SOUTHERN AFRICAN MIGRATION PROJECT

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April 2004  - Click on the country title above the headlines for the entire article.

Region:
System to monitor informal cross-border food trade
South Africa: Major destination for traffickers in women and children
Regional tourism figures up
 


Angola:
Angolan refugees in Namibia return home
Over 170 illegal foreigners repatriated
Call for humane treatment of expelled DRC workers
Angola prepares for return of 90,000 refugees
UN sending urgent aid to Congolese expelled from Angola
Expelled illegal miners attack Angolan refugees
Congolese migrants face brutal body searches
Congo miners 'tortured' in Angola
Angolan troops reportedly kill Congo miners
Plight of expelled diamond miners
UNHCR concerned about Angolan refugees
Brutality continues on Congo-Angola border
Cunene authorities repatriate 183 illegal foreigners
Illegal foreigner citizens repatriated from Bengo
Angola cautions diamond diggers
Angola expels more illegal miners
Spontaneous returnees facing difficult hurdles
Humanitarian crisis among Congolese expelled from Angola
Angola deports 60,000 illegal immigrants
Angola rounds up 3,000 diamond traffickers
46 foreign diamond seekers detained
Crackdown on diamond traffickers
Angola to curb immigrant diamond prospecting
Tripartite commission meets over refugees repatriation
Migration services reinforce border control

Botswana:
Botswana slams hostile Zimbabwe press
Botswana lashes out at Zimbabwean media
South African border jumpers enter Botswana
Botswana hits back at Zimbabwean media
Alleged ill-treatment of immigrants causes acrimony
Botswana concerned at 'hate campaign' in Zimbabwe media
Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants
Zimbabwe rustlers threaten Botswana cattle industry
Zimbabwe criminals give police tough time

DRC:
Help for Congolese women expelled from Angola
Urgent UN aid for expelled Congolese
Angolan expulsions cause 'mayhem' in DRC
Congo says Angola to suspend miners' deportation
Migrants expelled from Angola need urgent aid
DR Congo appeals to Angola over mass expulsions
Ten of thousand in urgent need of humanitarian aid
Over 1,000 refugees from DRC cross into Zambia

Lesotho:
Cross border restrictions should be removed

Malawi:
Rwandan refugees to return from Malawi

Mozambique:
Fenceless border creates land conflicts
Chissano speaks on African brain drain
Nampula refugees centre overcrowded
Mozambique presents difficulties for SA firms

Namibia:
Rwandan refugees to assess conditions for repatriation
Namibian, Rwandan officials to meet on repatriation
Unam forgery hearing 'complex'
Unam scam suspect flees
Rwandan refugees not ready to return home

South Africa:
SA won't help 70 'mercenaries'
Job cuts loom for gold miners
Campaign coaxes homesick South Africans back
Marriages of inconvenience
Zimbabweans found drowned
Report on European real estate companies in South Africa
Buthelezi in the clear over immigration regulations
Buthelezi not deceitful, says judge
Audit of foreign ownership not xenophobic, says Public Works
Harmony Gold, NUM strike deal in shaft closure issue
Comment on judgment in Buthelezi case
Since apartheid, suburb's results are mixed
South Africa's brain drain dilemma
Jobs won't be lost, says NUM and harmony
SABC journalist arrested in Zimbabwe
Court sets aside Buthelezi's regulations
Buthelezi releases secret cabinet documents to High Court
Mbeki tastes immigration feud victory
Mbeki in decisive court victory
Court setback for Buthelezi
Mbeki 'obliged to oppose immigration regulations'
Buthelezi awaits reasons for court ruling
Government statement on immigration regulations judgment
Immigration 'power struggle' turns ugly
Time running out for immigration case
Buthelezi to respond to court ruling
Cosatu supports NUM against harmony
NUM criticizes harmony shaft closure
Buthelezi accused in immigration law challenge
Helping hand to retrenched miners
Bill Buthelezi personally, says Mbeki's counsel
Immigration regulations continue causing rifts
Thousand of miners face axe
Buthelezi comments on immigration regulations
Refugees lobby for identity in South Africa

Swaziland:
King meets Swazis living in SA
Complaint against foreign owned food outlets
Over 3,000 foreigners applied for local posts
Swazi delegation to sign multi-million deal

Tanzania:
Special report on repatriation of Burundian refugees
Peace hopes lure Burundi refugees home
UN optimistic about major repatriation of Burundians
Thousands of refugees return from Tanzania
Petition for dual citizenship

Zambia:
Beware of aliens, Minister warns
More DRC refugees expected
Sex workers in wrangle over rates
Immigration arrests prohibited immigrants
Congolese traders temporarily marrying Zambian women
Few fleeing Congo seek asylum
Over 1,000 refugees from DRC cross into Zambia

Zimbabwe:
Kondozi moves to Mozambique
Border jumpers arrested
Foreign journalists expelled
Two Zimbabwean men murdered in Botswana
Mugabe arrests his finance minister
Comment: Legalise movement of migrant labourers
Businesses urged to utilise trade agreement with Malawi
Windfall for locals in the diaspora
Five border jumpers drown
20 Asian arrested in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe-Botswana immigration officials to meet
Harare 70 may face trial in South Africa
Flogging of Zimbabweans a human rights abuse
Solution to visa problem sought
South Africa now safe heaven for criminals
Comment on treatment of Zimbabweans in Botswana
Exchange rate key to harnessing diaspora funds
Zimbabwe, Malawi to bring down barriers to trade
Zimbabwe mercenaries claim abuse
Tourist arrivals continue to grow
Nigeria welcomes Zimbabwean farmers

Region

System to monitor informal cross-border food trade (Johannesburg, Irin, 30/04) - A low-cost system to monitor informal cross-border food trade is to become operational in Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe in June.The monitoring system, to be established by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) and the World Food Programme (WFP), will help donor agencies and analysts to determine how informal trade offsets local food deficits. Centres based on the Regional Agricultural Trade Intelligence Network model operating in East Africa will be set up on the borders between the four countries to monitor, record and disseminate information related to informal food trade flows.FEWS NET expected an increased amount of informal trade, particularly between northern Mozambique and drought-affected southern Malawi, as a result of the erratic rainfall in the region.The Network said it had over-estimated the food aid required for Malawi last season because there were no statistics on the quantity of food that had entered the country informally. "If we are informed, we can then allow the informal trade to play its role before an intervention is made," a representative noted.A FEWS NET monthly update on Mozambique said maize from several districts in the Zambezia and Tete provinces was already being sold to traders in Malawi, while Malawian traders were selling beans in Mozambique."It is hoped that this initiative will strengthen natural trade linkages between countries, and thus, enhance food security," the report commented.Expanded production of maize was anticipated said Mario Obisi, head of the country's early warning department. Preliminary projections indicated a "much better harvest in southern Mozambique than the last two seasons." He added, "We lost 51,000 hectares of the maize crop to drought in southern Mozambique in the last season. This season we have only lost 8,000 hectares."According to Obisi, the overall maize production for the 2003-04 season was expected to improve to 1.4 million metric tonnes, from about 1.2 million metric tonnes last season. The WFP and the Food and Agriculture Organisation will begin a Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission on Friday to confirm national crop estimates, while the FEWS NET report confirmed that maize planted in January was already flowing through the trade circuits. Total cereal production, including rice, was expected to reach 1.9 million tonnes this season, an improvement over last season's 1.8 million metric tonnes, said Obisi.Although cumulative rainfall from January to mid-April has been above normal in Maputo and much of interior Gaza in southern Mozambique, many other areas have recorded less than normal rains, with deficits particularly notable in the southeastern coastal province of Inhambane.Seasonal rains continued to fall erratically in March and the first part of April, but the coastal provinces of Nampula and Cabo Delgado in the north experienced heavy rainfall this month, causing localised flooding and minor damage to property and crops.Gaza in southwestern Mozambique, known as a drought-prone area, received the highest rainfall, ranging from 180 percent to 152 percent of normal rainfall, while normal cumulative levels were registered in most other provinces. Despite the rainfall deficits in the southeastern province of Inhambane, a number of factors were likely to minimise the negative effects on household food security in that area. Cassava and cowpeas, the area's main staple crops, are drought-resistant, and according to FEWS NET, field reports suggested that both had fared relatively well.

South Africa: Major destination for traffickers in women and children (Johannesburg, Irin, 29/04)-South Africa is the major destination for human traffickers, with women and children from more than 10 African countries being smuggled into the country, according to a UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) report released on Friday. The report, "Trafficking in human beings, especially women and children, in Africa", said South Africa was also a favoured destination for global traffickers, who smuggled in women and girls from Thailand for prostitution. There are no reliable estimates on the actual number of people being trafficked. The study, based on information from 53 African countries, provides an analysis of the patterns, root causes, and existing national and regional policy responses. The women and children are either sexually exploited, used as labour or their organs are harvested. While poverty has been recognised as the most "visible cause for trafficking human beings ... another strong determinant is the particular vulnerability of women and children, which makes them an easy target for traffickers". Patterns of oppression, discrimination, social and cultural prejudices, and the prevalence of gender violence put children and women at greater risk and ensures the flourishing of the trafficking trade. "Sexual exploitation - in particular, prostitution - is the most widely documented form of exploitation for women and children trafficked within and from Africa," said the report. In certain instances it has been "exacerbated also by a demand from foreigners", such as in holiday resorts in Malawi, where children are reported to be sexually exploited by European tourists, or sent to Europe as sex slaves. According to UNICEF, in some cases traditional practices can contribute to the trafficking of women and girls. "When poverty is acute, a young girl may be regarded as an economic burden and her marriage to a much older man can be a family survival strategy". About 20 percent of girls aged below 19 are married at an early age in Southern Africa. The average age of women at first marriage in Mozambique is 17 years. Children and women are smuggled in by road, railway, river or sea. Physical barriers, such as mountains, deserts or forests can pose obstacles. "For example, while the shortest route for trafficking between Mozambique and South Africa is through Kruger National Park, it is reported that traffickers tend to bypass this road because of the danger of encountering wild animals", said the report, so traffickers often take the longer route through Zimbabwe. Mozambican women have been smuggled in by taxis because corruption in law enforcement or judicial systems helps traffickers across borders.

"For instance, illegal crossings at Lesotho's border posts are facilitated by the reported tendency of favouritism towards certain known individuals. There is a recent reported case of a victim from Lesotho who crossed the borders at the hands of South African traffickers, and indicated that at the border post there was no passport check," said the report. Where law enforcement officials are vigilant, as in Botswana, traffickers often divert their operations through a neighbouring country to bypass border controls. South African law enforcement officials "rarely receive factual reports on trafficking, and people are not very forthcoming with information on traffickers," according to police spokeswoman Mary Martins-Engelbrecht. Legislation to outlaw trafficking was before parliament at the moment. "However, we still get around it and arrest people for possession of illegal identification or travel documents," she said. A global umbrella body for organisations and individuals involved in eliminating the sexual exploitation of children, End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT) International, initiated projects in South Africa, Mozambique and Malawi last year. The projects are run in collaboration with the Sithabile Centre in South Africa, Rede da Crianca in Mozambique and Eye of the Child in Malawi. They provide the victims of child trafficking with counselling, and empower them to claim their rights and understand their responsibilities. The report quoted UNICEF executive director Carol Bellamy as saying that "trafficking is among the worst violations of child rights in the world". "If we are to put an end to this brazen trade, we need courageous government leaders who will criminalise the trafficking of children in all its forms. Failure to do so is an abuse of children," Bellamy said.

Regional tourism figures up (Zimbabwe Independent, 02/04) - The Regional Tourism of Southern Africa (Retosa) director Shepherd Nyaruwata says there were 700 000 more visitors to the region last year as compared to 2002. He says this was largely due to the improved security outlook for the region caused by the positive changes in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).Nyaruwata said more than 13,5 million tourists came to southern Africa last year. "This is exciting news for the region but one wonders how many of these came to Zimbabwe," he said. He said the key source markets for the period were Canada, the United States, Australia and Japan. The increase in regional tourist arrivals came on the back of several international campaigns by Retosa and using the services of three reputable public relations companies. The companies were BCA Communications for the US, Integra for Australia and Interface Tourism in France. I am sure most of us would agree that Retosa is doing the right thing in line with their mandate, but more has to be done to market Zimbabwe. A starting point would be for Retosa to support the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA's) focus on new markets such as China. On another note, one cannot wait for the time when tourists to Zimbabwe get value added tax refunds for the goods purchased but consumed in Zimbabwe. This could witness the hospitality industry increasing the average length of stay of tourists and I am sure that Zimbabwe would attract new market segments.In fact a good shopping experience is a key part of what most would call a good holiday. Those of us who are married have been properly educated on this aspect! We therefore wish to engage the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) on the issue of VAT refunds for foreign tourists. Francis Ngwenya is president of the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe and operations director of Cresta Hospitality group. The ZTA says 2,2 million visitors came to Zimbabwe last year. The association says most tourists were from the Far East including China and Japan. China now has a special tourism facility signed with Zimbabwe last year, whereby preferential treatment is given to visitors from the two nations.

Angola

Over 170 illegal foreigners repatriated (Luanda, Angop, 28/04) - At least 1409 Angolans who have been living in the Oshili refugee centre in neighbouring Namibia, decided to return freely to Angola as from the second half of next month. According to the head of the Social Welfare and Reintegration Services in southern Cunene province, Constantino Lucas Nande, great part of those refugees who wish to return is located at the Oshili transit centre, north of Namibia, awaiting for the start of the repatriation process. The official advanced that in the sheltering centre are living only displaced people from the districts of Cunene province. The repatriation process will be voluntary and in phases. On the first phase only 300 refugees will reach the transit centre of Namacunde toward their areas of origin. At the centre, situated at about 10 kilometers of Angola/Namibia border, are installed around 64 tents to shelter the refugees and at least five for their assistance. With the coordination of MINARS, there are the representatives of some non-governmental organisations, such as, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), World Food Programme (WFP), MOVIMUNDO and INTERSOS, both Italian NGOs . MINARS expects to conclude the repatriation process in the first half of next year, according to the source.

Call for humane treatment of expelled DRC workers (Johannesburg, Irin, 26/04) - Human Rights Watch (HRW) has added its voice to a growing chorus of concern over the treatment of Congolese migrant workers in northern Angola. Since early April tens of thousands of migrant workers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been expelled from the diamond-rich Angolan border province of Lunda Norte, often with the use of excessive force, according to HRW. "Congolese migrants returning to the Democratic Republic of Congo describe the abuses and public humiliation they have endured in Angolan towns, such as Luremo and Cafunfo [in Lunda Norte], where Angolan soldiers searching for diamonds have forced them to undergo public strip searches," the international rights group said in a statement on Friday. It added: "The widespread searches included degrading vaginal and anal searches, beatings and the looting of goods. Some of those refusing searches have been raped or arbitrarily detained." Angolan authorities have argued that they are repatriating Congolese and other workers involved in illegal mining. Humanitarian groups have appealed for urgent help for the expelled Congolese, who are in a region where potable water, food and housing are scarce. The expulsion has also led to tensions between the Congolese and refugees who fled during the civil war in Angola and are still in the DRC. In what appeared to be a retaliatory attack last week, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported on Tuesday that an angry crowd of returned Congolese migrants had set fire to two houses belonging to NGOs at a site hosting 1,500 Angolan refugees at Napassa, in the southwestern DRC province of Bandundu. HRW called for an immediate end to the alleged rights abuses, and urged the Angolan authorities "to follow proper legal procedures that respect the rights and dignity of the individual". An estimated 67,000 Congolese migrant workers have been expelled from Angola.

Angolan refugees in Namibia return home (Luanda, Angop, 29/04) - Angola is preparing the return of 90,000 refugees from neighboring countries beginning in May or June, a minister said Friday following talks with a UN official.Some 220,000 refugees of the 500,000 Angolans who fled their country during its 27-year civil war have already returned home either with UN assistance or by their own means, said Social Welfare and Reintegration Minister Joao Baptista Kussumua. "About 90,000 refugees currently in neighboring countries will be able to return to their country under the second stage of our repatriation process which is scheduled to begin in May or June," said Kussumua.The minister held talks earlier with UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees Wendy Chamberlin on the return of refugees since a 2002 peace pact in Angola.Chamberlin arrived in Luanda on Thursday from Democratic Republic of Congo on the second leg of a six-day visit to the war-ravaged central Africa region.Hundreds of thousands of Angolans who fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Congo, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa began returning to their country in June 2003.Bur refugee returns were halted last year, when rains damaged the roads.Angolan rebels and the government reached a peace accord in April 2002 following the death of rebel leader Jonas Savimbi whose Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) started the civil war.Chamberlin was to hold a news conference on Saturday.

Angola prepares for return of 90,000 refugees (Agence France-Presse, 23/04) - At least 179 foreign nationals who were living illegally in Angola's southern Cunene province were repatriated to their countries from April 2003 untill this month by the Foreign Migration Services (SME). According to the director of the Custom Duties (SME) in this province, Fernando Bento Costa, among the expelled foreigners, 170 were from Namibia, Zimbabwe (four), Liberian (two), Germany (four) where as DR of Congo, Zambia, and Malawi had one each. Mr Fernando Bento Costa said also that in the same period the SME stopped the entry of around 40 citizens of different nationalities to Angola. Currently, there are settled in this province about 51 foreign nationals, being 33 bearers of residing document and 18 foreigners with working visa.

UN sending urgent aid to Congolese expelled from Angola (Geneva, SAPA-AP, 23/04) - The United Nations food agency is flying urgent aid to tens of thousands of Congolese who have been expelled from Angola amid reports of executions, rapes and forced separations of families. The World Food Program is planning to send 355 metric tons (391 U.S. tons) of food to southern Congo - enough to feed 80,000 people for a week, said spokeswoman Christiane Berthiaume. "The situation is really urgent. We think that 80,000 more people could be expelled over the next 45 days," she said. The Angolan government is expelling Congolese who have been working illegally in diamond mines, along with their families. U.N. agencies estimate that 2,500 people a day are arriving in Congo with no food, shelter or water. Before they leave, entire families are subjected to invasive body searches to ensure that they haven't taken any diamonds with them. The United Nations says this has led to some deaths. There also have been drownings among people crossing the dangerous Tungila river that separates Angola from Congo. "People are arriving in a terrible condition. They have walked for hours, there were body searches on women and children, and there are reports of rapes of women," Berthiaume said. Damien Personnaz, spokesman for the U.N. Children's Fund, said families were being separated and there were cases of unaccompanied children. "It is completely unacceptable. There is no structure," he said. He said aid workers also had reports, confirmed by several sources, of people being shot dead. Jan Egeland, the U.N. emergency relief coordinator, has stressed that governments have the right to control who works within their borders, but that "returns of migrant workers must be done without jeopardizing people's physical safety and dignity." The pressure group Human Rights Watch said it had received reports of degrading and unhygienic body searches, rapes, beatings and looting of goods. "The Angolan government must immediately stop its soldiers from carrying out brutal abuses against Congolese migrant workers," said Peter Takirumbudde, executive director of the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch. "If these workers are illegal migrants, the authorities need to follow proper legal procedures that respect the rights and dignity of the individual." Meanwhile, the U.N. refugee agency said it was concerned for the safety of Angolan refugees in Congo, who have been subject to attacks by returning diamond workers. An angry crowd set fire to two houses used by aid agencies at Napassa refugee site in Congo's Bandundu province, and later reportedly burned down two refugee shelters and carried out extensive looting in the nearby town of Kahemba, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said. Deputy High Commissioner Wendy Chamberlin visited the area on Tuesday, and the vehicle in which she was traveling was shaken and banged as she made her way to the refugee site, UNHCR added. "The fact that they are targeting an Angola refugee settlement is of course a huge concern for us," said David Lambo, Director of UNHCR's Africa Bureau in Geneva. "These refugees are already bearing the brunt of their own displacement and they should not be subjected to any further distress. UNHCR would hate to see the problem spreading to other refugee settlements."

Expelled illegal miners attack Angolan refugees (Nairobi, Irin, 29/04) - Congolese illegal diamond miners recently expelled from Angola have attacked Angolan refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), prompting the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to express concern.UNHCR reported that an angry crowd of the migrants set fire on Tuesday to two houses belonging to two NGOs at a site hosting 1,500 Angolan refugees at Napassa, in the southwestern province of Bandundu."It was also reported on Wednesday that two refugee shelters had been burned down by the expelled Congolese, followed by extensive looting in nearby Kahemba town, where UNHCR's office and guest house are situated," UNCHR reported on Thursday. It added that Congolese troops tried to restore order by shooting in the air and that Kahemba was calm on Thursday. The violence coincided with a visit to the Napassa refugee site on Tuesday by UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner Wendy Chamberlin. Chamberlin, who experienced the tension first hand when her vehicle was shaken and banged on her way to Napassa, reassured the Angolan refugees that the UNHCR would look after them. "We have one priority – to care for you, to care for your protection," she was quoted as telling the Angolans. Napassa lies on the main road linking the Congo and Angola's diamond mines near the border. Angolan authorities began the expulsions in December 2003, following a swoop on all foreigners mining diamonds illegally. The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported on Wednesday that up to 67,000 of those expelled had by Tuesday been registered in the DRC provinces of Bandundu and Kasai Occidental. UNHCR reported that the returning Congolese had vented their anger at the Angolan refugees, who they saw as being privileged in receiving aid from UNHCR and its partner organisations. The agency added, "The majority of workers expelled from Angola are men aged between 18 and 30." Their presence is a concern near Napassa where the Angolan refugees, mostly the vulnerable, are sheltered. "The fact that they are targeting an Angola refugee settlement is of course a huge concern for us," David Lambo, the director of UNHCR's Africa Bureau in Geneva, said. "These refugees are already bearing the brunt of their own displacement and they should not be subjected to any further distress. UNHCR would hate to see the problem spreading to other refugee settlements." The UNHCR has appealed for urgent help for the expelled Congolese in a region where potable water, food and housing are scarce.UN agencies in the capital, Kinshasa, have launched a coordinated effort to deliver essential aid quickly to the expelled Congolese.

Congolese migrants face brutal body searches (New York, Human Rights Watch, 23/04) - Congolese illegal diamond miners recently expelled from Angola have attacked Angolan refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), prompting the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to express concern.UNHCR reported that an angry crowd of the migrants set fire on Tuesday to two houses belonging to two NGOs at a site hosting 1,500 Angolan refugees at Napassa, in the southwestern province of Bandundu."It was also reported on Wednesday that two refugee shelters had been burned down by the expelled Congolese, followed by extensive looting in nearby Kahemba town, where UNHCR's office and guest house are situated," UNCHR reported on Thursday. It added that Congolese troops tried to restore order by shooting in the air and that Kahemba was calm on Thursday. The violence coincided with a visit to the Napassa refugee site on Tuesday by UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner Wendy Chamberlin. Chamberlin, who experienced the tension first hand when her vehicle was shaken and banged on her way to Napassa, reassured the Angolan refugees that the UNHCR would look after them. "We have one priority – to care for you, to care for your protection," she was quoted as telling the Angolans. Napassa lies on the main road linking the Congo and Angola's diamond mines near the border. Angolan authorities began the expulsions in December 2003, following a swoop on all foreigners mining diamonds illegally. The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported on Wednesday that up to 67,000 of those expelled had by Tuesday been registered in the DRC provinces of Bandundu and Kasai Occidental. UNHCR reported that the returning Congolese had vented their anger at the Angolan refugees, who they saw as being privileged in receiving aid from UNHCR and its partner organisations.The agency added, "The majority of workers expelled from Angola are men aged between 18 and 30." Their presence is a concern near Napassa where the Angolan refugees, mostly the vulnerable, are sheltered."The fact that they are targeting an Angola refugee settlement is of course a huge concern for us," David Lambo, the director of UNHCR's Africa Bureau in Geneva, said. "These refugees are already bearing the brunt of their own displacement and they should not be subjected to any further distress. UNHCR would hate to see the problem spreading to other refugee settlements."The UNHCR has appealed for urgent help for the expelled Congolese in a region where potable water, food and housing are scarce.UN agencies in the capital, Kinshasa, have launched a coordinated effort to deliver essential aid quickly to the expelled Congolese.

Congo miners 'tortured' in Angola (BBC, 22/04) - Soldiers Abuse Migrants in Expulsion Drive, Probe Body Cavities for Diamonds. The Angolan government must stop its military forces from conducting brutal body searches, beatings and rapes of Congolese migrant workers in northern Angola, Human Rights Watch said today.Since early April, tens of thousands of migrant workers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been subjected to brutal physical abuse as part of an operation conducted by Angolan soldiers to expel them from the diamond-rich border province of Lunda Norte. Angolan authorities claim that they are repatriating Congolese and other workers who have been illegally mining diamonds in northern Angola. Congolese migrants returning to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) describe the abuses and public humiliation they have endured in Angolan towns such as Luremo and Cafunfo where Angolan soldiers searching for diamonds have forced them to undergo public strip searches. The widespread searches include degrading vaginal and anal searches, beatings and the looting of their goods. Some of those refusing searches have been raped or arbitrarily detained. "The Angolan government must immediately stop its soldiers from carrying out brutal abuses against Congolese migrant workers," said Peter Takirumbudde, Executive Director of the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch. "If these workers are illegal migrants, the authorities need to follow proper legal procedures that respect the rights and dignity of the individual." Humanitarian organizations have expressed particular concern about the health risks linked to the manner in which the body searches have been carried out. Those conducting the searches appear to be using one plastic bag or glove for multiple inspections rarely dipping it in disinfectant. Such procedures could increase the risk of transmitting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. In the past three weeks, at least 20,000 Congolese migrant workers have been forcefully expelled from Angola. This is in addition to earlier expulsion that started in December last year. The United Nations estimates that some 80,000 to 100,000 Congolese civilians have been or are in the process of being expelled from Angola to the DRC.

Angolan troops reportedly kill Congo miners (Geneva, Reuters, 22/04) - Angolan security forces are reported to be raping, killing and expelling illegal Congolese diamond miners and their families, the United Nations said on Thursday.Tens of thousands of Congolese, including children, have been forced out this month, some after many years in the southern Africa country and, in order to prevent smuggling, many have been subjected to "unhygienic internal body searches" that have caused trauma and death, a U.N. statement said. Miners and their families are then forced to cross the Tungila river into Congo, where some have drowned, it added. "The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs continues to receive numerous reports of physical and psychological abuse of Congolese civilians reportedly perpetrated by Angolan security forces," it said. The U.N. statement cited "reports of rape, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, theft of personal belongings, arbitrary detention and killings". Angola has denied abusing the miners. Some 67,000 Congolese have been registered upon return to the Bandundu and Western Kasai provinces in southwestern Democratic Republic of Congo this month, but the actual number could be up to 100,000, according to the U.N. statement. An estimated 500,000 Congolese work illegally in diamond mines in northern Angola, the United Nations says. This month's expulsions have been the third and largest wave of forced repatriations since December. In a statement last weekend, the United Nations warned of "an acute humanitarian crisis in the making" in the former Zaire, which has requested international aid to help the returnees. U.N. officials carried out two assessment missions in the past week and found that food, water, medical supplies and transport aid were needed for the returnees, the statement said. "These civilians, some of whom have never set foot in Congo, arrive traumatised from their ordeal and with little, if any, means to support themselves," it said, adding that some returnees had walked more than 100 kms (60 miles).

Plight of expelled diamond miners (Nairobi, Irin, 22/04) - The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has expressed concern over the humanitarian needs of hundreds of thousands of Congolese diamond miners being expelled from Angola, saying local crisis committees had by Tuesday registered 67,005 migrants in the southwestern provinces of Bandundu and Kasai Occidental, Democratic Republic of the Congo. "However, these numbers do not account for the thousands who do not pass through registration points," OCHA reported on Wednesday. It said observers reported that between 80,000 and 100,000 Congolese were being expelled into the two provinces. Among those registered, 28,000 had entered the Congo through Kahungula in Bandundu; 20,081 through Kabwakala, 13,008 through Kanzaji, 4,216 through Kabungue(es) and 1,700 through Kamako - all in Kasai Occidental. Increased international operational capacity, food, health, water and transport remained key humanitarian priorities for the expelled miners, OCHA reported. OCHA said it continued to receive reports of physical and psychological abuse of the Congolese by Angola security forces. "Searching for hidden diamonds, security forces are allegedly conducting public and unhygienic internal body searches on adults and children before they are forced to cross the river into Congo," OCHA reported. It said it had also received reports of rape, inhuman and degrading treatment, theft of personal property, arbitrary detention and killings. "Health and psychological support remains a major concern. These civilians, some of who have never set foot in Congo, arrive traumatised from their ordeal and with little, if any, means to support themselves," OCHA reported. At the same time, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said on Wednesday that its team in the DRC had received new reports of abuse suffered by the Congolese, with widespread violence being perpetrated against the mine-workers. In a statement issued from Brussels, MSF said people receiving treatment in Kamonia, southwestern Congo, had told MSF staff that Angolan forces had for four days encircled a remote mine in Kaninda, in Angola's Lunda Norte Province, leaving those inside without food and water. "Upon entering, the Angolan military separated families before subjecting them to an intrusive strip-search for money and diamonds," MSF reported. "In addition to being tortured with fire and machetes, men were forced to perform sexual acts on soldiers while women were raped." The MSF head of mission for the Congo, Alain Decoux, was quoted as saying: "We have information from people from at least five other diamond mining sites confirming that Kaninda is no exception. What is being allowed to happen is unacceptable." MSF reported that many people had also spoken of the existence of prisons for miners at Kakanda and Lukapa. These establishments, surrounded by anti-personnel landmines to prevent escape, contain between 1,000 and 2,000 people where women and children are separated from men. "It has been confirmed that women are systematically called into small rooms where they are raped, even when pregnant," MSF said. The MSF team said reports it received spoke of Congolese being used as human shields around several of the mines as the battle raged between the Angolan armed forces and former gendarmes, known as Tigers, originating from the Congo's Katanga Province, who run sections of the mines. MSF reported that its emergency team had investigated all five points of entry and was helping those driven across the border by providing medical screening as well as food and essential items such as jerry cans and blankets. "While many of the arrivals are in a poor state there is virtually nothing to welcome them, let alone help them secure passage to their places of origin from this extremely remote area," Decoux was quoted as saying. "Many of them were even born in Angola and have no homes to which they can return," he added. Meanwhile, the Angolan ambassador to South Africa, Isaac Mario dos Anjos, said from Pretoria on Thursday: "We also have many Congolese, who are engaged in legal activities and are living happily in Angola."

UNHCR concerned about Angolan refugees (Luanda, UNHCR, 22/04) - The UN refugee agency has expressed concern about the security of Angolan refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) amid recent attacks by Congolese workers expelled from Angola. UNHCR's Deputy High Commissioner, Wendy Chamberlin, experienced the tensions first-hand on Tuesday, when she travelled to Bandundu province, south of the DRC capital, Kinshasa. Her vehicle had been shaken and banged when she visited Angolan refugees in Napassa refugee site, situated on the main road between the DRC and Angola's diamond mines near the border. Yhose responsible were a group of Congolese workers who had recently been expelled from Angola in a nationwide swoop on foreigners working irregularly in diamond mines. The government crackdown, which started in December, has already resulted in the expulsion of tens of thousands of foreigners from Angola. Apparently, the returning Congolese vented their frustrations on the Angolan refugees in the DRC, who they saw as being privileged for receiving assistance from UNHCR and its partner organisations. On Tuesday night, the same angry crowd at Napassa refugee site set fire to two houses belonging to non-governmental organisations AIDES and OXFAM. It was also reported on Wednesday that two refugee shelters had been burned down by the expelled Congolese, followed by extensive looting in nearby Kahemba town, where UNHCR's office and guest house are situated. Congolese armed forces tried to restore order by shooting in the air. Deputy High Commissioner Chamberlin reassured the Angolan refugees on Tuesday that UNHCR would look after them to the best of its abilities: "We have one priority - to care for you, to care for your protection." The majority of the workers expelled from Angola are men aged between 18 and 30. Their presence is a concern near Napassa, where some 1,500 Angolan refugees, mostly vulnerable, are sheltered. "The fact that they are targeting an Angola refugee settlement is of course a huge concern for us," said David Lambo, Director of UNHCR's Africa Bureau in Geneva. "These refugees are already bearing the brunt of their own displacement and they should not be subjected to any further distress. UNHCR would hate to see the problem spreading to other refugee settlements." The UN refugee agency has called for urgent help for the group of expelled Congolese workers in a region where water, food and housing is scarce. UN agencies in Kinshasa have launched a coordinated effort to quickly deliver essential assistance to the expelled group, who had been thrown out of Angola with minimum notice and arrived in the DRC with next to nothing. According to the UN office in Kinshasa, their total number could now have reached 65,000, scattered around four DRC provinces bordering Angola. The UN office also reported "real violations of human rights, rapes and beatings" on the Congolese workers and their families in Angola. Although expelled Congolese are not covered by UNHCR's mandate - because they were present as workers and not as refugees in Angola - the agency has already contributed to the inter-agency effort by providing two trucks to help transport them back to their areas of origin in the DRC, mostly Kikwit, in Bandundu province, some 400 km away from Kahemba; and Tshikapa in Kasai Occidental province. The situation was reported to be calm in Kahemba on Thursday. Deputy High Commissioner Chamberlin has completed the DRC leg of her six-day mission to the region. She arrived in the Angolan capital of Luanda on Thursday morning. On Friday she is scheduled to meet various government officials in the capital before travelling to Lumbala N'Guimbo, in Angola's Moxico province, on Saturday to visit returnees in the transit centre and assess the situation of returnees in Angola's rural areas, largely destroyed by war. She will head back to Geneva later that evening.

Brutality continues on Congo-Angola border (Kinshasa/New York, Medecins Sans Frontieres, 22/04) - A Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) team has received new reports of horrifying abuse suffered by Congolese diamond miners forcibly driven across the border into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from their homes in mining areas in Angola. This information confirms earlier accounts pointing to widespread violence perpetrated against mine workers. According to people receiving treatment from MSF in Kamonia, in southwestern DRC, Angolan forces had encircled a remote mine in Kaninda (Lunda Norte) for four days, leaving those inside with no food or water. Upon entering, the Angolan military broke up families before subjecting individuals to an intrusive strip search for money and diamonds. In addition to being tortured with fire and machetes during the day, men were forced to perform sexual acts on soldiers while women were raped. "We have information from people from at least five other diamond mining sites confirming that Kaninda is no exception," explains MSF Head of Mission for the DRC, Alain Decoux. "What is being allowed to happen is unacceptable." Many people have also spoken of the existence of prisons for miners at Kakanda and Lukapa. These establishments, surrounded by anti-personnel mines to prevent escape, contain between 1000 and 2000 people. As is the case elsewhere, women and children are separated from men. It has been confirmed that women are systematically called into small rooms where they are raped, even when pregnant. According to reports given to the MSF team, Congolese civilians are being used as human shields around several of the mines as the battle for control of the valuable resources rages between the Angolan armed forces and the Tigers (ex-policemen originating from the Katanga region of the DRC, who run sections of the mines). The MSF emergency team has investigated all five points of entry, and are assisting those driven across the border, providing medical screening as well as food and essential items such as jerry cans and blankets. Yet there are further difficulties. According to Decoux, "while many of the arrivals are in a poor state there is virtually nothing to welcome them, let alone help them secure passage to their places of origin from this extremely remote area. Many of them were even born in Angola and have no homes to which they can return." With tens of thousands of civilian miners still to be expelled across the border, the situation is becoming more and more urgent. Once again, MSF demands that both the Angolan and Congolese governments guarantee the protection of these people from violence and attend to their basic human needs. MSF also calls upon other international actors to intervene as quickly as possible to put an end to this situation.

Cunene authorities repatriate 183 illegal foreigners (Ondjiva, Angop, 22/04) - Some 183 illegal foreign citizens have been repatriated from the Southern Cunene Province since April 2003 until now by the Services of Migration and Foreigners (SME) on Thursday announced its provincial chief. Fernando Bento Costa said repatriated were 170 citizens from Namibia, Zimbabwe, Germany (four), Liberia (two), Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Mali (one). According to the source, in the same period, SME prevented 0the entrance of 40 foreigner citizens, whereas 33 others have been presented to the Public Ministry for border's violation. Among these are Africans and Europeans. Fernando Bento Costa said SME wants to carry out operations in the Province to identify, interpellate and repatriate illegal citizens in coordination with the police. Fifty one foreigners are officialy settled in the Province, said the source.

Illegal foreign citizens repatriated from Bengo (Caxito, Angop, 22/04) - The Services of Migration and Foreigners (SME) have repatriated from January to April 20, 2004, in the Northern Bengo Province, 157 illegal foreign citizens, an official source announced. SME Provincial Director, João Machado, told Angop the repatriated were citizens from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Cote D'Ivoire, Mali, Guinea Conakri and other nationalities he did not mention. He considered that the situation countrywide is worrying as this illegal citizens are causing political, social and demographic constraints.

Angola cautions diamond diggers (Time of Zambia, 22/04) - Angola has warned illegal immigrants plundering the mineral-rich country's resources they will be confined to predetermined areas before being deported. An Angolan embassy spokesman said in a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday illegal immigrants had invaded the country and were looting resources, especially diamonds. The spokesman said the illegal presence of foreigners who were protected by armed men had led to an increase in crime and other activities that disturbed public order. He said the Angolan armed forces and national police had started a large-scale joint operation to put an end to the situation and restore state authority across the country. 'It began in provinces of Bie and Huambo, and the second phase is focused on the provinces of Lunda Norte, Lunda Sul, Malanje and Kwanza Sul,' he said. He stressed that the operation had absolutely nothing to do with xenophobia as Government of some countries of origin of the illegal immigrants persisted in claiming. He said the operation was simply a matter of sovereignty, protection of Angolan economic interest and restoration of constitutional legality. The spokesman said the Angolan government would continue to welcome foreigners who wished to establish themselves and engage in useful activities in Angola. He said the Angolan government would never co-operate with people whose presence violated the most elementary principles of international law through their illegal entry.

Angola expels more illegal miners (Kinshasa, Irin, 21/04) - Medecins Sans Frontiere-Belgium said on Wednesday it had sent an emergency medical team to a sector of the Democratic Republic of Congo's border with Angola, following an announcement by the Angolan government that was expelling another 18,000 Congolese illegal diamond miners. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs had already reported the arrival of 68,000 exhausted Congolese at the DRC border provinces of Bandundu, Kasai Occidental, Kasai Orientale and Katanga. "There have been massive expulsions for ten days now," Gilbert Gitelman, OCHA's field coordinator, told reporters on Wednesday in Kinshasa, "families have been separated, intrusive body searches have been conducted on women, children have given laxatives to expel hidden diamonds, and women and even some men have been raped in public." Most of the Congolese had been mining illegally in the Angolan provinces of Malange and Lunda Norte. The Angolan ambassador to the DRC, Joao Mawete, has said his government would continue the expulsions. He has said at least 350,000 Congolias living illegally in Angola would be sent home. "The [expulsion] machine is working and will not stop," he said recently. He said that Angola needed to regain control of its economy having returned to peace following decades of war. Angola is also expelling 90,000 illegal miners from Albania, Mali, Mauritius, Senegal, Sierra Leone and South Africa. Some among these countries have already been expelled. "Many of these people fought with UNITA against the Angolan government army and continued to mine diamonds illegally even in connivance with some government soldiers," Mawete said. The first wave of some 25,000 illegal Congolese miners were expelled in 2003, followed by another 10,000 in February. The expelled miners complained that Angolan police and soldiers were violent in carrying out the expulsions and had stolen their properties. Most of the expelled had walked long distances without food, medicines or shelter to reach their home regions in Congo, MSF-B said.

Spontaneous returnees facing difficult hurdles (Luanda, Irin, 20/04) - Refugees coming back under a formal programme from the Republic of the Congo, and neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia and Namibia are aided by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). But many more - the so-called spontaneous returnees - have struggled home on their own since the end of Angola's civil war in 2002. In recent months their passage has been hampered by the rainy season, which has rendered many roads impassable and increased the ever-present threat of landmines. Just crossing the border back to Angola can be the biggest challenge facing returning refugees. "They are harassed at the border, robbed of their limited possessions and often forced to pay a bribe to pass through. The bribe can be quite high - they have to leave behind money or livestock, or both. There have also been some reports of sexual harassment against women," said one senior humanitarian official. Once the spontaneous returnees arrive home - to places they may not have seen for decades - their lives rarely improve much, with many not signed up to organised reintegration programmes. "They arrive in Angola and they don't receive the same kind of benefits and assistance as those on the assisted voluntary repatriation programme. These are the people who are most difficult to assist - they are the most vulnerable," the official said. Almost three decades of civil conflict in Angola left around half a million refugees scattered through the region, and 4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). Government figures show that around 3.5 million people, comprising the internally displaced persons, demobilised soldiers and their families, and former refugees, have already come back to their places of origin. The conflict devastated roads, schools and hospitals, and for those Angolans who chose to remain, life has been tough too. "When the hundreds of thousands of IDPs [internally displaced persons] and ex-combatants go back to their communities, they can often find people who stayed put, who are in a just as bad or even worse state of destitution than they are. That could create a potential for conflict," said Douglas Steinberg, the country director of the humanitarian NGO, CARE. Prior to the end of the war, around 70 percent of refugees and IDPs fell within the legal framework established for their assisted return. But that proportion has now changed, because many people are flooding back without waiting for the government or the humanitarian community to put mechanisms in place, according to the UN consolidated appeal to donors for 2004. The more difficult they are to locate, the harder it is to help them. "The problem only began after the peace agreement was signed and people started going home. We had to do identification, but we didn't have enough resources to serve everyone. We had to rely on the Soba [traditional community leader] to identify the beneficiaries. As a result, we left out a lot of people," Steinberg said. "There were threats, and probably a fair amount of witchcraft - which affects people here as seriously as pulling out a gun - between those who benefited and those who were excluded," he said. Already, there have been reports of returnees going back to their land, only to find that others are working it. In a country where land rights are not clearly defined or equitable, this could spark social conflict if it is not tightly controlled by the authorities. There is a problem, in that the most productive lands in some provinces are controlled by powerful individuals who are fencing it off and using it for themselves, and preventing poorer people from cultivating it. There is some discrimination," said the humanitarian official. "The legal framework specifies that each family has the right to one hectare of land but, in some cases, that right has not been respected," the official added. Strategies to deal with jealousies and rivalries between returning and existing populations have been largely successful, aid workers say. Repairing the country's battered health and education systems is Angola's number one priority, and will improve the lives of both returnees and existing populations. Angola has also learned from experience that labelling people as returnees can be a recipe for disaster.

CARE prefers to identify vulnerable populations: for example, female-headed households, families with so-called high-dependence ratios, such as many children or elderly people, a few people of working age, those looking after handicapped people, and landmine victims. "We work with the community to define the most vulnerable groups, defining them according to household characteristics... and not just labelling people," Steinberg explained. The UN agrees. "The strategy we've chosen for 2004 is to try to target not the specific beneficiary groups, but the community as a whole: that's precisely to try to avoid this kind of [conflict] situation," said one UN source. The World Food Programme (WFP), which feeds almost 2 million hungry Angolans, has also tried not to separate the two groups. "We are trying as much as we can, once they start resettling in their areas of origin, to stop the distinction between returnees and the rest. After they return, we provide food to all vulnerable people," the WFP acting director, Oscar Sarroca, told IRIN. UN repatriation operations have been suspended until April or May because of the rainy season, but providing enough food for the next batch of returnees could present the humanitarian community with a serious challenge. Sarroca said a funding shortage was threatening some of WFP's emergency food aid. "The situation right now seems to be very complicated, particularly starting in May, when we'll have a serious problem with cereals." He added: "We'll need to decide which categories get priority with our resources. Returnees are still in a very difficult situation compared to other segments of the population." Angola, which Kallu Kalumiya, the former regional coordinator for UNHCR's Angolan repatriation programme, recently described as "a country on the move", still faces huge obstacles as it rebuilds after the conflict. But it is making some progress. "There are problems, but to be honest, for a country in a post-conflict situation, the problems of banditry and discrimination are not as huge as I would have expected," he said.

Humanitarian crisis among Congolese expelled from Angola (Geneva, Sapa-AP, 20/04) -
Aid workers fear a major humanitarian crisis is developing in southern Congo after Angola expelled tens of thousands of illegal diamond mine workers and their families, a U.N. agency said Tuesday. An estimated 2,500 people a day are arriving in Congo, with no food, shelter or water, said Elizabeth Byrs, spokeswoman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Before they leave, entire families are subjected to invasive body searches, which has led to some deaths, she said. To reach Congo they must cross the dangerous Tungila river, and there have been reports of drownings. "What we fear is the beginning of a humanitarian crisis," Byrs said. OCHA estimates that 40,000 people have been expelled from Angola since the beginning of April. They arrive in a remote part of Congo where supplies are scarce and humanitarian operations limited. Many of the Congolese are living on the streets, or seeking shelter in public buildings. Aid workers in the region lack the necessary supplies to care for them. "While a state has a legitimate right to control who lives or works within its borders, returns of migrant workers must be done without jeopardizing people's physical safety and dignity," said Jan Egeland, the U.N. emergency relief coordinator. The United Nations has sent an emergency assessment mission to Bandundu and Western Kasai provinces and has supplied inflatable boats and relief supplies. A second mission is planned for the Western Kasai province, where around 18,000 people already have been registered. OCHA said it was making contact with the Angolan government and hoped to send a team to Angola's remote Lunda Norte province, from where the Congolese are being expelled.

 Angola deports 60,000 illegal immigrants (Lisbon, Sapa-AP, 13/04) - Angola has deported some 60 000 illegal immigrants since launching a major crackdown on clandestine diamond prospecting by foreigners in December, Portugal's Lusa news agency reported on Tuesday. Most of the 50 000 illegal immigrants were detained by Angolan security forces in the diamond-rich northeastern provinces of North Lunda and South Lunda, a military official told daily newspaper "Jornal de Angola". The overwhelming majority of the immigrants detained came from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which borders the two provinces, the paper said. Among the illegal immigrants found to be involved in clandestine diamond mining in the former Portuguese colony were 876 soldiers from the DRC, it added. Last week the chief of the Angolan Armed Forces, General Agostinho Nelumba, warned the country was facing a "silent invasion" by illegal diamond prospectors. The government says there has been an influx of foreigners into the country since 2002, when 27 years of bloody civil war came to an end. The army has destroyed miners' huts, and seized firearms and equipment from them, including generators and satellite telephones, since announcing in December that it was launching a campaign "without mercy" against traffickers operating in diamond-bearing areas. Angolan officials said last week they had stepped up security along the nation's borders in recent months in an effort to curb unauthorised diamond prospecting by illegal immigrants.

Angola rounds up 3,000 diamond traffickers (Luanda, Sapa-AFP, 10/04) -
Angolan police and troops have arrested more than 3,000 people in a major joint operation to crack down on illegal diamond traffickers in the south of the country, the army said in a statement. Almost 3,000 Angolan arrested in the past and Libolo in Kwanza Friday. Nationals and 46 foreigners have been few days in the districts of Kibala, Mussende South province, said the statement issued late. The Angolan detainees have been sent back to their home regions, while the foreigners are awaiting expulsion to their native countries, the army said. On Thursday, the government said 11,000 people had already been expelled in a massive operation since December to stop the "exploitation of economic resources". Soldiers and police officers have destroyed 3,400 miners' huts, and seized firearms and equipment including generators, sieves, scales and satellite telephones, the military statement said. The foreigners rounded up included 41 people from Democratic Republic of Congo, three from Mali, one from Burundi and one from Liberia. The government has begun a second phase of the operation, concentrating on the two Lunda provinces, north and south, Malanje and Kwanza South. It announced Thursday that since 2002, when 27 years of civil war came to end, Angola had seen a "massive influx of foreigners wanting to take advantage" of the southern African country's permeable and vulnerable borders. Human rights organisations have accused the government of "acts of barbarism" against those who were being expelled. Angola's Interior Minister Osvaldo Serra Van-Dunem acknowledged in February that what he termed "excesses" had been committed by the army and police in expelling foreign diamond traffickers. But the government defended the operation by calling it an "act of sovereignty in defence of the economy" of a country which depends on its diamond exports and oil for the majority of its income. Thursday's statement said that "any person, Angolan or foreign, finding themselves in an illegal situation, will be rounded up in temporary zones with medical assistance, food, clothing and housing, before foreigners will be send back to their countries of origin." The government says that of around 290,000 diamond the country 9,OOO are foreigners, mostly from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

46 foreign diamond seekers detained (Sumbe, Angop, 10/04) - Forty six foreigners who were involved in illegal prospecting of diamonds were arrested in the districts of Mussende and Kibala (central Kwanza-Sul province) under the cleanup operation "Brilhante". A communique from Kwanza-Sul provincial command of the National Police distributed to Angop today, among the citizens detained 36 are from the Democratic Republic of Congo, six from Mali and one from Cote D'Ivoire, Guinea Conakry, Burundi and Liberia, respectively. The operation that started in March this year, aims at curbing illegal panning of diamonds in Mussende and Kibala and has led to the detention and transfer to their home areas 3.022 national. However, the communique does not say how many diamonds were seized in the operation and the damage caused to the State. In the process the National Police seized 161 pans, 24 water pumps, eight generators, two cellphones, 31 plumbing pipes, two 125 Cm motor-bikes, a scale, three AKM automatic rifles, 10 pickaxes, 33 hoes and 161buckets. 3.400 Huts that sheltered the diamond seekers were destroyed. Meanwhile, more than 600 diamond seekers had been arrested in Angola's central Benguela province over the last two weeks.

Crackdown on diamond traffickers (Luanda, Sunday Times, 09/04) - Angola's government said it was starting a new phase of rounding up and expelling illegal immigrants, including diamond traffickers, to stop the "exploitation of economic resources" in the oil-rich country. Some 11,000 foreigners suspected of illegal diamond trafficking have been expelled from Angola since the first phase of the operation started in December. "On the orders of government, the army and police have joined for the second phase of an operation to put an end to the exploitation of economic resources in the country, especially diamonds," it said in a statement. "Any person, Angolan or foreign, finding themselves in an illegal situation, will be rounded up in temporary zones with medical assistance, food, clothing and housing, before foreigners will be send back to their countries of origin," read the statement, released in Luanda. The government said that since 2002, when 27 years of war ended, there has been a "massive influx of foreigners wanting to take advantage of the situation", because borders were permeable and vulnerable. Human rights organisations have accused the Angolan government of "acts of barbarism" against those who were being expelled. Angola's Interior Minister Osvaldo Serra Van-Dunem acknowledged in February that what he termed "excesses" were committed by the army and police in expelling foreign diamond traffickers. But it defended the operation by calling it an "act of sovereignty in defence of the economy". "This operation is not in any manner an act of xenophobia, however much certain countries, where illegal traffickers come from, say it is," the statement said. The government says that of around 290,000 diamond traffickers in the country, 90,000 are foreigners, mostly from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone. The operation's second phase will concentrate on the north-eastern provinces of Lunda North and South and the northern-central provinces of Malanje and Kwanza South. The first phase, announced in December last year was based in the central Bie and Huambo provinces. Some 500,000 people, many of them through landmines, died in Angola's civil war which started in the former Portuguese colony before independence in 1975 and which ended in 2002 following the death of rebel warlord Jonas Savimbi.

Angola to curb immigrant diamond prospecting (Lisbon, Sapa-AFP, 07/04)- Angola is reinforcing security along its borders in an effort to curb unauthorized diamond prospecting by illegal immigrants, officials said Wednesday. The government plans to have most of the southwest African nation's more than 5,000 kilometres (3,000 miles) of border covered by a new "security cordon," said Jorge Antunes, Luanda's border police commander, as quoted by Lusa news agency here. "By the end of this month, we will have the frontiers covered by about 90 percent," he told Angola's national radio. Antunes said the cordon would be made up of border posts linked by roads which will be patrolled by border police. Some 4,000 border police had received special training to patrol the frontier of the former Portuguese colony, he added. Angola shares a border with four countries, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Namibia, Zaire and Zambia. The government says that of around 290,000 diamond traffickers in the country, 90,000 are foreigners, mostly from the DRC, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone. The Angolan army in December announced a campaign "without mercy" against traffickers operating in diamond-bearing areas after nearly 27 years of civil war ended in April 2002. Some 700 diamond traffickers, including 334 foreigners, have been arrested in the central province of Bie since the army campaign was announced, according to official figures.

Tripartite Commission meets over refugees repatriation (Luanda, Angop, 07/04) -The tripartite commission comprising Angolan and Namibian Governments and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is meeting today in Luanda to discuss the ways to better handle the second phase of the repatriation of Angolan refugees abroad. The meeting, the third of its kind being held by the tripartite commission, has a technical character and is being held on the premises of the Social Welfare Ministry (MINARS). The start of the second phase of repatriation is scheduled for May and June 2004, beginning with Angolan refugees in Namibia, South Africa and Botswana. UNHCR data indicate that till December last year, 75.000 Angolan refugees returned home, out of 400.000 that were abroad. That UN agency, in cooperation with Angolan Government expect to repatriate nearly 220,000 refugees from the DR Congo, Zambia and Namibia until the end of 2004.

Migration services reinforce border control (Cabinda, Angop, 07/04) -Foreigners and Migration Services in Angola`s far northern Cabinda province will reinforce the system of control in entry and over-staying of citizens from neighbouring countries, warned on Thursday the services provincial director, Antonio Lobo do Nascimento. The official underlined that the measure aims to punish and to make abide the norms that regulate the entry and staying of foreign citizens in the Angolan soil, particularly in the province of his jurisdiction.

Botswana

Botswana slams hostile Zimbabwe press (Mmegi, 30/04) - The Botswana government has criticised some sections of the Zimbabwean media for hostile reportage on Gaborone and defended its justice system. In a statement to Zimbabwean media, the Public Relations, Research and Information Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation said contrary to suspicion in the public media in Zimbabwe that Botswana was being used by powerful countries against Harare, Gaborone had the sovereign right to conduct her foreign policy. The statement said Botswana had sound diplomatic relations with Britain and the United States, countries that have openly indicated their willingness to effect a regime change in Zimbabwe.“The close and cordial relations that she enjoys with both the UK and the US does not in any way imply hostility towards the Government of Zimbabwe and should not be interpreted as such.Botswana appreciates Zimbabwe’s sovereign right to develop friendship with any country in the world and cannot interpret such a legitimate and sovereign act as being a hostile act.”The statement was likely triggered by persistent reports especially in the public press in Zimbabwe alleging that Botswana was being used to undermine President Mugabe’s government.The statement said Gaborone and Harare had good relations, which are enhanced by various joint commissions. It said discussions in the commissions were frank and transparent.Botswana and Zimbabwe have joint permanent commissions on co-operation and on defence and security.On allegations that Zimbabwean immigrants were routinely tortured and flogged in Botswana, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said while it did not condone torture, flogging at traditional courts was an established form of punishment for those who break the law regardless of their nationalities.In 2002, the statement added, 26 214 Zimbabweans were allegedly involved in criminal activities in Botswana adding that there was a co-relation between the surge in crime and the presence of illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe.Six hundred and eighty one Zimbabweans were in Botswana jails by March this year while between January and March this year, 8 394 illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe had been deported.On the alleged hostile media reports, the statement singled out the Chronicle, a government-controlled daily paper that is based in Bulawayo. It said the reportage in the paper was “hostile, unbalanced and distorted.” “The recent appearance of an editorial comment in the Bulawayo Chronicle, entitled, “Time to act against Botswana‚ is but an extreme example of what can only be described as a pattern of misguided and xenophobic attacks on the good name of this country and its people.”

Botswana lashes out at Zimbabwean media (Gaborone, Sunday Times, 23/04) -
Botswana angrily lashed out at Zimbabwe over media reports alleging that Zimbabweans were mistreated in the neighbouring country and that Gaborone was plotting with Britain and the United States to topple President Robert Mugabe. "The government has noted with growing concern the appearance in sections of the Zimbabwe media of unbalanced, distorted and on occasion even openly hostile reports directed against the government of Botswana," a foreign ministry statement said. The ministry quoted the Bulawyo-based Chronicle daily, which accused Botswanan authorities of ill-treating Zimbabwean migrants and slated Gaborone for building an electric fence along their border. A commentary in the paper last month entitled "Time to act against Botswana" was an "extreme example of what can only be described as a pattern of misguided and xenophobic attacks," the ministry said. The Chronicle also claimed that Botswana was in secret plans with Britain and the United States to topple the government of President Robert Mugabe. "The ingenuity of these papers of deriving facts from fairy tales and publishing them as such can only be interpreted as a deliberate and systematic attempt to fuel hatred and xenophobia," said the foreign ministry. "The close and cordial relations that she (Botswana) enjoys with both the United Kingdom and the United States of America does not in any way imply hostility towards the government of Zimbabwe and should not be interpreted as such," it added. Botswana made clear it was not influenced in its relations with Zimbabwe by a third country and added that it was not "in cahoots with any foreign government or power to caUse the demise of the government of Zimbabwe." Botswana's police chief Norman Moleboge in December broke ranks with the government by blaming hordes of illegal border-crossers from Zimbabwe for a sharp increase in crime. President Festus Mogae a month earlier vowed to crack down on illegal immigrants and constantly referred to the regional political problems without directly naming Zimbabwe. Botswana's immigration department has said it was overwhelmed by illegal Zimbabwean immigrants with more than 125,000 entering the country every month from their economically ravaged homeland.

South African border jumpers enter Botswana (Mmegi, 26/04) - A new breed of border jumpers are wreaking havoc in Ramotswa. Poor South African nationals driven by hunger who live near Moshaneng village jump into Botswana to scavenge for food at a Ramotswa refuse disposal site daily. The aliens scavenge for macaroni and spaghetti discarded by Bolux Mills - a local firm which employs about 700 people. In their daily escapades, the Xhosa speaking South Africans chase away locals who visit the site to collect empty cans for recycling. Police in Ramotswa have confirmed that “Mathosa” as Balete call them give them sleepless nights. Superintendent Balibadzi Boy says attempts to apprehend the South Africans are frustrated by the proximity of the dumping site to the border fence. Once the police surprise the hungry scavengers, they easily scale the damaged border fence and escape. Boy says the police have begun patrols in the vicinity of the fence with a view to charge the South Africans for entering the country at ungazetted points. The issue of the damaged border fence has been raised at numerous Kgotla meetings in Ramotswa. Farmers have in the past complained to cabinet minister area MP Lesego Motsumi about cross-border theft and the spread of disease like Foot and Mouth. The response has always been that the responsibility lies with the Office of the President.

Botswana hits back at Zimbabwean media (Zimbabwe Independent, 23/04) - Botswana has slammed "malicious reporting" and "hostile propaganda" by "sections of the media" in Zimbabwe. The country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said it was worrying that some media were fuelling misguided xenophobia and hawking fiction about relations between Tswanas and Zimbabweans."Botswana has noted with growing concern the appearance in sections of the Zimbabwe media of unbalanced, distorted, and on occasion, even openly hostile reports directed against the government and the people of Botswana," it said."The recent appearance of an editorial comment in the Bulawayo Chronicle newspaper entitled 'Time to act against Botswana' is but an extreme example of what can only be described as a pattern of misguided and xenophobic attacks on the good name of this country and its people." The ministry said the media concerned were "deriving facts from fairy tales and publishing them as such". It said that could only be interpreted as a "deliberate and systematic attempt to fuel hatred and xenophobia between our peoples and to sour the warm and cordial relations that the governments of Botswana and Zimbabwe continue to enjoy".Botswana's relations with Zimbabwe, the ministry noted, are not guided by "any extra-territorial power nor is she in cahoots with any foreign government or power to cause the demise of the government of Zimbabwe".Botswana, however, like Zimbabwe is free to choose her friends within and outside the continent, it said. "The close and cordial relations that she enjoys with both the United Kingdom and the United States of America does not in any way imply hostility towards the government of Zimbabwe and should not be interpreted as such."The Foreign Affairs ministry acknowledged that whilst Botswana and Zimbabwe enjoyed good relations, there were, however, a few problems that still remain and which have been the subject of discussions at numerous official meetings."The issue of illegal Zimbabwean immigrants is one such issue," it said.The Zimbabwe delegation had raised the issue of corporal punishment at an inter-governmental meeting in Kasane, the ministry said."It was duly explained to the delegation that corporal punishment was provided for in the laws of Botswana and that it was not designed specifically for Zimbabweans."It said the issue of the alleged hosting of the Voice of America's Studio 7 and other issues have also been discussed officially. The radio station was not hosted by Botswana, it said.

Alleged ill-treatment of immigrants causes acrimony (Johannesburg, Irin, 23/04) - The Botswana government has expressed concern at reports carried in the Zimbabwean media, alleging that Zimbabweans in Botswana were being ill-treated."We have noted with growing concern the appearance in sections of the Zimbabwe media of unbalanced, distorted and, on occasion, even openly hostile reports directed against the government and the people of Botswana," Clifford Maribe, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, told IRIN."The recent appearance of an editorial comment in the Bulawayo Chronicle newspaper, entitled, 'Time to act against Botswana', is but an extreme example of what can only be described as a pattern of misguided and xenophobic attacks on the good name of this country and its people," he added.This follows reports that Zimbabweans were subjected to beatings by Botswanan authorities. As well as suggestions that Botswana's cordial ties with Britain and the United States had jeopardised its relationship with Zimbabwe. "Botswana's relations with Zimbabwe are not guided by any extra-territorial power, nor is she in cahoots with any foreign government or power to cause the demise of the government of Zimbabwe," Maribe said. At the last meeting of the Botswana/Zimbabwe Permanent Commission on Defence and Security, held in Kasane, Botswana, in October/November 2003, the Zimbabwean delegation allegedly raised their concern about corporal punishment meted out to Zimbabweans in Botswana."My response is that sentencing people to corporal punishment is legal in Botswana. It is not only given to Zimbabweans, but also Batswana, depending on sentences of magistrates and customary courts," said Norman Molebogo, the Botswana Police Commissioner.It was pointed out that in most cases, the offenders were given an option of either paying a fine or receiving corporal punishment. "Therefore [sentencing] anybody ... to corporal punishment is quite legal in this country. Any other alleged ill-treatment of Zimbabweans I can only comment on if I am given details of these cases," Molebogo said. Molebogo acknowledged that he had received similar complaints towards the end of 2002 from his Zimbabwean counterpart. "In the majority of cases they could not be substantiated. In certain cases we could not find the people complaining about ill-treatment in Botswana," he told IRIN.

The government says it neither condones nor allows the torture of persons, both local and foreign, who may be in the custody of the law enforcement authorities of Botswana. Authorities say the news reports in Zimbabwe give the false impression that the Botswana government is engaged in acts of torture against legal and illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe."Whilst Botswana has done her best to maintain good relations with Zimbabwe, she has a legitimate right to employ measures to curb the flow of illegal immigrants, in accordance with the principles of international law - every country has this right," Maribe said. Between 1 January and 25 March this year, Botswana repatriated 8,394 illegal Zimbabwean immigrants."Zimbabwean nationals are welcome to visit and conduct business in Botswana, as long as they enter legally into the country, using gazetted points of entry. In actual fact, Botswana hosts a large number of Zimbabwean nationals, some of whom are in the public service in various government ministries and departments," Maribe noted. A Zimbabwean truck driver, who spoke to IRIN on condition of anonymity, said he was trying to earn a living in Botswana because of Zimbabwe's deteriorating economic and political situation. "We are facing economic problems at home and people therefore tend to cross the border any way they can. They are given a few days at the border and when those days expire, they continue to stay in Botswana," he said. Official sources showed that as of December 2002, the government of Botswana had issued 1,128 work permits to Zimbabwean nationals. The number of Zimbabweans issued with immigration exemption certificates - given to expatriates working for either the government or parastatals - was 4,573 at the end of December 2002. At the end of 2003, the number of Zimbabweans issued with exemption certificates had increased to 7,411. "If the government of Botswana was hostile to Zimbabwe, this development would not have been possible," Maribe said. Although Zimbabwean ambassador to Botswana, Phelekezela Mphoko, had reportedly complained of the alleged ill-treatment of Zimbabweans by Batswana, he told IRIN "the embassy does not conduct issues relating to Zimbabwe/Botswana relations through the media".

Botswana concerned at 'hate campaign' in Zimbabwe media (Gaborone, Sapa, 22/04) - Although Botswana is doing its best to maintain good relations with Zimbabwe, it has the legitimate right to curb the inflow of illegal immigrants into its territory within the principles of international law. "Every country has this right," declares a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The statement, responding to an editorial comment in a Zimbabwean newspaper, The Chronicle, states that every country has its own share of criminals but it is equally true that a number of Zimbabweans living in Botswana have been involved in criminal activities. The Chronicle editorial entitled, "Time to act against Botswana," reads: "The government of Botswana has never, at any point, attributed all criminal acts committed on its soil to Zimbabweans," the statement says. It says the issue of illegal immigrants has been discussed at numerous official meetings. For example, at the recent session of the Botswana/Zimbabwe Permanent Commission on Defence and Security that was held in Kasane, Botswana indicated that the problem of Zimbabwean illegal immigrants had not abated. It adds that the government also expressed concern about the involvement of illegal Zimbabwean immigrants in criminal activities, including serious crimes. It also says this is an established fact of which the Embassy of Zimbabwe is very much aware of. In 2002, 26 214 Zimbabweans were involved in crime in Botswana. "There is a clear correlation between the increase in the rise of crime in Botswana with the presence of illegal immigrants, most of who are from Zimbabwe," the statement says. "In cases where the illegal immigrants themselves have been crime victims, the law enforcement authorities do take appropriate action. For obvious reasons that can be understood by anyone, most illegal immigrants do not report to the authorities for fear of being repatriated." As at March 25 this year, there were 681 Zimbabweans held in Botswana prisons. The statement adds that Zimbabwean ambassador to Botswana Phelekezela Mphoko, has addressed some Zimbabweans living in Botswana and along the common border on the virtues of good neighbourliness and for them to desist from engaging in unlawful activities. "Zimbabwean nationals are welcome to visit and conduct business in Botswana as long as they enter legally into the country, using gazetted points of entry," the statement further says. In fact, more than 150 Zimbabweans of various professions work in Botswana's public service; an even larger number work in the country's private sector. Some Zimbabweans have established their own companies in Botswana. By December 2002, government had issued 1 128 work permits to Zimbabweans. A further 4 573 had exemption certificates at the same time.

At the end of 2003, 7 411 Zimbabweans had exemption certificates. "If the Government of Botswana was hostile to Zimbabwe, this development would not have been possible," the statement says. Botswana has also explained to Zimbabwean authorities that corporal punishment is provided for in the laws of Botswana and that it was not designed specifically for Zimbabweans. "It should be acknowledged that in most cases, offenders are normally given an option of either paying a fine or receiving corporal punishment," it adds. Furthermore, Botswana is gravely concerned about allegations that government and Batswana kill Zimbabweans. The Zimbabwean reports do not provide evidence; and their intention is not only to tarnish Botswana's image but also to fuel xenophobia between Batswana and Zimbabweans. The ingenuity of these papers of deriving facts from fairy tales and publishing them as such can only be interpreted as a deliberate and systematic attempt to fuel hatred and xenophobia between Batswana and Zimbabweans and to sour the warm and cordial relations that the governments of Botswana and Zimbabwe continue to enjoy. It says Botswana's relations with Zimbabwe are neither guided by any extra-territorial power nor is Botswana in cahoots with any foreign government or power to cause the demise of the Zimbabwean government. "Botswana, however, like Zimbabwe, is free to choose its friends within and outside the continent," the statement says. "The close and cordial relations that she enjoys with both the United Kingdom and the United States of America does not in any way imply hostility towards the government of Zimbabwe and should not be interpreted as such." The statement adds that Botswana appreciates Zimbabwe's sovereign right to develop friendship with any country in the world and cannot interpret such a legitimate and sovereign act as being a hostile act.

Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants (Gaborone, Bopa, 16/04) - A delegation of senior government officials last week visited the Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants. A statement from the Office of the President says the visit followed the fatal shooting of an alleged Burundi national, one Semuguruka, at the centre last month. The delegation included permanent secretaries Kingsley Sebele of Labour and Home Affairs, Tuelonyana Oliphant of political affairs; and they were accompanied by Benny Otim, the chief of mission of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Botswana. According to the statement, the delegation expressed regret over the tragedy, along with the hope that no similar incident would ever occur in future. The delegation also took time to listen to the concerns of the various detainees. It says the government officials explained Botswana's first country of asylum policy, which gives preference to asylum seekers from neighbouring countries. They also explained that notwithstanding this policy, deserving cases from non-neighbouring states could be considered on merit. Officials stressed, however, the need for all applicants to be law abiding and follow appropriate procedures.

Zimbabwe rustlers threaten Botswana cattle industry (Francistown, Mmegi, 13/04) -Botswana’s ailing cattle industry could be in danger again as rustlers from neighbouring Zimbabwe continue to launch cross-border raids. The latest reports from the villages in the North-East District, along the border, indicate that rustlers from Zimbabwe have been having a field day on cattle grazing in the border villages of Maitengwe and others. This follows an incident in which the cordon fence along the Maitengwe village was cut to enable free and illegal movement of cattle in and out of the country. “Botswana police and their Zimbabwean counterparts joint operation recently recovered about 12 cattle in the Zimbabwean border village of Cholocho and the cattle are currently being held at Madlambuzi police station in Zimbabwe,” explained Francistown police district officer commanding, Senior Superintendent, Boikhutso Dintwa. The police strongly believe that the cattle were stolen from Maitengwe village. “The two-day joint police operation followed the cattle track until they landed at a kraal in Cholocho where they found the animals still kraaled. The cattle belong to a number of farmers and we used the brands to positively identify the cattle,” said Dintwa. The cattle are going to be produced as exhibits in cases of stock theft that were reported in Zimbabwe. “These animals can be sold in a public auction in Zimbabwe or can be destroyed outside the Botswana border as they cannot enter back into Botswana as there is a reported long standing outbreak of the contagious Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Zimbabwe. Cattle owners will be accordingly compensated once animals have been killed,” he said. Dintwa said the police are working hand in hand with the veterinary officials to tackle the problem. Botswana police recently reported that a number of cattle from Botswana were killed and burnt after they crossed the border to avoid the risk of FMD. Superintendent Hendrick Mmipi of Masunga police confirmed to Mmegi recently that a fence was cut to enable the illegal movement of cattle out of the country. “I don’t completely discount a possibility that some cattle from Zimbabwe could be finding their way into the country,” he said. A number of Zimbabweans and Batswana were previously arrested for illegally importing goats into the country. They were reportedly bartering goats for bags of mealie-meal claiming to be ravaged by hunger in Zimbabwe. The Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) suffered greatly in 2002 following the outbreak of FMD in the North-East village of Matsiloje resulting in a net loss of about P28.3 million. As a result of the FMD outbreak, the two BMC abattoirs of Lobatse and Francistown had to close temporarily for some time. The illegal movement of cattle along the border villages and the cutting of the cordon fence threatens the cattle industry which was destined to recover from the FMD and the drought. The police have appealed to villagers to report any suspicious cattle movement in the area to avoid further spread of the FMD as that would be bad news cattle farmers in the area.

Zimbabwe criminals give police tough time (Francistown, Mmegi, 07/04) - The Botswana police are concerned about the continued involvement of Zimbabweans in criminal activities. Detective Superintendent Aldrin Ntshitang of Central Police in Francistown told Mmegi yesterday that there was no doubt that criminals emanating from neighbouring Zimbabwe were giving them a tough time. “We have had several cases of break-ins which are still pending before us and we have reason to believe that they involve Zimbabweans,” said Ntshitang. He was however, elated that the Zimbabwe Republic Police were assisting the Botswana police. “We have had several cases in which our Zimbabwean counterparts have made recovery of goods in Zimbabwe that were stolen from this country and in turn we have led complainants across the border to identify stolen goods,” he explained. Ntshitang told Mmegi that the latest case of office break-in and theft, which involved about four Zimbabweans, is a case in point. He said a local firm had on Monday this week reported a case of office break-in and theft in which goods valued at about P14,000 were stolen. The goods include a personal computer, a fax machine and a folder bag. The thugs are alleged to have gained entry into the building by forcing open the sliding door of the office of Supplies Lubricant in the Light Industrial Site. As lady luck would have it, police mobile patrol nabbed two Zimbabweans along the Francistown-Matsiloje road and on searching the motor vehicle they were using, the items reported to have been stolen were found in their possession. “We arrested two Zimbabwean men after two of them escaped police arrest,” said Ntshitang. The ages of the arrested suspects range between 23 and 24. The suspects have valid Zimbabwean passports and according to the police, they are regular visitors to the country as indicated by the immigration stamps on their passports. “We suspect that these men are regular criminals who have continuously evaded police arrest. We are lucky to have caught up with them, as our patrol team found them still arguing over something.” Ntshitang indicated that it is normally hard to arrest Zimbabweans. The police stated that the duo who were arrested claimed they were not responsible for the theft of the stolen goods but that they were only transporting them. “The suspects are still in police custody pending further investigations. We have reasons to link these men to the office break-in case reported on Monday this week.” Alternatively, the duo is likely to face a charge of possession of suspected stolen property if we fail to connect them to the case.” Ntshitang stressed that the police are in most cases able to recover goods stolen from properties broken into. “Where goods have immediately found their way across the border into neighbouring Zimbabwe, it isn’t always easy to recover them. For goods stolen and held locally, we always get a lead on their whereabouts.” Ntshitang indicated that criminals from Zimbabwe are treated just like other criminals. “There is no special treatment reserved for Zimbabwean criminals and for the local ones. Our responsibility is to investigate and establish the truth about a given crime and we deal with each case based on its merit,” Ntshitang declared. The Zimbabwean government owned Chronicle newspaper, recently called on their government and its Parliament to take action against Botswana for ill-treating Zimbabweans.


DRC

Help for Congolese women expelled from Angola (UN News Service, 29/04) - The United Nations relief coordination office today called for help for many girls and women recently expelled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from Angola's diamond district, saying they were sexually abused by Angolan military officials searching them for hidden gemstones. OCHA had previously issued a special appeal for help for some 80,000 Congolese, some born during their parents' exile in neighbouring Angola, who were expelled during the Angolan sweep of its diamond mines for illegal workers. Today it called for boosting the capacity of health partners already working in the area and the financing of new partners with expertise in sexual violence and the prevention and transmission of HIV/AIDS. According to OCHA, it received reports that Angolan military agents "sexually abused women and girls under the pretext of searching for hidden diamonds among Congolese being expelled from Angola. "In addition to the psychological trauma caused, (the) risk of HIV/AIDS infection and other sexually transmissible diseases is high as military agents are reportedly using unsanitary methods for internal body cavity searches of both men and women," it said. The Congolese were being expelled from the Angolan provinces of Malange, Lunda Norte, Lunda Sul and Kwanza Sul since December, the Office said. To reach the border, they were forced to walk for days, leaving the weak and the young behind to their fate. A shipment of aid, including blankets, generators, boats and jerry cans, arrived in the DRC capital, Kinshasa, on Sunday and was to be distributed by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), OCHA said, adding that it also requested more help with truck transport.

Urgent UN aid for expelled Congolese (Geneva, Mail&Guardian, 23/04) - The United Nations food agency is flying urgent aid to tens of thousands of Congolese who have been expelled from Angola amid reports of executions, rapes and forced separations of families.The World Food Programme is planning to send 355 tons of food to the southern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) -- enough to feed 80 000 people for a week, said spokesperson Christiane Berthiaume."The situation is really urgent. We think that 80 000 more people could be expelled over the next 45 days," she said.The Angolan government is expelling Congolese who have been working illegally in diamond mines, along with their families.UN agencies estimate that 2 500 people a day are arriving in the DRC with no food, shelter or water.Before they leave, entire families are subjected to invasive body searches to ensure that they haven't taken any diamonds with them. The UN says this has led to some deaths. There also have been drownings among people crossing the dangerous Tungila river that separates Angola from the DRC."People are arriving in a terrible condition. They have walked for hours, there were body searches on women and children, and there are reports of rapes of women," Berthiaume said.Damien Personnaz, spokesperson for the UN Children's Fund, said families were being separated and there were cases of unaccompanied children."It is completely unacceptable. There is no structure," he said.He said aid workers also had reports, confirmed by several sources, of people being shot dead.Jan Egeland, the UN emergency relief coordinator, has stressed that governments have the right to control who works within their borders, but that "returns of migrant workers must be done without jeopardising people's physical safety and dignity".Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency said it was concerned for the safety of Angolan refugees in Congo, who have been subject to attacks by returning diamond workers.An angry crowd set fire to two houses used by aid agencies at Napassa refugee site in the DRC's Bandundu province, and later reportedly burned down two refugee shelters and carried out extensive looting in the nearby town of Kahemba, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said.Deputy High Commissioner Wendy Chamberlin visited the area on Tuesday, and the vehicle in which she was travelling was shaken and banged as she made her way to the refugee site, the UNHCR added."The fact that they are targeting an Angola refugee settlement is of course a huge concern for us," said David Lambo, director of the UNHCR's Africa bureau in Geneva."These refugees are already bearing the brunt of their own displacement and they should not be subjected to any further distress. [The] UNHCR would hate to see the problem spreading to other refugee settlements."

Angolan expulsions cause 'mayhem' in DRC (Luanda, Mail&Guardian, 23/04) - The Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) interior minister has told Angola that its mass expulsions of tens of thousands of Congolese is causing mayhem and appealed for cooperation."The mass return of our compatriots caught us off guard," said Interior Minister Theophile Mbemba Mfundu late on Tuesday following talks with Foreign Minister Joao Miranda. "[The] DRC does not have the necessary logistics to accommodate these people repatriated from Angola," said Mfundu. Angolan authorities have rounded up more than 60 000 foreigners, most of them from the DRC, over the past four months during army and police raids launched to clamp down on illegal diamond mining and trading by foreigners. The expulsions peaked in early April with a daily influx of about 2 500 people into remote regions of the DRC that do not have water, food or housing for the deportees, according to United Nations relief officials. About 40 000 returnees have been registered in the DRC since the beginning of April, the world body has said. The DRC is still struggling to emerge from a five-year war, which drew in six other African nations at its height, including Angola, and claimed about 2,5-million lives, either directly in combat or through disease and hunger. The war, which crippled the vast Central African country's economy and infrastructure, formally ended in April last year with the signing of a peace pact. Mfundu "has come to request our understanding so that these operations take place amid bilateral cooperation to avoid constraints", said the Angolan foreign minister. UN emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland warned on Monday that the mass expulsions could lead to a humanitarian crisis. "While a state has a legitimate right to control who lives or works within its borders, returns of migrant workers must be done without jeopardising people's physical safety and dignity," Egeland said.

Congo says Angola to suspend miners' deportation (Kinshasa, Reuters, 22/04) - Congo said on Thursday Angola had pledged to suspend the deportation of tens of thousands of illegal Congolese diamond miners after the United Nations accused Angola's army of widespread human rights abuses. U.N. aid workers in Congo say some 80,000 Congolese have been expelled from northern Angola over the past three weeks. They quoted witnesses as saying several people, including children, had drowned as they tried to cross a river separating the two countries after walking up to 100 km to reach the border, while many others were raped and beaten by Angolan soldiers carrying out cavity searches for hidden diamonds. Congo's foreign and interior ministers met government officials in Angola's capital Luanda this week to complain about what they called the "inhuman conditions" of the expulsions. "The Angolan authorities have shown that they are sensitive to our concerns and have promised to suspend the operation," Congo's Foreign Minister Antoine Ghonda told reporters in Kinshasa. U.N. officials have accused the Angolan army of gross human rights violations and said in some instances women had been forced to throw their babies into the river. "Women were searched through. They were systematically beaten and raped. Most of them were asked to choose between their own safety or their children's," Isaac Gilbert Gitelman, a U.N. field officer, told reporters on Wednesday. He said the lives of children were sacrificed to recover diamonds and that men were imprisoned and manhandled. Ghonda said the reprieve would be used to provide shelter, food and medical assistance to thousands of people scattered along the border, some 350 km southeast of the capital Kinshasa, before helping them to return to their Congolese villages. He added a more coordinated system for the repatriation of the remaining foreign miners would also be set up. Angola says it is exercising its right to expel some of the hundreds of thousands of illegal miners from central and western Africa operating in the diamond-rich north of the country. Some 250,000 Congolese illegal miners are estimated to be working in Angola, and many of them have lived there for years. He said Angola wanted to expel illegal miners in a bid to retake control of its lucrative diamond sector after a 27-year war during which rebels mainly used the illegal mining of gems to fund their insurgency.

Migrants expelled from Angola need urgent aid (UN News Service, 21/04) - At least 80,000 migrants from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), who were recently expelled by neighbouring Angola from a diamond-rich district, urgently need food, medicines, clean water and transport, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today. OCHA said it led an interagency mission, including partners from the non-governmental organization (NGO) community, to the town of Tshikapa in Western Kasai Province, 750 kilometres from the DRC capital, Kinshasa, yesterday. The agency has led two such missions in the past week. In response to the needs of the expellees, the DRC's Ministry of Solidarity and Human Affairs is opening two humanitarian crisis cells. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is bringing in water and sanitation equipment and medical supplies for 35,000 people, while NGO Médecins sans Frontières-Belgium (MSF-B) is providing medical, transport and logistical support, it said. About 67,000 of the estimated 80,000 to 100,000 expellees have been registered, OCHA said. For some of the Congolese the expulsion has landed them in their home country for the very first time and they have no means of support. Many reported that Angolan civilians conducted public body searches on adults and children for diamonds and some talked of rape, torture, murder, arbitrary detention and theft of personal belongings, it said. Meanwhile, the UN Mission in the DRC, MONUC, expressed concern over reports that armed groups have infiltrated into Rwanda from the eastern DRC and Burundi, threatening the peace process in the area. MONUC said it has increased its patrols on the border and is investigating the reports.

DR Congo appeals to Angola over mass expulsions (Luanda, Sapa-AFP, 21/04) - Democratic Republic of Congo's interior minister has told Angola that its mass expulsions of tens of thousands of Congolese was causing mayhem and appealed for cooperation. "The mass return of our compatriots caught us off guard," said DRC's Interior Minister Theophile Mbemba late Tuesday following talks with Angolan Foreign Minister Joao Miranda. "Congo does not have the necessary logistics to accomodate these people repatriated from Angola," said Mbemba. Angolan authorities have rounded up more than 60,000 foreigners, most of them Congolese and some west Africans, over the past four months during joint army and police operations to crack down on diamond trafficking by foreigners. The expulsions peaked in early April with a daily influx of about 2,500 people into regions of DRC, where water, food and housing are scarce, according to UN relief officials. Around 40,000 returnees have been registered in DRC since the beginning of April, the United Nations has said. DRC is still struggling to emerge from a five-year war, which drew in six other African nations at its height, including Angola, and claimed some 2.5 million lives, either directly in combat or through disease and hunger. The war, which crippled the vast central African country's economy and infrastructure, formally ended in April last year with the signing of a peace pact. The government of the DRC "has come to request our understanding so that these operations take place through bilateral cooperation to avoid constraints," said the Angolan foreign minister. UN emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland warned in New York on Monday that the mass expulsions could lead to a humanitarian crisis. "While a state has a legitimate right to control who lives or works within its borders, returns of migrant workers must be done without jeopardising people's physical safety and dignity," Egeland said. Mbemba said that 40,000 Congolese nationals had arrived in Western Kasai and an additional 18,000 in Bandundu, which both border Angola to the north, adding that "these numbers of people are not easy to accomodate." The crackdown centered on the northern and southern Lunda provinces as well as Malange and southern Kwanza. Some 1,000 Congolese have also been expelled from Cabinda and 2,000 others from Zaire province in the north for illegal entry into the country, the immigration and border control services said. A Roman Catholic priest from Cafumfu in northern Lunda province told Radio Ecclesia that the deportees were forced to walk dozens of kilometers to reach assembly points set up by the Angolan authorities. "Pregnant women gave birth along the way," the priest was quoted as saying. Radio Ecclesia, a Roman Catholic station, also said that several Congolese died in the rivers in northern Lunda. The foreign minister noted that "Angola had informed the ambassadors of the countries concerned that these foreigners were engaged in activities deemed harmful to the Angolan economy, notably diamond exploitation."

Ten of thousand in urgent need of Humanitarian Aid (Nairobi, Irin, 19/04) - Tens of thousands of Congolese nationals expelled from Angola are in urgent need of humanitarian aid in two southwestern provinces of the Democratic Repopublic of the Congo, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its situation report of 17 April. It said the returnees in the provinces of Bandundu and Kasai Occidental needed food, water, health services and non-food items. Others needed transport to cross the Tungila River that separates Angola and the DRC. Determination of this situation followed an OCHA-led inter-agency needs assessment mission on Thursday to the provinces of Bandundu and Kasai Occidental. OCHA reported that humanitarian partners and the Ministry of Solidarity and Humanitarian Affairs had estimated that between 80,000 and 100,000 Congolese "have been or will soon be forcibly expelled in this latest wave of population movements". It said that the government of Angola began in December 2003 and in January 2004 a policy of expelling Congolese civilians who had been living and working illegally in the country as manual diamond miners. "Starting in April, this situation has taken a turn for the worse and an acute humanitarian crisis is in the making," OCHA reported. It added that since 2 April, at least 40,000 Congolese had been registered in Bandundu and Kasai Occidental after crossing the Tungila River. OCHA said the daily arrival was more than 2,500 people although the real number was likely much higher as many of these people were not passing through registration points. "The localities are remote, with tenuous transport links," it said. Listing national and international responses, OCHA said a national emergency crisis committee was assisting in the registration of arrivals as well as in sensitisation campaigns in one of the arrival points in Bandundu. The UN Children's Fund had sent 1,000 boxes of high energy biscuits, 2,000 blankets, 2,000 20-litre jerrycans and 5,000 doses of oral rehydration salts, which would be taken to Kahungila and Tembo in Bandundu Province, OCHA reported. Other organisations that had responded included the UN World Food Programme, which provided 8.6 mt of food for some 2,000 people in Kahemba, Bandundu Province; the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which provided two trucks for transport assistance; Medecins Sans Frontieres-Belgium, which started providing emergency health assistant in Kahungila, and international NGO Caritas, which was providing limited health assistance in Popokabaka in Bandundu Province. OCHA said it was planning another inter-agency mission to Tshikapa, another affected zone in Kasai Occidental, where at least 15,000 people had been registered. OCHA reported that the DRC government had asked the UN Humanitarian/Resident Coordinator in Kinshasa for international aid in support of UN and government relief efforts to help the affected populations. It said as a result of the government request, and in order to respond to the most urgent needs, the humanitarian community had requested that OCHA facilitate coordination of the dispatch of relief items from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Brindisi, Italy. The items to be sent include 30 tents, 20,000 bars of soap, 10,000 blankets, four generators, 10,000 generators and 10 pneumatic boats. In response to a request by the Un Humanitarian/Resident Coordinator, OCHA said it was prepared to serve as a channel for cash contributions to be used for immediate relied aid in the two provinces.

Over 1,000 refugees from DRC cross into Zambia (Kawambwa, Irin, 01/04) -  More than 1,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have crossed into Zambia and are on Kilwa Island on Lake Mweru.UNHCR protection officer for both Kala and Mwange refugee camps Patrick Kawuma yesterday said 1,038 refugees had crossed from Kilwa Mulanga in the DRC after being attacked by Mai Mai rebels 10 days ago.Kawuma said UNHCR and the Zambian government were making arrangements to move them to the main land."It's because of logistical problems that they have not moved," he said.Kawuma said UNHCR had hired boats to move the refugees to Nchelenge.He said UNHCR had sent four boats with a capacity of 40 people each to move the refugees.Kawuma said the operation was sensitive because of the mode of transport which was complicated and UNHCR wanted to make sure the refugees were safe during their transportation.He said Kala camp recorded an average of 400 arrivals every month.Kawuma said 70 per cent of new arrivals were children.And UNHCR head of Kawambwa sub office Morshed Anwar said most of the refugees were coming from Katanga region, as peace in some areas in DRC was still doubtful.Anwar said some refugees were crossing into Zambia because there were some areas in the DRC that were experiencing food shortages.He thanked the Zambian government for the assistance it was rendering to refugees and UNHCR.Anwar said UNHCR had targeted to repatriate 10,000 refugees this year, beginning in July this year.However, Anwar said some refugees were going back voluntarily.Anwar said in consultation with the DRC government, UNHCR wanted to make sure refugees were returning to safe areas.

Lesotho

Cross border restrictions should be removed (Maseru, BuaNews, 25/04) - Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota has recommended Lesotho should engage South Africa in bilateral negotiations to remove cross border restrictions which demanded passports when travelling to both countries.Mr Lekoto was speaking at Maseru's Pitso Stadium where there was a cleansing and healing ceremony to commemorate the death of freedom fighters massacred by the South African Defence Force in 1982 and 1985 organised by the Freedom Park on Saturday.Speaking to BuaNews immediately after receiving boulders to be placed at the Freedom Park site in Pretoria, Mr Lekota said the restrictions were imposed by the former regime to stop especially the freedom fighters from entering Lesotho."When we got our freedom, it meant we now have the power in our hands to create an atmosphere that is favourable to all of us. An opportunity presented itself to deal with these restrictions when South Africa got democratised," said Mr Lekota.He said Lesotho sacrificed for South Africa's freedom, hence work and study permits for Basotho people made it difficult to benefit in the region."It is an urgent task to be done at a bilateral level and through SADC for the benefit of all our people. We have to use this opportunity as a region and eliminate such restrictions which divided us as Africans especially in the Southern Africa," he said.The minister said SADC countries should follow the European Union as an example and stop the use of Visa's and custom duties."These will save governments a lot of money because the money to administer border gates could be used for other things. Until we have reached that stage Africa will be free and will develop for the better, " he said.Referring to the cleansing and healing ceremony, the minister said countries that were victimised by colonial wars and apartheid should heal collectively with a purpose for development."What happened here must never happen again. In the context of Nepad and SADC, we must focus our efforts on development collectively for the benefit of our people," he said.The Freedom Park CEO Wally Serote said the purpose of the cleansing and healing ceremony was to acknowledge the pain and suffering that had been endured by South Africans and the rest of Africans."It is an attempt to symbolically repair the damage inflicted on us by decades of oppression. It is an attempt to restore dignity and a sense of self worth to those who have been dehumanised," said Dr Serote. Dr Serote said the Basotho nation supported the liberation struggle in various ways and they became the enemies of the apartheid government especially through its cross border raids.Consequently in 1982, 42 freedom fighters were murdered and 1985 property was destroyed and 9 people killed."It is important that the people who laid their lives for our freedom are acknowledged and recognized and their humanity is returned to them," he said.In the morning the traditional healers visited the graves and one house where at least six people resided and killed to perform rituals. At least five cows and two goats were also slaughtered as part of the rituals.

Malawi

Rwandan refugees to return from Malawi (Kigali, Xinhua, 19/04) - The Malawi government has assured Rwanda that the remaining 6000 refugees are willing to return soon, visiting Malawi Commissioner for Refugees Samuel Malowa said here Monday. Malowa, as head of a Malawi delegation, said that the sensitization and registration of the refugees was going on well and next step is the repatriation of all refugees in Malawi. "On behalf of the Malawi government, I assure you that these refugees would be here in Rwanda in a near future," Malowa said. Rwanda's Commissioner of Repatriation Commission Abdul Harerimana said the Malawi delegation is in the country to supervise how the places where the returnees will be settled. "The delegation will visit the eight provinces where the refugees are first settled before they can send the messages back to them," he said. He said refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Tanzania had registered in big numbers for repatriation. Abdul Harerimana, said the exercise had been delayed by genocide suspects who are still holding the refugees from returning. The refugees, who total up to 6000, fled the country after the 1994 war and genocide that claimed close to a million people's lives.

Mozambique

Fenceless border creates Land conflicts (Maputo, AIM, 15/04) - The general commander of the Mozambican police, Miguel dos Santos, who is also the chairperson of the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Organization (SARPCCO), said in Harare on Wednesday that the lack of demarcation along the border between Mozambique and Zimbabwe has been originating land conflicts between people living on both sides of the frontier. Cited in Thursday's issue of the daily paper "Noticias", dos Santos said that these land disputes have often led to physical assaults, and even to deaths. Speaking to reporters on the third day of a visit to Zimbabwe, dos Santos could neither give the exact extent of the unfenced stretch of the 4,212 kilometre long common border nor the number of victims of such disputes. He said that to try and sort out the situation, the police are to submit a formal request to the relevant authorities in both countries to make the necessary demarcation. Dos Santos also said that the police of both countries have agreed to provide more resources to patrol the common border, particularly the fenceless stretch, in order not only to prevent land disputes, but also to combat all forms of contraband, including trafficking in vehicles, cattle and firearms. Speaking of SARPCCO activities, dos Santos said that the organization has been instructed to speed up the process of returning to their rightful owners stolen goods recovered by the police in any country within the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The idea is to harmonise legislation so that court cases concerning such goods, seized in joint operations, are readily dealt with, since delays in the process are blamed as the main stumbling block. Dos Santos said that the meetings with his Zimbabwean counterparts concluded that all decisions taken at a Maputo SARPCCO meeting on September last year are being fully implemented. To illustrate his point, he said that, for instance, joint operations between Zambia and Zimbabwe managed to neutralise gangs of rustlers, and groups of smugglers have been arrested between Zimbabwe and Botswana.

Chissano speaks on African brain drain (Beijing, AIM, 06/04) -
Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano said in Beijing on Tuesday that, if Africa wants to develop with its own means, it must do all it can to eliminate the causes that drive skilled Africans to seek work in the industrialised world. Giving a lecture in the Chinese Foreign Affairs University, Chissano said that the intellectuals who are abandoning Africa should be the continent's generals in its struggle for socio- economic advance. He said that, having freed themselves from slavery and colonialism, what African peoples now had to do, in order to realise fully the dream of liberating the continent, was to fight against social and economic backwardness. It was a tragic reality, he added, that 39 of the 49 least developed countries are in Africa - and this backwardness is compounded by the fact that Africa is also worst hit by diseases such as AIDS, malaria and cholera. To win the socio-economic battle, Africa needs cadres who are highly skilled in technological and scientific areas, Chissano said - but unfortunately many of these key people are currently working in developed countries, because they cannot obtain conditions for a decent life in their countries of origin. Chissano thought the low wages offered in their home countries was the main reason why skilled Africans left the continent. These salary levels made them vulnerable to the enticements from employers in the industrialised world. He said he had personally noticed how a good many of the staff who guarantee the functioning of western institutions come from Africa, and from the third world in general. Chissano recalled how he had once visited a London hospital, and was surprised to find that the doctor who attended him was not British, but Congolese. Africa suffers a chronic shortage of doctors, economists, engineers and other specialists, at the same time as many Africans trained in these fields are working in Europe or America. Chissano said it was imperative to study this phenomenon, in order to attack the causes of the brain drain, and begin to attract back home the Africans living in the developed world. "Africa is a continent endowed with immense natural resources, but today it is the poorest of all the continents", said Chissano. "This poses us with a major challenge - we have to reverse this situation, so that our resources are transformed by our own technical staff, and used to better the lives of African peoples". To use its resources properly, it was a top priority for Africa to obtain scientific knowledge and master modern technology. Rather than simply designing ways of training more cadres, "we should start by considering all the means that can be used to attract the skilled African manpower that is scattered across the globe, so that they can come back and work for the common good of African peoples". Chissano thought it crucial to value the continent's skilled professionals properly - which included paying them well, and providing them with working conditions which could lead them to prefer working in their own countries rather than emigrating. "With a better grasp of science and technology, with a little more capital used properly, and with our own natural resources, we would be well able to overcome many of the challenges that now face us", said Chissano.

Nampula refugees centre overcrowded (Maputo, AIM, 05/04) -
The National Refugee Accommodation Centre at Maratane, in the northern Mozambican province of Nampula, has become overcrowded and may not be able to receive any more people, reports Monday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias". The Mozambican government's Refugee Support Nucleus (NARE) says that the centre is currently catering for about 5,000 people, and receiving about 100 new applications every month. Nampula provincial governor Abdul Razak Noormahomed visited the centre last week and expressed concern over the situation. He promised to contact the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and ask for stricter criteria in the selection of applicants for asylum as a means to minimise the risk of accepting illegal immigrants, who are not genuine refugees. "We will run out of accommodation space, and capacity to provide basic medical care and food if the current trend is not changed, hence we demand stricter criteria in the selection of asylum applicants to prevent opportunists, such as illegal immigrants, from entering the country", said Razak. Malaria is one of the most frequent diseases at the centre, where about 200 patients are seen every day. However, the main problem in this area that the authorities are facing is an influx of Somali citizens, who enter the country across the border with Tanzania. These people, despite the fact that they are applying for refugee status, are refusing to come to the accommodation centre. Statistics at the centre show that there are only 40 Somali refugees there, but it is known that about 20 Somalis enter the country every week. Their reluctance to go to Maratane calls into doubt their true intentions in Mozambique. NARE has also been told to take seriously the fact that some of the refugees entering northern Mozambique did not flee directly from their own countries, but have already passed through refugee centres in Tanzania or Malawi. It is believed that many refugees from the Great Lakes region or from Somalia are trying to make their way to South Africa. That is one of the reasons why the Mozambican refugee centre was moved from near Maputo to Nampula.

Mozambique presents difficulties for SA firms (Johannesburg, Business Report, 02/04) -
Four out of five South African businesses operating in Mozambique were unhappy with its investment environment, although large investors rated the country more positively than smaller ones did, a survey conducted by the SA Institute of International Affairs (Saiia) last November has shown.Business people highlighted corruption, the small size of the Mozambican market, high import duties, language and cultural differences, a weak legal system and infrastructure problems as the main issues.SABMiller, Standard Bank, Anglo American, Shoprite Checkers, Eskom, Sasol and Vodacom are just some of the big South African companies that have invested in Mozambique since 1994. The largest investments have been the $2.2 billion Mozal aluminium smelter and the $1.2 billion Sasol gas field and pipeline.The survey showed that big firms were able to get around problems that smaller firms had to contend with.For example, Sasol was able to create, with the support of the government, its own customs terminal and bypass the normal bureaucratic bottlenecks.Both governments took a direct interest in the implementation of big projects. Problems faced by large companies were sometimes dealt with on a government-to-government level, the survey reported, while smaller companies faced the same admin- istrative difficulties as local firms.The Saiia said all the companies it interviewed had said they had an anticorruption policy and only one had admitted to paying bribes, but it noted that the refusal to pay bribes "translated into heavy fines being imposed. Harassment by petty officials is a very common occurrence." Despite facing these problems, the Saiia survey found that companies invested in Mozambique for myriad reasons, including the hope that, as the economy grew, so too would its market.Some companies wanted to diversify revenue streams and garner some foreign exchange earnings and others followed their customers, especially in the financial and tourism sectors.Very few companies listed profit margins as their main reason for entering Mozambique.The institute said that foreign investment into Mozambique had been "immeasurably positive" in its contribution to growth in productivity and income.The most striking characteristic of South African investors was their "capacity for peer learning and for developing strategies to overcome structural barriers."This has been complemented by the Mozambican government's willingness to engage with serious investors in a responsive manner, despite the difficulties of its regulatory framework."But, Saiia said, if the government wanted to broaden growth, it "should reduce the amount of red tape, develop basic infrastructure, reduce labour rigidities, reform the justice system and combat corruption more effectively".

Namibia

Rwandan refugees to assess conditions for repatriation (Johannesburg, Irin, 28/04) - A group of Rwandan refugees in Namibia will embark on a "go and see" mission to their home country to assess conditions for their proposed voluntary repatriation. This visit is being organised to allay the concerns of the nearly 500 Rwandan refugees over their safety once they return. In April a group of Rwandans fled Namibia's Osire refugee camp and told the local Namibian newspaper that they did not want to be repatriated. The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) spokesman in Namibia, Esegiel Xamseb, told IRIN that a delegation of officials from the Rwandese government and UNHCR's Great Lakes Coordinator Wairimu Kagaro had visited the Osire camp on Wednesday and met with the remaining Rwandese refugees. "The meeting was basically just an information sharing opportunity, the refugees were informed about the conditions in Rwanda and the political developments there," Xamseb explained. According to a tripartite agreement between the UNHCR and the governments of Namibia and Rwanda, signed in September last year, some 612 Rwandan refugees were expected to be voluntarily repatriated in June this year. However, after the flight of refugees wishing to avoid repatriation, there is no guarantee that repatriations will begin as planned. "Maybe after the go-and-see visit the repatriations will begin - this is a process [which could take time]," Xamseb told IRIN. Of the 612 Rwandese refugees who were counted in the camp when the tripartite agreement was signed, only 489 remain. The whereabouts of the more than 120 who have fled is unclear. "We are not aware of [what happened to them], this is something the tripartite commission is going to look into," Xamseb added. In a bid to address the fears of those still in Osire, a number of Rwandese refugees who had already been repatriated would be asked to visit the camp "and address the refugees here". Last month IRIN reported on the reluctance of some Rwandan refugees in Zambia to return home. Zambian officials said that despite continued assurances of peace in Rwanda, some Hutu refugees had raised concerns of alleged persecution by the authorities and the local community. In the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide in 1994, in which, according to government statistics, at least 937,000 Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus died, hundreds of thousands of mainly Hutu refugees fled the country.

Namibian, Rwandan officials to meet on repatriation (Windhoek, The Namibian, 23/04) -
Officials from Rwanda, Namibia and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), are due to meet on Tuesday to discuss the voluntary repatriation of Rwandan refugees in Namibia. The UNHCR in Windhoek said the tripartite repatriation commission was also scheduled to meet Rwandan refugees at Osire on Wednesday. UNHCR Assistant Field Officer, Esegiel Xamseb, said Rwandan refugees in Namibia not residing at Osire were also invited to the meeting. He said the aim was to explain repatriation procedures and brief the refugees on the conditions back home. A number of Rwandans have indicated reluctance to return home, claiming it was unsafe. They have also expressed fears that they would be persecuted by the Kigali government. The tripartite repatriation commission was set up last year to pave the way for the repatriation of about 700 Rwandans at the Osire Refugee Camp. Rwandan refugees in Namibia want the repatriation stopped until the United Nations has established that it is safe for everyone to return. They claim that since the talks of possible repatriation started in September, about 600 Rwandan refugees had left the Osire camp and fled Namibia to Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique. The tripartite agreement mandated Namibia to ensure that the refugees were well informed about the security situation in Rwanda to enable them to decide whether or not to repatriate. For its part, the government of Rwanda would ensure that the refugees returned home in safety and dignity, and that it would sensitise the local populations of the areas in which the returnees would settle. The UNHCR was expected to facilitate the return by providing support for travel as well as initial settlement. In addition, the UN agency promised protection to refugees in Namibia who might not wish to return, in accordance with international conventions on refugees and the relevant Namibian immigration laws.

Unam forgery hearing 'complex' (The Namibian, 21/04) -
The University of Namibia (Unam) says it will take at least until the end of the month to finalise disciplinary hearings against students accused of forging qualifications to gain admission to the institution. Emelia Aniceto from Unam's Communication and Marketing Department suggested that the hearings that started last week are a complex exercise, which could not be done overnight. Towards the end of last year, Unam de-registered 165 Angolans and nine Namibian students after it was discovered that they had allegedly been studying at the institution with fake Grade 12 certificates. The students were, however, reregistered in February after 11 of their colleagues gave notice that they planned to launch an urgent application in the High Court to have their expulsions and course cancellations declared unconstitutional and invalid. They were re-registered on February 16 - 18, pending disciplinary hearings.Yesterday Aniceto told The Namibian that only 79 students would appear before the disciplinary hearing as the rest did not re-register.

Unam scam suspect flees (Windhoek, The Namibian, 15/04) -
Angolan national, Jose Manuel Adriano, who was arrested in September last year on charges that he sold forged academic qualifications to fellow Angolans in Namibia, has escaped from Police custody. Adriano (29) was set to appear in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court yesterday. The dock remained empty after his case was called, and it was left up to Public Prosecutor Ruben Shileka to tell Magistrate Maria Mahalie that the court orderly deployed in her court had informed him that Adriano had escaped from custody. The indication was that the investigating officer working on Adriano's case had not informed the Prosecutor of the development. Magistrate Mahalie issued a warrant for the immediate arrest of Adriano, whose arrest last year led to the large-scale expulsion of Angolan students from the University of Namibia (Unam) because of suspicions that they had gained entry to the university using false academic qualifications allegedly bought from Adriano. The almost wholesale suspension of Angolan students - Unam de-registered 165 of the 196 Angolan students that it said were registered with the university - was reversed again in February, when Unam was threatened with legal action by students who claimed to have been kicked out of the institution without it being proved that they had also used fake papers to enter Unam. According to Warrant Officer James Matengu of the Namibian Police's Public Relations Office, Adriano escaped from custody between March 30 and 31. Matengu said the investigating officer in Adriano's case claimed that he had been informed of the escape only a couple of days after the event, and that the circumstances of the escape were still being investigated. Matengu could not confirm where the escape took place or how it occurred, but it is thought that it happened at Windhoek's main Police Station. Adriano last appeared in court on March 4. He was also in court in Mid-December last year, when he unsuccessfully applied to be released on bail. During that bail application the Police officer investigating his case, Chief Inspector Oscar Sheehama, testified that his investigation showed that 106 Angolan students at Unam, the Polytechnic of Namibia and the International University of Management in Windhoek were using forged academic qualifications. Some of the students admitted that their papers were fake; all of them pointed to Adriano as having been the alleged source of their false qualifications, Sheehama claimed. He alleged that Adriano sold forged academic certificates at a price of US$300 to US$400 per certificate - which would have earned him between US$31 800 (about N$211 300 at the current exchange rate) and US$42 400 (N$281 750) for his efforts.

Rwandan refugees not ready to return home (Windhoek, The Namibian, 05/04) -
A number of Rwandans who have sought refuge in Namibia are reluctant to return home, claiming it is not safe. A group of the refugees interviewed by The Namibian on Friday claimed they feared they would be persecuted by the Kigali government. In September, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Home Affairs Ministry started discussions to pave the way for the repatriation of about 700 Rwandans at the Osire Refugee Camp. The group who spoke to The Namibian said the repatriation was expected to start in June. "There is proof that some people are fleeing Rwanda, yet they want us to go home. Once there, you are in jail or dead. We can't go when there is a 95 per cent chance of being killed or jailed," charged one member of the group. They want the repatriation stopped until the United Nations has established that it is safe for everyone to return. They claim that since the talks of possible repatriation started in September, about 600 Rwandan refugees had left the Osire camp and fled Namibia. "They have fled to Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique. People are afraid of going home," a member of the group said. Countries like Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Burundi and the Congo Republic have experienced similar opposition from the Rwandan refugees not wanting to return home.

South Africa

SA won't help 70 'mercenaries' (Sunday Times, 30/04) -
The South African government will not intervene in Zimbabwe's extradition of a 70-strong alleged mercenary group, including 20 South Africans, to Equatorial Guinea, the Foreign Affairs department said. "There is no legal basis for South Africa to demand that its nationals should not be extradited to another country," the department said in a statement. However, the South African government would continue to offer consular services to the men. The West African country's president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, has previously said 15 men arrested in his country, who are alleged to have been in cohorts with the 70, faced capital punishment, the AFP news agency reported. "If we have to kill them, we will kill them," said Obiang, whose 25-year rule was allegedly to have been ended by the groups in a coup.. The 70 men were all traveling on South African passports when they were arrested in Harare on March 7. They deny they were involved in a plot to overthrow Obiang and take control of his oil-rich nation, allegedly ahead of the reinstatement of Francisco Macias Nguema, who was deposed in a coup by Obiang in the late 70s. They claimed they were on their way to the Democratic Republic of Congo to guard diamond mines. Foreign affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said the government could not comment further on the matter at this stage. The AFP report quoted an unnamed official who confirmed that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe had has had agreed to hand the men over to Equatorial Guinea. The decision was taken following talks between Mugabe and Obiang in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo. "The president agreed to extradite the 70 mercenaries so that they could go and face trial in Equatorial Guinea," the official, anonymous on request, said. The South African foreign affairs department said both Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea were sovereign states with the necessary legal capacity to take legal decisions regarding matters affecting their states. Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea were parties to the Organisation of African Union's Convention for the Elimination of Mercenarism in Africa, which demands that the signatories extradite, or punish on their own soil, those who committed mercenary acts in the member countries.

Job cuts loom for gold miners (Mail&Guardian, 30/04) -
The imminent threat to the jobs of 5 000 Harmony Gold workers sharpened this week when the company reported a 50% drop in profits in the past three months. South Africa's third biggest gold producer announced at the beginning of this month that the strong rand may force it to close six marginal shafts. These shafts account for 6% of Harmony's annual gold output of around four million ounces and almost 10% of its workforce. Harmony employs 53 000 people. The mining giant's results, released on Wednesday, are bleak. In the quarter to March 31, profits have dropped from R271-million to R134,2-million. However, the March quarter is also a poor production period because of the festive season. Also, apart from the strong rand, many input costs for mining companies, including power, transport and steel, have risen above the inflation rate over the past year and workers' wages have increased by about 9% over the past two years. A closer analysis of the breakdown of Harmony's quarterly production shows that, at the current gold price of R88 278/kg, 66% or 16 359kg of gold was mined from profitable shafts. This contributed R198,5-million profit to the company. However, the remaining 34% or 8 376kg was mined from shafts making a loss of R64,3-million. These mainly include the six affected mines. "The past quarter has been one of the most challenging that we have experienced over the past three years," said Bernard Swanepoel, the CEO of Harmony. "The company's operating environment has been severely influenced by the current cycle of a low rand/kg gold price received, which has affected profitability." In an unprecedented move, Harmony and three major unions - the National Union of Mineworkers (Num), Solidarity and United Officials Association - set up a joint task team to examine the closure of the six shafts. The team, which began its investigations last week, will report back on May 3 with proposals both for the future of the affected workers and for the long-term sustainability of the company. This is only the second time that mine management and unions have united to resolve a dispute over job losses - the first was in 1999 when they teamed up in a campaign against gold sales by European central banks. The task team is hoping that Harmony's move towards continuous operations (known as conops) at its other mines will reduce the number of retrenchments at the six affected mines. Under conops, mines operate seven days a week instead of an 11-day fortnight, which means that the company needs to employ more people to facilitate working the additional days. In this case, more profitable shafts could soak up some of the 5 000 workers who face the axe. Gwede Mantashe, general secretary of Num, said that since 1988 about 250 000 miners have been retrenched. However, he said that he was confident that the retrenchment of the Harmony workers would be stemmed because of the working relationship between the unions and the mining company. "Working with other mining houses is sometimes like talking on a toy telephone," he said. The tough environment for mining was further highlighted by recent Chamber of Mines figures which showed that almost one-third of South Africa's gold production was unprofitable at the current rand/kg gold price. Labour is usually the first casualty because it accounts for about half of the production costs in the mining industry. The threat to Harmony's 5 000 workers, and another 2 653 at a Goldfields marginal shaft (about which Num and Goldfields are negotiating), is further evidence of the difficulties in gold mining at South Africa's older mines. Four thousand workers were laid off at Durban Roodepoort Deep in September. About 15% of the total workforce in the gold-mining industry is employed in these marginal gold mines, which are the first to be affected by an unstable market, and the worst-hit. Marginal gold mines are those where the costs of efficiently producing a kilogram of gold marginally exceeds the profit per kilogram. The primary reason has been the structural changes with which the industry has been confronted as operations become deeper and high-grade ore is depleted.

Campaign coaxes homesick South Africans back (Johannesburg, Sapa-DPA, 26/04) -
South Africa has long inspired waves of migration, particularly during the political upheaval of the 1990s. But now, a team of entrepreneurs is campaigning to put an end to the great "chicken runs".South Africans, their accents, products and skills have become a feature from Sydney to Texas as high crime and unemployment estimated at nearly 40 per cent continues to push many to emigrate.But many among the hundreds of thousands of South Africans living in places like the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, the United States and Europe seem to increasingly be contemplating their return.Other, however, have also been gone too long to have experienced some of the positive changes in the country that on Tuesday celebrates its first 10 years as a democracy. With this in mind, young advertising executives started a campaign to coax homesick but uncertain South Africans who can help rebuild the country back into the fold, urging them to "come home and make it even better".Angel Jones spent seven years in London before returning to the country more than two years ago to start her own agency. It was when she began recruiting competent employees that she realized that many were working overseas.Early last year, she and a colleague started the "Homecoming Revolution", issuing a call to skilled South Africans to return to play a part in sustaining the young democracy.They extended their support, which includes advice on relocating and finding jobs, property and schools, says her partner, Marina Smithers.Gauging the sentiments expressed by thousands of mainly white South Africans living around the world that have flowed onto her website since, it seems there is little keeping many away.Tony Galetti said he and his family returned home after 12 years abroad for the "fresh air, big smiles" and real people."Two more months!" Dee from Canada wrote. "It's been a long, cold journey here. Eye-opening still. We have a lot to learn from Canada. But still wouldn't bring my kids up here. No passion, your life is meaningless (compared to what I have experienced back home). ... I cannot wait until I come back and do my part."For Arthur van der Burg, life in Germany for the past seven years has not been pleasant. Of the South Africans living in Europe, many would return if they had the money to do so, he said."They are not able to get the jobs like they had in South Africa, and they work as waiters or in factories," he said."South Africa has a good future, and we need to build the new South Africa and create our own powerful country," he added.Crime and job opportunities appeared to be the overriding factors still holding many back. The online debates draw attention to the country's reputation for violence. Murder and rape, in particular, are constantly discussed.Others have noted that crime is a worldwide phenomenon and that it appears to have stabilized in the African country that is a popular international tourist destination. hile tourists flock there, many residents have fled. At the height of apartheid, for instance, many whites fled in disgust at the idea of perpetuating black oppression under white-minority rule.In a turnaround as apartheid was abolished, other whites booked their flights into exile because they feared the loss of privilege under black-majority rule and the bloodshed that was predicted.Blacks, on the other hand, were among the first to return in the years preceding the country's first all-race elections in 1994 to help rebuild the country.Now with optimism high over the 10-year anniversary, Jones and Smithers said they hope their campaign will induce another wave of returns.

Marriages of inconvenience (Daily News, 22/04) -
When applying for ID, some women are discovering they weren't present at their own wedding Marriage officials, passport agents and immigration agents are being investigated by the Department of Home Affairs after complaints from numerous people that they were married without their knowledge or consent. Martin Matloga, regional director at the Department of Home Affairs, confirmed yesterday that after applying for a new identity document, many women had discovered they were married. The department also received complaints that certain immigration agents were preying on unemployed women to marry immigrants for a sum of money. "Our biggest problem with these complaints is proving whether the marriage was one of convenience or not. Some women willingly enter into these relationships," he said. "We have since embarked on an investigation because we suspect that marriage officers might be knowingly involved." Two women who found themselves in this situation are still trying to get a "divorce" so they can carry on with their lives. "I was approached by a man who promised me monthly payments of R250 if I agreed to marry a Pakistani man," said Michelle Diane Newman, one of the unfortunate victims. "I was unemployed and had no money. It seemed relatively easy, so I agreed. I was taken to a building in Gardiner Street where I was told to sign a marriage certificate. "I was technically married in March last year and was paid R300 for that month. I was then given R200 monthly for the next four months. After that, I called my 'husband' and told him I needed R1 000 to pay my light account. I have not heard from him since." Newman is very distressed and says that if she had not been desperate for the money, she would never have agreed to marry someone whom she had never met. "I just want to warn other women about these men because I don't want them falling into the same trap," she said. "I really regret what I have done." Newman also said she had had no luck in trying to track down her "husband". "I have been trying to locate him for the past few months. I am tired of this and just want a divorce," she said. Another incident involves a young woman whose name is known to the Daily News. She said her identity document had been stolen last year. She said she then applied for a new ID in February and, when she called in last week to find out when she would be receiving her ID, she was told she was married to a man. named Mohammed Ishaad. "Initially I thought it was all a big joke. But it's not and no-one can tell me what went wrong," she said. "My surname has even been changed. How is it possible that something like this could happen without my knowledge?" When asked about the procedure that should be followed if something like this were to happen, Matloga said a complaint needed to be lodged. "If the investigation revealed that the marriage was not legitimate, it would be annulled," he said.

Zimbabweans found drowned (Musina, Sunday Times, 22/04) -
The bodies of four Zimbabwean men have been retrieved from the Limpopo River by divers, police said. This brings the total to five men, aged between 25 and 30, who drowned on Tuesday while trying to cross the river from the Zimbabwean side close to the Beit Bridge border post, said Captain Ailwei Mushavhanamadi. One body was retrieved early on Tuesday. Polokwane police divers and helicopters then searched the area on Wednesday for four other men feared drowned. They found the bodies surrounded by crocodiles and had to fire shots to scare the reptiles off. The bodies will be returned to Zimbabwe. It is believed the five were hoping to evade the Beit Bridge border post and enter South Africa illegally across the Limpopo River.

Report on European real estate companies in South Africa (Mail&Guardian, 19/04) -
Selling Africa to non-Africans is becoming an institution. At exhibitions, shopping malls and estate agencies across Europe, people are buying up the South African coast.Over the past two years European real estate operators have moved into and, in many cases, taken over the market on South Africa’s coasts. Local residents find themselves increasingly priced out and irritated by Europeans seeking “Africa” and a quality beach house, while high-ranking government officials told the Mail & Guardian a moratorium on foreign property purchases could be in the works. “It used to be so lovely here, like on a farm,” said Rudolf Rode, long-time native of Camps Bay in Cape Town Rode lives on a small plot overgrown with indigenous trees and flowers he proudly planted. His home has more windows than walls, and sitting in the living room one has a stunning view of both the Table Mountain summit above and the coastline below. His abode is a humble one compared with the ostentatious estates popping up around him, including a mammoth mansion “taking away a big slice of our view of the beach”. Rode’s suburb is a prime target of Ocean Estates International, a European company set up in South Africa less than a year ago to lure foreigners to the country on “property safaris”. Clients are wined and dined in high-class hotels and chauffeured in luxury cars to huge Cape Town estates, golf course villages and beach-side dwellings in KwaZulu-Natal going for anywhere between R500 000 and R25-million. Homes have cherry-wood floors, porcelain tiles, wool carpets. A pool is a must. Michael Jackson, David Beckham and Whitney Houston, among other celebrities, are rumoured to be buying hot spots in Cape Town and on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast. The offices of Ocean Estates closely mirror those of a lavish European investment bank, with decorative displays, large glass window offices, stunning views and too many employees to meet in one visit. “They were brilliant, very hospitable,” said Mary Lou Prentice, a potential British buyer. “They made it exciting.” Owners of their own company in Britain, the Prentices are touring the world inspecting property in Spain, Greece, Florida and South Africa, with R3,5-million at their disposal. For the Prentices, South Africa is attractive both for its lifestyle and climate and as a sound financial investment. “They like the diversity and cosmopolitan atmosphere, the accessible nature, our cuisine, friendly people, celebrities, the film industry,” said Marion Taylor, founding partner of Engel & Völkers, another sizeable European agency newly opened in South Africa. Both companies say overseas buyers generally have no connection with South Africa, and about half who buy through the companies are visiting for the first time. “South Africa is now a global destination, on a par with the Caribbean, Florida and the south of France,” said Ocean Estates manager Mark Feuilherade. What of South Africa’s alleged image as crime-ridden, unstable and corrupt? “People just like the fact that it’s not crowded like Europe,” said Taylor. Foreigners had been increasingly attracted to South Africa after the September 11 2001 terror attacks as a refuge from a troubled world. There have been repeated reports that the African National Congress government is planning to regulate property acquisitions by foreigners, but real estate agents shrug it off. “There has been talk, but they love the foreign investment and interest,” said Taylor. The Minister of Housing, Brigitte Mabandla, told the M&G “people are not aware of the extent of this particular phenomenon”. According to Mabandla, she and other government officials see “a need for regulation for the common good”. “We need to revisit the issue of how we look at property in this country,” she added. “It’s not like saying we welcome investment at all costs. It’s a very new and serious concern for me. I think that we need to call for a moratorium on this type of purchasing.” Also up in arms is the Landless People’s Movement (LPM), which has launched a “national campaign to save the South African coasts”, informing people of the issue and calling for a freeze on European property acquisitions. “These Europeans come in with their big money, sell our land back to Europeans, and keep the profit. It’s not right,” said Randall Rossouw, LPM leader in the Western Cape. The LPM is organising small Western and Eastern Cape farmers to press restitution claims on disputed coastal lands. Rossouw said the movement had tabled proposals to the government on “how we can jointly manage the land for many people”. Despite the threats, the property firms continue to thrive. Engel & Völkers came to Camps Bay in late 2002. According to Taylor, in less than three months it had a 50% market share in the area and it is now opening its 18th branch. Ocean Estates is so successful that Europeans who have never visited are buying prime South African land “site unseen”. Such “non-emotional” acquisitions already represent 20% of Ocean Estates’ sales, and they are growing. The agency sends agents speaking 29 different languages to 350 exhibitions a year across the world, selling South African property. Safari leaders sell the property as a multi-value product. “We offer European buyers a beach house with space and fantastic investment returns,” said Feuilherade. “For the same money in London they’d be lucky to find a small studio flat.” One effect has been skyrocketing property values. According to Taylor “coastal property has doubled in price over the past three years”. This comes against the background of significant general increase in the prices of residential property in South Africa over the past four years, which economists expect to continue. There has been a “recent home-buying frenzy,” wrote Dirk de Vynck, a leading South African property economist, in a recent report. He added that on average the prices of houses are still growing by in excess of 10% a year. Over the past summer South Africa experienced its highest increase in house prices since 1981. Estate agents dismiss concerns that Europeans are pricing South Africans out of the market. “Lots of South Africans own property, trade in the same market and make money through the rise in property values,” said Taylor. “South Africans welcome the outside interest because we were isolated for so long. What’s happened since the ANC took over is so exciting — we’re on the world map again.” While the LPM describes the foreign buying wave as “neo-colonialist”, buyers see themselves as investing in a sunny refuge which happens to be in Africa. “Europeans are bemused by how First World we are,” said Feuilherade. Rode agrees: “It’s little Europe, except for the flowers.” Critics complain that Europeans are keeping the coasts out of reach of black South Africans and allowing a “little Europe” to be built on the tip of the continent. The companies said that, in general, there was a lack of interest among black buyers in the top end of the coastal market. “Black South Africans like a lot of land and have more traditional values, so we don’t sell much on the seaboard,” said Taylor.Rode is more irritated by Europeans’ taste and lifestyle than by their right to buy land. “Their houses stick out like sore thumbs, just glass and plastic,” he laments. “Foreigners don’t know the difference between a protea and an invasive acacia. That really annoys me.”

Buthelezi in the clear over immigration regulations (The Star, 19/04) -
There is no proof that Mangosuthu Buthelezi lied, deceived and tried to trick the president in the finalising of the country's new immigration rules. This was one of the findings by Judge Hennie Erasmus of the Cape High Court. He gave his reasons on Friday for setting aside the immigration regulations published by Buthelezi, the Minister of Home Affairs, last month. The regulations were set aside on April 6 - hours before they were to due come into operation. Judge Erasmus said: "The facts do not warrant the inference that the minister's conduct was part of a mala fide (bad faith) scheme of deliberate deception. "In my view, given the minister's reservations about the cabinet process, the minister used the opportunity afforded by the Eisenberg application to publish the regulations."There are no grounds for finding that, when he consented to the order on March 8 2004, and implemented it by publication of the regulations, he was not bona fide convinced that his action was required and compelled by what the law required." The judge also found that the problems the cabinet had with the new rules could not be solved unilaterally. “It is a matter of collective executive responsibility and the impasse (in the case of the new  visa rules) must be resolved in co-operation with the Department of Foreign Affairs." Judge Erasmus called the proceedings "an extraordinary case in which relief of an extraordinary nature is sought". Last month, President Thabo Mbeki asked the court to set aside an order to which Buthelezi had agreed. In terms of this order, new immigration regulations - the "gate-keeping rules" for South Africa - were published. The Immigration Act, promulgated in 2002, empowers the minister of home affairs to make regulations to put the law into operation. Buthelezi followed the lengthy public-comment procedure prescribed by the act, and by January 2004 was ready to publish the new rules.In February, Mbeki asked Buthelezi to give the cabinet a chance to review the rules. This was to be done by a committee headed by Buthelezi. The committee had several queries and reservations about the new rules. The Department of Foreign Affairs, for example, raised objections to the rules about visa exemptions which, according to the department, did not comply with foreign policy. State law advisers said the rules had been inelegantly drafted and were difficult to understand. While this was in progress, Cape Town immigration attorney Gary Eisenberg brought an urgent application to have the regulations published in their unamended form. His application led to Buthelezi publishing in the Government Gazette last month the regulations as they were before the cabinet suggested changes. This started the 30-day countdown to the implementation date of the regulations. Mbeki immediately applied for an order to suspend the court order in terms of which Buthelezi published the regulations. This was done provisionally, pending further legal argument. Mbeki also applied for a further court order asking that the present regulations be set aside.

Buthelezi not deceitful, says judge (Cape Town, Mail&Guardian, 17/04) -
Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi had not been deceitful when he promulgated the controversial immigration regulations, the Cape High Court said on Friday. The court was handing down the reasons for ruling in favour of President Thabo Mbeki in his immigration regulations dispute with Buthelezi. Judge Hennie Erasmus on April 6 set aside a controversial court order, obtained by consent between Buthelezi and attorneys Eisenberg and Associates who specialise in immigration matters. The court order in question erroneously validated immigration regulations that were considered unconstitutional. The controversy resulted in an unusual urgent application to set aside the order, launched by Mbeki against Buthelezi, and prompted the judge to remark: "This is an extraordinary case, in which relief of an extraordinary nature is sought." The court saga started when Buthelezi hastily promulgated the regulations while they were still under discussion by the cabinet, some members of whom considered them unconstitutional. During the hearing, senior counsel Michael Donan, on behalf of the president, alleged not only that Buthelezi's actions were "carefully orchestrated to circumvent the cabinet process" but that Buthelezi had "deliberately misled the court as well as President Mbeki." Donan alleged the court was misled in that the judge who had earlier granted the order-by-consent had not been informed of the full context in which the consent had been reached. Donan alleged the president had been misled in that Buthelezi had failed to inform him that Buthelezi had in fact consented to the controversial order. However, Erasmus ruled that the facts did not justify the inference that Buthelezi's conduct had been a scheme of deliberate deception, conceived in bad faith. The judge said although Buthelezi had had reservations about the cabinet process, he had nevertheless promulgated the regulations under the bona fide belief that he was compelled by court order to do so. Erasmus said the controversial court order had to be set aside, not on the grounds that it was obtained by deception — which it was not — but because the order itself was incompetent. It was incompetent because the making of regulations was a matter of collective responsibility of the executive, and cabinet approval was necessary, he said.

Audit of foreign ownership not xenophobic, says Public Works (Business Day, 16/04) -
Recent reports that Public Works Minister Stella Sigcau was worried about fixed assets owned by foreigners and that government was conducting an ­audit to determine land ownership by foreigners refer. There are no plans to limit ownership of land by foreigners. But there are few countries in the world that do not regulate the ownership of land by foreigners. It is the extent and logic of this regulation that is the issue. According to a study by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, there are many reasons countries would want to monitor foreign ownership of land. One of them is strategic security. It would be against SA's long-term strategic and security interests if large parts of land on our borders were sold to foreigners. Countries that do not allow or restrict outright ownership of land by foreigners include Thailand, Malta, Indonesia, the Philippines, Israel, Switzerland and the US. Nova Scotia in Canada maintains that the right to land ownership does not extend to "alien enemies". Government, through the land affairs department, has been conducting an audit to determine how much land is in the hands of foreigners. There is nothing xenophobic about this, it is part of responsible management of the country's valuable resources. An audit does not equal interfering with the free market system or chasing away foreign direct investment, as some of your reports and letters have suggested. Under our capitalist system a peasant in Cofimvaba, Eastern Cape, has the same right to purchase property in Camps Bay as does a Hollywood movie star. By logical extension, the peasant has a right to acquire property in Malibu, but it is rendered meaningless because he does not have the wherewithal to exercise it. This one-sided state of universal equality places more responsibility on the shoulders of leaders of poor countries like ours, to be vigilant about selling the country off to the highest bidder.  This is especially so because we are effectively unable to exercise that right in other countries because of lack of resources.

Harmony Gold, NUM strike deal in shaft closure issue (SABC, 16/04) -
The National Union of Mineworkers (Num) says it has agreed with Harmony Gold to set up a task force to study the possible closure of six mine shafts. Moferefere Lekorotsoana, a Num spokesperson, says the union has also pulled back from a threat to declare a formal dispute - the first step towards a possible strike. Harmony, the biggest domestic producer of gold, announced earlier this month that it might close shafts accounting for 6% of its output and employing 5 000 people. Harmony blamed the strong rand for a loss in export earnings. The task force will report back with recommendations on May 3.

Comment on judgment in Buthelezi case (Cape Argus, 16/04) -
Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi did not have the authority to make national policy regulations without cabinet consultation and approval.This was among the reasons given by Cape High Court judge Mr Justice Hennie Erasmus, for setting aside Buthelezi's controversial immigration regulations, which were gazetted on March 8 after an order by consent between Buthelezi and immigration lawyer Gary Eisenberg. Buthelezi had agreed to publish the regulations, at that stage still under discussion by parliament, after Eisenberg took him to court in a bid to force their publication. Following the granting of the order, President Thabo Mbeki brought an urgent application in the Cape High Court seeking to have the regulations set aside. Could not be decided by ministers alone. When Buthelezi discovered that the president had described him as acting with "improper motives" in consenting to publish the regulations, he indicated that he would oppose Mbeki's application. In the reasons for his judgment, Judge Erasmus described Mbeki's application as "an extraordinary case in which relief of an extraordinary nature is sought". Among the issues he had to decide on, the judge said, was that of cabinet ministers' "individual or collective responsibility". He found that "the development and implementation of national policy was a matter of collective executive responsibility" and could not be decided by ministers alone. Judge Erasmus said the regulations would impact on other governmental departments - including that of Foreign Affairs - and said the "unilateral implementation of policy to regulate portfolios other than his own by the minister ... would be in conflict with the central aims of co-ordination and co-operation which underlie the (Immigration Act 13 of 2002)". The cabinet dispute over the regulations was largely concerned with the issue of visa exemptions - which Judge Erasmus pointed out was "a matter of foreign policy" - and represented an impasse that "must be resolved in co-operation with the Department of Foreign Affairs".

Since apartheid, suburb's results are mixed (Rosettenville, South Africa, Los Angeles Times, 15/04) -
When apartheid ended a decade ago, this was a  was a tidy, all-white suburb of 20,000 squeeze( black township of Soweto and the economic engine of white rule, Johannesburg. But the residents who converged on a local school to vote  in elections Wednesday reflected, like so much of south Africa, a nation transformed. Now a teeming suburb of 50,000, Rosettenville is a racial mélange. Thousands have moved here from Soweto and other black and mixed race townships, often buying homes from departing white. Joining them have been Nigerians, Zimbabweans and Mozambicans,  lured by the post  apartheid detente with the rest of Africa. The result is an ethnically diverse community that symbolizes the heralded successes - but also the enormous challenges – facing this country 10 years after its first free election.  Whites and blacks side by side here in equal numbers and relative harmony.  But crime has escalated, housing prices have sunk, schools  are overcrowded, public transportation has become unreliable and joblessness shadows streets of modest homes. "We used to have municipal services. The roads got repaired, the police came when you called. You used to see green grass,” said Brian Waterston, one of the whites who has remained. “That’s all gone now.” A lifelong Rosettenville resident, Waterston has no problem with the fact that blacks have moved into many houses on his block. "They mind their own business,"  and racial diversity is good for the  town, he said. His wife, Priscilla Mare, 44, sells BMWs at a Johannesburg dealership recently bought by four wealthy black investors, beneficiaries of black empowerment initiatives. "That's taken a while to get used to," she admitted. “Getting used to their culture, their ways. But they're good businessmen and they have a lot of contacts with the government. "Most of the customers for the cars, some with $100,000 sticker prices, are black businessmen. The credit checks are interesting, she says. "It's frightening to see how much money these guys make a month! "But the quality of life for everyone in Rosettenville has fallen precipitously, they say.

South Africa's brain drain dilemma (BBC, 15/04) -
Professor Kader Asmal, South African Minister for Education notes that South Africa, like many other developing countries, especially English-speaking nations, faces an enormous drain of human resources, attracted out of the country by favourable exchange rates, and different social environments. Some of the attractions are more imagined than real, and there are many disappointments for these young graduates. The demand for South African professionals is a tribute to the quality of education and training provided in South Africa, and many are highly respected practitioners, in various fields, throughout the world. This has prompted me to call for a stricter regulation of the international movement of professionals. Fortunately South Africa has the institutional infrastructure to continue to provide a sufficient supply of teachers, nurses, doctors and other professionals to meet the internal demand, but this is done at huge cost. Huge numbers leaving Training a doctor costs in excess of R1 million ($152,000), and for the state to get no return on this enormous investment is a real problem. At any one stage, up to 5,000 South Africans are teaching in London alone Huge numbers of South African teachers, including many of the best educated and trained, leave the country directly after qualifying, with no immediate returns to the system which produced them. At any one stage, up to 5,000 South Africans are teaching in London alone. Fortunately many of these choose to return to South Africa, after a year or two in the UK. Most return as better teachers - more experienced, and usually more appreciative of the quality of our own schools. At present, where there is no overall shortage of teachers, this is not a problem, but the situation must be closely watched to ensure we are not in a position where our teachers are needed and not available. Any country should have the right to refuse any organised or systematic international recruitment of its teachers That is why we are participating in the Commonwealth Working Group on Teacher Recruitment, which is developing a protocol which will govern the way in which teachers are recruited internationally, and utilised. It deals with the concerns of Commonwealth countries, especially smaller states who are worst affected, and with the individual teachers, some of whom have been subjected to very unpleasant and exploitative practices. It will ensure that if teachers are recruited, this is done within the labour laws of the "source country". For us, this would be on a non-discriminatory basis, including race and gender, but also outlawing exclusion on the basis of a positive HIV status. The protocol will also ensure that teachers are provided with full information before taking up a position in a foreign country, and that the source country is informed about the numbers recruited. Complex movements of teachers Any country should have the right to refuse any organised or systematic international recruitment of its teachers, by governments or agencies, should the circumstances require it. These flows of professionals can help to build a greater sense of internationalism It has become evident in the course of the working group's activities that the flow of teachers is not uniformly from South to North, and in fact constitutes a far more complex movement of teachers around the world, for a variety of reasons. Significant numbers of teachers migrate form Africa to other developing countries, within Africa and elsewhere. South Africa is a net importer of academics from the rest of Africa. These flows of professionals can help to build a greater sense of internationalism, and of global understanding, and must be seen as beneficial as long as they do not debilitate any country.

Jobs won't be lost, says NUM and Harmony (Business Day, 14/04) -
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Harmony Gold are confident they will find a way to avoid widespread job losses at the country's third-biggest gold producer. At issue is the possible closure of six shafts at Harmony, which employ 5 000 people and account for 6% of the company's total annual gold output, on account of the strong rand and some of the shafts running out of minable reserves. Speaking after the opening of a permanent minerals exhibition at Johannesburg Inter national Airport on Thursday, NUM general secretary Gwede Mantashe said South Africa' s biggest labour union "was putting our best brains into resolving this dispute. I will be happy if we can save four of the shafts and delay the closure of two." He said NUM would send geologists from the Council for Geoscience to assess the shafts and investigate alternatives to closure. Patrice Motsepe, Harmony's chairman, was equally optimistic, noting that Harmony and the NUM had overcome "serious challenges" in the past. The two parties are scheduled to meet again on April 16. Motsepe said the talks "will produce a result that will be good for both parties. I'm quite confident of that." Minerals and Energy Minister Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said the two sides were talking "and I'm sure the results will be something they can live with". Sandile Nogxina, the director-general in the Department Minerals and Energy, also expressed his confidence that the dispute would be settled. He pointed out that the industry had been able to avoid mass retrenchments in the wake of the gold crisis in 1999, when England announced it would sell 415 tons of its gold reserves, sparking a plunge in the gold price to a 20-year low of $252.80/oz. "Jobs were saved at the time of the gold crisis and I'm sure jobs can be saved now too," Nogxina said. "We must find alternatives." The latest talk is a far cry from developments a day earlier, when NUM said it had declared a formal dispute with Harmony - the precursor to possible strike action - and would refer the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. NUM also said it would withdraw from an agreement to work continuous operations ("conops") at Harmony, as this deal had been concluded in bad faith. Harmony has touted conops as a way of saving jobs, as some of the workers at the shafts under threat of closure could be deployed elsewhere within the Harmony group to meet the additional demand for labour required to work a seven-day week. .

SABC journalist arrested in Zimbabwe (Thohoyandou, Mail& uardian, 17/04) -
A journalist from the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), Shandukani Mathagu, was arrested on Saturday in Zimbabwe, the SABC confirmed on Sunday. Mathagu was held on the Zimbabwean side of the Beit Bridge border post as he allegedly did not have a passport and had entered Zimbabwe illegally. According to Manas Tshungu, the head of SABC's Limpopo news service, Mathagu had been writing a story about the long queue of trucks on the South African side of the Beit Bridge border post. Tshungu said a South African customs official had told Mathagu that the cause of the trucks' delay was on the Zimbabwean side of the border and had invited the journalist to accompany him into Zimbabwe. The official had reportedly assured Mathagu that he could cross into Zimbabwe without a passport as long as he was accompanied by a South African official. The Zimbabwean police had different views, Tshungu said, and arrested the journalist. After supplying Zimbabwean authorities with Mathagu's passport, the journalist was released, Tshungu said. A spokesperson for South Africa's Department of Foreign Affairs, Ronnie Mamoepa, confirmed the incident. Trucking queues have presented problems at Beit Bridge in the past. In late 2002 trucks spent more than a week queueing in temperatures of above 40 degrees Celsius. Some were carrying hazardous chemicals. The jam was the result of construction work on the Zimbabwe side of the border that had been delayed by plant equipment not being supplied with diesel as a result of the Zimbabwe crisis.Trucks had been bound for many Southern African Development Community countries

Court sets aside Buthelezi's regulations (Cape Town, Mail&Guardian, 08/04) -
Cape High Court Judge Hennie Erasmus on Tuesday afternoon set aside the immigration regulations published by Minister of Home Affairs Mangosuthu Buthelezi.Reading from his judgement, Erasmus said: The applicant President Thabo Mbeki's failure to comply with the rules of court in regard to service and time period was condoned; the application for leave to intervene by Minister Buthelezi was granted;the court order that paved the way for the immigration regulations to be published was rescinded; and no order as to costs was made.The interim regulations in force before Buthelezi's immigration regulations were gazetted on March 8 will now continue to remain in force.Chief state law adviser Enver Daniels said Buthelezi would have to "live with the consequences".

Buthelezi releases secret cabinet documents to High Court (Cape Town, Business Day, 07/04) -
Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi released secret cabinet documents to court during his dispute with President Thabo Mbeki over immigration regulations. A ruling against Buthelezi was made in the Cape High Court yesterday, which means that the status quo will remain and that interim regulations in force since February last year will continue. An application by Mbeki's legal team to hold Buthelezi personally responsible for hearing costs was turned down by Judge Hennie Erasmus. Both sides will be responsible for their own legal costs. Buthelezi is unlikely to face censure for releasing the notes of the cabinet meeting of February 4, which were presented in a third affidavit to court yesterday, because he might not return as a cabinet minister. In a letter to Mbeki, Buthelezi said the president had attacked his credibility by claiming that he had conspired to "mislead and deceive the court". "I cannot allow that, through the success of such an action, such allegations could stand in the record of history," Buthelezi's letter said. Government spokesman Joel Netshitenzhe said the cabinet secretariat was aware of Buthelezi releasing the secret documents to the court and would investigate the matter. He said the new cabinet would have to deal with the issue. State chief legal adviser Enver Daniels said after the hearing that Buthelezi had failed to defend his "collective cabinet responsibility and will have to live with the consequences".

Mbeki tastes immigration feud victory (Business Day, 07/04) -
The relationship between President Thabo Mbeki and departing Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi, which has been bitter on the election battlefield, has deteriorated further in a legal battle in the Cape High Court. The election mudslinging and insults have been matched by equally stinging accusations in court, where Judge Hennie Erasmus has for the past two days heard argument over the validity of immigration regulations. Judge Erasmus ruled in favour of Mbeki, with Buthelezi losing round two of a battle that has spanned several years. The court case brought into focus once again the tensions between the Inkatha Freedom Party and the African National Congress (ANC), as well as the controversy over the constitutional relationship between the president and his cabinet ministers . Mbeki drew the leader of an opposition party into his cabinet to preserve peace in KwaZuluNatal, but was not prepared to give him a platform to promote his party. He also wanted to ensure that Buthelezi did not use his ministerial prerogative to undermine ANC policies. Throughout his term as home affairs minister, Buthelezi complained bitterly and often about the "humiliations" he had been made to suffer . He said in a statement to cabinet in April that "the entire process of the reform of the system of migration control has been characterised by endless questioning of my competence and good faith." The conflict crystallised in the prolonged battle over the Immigration Act and its regulations. The fee-based, private sectordriven immigration system Buthelezi wished to introduce was thrown out at the eleventh hour by the home affairs committee and replaced by a quota system allowing people with skills entry to SA . The act, promulgated in 2002, had been eight years in the making. In March last year, the Cape High Court declared its transitional regulations invalid and unconstitutional on the procedural grounds that public comment had not been obtained . This meant the contents of the act could not be implemented. In June this decision was overturned by the Constitutional Court. Then came the current legal tussle . Cape Town immigration lawyer Gary Eisenberg brought an urgent application to the Cape High Court last month forcing Buthelezi to publish the proposed regulations for public comment. Buthelezi consented to the order, despite the fact that a cabinet subcommittee had been established to deal with them. There were disagreements within cabinet over the regulations. Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma wanted the list of visa-exempt countries expanded to include 14 African countries, as well as China, Cuba, Turkey and Russia . Mbeki, through Justice Minister Penuell Maduna, then brought an urgent application to rescind the court order compelling Buthelezi to publish the regulations and to have them declared null and void. He accused Buthelezi of "deception" and of trying to circumvent cabinet processes by publishing the regulations. Buthelezi, he said, should therefore bear the legal costs of the case personally. At issue is whether a cabinet minister has the power to determine regulations of promulgated legislation, or whether this is a function of the entire cabinet . Buthelezi submitted that the cabinet could only concern itself with matters of national policy, which did not stretch as far as regulations. If Mbeki disapproved of the way he performed his ministerial functions , he could dismiss him. But as long as he kept him in the position, he was entitled to exercise his constitutional powers as minister. Buthelezi said in an affidavit that regulations had never been discussed by cabinet during his decade in government. Mbeki's counsel, Michael Donen SC, argued that the original court order was unconstitutional in that "it infringes on the constitutionally mandated role of the executive in respect of the formulation and implementation of national policy". Buthelezi was obliged to adhere to the principles of cooperative governance and submit to cabinet responsibility for matters of national policy. Donen said Buthelezi was not entitled to publish regulations which were still the subject of cabinet scrutiny . His arguments won the day. Erasmus has still to give reasons for his judgment . The case has probably ended Buthelezi's prospects of remaining in cabinet after the elections.

Mbeki in decisive court victory (Pretoria News, 07/04) -
A two-page court order has wiped off the table the final product of the Minister of Home Affairs Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi's work on South Africa's immigration policy. President Mbeki gained this decisive victory over the Minister of Home Affairs after a month-long stand-off between the two ended in court this week. The order was granted just hours before the new immigration regulations were to come into operation. Over the past two days Judge Hennie Erasmus was faced with a flurry of allegations that Buthelezi had dirty hands and that Mbeki was being hostile towards the IFP leader without reason. The order is likely to delay a number of foreigners from coming to South Africa. Buthelezi said in court papers that "a number of foreigners and their South African employers, families, friends or other connections" had been waiting for the final regulations to come into operation as their financial requirements were significantly lower than those in the interim regulations. Judge Erasmus said he would give reasons for his ruling as soon as possible. Legal experts said the ruling might have far-reaching implications especially as it seemed to condone governance by presidential decree. Depending on the reasons of the court, they said, this might only apply, however, to the Immigration Act. Earlier yesterday, senior counsel for Buthelezi, David Unterhalter, SC, said: "We do not have a nanny cabinet. There are people of substance in cabinet. They make decisions every day. They cannot ask the President about every decision they take.The other implication of the ruling, experts said, was that there might be efforts by cabinet to by-pass the public comment procedure in the Immigration Act - especially to push through the controversial visa exemption policy. Buthelezi yesterday said that he had recognised the potential unconstitutionality of such a move. "I warned the cabinet that changes would result in invalidity," he said in papers before court. In other court papers it was made clear that the visa policy, proposed by Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosasana Dlamini-Zuma, was a source of conflict between Buthelezi and the ANC-dominated cabinet. If implemented, Dlamini-Zuma's policy would see 2,9-billion of the poorest people in the world being afforded the opportunity to come to South African without visas. The policy, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs, is based on a number of international and bilateral agreements. Buthelezi said in papers filed yesterday that nobody seemed able to find the international agreement and that the bilateral agreements applied to the waiving of visa requirements only for government officials. The drama around the immigration regulations started about a month ago when Cape Town immigration lawyer Gary Eisenberg took Buthelezi to court over the publication of the rules. Eisenberg's application ended in an agreement by Buthelezi that the regulations would be published immediately. At that stage the regulations were still under discussion by cabinet. But by publishing the regulations, Buthelezi started the 30-day countdown before they came into operation. This was to have happened at midnight last night. But Judge Erasmus yesterday set them aside after an application by Mbeki. Judge Erasmus was asked by the President to hold Buthelezi personally responsible for the legal costs, but declined. Buthelezi said the request had been “ludicrous and saddening”.  “I perceive it to be an intimidatory exercise. I have known intimidation all my life and have learned to continue doing what I think is right without ever being intimidated," he said.

Court setback for Buthelezi (The Witness, 07/04)-
 Intended beneficiaries of South Africa's new immigration regulations, which would have come into effect at midnight on Tuesday, will now suffer "potential irreparable harm", according to Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi. This was according to an affidavit handed to the Cape High Court yesterday before the court ruled that immigration regulations Buthelezi gazetted on March 8 must be set aside. Buthelezi contended in his affidavit that the major difference between the interim and the final regulations lies in the fact that the financial thresholds and other requirements relating to permits have been substantially reduced. "Accordingly, under the new regulations, financial thresholds have been reduced in respect of long-term visitor permits, business permits for investors, relatives' permits and retired persons' permits," said Buthelezi. However, the effect of yesterday's ruling by Judge Hennie Erasmus means that the interim regulations, which were in place for the past 12 months, will remain in force. The specialist immigration lawyer whose March court application forced Buthelezi to publish the immigration regulations before they were approved by the cabinet, precipitating a showdown between President Thabo Mbeki and Buthelezi, said the judge's ruling holds "massive implications". Gary Eisenberg - whom the state alleged during court proceedings might even have colluded with Buthelezi to secure the court order to gazette the regulations - said potential immigrants to South Africa want service delivery. "What people want is certainty of law," he said, adding that it is "impossible" to quantify the potential economic and other costs to South Africa. Eisenberg said, for example, that if an Australian businessman wants to come to South Africa, he needs to obtain a two-year business permit and show that he could introduce into SA as part of a book value the minimum of R2,5 million. If he can't and brings in less, he needs a special recommendation from the Department of Trade and Industry. "The new regulations allowed for a far more flexible and fair approach," he said. Yesterday's ruling was the culmination of a an increasingly acrimonious exchange between Mbeki and Buthelezi. Mbeki's counsel Michael Donen SC, among other things, essentially argued that Buthelezi went beyond his powers when he published the regulations while the cabinet was busy mulling them over. Donen said Buthelezi created consequences for other government portfolios and directly affected South Africa's international relations and national policy. He also submitted that Buthelezi acted in a "mala fide or improper manner". However, Buthelezi's counsel, David Unterhalter SC, said that at the heart of the matter is the issue of co-operative governance and the separation of powers between the executive and the legislative spheres. Unterhalter said his client was acting as a "legislative functionary", a role assigned to him by Parliament. The Government Communication and Information Service (GCIS) said Mbeki, as head of the National Executive, was obliged to challenge the regulations "in the interests of good governance, the rule of law and to protect the integrity of the cabinet processes". GCIS said: "Essentially the order made was one which Minister Buthelezi himself had wanted. "Buthelezi knew that the regulations were being discussed in cabinet; that various ministers had serious reservations".

Mbeki 'obliged to oppose immigration regulations' (SABC, 07/04) -
Enver Daniels, the chief state law advisor, says President Thabo Mbeki was obliged to oppose the new immigration regulations for the purposes of good governance. The Cape High Court ruled yesterday that the regulations gazetted by Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the home affairs minister, last month should be set aside. Daniels says Buthelezi failed to address ministers' concerns regarding the regulations. He says departments had concerns such as the implementationabilty of the regulations as well as problems with constitutionality. "If the regulations are put in place and we are not able to implement them properly, there would be irreparable harm to the country. "You’re exposing the State to civil liability as departments are not properly geared to deal with the regulations. There are still questions of policy formulation which are to be settled and properly implemented." Denver says the president had asked that those concerns be considered, but while the process was under way, Buthelezi consented to passing the regulations.

Buthelezi awaits reasons for court ruling (Johannesburg, Sapa, 06/04) -
Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi took a cautious step on Tuesday, saying he would respond to the Cape High Court ruling on immigration regulations once reasons were given. Earlier on Tuesday, the Cape High Court ruled that an order to publish immigration regulations which were supposed to be effected by Wednesday be set aside. The original order was made to Buthelezi in March. However, Buthelezi said on Tuesday it would be premature for him to respond to the court ruling because the reasons for the order had not yet been made public." I  will read the reasons for the order once they are available, which will determine how I am required to react to it within the range of options available under the law," he said. Buthelezi agreed to publish the controversial immigration regulations as per an earlier court order, creating space for the Inkatha Freedom Party leader and President Thabo Mbeki to slug it out in the courtroom. The entire matter came to a head when Cape Town immigration lawyer Gary Eisenberg brought an application to force Buthelezi to publish final immigration regulations.B uthelezi published these, recipitating the court battle. Buthelezi's consent to the court order, even though he knew that Cabinet was still considering the regulations and without informing Mbeki, had no legal effect and was "creating a potential constitutional crisis", Justice Minister Penuell Maduna, acting on behalf of Mbeki, said in court papers. A government communications body said Mbeki, as head of the National Executive, was obliged to challenge the immigration regulations." The President, in his capacity as the Head of the National Executive was... obliged to take the steps he did, in the interests of good governance, the rule of law and to protect the integrity of the Cabinet processes," the Government Communication and Information Service (GCIS) said." Essentially the order made was one which Minister Buthelezi himself had wanted."At the time of seeking an order by consent, Minister Buthelezi knew that the regulations were being discussed in Cabinet; that some ministers had serious reservations about some of the regulations; that the regulations had implications for many departments and functions of government; and that there were concerns about the implementation, constitutionality and legality of the draft regulations." GCIS said Buthelezi should have reflected government policy."... the powers granted to the Minister under Section 7 of the Immigration Act were granted to him as a member of the Executive." Consequently, and in broad terms, regulations or any other decisions a Minister makes should reflect the policy position of the government and not narrow individual preferences."The cabinet was concerned about the draft regulations and had established an interministerial task team to consider them."President Mbeki in his capacity as the Head of State and the Head of the Government took urgent steps to stop the publication of the regulations." In terms of section 85 of the Constitution, it is the duty of Cabinet to develop national policy which is in the national interest."

The decision meant "the Cabinet processes will run their course; and that the draft regulations will not immediately come into effect."GCIS said it "would like to reiterate that government is committed to ensuring that the Immigration Regulations are consistent with the intent of the mmigration Act of 2002."The matter is being handled  expeditiously and with maximum rigour, and we are certain that the final product will be in South Africa's best interest. "Buthelezi, however, argued that the intended beneficiaries of South Africa's new immigration regulations will now suffer "potential irreparable harm". This was according to an affidavit handed to the Cape High Court on Tuesday before the court ruled that immigration regulations Buthelezi had gazetted on March 8 be set aside. In Buthelezi's affidavit, he contends that the major difference between the interim and the final regulations lay in the fact that the financial thresholds and other requirements relating to permits had been substantially reduced." Accordingly, under the new regulations, financial thresholds have been reduced... in respect of long-term visitor permits, business permits for investors, relatives' permits and retired persons' permits," said Buthelezi. However, the effect of Tuesday's ruling by Judge Hennie Erasmus meant that the interim regulations, which was in place for the past 12 months, would continue to remain in force. Meanwhile, Eisenberg said the judge's ruling held "massive implications". According to Eisenberg - who the state alleged during court proceedings might even have colluded with Buthelezi to secure the court order to gazette the regulations - potential immigrants to South Africa wanted service delivery." What people have wanted is certainty of law... The new regulations allowed for a far more flexible and fair approach from a factual perspective," he said. Tuesday's ruling was characterised by an increasingly acrimonious exchange between Mbeki and Buthelezi, with the April elections as a constant backdrop.

Government statement on immigration regulations judgment (GCIS, 06/04) -
Today, an application made by President Thabo Mbeki in the Cape High Court to set aside the court order made by the court on 08 March 2004 was successful.In terms of the original order the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi was ordered to publish immigration regulations which were supposed to be implemented by 08 April 2004. He was also ordered to compile the comments and suggestions made by other Cabinet Ministers and to publish these with a view to possibly amending the regulations at a later stage.President Mbeki in his capacity as the Head of State and the Head of the Government took urgent steps to stop the publication of the regulations. In terms of section 85 of the Constitution, it is the duty of Cabinet to develop national policy which is in the national  interest. Attorney Gary Eisenberg who deals extensively with immigration matters had sought an order in terms of which the Minister of Home Affairs would only be able to make regulations in terms of section 7 of the  Immigration Act. He also sought an interdict to prevent the Minister from making regulations other than those he was about to make in January 2004.Minister Buthelezi initially agreed to abide by any decision which the Court might make. However, at a later stage he consented to an order being made, which order was proposed to Mr. Eisenberg by Minister Buthelezi through his legal representatives. Essentially the order made was one which Minister Buthelezi himself had wanted.At the time of seeking an order by consent, Minister Buthelezi knew that the regulations were being discussed in Cabinet; that various Ministers had serious reservations about some of the regulations; that the regulations had implications for many departments and functions of government; and that there were concerns about the implementation, constitutionality and legality of the draft regulations.Government is also of the view that the powers granted to the Minister under Section 7 of the Immigration Act were granted to him as a member of the Executive. Consequently, and in broad terms, regulations or any other decisions a Minister makes should reflect the policy position of the government and not narrow individual preferences. Because of the nature of the concerns with regard to the draft regulations, Cabinet established an Inter- Ministerial Task Team to consider the regulations. The Chief State Law Adviser was also asked to provide comments on the legal concerns raised. These processes have not as yet been finalised.The President, in his capacity as the Head of the National Executive was therefore obliged to take the steps he did, in the interests of good governance, the rule of law and to protect the integrity of the Cabinet processes.The decision of the Court today, therefore confirms the positions that the President and Cabinet had adopted on the matter. It means that the Cabinet processes will run their course; and that the draft Regulations will not immediately come into effect. Once more, we would like to reiterate that government is committed to ensuring that the Immigration Regulations are consistent with the intent of the Immigration Act of 2002. The matter is being handled expeditiously and with maximum rigour, and we are certain that the final product will be in South Africa's best interest.

Immigration 'power struggle' turns ugly (The Star, 06/04) -
If the president did not like what the Home Affairs minister was doing, he should have fired him and not dragged him through court. This was the latest salvo from Mangosuthu Buthelezi's legal team yesterday in a "classic  power struggle" turned ugly. Buthelezi's counsel, David Unterhalter SC, moved to bar President Thabo Mbeki from pursuing further legal action in the Cape High Court against Buthelezi. He said the principles of co-operative government stated that he should first try and solve the dispute internally or approach the Constitutional Court. His argument came within minutes after Mbeki sent urgent instructions to his legal team to ask the court to order Buthelezi to pay the legal costs concerning the immigration regulations out of his own pocket. Legal experts last night said this was unheard of. The latest stand-off between Mbeki and Buthelezi had its origins about a month ago when Cape Town immigration specialist Gary Eisenberg filed an application compelling Buthelezi to publish immigration regulations, which were the product of an extensive process of public consultation. Buthelezi first opposed the application, but then suddenly agreed to an order that compelled him to publish the regulations and the proposals made by the cabinet at that stage. He promptly had the regulations delivered to the printers and the regulations were published in the Government Gazette on the same afternoon. As soon as the regulations were published, the 30-day countdown before they came into operation started. This prevented the cabinet - which had grave concerns that some of the new rules were highly unconstitutional - from amending the regulations. Mbeki then approached the court for a clandestine court order suspending the order to which Buthelezi consented to, and later filed an amended legal challenge - this time requesting the court to declare the published regulations invalid. Last week, Buthelezi agreed to abide by the decision of the court, saying that, as a' cabinet minister, it was not in his power to oppose Mbeki's court action. The apparent ceasefire did not last for long. Yesterday morning started on a dramatic note as Mbeki's legal team, led by advocate Michael Donen SC, filed documents with Judge Hennie Erasmus accusing Buthelezi of abusing the process of court; deliberately misleading the public and the president; attempting to subvert the cabinet; and acting in bad faith. Up to then, the court papers had a more diplomatic tone. "We are forced to draw an uncharitable conclusion that this order (preceding the publication of the regulations) was orchestrated to subvert cabinet either by accident or by terrific good fortune," Donen said. He said Buthelezi had deliberately kept Mbeki in the dark about the litigation between the Home Affairs Department and Eisenberg. "The next thing the president knew there was this court order that the regulations be published. Not even the use of Latin can dignify that kind of conduct," Donen said. Unterhalter then asked the court for time to convey this to their client. They returned with a declaration of legal war. After lunch, Unterhalter told the court that Buthelezi no longer wished to abide by its decision, but wants to oppose the application. Eisenberg, who was cited as a party in the application, by now had faded into almost obscurity as it became clear that what the court was faced with was a power struggle of enormous proportions.  Mbeki's legal team said the Immigration Act did not give Buthelezi the power to put regulations into operation without first getting the consent of the cabinet. Buthelezi's legal team said he could. About an hour later, chief state legal adviser Enver Daniels handed Donen a fax in which Mbeki fired back. He asked the court to order Buthelezi to pay all the costs of litigation on this matter in person - an unprecedented request in South African legal history. Unterhalter struck back, accusing Mbeki of wanting "a form of presidential government" where the president and cabinet have control over almost all exercises of power. "This is not only about the Immigration Act. What is decided in this case would impact on every single piece of legislation passed by parliament," Unterhalter said.

Time running out for immigration case (Sunday Times, 06/04) -
As the midnight deadline for the implementation of immigration regulations approached, lawyers delivered their final arguments in the Cape High Court case into the validity of the regulations on Tuesday. The case has pitted President Thabo Mbeki against Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi as the April elections draw near. Buthelezi's counsel, David Unterhalter, SC, again referred to the case as one to be viewed as a "quintessential dispute" between organs of state. "Fundamentally... (it is about) what matter falls squarely within the domain of the collective (Cabinet) and what is for the individual minister," he said. Unterhalter contended that a distinction must be drawn between the executive and legislative spheres, as well as between what powers the president, Cabinet and individual ministers could exercise. Unterhalter said Cabinet's intervention in the process of gazetting the immigration regulations was not proper under the "legalities of the Constitution and the Immigration Act". He said the contention by Mbeki's counsel, Michael Donen, SC, that there was some sort of "convention" inherent in the Constitution that precluded Buthelezi from acting independently, and compelled him to abide by decisions of the collective Cabinet, was incorrect. "The convention argument is to construe something in the Constitution that is not there," said Unterhalter, affirming that the Constitution provided for a separation between the legislative and executive spheres. Unterhalter said President Mbeki had not appointed a "nanny Cabinet" but one in which people held high positions and made "tough decisions". Unterhalter again questioned the jurisdiction of the Cape High Court to hear the matter, saying it was best left for the Constitutional Court. Replying, Donen said the court could not order the minister to make regulations. "Not that the court cannot go mandamus (an order compelling an official to do something)... but the court is warned not to tread on the domain of the executive," he said. Donen submitted that a court order seeking the publication of the immigration regulations was "erroneously sought and erroneously obtained". Donen also questioned the submission of a third affidavit on Tuesday morning by Buthelezi, saying what was significant was not what Buthelezi said, but what he did not say. Questioning Buthelezi's failure to disclose the regulations before the court, Donen said the "irresistible inference" was that there never were any regulations. He said Buthelezi's conduct during the entire episode was "not transparent and accountable". Donen said his client would ask for the setting aside of the order, the setting aside of the regulations and restoring the status quo. They would also ask Buthelezi to pay costs. Meanwhile, Buthelezi responded to Tuesday's order by Mbeki that he pay for costs in his personal capacity, describing it in an affidavit as both "ludicrous and saddening". "It is ludicrous because I am not intervening for my own sake, but as minister of home affairs and as a servant of the State and in the public interest. There is no personal benefit to me. It is saddening because I perceive it to be an intimidatory exercise," he said. Buthelezi said there was no legal bases nor precedent of any nature for such a request, and he was advised that such as request was "itself an abuse of the court process". The case resumes on Tuesday afternoon.

Buthelezi to respond to court ruling (SABC, 06/04) -
Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the home affairs minister, says he will respond to the Cape High Court ruling on immigration regulations once reasons have been given. Yesterday, the court ruled that an order to publish the regulations be set aside. The original order was made by Buthelezi last month. However, Buthelezi said last night it would be premature for him to respond to the court ruling because the reasons for the order have not yet been made public. Buthelezi agreed to publish the immigration regulations following an earlier court order, creating space for him and President Thabo Mbeki to slug it out in the courtroom.

Cosatu supports NUM against harmony (Johannesburg, Sapa, 06/04) -
The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) pledged its support on Tuesday for the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in its fight against Harmony Gold over the possible closure of at least six mine shafts.Harmony announced on Friday that it might have to close the shafts which have become uneconomic to mine due to the current gold price in rands per kilogram.Cosatu said the NUM membership has made "important concessions" regarding the implementation of continuous operations at Harmony's mines, in return for an agreement that the shafts earmarked for closure would remain open and that more jobs would be created."Yet now, twelve days before the elections, Harmony announces the immediate closure of four shafts..." Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said in a statement."This is completely contrary to the spirit of the Growth and Development Summit resolution which committed us as a nation, including the business sector, to make job creation the top national priority."He said Cosatu was also concerned about the company citing the strength of the rand as a reason for closing the shafts."While not accepting in any way that this justifies such a massacre of jobs, Cosatu reiterates its demand for interest rates to be further reduced in order to bring down the overvalued rand to a more realistic level so that South African producers can compete on world and domestic markets and thus save jobs."Cosatu said it fully supported any action by the NUM to defend their members."The impact of so many retrenchments will not only have a devastating effect on the individual workers who lose their jobs, and on their families, but will adversely affect the whole economy."Meanwhile the NUM has suspended wage negotiations with Harmony Gold."We see no reason to continue negotiating with Harmony in this situation of uncertainty," NUM spokesman Welcome Mboniso said on Tuesday."Besides, how can the company expect us to negotiate wages and conditions of service for people they have already placed on a retrenchment path?"He said the intended closure of the shafts would affect the workers involved in the wage negotiations.On Monday the NUM lashed out at Harmony for announcing the possible closure of the shafts.Harmony did not want to comment on Monday on the accusations made by the union. Harmony spokesman Ferdi Dippenaar said the company would only able to comment on Wednesday after a meeting has been held with the union and also between the union and its members.

NUM criticizes harmony shaft closure (Sunday Times, 06/04) -
The National Union of Mineworkers accused Harmony Gold of callousness in announcing the imminent closure of six shafts which could cost at least 6300 mineworkers their jobs. "Harmony is showing their appreciation of the contribution made by black mineworkers through this callous act," NUM's general secretary Gwede Mantashe said in a statement. He accused Harmony of trying to force workers into a continuous operations agreement which would save jobs "and then turn around to fire all of them". Mantashe also said the timing of the announcement had "malicious political undertones". He said Harmony met the union in the past year, "forcing" them to agree to continuous operations at a premium of R300 per month per worker. When this offer was rejected, workers at the Randfontein mine were told if they did not agree to continuous operations, at least 1000 workers would be retrenched. Mantashe said the closure of the shafts, which was announced on Friday, would affect another 6300 workers, bringing the total number of mineworkers who would lose their jobs to 7300. "Harmony's announcement, before engaging with the union, reflects the highest degree of dishonesty and manipulation of the public. "The fact that this announcement affects, in the main, shafts that are already on continuous operations makes all these agreements not worth the paper they are written on."Mantashe said the union would convene a council on Wednesday during which "a war plan" would be discussed. "It is time we must defend ourselves from the war declared on us." Harmony Gold's spokesman Ferdi Dippenaar did not want to comment. He said his company would only be able to comment on Wednesday after the union meeting. On Friday Harmony released a statement saying that the lower rand per kilogram gold price has resulted in some ore reserves becoming uneconomical to mine. "Some of our older marginal shafts, Welkom 1, Orkney 6, Eland (in the Free State) and Merriespruit 3 are nearing the end of their economic life and may unfortunately be closed," Harmony's chief executive Bernard Swanepoel said. "Masimong 4 shaft and Nyala shaft have also been given notice of a 60 day statutory review period which has commenced." He said Harmony had notified and met the unions and associations involved. "Consultations are in progress and the restructuring process is expected to be completed over a period of two to three months. "The company is looking at alternatives to reduce cost and to minimise the impact of the restructuring process, and these will include input from the unions and associations." Swanepoel said Harmony was looking at alternative job opportunities, one of these being continuous operations. Continuous operations refers to the practice where a mine operates on all the days of the year, including Sundays. Workers work on a roster or shift arrangement. Since they work the same number of hours per week, the company has to employ more people to fill the roster and keep the operations going. Currently gold mines in South Africa operate for about 273 days per year. The successful introduction of continuous operations can increase this number to 353 days per year. Harmony, South Africa's largest gold producer employees about 53,000 people.

Buthelezi accused in immigration law challenge (Cape Town, Mail&Guardian, 05/04) - "As the clock ticked away before South Africa's new immigration " regulations come into effect at midnight on Tuesday, litigation " challenging the regulations was adjourned in the Cape High Court on Monday.  Advocate David Unterhalter, SC appearing on behalf of Minister of Home Affairs Mangosuthu Buthelezi, asked the court for time to consult with his client after allegations were made that Buthelezi hd acted in a mala fide (bad faith) manner by agreeing to a court order to publish the controversial regulations. "In papers before the court, Minister of Justice and Constitutional " Development Penuell Maduna, acting on behalf of President Thabo " Mbeki, says Buthelezi's consent to the court order -- even though he " knew the Cabinet was still considering the regulations and without " informing Mbeki -- had no legal effect and was "creating a potential " constitutional crisis". "Referring to a "melange of fragments" keeping together the applicant's (Mbeki's) case, Unterhalter said "now we read that Gary " Eisenberg and Buthelezi conspired to get the court order". "In the light of this ... where impugning the minister [Buthelezi] ... we " must be given an opportunity to take instructions," said Unterhalter. " Donen conceded that his additional heads of argument might not " have been the clearest, but promised to have this set right and " matters of clarity addressed. Judge Hennie Erasmus said the allegations contained in them were serious"  because it suggested Buthelezi had acted in a mala fide manner, in "a scheme to sidestep the Cabinet". " Erasmus said he was in a difficult position and ordered that court " proceedings resume at 2pm, "whatever happens". The immigration regulations were suspended in March last year " after a full bench of the Cape High Court ruled they were invalid " because Buthelezi had not followed notice and comment procedures. The entire matter came to a head when Cape Town immigration lawyer Eisenberg brought an application to force Buthelezi to publish final immigration regulations." ..,Buthelezi published these, precipitating the current court battle.

Helping hand to retrenched miners (SABC, 05/04) - The department of minerals and energy has come up with a project aimed at helping retrenched miners. The project currently employs 400 of these miners and its objective is to help them acquire new skills to earn a living again. Xolile Khukhu (47), who worked for the Secunda Evender gold mine for 18 years, is one such miner. He was offered an early retirement package because his body could not cope with the heavy underground work he was doing. He was in constant pain in his knee and ankle joints. The department says that in the past, men who spent their lives on the mines were sent home to die when they could no longer work. It believes that if the mining charter does not address this legacy, it would have failed. Mlambo Ncguka, the minerals and energy minister, says that the country's success in achieving high growth rates and economic development is dependent on all of its citizens participating. It is also dependent on individuals being able to play important roles in the transformation of different sectors of the economy.

Bill Buthelezi personally, says Mbeki's counsel (Cape Town, Sapa, 05/04) -
The ante was upped in a Cape High Court battle between President Thabo Mbeki and Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi around the implementation of controversial immigration regulations, when Mbeki gave the go-ahead for Buthelezi to be held personally liable for costs incurred. "(My) instructions are that the president advises the legal team... that Minister Buthelezi has not conveyed the latest developments to him (Mbeki) and (we) must proceed with the application and seek costs in his personal capacity... (Buthelezi) is acting without cabinet authority," said Michael Donen, SC, to a surprised court. Donen, who is representing Mbeki in a court action challenging the immigration regulations coming into effect at midnight on Tuesday, submitted to the court that the regulations could not stand and should be set aside. He asked that the interim order also be set aside and the minister be ordered to pay costs. Earlier Donen suggested that Buthelezi had "deliberately misled" the court and Mbeki by what he called "deception by omission". He alleged that Buthelezi and his department had "dictated to the court to absurd lengths" in a bid to secure an interim court order and thereby avert a collective cabinet process thrashing out the merits of the new immigration regulations. Donen said by going this route, Buthelezi was creating consequences for other government portfolios and had directly affected South Africa's international relations and national policy. Donen also submitted that Buthelezi had acted in a "mala fide or improper manner" which, whatever its purpose, was ultra vires and therefore unconstitutional. Responding, David Unterhalter, SC, on behalf of Buthelezi, said that at the heart of the matter was the issue of cooperative governance and the separation of powers between the executive and the legislative spheres.Quoting extensively from the Constitution, Unterhalter submitted that his client was acting in terms of a being a "legislative functionary" as assigned to him by Parliament. "My learned friend says this is an executive authority, not so... but a legislative authority," he said referring to Buthelezi's decision to gazette the immigration regulations. Unterhalter said it was of "decisive importance" for not only this case, but others in future, to determine exactly what the constitutional and legislative powers of the President, Cabinet and ministers were and how they were exercised. He contended that if every time legislation was enacted and passed along for implementation to any minister, and it was deemed to be national policy, then the President could intervene. "(We will in essence... (have) a new form of presidential government," he warned. Unterhalter also submitted that the court should be a last recourse for action, and not the first, suggesting this was contained in the Constitution on cooperative governance principles. Unterhalter said: "The invocation of cooperative governance is not asymmetrical... the president is also an organ of state." He said Buthelezi served Mbeki at the "pleasure of the President" and if the president was unhappy with the performance of his minister, the simple recourse would be to dismiss him.  Unterhalter further submitted that the Cape High Court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter, with only the Constitutional Court having the power to decide on the matter.Proceedings resume on Tuesday morning.

Immigration regulations continue causing rifts (SABC, 05/04) -
President Thabo Mbeki's application for new regulations regarding immigration to be declared unlawful and invalid is expected to be heard this week. The matter is said to have caused a rift between Mbeki and Mangosutho Buthelezi, the minister of home affairs. Court papers have been handed in by Penuell Maduna, the justice minister, acting on behalf of Mbeki. They say Buthelezi's consent to a court order agreeing to publish the controversial immigration regulations has no legal effect and is potentially creating a constitutional crisis.Approximately a month ago, Gary Eisenberg, a Cape Town immigration attorney, brought an application to force Buthelezi to publish the final regulations. Buthelezi then agreed to publish the regulations, which were still under discussion by Cabinet. Mbeki's response was to immediately obtain a court order suspending the order which Buthelezi had agreed to. Buthelezi hits back Last week, Buthelezi hit back suggesting that the litigation was a result of mistrust and not because of any fundamental problems with the regulations. He also insisted that there was nothing wrong with what he did.In court papers, Maduna says there is not enough money in the home affair's budget to implement the regulations. He also says that the rules will allow people into the country who are a security risk. The new regulations are supposed to come into effect this Thursday.

Buthelezi accused in immigration law challenge (Cape Town, Mail&Guardian, 05/04)-
As the clock ticked away before South Africa's new immigration regulations come into effect at midnight on Tuesday, litigation challenging the regulations was adjourned in the Cape High Court on Monday.Advocate David Unterhalter, SC, appearing on behalf of Minister of Home Affairs Mangosuthu Buthelezi, asked the court for time to consult with his client after allegations were made that Buthelezi had acted in a mala fide (bad faith) manner by agreeing to a court order to publish the controversial regulations.In papers before the court, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Penuell Maduna, acting on behalf of President Thabo Mbeki, says Buthelezi's consent to the court order -- even though he knew the Cabinet was still considering the regulations and without informing Mbeki -- had no legal effect and was "creating a potential constitutional crisis".Referring to a "melange of fragments" keeping together the applicant's (Mbeki's) case, Unterhalter said "now we read that Gary Eisenberg and Buthelezi conspired to get the court order"."In the light of this ... where impugning the minister [Buthelezi] ... we must be given an opportunity to take instructions," said Unterhalter.Meanwhile, Advocate Michael Donen, SC, appearing for Mbeki, said Unterhalter had "misunderstood" their case.Donen said rumours of a constitutional crisis were premature, and what had occurred was a "misunderstanding, slash, deception matter".Donen conceded that his additional heads of argument might not have been the clearest, but promised to have this set right and matters of clarity addressed.Judge Hennie Erasmus said the allegations contained in them were "serious" because it suggested Buthelezi had acted in a mala fide manner, in "a scheme to sidestep the Cabinet".Erasmus said he was in a difficult position and ordered that court proceedings resume at 2pm, "whatever happens".The immigration regulations were suspended in March last year after a full bench of the Cape High Court ruled they were invalid because Buthelezi had not followed notice and comment procedures.The entire matter came to a head when Cape Town immigration lawyer Eisenberg brought an application to force Buthelezi to publish final immigration regulations.Buthelezi published these, precipitating the current court battle.

Thousand of miners face axe (Sunday Times, 04/04) -
Up to 5 000 jobs are at stake at Harmony Gold after the country's third-biggest gold producer said on Friday it might have to close six of its mine shafts. Harmony said the strong rand had made the mines unprofitable. Four of the shafts - Welkom 1, Orkney 6, Eland in the Free State and Merriespruit 3, which employ 3 500 workers - are most likely to be closed as they are running out of reserves, said Harmony marketing director Ferdi Dippenaar. The other two shafts, Masimong 4 and Nyala, which provide 1 500 jobs, are on a 60-day review period during which the company will consult with unions to look at ways of keeping them open. Harmony employs 53 000 people, while the six shafts produce around 230 000oz of gold a year, almost 6% of Harmony's total output of 4 million ounces. The news follows the laying off of 4 000 workers at Durban Roodepoort Deep's North West operations in September last year, while junior miner Afrikander Lease closed its Klerksdorp mine in January, with 400 job losses. Harmony is hoping the move towards continuous operations (known as conops) at its other mines will reduce the number of retrenchments at the six affected shafts. Under conops, mines operate seven days a week instead of an 11-day fortnight and more workers are required for the extra shifts. "For the previous financial year we received R97 000/kg of gold produced. In the nine months to date our average received price has fallen 12% to R85 000/kg, and together with an average inflation rate of 7% at our operations, margins have shrunk from 26% to below 10% today," Dippenaar said. "It is probably irresponsible to continue mining unprofitable ounces as it erodes the profit base of the entire company. Through this right-sizing, we plan to re-establish profit margins at sustainable levels of 15%." The group's five expansion projects were not affected, Dippenaar said, and would add a net 400 000 oz to Harmony's output. "The projects will produce 1.6 million ounces but 1.2 million of this is to replace production from mined-out areas," he said. The news is further evidence of the difficulties in gold mining at South Africa's ageing operations, and one analyst said it vindicated Anglo American's decision to sell its stake in Gold Fields. The UK-domiciled resources group announced earlier this week that it had sold its 20% stake in South Africa's second-biggest gold producer to Russian nickel and palladium giant Norilsk for R7.6-billion and booked a profit of 480-million. It said the proceeds would be used to reduce its local debt, currently at some $3-billion, and finance various capital programmes. "Anglo is clearly banking on Anglo Gold [in which they have a 54.5% stake] as their gold play," said Patrice Rassou, gold fund manager at Old Mutual Asset Managers. He noted that AngloGold had been criticised in some quarters for being too hasty in selling its Free State operations in early 2002 - ironically to Harmony and ARMgold. "Since then they have finalised a merger with [Ghanaian producer] Ashanti Goldfields and this now looks to have been a better strategy than persisting with marginal South African shafts," Rassou added. The two companies are set to officially consummate their $1.6-billion merger at the end of this month. John Clemmow, emerging markets analyst at Investec in London, added that here had been a consistent pattern of diversified mining companies selling gold assets over the past 12-18 months, culminating in Rio Tinto disposing of its stake in gold and copper producer Freeport McMoRan. "At this level, gold shares never repay your investment via dividends. You only really make money by capital appreciation," Clemmow said

Buthelezi comments on immigration regulations (Financial Mail, 02/04) -
It is not correct that President Thabo Mbeki launched an application to suspend Property the Cape high court order without informing me. In fact, even though I was not Technology apprised of the details of this application, I indicated in writing to the president that if he wished to deal with the order in any manner he preferred, the matter could be handled for him by the state law advisers. Buthelezi, MP, Minister of home affairs. The president wanted me to appeal such an order, which would have been impossible and, to a certain extent, incongruous. Therefore, I wrote to him indicating that the state law advisers could advise him on how his objectives and concerns could be best addressed. The Cape high court order was the product of negotiations between my lawyers and those representing Eisenberg & Associates. I also wish to comment on the article "Mixed bag of permits for firms" (Current Affairs March 19), which correctly expressed the general satisfaction with the concerns of the new immigration regulations after so many years of controversy. It would be tempting to take full credit, but I must recognise that this is the result of the process employed which allowed a variety of people to provide their inputs. The general appreciation and support with which the new immigration regulations have been rightly received shows the value of participatory democracy in which it is not just the minister who makes regulations, but all those concerned in a process in which conflicting interests, views and perspectives are reconciled through the activity of the minister. I felt comfortable in performing this role because, as a traditional leader, it is the role that I have performed throughout my life, for traditional leaders do not decide, but rather reconcile conflicting interests in seeking a consensus position. To me, that is an example of how old traditions can flow into developing a "regulatory state", in which regulation making is not the product of a minister's discretion but is the result of a confluence of different views. I hope this process may map the path towards government becoming more democratic, accountable and transparent.

Refugees lobby for identity in South Africa (Pretoria, UNHCR, 01/04) - When Omari Shabani became the first person to receive a refugee identity document (ID) in South Africa four years ago, he said he was "overwhelmed" and hoped it would make his family's life "easier and better". Today, the Congolese refugee is a counsellor with a youth HIV/AIDS prevention programme at the Planned Parenthood Association of South Africa. With an honours degree in psychology, he is pursuing a Masters Degree in Public Health at the Medical University of South Africa. So has the identity document changed his life? "After I got it, it made things a bit easier," says Shabani after some hesitation. When prodded, he admits that most people from police officers to shopkeepers and bank tellers do not seem to recognise his refugee ID. "I don't know if it is because of a lack of information, or if they are doing it purposefully because of xenophobia, but whenever they ask for your identity number, and you produce the refugee ID, they act like they have never seen before." The South African government first introduced these IDs when the Refugees Act 1998 – drafted with help from UNHCR and non-governmental organisations – came into effect in April 2000. This gave refugees access to services that were not readily available to them previously, and gave them the right to apply for IDs and permanent resident status. "Our society and its legal structure are very institutionalised and therefore it is extremely important for refugees to have IDs," explains Fritz Gaerdes, a legal counsellor with Lawyers for Human Rights, one of UNHCR's implementing partners in South Africa. "Without an identity document here, you cannot do anything, you're nobody." However, problems have arisen from the fact that refugee IDs are maroon in colour, while South African IDs are green. "Most people would not recognise a maroon-coloured refugee ID as valid, unless they look up the Refugees Act 1998 and the description of the document. At face value, it will not be recognised as a bona fide identity document in South Africa, and therein lies the problem," says Gaerdes. He adds, "Legally living in a country with serious levels of xenophobia, we don't necessarily want refugees to stand out as different and easily identifiable. That way, their rights are easily violated. We want them to blend in and integrate. That should be part of the government's strategy. I know it is part of UNHCR's and this is one of the tools through which local integration must be facilitated." UNHCR's Assistant Representative for Protection Abel Mbilinyi says that the agency has been urging the South African government to change the format and even the nature of the document, or to make the refugee ID the same as a South African one. "In a society where everyone is identified by 13 digits [on the ID card], the ID is critical in promoting integration for refugees," says Mbilinyi. "In some cases we have been arguing for public relief such as social grants for refugees. The government has made it very clear that it will consider, in the long run, such assistance to refugees, but an authentic and acceptable ID is primary in identifying somebody who qualifies for such assistance." Congolese refugee Shabani says he is able to succeed in accessing services nearly all of the time, because he is more persistent than most. He makes it his business to exercise his rights, even if it means spending several hours in lengthy discussions on his status in the country. Ultimately, he may be able to persuade service providers to do business with him. He says, "But what of the many refugees who cannot speak English or any of South Africa's 10 other languages? Besides, who has the time or the patience to always explain that their ID is valid? You feel defeated before you've begun. The situation is still very difficult and complicated." Despite these difficulties, Lawyers for Human Rights, the Department of Home Affairs and UNHCR all agree that to a certain extent, some refugees have benefited from the IDs. Richard Sikhakane, Assistant Director of Refugee Affairs at South Africa's Ministry of Home Affairs, says that it has made it easier for refugees to access employment and to travel outside South Africa, whenever they need to.

"According to my knowledge," notes Sikhakane, "the refugee identity document was introduced to quite a number of sectors, including business, banking institutions, the transport sector and education, to name a few. I think the problem lies with managers not informing relevant staff so that in the end, front line staff who engage with the public remain unaware of the refugee ID." Asked if organisations or businesses like a bank can be forced to provide services to refugees, he states, "If refugees experience problems with certain institutions, then we at Home Affairs would be willing to give clarity to those institutions on the legislation affecting this issue, so that they accept the refugee ID, on verification on its validity. Institutions are bound to offer refugees services, without discrimination." He adds that any refugee facing problems should consult the Refugee Reception Office. "Theoretically, yes that is what should happen," agrees Gaerdes. "However, we have on numerous occasions taken this matter up with Home Affairs but our interaction with them has not been as positive as we would have liked." Sikhakane is quick to add that South Africa is still relatively new to the refugee situation: "Ten years into its democracy and almost three years since the Refugees Act 1998 came into effect, there are bound to be serious difficulties with institutions being suspicious and wary with the unfamiliar. Many institutions don't realise, for example, that the refugee identity document has more security features than even the green ID. It is not an easy document to forge." Recently, the South African Director General of Home Affairs informed UNHCR that the government has in principle agreed to issue the green ID to refugees, hopefully during the course of this year. In the longer term, refugees will receive a "smart card". "We are in the computer age where everything works with the swipe of a card," says Sikhakane, adding that the fingerprint-based system will first be introduced to refugees, then to South African citizens. "Refugees will be initiated into this as a pilot, to see how successful this system will be and whether it needs any modification. South Africa will also change from the green book to the smart card, which will be the same ID document for everyone legally resident in the country, with some distinguishing features. This will ultimately take place in the near future." With this news, Shabani and many refugees around South Africa are optimistic. South Africa has become their home away from home, but without valid and widely recognised identity documents, they will remain feared, fearful and faceless.

Swaziland

King meets Swazis living in SA (Pretoria, Swazi Observer, 29/04) - 
Swazi students studying in South Africa yesterday sent belated birthday wishes to His Majesty King Mswati Ill, saying the King's date of birth declared open their semester for this academic calendar. Spokesman of the students who gathered at the Pretoria Country Club, Mfundo Dlamini narrated a Biblical parable of the sower to the King, saying students were happy with government external scholarships. Nkosi also spoke on behalf of Swazi miners and professionals who gathered at the Country Club to greet His Majesty. The King is so popular in SA that shopkeepers and customers peeped through the windows, waving at the King as his motorcade passed by. Nkosi explained to His Majesty that students acknowledged government spent a lot of money on their education because it was committed to seeing them have a bright future. He said many of his colleagues did not return home after completion of their courses, adding that they looked for greener pastures because of certain reasons. Nkosi suggested that ministries should formulate plans to educate people willing to return to the country to work for the Swazi government, for instance, financing courses relevant to the development of the country. Nkosi also cited lack of employment for qualified people in Swaziland and pointed out that the University of Swaziland (UNISWA) produced many graduates currently roaming the streets without work. "People also apply for places in foreign tertiary institutions because they cannot be admitted to UNISWA. Most get placements in South African colleges but lack the funds to pay because government releases money very late," said the student. He continued that most UNISWA graduates tend to become teachers after graduating, while no new schools were built to accommodate them. "We cannot all become teachers Your Majesty," he said. He lamented that universities demand that every student should have medical aid before being admitted. He pleaded that all Swazis studying in SA should have a blanket medical aid. "Right now government has not released funds for paying fees for students studying in South Africa, something that has forced us to pay from our pockets. Your Majesty, this is very expensive for our parents," he added. Also in attendance at the Country Club were mine workers employed in South Africa and some South Africans who were keenly interested in seeing the King of  Republic of Botswana.

Complaint against foreign owned food outlets (Swazi Observer, 29/04) -
Mkhiweni MP Maqhawe Mavuso has said he has seen cats and dogs in several restaurants owned by foreigners "resting" comfortably in the kitchens. He told Minister for Enterprise and Employment Lutfo Dlamini to frequently conduct inspections in the restaurants because they were so filthy that pests would remove the lid of the pot and have a share of the food. The Mkhiweni MP threatened to disclose the names of the restaurants but Parliament Standing Orders disallowed disclosure of names in the chambers. He said it was a pity that such food was being served to unsuspecting customers. MP Mavuso alleged that he saw dogs in one restaurant and cats in the other restaurants and bitterly complained that hygiene was not taken into serious consideration in certain outlets in the cities. "I hope all of us are aware that Swazis are very neat people but they are disturbed when they share food with dogs and cats. It's so filthy in some of the restaurants in the cities and you see cats and dogs running up and down the kitchens. It is a cause for concern, Madam Chairperson," said the Mkhiweni MP. He also alleged that the owners of these restaurants removed their shoes and 'rest' their feet on the counters. He said it was in contravention of Swazi culture to display the feet in public, especially in the restaurants. This was during the debate of the performance report and budget of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Meanwhile, some MPs bitterly complained against mushrooming of outlets owned by Asians. They said there were too many of them who did not have work permits but operated businesses in the country without a problem. Lobamba MP Marwick Khumalo said there were too many foreigners who did not have work permits in Manzini. Ntfonjeni MP Henry Dlamini and Siphofaneni MP Gundvwane Gamedze expressed similar sentiments.

Over 3,000 foreigners applied for local posts (Swazi Observer, 28/04) -
Although the country is trying hard to localise positions in the hands of foreigners, the exercise is slow as indicated by government's statistics of applications received from foreign workers last year. Government's Training and Localisation sector received over 3000 applications last year for work permits, an indication that locals are not yet ready to take up some posts held by foreigners. The list is led by a high number of applications for work permits from directors who either want to start their own businesses here or have been recruited to head local operations in the absence of suitable local candidates. It is law that companies first advertise and look to recruit from the local human resource for any post before seeking candidates beyond the borders. The Ministry of Employment and Enterprise has stated that as per their mandate, officials of the Training and Localisation Section scrutinised applications for work permits and made necessary comments for the ease of the Immigration Selection Board to process the applications. The posts applied for vary from directors, managers, professionals, skilled workers, teachers (especially for mathematics, science, geography and arts) and missionaries.

Swazi delegation to sign multi-million deal (Swazi Observer, 17/04) - 
Enterprise and employment minister Lutfo Dlamini leads a three men delegation to sign a multi-million Emalangeni textile deal with world leading textile firm, Texray Textiles. The minister leaves tomorrow for Taiwan where he is expected to meet and sign the deal with Texray Textiles chairman Ray Lee, who looks forward to opening over 2 000 jobs at the Matsapha Industrial Site. Already Lee has hired 1 700 Swazis at Texray, but the new deal would see an expansion of the company that seeks to make Swaziland a major competitor to Lesotho who are currently the leading suppliers of textile to the United States under AGOA. "Am leaving on Sunday together with the ministry's legal advisor, the Project Management Unit engineer and local Texray Textiles managing director," he said. Dlamini stated that this deal would see Swaziland being able to produce the textile raw material. "Such a project will suit us fine in a long run, as the arrangement to source raw material from within the region or U.S. comes into effect at the end of September. "From our preliminary negotiations, Lee has indicated that he would be happy to re-allocate his entire plant to Swaziland," he said. Dlamini said the country's chances of being a major exporter of textile products to the U.S would be greatly enhanced, as it would make the country self­sufficient. He said once the mills were in the country, there would be a lot of secondary industries taking advantage of the development and invest in the country. Dlamini said his wish was to see cotton being exported as finished material, than presently, where it is just exported as unfinished raw material.

Tanzania

Special report on repatriation of Burundian refugees (Dar es Salaam, Irin, 29/04) - Some of the refugees have started going back to Burundi, and humanitarian workers say this could well mark the beginning of a more generalised movement. however, their reintegration is clouded with uncertainty. Ten years of war. Burundi's war began in late 1993, triggered by the assassination, in October of that year, of the country's first democratically elected president, Melchoir Ndadaye, a Hutu. Fighting between mainly Hutu rebels and the military, which was dominated by Tutsis, caused many deaths and rendered large swaths of the country unsafe. Hundreds of thousands of people fled to neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Tanzania. In November 2003, the country's largest rebel group, the Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie-Force pour la defense de la democratie (CNDD-FDD) faction led by Pierre Nkurunziza, and the government finally signed a comprehensive peace deal, at the heart of which was army reform. Since then, fighting has ended everywhere except in the hills surrounding the capital, Bujumbura. Here, Agathon Rwasa's Forces nationales de liberation (FNL) rebels have dug in and are fighting the army and, some analysts say, Nkurunziza's CNDD-FDD. Despite the fighting, many of the 320,000 Burundians in the refugee camps in Kigoma and Kagera regions in western Tanzania are optimistic about peace efforts this time around, which are fuelling their desire to go home. Previous peace deals were followed by slight increases in the numbers of refugees returning home. Most, however, were sceptical and stayed in the camps awaiting signs of a more enduring peace. That still applies to the more educated of the largely Hutu refugee population, who want to see if elections and army reforms occur before returning. However, humanitarian workers still say that the current movement of returnees could well be the beginning of a final wave returning home. Questions abound, however, about what awaits them. Many are returning to the east of their country, an area that has been largely inaccessible to humanitarian workers because of fighting. In this area, medical services are stretched, schools are run down and most of the refugees will come to find their homes destroyed. Access to land, especially for those who have been away for a long time, is already a serious issue for a group of people largely made up of subsistence farmers. This will be exacerbated if and when the 1972 caseload of Burundians, who have been living in Tabora, Tanzania, since fleeing ethnic fighting in the 1970s, go home. Ready to go home at last. Assembled outside their mud hut in the Nduta Refugee Camp in Kibondo District, Jean Njebarikanavyo, his wife Generose and their eight children represent many of those returning home today. Farmers from Ruyigi Province, they fled Burundi eight years ago after fighting broke out in the hills around them. Refugees at Nduta camp enrolling for repatriation Nduta camp, Kibondo, Tanzania Despite the relative safety of camp life, they simply long to return to their farm in the hills of Buteze Commune. "We have heard about the peace, but know nothing about the politics. No, we just want to get back to the place where we have memories of home," Njebarikanavyo said. And should the tempo of war increase, he said indifferently, "we will just have to leave again". Many of the refugees who are going home say that in the months since the latest peace deal was signed on 16 November 2003, they have heard on the radio or from people who have returned that security in Burundi has improved. But the refugees are not just motivated to return home by their years of yearning. Some observers say another incentive has been the strict implementation, over the last year, of a previously ignored law limiting movement by refugees to a four-kilometre radius around their camps. The Tanzanian government introduced this measure, the observers say, to contain insecurity in the west.

In Kibondo District, inhabited by about 114,000 Burundians, District Commissioner James Mzurikwao has zealously enforced the restriction. A delegation from Refugees International, a rights body, which visited Tanzania and Burundi in March, noted the effect of this measure. It said in a report: "While the conduct of the Tanzanian government does not rise to the level of refoulement [expulsion], the government is implementing policies that create conditions under which the refugees conclude that they have no real option but to return home. Repatriation under such circumstances is not voluntary." Refugees International recommended that the "Tanzanian national authorities intervene and prevent the district commissioner of Kibondo from intimidating refugees and pressuring them to leave the camps". Mzurikwao rejected the charges against him, saying that the government was merely implementing tripartite agreements to which it was a signatory, and that the refugees were going home because the reason why they had left "no longer existed". "Anyway, who is pushing whom? The refugees are pushing the authorities to get better facilities to help them leave. If we had 100 lorries today, they would all go immediately," he added. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) acknowledges Muzurikwao's history of telling the refugees to leave, but is certain that the repatriations are not forced. "It is a voluntary repatriation, and we are using the register that was started in March 2002," Honorine Sommet-Lange, UNHCR's senior protection officer in Kibondo, told IRIN. She said many were going back because of the improved security, but that the restrictions were also a factor, as some of those returning had arrived more recently and "are not as well adapted and do not have the coping mechanisms to put up with the restrictions that were imposed last year". For years, the Burundians have farmed or worked on farms outside the camps as a way of supplementing their rations. Those who have been there for longer are more established and can cope with the restrictions, but those who have not, cannot. Wait and see. However, there are still plenty of refugees, especially among the more educated, who are more reluctant to return home now. Barnabus Bugera, a secondary school teacher in Kanembwa camp Kibondo, Tanzania. Humanitarian workers say that some are waiting for their children to complete the school year in the camps in June, after which a significant move is expected in September just before the rains when land can be tilled and crops planted. Others, such as Barnabas Bugera, a secondary school teacher in Kanembwa Camp, appear to doubt that deep-rooted peace can take hold quickly. "There are several different agreements that need to be brought together, otherwise people will still feel left out. We also have to see real reform in the security services. There will be a shadow hanging over us if the elections take place without the reform of the armed forces. We still remember what happened in 1993," he said. More help needed. There are no estimates for the numbers of refugees expected back in Burundi this year, but UNHCR's planning figures are 130,000 for this year, 135,000 for 2005 and the rest in 2006. At present, most of the returnees are leaving the camps in Kibondo District. To the north, in Ngara District, some 90,000 refugees are still in camps, but UNHCR is not expecting them to return immediately, as facilitated repatriations from these camps have been on going for some time, and those who remain are showing a reluctance to go home.In Kasulu District, to the south of Kibondo, the figures for repatriation are also low. But this is because the border crossing into Makamba has not been opened due to UNHCR's long-standing concerns about security in southeastern Burundi, to which most of these refugees would return. But a trial convoy will begin returning refugees from the Kasulu camps through the Manyovo-Mugina crossing on 20 April. Does that help?Humanitarian organisations say landmines on the Burundi side of this crossing are yet another factor they have to contend with. Following a recent meeting that announced the opening of this latest crossing, the government of Burundi agreed to provide UNHCR with information on landmine locations, demarcation and clearance efforts. Implementing partners are hoping to begin mine-awareness campaigns for refugees about to go home.Meanwhile in Kibondo, the initial rush for repatriation has waned due to lack of capacity on both sides of the border. In Tanzania there are limited numbers of trucks to take the refugees home and, up until now, loads have exceeded the recommended number of 50 refugees per truck. In Burundi, the problem is even more acute, as the transit centre at Gisuru, just over the border from Tanzania, is cramped, making the process of registering the returnees a complicated, lengthy and stressful affair.

Recognising the constraints, UNHCR and its implementing partners have slashed the numbers of returnees to four convoys of 500 refugees each per week. "This cannot just be seen as a logistical exercise. We have to make sure this remains a humanitarian operation," Svante Yngrot, the acting head of UNHCR's field office in Ruyigi, in Burundi, said. "It needs to be decreased so we can do a better job, and then, once we are better prepared, the numbers can be increased." Still a long way to go. Once in Burundi, the Njebarikanavyo family registered as returnees, received their three-month repatriation package of food and non-food items, and then headed off to their commune. By the time they got to Buteze they had lost their cooking and farming items, as well as their tools. Unable to do anything about this they continued their journey. The distance the returnees had to walk once they had been deposited in their commune was another issue. The 14 km the Njebarikanavyos walked, burdened with packs weighing a total of 700 kg, was arduous, but less so than the 30-km trek facing others. Although officials in Burundi talk of introducing a system of smaller trucks that can then take the returnees and their loads closer to their hills, for the moment, an aid worker said, "they will have to rely on the amazing ability people in the Great Lakes have developed to walk long distances with large loads". Generose Njebarikanavyo and her children stand in the spot where their house used to stand before it was destroyed by the army Buteze, Ruyigi province, Burundi Another question being raised concerns the repatriation package. Although officially supposed to last three months, concern is growing amongst some aid workers that this may not be the case. Moreover, with refugees returning to Burundi at a time when it will soon be too late to plant their seeds, pressure on food will be acute. Welcome home, but what to? Njebarikanavyo knew that the land he had worked in the years before fleeing the war was still unoccupied. His father, who had remained in Burundi and still lived next door, had somehow got in touch when he was in the camps and told him so. Like most other returnees, his house had been destroyed by the army years before to forestall rebels trying to use it for shelter. But his father was letting the family sleep in his home. Other families without relatives are being welcomed home and looked after in the same manner by neighbours, but not all are lucky enough to find their land unoccupied. "Someone has sold three-quarters of our land while we were away," Virginie Bigimane, a returnee living on the same hill as Njebarikanavyo, said. "It was then sold on, and we are not sure who to. We will try and sort it out through the chef de colline [chief of the hill, similar to a community chief], but we are worried that there may be problems, as they could have used the money for something else," she added. Hilaire Nikobasa, a government official in Ruyigi Province, to which many refugees are returning, said so far there had been very few land disputes, and those that existed were being settled by community leaders. A traditional system existing in pre-colonial times known as bashingantahe, meaning "the maker of justice, the defender of equity and guardian of order", is being revived and increasingly applied in settling disputes. But observers say that with increasing numbers of returnees, land disputes are becoming more frequent, and are sometimes being resolved violently. "Another worrying sign is the increase in the price of land," an agronomist aid worker said. "In some areas near Ruyigi, it has gone up 50 percent in a few months. This is leading to some people being forced to grow [crops] in areas that they didn't cultivate before, mostly because they are not very fertile." The general feeling is that while the problem may not be significant now, preparations need to be made to avert a potential crisis. Because of the impending return of hundreds of thousands of refugees and the potential disputes, a more efficient system of resolving land disputes must be established, a human rights lawyer, Pascale Nzibonera, told IRIN.

"This shouldn't be a problem as the administration banned the sale of property belonging to refugees. But some of this land has been sold anyway, sometimes even by the refugees themselves," he said. Because of the lack of real documentation, he added, there had been a lot of buying and selling of land without people really knowing who owned what. Stretched infrastructure But concern on the ground is not limited to land issues. After years of war and neglect, social services in many of the areas to which the returnees are heading are already stretched. Medecins Sans Frontieres, the international medical NGO, is providing support for seven government clinics in and around Ruyigi, but there is concern that people returning to their home areas without having access to proper shelter during the rainy season will add even more strain to the system. Moreover, Burundian children in the refugee camps were assured at least a basic level of education and, in some cases, were able to attend secondary schools. But in a country now classified as one of the poorest in the world, the education system is struggling enormously as schools are run down and some teachers have been on strike due to lack of pay. So, if the refugees return in large numbers, it will bring pressure to bear on local administrators. These are all issues the authorities acknowledge, but admit they cannot handle by themselves. "We already have packed classrooms and a shortage of teachers and materials," Nikobasa said. "Health care will, without doubt, also be a problem. If they [the refugees] come back in numbers and there are people ready to help, it will be OK. "But if there aren't these organisations on the ground, it will be miserable," he added. For the moment, UNHCR says it is still at the assessment stage of trying to find out what Burundi's absorption capacity is and establish what needs to be done where. But at a time when the embattled country is also trying to find funds for a long-awaited disarmament process and organising elections, the challenges posed by a large-scale repatriation are immense.

Peace hopes lure Burundi refugees home (Kibondo, IOL, 21/04) - In the early morning light, Bernard Jacob and his wife squeezed nine years of their lives into a few sacks and a holdall.Leaving their mud huts in the sprawling Nduta camp in western Tanzania, the Burundian refugees joined others weighed down with bags, wooden benches, animals and the odd bicycle to board United Nations trucks bound for Burundi. Thousands of refugees have seeped back into the central African country since October, when Burundi's Tutsi-dominated government signed an agreement with the main Hutu rebel group to end a decade-long conflict that has killed 300 000 people in a country of 6,5 million. 'Maybe peace has finally come to our homes' Numbers are swelling by the day as hopes rise for a lasting peace. "Life has been tough here for a while, but we think that maybe peace has finally come to our homes. This is what we are hearing and why we are going home," said 40-year-old Jacob as he looked round, making sure his wife and seven children had got on the right truck. Nearly one million Burundians have been displaced by the civil war, most of them to poverty-stricken Tanzania which shelters about 350 000 refugees in UN camps under the care of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The International Crisis Group think-tank says at least another 300 000 Burundians are dispersed across Tanzania. Tens of thousands more have taken refuge in other countries while about 280 000 people are displaced in Burundi itself. The UNHCR says it is gearing up to repatriate up to 150 000 Burundian refugees, all Hutus, from Tanzania this year. 'I think it is now worth going home to see' Returning from a visit to Burundi in April, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner Kamel Morjane said he had been impressed by much improved security in the country. "UNHCR will never permit you to be pushed back to Burundi, but we will also never prevent anyone who wishes to return voluntarily from so doing," he told refugees. Despite these reassurances, many refugees feel that they have outstayed their welcome in Tanzania. The government's patience has worn thin in recent years as it struggles to cope with the influx of refugees among its own people, most of whom struggle to survive on less than $1 a day. Blamed for damaging the environment and polluting precious water sources, refugees sheltering in Tanzania have been subjected to tight restrictions on their movements. The refugees used to be allowed to venture out within a four kilometre radius of the camps to farm small plots, but in 2003 that right was withdrawn. "The restrictions made life difficult and we don't like living in the camps," said Jacob, who used to be a farmer in Buteze, eastern Burundi. "They say that since the ceasefire, things have calmed down. I think it is now worth going home to see." Peace may be on the horizon across the border, but violent clashes continue on the outskirts of the capital Bujumbura where soldiers of the Tutsi-controlled army are still battling Hutu rebels who have refused to join Burundi's power-sharing government. Previous Burundian returnees have been forced to flee back into Tanzania at the onset of more ethnic fighting. Even if Jacob and others like him achieve a safe passage home, they face a far from rosy future in a country ranked the world's third least developed, where education and health services have been devastated by war. "When they come back in numbers, that puts pressure on our services," said Hilaire Nikobasa, a government official in Ruyigi, an eastern province of Burundi to which many refugees are flocking. "We have packed classrooms, a shortage of teachers and materials and health care will also be a problem," he added. Land could also be an explosive issue. Many refugees who fled were farmers. They left behind their land and many will want to reclaim it if, as has often been the case, their homesteads have been seized by landless Burundians. Piled high, the white UN trucks retrace the same bumpy roads that the escaping refugees had wearily trudged along years before. Children crane their heads to watch the lush green hills of Burundi roll by. For some it is the first time they have seen their country. For now, there are no fears about the future, just joy at the prospect of coming home.

UN optimistic about major repatriation of Burundians (UN News Service, 08/04) - Expressing cautious optimism, a senior official of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) returned to Geneva today from a week-long trip to look at preparations for what may be Africa's biggest repatriation movement this year, the return home of about half of the 320,000 Burundians living in neighbouring Tanzania. Assistant High Commissioner Kamel Morjane said he was impressed with Burundi's much improved security arrangements, its move towards political solutions and the level of interest shown by the international community. During the three days Mr. Morjane spent with refugees in the western Tanzanian regions of Kibondo, Kasulu and Kigoma, he told them: "UNHCR will never permit you to be pushed back to Burundi, but we will also never prevent anyone who wishes to return voluntarily from so doing." He was encouraged by the prospect of a UN peacekeeping force in Burundi and hoped that it would receive sufficient resources and authority to help the country with its progress towards stability, UNHCR said. Many problems in the sometimes volatile country remained unresolved, however, including some security aspects and the expansion of the absorptive capacity in the areas of return, the agency said.

Thousands of refugees return from Tanzania (UN News Service, 02/04) - A senior United Nations official is touring Burundi to speak to government officials and examine the situation of the tens of thousands refugees returning home from Tanzania, the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said today. Assistant High Commissioner Kamel Morjane, who arrived yesterday, was scheduled to meet President Domitien Ndayizeye today. He was going tomorrow to Ruyigi province, an area where many thousands of returnees per week are pouring through border crossing-points at Gisuru, Kobero and Gahumo. More than 27,400 Burundian refugees have returned home from Tanzania this year through the three crossing-points, 2,400 of them per week through Gisuru, which was opened in late January, according to UNHCR. The agency is using a fleet of 43 heavy vehicles to take the returning refugees to their final destinations.Meanwhile, UNHCR has also been working with 9,000 refugees from the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) living in Cishemeye temporary refugee camp, in the hills of north-western Burundi, to find creative ways of comforting rape victims and training men and women to eliminate rape. One innovative approach involved the appointment of 72 older refugee women as "mères volontaires," or volunteer mothers, who help identify and provide special care to rape victims. The commission has also trained a group of young male and female community assistants to teach others how to eradicate sexual and gender-based violence and the spread of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases. The mères volontaires and the community assistants have already reduced the number of rapes by convincing young women not to make unnecessary trips outside the camp to pluck cassava leaves for traditional cooking, gather firewood or grind grain. UNHCR responded to local recommendations by arranging deliveries of smaller pieces of wood and installing grain mills in the camps, said Leonie Nyakageni, a community service worker.

Petition for dual citizenship (Express Online, 01/04) - Tanzanians Abroad, a network of Tanzanians living and working in foreign countries have begun to petition for the right for dual citizenship. They have started to collect signatures on their website. So far over 600 people have signed. This, once again, brings up the issue of the pros and cons for a country to allow its citizens to hold two passports. The reasons for people to acquire citizenship overseas, thus loose their Tanzanian one, are mainly economic and marriage related. In order to obtain loans or marry a foreign citizen, holding an overseas passport is in many cases a necessity. Hence, dual citizenship makes it easier to move between countries for business, employment, social and cultural reasons. Furthermore, in the wake of the recent sharpening of laws as regards immigration and asylum seekers in many Western countries, it has become increasingly important in order to obtain legal protection and benefit from welfare programmes, to acquire citizenship of the country in concern. But according to Tanzanians Abroad, dual citizenship has not only advantages for the individual, but also for Tanzania as a whole. The network states that over 60 per cent of the total foreign currency the country receives comes from Tanzanians living abroad. Although most of this money is sent to family members still living in Tanzania, some amount is also contributed to business enterprises. If the Tanzanian citizenship is removed, ties with the mother country might reduce. Because of the signing of the East African Community Customs Protocol and further developments within the EAC concerning labour laws etc, as well as the fact that both Uganda and Kenya are in the process of discussing the introduction of dual citizenship, the topic is set for further debates.

Zambia

Beware of aliens, minister warns (The Times of Zambia, 25/04) - Lufwanyama member of Parliament (MP), Eddie Kasukumya, has warned people in the area against abetting crime by harbouring aliens. Mr Kasukumya said the people of Lufwanyama should not abet crime by harbouring aliens who engaged in criminal activities. Mr Kasukumya, who is also education minister, said he had received reports that there was an influx of aliens in the area and that some of them were engaged in criminal activities. The MP issued the warning in Lufwanyama at the weekend during the meeting held at the civic centre to discuss the way forward regarding curbing the crime wave in the area. Kitwe-Kalulushi police officer commanding, Stella Libongani, district commissioner, Evans Pwele and councillors attended the meeting. He said the shooting of the police officer to death a week ago, was an indication that crime had become rampant in the area and, therefore, there was need to act promptly to address the situation. "Lufwanyama used to be a peaceful place and we never used to hear of bandits shooting and killing people, but suddenly the security situation has changed for worse. "This is because some people in the area are harbouring aliens who later engage in criminal activities like the shooting to death of a police officer recently. It is for this reason I must warn the people of Lufwanyama to desist from harbouring aliens," Mr Kasukumya said. He advised the people of Lufwanyama to be mindful of their neighbours and report strange and suspicious looking people to the police. He said it was important that the people in the area worked in collaboration to curb the rising crime wave in the area. "The police cannot act on their own, they need information from members of the public and it is for this reason than I advise you to be mindful of the people you are living with," he said. And World Vision Zambia (WVZ) has suspended its operations in the area due to the deteriorating security situation in the area. Mr Pwele confirmed in an interview in Lufwanyama at the weekend that WVZ which runs two projects in the area had suspended its operations and would only resume once the security situation had improved. "It's true that WVZ had decided to suspend its operations in the area due to the deteriorating security situation, particularly the shooting to death of the police officer recently," Mr Pwele said. He, however, assured WVZ that efforts were being made to ensure normalcy returned to the area.

More DRC refugees expected (Johannesburg, Irin, 21/04) - Although Zambia might receive more refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), 40,000 Angolans are going home this year, a senior official told IRIN on Wednesday. Zambia is currently providing shelter to 208,000 refugees, mainly from Angola, Rwanda and the DRC. "We have already received 1,072 DRC nationals in the first quarter of this year. Compared to the total number of DRC refugees recorded for the entire 2003, which was 1,200, it is some cause for concern that the figure for this year could increase," Zambia's Commissioner for Refugees, Jacob Mhepo, told IRIN. More than a 1,000 Congolese fleeing Mayi-Mayi rebels sought refuge on Kilwa island in the Zambian portion of Lake Maweru last month. They came from villages located between the southeastern DRC towns of Pweto and Kasenga in Katanga Province. Only 30 sought official asylum - the rest have apparently been integrated into the Zambian community on the island. According to Mhepo, 40,000 Angolan refugees are expected to be repatriated this year. "There are currently 71,000 Angolan refugees in Zambia. Of the 40,000 to be repatriated, from June [onward], about 18,000 are from the Meheba camp in the North-Western province, 12,000 from the Mayukwayukwa camp in the Western province, 8,000 from the Nangweshi camp, also in the Western province, and 2,000 from the Ukwimi camp in the Eastern province," Mhepo explained. Zambian authorities, along with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) were only able to repatriate 18,140 Angolan refugees last year. "We hope to repatriate the remaining 30,000 next year," added Mhepo. UNHCR's deputy representative in Zambia, Vedasto Mwesiga, confirmed the organisation's plans for repatriating 40,000 Angolans this year.

Sex workers in wrangle over rates (Lusaka, The Post, 14/04) - Linvingstone town clerk George Kalenga yesterday disclosed that a wrangle has erupted between Zambian and Zimbabwean commercial sex workers who cross into Livingstone. In response to a question from Livingstone councillor Harrington during the councillors' capacity building workshop at Wasawange Lodge, Kalenga said there was a wrangle because Zimbabwean sex workers offered lower rates than their Zambian counterparts. Harrington wanted to know why the HIV/AIDS rate remained high in Livingstone despite having a lot of non-governmental organisations working to fight the disease. "A wrangle has broken out in Livingstone between Zambian commercial sex workers and Zimbabwean commercial sex workers who are now crossing over into Livingstone and offering lower rates," Kalenga said. "Our local commercial sex workers have mobilised themselves and are chasing away the international sex workers to compounds and suburbs, while they hold authority in town." Without revealing his sources, Kalenga said the Zambian commercial sex workers have complained that men preferred Zimbabwean sex workers who offered lower rates. He said most of the Zimbabwean sex commercial workers crossed into Zambia as marketeers and their influx has continued despite Livingstone City Council charging them K10,000 as a deterrent. And Livingstone district AIDS task force chairperson Michael Biemba said Livingstone's geographical position also contributed to the high rate of HIV/AIDS. Biemba said the city is close to Victoria Falls town in Zimbabwe which has a 55 per cent rate of HIV/AIDS, adding that Kasane in Botswana and Katima Mulio in Namibia which were only a few hours away, also have a high rate of HIV/AIDS. Former Livingstone mayor Frederick Mwendapole said the poverty that has resulted from the closure of more than 60 industries in Livingstone has left many residents with no option but to engage in whatever would earn them a living. "That is why most women are engaged in cross border trade where they sometimes have to use truck and taxi drivers to smuggle their merchandise into their country, which makes them vulnerable," said Mwendapole.

Immigration arrests prohibited immigrants (The Times of Zambia, 14/04) - The Immigration Department in Eastern and Copperbelt provinces arrested over 30 illegal immigrants from neighbouring countries during the Easter holidays. Immigration Department spokesperson, Jones Mwelwa said in an interview yesterday that seven Congolese were picked up in Chipulukusu, Kawama and Twapia townships in Ndola. Mr Mwelwa said of the seven, five were still detained in police custody while two were released after producing the required documents. He said 26 Malawians were arrested in Chipata after they were found working on Tobacco farms without work permits. Mr Mwelwa warned individual farmers who were in the habit of employing illegal immigrants, that they risked being prosecuted. "I am appealing to all employers to make sure that all their foreign workers they employed had immigration permits. "They should be in conformity with the Immigration and Deportation Act failure to which they would be prosecuted," he said. He further disclosed that four other Congolese were not allowed to enter Zambia in Chipata. Mr Mwewa said the quartet, who were coming from Mozambique, did not have entrance visa's.

Congolese traders temporarily marrying Zambian women (The Times of Zambia, 14/04) - Some Congolese businessmen, who have entered the country illegally, are temporarily marrying Zambian women to avoid deportation.
Lufwanyama district commissioner Evans Pwele said in an interview yesterday that the businessmen from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had invaded Chief Shibuchinga's area where they had been marrying Zambian women to enable them to carry out their dubious businesses. Mr Pwele said the men later abandoned the Zambian women with children after making money.He said the Congolese entered Lufwanyama illegally while others pretended that they were there to trade. "They come on pretext that they are trading and as they do that they marry temporarily and later abandoned the marriages after their businesses," he said. Mr Pwele said it was sad that Zambian parents encouraged their daughters to get married to these people because of money.He warned parents who were in the habit of marrying off their children to these Congolese to stop as the move was dangerous. Mr Pwele said that the illegal immigrants brought bicycles, clothes, radio cassettes and other assorted items in exchange for goats and pigs. The district commissioner said he was working hand in hand with the chiefs in the area to ensure that the parents who were allowing their children to marry the Congolese were brought to book. "We will not allow illegal immigrants to come in the country and marry young women just to enable themselves to do business," Mr Pwele said. He also appealed for quick intervention of the Immigration Department before the situation got out of hand. Mr Pwele attributed the trend to poverty levels among the communities and lack of adequate police officers in the area. He said the district had only three police officers making it difficult for them to patrol because Lufwanyama was too vast.

Few fleeing Congo seek asylum (Johannesburg, Irin, 05/04) - Only 37 of 1,038 Congolese nationals sent fleeing into northern Zambia in early March by renewed fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have sought asylum, a UN refugee agency (UNHCR) official told IRIN on Monday. "It is difficult to establish if the others have all gone back, or have been integrated into Zambian society," said Patrick Kawama, a protection officer at the UNHCR sub-office in Kawamba, near the border. The DRC refugees crossed to Kilwa island in Lake Mweru from villages located between the southeastern DRC towns of Pweto and Kasenga in Katanga Province. The island is in the Zambian portion of the lake, about an hour by boat from the DRC border. Zambian authorities told IRIN last week that the Congolese had fled following threats from Mayi-Mayi rebels. The UNHCR had been trying to arrange for boats to ferry the Congolese to the Kala refugee camp near Nchelenge, where there was a Zambian border post. "When we finally acquired four boats last week, hoping to transfer at least 160 refugees, only 37 of them came forward," Kawama said. Kawama pointed out that the Zambians on Kilwa island and the Congolese living in the villages bordering Lake Mweru were fishing communities with close links. "Both communities share the same ethnic origin and there is a lot of exchange in terms of trade and social ties that takes place," Kawama explained. "The locals [Zambians] are very reluctant to volunteer any information on the Congolese. Either those (Congolese) who entered Kilwa island are members of extended families [of the local Zambians] or are being used as cheap labour in the fishing industry. Or they might have gone back," he added. The Zambian authorities were expected to start a process of identifying the Congolese refugees on the island, Douglas Tambulukani, the legal advisor to Zambia's Commissioner of Refugees said. "Then we will provide them with the option of seeking asylum or repatriation.".

Over 1,000 refugees from DRC cross into Zambia (Kawambwa, The Post, 01/04) - More than 1,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have crossed into Zambia and are on Kilwa Island on Lake Mweru. UNHCR protection officer for both Kala and Mwange refugee camps Patrick Kawuma yesterday said 1,038 refugees had crossed from Kilwa Mulanga in the DRC after being attacked by Mai Mai rebels 10 days ago. Kawuma said UNHCR and the Zambian government were making arrangements to move them to the main land. "It's because of logistical problems that they have not moved," he said. Kawuma said UNHCR had hired boats to move the refugees to Nchelenge. He said UNHCR had sent four boats with a capacity of 40 people each to move the refugees. Kawuma said the operation was sensitive because of the mode of transport which was complicated and UNHCR wanted to make sure the refugees were safe during their transportation. He said Kala camp recorded an average of 400 arrivals every month. Kawuma said 70 per cent of new arrivals were children. And UNHCR head of Kawambwa sub office Morshed Anwar said most of the refugees were coming from Katanga region, as peace in some areas in DRC was still doubtful. Anwar said some refugees were crossing into Zambia because there were some areas in the DRC that were experiencing food shortages. He thanked the Zambian government for the assistance it was rendering to refugees and UNHCR. Anwar said UNHCR had targeted to repatriate 10,000 refugees this year, beginning in July this year. However, Anwar said some refugees were going back voluntarily. Anwar said in consultation with the DRC government, UNHCR wanted to make sure refugees were returning to safe areas.

Zimbabwe

Kondozi moves to Mozambique (The Zimbabwe Independent, 30/04) - One of Zimbabwe's largest horticultural exporting companies, Kondozi Fresh Produce, is relocating to Mozambique after the invasion of its farm by Zanu PF supporters and government officials three weeks ago.Kondozi was an Export Processing Zone-registered firm but this did not save its operations from the predatory Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) which has taken over the farm. A court order was equally ineffective.The move into Mozambique comes after government complained through the public media that Nigeria, which has been acting as a mediator in the Zimbabwean political crisis, was taking in its former white commercial farmers.Kondozi's abrupt closure is set to adversely affect the company's financiers, Barclays-Fincor, Zimbank-Syfrets and the African Banking Corporation who had collectively invested about $37 billion in the project.It exported produce to supermarkets in Britain, Europe, and South Africa.Kondozi production director and former farm-owner, Piet de Klerk, confirmed the relocation saying it had become difficult to operate locally, adding that they had informed their financiers."We cannot carry on with business here and we have no intention of putting up another project in Zimbabwe," he said."In fact, we have overtures from Manica, just across the border in Mozambique. The governor, Soares Nhaca, has offered to give us free land so that we can set up a business on the same model as Kondozi," he saidDe Klerk said bilateral donors had indicated that they would provide financing and equity for the relocation of the project to Mozambique."It's not only Mozambique who approached us. Zambia and a number of neighbouring countries have overwhelmed us with their proposals."The Kondozi set-up was a unique model for the whole of Africa with the biggest out-grower base and engaging the largest pool of local community participation," De Klerk said.Although there have been claims that Arda would take over the farm, it has since emerged that senior politicians are using the parastatal as a front.Kondozi, which was invaded over Easter, had kept some of its business running by collecting the produce from out-growers and exporting it through one of their subsidiaries.Arda has confiscated four vehicles that were used by management plus motorbikes.The Independent on Sunday attended a meeting at Kondozi which Vice President Joseph Msika and other officials were expected to address. However, none of the scheduled speakers turned up.At the meeting, attended by over 4 000 displaced workers, Chief Marange said Msika had given an undertaking to correct the situation at the farm."We have been given assurances that the situation will get back to normal," Marange said."We urge you to remain patient." A fortnight ago chiefs and their headman from Manicaland visited Msika at his offices in Harare to air their grievances and he reportedly issued a directive to Manicaland province governor Major-General Mike Nyambuya that Arda should vacate Kondozi.Msika met the chiefs in his capacity as the chairman of the Cabinet Rural Development Committee.Reports of Msika's directive were shot down by Information minister Jonathan Moyo, leaving Arda to continue occupying the farm.Moyo declared that there was "no going back on Kondozi".De Klerk said in the two-week disturbances Kondozi had lost in excess of $60 billion worth of business and equipment.He said they had lost over $20 billion worth of movable assets alone which included 48 tractors, four Scania trucks, five UD trucks, several T35 trucks, four privately owned vehicles that were used by management and over 26 motorbikes.

Border jumpers arrested (The Herald Online, 30/04) - Three border jumpers who were attempting to smuggle goods out of the country were arrested on Wednesday evening near the Nyamapanda Border Post. The arrest comes after police and other security organs launched an operation code named "Nyamavhuvhu" to deal with criminal activities in the border area. Of the three suspects, two are Zimbabweans while the other is a Mozambican national. Some of the goods recovered and seized by the police include 28 boxes of washing soap among others. The suspects whose ages range between 18 and 32 are still in police custody and they are expected to appear in court soon. Police spokesperson Inspector Andrew Phiri said the operation was targeting criminal activities near the border area. "All unofficial entry points in the eastern part of the country, are manned by armed security personnel," he said.

Foreign journalists expelled (Media Institute of Southern Africa, 30/04) - On April 29 2004, the Department of Information, asked a Sky News television crew from Britain to leave the country, saying it had entered the country illegally without observing accreditation laws. The number of the crew could not be determined at the time of writing this alert.In a statement, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, said the Sky television news crew had "arrogantly" flown into the country without government authority or clearance from Zimbabwe's mission in London."What makes the conduct of this crew appear deliberately contemptuous and thus reprehensible is the fact that before leaving Britain, the crew actually received a clear response from the department (of information) outlining the government position and expectation before its proposed visit," he said."Accordingly the department requires that forthwith, the Sky News crew complies with our national laws ... including the requirement that foreign media applicants secure permission to fly into the country for purposes of accreditation from their country of origin and work." "Failure to comply would, naturally, trigger a decisive response from agencies whose duty it is to uphold the rule of law in the country," he added.In London, Sky said it had not tried to enter the country clandestinely and believed it had clearance to send a two-man crew from Johannesburg to film matters related to cricket. "We are not sure that we are being thrown out. We are just waiting to hear from the government to clarify what their attitude is. We are a bit surprised," Adrian Wells, Sky's head of foreign news, told Reuters in London.This is the second time in a month that foreign journalists have been thrown out. On April 21 Zimbabwe Immigration officers deported Mihir Bose, a British journalist with The Daily Telegraph on visiting the country for purposes of work without accreditation.Under section 79 of AIPPA only accredited journalists can work in Zimbabwe. Section 79 reads that:
(1) No journalist shall exercise the rights provided in section seventy-eight in Zimbabwe without being accredited by the Commission.
(2) Subject to subsection (4), no journalist shall be accredited who is not a citizen of Zimbabwe, or is not regarded as permanently resident in Zimbabwe by virtue of the Immigration Act [Chapter 4:02].
(3) Any person who wishes to be accredited as a journalist shall make an application to the Commission in the form and manner and accompanied by the fee, if any, prescribed: Provided that a mass media service or news agency may file an application for accreditation on behalf of journalists employed by such mass media service or news agency.
(4) A journalist who is not a citizen of Zimbabwe, or is not regarded as permanently resident in Zimbabwe by virtue of the Immigration Act [Chapter 4:02], may be accredited for a limited period not exceeding 30 days by the Media and Information Commission. Under AIPPA foreign journalists are required to apply for accreditation through Zimbabwe diplomatic missions in their countries and can only visit once the application has been approved.


Two Zimbabwean men murdered in Botswana (The Herald, 29/04) - A Zimbabwean man was butchered by a Motswana national in Francistown, while another local man was fatally stabbed allegedly by a gang of "unknown assailants" as xenophobic attacks against Zimbabweans continue unabated in Botswana, police in that country confirmed yesterday. The officer commanding Francistown Police, Senior Superintendent Boikhutso Dintwa, said the two Zimbabwean men were killed in two separate incidents last Friday. He said in the first attack, a Zimbabwean man employed at a cattle post in Tonota, an area 40km outside Francistown, was hacked to death by an 18-year-old Motswana national following an argument over "toys". "Last Friday, we received a report that a Zimbabwean man had been axed to death by a Motswana man following a dispute over toys. Both men were employed at a cattle post and they got into an argument over a toy, which had been damaged. "The Motswana man was enraged and attacked the deceased with an axe. When the man lost consciousness, he (the Motswana) proceeded to chop off the deceased’s limbs," Snr Supt Dintwa said by telephone from Francistown. He identified the deceased as Sitha Ncube. He said police had managed to trace the man’s relatives in Zimbabwe. "We have identified his parents and repatriation procedures will begin in due course," said Snr Supt Dintwa. Reports from Francistown yesterday said the Zimbabwean man had been killed in a love triangle involving a 54-year-old woman. The Mmegi newspaper reported that the Motswana national, identified as Onkemogeletse Kelaetse, and the deceased were having an "affair" with the woman. "Both men were employed at Pius Kalaluka’s cattle post. Kelaetse is alleged to have badly ‘beaten’ the deceased with an axe, cut him open and continued to cut each and every joint in his body," the newspaper said. The man was arrested and has since appeared before Francistown magistrate Kenneth Obeng. The prosecutor, Sergeant Detective Dalton Mangoyi, told the court that investigations were still at the preliminary stage and applied for the accused to be remanded in custody. In another incident, a Zimbabwean man was stabbed to death allegedly by yet to be identified attackers in Francistown. Supt Dintwa said the deceased was an "illegal immigrant" from Zimbabwe. "He was stabbed with a knife and died on the spot. The assailants fled from the scene soon after the incident," he said.

Mugabe arrests his finance minister (Johannesburg, Sunday Times, 25/04) - Zimbabwe's finance minister was arrested on Saturday on charges of dealing in foreign currency, police said, the first senior official in President Robert Mugabe's government to be detained in a corruption crackdown.Police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said Chris Kuruneri had been picked up early on Saturday and would be charged with corruption, after accusations that he had illegally dealt in foreign currency worth over six billion Zimbabwe dollars (1,38 million)."The minister was arrested this morning and investigations are going on. It's to do with charges relating to foreign currency dealing," he told Reuters.Bvudzijena did not say when Kuruneri, a member of the central committee of Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party, would appear in court, but tough anti-corruption laws enacted this year allow the police to detain suspects for up to 21-days.Mugabe launched an anti-corruption drive in January as the country battles its worst economic crisis since 1980, blamed on his government and marked by stagflation and acute shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency.Mugabe denies charges he has mismanaged the country and accuses local and foreign opponents of sabotaging the economy because of his seizure of white-owned farms for landless blacks.Kuruneri, a former deputy finance minister, was promoted in January. His arrest follows an investigation prompted by a South African newspaper report he was building a mansion in Cape Town.He has previously denied any wrong doing and said the money was legitimately earned from consultancy work done outside Zimbabwe.Analysts said they did not expect Kuruneri's arrest to affect the government's efforts to revive the ailing economy as he was seen as a technocrat.Efforts to turnaround the economy are being driven by the new central bank governor. Although the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe falls under the finance ministry, in practise the governor reports directly to Mugabe.Analysts are also sceptical about the government's commitment to fight corruption."The effect of the corruption crackdown on economic transformation is still to be felt. There will remain some kind of divided opinion on whether Mugabe's government is serious on corruption," Heneri Dzinotyiwei, a political analyst. Several prominent individuals, including officials from Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party, have been arrested and charged over the past four months under the anti-corruption drive.Scores of businessmen have fled the country.Zimbabwe's Finance Minister, Chris Kuruneri, was arrested yesterday on corruption charges following a sensational Sunday Times exposé of his multimillion rand mansion in Cape Town.Zimbabwe police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said that Kuruneri, who was appointed finance minister in February, was being held in jail this weekend on charges of violating Zimbabwe's foreign exchange control act."He was picked up this morning here in Harare and he is still in police custody," Bvudzijena said yesterday morning."We will take him to court as soon as we finish our investigations."Bvudzijena said the bombshell dropped by the Sunday Times last month, with the revelation that Kuru neri had spent up to R30-million building an eight-bedroom mansion in the expensive seaside suburb of Llandudno, could form part of the charges.Yesterday, a former business associate of Kuruneri's in Cape Town said the news of the minister's arrest had come as no surprise.Following the Sunday Times's reports last month on Kuruneri's property empire in South Africa, investigators from the Scorpions, the South African Revenue Service and the South African Police Service's Criminal Investigation Department had taken statements from the Zimbabwean's business associates and contractors in Cape Town.Those interviewed are understood to have included Lorenzo Bruttomesso, Kuruneri's attorney in Cape Town, and Chris Hayman, owner of the company that is building the property in Sunset Avenue, Llandudno.Neither Bruttomesso nor Hayman returned calls seeking confirmation that they had been interviewed.In the Zimbabwean media, Kuruneri denied that the money used to construct the Llandudno house had been improperly obtained.He said the money had been earned from consultancy work he had done abroad.He claimed that he had raised a lot of foreign currency while working for Mobile Systems International of Britain and Felipe Solano of Spain.Kuruneri also said he knew the Foreign Exchange Control Act provisions very well since he was a lawyer and could not be found on the wrong side of the law.Mugabe has lashed out at corrupt politicians recently in a desperate bid to save Zimbabwe's collapsing economy - and to ensure his own political survival.

At last week's Independence Day celebrations, he declared: "Our economy has been badly bruised by some in our midst given to greed and corrupt practices."Millions [of dollars in] foreign currency have been externalised through a variety of fraudulent activities practised by highly placed people we had trusted to manage our economy."We are now very clear that far from deserving our trust, these fraudulent and thoroughly dishonest people are the real enemies of our country... their permanent home is the prison," Mugabe said.Kuruneri is also under arrest for holding a Canadian passport.Official sources say there are also claims that Kuruneri owns properties in Mission, British Columbia, a small town outside Vancouver, Canada, which are registered in the name of his sister, who is married to somebody known as Bob Bish.Kuruneri - who lived in Canada for 11 years - is thought to be in possession of two passports, one Zimbabwean and another Canadian, which is illegal under a Zimbabwean law that prohibits dual citizenship.When asked about the foreign passport on March 19 he flatly denied it, saying he had never held a Canadian passport because he was only a "permanent resident" there.He said his son Tichaona junior - who lives in Toronto - was the one who held a Canadian passport.Sources say police were also investigating circumstances under which Kuruneri got money from Unibank, a bank that collapsed, to buy a company called Quality Packaging Products.He got the money through his current deputy minister, David Chapfika, who was a director at the bank."There are allegations that his company could have also been involved in externalising funds and this is something I understand police are interested in," a source said."They also want to know how he bought his properties in South Africa and allegedly in Canada."

Comment: Legalise movement of migrant labourers (The Herald, 24/04) - Five Zimbabweans drowned this week while crossing the Limpopo into South Africa. We do not know who they were or why they were crossing but what we do know is that tens of thousands of Zimbabweans work in South Africa and provide a substantial and essential part of the labour force on the farms in that country. They do the menial jobs that most South Africans do not like doing. We also know that when they take their breaks to go back home, and the recent Easter holiday is one such traditional break, they cross back into Zimbabwe through the official crossing points with gifts for their families but return to South Africa across the river. We understand that many employers arrange for their farm trucks to meet the returning workers near these secret crossing points. So essential are the Zimbabweans to their operations. Surely the time has come for the authorities on both sides of the river, and especially in South Africa, to recognise these migrant labourers, legalise their employment and regulate it. South Africa's agricultural industry, especially in the northern provinces, depends on these very Zimbabwean workers. Some have worked for the same employer in South Africa for many years. No one can pretend that this is a temporary problem that will go away. We have the absurd situation that the authorities turn a blind eye to the migrant labourers but have yet to legalise their position. Some have good employers, but some do not and there is no way these workers can complain or insist on the minimum safety precautions. The Zimbabweans are not trying to settle in South Africa. They have homes here but work across the river. We were encouraged by the comments of Zimbabwe's ambassador to South Africa, Cde Simon Moyo, that efforts are being made to allow the free movement of people between the two countries. We would strongly suggest that a good first step would be to sort out the problem of these migrant farm workers. The Limpopo is not the only boundary in the world that sees a continual and illegal flow of farm workers. For several years, eastern Europeans have been moving into western Europe and the Mexican wetbacks travelling to the US are notorious. The US has finally submitted to many Mexican suggestions and is now starting to set up a system that allows Mexicans to come to the US to work in designated areas, returning home regularly. It is doing this to help slow illegal immigration. If a Mexican farm worker can go back and forth easily, he is more likely to retain his main home in Mexico rather than trying to live illegally in the US. South Africa would probably prefer this option itself rather than have Zimbabweans moving permanently to South Africa to avoid the dangers of continual illegal border crossings. We believe that South Africa and Zimbabwe could study the proposals that the Mexican Government put up and could look at the way the western Europeans regulate migrant labour from the east. Those five men who drowned should be the last to die that way. It was an avoidable tragedy. All that is needed to avoid a repeat is for the authorities to recognise what is actually happening, legalise the movement and thus control and regulate it. This way, everyone will be a winner.

Businesses urged to utilise trade agreement with Malawi (The Herald, 23/04) - Zimbabwean businesses have been urged to take advantage of the bilateral free trade agreement between Zimbabwe and Malawi. The Deputy Director for Bilateral Trade in the Ministry of Industry and International Trade Mrs Loice Magade made the call at a breakfast seminar organised jointly by the Malawian embassy and the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce. The seminar was organised to educate local business operators on trade and investment opportunities they could pursue in Malawi. "We as policy makers have ensured that there exists a conducive environment on the ground for our businesses to be able to carry out their trade," Mrs Magade said. However, some problems encountered by exporters from both countries had been highlighted during a recent visit by a delegation from her ministry to Malawi and these would be resolved. Some of the constraints included import licensing and the changes in respective tariff headings. "We looked at five categories of goods, plastic, leather, textiles and clothing, electricals and electrical products," she said. Although the list was not exhaustive, the authorities were working towards a situation where some products would be value-added so they could enjoy benefits under the bilateral trade agreement between the two countries. Areas such as mining, fisheries and agriculture were said to be doing well as it was not difficult to apply the rules of origin for goods from these sectors. Developmental issues, with particular focus on capacity building in areas such as poultry production, would be pursued proactively. The Malawian Deputy Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Bilison Itaye echoed these sentiments. "We would like to access the technology in Zimbabwe and the three main areas of investment in Malawi are land, tourism and mining. Malawi is like a virgin in these areas," Mr Itaye said. Agriculture and its related industries offered the best opportunities for Zimbabweans. "Tourism opportunities centre on game and lakeside hotel opportunities. "There are currently no conference centres and mineral resources are not being exploited," added Mr Itaye. He said Malawi allowed for the repatriation of 100 percent profit as an incentive for foreign investment.

Windfall for locals in the diaspora ( Zimbabwe Independent, 23/04) - Zimbabweans living outside the country will now be able to send money back home through the establishment of the dispora fund, which will see them changing their money at $5 200 against the greenback. he central bank governor Gideon Gono on Wednesday announced that as an incentive to Zimbabweans outside the country, the beneficiaries would be paid the full amounts converted at the auction rates or "Diaspora price floor" of $5 200. Gono said with a total estimate of around 3,4 million Zimbabweans in the diaspora, it was now time to unlock considerable foreign exchange inflows via this avenue."The new foreign currency mobilisation framework allows beneficiaries of such funds in Zimbabwe to receive payouts in foreign currency, cash travellers cheques at a floor price of $5 200 or the auction price whichever is higher," he said.The governor also announced that so far he had licensed Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic Bank, CFX, Barnfords Global Financial Service, Fredex Financial Service, Kingdom Bank, TransAfric Money-transfer and Post Office Savings Bank. Gono also formalised the operations of gold panning known as "Makorokoza".He added that a new gold price of $71 000 per gramme would apply for those producers who elect to sell 100% of their gold in exchange for local currency. In the process, the central bank will set up a purchasing point within the area where gold is extracted. Over the past two years, many parts of the country especially in Midlands and Matabeleland, have been affected by panning but the money does not find its way into the official market. Gono has shot down suggestions that the central bank had imposed a blanket amnesty on all those who had violated exchange control regulations.

Five border jumpers drown (Bulawayo, The Herald, 23/04) - Five Zimbabwean border jumpers drowned in the Limpopo River while crossing into South Africa. The bodies of the men, aged between 25 and 30, were found surrounded by crocodiles early on Wednesday morning by members of the South African Police Services. Divers from the SAPS had to fire shots to scare off the crocodiles before retrieving the bodies. SAPS police spokesperson for the Limpopo Province Captain Ailwei Mushavhanamadi said the men were trying to cross the river in an area close to the Beitbridge Border Post. Four of the men’s bodies were retrieved on Wednesday morning in an operation involving helicopters and divers from Polokwane Police Station on the South African side of the border. The first body was found on Tuesday. In an interview from Thohoyandou, South Africa, yesterday, Capt Mushavhanamadi said police received a report that the men were marooned on Tuesday. "We dispatched a team of officers to the scene and they recovered the body of the first man. "Later in the day, we received further reports that four men were trapped in the river. Unfortunately our divers could not work at night. The men drowned overnight and their bodies were retrieved on Wednesday morning," he said. Capt Mushavhanamadi said the bodies were taken to the Messina Hospital mortuary and would be repatriated to Zimbabwe. The deceased’s identities were withheld as their next of kin were yet to be informed. Capt Mushavhanamadi said officers from the Zimbabwe Republic Police were called in to assist in the operation. He said police suspected that the five were trying to enter South Africa illegally using a secret crossing point. Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South Africa Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, while expressing sorrow, said it was regrettable that some Zimbabweans continued to risk their lives by using undesignated entry points. "It is sad that our people should die in that manner. Our hearts go out to the affected families. "However, it should be noted that there are designated entry points which people can use instead of crossing swollen rivers," he said by telephone from Pretoria. Cde Moyo said the Zimbabwean embassy was in touch with the South African Ministry of Home Affairs and was being apprised of developments. He said negotiations between South Africa and Zimbabwe were also underway regarding the free movement of nationals between the two countries. "We hope a solution will be found so that there is free movement of people between our two sisterly countries. "There is a Sadc (Southern African Develop-ment Community) protocol of movement of nationals across countries in the region and we hope that will come into effect soon," said Cde Moyo.

20 Asian arrested in Zimbabwe (The Herald, 16/04) - Immigration authorities this week arrested 14 Pakistanis and six Bangladesh nationals suspected to have been brought into the country illegally by suspected human trafficker - Mahommed Durrani. Duranni, a Pakistan national, is on the run following the arrest and subsequent deportation of Iqbal Kabir of Bangladesh and Didarul Islam Bhuiyan of Pakistan late last month. The two had fake work and resident permits, which were facilitated by Duranni with the help of two Zimbabweans, Herbert Mazvisiya and Derek Masawi, who have since been arrested by police. Immigration investigating officers yesterday said they had evidence that the14 Pakistanis arrested in Harare and Bulawayo are linked to Duranni. Senior Investigating officer, Mr Evans Siziba said the Pakistanis entered the country as visitors but were found working while others had been involved in various businesses since last year."They had no work permits but we discovered they were working in various shops around Harare and Bulawayo," Mr Siziba said. The Pakistanis, some of whom are implicated in hard drugs trafficking, werealso found in possession of professional certificates suspected to have been forged.The six Bangladeshi nationals were arrested in Beitbridge last week as they tried to illegally enter into South Africa through undesignated areas.They had no South African visas and had forged Zimbabwean stamps in their passports.Mr Siziba said it was not clear how the Bangladeshis had entered Zimbabwe and what kind of activities they were involved in.

Zimbabwe-Botswana immigration officials to meet (The Herald, 16/04) - Zimbabwean and Botswana senior immigration officials will meet next month to discuss the alleged ill-treatment of Zimbabweans in Botswana.The meeting comes in the wake of numerous reports of ill-treatment of Zimbabweans at the hands of Botswana police, army, traditional chiefs and ordinary citizens in that country.Chief immigration officer Mr Elasto Mugwadi said yesterday the alleged ill-treatment of Zimbabweans will top the agenda of the meeting as there was no provision in international laws that permitted corporal punishment or ill-treatment of immigrants."We do not apply corporal punishments to some illegal immigrants here who sometimes include Botswana nationals simply because we conduct our things professionally and lawfully," Mr Mugwadi said.He said many Botswana students learn in Zimbabwe and they were not ill-treated in the country."We appreciate they might not have equally quality education facilities than ours and in our spirit of brotherhood we do not chase, ill-treat them or blame their students for preferring to learn here. We accommodate them and let them benefit from our education system," he said.Some Zimbabweans who are either caught on the wrong side of the Botswana laws or some shoppers with proper documents are arrested and taken to traditional leaders where they are allegedly lashed naked before they are deported.Some Tswanas who employ Zimbabweans allegedly call police whenever the Zimbabweans, who they regard as cheap labour, ask for their salaries.They are dragged to the traditional chiefs without their salaries and lashed with whips. "The reports are frightening and against the principles of international justice. We do not know if it is proper and lawful in Botswana for chiefs to dehumanise foreign nationals. "We have never heard of such laws anywhere before. We are hopeful that this issue will be addressed when we meet with our Botswana counterparts," Mr Mugwadi said. He, however, said the Government did not encourage Zimbabweans to flout immigration laws of any country and urged cross border traders to respect Botswana laws and adhere to conditions of their permits. Mr Mugwadi said Botswana immigration officials have indicated the need to open two new border posts at Mashambe and Mmamabaka on the southern side of Plumtree."The border posts are meant to facilitate social visits by local communities on both the Zimbabwean and Botswana sides who live close to each other but are only separated by the border."Zimbabweans from Plumtree with relatives about 10 kilometres away on the Botswana side travelled more than 150 km to the border to get passes.The ill-treatment of Zimbabweans in Botswana has irked Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri who on Tuesday described it as degrading and a blatant human rights abuse.Cde Chihuri said he had expressed his concern to his Botswana counterpart and was told that flogging Zimbabweans in public was part of that country's law.

Harare 70 may face trial in South Africa (Harare, Business Day, 15/04) - The 70 suspected mercenaries held in Zimbabwe on charges of plotting a coup in Equatorial Guinea were remanded to amid speculation they may be extradited to SA for trial. The suspects were remanded in custody on Tuesday after they appeared briefly in the Chikurubi Maximum Security prison's makeshift courtroom where they first appeared three week ago. Defence lawyers and the prosecution agreed on a further remand, saying they were still engaged in negotiations to thrash out several key issues. An official source following the case said that the suspects were "most likely to be sent to SA for trial". "Zimbabwean authorities have been debating this issue for some time and the popular view now is that they must undergo trial in SA," the source said. "As you know, SA has precise legislation to deal with mercenary activities as compared to Zimbabwe. Those who initially wanted them tried here now understand this." Zimbabwe had to scrounge for legal grounds to find charges against the alleged soldiers of fortune, who were arrested on March 7. After several delays, government finally came up with six charges, including allegations of possessing "dangerous weapons" and plotting a coup against an elected government. The suspects, from SA, Namibia, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe, were allegedly hired by exiled Equatorial Guinea rebel leader Severe Moto to overthrow President Teodoro Obiang Nguema. Dressed in prison garb, the suspects were brought before the court for a 10-minute remand hearing in pairs shackled to each other at the wrists and ankles. Relatives, journalists and security men were also present.

Flogging of Zimbabweans a human rights abuse (Bulawayo, The Herald, 15/04) - Police Commissioner Cde Augustine Chihuri on Tuesday described the ill-treatment of Zimbabweans by Botswana security agents and traditional leaders as blatant human rights abuse which should not be allowed to continue. He said the lashings Zimba-bweans were receiving at the hands of the neighbouring country's security agents and chiefs were degrading. Cde Chihuri was speaking shortly after talks with the head of the Mozambique National Police, who is also the chairman of the Southern Africa Regional Police Co-operation Organis-ation, Inspector General Miguel dos Santos. "I have talked to my Botswana counterpart about the issue and expressed my concern. They are telling us that it is their law, but we don't see it that way. We are saying - and we have told th- em - that their law violates human rights," he said. "If it is a law, they should change that law. After all laws are made by people and can be reversed by the same people. How can we have an adult being lashed in public? In Zimbabwe we do not even assault our children." Comm Chihuri said Botswana nationals and other foreigners living in Zimbabwe received the same treatment as Zimbabweans and there was no reason Zimbabweans should feel insecure in Botswana. He said the ill-treatment of Zimbabweans by Botswana authorities had been raised at various fora but the neighbouring country had continued with the abuse. Recently the Minister of State for Information and Publicity, Professor Jonathan Moyo, complained to Botswana Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Mothusi Nkgowe, about an American radio station broadcasting anti-Zimbabwe propaganda from Botswana and the ill-treat ment of Zimbabweans in that country. Over the last few years, scores of Zimbabweans have either been killed or brutally assaulted by Botswana security agents, traditional chiefs and members of the public. Among other things, Botswana authorities accuse locals visiting or residing in that country of committing crimes, and spreading Aids and foot-and-mouth disease. Hundreds of Zimbabweans have been flogged in public after being "tried and convicted" by Botswana tribal chiefs. In the meeting with Prof Moyo, Mr Nkgowe said the flogging of people suspected of having committed crimes was not illegal as it was on his country's statute books. Botswana has also faced mounting criticism over its decision to erect an electric fence on its border with Zimbabwe, ostensibly to control the movement of animals between the two countries. Critics say the fence is meant to control the movement of people between the two countries and is mainly targeted at Zimbabweans.

Solution to visa problem sought (The Herald, 13/04) - South African Ambassador to Zimba-bwe Mr Jeremiah Ndou yesterday said his government was aware of the difficulties affecting most Zimbabweans in obtaining visas to his country and was looking into possible ways of easing the problem. Mr Ndou said his government and their Zimbabwean counterparts were involved in discussions to look into the problem since most prospective visitors to South Africa were failing to get travellers’ cheques from the banks, without which they cannot obtain visas. "We never announced the easing of visa applications, but we only acknowledged the difficulties that are affecting mostly the cross-border traders in getting their visas," Mr Ndou said. He said the embassy had noted the fact that ordinary Zimbabweans were failing to get travellers’ cheques of R1 000 required to get a South African visa and was now looking into the matter. Mr Ndou, who recently met the Minister of Youth, Gender and Employment Creation, Retired Brigadier Ambrose Mutinhiri, to find a way forward concerning the issuing of visas, expressed hope that discussions would continue to find a lasting solution. Zimbabweans have been having difficulty obtaining visas to South Africa. Some of them said some bank employees were now demanding kickbacks before processing travellers’ cheques while some of the staff at the embassy were also asking for favours to process the visas. However, Mr Ndou said applicants should report any embassy staff involved in corrupt activities. He said the embassy recently fired one worker for such corrupt practices.

South Africa now safe heaven for criminals (Harare, The Herald, 13/04) - Neighbours Zimbabwe and South Africa s historical strong links go beyond trade. There is one bizarre knot in the fiery relationship - crime. Hard core criminals from both sides of the massive Limpopo River that separates the two Southern African countries have for years made billions in their own kind of dealings in contraband. But over the past few years, South Africa, with its over 30 million population, has become a safe haven for criminals escaping justice from most countries north of the Limpopo River. There are several reasons for this. One of which includes the high levels of crime in South Africa where dangerous criminals have become so notorious that they have developed sophisticated methods to outwit the police. Several criminals, who are wanted by Zimbabwes police for having committed a series of crimes, are finding refuge in South Africa, where some South African criminals are reportedly harbouring them. More often than not, police have encountered problems in trying to arrest and extradite criminals in South Africa, and this alone has derailed police efforts to bring to book criminals who continue to wreck havoc in Zimbabwe. In addition to that criminals are exploiting advances in technology to make their forgeries to detect so much it becomes difficult to flash them out. Police in Zimbabwe are now calling for closer co-operation with neighbours in South Africa to ease complications brought about by the differing laws operating in the two countries that have made operations extremely difficult. There are reports that criminals are obtaining travel documents to enable them carry out their operations without being hindered. Many have entered South Africa illegally as border jumpers and quickly go into hiding in areas like Hillbrow and Yeovil well known for crime. In one of the latest incidents that has derailed efforts to clamp down crime in the country, police recently identified a hideout in Johannesburg, South Africa, where hard core Zimbabwean criminals fleeing the country have sought refuge. Police officers tracking down a Mercedes Benz stolen in the country were told by their South African counterparts that they dared not enter the Johannesburg suburb, as it was infested with highly dangerous criminals. It is said hard-core criminals freely loiter around the area with others openly conducting drug deals. According to Zimbabwe police, South African police told them it was dangerous to go into the suburb without the assistance of specialised police and air force units. It is believed the suburb is a hideout for notorious criminals and drug traffickers from Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique and Nigeria. The Vehicle Theft Squad believes that notorious armed robbers Musa Taj Abdul, George Timozo, Charles Maratera and Lee Roy Kamurai Machokoto, who escaped from holding cells at Southerton Police Station in February, were hiding in the suburb. It is also believed that Zambian Emmanuel Mbiya suspected of smuggling stolen posh cars from South Africa and auctioning them in Zimbabwe is also in South Africa. The magnitude of the problem currently being experienced by these two countries is a clear testimony of the need to stamp out crime and all forms of lawlessness. Chief police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said cooperation between countries in the region in trying to phase out criminality was quite good. Assistant Commissioner Bvudzijena pointed out that the Zimbabwe Republic Police have on several occasions carried out joint operations with other police forces in the region.

This has resulted in the arrest of notorious criminals and the recovery of property worth millions of dollars. "We hold regular meetings, where we share information on how to curb out criminal activities within countries. "We have managed to assist other countries in arresting criminals who would have sought refuge here, and other countries have done the same for us," he said. Despite good working relations between countries Ass Comm Bvudzijena however bemoaned lack of harmonisation of legislation within the region, which he said was making it difficult for police in the region to operate without inhibitions. Said Ass Comm Bvudzijena: "Sometimes we have problem in trying to bring back stolen vehicles which would have been recovered in another country because of different legislations within countries. "Jurisdiction of any police force end within that particular country, so when such kind of things occur, we cannot do anything." Despite concerted measures to curb crime in the region, there is actually an upsurge in sophisticated and highly organised crime taking place between countries. A recent survey conducted by Southern African Region Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation, Sarpcco, concluded that there was an overwhelming evidence in the southern Africa region of the prevalence of terrorism, kidnapping, drug trafficking, rape, money laundering, cyber crimes, carjacking and illicit firearms trade. This has seen the birth of highly organised crime syndicates where criminals from one country can create "hideout fortress" for their counterparts in the region. As such police efforts to try and weed out these corrupt elements operation in the two countries and other countries in the region, would all be in vain unless authorities between the two nations, harmonise existing laws. Sarpcco has on several occasions, hold meetings to discuss issues like the extradition of offenders and the status of criminal hideouts but progress on the actual harmonisation was still minimal. Speaking at a five day Sarpcco meeting held in the country last year, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri urged parliaments to support police joint operations in the fight against crime in the region by making laws that can be applied in the entire region. "The support we have been given by the legal fraternity in the region as far as combating crime is concerned has been lukewarm, "We need the support of the legislation of the various countries for our success to be enhanced," he said. Previous joint operations held between countries have proved to be effective in dealing with highly sophisticated criminals who would have fled to other countries to escape from the wrath of the law. The arrest of Zimbabwes notorious criminals like Norman Karimanzira, jail breakers Stephen Chidhumo and Edmund Masendeke was achieved through regional police cooperation. Chidumo and Masendeke were arrested in Mozambique, while Karimanzira was nabbed in Zambia. The trio had become legendary for their high-profile criminal activities and evading arrest. However, police brought their reign of terror to an end through cooperation of neighbouring countries. Masendeke has since been executed. Cooperation among police forces in the region is necessary if regional dimension in curbing crime is to be achieved.

Comment on treatment of Zimbabweans in Botswana (Chronicle, 12/04) - The Government of Botswana should be made to account for the atrocities committed against the people of Zimbabwe in its country, analysts said this week. They said Gaborone should take concrete and drastic steps to stem the tide of public lynching, floggings, torture and killing of Zimbabweans by authorities and nationals in that country to avert the further escalation of hostilities between the countries. In interviews, analysts and political commentators said the current ill treatment of Zimbabweans in Botswana was a "recipe for disaster" and a "time bomb" which could easily spark a war between two friendly countries. They urged the Government of Zimbabwe to lodge a formal complaint with authorities in Botswana and Parliament to debate the issue with a view to coming up with ways of finding a solution to the problems experienced by locals in Botswana. "The current situation in Botswana where Zimbabweans are being ill treated cannot
go on unabated. Authorities in that country should act and act now to avert an escalation of hostilities. As it stands, relations between the two countries are not cordial and this will filter down to the citizenry. Zimbabweans are a peace loving and hospitable people. "We don't want to be forced to take the law into our own hands and illtreat our brothers and sisters from Botswana. Botswana authorities should therefore address this problem as a matter of urgency," said Mr Nacisio Makhulumo, a member of a Bulawayo based pressure group. Relations between Zimbabwe and Botswana have taken a knock over reports of widescale abuse of locals in Botswana. Public floggings of naked Zimbabwean immigrants by traditional leaders in full view of villagers, a practice which has become a source of amusement for Batswana, are well documented while the general resentment of Zimbabwean travelers and cross border traders is common in Botswana. Zimbabweans say they are being punished for voting for President Mugabe during the March 2002 presidential elections. Batswana authorities reportedly tell locals to "go back and vote Mugabe out" before they deport them to Zimbabwe. Zimbabwean visitors, traders and businessmen complain of harassment by Batswana authorities and locals. The Botswana Government has also unleashed its dreaded Special Support Group, police and the army to deal with the "scourge of Zimbabweans". Security forces have also been deployed along the country's border with Zimbabwe while an electric fence has been erected to deter Zimbabwean illegal immigrants from entering Botswana. Batswana accuse Zimbabweans of engaging in criminal activity and have enlisted the services of their kgotla or customary courts to deal with Zimbabweans. "They (Batswana) view everyone from Zimbabwe with suspicion. We have heard reports of respectable businesspeople on trips to Botswana being harassed just for being Zimbabwean. We are saying that should stop," said Mr Makhulumo. The president of Destiny of Africa Network, Reverend Obediah Musindo, said Zimbabweans were getting frustrated with the treatment meted out by Batswana. "Hostilities between our nationals are escalating in a big way. Our respective governments (Botswana and Zimbabwe) should find ways of tackling this problem. It is incumbent upon the Botswana Government to put a stop to this abuse. Sooner or later, this thing is going to boil over and matters will get out of hand. "As the church, we urge restraint. The Tswanas must understand that we are their brothers. The border that separates us is artificial as it was created by colonialism. We are one people," he said. Rev Musindo said there was a "hidden hand" driving a wedge between the governments of Botswana and Zimbabwe.

"These reports that Zimbabweans are being told to go back and vote Mugabe out should be seriously investigated. The British and Americans have always wanted to create chaos in Zimbabwe and in Botswana they have found an ally to effect their socalled regime change in the country. They are intelligently manipulating the situation so as to create a conducive environment for war between the countries. Their ultimate goal however, is regime change in Zimbabwe," he said. The US Government has a strong presence in Botswana where it has built a huge state of the art military airbase near the Kalahari Desert. Botswana has strenuously denied that the Thebephatshwa military facility was built by the Americans. Botswana also hosts a Voice of America relay station at Selebi Phikwe, which is used to beam antiGovernment propaganda into Zimbabwe. Following an announcement by the US State Department that it was working with South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique to effect regime change in Zimbabwe, the VOA recruited a number of Zimbabwean journalists to moonlight for its relay station, Studio 7, which transmits its propaganda from Botswana into Zimbabwe. The broadcasts were aimed at swaying public opinion in favour of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Despite evidence to the contrary, the Botswana Government still denies involvement in sinister plans to effect regime change in Zimbabwe.  Dr Lawton Hikwa, a political analyst and lecturer at the National University of Science and Technology, said diplomatic efforts to stop hostile broadcasts from Botswana should be intensified. "The British and American stance on Zimbabwe is well known. We should find ways of persuading our Botswana brothers to stop these broadcasts without challenging their territorial integrity and sovereignty," he said. On illtreatment of Zimbabweans in Botswana, Dr Hikwa said locals should not reciprocate what was being done to them by harassing Batswana. "As Zimbabweans we are above that. We should stay friendly and hospitable to these people so that they see the folly of their actions. We should not lower ourselves to that level. We are too 'civilised' for that," he said. Dr Hikwa applauded efforts by Zimbabwe embassy in Botswana, which has been fighting for the rights of locals in that country. "The Government, through our ambassador in Botswana, should be commended for the work being done to raise concerns about these abuses," he said. The abuse of Zimbabweans, which have been widely reported in Chronicle, other local media and Botswana newspapers, has incensed ordinary Zimbabweans. A recent documentary on national television, ZTV, showing Zimbabweans who had been flogged with sjamboks at customary courts provoked fury from viewers who condemned the practice as barbaric and outdated. The victims exhibited cuts, lacerations and deep wounds inflicted by chiefs at customary courts. Other immigrants complained of rape, torture and "enslavement" by Batswana nationals.

Exchange rate key to harnessing diaspora funds (Harare, Financial Gazette, 08/04) - The country continues to face foreign currency shortages. This is evidenced by the fact that one cannot easily go to a bank and buy foreign currency for various purposes without applying for it from the Reserve Bank through one's bank. If the intended use is not considered to be of national importance, the application is rejected. If efforts are made to get the foreign currency outside the banking sector then one would have violated exchange rate regulations by operating on the parallel market. Such occurrences truly show that foreign currency is scarce and therefore has to be rationed through administrative allocations. The results of foreign currency shortages are clear. Fuel is not available in the required amounts, hence the long queues. The recent decision by the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) to re-introduce steam locomotive to save diesel is testimony of the extent of the foreign currency woes. It is against this background that the authorities continue to make frantic efforts to ameliorate the situation by putting in place measures to improve the foreign currency sources namely, exports, capital inflows and foreign direct investments (FDI). For instance, in the case of the export sector, a mechanism has been put in place that has seen the currency depreciating from a level of Z$824 per US dollar to current levels of around Z$4 468. In the case of capital inflows some arrangements have been made by the Reserve Bank to reduce our payments arrears with international creditors in a bid to re-engage them, especially the Bretton Woods institutions. In the case of FDI, the Reserve Bank intends to enhance the country's attractiveness to foreign investors by expediting exchange control applications and guaranteeing a turnaround of not longer than 14 days from date of receipt of application for investment clearances. The central bank will set up a foreign direct investment unit which will coordinate activities to promote foreign investments. It is against this background that the government has decided to target Zimbabweans living abroad in a bid to access the foreign currency they have. In fact, capital inflows through money transfers can be a very effective way of moping up foreign currency to sustain the country's balance of payments position provided an effective incentive mechanism is present to access the foreign currency. This idea of accessing foreign currency from Zimbabweans living abroad was first introduced in the 2003 National Budget. In the budget statement, the government said it would incentivise non-resident Zimbabweans so that they could remit foreign currency through the formal banking channels under a fund administered through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The idea did not materialise because no institutional structures, implementation modalities and incentive system had been put in place. In fact, a number of local players were granted exchange control approval to operate money transfers systems since the announcement of the system but the benefit to the economy in terms of foreign currency inflows could not be realised and measured because of lack of proper regulatory framework and incentives.

For instance, there are certain businesspeople who were picking foreign currency outside Zimbabwe and disbursing local currency to local beneficiaries but the foreign currency collected offshore hardly found its way into Zimbabwe. It is against this background that the idea of getting foreign currency from non-resident Zimbabweans was brought back in the 2004 National Budget. In the statement the government said it would put in place institutional structures and implementation modalities through the Reserve Bank to mobilise foreign currency from non-resident Zimbabweans through the formal financial system. The regulatory framework comes in the form of an exchange control piece of legislation known as Statutory Instrument 77 of 2004 otherwise known as Exchange Control (Money Transfer Agencies) Order 2004 and made public on 26 March 2004. The Statutory Instrument requires every individual or entity involved in the Money Transfer Business (MTB) in Zimbabwe to be registered and to operate from an identifiable, inspected and proper place of business. The mode of transmission for the foreign currency received from offshore has been standardised and in line with proper banking payment arrangements to avoid leakages. Although this is a noble effort by the authorities to improve the country's foreign currency generation capacity, it should be noted that the legislation is silent on the incentive system - the exchange rate. Although it is potentially possible for the entities to profitably operate these MTBs, their success lies in whether it is profitable to the non-resident Zimbabweans to remit their money through these channels. Although we now have effective laws to deal with the parallel market here in Zimbabwe, I do not think that the laws are effective when it comes to Zimbabweans living abroad, although one can argue that they will be doing business with somebody here in Zimbabwe. One should however bear in mind the fact that such transactions normally take place among social circles, that is, among people who are socially related - relatives and friends. As a result, it is difficult to uncover such transactions. This means that while it may be viable for companies here in Zimbabwe to operate MTBs, the same should apply to these people living in other countries as they first of all compare various exchange rates, which may not be necessarily auction rates plus the various transaction costs. The solution under such circumstances is to let the market determine the exchange rate without any RBZ controls. The problem with such an arrangement is that it results in a dual or multiple exchange rate system as we will have the Z$824 for official transactions, the auction rate and the market rate. How then do we separate these markets, especially the last two, without exporters and other local people with foreign currency also wanting to use the attractive market rate? Right now we have the issue of exporters lobbying the authorities to review the current exchange rate regime, which has a low blend rate? The authorities should seriously consider the exchange rate issue if the MTB is to work in a bid to solve our foreign currency woes!

Zimbabwe, Malawi to bring down barriers to trade (Harare, Financial Gazette, 08/04) - Zimbabwe is working with the Malawian government to facilitate smooth trade between the two countries. Industry and International Trade Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi confirmed the talks, saying the officials would meet to iron out barriers to exports. "A high-powered delegation is in Malawi to facilitate smooth trade relations between the two countries," he said. "The delegation from the Industry and International Trade ministry returned over the weekend." Zimbabwean exporters have, in the past three years, been facing resistance to their products in the Zambian and Malawian markets because of the weakening local currency that has rendered their goods cheaper compared to its neighbours. Zambia and Malawi have in the recent past barred selected Zimbabwean hardware and food products from their market, citing anti-dumping regulations. Harare has, in turn, argued that these moves were against the spirit of regional trade protocols under the auspices of the Southern African Development Community (sadc) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Zimbabwe exports tobacco, textiles, beef, gold, cotton, flowers and horticultural products, asbestos, ferro-alloys and other minerals to various countries throughout the world. In turn, the country imports chemicals, machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and petroleum products. Zimbabwe is a member of several multilateral organisations that provide avenues for trade and trade-enhancing activities. Investors in the country enjoy preferential treatment in regional and international markets through Zimbabwe's membership to SADC and COMESA. The country also has bilateral trade agreements with Malawi, South Africa, Egypt, Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique. Efforts are underway for bilateral trade arrangements with countries in the Far East. The country's comesa membership provides potential for increased trade in a market of approximately 320 million people. The COMESA free trade area will enjoy an accelerated reduction of tariffs, making it easy for Zimbabwean exports to enter the regional market.

Zimbabwe mercenaries claim abuse (Harare, Sunday Times, 08/04) - Zimbabwe will investigate allegations by some of the 70 suspected mercenaries detained for allegedly plotting a coup in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea that they were beaten in a Harare prison, a state-run daily said. Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa was quoted by the Herald newspaper as saying that the prison guards who allegedly beat the 18 prisoners and doused them with water could face disciplinary measures. The ministry would "investigate the circumstances of the alleged assaults with a view to bringing disciplinary charges, if warranted, against the prison officers identified by the mercenaries to have allegedly carried out the assaults," Chinamasa was quoted as saying. A group of 67 suspected mercenaries were arrested on March 7 on a plane at Harare International Airport, and another three men were detained when they came to meet them at the airport. All 70 were allegedly on their way to Equatorial Guinea to topple President Obiang Nguema. They have been linked to 15 supposed putchists jailed in the tiny oil-rich country on Africa's western coast, of whom one has died of cerebral malaria, according to authorities in Malabo. The 70 men being held at a maximum security prison in Harare, mostly from Angola, Namibia, and South Africa, claim they were hired in South Africa to be security guards at a diamond mine in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  Thev face several charages includina possession of dangerous weapons and breaching Zimbabwe's firearms and immigration laws. State lawyers say they could be jailed for life if found guilty.

Tourist arrivals continue to grow (The Sunday Mail, 04/04) - Despite negative publicity from the Western media, Zimbabwe's tourist arrivals continue to grow with a total 2,2 million tourists visiting the country last year compared with 2,041 million in 2002. Last year's figure also surpassed the 1999 arrivals when tourism was at its peak. Statistics released by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZT A) to New Ziana last week show a steady rise of tourist arrivals from around 250 000 in 1980 to the current figure. Tourism receipts, however, declined from US$75,7 million in 2002 to US$44, I million last year, largely as a result of the foreign currency parallel market that saw a decline in the levels offorex being channelled into the official market. The country's highest tourism earnings were in 1995 when a total of US$144,6 million was realised. The ZT A said of the total arrivals last year, 14 percent were from overseas markets while the United Kingdom, Germany, United States and South Africa remained the country's key markets. Arrivals from the Asian market continued to increase and contributed the largest number of arrivals at 40 percent. A total of 40791 visitors from Asia came into the country last year compared with 29 075 who visited in 2002. The main contributors to the increase were Japan, India and China, which recently awarded Zimbabwe the prestigious Approved Destination Status (ADS). "China should be considered seriously to maximise on the recently awarded ADS to increase traffic flow to Zimbabwe," the ZT A said. It said the good relations between Zimbabwe and China posed a lot of potential for Zimbabwe's tourism sector, adding that there was need to move into the emerging market quickly as other African countries, including Egypt, South Africa and Zambia, had also been warded the ADS. The ZT A said the growth of the European market by 13 percent, surpassing the growth of the African market at 10 percent, was very positive in light of the negative publicity the country has been receiving in the market. "However, arrivals from UK, America and Australia continued declining as the hostility between these countries and Zimbabwe continued," it said. The majority of visitors, the ZTA said, continued to come by road, with Beitbridge being the busiest entry port. Thirty-one percent of the total visitors in 2003 used Beitbridge as the entry port, while the majority of international visitors continued to come through airports, with Harare International Airport being the busiest with 82 percent of all arrivals by air. The ZT A said while visitor arrivals increased in 2003 compared with 2002, the same could not be said about hotel occupancies. "This can be attributed to the fact that most visitors are staying with relatives and friends. There is also an increase in accommodation facilities, especially lodges in urban areas." Local entries into national parks decreased by 35 percent while foreign entries increased by 20 percent. The ZT A said investment into the tourism sector had been affected as the country continued to be perceived as unstable. Meanwhile, the ZT A said the Zimbabwe Investment Centre approved seven tourism projects worth $1,9 billion and created about 313 jobs last year.

Nigeria welcomes Zimbabwean farmers (The Zimbabwe Independent, 02/04) - Displaced Zimbabwean commercial farmers have found a new base in Nigeria's Kwara State following an invitation to resuscitate commercial agriculture in that country by President Olusegun Obasanjo. A team of six Zimbabwean farmers returned from Nigeria last week after a week-long visit to investigate the potential for commercial agriculture. The team visited Kwara State in western Nigeria at the invitation of state governor, Dr Bukola Saraki. Zimbabwean farmers have also been to other countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Mozambique. In Nigeria the farmers were welcomed at State House in Abuja by President Obasanjo who said he wanted to see Zimbabwe's agricultural skills remain in Africa rather than be lost elsewhere. The farmers however made it clear to Obasanjo that they would not accept expropriated land after their experiences in Zimbabwe Team leader, Alan Jack of the Commercial Farmers Union, said he would be returning to Nigeria towards the end of this month for further discussions and a look into irrigation potential and availability of finance.Nigeria's farms have been largely neglected since was discovered 40 years ago, and 98% of all committee consumables, especially food, are imported. The Nigerian government is understood to be eager to resuscitate commercial agriculture to reduce the import bill.  "Recognising its lack of skills in commercial agriculture, the Nigerian government has turned 
to Zimbabwe's proven expertise," Jack said. Kwara State is slightly smaller than Zimbabwe, and there are vast tracts of unutilised land which would be suitable for production of crops such as sugar cane, rice and tropical fruits. "During the tour we looked at several existing agricultural projects, starting with more than 20 000 hectares of derelict sugar estates on the Niger River, which have the potential for enormous production and an unused sugar mill," Jack said. "We were taken to a rice growing area, where rice is currently grown in paddy fields, but ideally should be grown under overhead irrigation. We also visited a tobacco growing area," he said. Nigeria produces 300000 kg of tobacco annually. The crop is bought by one of the two processors in the country. Most of the tobacco consumed in the country of 130 million people is imported. It is however understood government has introduced a ban on the importation of tobacco with effect from the end of 2005 to encourage local production. "Because of the high temperatures and Iow altitude in the state, we were not confident that high yields could be obtained. However, there was still potential," Jack said. "We were also shown a few small cashew plantations. The trees fare well there but the marketing structure for the nuts is not well established and could be developed," he said. Jack said that since his team had a representative from the dairy industry the farmers also visited a dairy farm where 108 cows are milked and the milk is processed on the farm and sold in the surrounding towns. Nigeria generally has only powdered milk which it imports. There is no fresh milk available. "The government spends US$300m annually on importing milk products in powder form, and was very keen to see the establishment of a dairy industry in the country," Jack said.  He said there is also very little poultry production in Nigeria, with imports of chicken amounting to US$750 million annually. By 2007 there will be a ban on the importation of poultry products. "However, because no maize is grown in the country, the availability of stockfeed is a problem, and any development of both a dairy and poultry industry will have to run hand in hand with the growing of stockfeed," he said.  Jack said Dr Saraki expressed an interest in the development of an export horticultural industry in his state. The state airport is currently being upgraded to handle cargo, and flight times to the markets in Europe are only five hours. Jack said in addition to the huge potential in crop production, there is also a tremendous need for research and development in areas such as maize and tobacco varieties, which are suitable to the climate.


Updated 07 July 2004