwe, said yesterday that it had been difficult to ascertain the details of the incident over the weekend, but that it appeared the situation had returned to normal. "The UNHCR can't comment on the situation. Everything has been done to calm the camp," Nthengwe said.
Malaysian firm criticized for employment standards (Windhoek, The Namibian, 17/10) - One of Namibia's biggest foreign investments, Ramatex, is contributing to a greater number of "working poor" in Namibia, instead of uplifting living standards through job creation. This is a key finding in a report on the social and economic implications of the Malaysian-run Ramatex textile and garment factory, released by the Labour Research and Resource Institute (LaRRI) in Windhoek yesterday. The report says the meagre wages paid to the more than 7 000 Namibian workers - an average of about N$500 a month - means most of them are unable to meet their basic needs. This is compared to the more than N$120 million in public funds spent on setting up factory infrastructure - translating to the salaries of all workers for 34 months. The LaRRI report, 'Ramatex: On the Other Side of the Fence', says if the problems experienced by the factory's workers are not addressed, the company is likely to witness future conflicts. "Many conflicts and tensions at the factory are unresolved as they are dealt with at a 'political level' rather than addressing the root causes of the problems," the report says. LaRRI says unless Namibia can be guaranteed of the long-term sustainability of decent jobs by Ramatex, the huge public investments could be better spent on other job creation programmes. "There is no doubt that Ramatex enjoys a 'special status' in Namibia that is not awarded to any other company. Ramatex did not only receive an enormous amount of Government support and subsidies, but also enjoys full political backing in its dealings with workers, trade unions, environmental groups, etc. "They can move tomorrow if they like. But we must ensure that Namibia is in a position to develop the industry if they go. Government needs to become more selective about their types of investment," LaRRI Director Herbert Jauch said. With its mobile infrastructure and many other countries standing in line to attract foreign investment, there is a reasonable threat that the factory could shut down its operations at any time. Just two weeks ago, the company closed down operations in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, leaving 2 500 workers stranded.
The sole recognised bargaining agent for the Ramatex factory workers in Namibia, the Namibia Food and Allied Workers' Union (Nafau), comes under fire in the report for not negotiating better salaries and working conditions for its more than 6 000 members. Some of those interviewed by LaRRI, who were employed elsewhere before joining Ramatex, longed for their old jobs, saying they were paid and treated better than they are at the factory. "I am not impressed by Nafau; they only make us lose our jobs ... when we have a dispute, Nafau is never siding with the workers, but with the company," one employer is quoted as saying in the report. Said another: "Life is more difficult now than when I was with my previous employer". Workers interviewed for the study also indicated that they were suffering from health-related problems which they believe they have sustained as a result of their working conditions and want to be issued with protective clothing. Although the factory management still has to be provided with copies of the investigation, Nafau's General Secretary Cuana Angula is familiar with the document and allegations levelled against his organisation. While not denying that more can be done to improve the overall well-being of factory workers, he maintains the union is doing what it can to help its members. "You will find that issues are coming up. They are being addressed. They can't be solved in a day. We can do what's in our capacity," he said at yesterday's launch of the report. He said that the problems experienced at Ramatex were not unique, and that similar hassles, especially when it came to the recognition and role of unions, were the case with Ramatex subsidiaries elsewhere in the world. "We have to learn about the company. We are dealing with it. You will see the results at the end of the day," says Angula. LaRRI says policy makers should not ignore the plight of workers with the attitude that they 'should be grateful to have any job at all'. The research unit recommends that Government review its Export Processing Zone (EPZ) policy to ensure that investments really do promote socio-economic development in Namibia instead of draining natural resources. Supporting calls by environmental rights' groups, the report also recommends that the Environmental Impact Assessment study on Ramatex be made public so that possible threats and the mitigation thereof can be discussed. If such a study does not exist, one should be carried out, it says. Ramatex Berhad has subsidiaries in China, Mauritius, Namibia and until recently South Africa, which produce fabrics and garments for famous fashion brands such as Nike, Adidas and Puma.
Spokesman for border group goes missing (Windhoek, The Namibian, 17/10) -An official with The Age of March (Taom), an organisation demanding that the Namibian-Angolan border be shifted northwards, has been reported missing. News of Erastus Nghifoovo's disappearance follows the murder of the organisation's leader, Bernardo Nakale Shevanyenga, last Saturday. Nghifoovo has been missing for about four weeks The Police at Oshikuku told The Namibian that Nghifoovo's family had reported him missing on Tuesday this week. He was last seen in the Oshikuku area. "Nobody knows what could have happened to him. The Police are investigating and looking for him," said a Policeman at Oshikuku. Nghifoovo was the Secretary to Shevanyenga, who was gunned down near his house on Saturday evening. Three men are suspected of carrying out the murder. Shevanyenga's aunt, Kafute Shalumbu, told The Namibian that so far no senior members of Taom had visited to pay their respects. "We are really worried and find it strange that none of them has turned up to mourn their leader," Shalumbu said. When approached for comment, Police Liaison Officer for the Oshana and Omusati Regions, Warrant Officer Samuel Hamukonda, said that the Police are still investigating and no arrests have been made so far. He said the Police had opened a case of murder. Family members of the slain Shevanyenga said that his killing had been planned because the alleged killers had been spotted in the Oshikuku area in the days before the shooting. Shalumbu said that the alleged killers visited Shevanyenga last Friday and even asked him to help them to recharge their cellphones. They then came back on Saturday night, woke him up and went to drink beers with him in his cuca shop. After that they shot him dead and fled the scene. Sources said they went to the Ruacana-Oshakati canal where they washed the blood away, apparently as part of a traditional belief, before driving in a van towards Oshakati. Shevanyenga, who was an employee at the Oshikuku Roman Catholic Mission, is survived by two children, Shevanyenga ya Shevanyenga (4) and Nduulukweeshi Shevanyenga (2 months) and his girlfriend Paulina Atiloto. Taom wants the border to be shifted from north of the Kwanyama tribe's communal areas to inside Angola. Members of the Kwanyama tribe live on both sides of the border which was decided by colonial powers in 1884.
Home Affairs passport scam (The Namibian, 14/10) - The four foreign nationals who confessed to buying the Namibian documents from the official have, however, been convicted in a court.The spokesman in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Mikka Asino, confirmed that Oxy Hango Amunyela was found guilty of "negligently issuing" the passports to the four foreign nationals who were arrested at the Hosea Kutako International Airport in July last year.The hearing at which the arrested refugees fingered Amunyela was conducted in November last year.The arrest of the four foreign nationals in the case has exposed the Ministry of Home Affairs to lawsuits of more than N$1,2 million.But the internal disciplinary case has left the Ministry of Home Affairs far from cracking what a top official last year described as a "racket" involving Civic Affairs' employees colluding with foreigners to obtain Namibian passports."The issue of passports being illegally issued through the Ministry of Home Affairs was not an isolated incident," said Norman Tjombe, a lawyer at the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC), who is representing the four refugees who are now suing Government for illegal detention.The passports, often issued in the names of Namibians, are said to cost between N$500 and N$14 000.A formal passport application costs only N$160.Amunyela's lawyer, Chris Brandt, yesterday said all charges against his client were dismissed but that he was found guilty on a charge that had not been brought against him.He remains suspended.Brandt declined to elaborate, saying they were still waiting for the finalisation of the case by the Home Affairs Permanent Secretary.It was reported that seven people had been arrested in connection with the passport scam.However, Tjombe said his clients had told him they knew nothing about the three other people who were detained with them."There were two separate incidents, which point to the fact that internal investigation by the Ministry is not being done properly, or certain people with knowledge about these illegal processes are not being dealt with firmly," said Tjombe.Brandt confirmed that at the hearing the refugees said Amunyela sold passports at N$500 each.They accused Amunyela of handling more than a dozen passports for which they had paid.The refugees are now suing Government for N$300 000 each alleging illegal detention after they were kept in jail without trial for more than nine months.Joao James Mafuta, who runs a church in Windhoek, Daniel Akinda Nsombo Fils, Paciencia Maria Mawete and Maria Teresa Ntonto Ndongala, contend in papers filed in the High Court that they were subjected to arbitrary detention without being charged within 48 hours.They all have refugee status.They were only charged with the crimes in April when they also made the first appearance.The court case against the refugees was concluded in July this year, a year after their arrest.The Government attorney has denied that the refugees were unlawfully detained, arguing that they were detained in terms of the Immigration Control Act."The plaintiff had no right to be brought before a Magistrate within the time alleged or at all, and that ... immigration officials had a right to detain plaintiff for a period of 14 days each time at the pleasure and unfettered discretion of [the] Minister...," the Government Attorney argues in the papers filed with the High Court.But Tjombe described the section giving the Minister of Home Affairs the right to extend people's detention as "draconian and perhaps unconstitutional"."If you look at this case, investigations into illegal passport were concluded in November last year and they should have put in motion a mechanism to insure their [refugees'] release," said Tjombe.
Border activist gunned down (Windhoek, The Namibian, 13/10) - BernardD Nakale Shevanyenga (33), leader of a group of Namibians campaigning for the Namibia-Angola border to be moved, was gunned down in cold blood on Saturday night.Human rights representatives, as well as sources in the North, have not ruled out the possibility that Shevanyenga may have been assassinated. Three well-dressed suspects arrived at Shevanyenga's residence, about two kilometres south of Oshikuku, at around 22h00 and asked him to open his cuca shop and serve them drinks.Director of the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR), Phil ya Nangoloh, told The Namibian yesterday that NSHR monitors in the North informed him that four shots were fired at Shevanyenga at close range. "One bullet hit him in the chest to the left side, another one hit him in the left arm and the third bullet went through his left hand. The fourth shot missed. The suspected assassins then fled the scene in a vehicle, being a white light pick-up," Ya Nangoloh said. Both human rights and Police sources said an AK-47 assault rifle was used in the killing. Police spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner Hophni Hamufungu, said the motive for the killing was not clear but the NSHR did not rule out a political motive. The late Shevanyenga was Chairman of The Age of March (Tagoma), an organisation campaigning for the Namibian-Angolan border to be shifted from north of the Kwanyama tribe's communal areas to inside Angola. In a statement he released on March 22 this year, Shevanyenga said the Tagoma leaders were "told that they are going to be killed, especially at Oshikuku". Followers of Tagoma were also warned that they would face the consequences of supporting the group. Members of the Kwanyama tribe live on both sides of the artificial border which was designated in 1884. The Kwanyama people are the largest of the Owambo groups living on both sides of the border. The tribe is best known for its heroic armed resistance against Portuguese and British-South African colonialists until 1917 when their leader, King Mandume ya Ndemufayo, committed suicide, rather than be captured by the enemy. In February this year, disgruntled Swapo Party members, led by Regional Co-ordinator, Titus Kanyele, and Oshikuku-based District Co-ordinator, Olivia Matheus, reportedly marched to the homes of Shevanyenga and Tagoma Secretary General Erastus Valombola Nghifoovo. The demonstrators reportedly accused the two Tagoma officials of tribalism and war-mongering. They said warmongers would not be tolerated in Namibia. Ya Nangoloh said there was no evidence that suggested that Swapo or the Government were responsible for the killing, which has shocked the local community. Shevanyenga was a single parent with two children, aged four years and two months, family sources said. Yesterday afternoon the Police were still searching for the suspects.
Asian workers face boot from hostel (Windhoek, The Namibian, 03/10) - Asian workers of the Ramatex Textile Factory who are "squatting" at the Government-owned Philip Troskie hostel in Windhoek's Uhland street, will be ordered to vacate the building a senior official has said. The Works, Transport and Communication Ministry, which is in charge of taking care of the building, is trying to get to the bottom of the workers' illegal occupation of the old hostel. It is not clear exactly how many factory employees reside there, although security guards and surrounding residents estimate the number to be more than 50. The building, previously owned by TransNamib, was bought by the Works Ministry almost a year ago. For the past five months, it has been inhabited by the factory's workers without the permission of Government. Works Deputy Director for Fixed Assets, Robert Kalomoh, told The Namibian that he was struggling to obtain clarity from the factory itself as to the deal they struck to occupy the building. His telephonic inquiries proved fruitless, and he was turned away from the factory premises."But whether they like it or not, they will have to move out. They are not allowed to be there," said Kalomoh. The Ministry was alerted about their presence following complaints from residents in the surrounding area. Dustbins are often overflowing on the pavements outside, clothes are hung out to dry on the fences, water flows freely down the streets on washing days and hordes of material lies strewn in the backyard. In April this year, The Namibian reported that the building was being used as a quarantine centre for Chinese workers who arrived in Namibia at the height of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in the Far East. At this point what is known about the Asians' occupation, is that a certain Aziz Kyababa, who was given permission to use two store-rooms in the building, offered the building for rent to the Ramatex Factory. Kalomoh has established that Kyababa also paid for the water and electricity to be reconnected. Kyababa has apparently struck a deal with Ramatex to provide accommodation for some of its workers, and while this is being done, offered them the hostel to live in. Kalomoh could not say whether his Ministry intends to take action against Kyababa. "It's a matter we have to look into," he said. It was the Works Ministry's intention to keep the building vacant pending negotiations with the Environment and Tourism Ministry, which has expressed interest in using the building.
Cross-border thefts from Botswana (The Namibian, 02/10) - Aminuis residents are bracing for more hard times in the face of a new livestock quarantine following allegations that cattle from Botswana have been smuggled into Namibia. Animal health officials in the Omaheke Region confirmed yesterday that preliminary investigations indicate that at least seven head of cattle were stolen from Botswana and driven into the Aminuis communal area. Gobabis State Veterinarian, Dr Milton Maseke, yesterday said all cattle at Aminuis were placed under quarantine last week. The move also means that cattle auctions in the area have been suspended indefinitely. The latest development is a serious blow for the livestock-dependent Aminuis community which is already suffering because of a quarantine imposed on small stock earlier this year after an outbreak sheep scab. "We don't know the health status of those animals stolen from Botswana. We had to quarantine the area [Aminuis] in order to prevent transmission of any possible disease in other parts of Namibia," Maseke said. Allegations of cross-border cattle rustling were brought to the attention of the Namibian authorities by their Botswana counterparts last week during the two countries' joint meeting on the common border. On investigation, Namibian authorities discovered holes in the border fence and tracks of cattle driven into Namibia from Botswana. The Police have yet to apprehend the culprits.
Maseke said the Veterinary Department would undertake an animal health inspection campaign in the Aminuis communal area next week before deciding the extent of the risk as well as how long the quarantine should be maintained. The Namibian was told that one of the stolen cattle was slaughtered and four were driven back to Botswana through a new hole cut in the border fence. The remaining two still need to be accounted for. These claims could, however, not be officially verified. Cattle-rustling syndicates along the Namibia-Botswana border seem to be on the increase despite regular patrols by security agencies. Earlier this year Aminuis was also placed under cattle quarantine after similar allegations of cross-border cattle smuggling by some Namibians. The quarantine was lifted a month later after the Police failed to find the animals allegedly stolen from Botswana. The quarantine of small stock in the Aminuis area is still far from being lifted as farmers and the Veterinary Department are yet to agree on an effective vaccination programme against the outbreak of sheep scab. Farmers have called for the quarantine to be lifted, saying the disease has been eradicated. However, veterinary authorities remain adamant that full co-operation from the public was not received during their vaccination campaigns. The outbreak of sheep scab in some settlements was detected in early January and all small stock in the entire communal area were placed under quarantine. Sheep scab is a mite-transmitted skin disease which causes intense itching on the animal, leading to severe loss of weight and ultimately death. Experts say that although goats normally do not suffer from the disease like sheep, they are carriers of the mites.
More Cuban doctors for Seychelles (Seychelles Nation, 29/10) - Cooperation in health between Cuba and Seychelles has received a major boost following the announcement that the number of doctors from the Caribbean island working in Seychelles will be increased. The announcement was made at the end of a recently held session of the Seychelles-Cuba Joint Commission held in the Cuban capital. Health Minister Patrick Pillay led the Seychelles delegation to the talks in Havana, while the Cuban delegation was headed by Marta Lomas, the minister for Foreign Investment and Economic Cooperation. Besides health, other sectors that will see increased cooperation are sports, agriculture, tourism, industry, construction, culture and education. There are 17 Seychellois students currently pursuing their university education in various Cuban institutions. And the Cuban government has reiterated its offer to continue providing training opportunities for young Seychellois students. During their visit to Cuba, Minister Pillay and his delegation also held talks with government officials from the ministries of Public Health, Foreign Affairs and International Trade on issues of mutual interest and concern.
Fighting cross-border crimes (Seychelles Nation, 28/10) - Delegates from nine East African states are in Seychelles this week for an Interpol workshop designed to increase regional cooperation in fighting cross-border crimes. Organised by the Eastern African Police Chief Corporation Organisation (EAPCC) and Interpol’s sub-regional bureau for East Africa (SRB), the week-long workshop, which was officially opened Monday October 27, is hosting officials from police and crime-fighting organisations, including the Seychelles Police Force, at the Berjaya Mahe Beach Hotel. Angel Tamale, a coordinator with the Interpol’s SRB based in Nairobi, said that from a practical point of view, the primary aim of the workshop is to get law enforcement officials from the participating countries, which include South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania and others, conversant with standard Interpol operating procedures. In addition to investigative techniques and conducting joint operations, Mr Tamale said the workshop would teach officials how to communicate and process appropriate information, and also how to interpret and prioritise the certain bits of information needed for specific investigations. The workshop will especially focus on drug trafficking, poaching and the proliferation of firearms, which is considered to be an increasing problem in Africa, he said. The ultimate goal, said Mr Tamale, is to have each country’s National Central Bureau (NCB) operate with the same standards and procedures as Interpol’s international bureau, allowing for seamless integration between NCBs and other bureaus. Mr Tamale said that the Interpol SRB has already scored a number of victories against cross-border crime in East Africa by targeting the region’s main transit points. One such victory was the apprehension of alleged drug trafficker Michel Bibi, a 35-year-old Seychellois man who was handed over to local authorities on August 7 after two years on the run in Kenya. However, Mr Tamale said that many East African countries, including Seychelles, did not yet have the kind of detective equipment for other ports of entry, including the technology for scanning containers, which is highly expensive. Tite Morin, the assistant commissioner for the Seychelles Police, said that the workshop should allow for quicker responses between law enforcement bodies. Designated Minister Joseph Belmont, in an address to officially open the workshop, said that the meeting has come at an opportune time in the wake of increasing illegal activity. “With the development of new technologies, such as the internet and mobile phones, it is becoming easier for criminal acts to be committed across borders,” he said. The Institute for Security Studies, a not-for-profit research body based in Pretoria, South Africa, is sponsoring the workshop.
Immigration officers boost efficiency (Seychelles Nation, 20/10) - Dozens of immigration officers have received certificates of achievement after completing a training course at the Police Academy. The course, which ran from May 5 to October 8, was designed to increase the efficiency of 47 immigration officers so they could better handle the situations they encounter while at work. The certificates were presented in the presence of Police Commissioner Andre Quilindo, director general for immigration, Ronald Fock- Tave, and other immigration officials. According to Mr Fock- Tave, the decision to implement the course was mainly due to new tactics of forgery and the increase of illegal travellers. He said that in order to detect them first-hand, the immigration team needed to reinforce their detection techniques. "This particular occasion marks the accomplishment of yet another training workshop expected to enhance the officers' knowledge and skills at a different level," Mr Fock- Tave said. The workshop participants explored varIous modules in the training course, including supervisory roles, constitutional rights of immigration officers, writing and compiling statements for court actions and investigative techniques in the event of inspecting forged documents. Inasmuch as the course has been made possible with the assistance of the Police Academy, Mr Fock-Tave took the opportunity during his address to express his gratitude towards Commissioner Quilindo for putting his instructors at their disposal, despite having other commitments. He also advised his staff to use wisely all that they had learned at the workshop. On behalf of the participants, immigration officer Franco Govinden thanked the instructors for making the course a success and assured them that they will put into practice what they have picked up during the workshop. Superintendent Jerris Beauchamp, the Commandant of the police academy, pointed out that the Seychelles Police Force always welcomes organisations to seek their assistance. Outside parties are encouraged to follow the example of the immigration department, which Superintendant Beauchamp said has initiated a stepping-stone in the development of a long-term partnership.
Skills flight from SA worsening (Johannesburg, Business Day, 31/10) - SA's professionals are still leaving in their droves, despite assurances by government that they are returning to a stable economy of rising opportunities. Figures released by Statistics SA yesterday suggest that SA's skills crisis is widening and that the brain drain is getting worse. A total of 11671 South Africans emigrated from January to August this year, compared with 8080 during the same period last year. This year's emigrations have already exceeded last year's total of 10890. Most (3119) were from professional, semiprofessional and technical occupations, while large numbers of managerial, executive, sales, clerical and administrative professionals are also being lost to other countries. Europe and North America were the most popular destinations. Labour department spokesman Snuki Zikalala was "surprised" at the figures, "especially because the rand's strength is making global currencies economically unviable. The figures are disheartening, but we know that the majority are coming back," he said. Carol O'Brien of the SA Chamber of Business expressed shock at the figures, saying they should serve as a "wake-up call" for government and business. She could not pin down reasons for the brain drain. "We need to look deeper into why we are losing professionals. The rand is improving, and one would think the dollar and euro will now be a lesser attraction and certainly the cost of living overseas now outweighs the huge packages."Chris van Mellekamp, partner at executive search firm Spencer Stuart, listed the "push factors" as crime, transformation, affirmative action, low salaries, global exposure. "Globally, all nations are competing for the limited number of skilled professionals. "South Africans are hunted and poached because they are well trained, adaptable, and can manage speed and complexities of a knowledge-driven economy," he said.
SA's policy towards refugees praised by UNHCR (Business Day, 29/10) - Among emerging democracies, the South African government has moved faster than the rest to set up measures aimed at addressing the plight of asylum-seekers and immigrants, says the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Assessing SA's response to international conventions that oblige the country to honour the rights of asylum-seekers legal and illegal deputy regional representative of the UNHCR, Fedde Groot, says they have only praise for the government, which gave the problem the priority that it deserved. He says it took SA six years to prepare its immigration and refugee laws, which did not exist before 1994. Immigration policies took four years to draft while temporary measures were put in place to handle the influx of refugees escaping conflict in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Somalia. "There are much older democracies in the developed world that are yet to establish laws that comply with international conventions on refugees, particularly in the manner SA has done in only 10 years of its democracy," says Groot. He says government officials seem open-minded and determined to learn. The process leading to the development of national refugee legislation was characterised by co-operation and openness at the department of home affairs and political will from the entire cabinet. However, says Groot, even with the legal status set up to protect refugees, economic immigrants and asylum-seekers, the UNHCR in SA remains concerned that these families are not protected. The cabinet is expected to extend to families granted refugee status almost all rights relating to social grants, education, health and the right to work. Without access to such services and rights the recognised refugee status is worth little. Home affairs procedures to approve applications for refugee status takes years to be processed, leaving hundreds in a state of a legal limbo. The department says it needs more trained staff to improve service delivery. Groot says efforts to speed up applications suffered setbacks as the department was unable to retain staff and replace them fast enough to reduce backlogs of outstanding and unprocessed applications. In wider society, the UNHCR has been encouraged by President Thabo Mbeki's direct involvement in the campaign to roll back xenophobia. In May 2001 Mbeki called on citizens to be vigilant against "any evidence of xenophobia" against African immigrants. He noted that it was "fundamentally wrong and unacceptable" that South Africans should treat people who came as friends to the country as though they were enemies. The South African Human Rights Commission had identified xenophobia as a major source of concern affecting human rights and democracy in SA. The commission (in partnership with other agencies) had proactively launched a public and media education programme, the Roll Back Xenophobia campaign. Groot says SA should not be too hard on itself. It enacted new immigration laws in 1998 and managed to implement them in 2000. He believes the beneficiaries of these laws could attest to the fact that progress has been phenomenal. "With an understanding that refugee matters are complex world wide, what SA has achieved is truly commendable," he says.
Woman held after false documents seized (The Star, 29/10) - Police have busted a fake travel agency in central Johannesburg and confiscated fraudulent passports and South African identity documents. A 25-year-old Mozambican woman believed to be the owner of the illegal African Travel Agency was arrested during a police operation yesterday. More than 250 fraudulent IDs, driving licences, and birth and marriage certificates were discovered at an office in Jeppe Street. Other documents found on the premises included application forms for IDs, fraudulent letters of acknowledgement from Home Affairs and numerous passport photos. Home Affairs official Dennis Adriao, who accompanied the police during the raid, said the IDs were produced by falsifying original documents, This was done through replacing pictures on the original documents. "The raid was a result of a long.term investigation by the police, led by the Organised Crime Unit," Adriao said. Most of the fraudulent IDs were issued to Mozambican, Indian, Chinese and Nigerian nationals who were in the country illegally. A solution thought to have been used to erase words on the original documents was found with ID pages soaked in it. The woman, together with other suspects believed to be working with her, operated under the pretence of being a travel agency, and promised to assist with visa applications. Her partner, whom officials identified as Norah Kabinda, was last seen on Friday by her office neighbours, who said she had left for a wedding in Mozambique. She was due to return yesterday. Her sister-in-law, who was surprised by the police raid, said: "I was here to visit and I saw the police pounce on the office and search the whole place, I am still shocked."
Home Affairs official in court (Pretoria, BuaNews, 29/10) - A senior Department of Home Affairs official is due to appear at the Musina Magistrates Court in Limpopo this morning for allegedly aiding and abetting immigrants to enter South Africa without legitimate documents. The official, who is based at the Beit Bridge border post at Musina, was arrested yesterday. Spokesperon for the home affairs department Apollo Gopolang says the department will suspend the official and institute disciplinary action against him. The official's arrest comes hot on the heels of a raid yesterday by the Gauteng crime unit on a flat in Johannesburg alledgedly belonging to a syndicate specilising in forging ID's, passports and birth certificates and arrested a woman found on the premises. They consfisticated local and foreign passports, ID's and birth certificates and are busy tracing their originality.
False ID syndicate bust in Joburg raid (Johannesburg, Sapa, 29/10) - A syndicate supplying false South African passports and identity documents was broken on Tuesday when a travel agency in Johannesburg was raided, police said. Inspector Dennis Adriao said the travel agency at the corner of Jeppe and Mooi Streets in downtown Johannesburg was a front for a fake document factory which specialised in providing illegal immigrants and criminals with false identities. A 25-year-old Mozambican woman was arrested during the raid and was being held in custody pending further investigations. As yet no charges had been formulated against her although it was suspected she was a significant figure in the syndicate, Adriao said. More than 150 South African identity books were seized as well as several passports from Mozambique, mainland China, Nigeria and India. A number of documents, including birth certificates, appeared to have originated from the Home Affairs Department and consultations were being held with department officials to determine whether these were genuine documents and if so how they came into the syndicate's possession, Adriao said. Tuesday's raid was conducted by the Soweto crime intelligence unit in conjunction with the West Rand organised crime unit and was the result of a month-long investigation following a tip-off from a member of the public, Adriao said.
Jail and heavy fines for employing illegal immigrants (Pretoria News, 29/10) - Employers in the building industry have been cautioned by police to ensure the bona fides of their employees hired to do contractual work.This comes after information was given to the Pretoria News indicating that a relatively large number of builders, especially in the Brooklyn area, have apparently been employing illegal immigrants and, when bust, are claiming they were not aware of the status of their employees.Dr Snuki Zikalala, spokesman for the Department of Labour, said a passport which was valid for 30 days after the duration of the intended employment contract ended was needed, as well as a valid work permit in order to employ a foreigner.These work permits could only be issued by the Department of Home Affairs after a "positive recommendation by the Department of Labour's provincial office".Currently there is no forum to educate all employers on international and cross-border labour migration issues unless it is in response to a specific inquiry from specific stakeholders.A cross-border labour migration implementation committee has been formed in the department.It includes representatives of business, organised labour and the community, as well as other government departments, including the SAPS, to deal with such issues. So far the committee is only operating in the Free State, Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces. Complaints have been made by Brooklyn residents living near building sites, who have experienced an increase in petty crimes due to, what they say, is the influx of builders.But the department denies this."The department is concerned about the plight of illegal immigrants, because they are particularly vulnerable in the labour market," said Zikalala, adding that any inspections of workplaces for the "presence or absence of illegal residents/labour migrants" were executed by the Department of Home Affairs.According to police spokesman, Captain Piletji Sebola, an employer, if found guilty of contravening the Immigration Act, can face a fine of up to R20 000 depending on the discretion of the court, be held accountable for the legal and deportation fees, or face even imprisonment.The employee - who can also be fined - will be deported by the Department of Home Affairs unless found guilty of committing a crime.The Department of Labour does assist in employment by investigating the availability of resources in the country. If none of the required skills are found within the country, the department will recommend that the employer seeks foreign employees through the Department of Home Affairs.
SA signs health brain drain agreement with UK (BuaNews, 26/10) - South Africa has signed a groundbreaking deal with the United Kingdom, giving an opportunity for health professionals in South Africa to get international exposure. Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and her UK counterpart John Hutton signed the memorandum in London on Friday. It provides a reciprocal educational exchange of health care personnel to mutually benefit the two countries. The deal came on the eve of the historical London Conference that started on Friday to celebrate South Africa's ten year's of freedom and democracy and the triumph of international solidarity over apartheid. The SA High Commission in London is hosting the event that ends today. Speaking at the event, Dr Tshabalala-Msimang said the MOU gave full cognisance to the existing commitment of both countries to ethical workforce policies and practices. To this end both parties will formulate an agreed plan including whereby South African healthcare personnel can spend education and practice period for a limited time in organisations providing national health services in the UK. "This strategy will go a long way in reducing the brain-drain from South Africa while at the same time ensuring that South African health professionals have an opportunity to get international exposure," said the Minister. According to her, a recent study done by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in six countries in Africa showed that in South Africa, the major reason for migration was the desire to get international exposure. She added the agreement, would enable clinical staff from England to work alongside their counterparts in South Africa, benefiting particularly underserved rural areas. Both governments will also cooperate through the exchange of information, best practice and mutually agreed projects on issues relating to professional regulation, training in health care management, clinically excellence, and twinning of hospitals to share best practices and strengthen management. "We believe that these areas are of extreme importance in improving our healthcare systems to the mutual benefit of both our countries. We have embarked on a massive programme of revitalisation and re-engineering of hospitals," said the minister. She said there were innovative programmes in both countries through the formation of public-private partnerships and private finance initiatives. She said the agreement would strengthen the relations that already existed between the two governments and will assist in building a cooperation that is more focused for the benefit of both countries.
SA, UK in doctors and nurses pact (The Mercury, 24/10) - South Africa and Britain will enter a doctor- and nurse-swopping agreement today which they hope will stanch the brain drain of South African health professionals to the United Kingdom.It will allow health professions from both countries to serve for limited periods - possibly up to three years - in each other's countries, acquiring new skills. The British High Commission in Pretoria announced the agreement yesterday.The South African government has complained to the British government since 1998 about its National Health Service actively recruiting South African doctors, nurses and other medical professionals attracted by the strong pound.As a result of the complaints, Britain has toned down active recruitment, but South African health professionals still head for Britain in large numbers. South Africa hopes health professionals will go to the UK under the agreement, earn pounds and learn new skills and then return after a limited time to apply their new skills. Their jobs and pensions will be kept open for them while they are gone to encourage their return.South Africa also hopes that under the agreement many British health professionals will come to South Africa to work especially in the underserved rural areas.Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and her British counterpart, John Hutton, will sign the agreement in London today. - Foreign Editor
Police arrest Home Affairs official (Pretoria News, 23/10) - Agents from the police's national Crime Intelligence Unit swooped on a senior Home Affairs official in Pretoria yesterday, bringing an end to a three-year investigation.The man, who was arrested in his office in Jacob Mare Street yesterday, is believed to be linked to an international human trafficking syndicate responsible for smuggling illegal aliens into South Africa.The arrest comes a day after police held an Atteridgeville resident, who had allegedly been acting as an agent for the syndicate.During the Atteridgeville man's arrest, police seized 16 fake identity documents, six blank temporary South African passports and 1 000 sheets of specially designed paper, allegedly to be used to produce 5 000 fake identity books.Five of the identity books were without photographs, while the remaining 11 had been fitted with photographs.Intelligence agents told the Pretoria News that depending on the quality of the identity documents they could be sold clandestinely for between R5 000 and R15 000.The fake documents seized from the syndicate's alleged Atteridgeville agent were valued at R150 000.Investigators believe the Home Affairs official, who will appear in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on charges of corruption this week, is just one of many corrupt Home Affairs officials working for the Atteridgeville agent.Explaining how the syndicate operated, police said an agent would be "employed" by the human trafficking organisation to bribe Home Affairs officials to supply them with documents needed to bring illegal immigrants into South Africa.The agent then supplied the corrupt official with photographs and names of the illegal immigrants who had been smuggled into the country. The data was then processed and the identity books, usually with the addresses of legitimate South African citizens, were issued to the illegal aliens. National police spokesman Captain Ronnie Naidoo said they were investigating allegations that the arrested Home Affairs official had been supplying the Atteridgeville agent with fake identity documents and passports."We have established that the official, who holds a senior post, was organising and passing on to the agent identity documents, to which he had direct access.""We are also looking at both men's links to international syndicates involved in smuggling illegal aliens into our country," he said.Naidoo said that because of the huge problem of illegal immigrants coming into South Africa, a special police task team had been established.The police were concerned with the high rate of corruption within the Department of Home Affairs. This included the organised theft of identity documents.In the past week, 2 200 identity documents were stolen from Home Affairs offices in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape."One of our biggest concerns is that these stolen and fake identity documents are going to be used to commit fraud in next year's elections," he said.Naidoo said their operation was focusing on corrupt officials "as this is where the root of the very lucrative crime lies".Department of Home Affairs spokesman Appola Gopolang confirmed the arrest and said they were concerned about the problem of corruption in the department."Our department has become a target for criminals, because we provide them with an 'essential service' in that our officials will always be under pressure from criminals," he said.Gopolang said they were introducing tight security measures to clamp down on corrupt officials.
Focus on teaching brain drain (Cape Town, News24, 21/10) - The issue of teacher recruitment from developing countries will be at the heart of discussions next week when Education Minister Kader Asmal leads a senior delegation to the 15th conference of Commonwealth education ministers meeting in Edinburgh. The emphasis at the talks will be on the number of qualified teachers "being poached" from developing countries to work overseas. Department of education deputy director-general Duncan Hindle said a protocol document had been developed by a select committee of education ministers from Africa, Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific in response to the continued poaching of teachers. He said a second part of the protocol dealt with how recruiting countries could possibly compensate source countries for the loss of human resource capacity. Hindle said if the protocol was ratified, it could well serve as "a model for other sectors to consider", alluding to recruitment in the nursing and health profession sectors. He said the document made it clear it could not legally prevent people from recruiting or leaving for overseas teaching posts, but rather sought to get orderly procedures in place. Hindle said the department did not have accurate figures for the number of South African teachers who left to teach overseas, saying this was mainly because teachers were recruited directly from universities before they were on the department's books. However, the protocol addresses this issue and makes provision for up-to-date figures to be kept and disseminated. Meanwhile, the South African Democratic Teachers Union said there was a need to restrict or control the movement of teachers so that developing countries did not suffer from another form of exploitation. Sadtu national deputy president Edwin Pillay said there were two basic problems. One related to the depletion of South Africa's human resources and the other to people leaving for promised good prospects abroad, but then finding themselves at the mercy of recruitment agencies and eventually returning home "quite disillusioned". Dave Balt, president of the National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa, largely echoed Pillay's sentiments. Balt said according to his information Durban had experienced an "enormously high" number of teachers leaving, with Cape Town second and Johannesburg third.
SA needs 40,000 new engineers per annum (Pretoria, BuaNews, 21/10) - The Minister of Science and Technology Ben Ngubane says South African industries need a huge influx of suitably qualified and skilled workers. In this regard, he said an estimated 40 000 engineers per year were needed to replace lost skills and provide the core disciplines to drive the country's economy from a position of strength.Speaking at an Imbizo in Durban today, Dr Ngubane said South Africa could pull off the economic miracle if it could develop the human skills and a culture in which Maths and Science disciplines were automatic and natural. "The country has a desperate need for skilled artisans and other technically oriented disciplines. The educational sector needs to be resourced and realigned as a matter of urgency to bring it more in line with expectations from industry." Failure to address this challenge would result in barriers to growth and lost opportunities continuing to frustrate the development agenda. The minister added that South Africa was ranked number 39 out of a total of 162 countries in terms of technology achievement. He said the broader assessment of development and human development in particular placed the country 94th out of 162 countries, adding the country was not putting technology to work for the broader population. "We need to continue to put technology to work, to generate revenues for our existing industrial base, but we must as a matter of urgency start generating new businesses, service providers that use technology for education, health and particularly to enhance the value of our natural resources before they get into market," he said. Dr Ngubane said before 1994, South Africa had an economy that was strongly orientated to being a "dig it up and ship it out" exporter of raw materials. However after the 1994 elections, the country committed itself to being part of the global village of nations and adopted an open style economy and the principle of engaging in the market on the basis of fair and free competition, thus beginning to reduce various tariff structures. As a result, the science and technology department embarked on a review that examined the research and development capability, capacity and deployment. In this regard, a science and technology policy was formulated in 1995. Minister Ngubane said the role of technology was to produce goods and services for consumption. The goods and services needed to be produced effectively and efficiently for South Africa to compete in world markets. "The challenge to South Africa is to identify opportunities that will create employment, produce a skilled and able workforce, provide an environment of fairness and equity, give everyone access to basic services, capitalize on the country's abundance of key and unique natural resources and create a manufacturing economy that becomes increasingly knowledge based," he said.
Cuban doctors dismayed by court rulings (The Witness, 20/10) - Cuban doctors in South Africa who opted out of the government-to-government contract are baffled by the apparent lack of teeth of court rulings.The Cuban Embassy in Pretoria has now been informed that the work permits of those doctors who opted out have become "null and void". Yet provincial health employers and local regulatory authorities that tried to sack these doctors have suffered defeats in the Labour Court.In court victories in the Pietermaritzburg, Cape Town and Johannesburg courts the doctors' employers were ordered to inform the Registrar of the Health Professions Council of South Africa that they remain employed at their respective hospitals, as there remains a need for their services. The doctors are stunned. A Limpopo doctor, who has been threatened with dismissal, was totally disillusioned. "After the strong judgment [given] by Judge D.J. Pillay, we are utterly confused," he said.In June this year Pillay went as far as labelling as "quite extraordinary" and "smacking of a cover-up", contradictions in affidavits explaining the legal basis for the doctors' deregistration by the HPCSA.Medical and Dental Professions Board chairman Professor Len Becker was one of those singled out by Pillay as responsible for the confusion over "an elementary matter [such] as the legal basis for the registration of the Cuban doctors".Becker's response in last month's SA Medical Journal was that "medical training in Cuba is not as comprehensive as ours and their registration in Cuba is discipline-specific".The doctors don't buy this. "When the Cuban solution to the health care crisis in South Africa was first mooted in 1995 by the previous health minister, Dr Nkosazana Zuma, she said most South African doctors would not have passed the test by the HPSCA conducted in Cuba. We have that on video tape."Acting Home Affairs spokesman Apollo Gopolang said the department is not ignoring court rulings. "Cuban doctors participating in the government-to-government agreement are currently accommodated on treaty permits in terms of the Immigration Act The Department of Health is currently addressing the matter and the mentioned doctors will be advised to approach the nearest regional office of the Department of Home Affairs with the view to apply for appropriate work permits."However, KZN doctor Raul Rodriquez said the doctors are in a Catch-22 situation as they still need to get work offers from the provincial health departments in order to extend their work permits.He said the Cuban doctors have decided to fight the injustice through their organisation Democracy For All, which claims 102 members in several provinces.
Foreign investors snap up property in KZN (The Witness, 18/10) - Foreign buyers are snapping up residential properties in KwaZulu-Natal at a rapid rate with the trend showing no sign of slowing down.A total of R59,421 million worth of property was sold to foreign buyers in the seven-month period from March 1 to September 31 this year by Pam Golding Properties KwaZulu-Natal.The amount represents the value of 102 sales, for an average of R582 558 per property.The popularity of residential property in KZN is attributed to a range of attractions, including a benign all-year-round climate, plenty of sun, excellent beaches, and access to first world comforts and technology.Not surprisingly, the coastline has the strongest allure with the south coast registering sales of more than R17 million. The area spanning Durban North, Mount Edgecombe and Umhlanga also realised R17 million, while sales from the Balito office, which includes the exclusive Zimbali complex, amounted to R8,5 million.Also proving increasingly popular is the Pietermaritzburg and Howick area that achieved sales of R9,8 million. Reasons cited by agents include its "Garden City" status, and its location relative to the beach, midlands and Drakensberg.The buyers represent more than 20 countries, including Italy, China, Zimbabwe, Belgium, Britain, Germany, Mozambique, Botswana, Ireland, Scotland, the United States, Greece, Zambia, Spain, Nigeria, France, Taiwan, Mauritius, Kenya, Bulgaria, Brussels, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.Properties in demand are lock-up-and-go units, typically part of an upmarket and secure complex that also has the potential for rental income. Much as the province is growing in popularity with foreign investors, it has some way to go to match the magnet of the Western Cape.Figures from the PGP branches in the Cape Metropole, Boland and Overberg amounted to R253 million to 216 foreign buyers for an average of R1,17 million for a property.However, greater exposure of South African properties by PGP has prompted potential buyers to investigate the market in more depth with KZN. In this regard, value-for-money for residential property in KZN is hard to match anywhere in the country
South Africa tightens Zimbabwean visa requirements (The Financial Gazette, 16/10) - South Africa has for the second time in two months tightened its visa requirements to curb the influx of Zimbabweans visiting that country and ease congestion at the local office. Locals are now required to pay a surety cash guarantee deposit of R1 000 or the Zimbabwe dollar equivalent. Previously, Zimbabweans were required to deposit only $300 000 before travelling to South Africa. Although the local unit is officially pegged at $118 against the South African currency, it is trading at slightly over $700. Zimbabwe is currently experiencing a foreign currency crunch in the face of a faltering export sector. The South African High Commission said those willing to pay in foreign currency should provide proof that the money was sourced from a local bank. The new requirements apply to holiday as well as business travellers. The new visa requirements are meant to restrict entry into South Africa, which is now home to an estimated 30 000 locals. Most Zimbabweans are going down south in search of a better life owing to the current harsh economic environment in the country. A number of them are now staying in South Africa as illegal immigrants, living in constant fear of being deported. Figures released from South Africa in 2000 indicate that 26 742 Zimbabweans were deported in 2000, 19 932 in 2001 and 18 033 last year.
Mbeki claims millions of Zimbabweans in SA (Cape Town, News24, 16/10) -The Department of Home Affairs could not say, on Thursday, how many Zimbabweans were currently in South Africa, although between January and September 36 011 Zimbabweans were deported. Earlier this week Commonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon said that three million Zimbabweans were in South Africa. "I was talking to (South African) President Thabo Mbeki the other day and he told me he has three million Zimbabweans in South Africa, (Mozambique's President Joaquim) Chissano has 400 000 while Botswana hosts up to 200 000 of them," he said. However, acting Home Affairs spokesman Apollo Gopolang said on Thursday the department had no record on the number of Zimbabweans that were currently in South Africa as they enter the country illegally. "These people do not use the designated ports of entry but enter the country clandestinely by jumping the borders, swimming through the river etc," he said. Since 2000 the department deported approximately 498 321 Zimbabweans. Last year 135 870 Zimbabweans were deported.
Fewer people leaving SA (Moneyweb, 14/10) - There may not be a flood of émigrés pounding on Customs door to get back into SA, but CEO of Elliott International, Tom Ainsley, says that according to his company's experience at least the number of people leaving the country is falling. In fact, over the last two years, Elliott has seen the number of private families moving out of South Africa decline by about 40%. During the last year Ainsley says Elliott has seen a 25% decline in the number of families moving out of the country, following a fall of 16% the previous year. In numbers, that means that for every 100 private families that left SA three years ago, 84 would have left two years ago, and in the last year roughly 63 would have moved away. The fall in numbers is “very positive,” says Ainsley. And although the company is missing out on business as a result, Ainsley says that the decline has been offset by an increase in the number of moves being made into the country. This is not, however, necessarily an indication that those who left South Africa are coming back to South Africa, but is rather a result of changes in the corporate marketplace, says Ainsley. Companies doing business with South Africa are relocating their people, he says, “and these are not only South African companies, but international companies present in South Africa.” As a result of this shift, Ainsley says that Elliott is now moving one person into South Africa for every person that they help move out. This compares to the 1980’s and 1990’s when Elliot was moving only one person into the country for every 10 that left. On the whole, Ainsley believes that there are still relatively few people coming back to South Africa. “But what I can tell you,” he says, “is that the tempo there is growing.”
Illegal immigrants are a perpetual problem, says Buthelezi (Cape Times, 14/10) - Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi says it is unlikely that South Africa will ever overcome the problem of illegal immigrants, which he says is being compounded by corruption in his department.In an interview for a new book on Zimbabwe, the minister told journalist Geoff Hill the difficulty lay in the huge volume of migrants entering the country."If people are here illegally and we can round them up, we do it," he said. "But, to think that we will ever control the problem is a dream. "We have a very serious problem and it extends well beyond the difficulties of our region."There is a perception in Africa that this is a very rich country. "But we have a high rate of unemployment and there are not enough jobs for South Africans."If you go to a flea market, you will hear French being spoken and there are people from West and even North Africa selling their goods."Buthelezi conceded that corruption in his department was compounding the problem."Corruption is everywhere in this country and my department has serious problems because staff are handling money and they have opportunities. "It is very serious and we are doing our utmost to overcome it. We have excellent relations with the police and the Scorpions but I know that, where there is temptation, there will always be some corruption, even at the highest levels of departments."It was hard to solve the problem because his department was underfunded. "The baseline of treasury is too low. "We have 1 500 vacancies in this department that are not filled because we are short of money." It was a vicious cycle. There was not enough money to employ the right number of staff so procedures were slowed down. This encouraged people to offer bribes to get their applications to the top of the pile. And once this kind of payment established a foothold in a department, the problem spread like a cancer into other areas as workers became used to the idea of making money on the side.But immigration was a symptom of problems in the source countries. Zimbabwe was a good example. "The issue is to change what is happening in Zimbabwe so that people don't want to come here in the first place," he said. "In Mozambique, the problem is linked to employment. Unless the government there can create jobs for the people ... they will continue to come here looking for work," he said. "And in Zimbabwe, the current crisis must be solved before we can expect a slowdown in the number of people crossing the border."Asked whether it was appropriate for the South African government to comment on the internal affairs of countries where bad governance was causing an inflow of people to South Africa, Buthelezi said: "We don't have a choice. "There is no question of our right to do that."The book, The Battle for Zimbabwe (Zebra/New Holland) will be launched October 23.
SA lacks strategy to manage illegal immigrants says HRC (Sabc News, 10/10) -The Human Rights Commission says South Africa lacks a co-ordinated strategy to manage illegal immigrants in the country. The HRC was expressing concerns about the country's repatriation process, which often sees deportees returning to the country soon after being deported. Zonke Majodina, a commission spokesperson, says many people, including local citizens, are kept at the home affairs' Lindela Repatriation Centre on suspicion that they are illegal immigrants. Majodina says the country is spending taxpayer money on a cycle of repatriation instead of addressing the factors that bring illegal immigrants here.
Deportation of disgraced South African doctor from Canada mooted (The Star, 09/10) - A former South African doctor serving a rape sentence in Canada could be deported back to this country if he gets parole. But his former wife insists he is not to be trusted and says that if he is granted parole, she hopes he will be deported. Physician John Schneeberger, who had inserted a vial of another man's blood into his arm to fool DNA experts, has been found by a federal court to have obtained his Canadian citizenship unlawfully. He could be released from prison as soon as next month, after which Canadian immigration officials could deport him. Schneeberger was jailed in 1999 for six years for raping a patient after sedating her in the village of Kipling, Saskatchewan, where he ran a medical practice, and for sexually assaulting a second woman twice. His former wife testified that he could not be trusted His stepdaughter had also accused him of sedating and raping her, but later withdrew the charge. Schneeberger, who studied at Stellenbosch University and later emigrated to Canada, duped DNA experts on three occasions during the investigation into the first rape charge by inserting a vial of another man's blood into his arm before the blood samples were taken. Blood from these samples did not match that of a semen sample given as evidence by the woman who laid the first charge, and the rape charge was at first dismissed. The woman refused to back down, however, and hired a private detective, who took hair from Schneeberger's car. A DNA match was established and Schneeberger was convicted. In April, Schneeberger testified at a parole hearing that he was sorry for what he had done, saying that he was a changed man who posed no risk to society. But his former wife, Lisa Dillman, whose daughter from a previous relationship had accused Schneeberger of rape, testified that he could not be trusted. The parole board denied Schneeberger's request. But next month, when there is another parole hearing, he would have met the statutory requirement that he serve two-thirds of his prison term. This means that he could be freed, said Bob Mills, member of parliament for the Red Deer district, where Dillman now lives.
Mills has been involved in the Schneeberger case since Dillman approached him to help her. Dillman said Canadian officials had told her they would decide on whether to deport Schneeberger only after his release. "My fingers are crossed that he will be deported," she said on Wednesday. Schneeberger was granted Canadian citizenship 10 years ago. A federal court ruled that he had obtained the citizenship unlawfully because he denied being the subject of a criminal investigation at his swearing-in ceremony. This took place a year after the assault allegations were lodged. The matter will be referred to a special committee of the Canadian cabinet, which could revoke his citizenship. This would downgrade his status to that of a permanent resident or landed immigrant, and such a person could be deported if convicted of serious offences. In another twist to the story, Schneeberger hired a lawyer after his conviction to try to force his two daughters to visit him in prison. Dillman said she did not want Schneeberger anywhere near her children. But a court order granted Schneeberger the right to be visited by his daughters. Dillman was obliged to take her young daughters to visit him. The daughters, crying and resisting the visit, were taken to see their father - a move that provoked public outrage in Canada. The visit fell through after a group of protesters blocked the girls' path to the prison. Schneeberger later dropped his insistence that the visits take place. Schneeberger had initially been supported by the community, but this was not surprising, Mills said. "He was a pillar of society there. He had raised funds to build community facilities and was one of only two doctors in the village. All in all, he was a pretty important person there." At first, Dillman stood by him, until her daughter - Schneeberger's stepdaughter - laid charges against him. Dillman said Schneeberger was born in Zambia, but was educated first at Kearsney College, a private school for boys in KwaZulu Natal, and then graduated from Stellenbosch University.
Anglo launches multi-million rand AIDS project (Johannesburg, Mail & Guardian, 08/10) - Mining giant Anglo American on Monday announced a R30-million community partnership project to help accelerate the provision of comprehensive HIV/Aids services in about 200 public clinics, especially those in rural areas. In addition, the Anglo American HIV/Aids Community Partnership Project is to receive R10-million a year from the Nelson Mandela Foundation, $10-million a year from the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation and $12-million a year from the Global Fund to fight Aids, TB and Malaria. Anglo American senior vice-president Dr Brian Brink told reporters in Johannesburg that the Anglo American Chairman's Fund would give the money to loveLife over a three-year period. loveLife is South Africa's national HIV-prevention programme for the youth. "We want the fund to accelerate the roll out of loveLife's national adolescent friendly clinic initiative in communities associated with Anglo American operations in South Africa," he said. The community partnership project forms part of a collaborative effort between Anglo American, the Department of Health and the three donors. Brink said the company's operations associated with the identified communities would commit time and expertise to working with loveLife and other partners to held help build capacity in public-sector primary health-care clinics. The overall goal would be to enhance the health-sector response to the pandemic at community level. "This includes ensuring easy access to comprehensive HIV prevention services, voluntary counselling and testing for HIV and enhanced care, support and treatment for those with the disease." He said specific attention would be paid to the special needs of the youth through the loveLife adolescent-friendly clinic programme. The community partnership project would build on the national adolescent friendly clinic initiative programme, which was developed and carried out by loveLife with the assistance of the government. "loveLife has successfully piloted the adolescent friendly approach in more than 60 clinics to date," he said. "With additional funding from the Global Fund, the number of clinics providing comprehensive HIV/Aids services is set to expand to 200 in the next 18 months and 900 in three years."
Speaking via a video link from Geneva, Global Fund executive director Richard Feachem said: "This is an exciting example of how the fund's investment can help leverage in-country partnerships and resources. "This initiative will provide a strong model in Africa of a nationwide effort to establish comprehensive HIV/Aids services, including prevention, treatment and care in public clinics." He said the initiative has been made feasible by the South African government's recent commitment to a national Aids treatment programme and through the bold efforts by Anglo American and a number of the country's NGOs. "The convergence of these efforts with South Africa's largest prevention programme raises very promising prospects for the management of the pandemic in the country," Feachem said. Brink said Anglo American has its own anti-retroviral treatment programme that is assisting an estimated 30 000 HIV-infected employees. An additional 757 workers were on treatment at the end of September. The programme commenced late last year and has 58 delivery registered sites, which boast 59 doctors, 137 trained nurses and 40 counsellors.Since the programme started, 97% of employees on anti-retroviral treatment were back at work. At least 89% of these patients showed good viral suppression, Brink said.
Police bust Nigerian heroin smuggling ring (Pretoria News, 07/10) - Pretoria police have smashed a major Nigerian drug syndicate believed to be involved in the smuggling of heroin into South Africa.The narcotics ring was busted when police from the Pretoria Dog Unit received information that the syndicate was planning to courier heroin and cocaine from Johannesburg to Pretoria along the N1.Yesterday's drug bust comes less than a week after an Alexandra resident was caught trying to sell 2 000 Mandrax tablets to undercover police agents from the Pretoria Area Drug Task Team at a petrol station on the N1.During the raid police seized the drugs valued at more than R100 000 and a Honda Civic believed to have been stolen in Pretoria last month.In yesterday's raid police driving unmarked cars stopped an Uno near the Clubview Lyttelton off-ramp after they had been informed that it was being used to courier the drugs.Searching the car with sniffer dogs, police found R7 600 worth of heroin and several rocks of cocaine carefully stitched into the back of the front passenger seat.The heroin had been placed inside 50 plastic pockets, which had been hidden inside the seat.Investigators said after questioning the 29-year-old driver, who is believed to be an illegal immigrant from Nigeria, they were led to a house in Honeydew, Johannesburg. While searching the house police discovered hundreds of thousands of rands worth of US dollars hidden inside door panels. The foreign currency was wrapped inside masking tape and tied to shoelaces which were in turn tied to the inside of the door handles.Police investigating the syndicate say the recovery of heroin was alarming as it meant that the drug was now coming onto the South African market in a "big way"."Up until now heroin has been reasonably difficult to find."But this substantial seizure means that whoever is bringing it into South Africa is preparing the way for bigger shipments," said a narcotics investigator.He said they were looking at where the shipment had come from and were investigating the possibility that it had been shipped to South Africa from either Pakistan or Afghanistan."Most of the heroin which comes into South Africa comes from one of these two regions, which are known for their heroin production," said the policeman.Police spokesman Inspector Anton Breedt said the man, who was arrested, was charged with dealing and being in possession of narcotics.He said the Nigerian, who would appear in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court later this week, was also being charged for contravening the Foreign Currency Act.
Brain drain reversal (Johannesburg, Business Day, 06/10) - There seems to be light at the end of the "brain drain" tunnel that is taking its toll on SA's talent and skills. Tracey Czakan, MD of staffing company Kelly, says indications are that for many working abroad it may be more of a "brain holiday" they work for a few years and return to SA with greater expertise and experience. The most recent statistics from Statistics SA show that in the first nine months of this year, close to 9000 South Africans left the country. But experts say the official emigrant figures are understated because many do not declare themselves emigrants when they leave the country.On the flip side, reports indicate a noticeable increase in the number of returning executives in the past year-and-a-half. Surveys by the Canadian-funded Southern African Migration Project suggest that most South African emigrants plan to return home after three to five years. In the 1970s, Ireland experienced an enormous brain drain. This was reversed in the past decade as its economy picked up. "The job market in Europe and the US is tough and competitive, and executives leaving SA often find it difficult to be accepted (overseas)," says Czakan. One of the main reasons for South Africans returning is the strong cultural connection and distinct pride that they have in SA, says Czakan. South Africans are used to a standard of living that offers many conveniences over that of overseas countries. "The grass isn't always greener on the other side and you only know what you've got when you don't have it. There seems to be no underestimating the emotional tie that binds South Africans to their homeland", says Czakan. "Those who come back know they belong here."
Dozens of fake marriages come to light (The Star, 06/10) - Identity fraud is sky-rocketing as illegal immigrants bribe Home Affairs officials to "marry" them to unsuspecting South Africans in a desperate attempt to gain citizenship. Corrupt Home Affairs officials, who work in cahoots with syndicates running a multi- million-rand marriage scam, are now being hunted down as police begin a massive blitz down on illegal immigrants. Last week, a Soshanguve pensioner discovered she had been married to an illegal Pakistani immigrant, Sajjad Hussan (29), for two years. Nyansei Mhlanga (60) made the terrifying discovery while helping a nephew to apply for an identity document at the Mabopane Home Affairs office. The marriage is believed to have been arranged by a syndicate working within the Department of Home Affairs. According to a printout from the department, Mhlanga, a widow, married Hussan in Eersterus on September 1 2001. The printout, however, showed the marriage certificate was issued on March 10 1998. Mhlanga's real husband, Daniel Hlengane Mhlanga, died on March 18 2000. Home Affairs spokesperson Appola Gopolang said fraudulent marriages - in which people were "married" without their knowledge - had become a major problem, with reports of fake nuptials being reported on a daily basis "and often in the dozens". He confirmed there were a number of syndicates within the department helping illegal immigrants to obtain fake identity documents. These syndicates often operated with the help of corrupt officials. In some cases, said Gopolang, they had found that the so-called victim had connived with the syndicate to help obtain an identity document for the illegal immigrant. Another way identity fraud was committed was when people, desperate to find work, submitted copies of their identity documents to employment agencies. "Often these agencies turn out to be bogus organisations which prey on people's desperation," said Gopolang.
Zimbabwean murdered over watermelon (Musina, The Standard, 05/10) - Limpopo police have arrested five men after a Zimbabwean migrant worker was stoned to death, allegedly in an argument over the theft of a watermelon, a police spokesperson said on Tuesday." Captain Ailwei Mushavhanamadi said Shepherd Hove, 23, was one of six migrant workers from Zimbabwe who worked on the farm Delfta in the Mopane area near Musina, South Africa. An argument developed between Shepherd and his five co-workers on Monday, said Mushavanamadi. They accused him of stealing a watermelon. The five allegedly stoned Shepherd to death. The men were arrested and would appear in the Musina magistrate's court on Tuesday to face charge 'tof murder, said Mushavhanamadi.
Government moves to save SA property in Zimbabwe (News24, 04/10) - Government is crafting an investment protection agreement with Zimbabwe in a bid to protect South African investments in that country. This follows concern among SA investors that some of their property in Zimbabwe has been earmarked for seizure under Mugabe's land reform programme. Government officials are hurriedly finalising the agreement while hoping top level secret talks between ruling Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) don't fail. There are growing fears in government circles that if the talks fail, Zimbabwe's woes will worsen. There are also fears that as Zimbabwe's economy consistently declines many other investments, aside from farms, are at risk of being confiscated by the government. Department of trade and industry spokesperson, Gaynor Kast, confirmed a bilateral agreement with Harare was being finalised. But she could not divulge details or say when it would be signed. It is understood that foreign affairs wants it signed soon. Although SA was hoping for a breakthrough sooner, it is understood the only threat to the talks are increasing leadership problems and divisions both within Zanu-PF and the MDC. The secret deal includes constitutional reforms allowing for a transitional government made up of both parties before democratic elections are held. The talks also cover how a cabinet of the government of national unity would be constituted. President Thabo Mbeki has been pressing Mugabe and the MDC to take this route. Government officials are now putting pressure on both Zanu and the MDC to speedily conclude the talks in an attempt to alleviate the economic collapse of the country. SA has indicated it was not prepared to abandon its "quiet diplomacy" on Zimbabwe. SA bid to save its farmers' property through a bilateral agreement comes after reports that Zimbabwe reneged on a promise not to seize the farms of Southern African Development Community citizens. In August this year SA sent a list of properties, accompanied by a request for immunity from seizure, but the Zimbabwean government wanted a bilateral protection agreement signed. The SA government also put pressure on Mugabe's government to investigate reports properties owned by South Africans were already attached. Zimbabwe's justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, who leads the investigation, is yet to report on it.
Hefty prison sentence for Nigerian drug dealer (The Mercury, 03/10) - A Nigerian drug dealer who was operating his "business" from a plush Umhlanga home will spend the next 20 years in jail.The stiff sentence handed down by Verulam magistrate Kees Vet has been labelled as one of the harshest imposed on a drug dealer by a court in KwaZulu-Natal.Emmanual Ozuogwa, 35, was arrested after police from the Organised Crime Unit raided his Fern Road home in May last year and discovered drugs hidden in two door panels.He was charged with dealing in 863g of cocaine, 2 452 Ecstasy tablets and 66g of heroin.The drugs have a street value of about R1.1 million.Ozuogwa pleaded not guilty to the three charges. The main thrust of his defence was to challenge the legality of the search of his home and seizure of the drugs.However, the magistrate dismissed that, saying that he had found the raid to have been perfectly legal. Passing the 20-year sentence yesterday, the magistrate emphasised that the victims of Ozuogwa's crime were often youngsters.The operational head of Durban's Organised Crime Unit, Supt Deven Naicker, said Ozuogwa was a major player in a global drug trafficking syndicate.He said apart from the drugs, he was involved in other organised crime and money laundering."I have been investigating drug related cases for 15 years and I have never heard of a sentence like this one ... we are extremely pleased because it shows the courts are taking a firm stand."He praised his investigating officers Sgt Donegan Clenddenen and Insp Van Zyl Roux and prosecutor Ann Panday for their work on the case "which has now really paid off".
Human smugglers out on bail (Ladybrand, News24, 03/10) - Two alleged members of a syndicate which transported illegal immigrants into South Africa received bail of R10 000 each on Friday in t he Ladybrand Magistrate's Court. The alleged ringleader, ChauTom (Thomas) Lee, 54, and Xunhua Liang, 32, were freed after two nights in custody, Inspector Loraine Kalp said. Lee is a prominent Ladybrand businessman. The two men must report to the local police station on Mondays and Fridays until their next court appearance on October 30. Two others, a Tanzanian couple, pleaded guilty on Friday to violating the Immigration Act. Don Millan, 41, and his wife, Patricia Lorraine, 39, were fined R7 000 and R3 500 respectively. They were ordered to leave South Africa within the next two weeks. The bail applications of Sheng Qing Chen and Jin Fu Li, both 44, will be heard on October 9. Their applications will be heard together with that of Mingmiao Chen, 30, who was remanded on Thursday. Lee's wife, Sueh Huey (Sendra), 54, was freed on Thursday on bail of R5 000. She must also reappear on October 30. The syndicate was allegedly involved in issuing and moving illegal immigrants from China, Tanzania and Britain to South Africa, Kalp said. Several premises were searched and a number of illegal identity documents, passports, work permits and photocopies of passports were seized during the arrests on Wednesday. They followed a two-year-long joint investigation by the Department of Home Affairs and the police crime intelligence gathering unit. Large amounts of money were allegedly paid to syndicate members to obtain falsified South African identity documents and passports.
Medical brain drain impact (Cape Argus, 02/10) - South Africa's medical community is trying to tackle grave threats to its very survival. It faces a huge challenge to rein in an exodus of doctors, fuelled by worsening pay and working conditions, a dire shortage of equipment and resources, exploding Aids and TB epidemics, and declines in the standard of training.Whatever the quibbles about the way dissension between doctors and the government has been portrayed, it cannot obscure the depth of the crisis in our medicine.The SA Medical Association is so concerned for the future of doctors that it organised a national two-day conference to discuss strategies for "survival".The government is equally concerned. The Health Department and public services are negotiating a new deal for medical professionals. They are examining "retention of scarce skills" and the challenges of "recruiting and retaining medical personnel".Doctors are leaving the country - a lot of them. Dr Timothy Berlyn, Junior Doctors Association representative, told the Medical Association conference this month that 60% to 70% of his friends in the medical sector planned to emigrate. Another 20% would stay to specialise, then they too would leave. The majority of the rest would "migrate internally" - to the private sector.The migration was having an "avalanche effect" in the Eastern Cape, where he works. As doctors left, those who stayed behind should-ered a bigger burden, and ever-increasing stress. Then they too left."It's a never-ending cycle - and the posts aren't filled," Berlyn told the conference.Information presented to the conference shows the situation is not confined to the Eastern Cape. In the Western Cape, traditionally popular with young doctors, unconfirmed reports are that even in some city hospitals there are problems filling medical officer posts.Professor Denise White, vice-chair of SAMA, summed up the critical issues facing the public health sector:The scarcity of doctors, nurses and other health professionals.The exodus of doctors and nurses from the public sector and the country.The shortage of essential drugs and equipment.Inadequate support and supervision of junior doctors in rural and under-served areas.Declining capacity for supervision and training of registrars, which she called "disastrous".Poor living conditions for junior doctors doing community service.Lack of security at work.Burgeoning patient loads and shrinking capacity.The burden of such diseases as HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and trauma.At the conference, White also took a swipe at administrators, saying doctors had lost status and found themselves at the "mercy of soulless administrators" who were eroding doctors' ability to serve the sick and needy.
The Cape Argus last year highlighted a move by the provincial Health Department to review doctors' overtime, which over many years has become accepted as part of their salaries, sparking a huge outcry.The department backed down on the issue at the time, but local doctors predict it is likely to come to a head again soon.The critical importance of keeping up doctors' numbers in South Africa is highlighted by the president of the World Medical Association, Dr Jim Appleyard, who said the number of doctors in a country was one of the top three factors that affected the state of health. The others are clean water and education (especially of women).He said that improved health care was the only way to lead people out of poverty.In the Western Cape, the Health Department has come up with Healthcare 2010, a far-reaching plan to shake up - to the benefit of patients, it says - the state health sector here.Department communications head Vernon de Vries has explained the difficulties of making a shrinking budget stretch further and further: everyone would like to see more money to bring the service back up to standard but, he says, that is not feasible after the fall of the rand added R90 million to the 2002/03 budget, and a R230m reduction in the government's conditional grant for specialised tertiary health services. Probably the most crucial aspect of Healthcare 2010 - the one that will affect patients most- is the fundamental that patients must be "treated at the most appropriate level of care".Primary health-care facilities must pick up 90% of the load. Of the remaining 10%, 8% must be seen at secondary level at hospitals such as Victoria, Somerset and Karl Bremer, and only 2% at the teaching hospitals, Groote Schuur, Tygerberg and Red Cross Children's Hospital.That would be less than half the 5% currently being treated at the teaching hospitals, theoretically lightening the load and allowing for cutbacks in that sector.Just last week the first batch of new equipment for local hospitals was officially handed over to Tygerberg Hospital.The hospital got monitors, ventilators, a cardiac ultrasound unit and incubators valued at nearly R5m, and is awaiting the delivery of another batch of equipment costing R4m.Health MEC Piet Meyer confirmed at the handing-over that facilities throughout the province were already benefiting from the R40m for new equipment made available in the 2003/04 budget.
Tygerberg Hospital has said that the new equipment will improve and reinforce patient care and safety, and allow specialists to concentrate on teaching future specialists and doctors.It is also expected to boost staff and patient morale.Dr Saadiq Kariem, senior medical superintendent at Groote Schuur, says he wishes "we had a magic wand of dollars and pounds that we could wave at the health system in the country". But the reality, he says, is that we have to learn to work smarter.Kariem says there is no country in the world where the health system, however much money is spent on it, has an adequate health budget. Even the US and the UK, where the proportion of the budget allocated to health is far greater than here, "have to send patients elsewhere (including Groote Schuur) for health care".Earlier this year, in an interview, Health Department spokesman Vernon de Vries turned to the figures to explain the devastating consequences if planned restructuring did not go ahead.Projected costs by 2010 - if no changes were made - would run to R4.3bn. With an available funding envelope of R3.16bn, the potential deficit would run to R1.14bn (in 2001 rands).Restructuring, he said referring to the plan, was essential to secure access to quality basic health services for the entire province, to address changing demographics and the disease profile, taking into account the Aids pandemic, TB and a growing trauma burden. And the current service patterns were plainly unaffordable.Two things appear beyond doubt - that the health system is facing serious challenges, and that changes must be made.But the medical association insists it must be an integral part of the solution.As White said at the doctors' conference, she and others like her had not worked in the public health service for more than 30 years just for the money."We are not looking for big cars and second houses. We just want a fair deal to serve the people of this nation," she said.She was angry that the association had made many submissions to the Department of Health about the imperative of ensuring the public sector grows in strength, so securing training and treatment, but was constantly stone-walled.And if there is in any doubt in the minds of the authorities about the low morale among doctors, it's probably answered clearly by the head of the Medical Association, Dr Kgosi Letlape, who made it clear at the conference it was time for doctors to join forces and stand up and fight."We have been at the bottom of the food chain for too long," he said.
South African response to movement protocol (Cape Town, News24, 02/10) -South Africa's border police have flashed the red light to a proposal to allow citizens of Southern African Development Community states to cross each other's borders without visas. The plan is contained in a draft SADC protocol on movement of persons within the 14-member grouping of states, which individual governments have been asked to comment on. The document calls for a first phase of implementation involving visa-free admission for 90 days on production of a travel document, and a final phase in which citizens of member states may cross borders without any routine controls. In this phase, there will be passport checks only at "external borders", and not between member states. At a public consultation on the draft, hosted by the Immigration Advisory Board in Cape Town on Thursday, head of the border police, director Zirk Gous, said police were concerned about a "free flow of crime", stability issues and unguarded external borders. The SAPS believed that border controls of some of South Africa's neighbouring states would "not be up to scratch", he said. "We'll be shouting no, no, no: red lights, red lights." Any strategy for easier cross-border movement should also look at setting standards for political stability, economic and social development, and crime control. A comprehensive approach was needed, and there should perhaps be a planned series of protocols on trade, labour, justice and crime prevention. The crime protocol should address the issues of firearms control, vehicle licensing, and the creation of a similar legal environment in different countries for courts. However in the final analysis the decision on the protocol would be a political one, not one for the police. "Whatever the president decides, we'll move with that and perhaps make implementation suggestions," he said. Chantal Cuddumbey, strategic relations manager for parastatal, South African Tourism, told the consultation that 63 percent of the visitors to South Africa last year who fell into the official definition of "tourist" came from SADC countries. The challenge was to grow that segment and find ways of extracting greater value from it, and SA Tourism would "obviously" support the 90-day proposal. She said the department of home affairs' stricter application of visa regulations from April this year had had a damaging effect on tourism from SADC countries such as Mozambique, Tanzania, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Visitors by land from Mozambique last year spent a total of R2 592bon in South Africa: the tougher stand on visas had resulted in a drop in their numbers that translated to a loss of R69.8m in April and May alone. Dr Anne Hammerstad, senior researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs, said she was a proponent of "as free migration as possible". Migration had always been a force in history, and it became even more impossible to stem in an age of globalisation. It was better to harness it and reap its benefits. "I'm not saying you should let in everyone overnight. That would be too much. But a gradual opening up of migration is sensible." Noting that the draft protocol was already five years old, she said it was not surprising that nothing had been done about it yet, considering what a thorny issue migration was. "It's a dangerous thing for politicians to be seen to be soft on," she said. The protocol was approved by SADC home affairs ministers in Harare in August 1998. According to Gous, country comments are due to be sent to the SADC secretariat by November 7 this year, ahead of a regional workshop planned for February 2004. However the chairman of Thursday's consultation, department of foreign affairs official Robert McBride, said he understood that the deadline for comments was only some time next year. He said the consultation, at which a representative of the Congress of South African Trade Unions also made a presentation, would be followed by others involving various organisations. Directors-general of government departments would also meet on the protocol, he said.
Report of false marriage scam (Pretoria News, 02/10) -A Pretoria pensioner is demanding answers from the Department of Home Affairs after discovering that she was married to a man she had never met.Making matters even worse is the fact that the man, who has no identity number or place of residence, is young enough to be her son.The fraudulent marriage between Nyanesi Mhlanga (60) and her alleged husband, Sajjad Hussan (29), is believed to have been organised by a syndicate operating within the department. It is believed the syndicate, which "arranged" the marriage, helped Hussan, who is thought to be an illegal immigrant, gain entry into South Africa.Mhlanga's daughter, Selina Pine (41), said she first realised something was wrong when her mother telephoned her last week, crying.She said her mother had gone to the Home Affairs Department in Mabopane to help her nephew apply for an identity document. "When she arrived at the offices she was told to produce her identity book to prove that she was a relative.""My mother queried this and was told it was part of a procedure to eradicate fraud," she said.Pine said her mother was told that there was a problem as her identity number belonged to one Nyanesi Hussan.In a state of shock, Mhlanga demanded to see the computer printout. The printout, a copy of which is in the possession of the Pretoria News, shows that Mhlanga married Hussan in Eersterus on September 1 2001 but a "marriage certificate" was issued on March 10 1989.Pine said they were shocked by the discovery."My father died in 2000 and my mother has never remarried."We do not know how it is possible for my mother to now be 'Mrs Nyanesi Hussan' - married to a man she has never met."Pine said they had made a sworn affidavit to the Department of Home Affairs stating that Mhlanga had never lost her identity book or been remarried."We want answers from the department on how this can happen," said an angry Pine.Police spokesman Captain Piletji Sebola said the matter would be investigated. He said police had recently received a number of similar reports of people being "married" to strangers without knowing it."If people discover that they are married to a stranger without knowing it, they are to contact the police so that a joint investigation can be conducted with the Department of Home Affairs," he said.A Home Affairs spokesman said they would conduct an investigation into the matter and declined to comment further.
South African id books easy to forge say experts (Johannesburg, Sapa, 02/10) - South African identity documents were among the easiest in the world to forge, experts warned on Thursday. The comments followed Fraud Awareness Week which ran from September 15 to 20 countrywide. South African Fraud Prevention Services chief, Pat Cunningham, whose firm provides a fraud database and analysis service for corporate clients said: "It is easy for criminals to either manufacture ID books from scratch or to alter existing books to reflect whatever information they choose." Cunningham said there was evidence to show that organised crime had become involved in the illicit manufacture of credentials. "There are organised crime syndicates in various parts of South Africa with the most modern equipment available on the market that can provide anything from an identity book to a forged university degree," he said. MIE Resource Services' Ina van der Merwe, who often in liaises with the police commercial crimes unit said: "It is generally only when we do the verification of other documents such as matric and tertiary qualifications or do a credit check that fake IDs pop up." Employing someone with a fake ID could have dire consequences, she said. "For starters the employer would have no idea who the person actually was. He or she could be anything from an illegal alien to a convicted fraudster. We have had many instances of exactly these scenarios unfolding in businesses." Cunningham and van der Merwe agreed that the fact that one third of the 7500 posts in the Department of Home Affairs were vacant, coupled with the push to issue 1,5-million ID books in time for the 2004 elections was an added problem. "The department is hopelessly understaffed and it is a fact that there is widespread corruption within the department which has led to large numbers of fraudulent identity books being issued to illegal immigrants and resident aliens," Cunningham said. Home Affairs officials were not immediately available for comment.
Illegal immigrants syndicate members in court (Sabc News, 02/10) - Four Chinese nationals and two Tanzanians appeared in the Ladybrand magistrate's court today for transporting illegal immigrants into the country. Two other Chinese nationals will appear in court tomorrow.The police confiscated false IDs, passports and work permits at a Chinese restaurant in Bloemfontein after a two-year long joint investigation into the illegal movement of people from China, Tanzania and Britain into South Africa. Clients are said to have paid large amounts of money to get South African IDs and passports. The Bloemfontein organised crime unit says the arrests are a breakthrough in the movement of illegal immigrants.Sandra Lee, one of the suspects, has been released on R5 000 bail. The other suspects are still in custody.Two others arrested in Cape Town and Fouriesburg will be transferred to Ladybrand where they will appear in court. More arrests are expected.
Commentary on "border chaos" (The Star, 01/10) -I have just completed a weeklong trip of Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia with six friends. Unfortunately this won-derful trip ended on a low note.Having left Zimbabwe on September 19, driven to Selebi Pikwe, spent the night and left early on September 20, in antici-pation of getting home, we were delayed unnecessarily for four hours at Grobler's Bridge, trying to get back into our country.We went through Botswana's border post at Martin's Drift in five minutes. At Grobler's Bridge border post we joined the queue to have our passports stamped. There were about 30 people in front of us. After an hour of waiting in the hot sun, we had barely progressed a metre. I went to see what was taking so long, and discovered that the people in the front of the queue were having several passports stamped at the same time, and after these were stamped, they were being passed another pile of passports by other people not waiting in the queue.On top of this, these people were not even South Africans, but were foreign nationals.It turned out that on this day, there was a large exodus of people from Botswana to Polokwane in South Africa, for religious reasons.Apparently the immigrations department knew about this, but had refused to get extra help, believing that they could handle it themselves.I received this information from a policeman on duty.I proceeded to take this up with the immigrations officers, who were rude and not particularly interested in what I had to say. After getting no joy with them and no answer as to who was in charge, I went to find the police officer in charge that day.When I relayed the incidents that were occurring to him, he simply responded by saying it was not his responsibility.I was then passed from person to person trying to sort this situation out. Eventually I gave up because nobody seemed interested. My brother then got hold of the cellphone number for the head of immigration. After several phone calls to this so-called head of immigrations, and with each call a promise that he was on his way to the border post to sort out the situation, he eventually just turned off his phone and was not heard from again.
There are several issues to mention here. First of all, as a South African returning to your own country, you would not expect to have to wait in a queue with foreigners.As is done in most countries around the world, there should be a queue for residents and one for non-residents. As a South African, I would not like to be treated the way I was when entering my own country.Secondly, the immigration officers were not even checking the individual passports of the Botswana nationals entering South Africa, they were simply stamping them several at a time.How do they control who enters South Africa, with a system such as that? Anywhere else in the world, the customs officials check the picture in the passport with the passport carrier for authentication. When we eventually reached the front, they all of a sudden needed to check our pictures!Thirdly, there were other foreigners from countries such as Australia and Europe who were being harassed while standing in the queue. They were shoved by people pushing in and others passing passports to their friends in the front.One Australian woman near the front was being pushed back and was getting angry. At this stage I tried to summon the policemen standing around, to help defuse the situation.They merely laughed at me and carried on with their conversation. I had to go and fetch the captain personally to come to the aid of this woman. Even then he seemed dis-interested in the situation, and only after about three hours and several people confronting him, did he eventually try and enforce some sort of decorum.As a South African I was embarrassed and disgusted. This is not the way to promote tourism in our country.
Illegal immigrants syndicate busted (Sabc News, 01/10) -Nine people believed to be members of a syndicate transporting illegal immigrants into South Africa were arrested in three provinces today. Loraine Kalp, a police spokesperson, said the eastern Free State crime intelligence unit and Home Affairs officials swooped on a Ladybrand businessman's home in the early hours and arrested him. Six other people, aged between 30 and 54, were arrested in Fouriesburg also in the Free State. Further investigations led to the apprehension of two other men in Gauteng and Cape Town. Kalp said several premises were searched and a number of illegal identity documents, passports, work permits and photocopies of passports were seized during the arrests. The syndicate is allegedly involved in issuing and moving illegal immigrants from China, Tanzania and Britain to South Africa. "These arrests are an enormous success in the fight against illegal movement of people across our borders," Moranodi Gaobepe, the Free State police commissioner, said. The men arrested in the Free State will appear in the Ladybrand Magistrate's Court tomorrow.
Illegal immigrants arrested in Hillbrow (Sabc News, 01/10) - An anti-crime task force conducted a raid on two Hillbrow buildings today and arrested 148 people in a bid to clean up the area before the festive season, police said. Chris Wilken, a police spokesperson, said the operation, called 'Identify Yourself' began at 5.30am when two huge residential apartment blocks, Matroosberg Heights and Metropolitan Heights, at the corner of Kaptein and Quartz streets, were cordoned off. Two Oryx helicopters were used to land army personnel on the roofs of the buildings while the task force came in the front entrances. Wilken said a large number of illegal immigrants were among the 148 arrested during the operation that involved some 200 police officers as well as health department and immigration officials. Wilken said the operation is not to target illegal immigrants but to flush out the criminal elements in Hillbrow ahead of the Christmas holiday season. Seven firearms and a quantity of stolen goods were recovered and five men wanted for various crimes were identified by the mobile fingerprint unit and taken into custody, Wilken said. It was the second anti-crime raid in Hillbrow in a week. Last Thursday a similar operation was carried out and Wilken said such raids would be a regular feature from now till the New Year.
No pay for foreign doctors (Mbabane, Times of Swaziland, 12/10) - The seven foreign doctors who were recruited by government whilst trying to solve the doctors crisis in the country's health institutions have not been paid their salaries since they arrived. The doctors are currently living like beggars in a foreign land as government has failed to pay them since their arrival two months ago. Five of the doctors are based at the Mbabane government hospital while two others are based at Mkhuzweni and Nhlangano health centres respectively. They have arrived here from countries like Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This newspaper can reveal that the doctors experienced such accommodation problems on their arrival two months ago that some of them ended up being accommodated in private wards at the hospital. The issue of housing was once cited by the ministry as one which caused the delay in the recruitment of doctors and then in turn led to patients being turned away from some hospitals. It has been further gathered that some of the doctors who have been allocated houses have failed to settle their bills as they have not been paid. Mbabane government hospital manager Thoko Maseko confirmed that the doctors have not been paid. Maseko said she could only talk about those based at the Mbabane government hospital where she is based. "I am not sure about the others but you might find that they have also not been paid," she said. Maseko said the cause of the problem is a backlog caused by the implementation of the human resource system by government. She said there is one officer assigned to do personnel work, which creates the problem. She said government does not pay a salary unless the name of that particular person appears on the government system. "Some of the doctors have already approached my office and we are working on the matter," she said. She said one doctor who has been allocated a house has indicated that he has started receiving electricity bills but given his predicament, he is unable to settle the bills. Maseko said the ministry of health and social welfare has already been made aware of the problem. The principal secretary in the ministry of health and social welfare, Dr John Kunene, also confirmed this. He said he has acted on it. "I have already met them and the problem is being solved. It is hoped that they will get their money in arrears on Monday," he said on Friday evening. Kunene promised that as from the end of this month the doctors would be paid properly. He said the problem was caused by the fact that there was information on their contracts which was not made available to government.
Swazi women lured into prostitution in SA (Mbabane, Times of Swaziland, 05/10) - More Swazi women, some as young as 16 years old, are crossing the border to sell their bodies in South Africa's booming sex industry. Some of them disclosed to the Times SUNDAY that they do so for various reasons. Some of these reasons are the impoverishing impact of HIV / AIDS in the kingdom; unemployment, especially for those with a poor educational background; pressure to provide for a family; and peer pressure. From the dark";treet corners and brothels of Hillbrow in Johannesburg, to the up market Sandton, they go to South Africa to make their trade. Unlike in Swaziland, where it is still a big taboo, prostitution is such a recognized industry in South Africa that it is approaching legal status. Arguably it is also one of the major contributors to economic development. Commercial sex is a well-tried method of making quick money. Most Swazi sex workers target the streets of Johannesburg and Durban where the tourist population is high. "It gives me independence, since I work for myself and I provide for myself," said 19-yearold 'Mimi' who would not disclose her real name. She is from Manzini. 'Mimi' charges E200 per hour, which includes a full body sensual massage, a blowjob and penetration. 'Amanda', who claims to be from Mbabane, said she charges the same. Because they advertise in South African newspapers, they are able to enlarge their clientele. On average these girls make about E2500 or more per week. As much as these women are self-employed and independent, their line of business puts them at risk of contracting and spreading HIV / AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases on a daily basis. Other risks include the chance of getting raped, getting into drugs and maybe even killed in the rough streets of Johannesburg. The risks are many. However, the will to survive to see another day makes them oblivious of all these dangers - they have to find money to pay for their daily needs including sending money back home to support their families. In many cases the families receiving this money have no idea about the kinds of lifestyles these girls are leading. They only know that so and so is 'studying' or 'has a good job' in SA - they don't enquire too much and are glad to get money handouts from the girls. Normally the sex workers come home during the festive season or after a few years. "I'll come back home sometime in December," said 'Pandora' when asked when she would see her family again.
South African Swazis seek reunification (Swazi Observer, 05/10) - The millions of Swazis living across the border in South Africa, can be safely said to be 'a people on the boil', that is if a march to deliver a petition of protest to Mpumalanga Premier Ndaweni Mahlangu last Friday, can be taken as a measure of their patience, which is evidently running out. At least over 400 Swazis led by maverick chief of Lon? hiyo Tribal Authority Prince Tikhontele Dlamini, took to the Nelspruit streets to protest the intended 'White Paper of the Communal Land Bill' enforced by the Mpumalanga Legislature, which plans to municipalise their tribal areas, so that they could pay for services rendered in the form of rates. They do not want their tribal areas to be municipalised, since they believe that the land restoration issue has not been adequately addressed. They want complete autonomy from the Mpumalanga and the South African governments, since they consider themselves Swazi, want to be administered in Swaziland and the present boundaries done away with. In fact, they want authority governing them returned to Swaziland, along with the complete restoration of their lands, that were misappropriated, thus rendering them South African citizens. This is not the first time they have presented a petition of protest to the Mpumalanga Legislature. In July 30, 2002, more than 70 Swazi chiefs from Mpl' alanga, Ingwavuma, Piet Retief, and Pongola signed a 'mother of all petitions' which they intend presenting to that country's Parliament, where they again, reiterated their intention to be returned to Swaziland authority, since they had been rendered citizens of South Africa by a stroke of ill-fate, which they dubbed an 'accident of history'. In the 2002, 11 page document titled "Petition of the Swazi Royal Families, (Bantfwabenkhosi) And Swazi ChiefslNation Residing on Traditional Swazi Areas to the Honourable Members of Parliament of the Republic of South Africa", they raised pertinent points, with which they are basing their wish to be reunited with their motherland, Swaziland.
Charting a course of historical events dating back to the 1930s, when the issue of border adjustment was spearheaded by the late King Sobhuza 11, the petition discloses that the late King roped in respected lawyer Pixley Ka Iseme, (one time President of the African National Congress) to draft a document that was sent to the Government of the Union of South Africa, requesting it to restore the land, power and authority to the traditional owners of those lands. That move was also fully supported by the ANC itself.'" In their petition, the chiefs argue that historically, the land of the Swazis and the actual borders thereof, existed long before the British Settler Government, the previous South African State, and the new democratic South Africa itself, came into existence. "There can be no dispute as to what land the Swazi state comprised, and the British Government also acknowledged this fact during negotiations leading to the regaining of Swaziland's Independence in 1968," it is stated. The chiefs' petition also highlights that despite Swaziland's frequent contact with her British colonial masters on the question of Swaziland/ uth Africa borders, it was common cause that the exact boundaries between the two states have never been finalised, and the present so called borders are in fact veterinary fences arbitrarily fixed by the then South African government for the control of certain animal diseases, (i.e., Foot and Mouth) and for other conveniences. Apparently, in May 1967, the South African Government addressed the British Government, (Diplomatic Note #170) requesting that the border issue be finalised prior to Swaziland gaining her full independence in1968, but then the British! Swazi feeling was that the boundary matter be held over for an independent Swaziland Government, so it could pursue it in a friendly and neighbourly fashion. It is no secret that a lot of discussions were held between 1968 and 1982 between the Republic of South Africa and Swaziland over the matter. These discussions were held by both Heads of States, along with their Foreign Ministers, and on 26 April 1982, an International agreement between the two governments relating to the adjustment of the boundaries between them was initialled.
In that agreement's preamble, the parties acknowledged that both governments were aware of the national, cultural, and historical affinities which link all the Swazi people. "Whereas both Governments acknowledged that the people of Swazi origin who are today citizens of the Republic of South Africa were deprived of their original citizenship by an accident of history, and the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland is desirous to unite the Swazi people". These are such facts and many more that legitimises the wish by the chiefs and Swazi people in South Africa to be returned home, now that the country is ruled by Africans, (ANC) who historically, are aware of these developments. Although last Friday's march cannot be directly linked to the 2003 chiefs' petition, it cannot be played down that the municipilisation of tribal lands is being rejected by the South African Swazis because it will divorce them from their aspirations to 'return home'. Speaker after speaker stated that once the tribal areas had been placed under municipalities, the role of chiefs (Emakhosi) would be done away with, and be replaced by councillors, who have no interest in their heritage and things cultural. "We reject the municipalities, as they are some form of incipient ethnic cleansing in disguise. Once they are in place, there will be no Swaz: Pedi, or Ndebele, while God gave each tribe distinct customs and languages. How can that be fused into one heritage, that will be dictated to us by the present regime, will it not be going against His grain?" Magidza Lukhele, Indvuna of Lomshiyo wondered, while quivering with fury. Some went to the extent of saying the present S.A. government was worse than the previous Apartheid regime, because it had promised to uphold the traditional leadership concept when it came to power, but now it was reneging against its own word, by threatening to municipalise tribal areas. Presenting their petition, they gave the Mpumalanga government ten days to inform central government in Pretoria that they did not want municipalities in their areas, stating that they were content with their lives as they were happy with their traditional leadership. Such action by the Central government continues to fuel their wish to return to Swaziland, so they can live happily as Swazis, not with the threat of councillors a rates hovering above their heads like the sword of Damocles. They believe all this i ploy to de-Swazi them, and they have sworn to resist up to the last man.
Focus on the impact of hosting refugees (Dar Es Salaam, Irin News, 23/10) -The publication of a recent study on the refugee influx in western Tanzania and a subsequent seminar on the subject have rekindled debate on the impact of the presence of refugees on the country.In its findings, the Centre for the Study of Forced Migration at the University of Dar es Salaam said that although assertions as to the impact of the refugees on the environment, security, infrastructure, administration and development were partially true, many were exaggerated and outdated. On the other hand, the centre said that international aid for security, local governance and administration in the region was inadequate and should be increased to help the country contain the added burden of hosting the refugees.The report was commissioned by humanitarian organisations concerned that the Tanzanian government's long-standing assertions about the negative impact of hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees over the last decade would lead to the premature repatriation of those still in the country.At a meeting held in Dar es Salaam on Monday, government and humanitarian partners discussed the report. Views expressed at the meeting on the impact of refugees remained divergent, and no plan of action emerged from the gathering. However, the participants agreed that the meeting should mark the beginning of an official forum through which the problem could be discussed constructively. "At least this has started the debate and established some facts for those arguing one case or the other to fall back on," Dr Bonaventure Rutinwa, the leader of the centre's team, told IRIN on Monday.In the past, humanitarian workers said, there had been a tendency to blame the refugees without taking into account the root causes of the refugee phenomenon, pre-existing or current, in western Tanzania. "Because of the divergence of views and the difficulty for the media to report in western Tanzania, there is a need to hold discussions and establish a degree of objectivity on the matter," Mark Waite, the country representative of Oxfam-UK, said on Monday.The most senior government representative at the meeting, Kigoma Regional Commissioner Elmon Mahawa, described the centre's report as "very fair", saying it was everyone's responsibility to reduce the negative impact of the refugee presence. "We know we have not been very good at communicating and coordinating with the nongovernmental organisations, and this is something we need to improve," he told IRIN.He repeated the government's concerns about security in the region, which, he said, had become unsafe over the last decade. However, he acknowledged that this was the result of some of the of refugees ganging up with fighters from Burundi's civil war and local bandits to exploit an unstable situation.
The centre found that internal peace and security in Kigoma and Kagera regions, where all the refugees live, had been "devastated" by crimes, but this could not, it said, be "mainly attributed to refugees". Statistics on criminal cases reported and the numbers of people in prisons in the two regions suggested that, as percentages, the number of refugees and Tanzanians involved were very similar, it. It added that in prisons in the two regions, the ratio of criminals among refugee population was comparable to ratio of criminals among local populations. Concern about environmental degradation, which has often been cited as the most obvious negative impact of the refugee influx, was justifiable, the centre said. However, most of the "dramatic stories" in this context related to the period between 1993 and 1996 when "the influx was large and the levels of awareness very low", it said.A study carried out in 1997 by Tanzania Agro-Industrial Services - a consultancy firm which carried out research on the environment - found that within a 6-KM radius of the camps, all vegetation had been cleared and, within Ngara District, Kagera Region, 47,000 ha of forest reserves had been felled for firewood and construction.But, the centre said, lessons had been learned. Levels of vegetation around the camps were now satisfactory and, with over 6 million trees having been planted in camps and surrounding villages, environmental programmes had been "redressed - and even gone beyond - former negative impacts". Similarly, in terms of damage to infrastructure, health services and education, the centre said the initial burden on these services had been occasioned by the massive influx of refugees, primarily in 1994. It went on to say, however, that after the setting up of humanitarian operations, roads were built and maintained, education levels rose in Tanzanian schools, and health services improved.For example, in Ngara District, in the Kagera region, the centre said 26 percent of the population lived more than 5 km from a health centre, as opposed to the national average of 30 percent. Moreover, it said, maternal mortality in Ngara stood at 114 per 100,000 live births, while the national average was over 200."One can easily say that the benefits of the presence of refugees to the health sector far outweigh its negative impact," the centre said. "In fact, some of the local beneficiaries do not want to dare think of the day when these services would be withdrawn.
In economic terms, the centre said the lack of internal security may have contributed to the lack of productivity in agriculture and - on a national level - the government had been forced to maintain a continued military presence in the region in order to protect national sovereignty.But, the centre said, the arrival of humanitarian agencies had also led to an upsurge in business due to increased disposable income and the UN World Food Programme's local purchases serving to support producers and suppliers. Also, the presence of refugees provided Tanzanian farmers with cheap - albeit illegal -labour, thereby expanding agricultural capacity in the area.Moreover, central and local tax collections had increased significantly, with income tax in Kigoma Region from humanitarian agencies amounting to 620 million shillings (US $620,000) annually, the centre said. "So critical is the contribution of humanitarian agencies that whenever they scale down [their] presence, an immediate and dramatic drop in revenue is experienced by [the] Tanzania Revenue Authority," it said. Although the centre said that much of the anecdotal accounts about the impact of the refugees on the already overstretched judiciary might be exaggerated, it was very critical of the lack of support extended to the Tanzanian authorities for local governance and administration.Regional and district officials complain about the amount of time they have to devote to refugee work when they should be working on their own national responsibilities. And, despite the $1 million annual funding from the Office Of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for the policing of the refugee camps, the aid to Tanzania to cope with the insecurity in areas in which there are refugees is described by the report as "woefully inadequate"."Agencies have provided assistance, but, with the exception of the police, it has not been based on a formal agreement. As a result, this assistance has been mainly ad hoc and unpredictable. Also the assistance has not been adequate," the centre said.
Government will not sell ranches to foreigners (The Guardian, 13/10) - The government has reiterated its stand that it will not sell or sub-lease ranches to foreign investors. Reacting to alleged complaints by people said to be members of parliament and NGOs in Manyara and Arusha regions that locals are being left out in the privatisation of ranches in the regions, the Minister for Water and Livestock Development Edward Lowassa, said that the government had not changed its stance on the issue. "The policy remains unchanged, that ranches will not be sold to investors and if at all there is a need to do so, then priority would be given to locals," he explained in an interview with this paper on Saturday. He discounted claims that the privatisation of ranches in the two regions was shrouded in secrecy, saying that there was no privatisation process going on and so there was nothing to hide. "There is nothing like privatisation of ranches going on and so there is nothing to hide," the Minister stressed. It was reported on Friday that at a meeting organised by the Tanzania Pastoralists, Hunters and Gatherers Organisation (TAPHGO) held in Arusha, Members of Parliament from Ngorongoro, Longido and Simanjiro and representatives of NGOs had raised concern about the alleged subdivision and privatisation of ranches. It was also alleged that the MPs also charged that their proposal to the government that pastoralists in the two regions should be allocated land that has been lying idle for many years was also not considered by the government. Lowassa stressed that the government would not act contrary to its policy regarding privatisation of ranches in the country and that pastoralists would always be given priority should the need to privatise the ranches arise.
Human rights commission and immigrant rights (The Guardian, 11/10) - Public hearing of the ongoing 135 Nyamuma villagers' human rights violation case has taken a new turn, with the defence asking the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance to drop from the list some of the complainants on the grounds that they are prohibited immigrants. The defence has also requested the Commission not to entertain such testimony or where it has done so, to humbly strike it out as it ran counter to other written laws of the land, leave alone the fact that the government had unsuccessfully all along traced them for arrest since 2001. The controversial request was made to the Commission yesterday by the defence lawyer State Attorney, Jackson Bulashi, during the third day of the second leg public hearing of the case. "Your Lordship, We ask your Commission to state the status of some of the complainants. For, some are prohibited immigrants; they are not supposed to be here. They violated the law; they are wanted by the immigration department. By entertaining their testimony the Commission would be reducing itself to a dumping place of criminals," Bulashi claimed. However, the Chairman for the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance, Justice Robert Kisanga, turned down the request in categorical terms. Justice Kisanga could not mince words on this and had this to say: "I have become low-spirited about the assertion that, the Commission is no more than a dumping place for criminals. I repeat I am not comfortable at all" Rejecting the request Justice Kisanga told the audience that the request was logically unconvincing for one wonders how the government with such a long arm could fail to arrest the complainants in question for over a period of two years now. Moreover, one wonders why the intention to arrest them should synchronise with their testifying before the Commission allegedly for human rights violations perpetrated against them. Justice Kisanga further observed that it would be a violation of the law, the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance Act, 201, Act No. 7 of 201 as amended by Act No. 16 of 2001 to reject the testimony of the said complainants on the grounds that they are prohibited immigrants.
"The position of the law is quite clear. The Commission entertains human rights violation allegations from all people living in Tanzania, not necessarily citizens," he stated. Elaborating, he said the law applied even where the complainants were prohibited immigrants, but ever lived in Tanzania. That means, therefore, that the Commission was not and never had it been a dumping place for criminals. The Commission Chairman further observed that once the complaints have been received and admitted by the Commission and the case heard, they could not be dropped until and only with the intervention of the President as provided by law. The President is empowered to do so in writing, giving reasons or showing cause as per such droppage. On the question of prohibited immigrants, Justice Kisanga said his Commission was not empowered to deal with such matters and accordingly advised the defence to address the matter to a different avenue. However, he said the government would cause chaos if it chose to arrest the complaintants testifying before the Commission. Nevertheless, it was his considered opinion that the government was not for chaos in the area. Part of the proceedings before the Commission ran as follows:
B: (Bulashi-State Attorney for the defence) - Your Lordship, we pray that your Commission direct on the status of some complainants. Some were declared prohibited immigrants; the Immigration Department officers have been looking for them for years, but to no avail. They are criminal. The Commission will be reduced to a dumping place of criminals if it chose to entertain their testimony.
J: (Justice Kisanga)- I have become low-spirited at your reference of the Commission as a dumping place for criminals.
B: My Lord, I am sorry, I have been misquoted.
J: But you have just said it yourself! Should I rewind the tape?
B: My Lord, I am sorry, I did not mean that.
A: (Alex, Co-Advocate for the plaintiffs) This trend, if entertained could dangerously prejudice the entire case.
Factors spurring refugees to go home to Burundi (Irin News, 10/10) -After several years of waiting, the few hours more mattered little. Like others around him, Joseph Kayuka, sat patiently surrounded by a few precious belongings: a bench, a bicycle and some clothes, as well as pots and pans, crammed into a couple of old sacks. Only the hushed murmuring of conversation and the occasional crying of children broke the silence. But, by mid morning of 1 October, Kayuka, his wife Imacule Mkingiya and their five children had boarded the truck and were riding along a bumpy road heading west back into Burundi. "I know the war is not over yet and the country is not safe yet, but we have no life in Tanzania," he said, shouting above the rattling din of the truck. The truck formed part of a convoy, organised by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), taking 555 refugees back to Cankuzo Province, eastern Burundi. Kayuka left the camp because, he said, there was little food and nowhere to farm. "If you go outside the camps, you are in big trouble. They can arrest you," he added. In accordance with a tripartite agreement between the UNHCR and the governments of Burundi and Tanzania, the truck was part of a UNHCR convoy heading to the border post at Murusagamba, in Kibondo District, western Tanzania. This is the newly opened and most southern border crossing for UNHCR facilitated returnees. Under the agreement, two other crossing points farther south, at Mabamba and Manyovo, were to have been opened to facilitate the return of some of the 350,000 Burundians in Tanzania. However, despite both governments' desire to see the refugees go home, and some of the refugees' apparent wish to leave, UNHCR has been reluctant to open further crossing points, saying security could not be guaranteed on the Burundian side. Since UNHCR began its latest repatriation scheme from Kibondo on 6 May, 618 refugees have returned home. But humanitarian workers say that the 14,000 spontaneous (unassisted) repatriations over the same period point to conditions in the camps, rather than peace in Burundi, as being the force driving the refugees to leave. Kayuka's reasons for going home were shared by most of his compatriots, who took advantage of the transport to Murusagamba. "Getting fresh food is especially difficult, as going into the villages has been stopped. We are arrested by the security people," Buraria Banyizako said, as she struggled to control her six children clambering around the back of the truck. "There may not be peace in Burundi, but I know how I will survive," she said. "At least I will be free and in peace when I walk around the market or check my crops." Banyizako added that there were many more people in the camps who wanted to go home, but the convoys going to their regions were yet to begin.
The restrictions that the refugees referred to in Tanzania included the strict application of a law that had previously been relaxed, permitting refugees to move only within a four-kilometre radius of the refugee camps, and allowing for interaction with the local population, work on farms and the safe collection of firewood. "The recent tightening of the law confining refugees to the camp boundaries is significantly hindering projects initiated to improve the quality of asylum for refugees," a joint UNHCR and UN World Food Programme assessment mission said in a report published on 19 September.But the Tanzanian government said it introduced the restrictions in a bid to cut down on crime in western Tanzania, which was largely blamed on refugees, and the results have proved them right. "Now, we don't have as many incidents such as hijacking and the number of cases of banditry have fallen," Elmon Mahawa, the Kigoma regional commissioner, told IRIN. "The policy has been very effective, everybody is happy with it and this is how we want it to stay." And, despite a joint government/UNHCR committee that was set up to look into the restrictions on refugees, the UNHCR said that the restrictions were likely to remain in place. "We are not happy with the restrictions and we are trying to keep open discussions on the issue, but it seems we are still at a stalemate," Annette Nyekan, head of UNHCR's sub-office in Kibondo, told IRIN. Meanwhile, citing the onset of the rainy season and poor conditions in the camps, Burundian refugees in Kasulu District, farther south, are also beginning to head home unassisted by UNHCR. A refugee in the Muyovosi camp, Kasulu, told IRIN that refugees who want to return home were paying between 4,000 and 8,000 Tanzania shillings (US $4 to $8) per person for a place in a truck back to Manyovo, on the border with Burundi. "These convoys, and there are two a week at the moment, are escorted by the Tanzanian authorities," the refugee said. UNHCR officials in Kasulu acknowledged the "spontaneous" repatriations, saying it did look as though the UN agency was "the last obstacle", but added that they were awaiting an assessment of the security situation in southern Burundi before beginning facilitated returns to the region. Mahawa said that eastern Burundi "wasn't totally safe" but added that it could not be that bad, as they were no longer receiving many refugees coming into the country. The Tanzanian government has made no secret of its desire to see the refugees return home, but Mahawa said that repatriation would be carried out according to national and international refugee laws.
"We want them [the refugees] to go because of the insecurity here and we are using a lot of resources looking after them, when we need to concentrate on our own development. Our people have suffered enough," Mahawa said. "It is unfortunate that we have had to take these measures now, but we are abiding by the law. We won't repatriate any refugees by force," he said. Now that the transitional government and the major rebel group in the country signed a power sharing agreement on Wednesday in South Africa, it remains to be seen whether the many refugees in Kibondo and Kasulu who had pegged their return on such an agreement will leave.Most of the refugees said that despite the protracted peace process, the situation in Burundi was no better than it was when they left. Army reform is yet to be carried out, the recent clashes between two Hutu rebel groups had confused an already complex situation and those who were returning home were not doing so because they believed there was peace, but because they could not tolerate the camps any more, they added. Another refugee said that those going back were from areas that were nearer the Burundi-Tanzania border, and would easily flee if fighting between the army and rebels broke out again."Those who really saw the killing of civilians in the early months of October 1993 are not ready to go home yet," a refugee said. Nonetheless, as the UNHCR convoys awaited permission to enter Burundi, holding two of his youngest sons up high, so that they could see out of the truck, Kayuka said he was relieved to be back home. "I will first build a house and then I will go back to my job as farmer. "I will grow tomatoes. My land is there, they wrote and told me so, but I know there are others who lost theirs. "I'm happy because my children have seen their country at last. God has helped us get there," he said.
Mbinga health centre gets ambulance (The Guardian, 08/10) - At least 15,000 people in Mbinga district, Ruvuma region, will benefit from an ambulance worth 12.7m/- donated by the Japanese government to Lipembe health centre yesterday. Speaking shortly after the signing ceremony of the contract in Oar es Salaam yesterday, the Japanese Ambassador to Tanzania, Kazumi Dekiba, said the ambulance would ease the transportation of sick people in the area. "Provision of adequate primary health care is one of the most urgent challenges which Tanzania has been facing for a number of years," Dekiba stated. He urged local governments and communities to play a noble role in providing local population with adequate health services in line with the ongoing health sector reform. Ambassador Dekiba also advised local governments and communities to plan their own health service programme. "Today, I am greatly pleased that Japan is extending assistance to a community striving to have better health services," he said. Dekiba said the ambulance was much needed in Mbinga district where the nearest referral hospital is 80 kilometers away from Lipembe health centre. "The ambulance we donate to Lipembe Health Centre will save many lives of patients," he said. The envoy promised to visit Mbinga district and meet people who would be benefiting from the donation. On his part, the Mbinga District Council Executive Director, Hussein Kattanga, commended the Tokyo government for a timely assistance to Lipembe health centre. "This grant assistance of ambulance will help us improve the quality of life of our people of Lipembe and Mpepai ward as well, who are disadvantaged in our community situated away from district and regional hospitals," Kattanga said. The donation is part of Japan's Grant Assistance for Grassroots Projects (GAGP).
Bogus immigration officers solicit bribes (The Guardian, 08/10) - The Immigration Department has alerted employers and members of the public of bogus immigration officers, particularly in Dar es Salaam Region, who threaten people to solicit bribes. The pseudo-immigration officers allegedly prey on foreigners, accusing them of possessing fake immigration documents. Addressing a press conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the Immigration Department's Public Relations Officer (PRO), Herbert Chilambo, advised members of the public, particularly foreigners, to demand identity cards from such officials. Where necessary they should call the department for verification. "Our sources reveal an increase of illegal activities by some people who have been posing as immigration officers and demanding bribes... these are not our staff," he said. The PRO gave the following phone numbers for people who might need assistance: 2118637/43 (Immigration HQ), 2110703/0744-397221 (Dar es Salaam Regional Immigration Offices), 2851506 (Temeke), 0744-360008 (Kinondoni) and 2185231/0744-271200 (lIala) Meanwhile, the Immigration Department netted 1021 aliens who entered the country illegally in the last 22 months. Chilambo told journalists that the figure could have been higher if the department had received more cooperation from members of the public.
Anti-South African sentiment increases (Express online 2, 08/10) - South Africans are not here to take over the economy as Tanzanians believe, they are here "to assist in development." South African High Commissioner to Tanzania Theresa Solomon told The Express the policy of privatisation was Tanzania's decision and South Africans have heeded the invitation to invest. It was unfortunate, said Solomon that Tanzanians thought negatively about South Africans and referred to them as Kaburu, a term banned in RSA. "The mindset is unfortunate and needs to be changed," the High Commissioner said adding that South Africans were not oppressors - they were here to join hands with Tanzanian to develop the economy and not take over. Kaburu is a term not limited to South Africans of apartheid era but could be used for anyone advocating racism, Mwalimu Nyerere had said. Professor Haroub Othman at a televised debate on privatisation on Saturday asked why the country economy was being concentrated in the hands of investors from a single country, South Africa. The "'1inister of Trade and Industries, Or. Juma Ngasongwa responded that South Africans are not the largest investors in the country, as most Tanzanians believe, they have bought only four of all parastatals sold to foreigners. "They are not majority investors here. Britons lead. Even Kenya tops South Africa but most people are ignorant of this," he said. South Africans have 70 per cent stake in the country's largest bank, National Bank of Commerce (NBC), they have 75 per cent in Kilombero Sugar estate, 51 in Tanzania Breweries Ltd. (TBL) and 49 in the Air Tanzania Company (ATCL). They have also invested in mines, hotels, supermarkets, shops and service rendering businesses. Most Tanzanians are fearful of South Africans because they have taken over institutions that have direct impact on people's employment like the banks and mines. The questions that Tanzanians should be asking, High Commissioner Solomon said, was whether South Africans were doing the best to develop Tanzania. They have empowered lots of Tanzanians who work in South African companies, she added.
Tanzania as a third rate investment destination and cannot attract first nor second rate investors in the world. They should thus be happy with South African investment, analysts say. The country is only capable of winning middle-rate investors from Arabic states, India, and from South Africa. Anti-South African sentiments apart, taxes paid by companies taken over by South Africans is a far cry from the ailing parastatals once owned by the government. Tanzania Breweries Ltd., the giant beer manufacturer in the country, is the leading divested public enterprise and contributed significantly to government revenue through taxes in 2002. According to data complied by the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), out of the 17 best privatised enterprises, TBL last financial year contributed Tsh. 43.5 billion, which is more than double the amount contributed in the preceding year of Tsh. 18.4 billion. TBL also in the same fiscal year provided to the government dividend amounting to Tsh. 34.5 million. The fifth largest taxpayer, NBC Ltd., owned 70 per cent by South Africans paid Tsh. 3.42 billion in taxes in 2002 while Kilombero Sugar Co. owned largely by South Africans too paid Tsh. 570.7 million. President Mkapa recently asked Tanzanians to stop complaining about selling the country to South Africans through investment asking where they were before South Africans arrived. He said people were shouting about Shoprite dominating the supermarket market, for example but asked why they had not thought of investing in the area before South Africans arrived. There is a trade imbalance between South Africa and Tanzania, High Commissioner Solomon acknowledged saying this was something they were concerned about. "We don't gloat about it but you can't blame that on any country," she said adding that what mattered in today's market plac is quality and high standard of products
South African presence grows (Dar es Salaam, Media 24 African News, 06/10) - This is a city where you can easily hear Afrikaans music on the morning programme of a local radio station. The South African supermarket Shoprite, in downtown Dar es Salaam, is the most popular place to shop. And if you're craving South African chicken, there is a Nando's around the corner. Sounds strange, but it is true in a country that has become a haven for enterprising South African business people. Since the end of apartheid, more than 150 South African companies have opened businesses in Tanzania. The country's government says there will be many more opportunities as the country moves from a socialist to capitalist economy. The South African mining giant Anglo American is involved in mining, while Absa, a banking group, is in the process of restructuring Tanzania's largest bank. South African Airways has taken Tanzanian Airways under its wing and South African Breweries Miller, Protea Hotels, Southern Sun Hotels and other large companies are actively engaged in the country. However, it is not only the big names that have a foot in the door. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) conference, in September 2003 was organised mainly by South Africans. Deon de Bruyn is well known in the video production industry in South Africa and has produced TV shows for celebrities such as Casper de Vries and Nataniel. De Bruyn and his partners Cobus Fourie and Jaco van Wyk decided to move to Dar es Salaam in February this year. Fourie says "greener pastures" is the most important reason for their move, which came after De Bruyn had been involved in freelancing activities in Tanzania earlier. "The television industry in Tanzania is in its infancy and there is a huge need for training, TV advertisements and programmes. We were at the right place at the right time." De Bruyn's company has a local partner who owns half the company. "We were required to get licenses and permits from six different departments. It takes time, money and determination to get going," Fourie says. Currently things are looking up and De Bruyn broadcasts South African music on his daily morning programme on Choice FM, a station aimed at foreigners living in Dar es Salaam. Dr Abdul-Kader Shareef, Tanzanian deputy foreign affairs and international co-operation minister, says the country?s greatest need is in the area of commercial agriculture.
"Of the country?s one million square kilometres at least 46% is available for agricultural purposes and most of this land borders on water resources that are practically inexhaustible (Lakes Tanganyika, Victoria and Rukwa as well as rivers). "At present only about 6% of the land is utilised. The possibilities are endless and we are bending over backwards to accommodate commercial farmers. "The only condition is that the land remains the property of Tanzania and that nobody will be chase off the land. Lend-leases for 33, 66 or 99 years are available for the original purpose, agriculture. Developers cannot use the land later for developing a holiday resort, for example." Shareef notes that the South Africa has the largest foreign community in Tanzania. "e prefer South Africans as business partners since, with a few exceptions, their success and motivation are visible. We don't want swindlers and opportunists." Shoprite opened its doors in Dar es Salaam a year and a half ago and has since opened six more branches in the country. Another three are being planned. Jaco Dellemijn, Dar es Salaam section manager, believes not everyone can make a go of it here. "Sound knowledge of Africa and an easy-going nature re essential. The pace is much slower and frustration levels higher." Indian business people in particular, who had dominated the business scene for many years, were hugely opposed to South African involvement. In the past they faced hardly any competition. On the positive side, local producers have enhanced their packaging and service in order to be considered as suppliers. If they pass the test, they stand a chance at supplying Shoprite's other outlets in 14 African countries. Tanzanian instant coffee is currently being exported to Shoprite?s South African shops because of its quality and reasonable price. "Job satisfaction at getting a shop up and running is immense. Needy Tanzanians who queued outside the shop two years ago for a job are currently our managers. These success stories are no longer to be found in South Africa. "Then there is pride in marketing South African products here - a few years back our group did not have these opportunities in Africa," said Dellemijn.
"There are no labour problems here. People are thankful for a job and have pride in what they achieve. On the other hand, electricity and water supply is unreliable. We don't have proper refuse removal and at times one's sense of humour is one's only saving grace." But there are South Africans who give their compatriots a bad name. Paddy Hoon, who is British and has been managing risk analyses for foreigners in establishing new enterprises for many years, says up to 50% of smaller South African business people try to duck the Tanzanian legal system. Otherwise they start bribing people from the outset to try and promote their affairs. "Sometimes they do it in ignorance - because they don't know how to obtain permits and licenses. The only problem is that they are then branded as corrupt and sidelined." Hoon says South Africans are accepted remarkably quickly. He believes it is their ability to get on with Tanzanians and Europeans alike and their success can be attributed to the fact that they are hard-working and enterprising. "There is opposition since many locals regard the flood of South Africans as a privileged mass who want to take over the country. "Most, however, change their view as they get to know the South Africans better and realise what can be achieved." Hoon says that during the first South Africa Week, a business initiative to raise money for charity, three years ago, only seven South African companies were involved. Two years ago the number grew to 46 and last year 76 participated. This year 115 are expected.
Over 2,000 Burundi refugees return home (The Guardian, 06/10) - An estimated 2,100 Burundian refugees have gone back to their home country in the last two months. Sources said over the weekend that refugees decided to go back home on foot, following reports from the United Nations Refugee Commission's suboffice in Kasulu District that the office had no vehicles to transport refugees. According to the sources, majority of Burundian refugees, who have decided to go back home, were those who were staying in refugee camps in Kasulu District, Kigoma Region. "Refugees have been complaining that they were being given a reduced food ration, which was not enough to feed themselves and their children," a source stated. Burundi, Tanzania and the UN refugee agency have already signed a Tripartite Agreement which stipulates clearly roles of each party to the agreement with regard to refugees. Transportation role of refugees back to their respective countries is supposed to be done by the UNHCR. Currently, Tanzania is sheltering about 350,000 refugees from Burundi. Earlier reports said at least 460 people have been killed by armed men in Burundi in the last two months. The reports quoted a Bujumbura-based non-governmental organization which deals with human rights (IBITEKA), as saying they might have been slain by either government soldiers or armed rebels from CNDD-FDD of Pierre Nkurunziza or PALlPEHUTU-FNL of Rwasa Agaton.
MIDSA Workshop on forced migration (Iom, 31/10) -The Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA) held a workshop this week on Forced Migration in the Zambian capital, Lusaka. The three-day event brought together 15 governments in the region and observers from the diplomatic missions, United Nations agencies, the African Union, and NGOs. The participants discussed recommendations on how to address various aspects of population displacements.During the IOM-supported event, the challenges related to the nature of population flows and the insufficient legislation and technical capacities to meet them were also considered. The group recommended that regular meetings be established between national refugee commissioners and others involved with displaced persons to better monitor situations and coordinate responses. They also agreed that guiding principles on internal displacement should be included in national legislations. The need for regionally coordinated repatriation agreements and legislation was also on the agenda. It was also suggested that countries in the region, together with countries affected by population displacement and donors, consider comprehensive plans of action to assist in the relief, recovery and effective reintegration of displaced persons and returnees. The IOM Regional Representative for Southern Africa, Hans Petter Boe said, "MIDSA is a process that continues to evolve and to attract governments and civil society in the region. The international community by and large favours regional approaches, and indeed the MIDSA formula is taking root in West and East Africa."
1Immigration authority hunting for human traffickers (Luanda, Angola press, 29/10) -The immigration authority in Zambian capital Lusaka is hunting for a group of Ethiopian and Congolese nationals who are suspected of trafficking African youngsters to foreign countries, the Sunday Times of Zambia reported. The report quoted immigration department spokesman Jones Mwelwa as saying that the Ethiopian and Congolese nationals are being used as couriers in trafficking youngsters aged between 18 and 25 through the Mpulungu harbor in Zambia`s Northern Province to Mozambique, where they are distributed to various countries. Mwelwa said the immigration authority recently intercepted a group of young man from West African countries on suspicion that they were being smuggled for prostitution abroad. However, he said they were later released after the immigration department found that their travel documents were in order. The spokesman said the immigration department believes that the youngsters are promised jobs and other opportunities at a fee. "We gather that they are paying a lot of money to the facilitators of their trip to fulfill their dreams of earning a decent living abroad," he said. "We are very convinced that some Ethiopians and Congolese nationals in Zambia are being used as couriers, but we will catch up with them and the law will take it course," he said.
15,000 Angolan refugees return home (Post of Zambia, 28/10) - Over 15,000 Angolan refugees have returned to their country, home affairs minister Lt Gen Ronnie Shikapwasha has said. Opening the forced migration meeting yesterday, Lt Gen Shikapwasha said 80 Rwandan refugees had been repatriated under the framework of the tripartite agreement for their repatriation. He said Southern Africa had experienced forced migration trends largely due to armed conflicts and fear of violence as well as threats of human rights and persecution, the conflict in Angola and the great lakes region being cases in point. He said organized repatriation was involving and required immeasurable resources including time and commitment. Lt Gen Shikapwasha said effective reintegration programs should follow voluntary repatriations. "We therefore need to have a common approach to these issues, including the standardization of policies and practices," he said. Lt Gen Shikapwasha said peace was the surest way of resolving the problem of forced migration. And International Organization for Migration (IOM) regional representative Hans-Petter Boe said there was far too much of non-voluntary migration in Africa. "The challenges to the governments and civil society force themselves onto the international agenda and they become political as several other levels as well, national, bilateral and regional," he said. Boe said Zambia had played as generous host to people fleeing from neighbouring countries.
South African urged to create employment in Zambia (Times of Zambia, 28/10) - Zambia's High Commissioner to South Africa Silumelume Mubukwanu has called on South Africans to help create employment in Zambia by investing their money in the country. First secretary for Press in South Africa Samuel Ngoma said in a statement yesterday that the appeal is contained in a message read out by Mr Mubukwanu during 39th independence celebrations in Pretoria. Addressing Zambians resident in South Africa and dignitaries at Zambia House, the High Commissioner said Zambia needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from South Africa to create more jobs. He said it was no use complaining of an influx of Zambian job seekers when the powerful South African economy could invest in Zambia and provide jobs to keep Zambians within their country. "The best way of stopping Zambians from flocking to South Africa for jobs is for South Africans to invest heavily in Zambia," he said. Mr Mubukwanu challenged South African companies to take a cue from the Sun International Hotels which had invested heavily in Livingstone, offering jobs to many Zambians. Meanwhile, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) was yesterday scheduled to screen "Zambia: the cradle of a liberation" at 18:30 hours. The documentary is about the gory details of what Zambians went through as Zambia made sacrificial contribution to the liberation of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola and Namibia.
New Zambian passports required (Times of Zambia, 28/10) - Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Peter Mumba is lobbying the Finance ministry to consider allocating money to the Passports office in the 2004 Budget to enable it to introduce new passports. Mr Mumba said in Lusaka yesterday Government wanted to change the existing passports which were easy to forge. It had been established that some foreigners posing as Zambians were using forged passports in criminal activities. Mr Mumba who was speaking in an interview said Zambian passports had become vulnerable to forgery. The permanent secretary said $1.2 million would be required to introduce the new passports. Mr Mumba said that the only way to stop the illegal trend was to change the passports to modern ones with features difficult to alter. "At the rate we are going, Zambia needs passports that have a picture that holds the pages because this will make it difficult for criminals to manipulate the pictures," he said. Mr Mumba said that so far the passports office had received many queries from neighbouring Zimbabwe, Botswana and the United States on Zambian passports. He also said there had been cases in which some Zambian leaders were inconvenienced simply because their passports were looking untidy and did not conform to international standards.
More Zimbabwean farmers settle in Mkushi (Times of Zambia, 27/10) -Ten more Zimbabwean white farmers have settled in the Mkushi farming bloc in Central Province as investors in agriculture. Immigration department public relations officer Jones Mwewa confirmed this in an interview in Lusaka. Mr Mwewa said there had been an increase in the number of white farmers coming into Zambia from Zimbabwe. The latest arrivals brings to 18 the number of Zimbabweans now in Mkushi. He said the department had issued the farmers with self employment permits valid for two years and subject to renewal once the farmers proved to be genuine investors. "The number of Zimbabwean farmers coming into the country is increasing. So far 18 farmers have settled in Mkushi with self employment permits of investment in agriculture specifically in maize and tobacco growing," he said. He said the farmers would be allowed to bring in their farming equipment from Zimbabwe or buy it within Zambia to prove that they had the capital base for investment. Mr Mwewa said Government had not given out any land to the Zimbabwean farmers but they bought land from fellow farmers in Mkushi. He said the immigration department wanted to attract investors into the country but investors had to have documents allowing them to be in the country. "We are not harassing any investors but we are only doing our job of cleaning the country of illegal immigrants," he said. He said the department was not there to disturb investors but wanted them to follow immigration laws and other laws of the country. Mr Mwewa added that those investors that contravened immigration laws risked being deported.
Zimbabwe cross border traders in Zambia ( Times of Zambia, 27/10) - Traders from Zimbabwe have complained of being subjected to paying two different fees at the Comesa Flea Market in Zambia. The traders, who launched a complaint to the Zimbabwean Cross Border Traders Association, said they were subjected to paying fees to the Zambian Cross Border Traders Association in Lusaka and to MMD officials. Zimbabwe Cross Border Traders Association president Killer Zivhu, who was in the country this week to assess the situation, confirmed the development in an interview yesterday. Mr Zivhu said that the Comesa protocol did not allow a political party to collect revenue from traders. "They are paying K10,OOO to the MMD for two days in a week and K6,OOO to the association for three days a week," he said. He said that there were about four million Zimbabwean traders of which about 25,000 of these were conducting business daily in Zambia. Mr Zivhu was also disappointed to discover that certain products prohibited for export from Zimbabwe to Zambia were being sold publicly at the flea market in Zambia. He said that some of the products that were being sold publicly included spirits and cigarettes which have been banned in Zambia for importation. He asked the relevant officials in Zambia to curb the illegal importation of the same products. He, however, commended the Zambian Government, especially the customs officials, for assisting in stopping the externalising of the Zimbabwean dollar into Zambia. And cross border traders in the Comesa region will be meeting in Zimbabwe on October 31 to discuss issues affecting their trade.
Ex-Zim farmers excel in Zambia (Livingston, News 24, 23/10) - "Zimbabwean farmers who have settled here are experts, they have only benefited our country," said Zambia's agriculture minister Mundia Sikatana, commenting on increasing numbers of Zimbabwean farmers who have found refuge here. "Tobacco farmers in particular are among the best you'll find. They are likely to boost our tobacco industry sky high," Sikatana adds. At least 30 Zimbabwean farmers have settled in the Choma and Kaloma districts, near Livingstone in the Southern Province. Fifteen Zimbabwean families have made their home in the northern district of Mkushi near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other individual farmers, who were also driven off their land during farm invasions, have settled in various other parts of the country. South African farmers, however, have also found a refuge in Zambia. Five South African families have settled in the Mkushi area. Malcolm Richardson, 39, is one of the newly arrived farmers in Mkushi. "It's ironic. I left Zimbabwe as a result of unprecedented violence. I export tons of seed-maize that the country now relies on," he says, shaking his head. Richardson was forcibly removed from his farm near Harare in April last year. Eight war veterans are the present occupants. Richardson and his wife, Catherine, tried Australia as a possible place to settle. "But it was just too far from 'home'. And then we decided on Zambia. We liked the country and decided to stay." Richardson says he never considered moving to South Africa. "Violence in South Africa has made life there unacceptable. Also, South Africa's stance on Zimbabwe has angered many of us (Zimbabweans)." Richardson maintains Zambian farmers in Mkushi had made them welcome from the outset. Although he moved to Zambia without any farm implements, he soon managed to get going. "There is the perception that Zimbabwean farmers mistreat their labourers. It's utter nonsense. All my workers had brick homes with electricity and we had a good relationship." He claims Zimbabwean farmers get very angry when confronted with "guidelines" farmers are provided with elsewhere on "how to avoid the Zimbabwean situation". "We followed all those steps and were still chased off our land. We hope the same does not happen in South Africa - it only takes on madman to make a mess of everything."
The Mkushi area where Richardson is settled has 176 farms where they farm with maize, wheat, soybeans and cattle. Sally Greyvenstein, Mkushi farmers' association chairperson, says the arrival of Zimbabwean farmers has revived agriculture and relieved the unemployment situation. "The families are also supporting local schools, clinics, churches and are aiding in the development of small farmers." Greyvenstein notes Zambia is a very productive country, the soil is fertile with plenty of underground water. "But, it's not easy to make a living from farming. We are very far from big markets and the infrastructure hampers us." Richardson agrees that farming in Zimbabwe had been "far easier" than in Zambia. "There the infrastructure is in place. Here it takes much more to make a go of it." Nico de Kock, a South African farmer who moved from Brits in Northwest to Mkushi in 1995, says in some respects farming is far easier in South Africa. "But one could call Zambia 'God's own country'". "The soil is very fertile and anything grows in it, however distances to markets and big centres for necessities are a problem." De Kock says when implements break down in South Africa, the problem is usually solved within a few hours. In Zambia it can take up to two weeks to get something from Lusaka or Ndola (one of the most important border towns). Inadequate electricity supply and the lack of efficient telephone communication also poses huge problems. Zambian farmers maintain these problems caused many South African farmers who settled here in the 1990's to give up and return to their own country. At least 40 South African farmers settled in Zambia between 1992/93. De Kock says only nine have remained. Paul Dobson a South African farmer in Mkushi also stresses difficult farming conditions in Zambia. "Here, you'll find no support like in South Africa. You are totally on your own." Dobson cultivates seed-maize and is excited over growth in production in Zambia. Sikatana adds that seed-maize supply has risen by 400%. Zambia is gearing itself up to supply 12 Southern Development Community countries with seed-maize. Zambian farmers' union president Guy Robinson says the country produces 1.4 million tons of mealie meal annually. The price of maize, however, is low at $120 per ton and is falling daily. Sikatana maintains Zambia should use its natural resources more profitably. "We have more underground water supplies than any surrounding country. In addition our climate is excellent with enough rain - only it should be utilised more effectively." He would like Zambian farmers to extend their operations and not only cultivate maize. Nkole Kaemba of the Zambian export growers association says up until August Zambia has exported 2 239 tons of flowers and 5 946 tons of vegetables (the figures for last year were 4 380 tons of flowers and 8 485 tons of vegetables in total). Robinson says expanding the agricultural sector is a government priority. Agricultural experts are convinced the industry could result in a gold mine for Zambia.
Parliamentary committee set to fight medical brain drain (Sunday times reporter, 19/10) - The parliamentary committee on health is working on an international agreement that will curb the brain-drain among health personnel in Zambia. The committee has also started to actively support and help the implementation of local programmes that will ensure equity in the delivery of health services among the Zambians. Committee chairperson Sakwiba Sikota said this in Lusaka yesterday at a media briefing ahead of the equity commemoration week. Mr Sikota, who is Livingstone Central member of Parliament, said there was a wide gap between the rural and urban Zambia communities in terms of health delivery services. He said the international agreement which had been widely discussed in many Southern African countries would work to compel Western countries to compensate the African countries where they recruited doctors and nurses. "We are spending a lot of resources to train these professionals who are later recruited in Western countries, creating a health inequity," he said. The MP observed that rural areas were disadvantaged in health services because of many factors, including the number of medical personnel who operated in the areas. Mr Sikota also said that medical personnel had continued to shun rural areas because conditions of living and operating were not conducive. "It is frustrating for our doctors to work in rural areas because in most cases, basic necessities and life-saving equipment are not available for these professionals to work properly," he said. He said there were recommendations to begin recruiting medical personnel from specific school leavers in rural areas who would be sent back to work in the rural areas as a way of curbing the imbalance in the availability of medical workers between rural and urban areas.
South African companies have scavenged Zambia (The post, 15/10) -Some South African companies have scavenged Zambia, Omnia Fertiliser Zambia Limited managing director Bertie Serfontein has observed. Serfontein yesterday said he agreed with views that some South African companies had just come to Zambia to make quick profits after which they abandon the country. "Most South African companies just come to scavenge Zambia," he said. However, Serfontein said Omnia Fertiliser was opposed to that kind of approach and had instead embarked on a long-term vision for the country as opposed to some other South African companies which took a casual approach to their investments in Zambia. He said it was because of the importance that his company attached to the development of Zambia that a subsidiary company was formed to specifically cater for small-scale farmers. Serfontein said Omnia Small Scale Limited was set up in 1996 to strengthen small scale farming in rural areas as opposed to concentration on commercial farmers only who were already catered by Omnia Fertiliser Zambia Limited. He praised the Mwanawasa administration for giving the agriculture sector the priority it deserves. "Omnia is very happy with the energy spent by the government to re-position agriculture by taking its rightful place in the country's economy," Serfontein said. "Omnia is confident that it can play a major role in assisting government to achieve their pronounced goals in this regard."Serfontein said during the past couple of years, Omnia had gone through very difficult times, finding it necessary to restructure its operations in an effort to survive and improve its business."Omnia has had a long term view and plan in Zambia and it is therefore with pride that it has made additional changes to its management staff and is very happy to be able to create opportunities for all its employees," he said. Serfontein said with the new approach that the government was taking to the agricultural sector, Zambia was poised to be Africa's food basket. He said the priority for now should be to ensure food security before the country could increase production for export earnings. And Serfontein thanked the government for awarding Omnia the contract to supply Lusaka and Eastern provinces with fertiliser this coming farming season. However, Serfontein said the company has been forced to close its depots in Northern and Luapula provinces due to lack of business. He said it was unfortunate that the depots have been closed with the consequent retrenchment of all its staff in those regions. On the award to supply fertiliser to Lusaka and Eastern provinces, Serfontein said since Omnia has already received 50 per cent payment guarantee from the government, it had started delivery of that amount of fertiliser to the two provinces and supplies must be completed by the end of next week. He said once the other 50 per cent payment guarantee is received, Omnia would immediately embark on distribution of the remaining stocks. For commercial farmers, Serfontein disclosed that 70 per cent of them had already been supplied. He said the remaining 30 per cent would be supplied with their fertiliser in the next couple of weeks.
Impact of doctors strike and brain drain (The financial gazette, 30/10) -Commentators this week said industrial disturbances in the health delivery sector which has since lost a raft of key personnel that left for pastures anew and facing a critical shortages of essential drugs, and equipment caused by the non-availability of foreign currency, could effectively derail efforts to breathe life into the system. Junior and middle level doctors went on strike — the fourth this year — last week demanding hefty salary increases of up to $30 million per month. Health Minister David Parirenyatwa dismissed them at the weekend as "black market salaries" that the government could not afford. Nurses, who have similar grievances about remuneration and poor working conditions, this week joined the strike and effectively paralysed the country’s public health system in what analysts said could be the last straw on Zimbabwe’s decrepit health sector. "We fully appreciate and it is in our conscience that we are guided by ethics in our profession, but everyone has a breaking point. If one cannot fend for themselves, how can they professionally consider another person’s well-being?" This is what Hospital Doctors’ Association (HDA) president Phibion Manyanga had to say as doctors and nurses took a decision to forsake the Hippocratic oath they took when they joined the medical profession, to go on strike for the umpteenth time within the past decade. The medical workers who were held in high esteem as trend-setters in social standards in the 1980s have over the past decade haplessly watched their status eroded to leave them in no better position than semi-skilled workers toiling in the industries to survive from hand-to-mouth. Since 1990, doctors and nurses have had several strikes, the most notable one in 1996, which went for a record 49 days resulting in wholesale dismissals and en-masse resignations, a severe blow that the country has not been able to recover to this day.
Social analyst Alois Masepe said unless the government can move in to find holistic solutions to the problems bedevilling the whole economy, it would be very difficult for it to find solutions to recurrent strikes by the country’s medical staff. "We all know that the government cannot afford to pay the doctors the $30 million they are demanding, but a solution has to be found to keep them," Masepe said. "We should know that these people are very marketable . . . they are in high demand so we should pay the price." "The medical workers have a case which is legitimate and understandable," said local economic analyst Lovemore Kadenge. "It is only a question of quantum that is debatable because we all know that the government cannot afford to meet what they are demanding." Kadenge said although remuneration and working conditions were generally poor within the rest of the civil service, it was important to appreciate the fact that doctors and other health workers were in a specialist group that needed special attention to retain them. This, he said, was because the country cannot afford to continue losing them to other countries in the backdrop of the HIV/Aids pandemic, which is threatening to wipe away an entire generation. The analysts said the challenges posed by AIDS and compounded by growing poverty made an efficient public health system more important that ever before. "With the growing poverty in the country, it is very important that the public health system does not collapse because very few families can now afford seeking medical attention from private practitioners," Kadenge said. Zimbabwe, with close to 4 000 deaths per week, is billed as one of the countries with the highest HIV infections in the world, but has in the past years continued to lose key medical personnel to neighbouring and overseas countries as they flee from searing poverty at home. Most of the nurses and doctors are heading for neighbouring countries like South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, while others are going as far as the United Kingdom and United States. A United Nations Development Programme-funded study released this year estimates that doctors, nurses and pharmacists constitute about 25 percent of the 500 000 Zimbabweans in the diaspora. "The country has become uninhabitable so that is why they are leaving. It is a very difficult decision to leave one’s own country but at times circumstances will force you to do it," Masepe said. The country has just about 800 doctors, way below the required number of about 2 200. In the face of increasing exodus of medical staff to other countries, the government has relied on its links with Communist Cuba and the Democratic Republic of Congo to bring in expatriate medical staff, mainly doctors, to maintain a semblance of order at most of its hospitals. "It is not sustainable to continue bringing in expatriate doctors from other countries. There are problems like language and even experience so you will still need to have local locals," Kadenge said. The analysts said it was also important to appreciate that apart from poor remuneration, what is also fuelling the current exodus of medical personnel from the country are frustrations resulting from all-round shortages in hospitals, which make it difficult even for the most committed practitioner to deliver. Zimbabwean public hospitals are now synonymous with shortages of almost anything, from drugs, to syringes, to blood, to gloves and all other essentials due to swingeing budget cuts. The Ministry of Health is seeking a massive $555 billion in the 2004 budget, up from a budget of $122 billion it got this year, an amount, which it blew out in no time. Masepe, however, said the government should simultaneously address problems being faced by all other members of the public service such as teachers, lecturers and uniformed forces.
Exploitation of Zimbabweans in South Africa (The Star, 20/10) - Few people are prepared to work a 12-hour shift for only R8. But Topen Ndlovu has jumped the border from Zimbabwe, risking arrest, to do this. Ndlovu is among thousands of illegal Zimbabwean immigrants who sell their labour on the Limpopo farms for low wages. When they arrive in the country they move from one farm to another on the Blouberg farmland strip, where they work as farmhands picking and packaging potatoes, oranges and tomatoes during harvest time. There they are often provided with accommodation in mud huts. Ndlovu left Zimbabwe last year in July at the age of 22. He has completed his high school and a two-year builders' training course in Chiretsi Training Centre near Harare. But he, like thousands of other young men, could not find a job in Zimbabwe. Ndlovu is currently working on Wiggills Farm near Makhado, sharing a hut with four other workers. Ndlovu has a tough job: He wakes up at 4.30am and starts work in the fields at 5am. At 10am he and his colleagues are offered breakfast and at 11.30am they return to the field, where they work until 5pm or "sunset during hectic days". After work, Ndlovu says, they are expected to be available for other chores. A fellow worker, Sonnyboy Mpofu, says he works around the clock, sleeping for fewer than five hours a day, before he has to wake up again at 4.30 the next morning. Mpofu says: "The farmer did not seem interested in getting us work permits any longer because labour inspectors from Louis Trichardt were no longer visiting the farms." "We are paid R8 a shift. Foremen are paid R11 a day," he says, adding that he uses the money to buy tobacco and soap. The farmer provides two bags of mealie meal and sour milk every month for each group in the dingy hostel flats. "If I manage to save R200 to take home to my family in Zimbabwe after three months, it is quite a lot," says Mpofu. Next December Ndlovu hopes to go back home to visit his family; parents, seven brothers and four sisters. To get to Gwanda, south of Bulawayo, he walks along long pathways, through forested areas. This will be Ndlovu's fifth trip back home since he arrived in last July. Peter Muyongo Dube, 45, a father of four, says he was promised R300 a month to work as a farm handyman. He hails from Queque near Harare. He says he has worked for six years on the farms in the province without a work permit. At Wiggills Farm, the majority of farmworkers are from Zimbabwe. They identify themselves as proud Zimbabweans who left their homeland to seek work opportunities.
Grant Brownley, a farmer in Musina and an executive member of Agri-North, says farmers in the region have experienced countless inspection raids from the Department of Labour. "We employ less than 10 percent of the three million Zimbabweans employed illegally in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. "But we see the government campaign as concentrating on us because they want to hammer the white farmer," he argues. He denies that the illegal Zimbabwean workers are paid less than R600 a month. He also disputes the claim that most farmers prefer Zimbabweans to local labour, adding that the media is bent on casting white farmers in a bad light. South African Agricultural Plantation and Allied Workers Union's (Saapawu) regional organiser, Dovhani Tshilande says farmers in the province rely heavily on "paying exploitation wages" to Zimbabwe immigrants. He says most farmers do not want to employ local job-seekers, because they fear that they would be forced to pay minimum wages required by law. "It is difficult for me to organise union members in the region as farmers boast that they would never employ job seekers from local communities because they would join the union once they were employed," he says. The labour ministry has warned farmers to stop exploiting Zimbabweans working in the country illegally. Snuki Zikalala, Department of Labour spokesperson, says that the ministry has signed an agreement with the Zimbabwean government and farmers' organisations condemning the employment and exploitation of illegal Zimbabweans. "We are planning to mount very soon a major raid on farms which employ foreigners illegally because they did not want contribute to unemployment insurance. "The farmers would be forced to pay repatriation fares for those Zimbabweans and further fines amounting to R5 000 for each illegal worker arrested on the farm premises," he says. The department will work in collaboration with the SA National Defence Force, responsible for border patrols to clamp down on alleged corruption along the border line. But for now Ndlovu wants the R8 a day to keep hunger away.
Zimbabwe faces brain drain (Sunday Times, 19/10) -Grannies have been roped in to shore up Zimbabwe's terminally ill healthcare services. As the country's healthcare system edges towards collapse, due to chronic shortages of key medical staff and resources, the government is hiring retired nurses to rescue the situation. Nurses as old as 75 (retirement age for medical personnel is 65) have been called in to fill thousands of posts at dilapidated public healthcare centres. These have been left vacant by colleagues who have emigrated to other countries. About half of the country's 20 000 registered nurses and 2 000 doctors have left the country. This means there is one nurse for every 600 people and one doctor for every 12 000 people. The brain drain has intensified along with Zimbabwe's economic crisis. A recent study revealed that the country had lost more than 500 000 professionals over the past few years. President Robert Mugabe has accused Britain of "stealing" doctors and nurses from Zimbabwe. "Britain comes in the dead of night to steal our people," he said recently. "They are recruiting pharmacists, doctors and nurses." But Dr Howard Mutsando, chairman of the Hospital Doctors' Association, has said that medical staff are going abroad "to earn enough money to live on". Low salaries, poor working conditions and the economic crisis were chasing nurses and other medical professionals away. Nurses earn a gross salary of Z138 000 (about R200) a month, while junior doctors get Z300 000 (R600). Working conditions in hospitals are terrible as there are no essential drugs and equipment due to a chronic lack of foreign currency. The government has also hired medical practitioners from Cuba and the Democratic Republic of Congo to fill vacant posts. At least 170 Cuban doctors have so far been employed. The expatriate and formerly retired medical staff are complemented by nurses trained in elementary health care. But the crisis remains. A spokesman for the Zimbabwe Nurses Association said retired nurses were being hired "to prevent a catastrophe". The spokesman said: "It's true that retired nurses are being called back to rescue the situation. "Government hospitals are terribly short-staffed and they can't cope. Things are so bad that hospitals have now become places where people go to die." Zimbabwe Medical Association president Dr Billy Rigava said the healthcare crisis was due to the exodus of medical practitioners and a lack of drugs. "The situation is very bad. The healthcare system has been hard hit by the economic crisis," Rigava said. "The private sector is the one that is holding [down the] fort. Otherwise, we would be having a real catastrophe."
Plight of displaces farm workers (Johannesburg, Irin, 17/10) -Ex-farm workers make up the bulk of Zimbabwe's estimated 100,000 displaced persons and are in need of assistance, the NGO, Refugees International (RI), has warned. The organisation added that while former commercial farm workers had been displaced by the government's land reform programme, some of the beneficiaries of the programme have also found themselves homeless. "Refugees International visited rural areas in Zimbabwe and met with displaced persons. One group of 50 was living in a field without shelter. They were formerly landless people who had been resettled on an expropriated commercial farm three years ago. Thus, they had been beneficiaries of land reform. But three weeks before our visit, they were ordered off their land by government authorities and their houses were burned. They were told they would be given new land, but so far nothing had been done for them," the NGO alleged. "Another group, encountered alongside a road, also reported that they had been told to leave their lands. In both cases a prominent government official desired their land. Many farmers had not prepared their land for planting in November: no seeds, they said, and no fertiliser and no gasoline for tractors. Survival tactics in the countryside include eating livestock, gold panning, poaching wild game, and - most importantly - receiving remittances from relatives working abroad," RI said.
Ex-farm workers reportedly faced continual harassment. "Many of them have been expelled from communities in which they have attempted to resettle. They are often, according to relief workers, excluded from lists of beneficiaries for food and other international assistance. Others have been re-employed by new owners of commercial farms, but farm wages have fallen," RI noted. While most would agree that land reform in Zimbabwe was necessary - white farmers owned most of the good agricultural land in the country - "the way it was carried out has had a disastrous impact on agriculture, the backbone of the economy". "Production has shrunk by more than 50 percent for important crops, such as corn and tobacco, and livestock have been decimated by disease and neglect. Agricultural inputs are in short supply for the upcoming planting season in November, even though forecasters predict that rains for agriculture will be adequate this year. The consequence will be a severe food shortage for 5 million Zimbabweans - nearly half the population - between now and the next harvest season in April 2004," RI noted. The growing need for food was coinciding with a looming break in the World Food Programme's food aid pipeline in January, due to lack of funds. Given the current situation, RI recommended that "donors come forward immediately with additional large pledges of food aid to Zimbabwe - to arrive in the country by January 2004 when the food shortage will be most critical". Donors should also "consider additional programmes providing high-protein food, such as corn and soybeans - expensive and in short supply in Zimbabwe - to [people living with] HIV/AIDS. The HIV infection rate in Zimbabwe is about 30 percent, one of the highest in the world".
Nurse-training to improve health delivery system (Chronicle, 16/10) - The increase in the number of nurses who are being trained countrywide is set to improve the health delivery system which has been severely affected by the brain drain, an official said yesterday. The training posts for general nurses were increased by about 70 percent since January while the training of primary care nurses launched last Thursday is expected to produce 2 500 nurses in the next four years. Speaking during the graduation of 170 nurses and midwives from Mpilo Central Hospital on Friday, the Chief Nursing Officer in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Ms Cynthia Chasokela said the training of nurses and midwives was one of the ministry's objectives that remains a national level responsibility. Primary care nurses are being trained in various district hospitals in the country. She said human resources development plays an important part in the delivery of comprehensive quality health care services. "In recent years, there has been an intensification of the global nurse migration phenomena. The exodus of experienced nurses from Zimbabwe has brought challenges to the health sector," she said. Ms Chasokela said other factors that have contributed to the reduced number of nurses in the public sector are job openings in the private and corporate sector, limited material resources and an increased demand for nursing and midwifery care. She said in response to these challenges, the ministry had remained committed to its obligations of accessing services to all citizens. "The strategic plans of expanding health training programmes namely pharmacy technicians, dental therapists, technicians and nurses among others are now being implemented," said Ms Chasokela. She said in addition, the training of primary cares nurses would go a long way in alleviating staff shortages especially in the rural areas. Like all trainees in the ministry, the primary care nurses would be bonded. "Let me assure you that bonding has advantages to both parties, for the graduands you are assured of a job while the Government is assured of quality health care. Speaking at the same occasion, Mpilo Central Hospital Medical Superintendent, Or Juliet OubeNdebele urged the nurses to remain committed to their duties as they were during their studies for the good of the health delivery system. "I know we have produced fully trained cadres not half baked cookies and we are therefore expecting you to continue working hard and to give the patients all your maximum support," she said.
Passport officer faces charges for theft (Gweru, The Herald, 16/10) -A passport officer in the Mid-lands on Monday appeared in court facing charges of theft by false pretences after he allegedly stole 147 passports. Godrer Mbava (39) pleaded not guilty to the theft charges. The first state witness, a provincial registrar at the passport office, Mr Lovemore Munyoro, told the court that Mbava was working as an accounts clerk when it was discovered that 147 passports were missing. He said Mbava’s responsibilities included issuing passports. Trouble started when two fraudulently issued passports were intercepted in Harare and the Registrar-General’s office in Gweru was requested to investigate the matter. Mr Munyoro said the type of the intercepted passports had been phased out in 2000. The old passports had been locked up in a trunk and Mbava kept the keys. He said Mbava was on sick leave when the Harare office requested the Gweru office for a report on the two intercepted passports. "When I phoned Mbava, who was at his home, to come and give us the keys to the trunk in which the passports were being kept, he said he wanted to go to see a doctor in Kwekwe. "He promised to come back the following morning but he never came back. We made a report to the police," said Mr Munyoro. He said in the presence of the police, they later broke the trunk and discovered that 147 passports were missing.
White farmers from Zimbabwe seek land in Mozambique (Maputo, Sapa, 14/10) - The Mozambique government is under pressure to provide land to displaced white Zimbabwe farmers, with new areas being opened up for them, a senior government official said Tuesday. Soares Nhaca, the governor of Manica Province in central Mozambique, told AFP that the demand for land in his province was so high that they had had to look to other provinces with good climate and soil. "We have come under increasing pressure from Zimbabwean farmers seeking land in Manica in recent months," Nhaca said, adding that offers of land had been made in the neighbouring province of Zambezia. Around 60 white Zimbabwean farmers, forced off their farms by a controversial land reform programme back home, have settled in various parts of Manica and are already producing crops and cattle. The province, just across Zimbabwe's eastern border, has provided some of the farmers with a new home. According to Nhaca, one Zimbabwean has set up a factory to produce agricultural implements including tractors. The majority of Zimbabwe's 4,500 white commercial farmers have lost their land after the government three years ago launched a programme of seizing white-owned land for redistribution among new black farmers.
Local firms to clinch construction deals in Angola (The Herald, 06/10) -Three major local companies that supply construction materials are set to clinch deals worth billions of dollars after Angola, which is undergoing a massive reconstruction programme, expressed interest in their products. This follows the signing of a Memorandum of Intent between Angola and local firms — Zisco, Zimboard and Circle Cement — to explore and work out a mechanism for exporting cement, wooden products and steel required by the mineral-rich country. Visiting Angolan Public Works Minister, General Higino Lopes Carneiro said his country welcomed Zimbabwean companies in the construction sector to supply building materials as Angola was now enjoying peace following a bitter three-decade civil war that battered its infrastructure. This, he said, was critical and represented a milestone in the implementation of the Memorandum of Agreement, which was signed by the two countries in Luanda in July this year. "Angola is enjoying peace now and is in the process of national reconstruction. "We cannot count on our national capacity, so we need to go into partnership with Zimbabwean business people. "You should visit Angola within a short period of time so that you can come and see what you can supply. "We will help you and advise you on Angolans whom you can form partnerships with," he told a group of Zimbabwean business people from the construction industry. "The few companies that we have visited have given us a very good impression about the development of Zimbabwe," Gen Carneiro said. "A lot will of course depend on you. We are going to facilitate for you so that you can form partnerships. We are here to work with you and cement economic ties with you." Gen Carneiro arrived in the country on Friday and had over the last two days toured Zimboard in Mutare, PG Safety Glass Factory, Ziscosteel and Circle Cement. His Zimbabwean counterpart, Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Cde Ignatius Chombo said there were vast opportunities for local companies wishing to enter the Angolan market. "Our companies have the capacity. We have professionals, engineers, quantity surveyors and so forth to lend hand to the project (reconstruction in Angola)," he said. "Angola has one cement company and we have three. This is another area open to us." He said Angola had shown interest in Ziscosteel and would explore the viability of establishing partnerships with the company and possibly open a warehouse for the local steel giant to sell window and doorframes and other metal products directly to the Angolans. "They want Zisco to open a ware house in Angola instead of them importing from Cape Town, London, Europe and so forth," he said. "They want to explore this aspect." Earlier on, Gen Carneiro paid a courtesy call on Vice President Joseph Msika before meeting local business people from the construction industry.
In a joint communiqué, the two ministers noted Zimbabwe’s capacity to design and implement infrastructure related projects and the need to establish consortia to form joint venture companies for identifying, designing and implementing the projects. This would also cover the supply of construction materials for the rehabilitation of Angola. The ministerial committee further directed the joint working group comprising government officials and representatives of the construction industries in both countries to establish the joint venture arrangements within the next 30 days. Trade between Zimbabwe and Angola has declined in the last two years from US$3,4 million in 2000 to US$500 000 in 2001. There is stiff competition for the Angolan market and countries such as Brazil, Portugal, South Africa, Belgium and the US are investing billions of dollars to tap opportunities in this mineral rich country which has the potential to become one of the economic giants in southern Africa. Zimbabwean companies have in the past been accused of being sluggish to take up opportunities in Angola despite a strong political will from the government. Vast opportunities in Angola lie in the rehabilitation of roads, railways, schools, hospitals and other infrastructure in which billions of dollars have been poured as that country moves ahead with its extensive reconstruction programme. "You say South Africans are arrogant, they are not. I would say they are aggressive," said a local businessman. "We need to go out in full force. We need to be aggressive and go out to get business. We need to make action oriented actions." Previously, trips arranged for local business people have flopped due to poor organisation, feet dragging and lack of foreign currency. Gen Carneiro left the country yesterday after a three-day working visit.
Brain drain hits city health system (Harare, The Herald, 03/10) - Maria Matutu (28) with baby strapped on her back stands hopeless and confused in a queue at a clinic in Mabvuku, one of the poorest suburbs in the capital, Harare. She woke up as early as 5am just to beat the long queues at this clinic, where poor patients who cannot afford to go to up-market clinics and hospitals that are dotted in the Avenues area, cram the corridors and tiny rooms of the council clinics. Despair is written all over her face as she waits first, in the queue outside the clinic and later if she is fortunate enough, will queue in another close to the only senior nurse who is interviewing patients on this day. To assist her are two student nurses attending to the patients with the assistance of Red Cross aids and clinic janitors. Inside the packed clinic a nurse, obviously tired already and feeling overwhelmed, paces up and down, restless and asks loudly each patient sitting in a line on a broken bench what his or her problem is. "What is wrong with your child?" asks the nurse. "No, no, we are not attending to minor ailments. Your child has diarrhoea. Go home and mix sugar and salt, there are no drugs," she says. She has not time to waste and shouts: "Next, what is the problem with your kid?" An unsure mother replies: "My son has flu and is coughing. He didn't sleep well last night. He was having problems when breathing." "Amai," shouts the nurse in the local Shona language. "Go and buy cough syrup at the pharmacy." And that is that. Struck by the cold words of the nurse, a poor grim faced mother goes out shaking her head. Scenes like this play out each day around city clinics dotted around the capital's residential areas underscoring the desperate health and social woes of life in the city. "The situation at city clinics is now hopeless," says Matutu swinging backwards and forth to hush her crying baby. "At times there are no drugs or nurses. "We are just told to go home and we have to try another day. Times are hard and we can't afford to go to the Avenues," she says. "Nurses say they are attending to serious cases only and nothing more." "We come here to mitigate diseases but I understand the situation we are going through and we can't blame the nurses for that," she says.
The state of city health clinics is appaling. City clinics from Mabvuku, Tafara to Mufakose, Budiriro, Highfield and Mbare are in a bad state. The clinics have not had a lick of paint for years, floor tiles are peeling off and the shabby exterior is dotted with broken windows and leaking pipes. At some clinics, ceilings are curving inwards and no repairs have been undertaken at the city clinics for some time now. Refrigerators and other essential medical equipment are no longer operational due to lack of funds. "The situation here is very desperate," says a nurse at one city clinic. "All the experienced nurses have gone. There are only two of us and we can't cope with huge numbers of patients streaming in from this sprawling suburb." She says the supply of drugs remains critical apart from the shortage of essential medical kits like gloves, cotton wool, detergents, syringes and many others. "Everyone is just fed up," says the nurse. "I'm just working to get experience before I go elsewhere where conditions are better." There is no guarantee that the poor will get drugs in the poorly stocked city health clinics which many of the city's poor go to. When they are "lucky" they get a dose of low cost painkillers and anti-biotics.
In sharp contrast, some city clinics in the low density suburbs of Highlands, Greendale, Borrowdale and Eastlea are less congested and are coping in delivering services mostly for domestic workers, security guards and other poor people living close to these clinics. The fortunate few who stay in these areas often go to well-equipped and staffed private clinics and hospitals in the Avenues area. A shortage of doctors and nurses, along with equipment breakdowns and lack of essential drugs are several of many the problems plaguing the city health system. Doctors and nurses have in the past gone on strike for days adding to the woes of a struggling health care system. The health professionals say their pay has failed to keep pace with inflation, currently at more than 430 percent. Zimbabwe's doctors and nurses are well trained but the situation at home has left them with no option but to seek jobs in other countries where the pay is better. Most city clinics are now run by inexperienced nurses with the support of students and Red Cross health aids and other assistants. Brain drain has hit Zimbabwe's fragile health care services and more than 80 percent of doctors, nurses and therapists have gone abroad to Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, US and to neighbouring countries such as South Africa and Botswana. This has decimated a once-envied health care system, which two decades ago, saw the World Health Organisation naming Zimbabwe as the best health service provider because of its efficient health delivery system. The Government then, upgraded 550 health centres and built 321 new ones across the country. But the adoption of economic reforms in 1991 resulted in the removal of subsidies to all social sectors including the city health system. A shortage of foreign currency to procure drugs and essential medical equipment, runaway inflation, the flight of trained health practitioners and sanctions have affected the country's health delivery system. The City Health Services department could not readily comment on the matter nor give an insight into the overall state of clinics. And until there is adequate funding for city health clinic, the strain of standing in queues will continue to haunt the poor who can't afford to seek treatment at private health centres.
This page last updated 19 February 2004.