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Bennett trial adjourned to Monday

By Violet Gonda
14 January 2010

The terrorism trial of MDC Treasurer General Roy Bennett continued in the
High Court on Thursday with the prosecution still trying to impeach their
own key witness, allegedly for making contradicting statements. At the end
of the day the judge postponed the trial to Monday to make his decision.

Prosecutor Johannes Tomana (who is also the Attorney General) had earlier in
the week not complied with the rules required for an impeachment and now had
to show the court how Hitschmann was departing from statements he made when
he was arrested in 2006.

The State's case rests on the evidence of the firearms dealer, who they say
implicated the MDC official in a plot to destabilise the former ZANU PF
government. But when the trial had resumed earlier in the week Hitschmann
reaffirmed what he had been saying all along - that he had been tortured
into incriminating Bennett.

On Wednesday Tomana had called on the court to impeach his witness because
of the so-called contradicting statements. But Justice Chinembiri Bhunu said
he could not order an impeachment to take place because the State had not
followed the laid down procedure for this.

Defence lawyer Trust Maanda told SW Radio Africa that because of this Tomana
then tried to show the court that Hitschmann had made contradicting
statements. But Hitschmann re-stated that he was tortured into making the
statements in 2006.

If impeached Hitschmann would be declared a hostile witness and would be
cross-examined by the State as if he was a witness for the other party.
Maanda pointed out; "Once you impeach your witness you are saying his
evidence must be discredited, but you are not necessarily saying all
evidence must be thrown away."

Maanda added; "The defence is saying the so-called confessions by Hitschmann
are inadmissible against their client and so we are waiting for the court to
make a ruling on this."

Meanwhile the fire arms dealer described the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe as his
biggest client, saying that at one time they ordered ammunition from him
amounting to 20 000 rounds.


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Prosecutor says own witness damaging Bennett case

Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:39pm GMT

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's attorney general accused the state's own chief
witness on Thursday of seeking to damage the terrorism case against MDC
politician Roy Bennett by giving evidence that was favourable to Bennett.

Bennett -- an ally of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who formed a
coalition government with President Robert Mugabe last year -- has denied
the charges, which carry a maximum death sentence, and says he is being
persecuted by Mugabe's ZANU-PF.

The prosecution, led by attorney general Johannes Tomana, wants the High
Court to convict Bennett by relying on written confessions and a video
recording made by gun trader and former policeman Peter Hitschmann in 2006.

But Hitschmann, who has previously disowned the confessions, on Thursday
denied being involved in an anti-government plot with Bennett and repeated
that he was tortured to implicate the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)

Tomana said Hitschmann's evidence in court would damage the state's case but
he would seek to show that Hitschmann's confessions were made voluntarily
and would cross-examine him to discredit statements he has made in court.

"The state is of the view that the witness is deliberately being adverse to
the state case with the view to unlawfully shield the accused person,"
Tomana said.

"The evidence that has been adopted as the truth by the witness has the
effect of damaging the state's case or prejudicing the state."

The arrest of Bennett last February while his MDC colleagues were being
sworn in as ministers in the coalition government, and his trial, have
heightened tensions in the administration.

High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu asked Hitschmann to explain the
discrepancies in his evidence in court and the written and video confessions
he made in 2006.

Hitschmann told the court he had no links with Bennett and did not buy
weapons of war. He disowned some of the weapons attributed to him by the
state as well as e-mail print-outs purportedly showing communication between
him and Bennett.

He said he was tortured into making confessions at a military barracks in
March 2006.

"The prosecution, in my humble view, has not played a fair game in forcing
through this so called evidence. I continue to deny any and all statements
whether signed or unsigned or video which differ in content with my
consistent testimony in my trial and in these proceedings," Hitschmann said.

Hitschmann, 49, was jailed for possession of dangerous weapons in 2006, a
conviction and sentence he is appealing, but was acquitted on the more
serious terrorism charges.

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Zimbabwe terrorism trial witness recounts torture by authorities

Jan 14, 2010, 16:16 GMT

Harare - A witness in the trial of a Zimbabwean official accused of
terrorism and insurgency recounted Thursday how he had been tortured by
state agents seeking his testimony.

Michael Hitschmann has turned into a problematic witness for the state as it
attempts to prosecute junior agriculture minister - designate Roy Bennett of
terrorism and insurgency charges.

Although he has admitted under oath to knowing Bennett, Hitschmann has
distanced himself from video testimony in which he says Bennett was buying
arms from him for a rebellion. He has also stated that he has no knowledge
of emails in which he and Bennett allegedly discuss an overthrow of the

Prosecutors allege Hitschmann, an arms dealer, was paid by Bennett to buy
weapons to assassinate government officials.

Bennett, a white former commercial farmer and opposition activist has been
charged with illegal possession of weapons for purposes of terrorism,
banditry and insurgency. A senior official of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), he has pleaded not guilty the charges.

The MDC says the case against him is politically motivated and aimed at
keeping him out of the unity government it formed with President Robert
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party last February.

On Thursday, Hitschmann called into question the veracity of the video
confession, in which he identifies arms allegedly sold to Bennett, arguing
that he had been beaten just prior to its filming.

'The people who caused this video to be filmed, your honour, are the very
people who tortured me,' he testified. 'Despite burning my buttocks with
cigarettes, kicking me in the testicles, and allowing me to urinate upon
myself ... having caused me a head injury to my right temple, on the video
evidence they conveniently do not show my face and hence you fail to see the

He said the video had been shot after he had been tortured, restrained in
leg irons and handcuffs and denied medical treatment or the ability to clean

Hitschmann's testimony has led prosecutors to accuse Bennett's team of
influencing Hitschmann and Hitschmann of siding with Bennett.

Prosecutors now seek to withdraw him as a witness. Hitschmann, meanwhile,
has sought legal advice as to whether testifying in Bennett's trial could
harm his appeal in the Supreme Court against a 2006 conviction for
possession of arms of war without a licence.

Presiding Judge Chinembiri Bhunu is expected to rule Monday on whether
impeachment proceedings against Hitschmann can continue.

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Zimbabwe power-sharing talks resume Saturday : Official

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Power-sharing talks between Zimbabwe's main political
parties are set to resume Saturday, a spokesman for Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai announced here Thursday.

The latest round of talks is expected to finalise all outstanding issues
that have threatened to derail the country's fragile power-sharing
government formed last February by Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), ZANU PF of President Robert Mugabe and a breakaway MDC faction
headed by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

"All three parties in the ruling coalition would participate in the
negotiations that adjourned last year on 23 December," the spokesman said in
a statement.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is mediating in the
political dispute between the MDC and ZANU PF but the regional leaders have
so far failed to push the Zimbabwean parties to fully implement terms of a
power-sharing pact they signed in 2008.

The unresolved issues include the swearing in of MDC treasurer Roy Bennett
as deputy agriculture minister and disputed appointments of provincial
governors, attorney general and central bank governor.

Also outstanding are issues concerning the review of ministerial
allocations, parallel government structures, conferment of national hero
status, the chairing of Cabinet, Cabinet rules and the role and position of
the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information, George Charamba.

Charamba has been accused of leading a campaign of hate speech aimed at
derailing the coalition government.


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Police arrest 25 students over Bindura University demo

By Lance Guma
14 January 2010

Twenty-five students were arrested at Bindura University on Thursday, after
a demonstration over exorbitant tuition fees which have resulted in at least
40 percent of students being denied access to write their exams. Earlier in
the morning Zimbabwe National Students Unions (ZINASU) President Joshua
Chinyere, Secretary General Grant Tabvurei and 5 others were arrested and
detained at Bindura Central Police Station.

ZINASU, which represents students countrywide, split into two factions last
year over serious management and ideological differences. A statement
released by the faction led by one of the arrested, Joshua Chinyere, said
over 850 students were denied access to write their exams after the
university demanded payment of outstanding fees. Tuition fees are currently
pegged between US$400 and US$850, depending on the course, but the students
say the majority cannot afford to pay this.

As the day progressed on Thursday police continued picking up more and more
students, with ZINASU confirming the arrest of a further 18. 'The continued
crackdown is meant to inflict fear on the students to stop the demonstration
but the students remain adamant to continue protesting until their
grievances are addressed,' the union said. They also expressed
disappointment that the inclusive government had so far failed to deal with
their grievances and had allowed the situation to worsen.

Efforts were being made during the day to secure the release of the arrested
students. Former ZINASU President Brilliant Dube told Newsreel that several
students were injured in skirmishes with the riot police who were deployed
to deal with the demonstration. Some of the injured were transferred to
hospitals in Harare for treatment. Dube also said ZINASU coordinator Mfundo
Mlilo, lawyers from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and the Students
Solidarity Trust were intervening to help secure the release of those


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SADC Troika meets in Maputo to discuss Zimbabwe

By Tichaona Sibanda
14 January 2010

The SADC Troika on Politics, Defence and Security held a summit in Maputo on
Thursday to consider, among other issues, reports on developments in
Zimbabwe's inclusive government.

The summit came just two days before negotiators from ZANU PF and the two
MDC formations begin another round of talks on Saturday, which are supposed
to thrash out the remaining and most contentious issues in the Global
Political Agreement (GPA).

Most of the region's leaders were in Maputo for the inauguration of
Mozambique's President Armando Guebuza. Guebuza, who first came into power
in 2005, won a re-election in November last year and began his second and
final five year term on Thursday.

Robert Mugabe attended the inauguration ceremony and left soon after
attending a luncheon hosted by Guebuza, according to Fred Katerere, a Maputo
based journalist. Katerere told us reports in the media that Mugabe was to
attend the Troika meeting were incorrect.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who had also been invited, did not attend
because of a prior engagement. Tsvangirai, who is on holiday in South
Africa, is expected in Harare on Friday. He officially starts work on
Monday. Tsvangirai' spokesman, James Maridadi, told SW Radio Africa he
believed the summit was a report back meeting which did not need the
presence of the Prime Minister.

'This can only be a report back summit on security in the region and not a
meeting specifically on Zimbabwe. For it to qualify as a SADC summit on
Zimbabwe all the three principals to the GPA must be available and be
involved in the discussions,' Maridadi said.

The Maputo summit hosted by Guebuza, the current chair of the Troika, was
attended by the past chair Swaziland, represented in Maputo by Prime
Minister Subusiso Dlamini and the Troika deputy chair Zambian President
Rupiah Banda. Also in attendance was the SADC chairperson Joseph Kabila,
President of the Democratic Republic of Congo and South African President
Jacob Zuma, who is the facilitator for the Zimbabwe crisis.

Last week a ministerial conference of SADC foreign affairs ministers joined
South Africa in expressing concern at the slow pace in Harare at resolving
outstanding issues in the power-sharing government. The ministers warned
that further delays could lead to more serious problems.

An analyst told us the SADC leaders could have 'quietly' urged Mugabe in
Maputo to expedite talks with Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara to resolve the
outstanding issues.

The impasse in the talks continues to be the failure by Mugabe and his ZANU
PF party to implement in full the GPA reached with the two MDC formations in
September 2008.

Tsvangirai objects in particular to Mugabe's unilateral re-appointment of
Gideon Gono as Governor of the central bank and Johannes Tomana as
Attorney-General. Gono is regarded as being directly responsible for the
destruction of the economy and for helping to fund the repression. Tomana
has been one of the main architects of the ongoing harassment  of MDC and
human rights activists.

Other issues at stake include the appointment of provisional governors, and
the delay in swearing in MDC treasurer Roy Bennett, who is the nominee for
the post of deputy Agriculture Minister.

Lack of progress on these issues led Tsvangirai to disengage from the
inclusive government last year. He refused to attend cabinet meetings, and
made a tour of the region to explain his position to other SADC leaders.

The upshot of this tour, particularly of Tsvangirai's meeting with Guebuza,
was that a SADC Troika mission and a South African facilitation team visited
the country towards the end of last year. Thursday's summit was expected to
receive reports from these missions.

A source in South Africa, who has seen a report compiled by Zuma's
facilitation team, said it listed all the obstacles to the full and
effective implementation of the GPA. The report also recommends how some of
these obstacles can be overcome.

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Zimbabwe Civil Servants Crisis Meeting

Harare, January 14 - A crisis meeting called by the Ministry of Public
Service late on Wednesday in desperate attempts to avert a crippling strike
in the next two weeks by civil servants ended in another deadlocked, setting
the stage for a bruising confrontation between the coalition government and
public workers.

In a rare show of unity among the country's civil services, the Public
Service Association (PSA), the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) and the
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PUTZ) on Wednesday issued a
fourteen-day ultimate to the coalition government, demanding substantial
increases to their salaries and improvement in working conditions or risk a
crippling strike.

On Monday the civil servants rejected a government offer to pay the highest
public worker US$236 a month.

The civil servants want US$630, inclusive of housing and transport
allowances, for the least paid civil servant per month, money the
cash-strapped coalition government does not have.

Elphas Mukonoweshuro, the Minister of Public Service, together with his
deputy Andrew Langa, later on Wednesday summoned representatives of PSA,
ZIMTA and PUTZ in what sources said were fire-fighting measures to prevent a
nationwide strike.

"We were called for a meeting by the Minister (Mukonoweshuro) but nothing
came out of it," Sifiso Ndlovu, the chief executive officer of ZIMTA told
VOP Radio on Thursday.

"The Minister said he will immediately take the issue to the principals,
that is President (Robert) Mugabe, Prime Minister (Morgan) Tsvangirai and
Deputy Prime Minister (Arthur) Mutambara," said Ndlovu, adding that civil
servants union leaders hoped to here from Minister Mukonoweshuro soon.

"It was emphasized to him (Mukonoweshuro) that this issue is a state of
emergency," added Ndlovu.

Mukonoweshuro confirmed meeting civil servants representatives at his
offices late on Wednesday but denied that an ultimatum had been issued.

"The 14-days is to for consultations over their grievances. I don't see it
as an ultimatum. The window period allows for consultations and further
negotiations," the Minister told VOP Radio.

Previously, ZIMTA, PSA and PUTZ have separately tackled the government over
poor salaries, moves which rendered the actions ineffective due to

It is understood the Ministry of Public Services has been in constant
consultation with Finance Minister Tendai Biti over the threat by civil
servants to go on strike if their demands are not meet.

Biti has publicly stated the coalition government is technically broke due
to revenue constraints and appeals to the international community have drawn
a blank as they insist on the full implementation of the Global Political
Agreement signed by the three principals.

A full perusal of the government offer shows that the effected salary
increases range between US$7 and US$21.

The highest paid civil servant, a permanent secretary in grade E5, has seen
his or her monthly salary increased from US$185 to US$236 against a Poverty
Dictum Line estimated about US$500.

In their demands to government the civil servants have stated that they want
the least paid civil servant to earn US$630, comprising of a basic entry
salary of US$460, a housing allowance of US$120 and a transport allowance of

They also want a the reintroduction of a rural allowance to be pegged at 20
percent of one's monthly salary, arguing that awarding the civil servants
these demands would ensure equitable remuneration and guarantee
competitiveness.   The Poverty Dictum Line is estimated at about US$500.

At its inception in February 2009, the government paid all civil servants an
allowance of US$100 a month.

The allowances were later changed to a monthly salary, which averages about

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Zimbabwe Women Claim Economic Reforms Made Them 'Poorer'

Harare, January 14, 2009 - Zimbabwe's women claim that the Short Term
Emergency Recovery programme (STERP), aimed at improving the economy,
actually made them "poorer", Radio VOP can reveal.

In a document the women, led by the country's Deputy Prime Minister,
Thokozani Khupe, said :"STERP also acknowledges that women's presence in key
decision-making positions is minimal and this has been compounded by unsound
market liberalisation policies which have resulted in the feminisation of
Khupe made the document available to local and international investors last
It is called "Prospectus on investing in women".
The women said poverty levels remained higher for females than males.
It said the Poverty Assessment Study Survey (PASS II) suggested that
structural unemployment was higher for females (70 percent) than males (56
percent) because of the inclusion of the very poor and poor in agriculture
and informal economy who are largely women.
"Rural areas had a higher structural unemployment rate (62 percent) than
urban areas (35 percent)," the document said. "These findings suggest that
structural unemployment is high in Zimbabwe, in both rural and urban areas,
with the rate higher for rural areas and women."
In a Foreword to the document Khupe, who is Vice President of the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC-T), said  women leaders had a duty and
responsibility to improve and inspire each other and ensure that they were
not relegated by society to perpetual consumers but to become producers of
the bread basket of Africa.
She said :"The positive effect of the inclusive government can be measured
by its ability to impact positively on the lives of women in Zimbabwe
regardless of race, religion, social class or political affiliation."

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Zimbabwe Lawyer Acquitted

Harare, January 14, 2010 - A Harare Magistrate has acquitted prominent
Harare lawyer Mordecai Mahlangu, who was being accused for trying to
prejudice the state case for Roy Bennett's trial by obstructing the course
of justice.

Magistrate Archie Wochiunga on Thursday ruled in favour Mahlangu's
application for refusal of further remand arguing that the facts on the
State case did not constitute an offence.
"It is the finding of this court that from the wording of the letter there
was no intention by the accused (Mahlangu) to prejudice the State case (Roy
Bennett's trial) that is going on at the High Court.
The letter is a legal opinion for a legal practitioner (Mahlangu) to another
legal practitioner (Attorney General Johannes Tomana). The application for
the refusal of further remand is hereby granted," ruled Wochiunga.
He stood accused of writing a letter to the Attorney General's office
purporting to be Peter Michael Hitschmann, the state's key witness in the
trial of MDC treasurer general Bennett. In the letter Mahlangu is said to
have written that the Mutare arms dealer would not testify in the ongoing
trial of Bennett because the evidence that the state recorded was obtained
through torture.
A relieved Mahlangu told journalists outside the court that the decision
reaffirms his faith in the legal system "which had been shaken by the recent
"I hope this will be applied to all legal practitioners who have been
persecuted for doing their work as lawyers," said Mahlangu.
Advocate Happias Zhou said the ruling vindicates them on their complaints
that the AG's office has not been run professionally.
The State was being represented by prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba and he did not
challenge the ruling.
During the court application Nyazamba had argued that Hitschmann was a
"competent and a compellable witness" who will help the state case against

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Zimbabwe Leaders Pressed To Denounce Violence

Harare, January 14, 2010 - A special Parliamentary Select Committee
spearheading the country's on-going constitution making process is pressing
President Robert Mugabe to publicly speak against acts of violence ahead of
the deployment of members of the constitutional outreach teams.

Douglas Mwonzora the committee's co-chairperson said his committee had
requested that Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai publicly speak against
violence to facilitate the creation of a conducive atmosphere for
Zimbabweans to freely express what they want included in the, making of the
country's new constitution.

"We have asked the GPA chief negotiators to come and address the outreach
team on the issue of violence. We hope it will help," said Mwonzora.

"We want to create an atmosphere where our people can express themselves. We
wanted the GPA principals to come and launch the outreach programme but they
are not in the country. We wanted them to denounce violence and preach

Mwonzora said it is an emperical fact that some sectors of the Zimbabwean
society were traumatized in 2008 by the Zanu PF led government whose
manpower is still place.

"The apparatus and machinery still exist. But Zimbabweans must get out of
that problem by doing something about it. They suffered because the
constitutional set up allowed it. We have to change this," said Mwonzora.

But Mwonzora's came at a time when the MDC reported that there is a
resurgence of violence in Mashonaland East. The MDC said Zanu PF is
organising villagers registering everyone in preparation for the public
outreach programme.

The committee wants to prevent the outbreak of violence like the one
witnessed in the run up to the June 2008 Presidential run off election.

On Tuesday war veterans threatened to turn the whole constitution making
process upside down when they threatened to beat up members of the civil
society who differed with them on particular areas of the constitution
making roadmap.

The war veterans did not want civic society members to contribute to the
making up of the thematic committee which deals with issues concerns war
veterans and the country's liberation struggle.


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Zim to be sued over ongoing seizures of SA farms

By Alex Bell
14 January 2010

South African civil rights initiative AfriForum has won a High Court bid
allowing them to sue the Zimbabwean government over land invasions on South
African owned farms in Zimbabwe.

Legal papers are now set to be served on Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
and Attorney General Johannes Tomana next week, over what AfriForum has
called the 'cruel' and 'revengeful' takeover of South African owned land.
The civil rights group launched an urgent bid in court on Wednesday to cite
the Zimbabwe government as a respondent in their case, brought forward on
behalf of three South African farmers who have all recently been violently
forced off their farms in Zimbabwe. AfriForum is trying to enforce a
regional ruling made in 2008 that Robert Mugabe's so-called land 'reform'
exercise was unlawful. The ruling was handed down by the human rights court
of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which also ordered the
Mugabe government to ensure the protection of farmers and their rights to
their land.

But the ruling has been openly ignored and land invasions, taking place
under the guise of land 'reform', have intensified this year, including the
violent invasions on South African owned farms. The government has also
dismissed the ruling, with Chinamasa announcing it was 'pulling out' of the
Tribunal and would no longer recognise the court's rulings. This
conveniently opened the floodgates for intensified and lawless land attacks,
that to date, SADC has done nothing to prevent.

AfriForum's legal representative Willie Spies, told SW Radio Africa on
Thursday that it is this 'disregard' for the Tribunal that has forced
farmers to try get the ruling enforced in other SADC member states. Spies
explained that the group is trying to 'set a precedent' where other SADC
countries can enforce the SADC land ruling in their countries. He continued
that the case against the Zimbabwe government will be heard in South Africa
next month, where the group will further try to get SADC's ruling registered
and enforced in South Africa. He explained that this will be in order to use
it against Zimbabwe, from within South Africa, to seek compensation for the
farmers that have already lost land.

"We will also try and register the amount to which farmers are entitled to
in court and look at the possibility of recovering it, using Zimbabwean
assets here in South Africa. Zimbabwean government's top brass have plenty
of assets here," Spies said.

In recent weeks a number of South African farming families, mainly in the
Rusape area, have been forcibly evicted from their land, while others have
been notified that their properties will be seized in the coming week. Dolf
du Toit and his family left their property last week after days of violence
and intimidation. Their forced eviction came in the wake of two other
evictions, including that of Manda Farm's Ray Finaughty, who fled his home
with his family on Christmas Eve amid increasing violence by land invaders.

The evictions have come just weeks after South Africa and Zimbabwe signed a
bilateral investment protection agreement, meant to offer the farmers some
form of safety net against invasion. AfriForum had originally tried to stop
the signing of the document, over fears it would fail those South African
farmers whose land has been expropriated under the land grab campaign. But
the government made assurances that it would protect its citizens in
Zimbabwe, and as a result the investment pact was eventually signed. Both
governments have since argued that the document is not yet valid because it
hasn't been ratified in parliament, leaving the South African farmers with
no protection.

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Group: Returning Zimbabweans at risk in S. Africa

 Thursday, 01.14.10

Associated Press Writer

JOHANNESBURG -- Zimbabweans crossing illegally into neighboring South Africa
after holidays at home are being raped and robbed by gangs on both sides of
the border, a medical aid group said Thursday.

Medecins Sans Frontieres officials said hundreds of Zimbabweans who work in
South Africa have been coming back across the border daily over the past
week after spending Christmas and New Year's in Zimbabwe.

MSF teams treated 10 rape victims in just six days at the beginning of
January. Last year, the aid group said, there were about 15 rapes reported
each month. Injuries suffered during robberies also were up significantly,
according to the group also known as Doctors Without Borders.

Giuseppe Demola, who heads MSF operations at the main crossing at Musina,
attributed the crime increase to the holiday spike in border crossings.

"There are these gangs that ... are attacking almost systematically," he
said, saying both Zimbabwean and South African criminals were involved.

MSF has called on South Africa to open its borders to Zimbabweans fleeing
their country's economic collapse. Demola said in telephone interview
Thursday that would mean more Zimbabweans could cross legally, and therefore

Zimbabwe's political leaders, under pressure from South Africa and other
neighbors, formed a coalition government almost a year ago, pledging to
tackle the country's political and economic crises. The economy has shown
some improvement, but continuing political impasse makes the future

Late last year, the United Nations and the international Red Cross appealed
for millions of dollars in foreign aid for food and medicines and to bolster
health, education and sanitation in Zimbabwe.

South Africa took a step last year toward acknowledging the futility of
trying to stop the influx, saying Zimbabweans could travel on a free 90-day
visitor's permit and apply to do casual work during their stay. But
travelers still need passports, which many Zimbabweans lack either because
they are too expensive or because their crippled government has been slow to
issue them.

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Tourist killed by ‘dinosaur-sized’ shark

A Zimbabwean tourist was eaten by a “dinosaur-sized” shark in South Africa’s
most popular holiday destination.

By Ben Leach
Published: 8:57AM GMT 14 Jan 2010

Witnesses described watching as a man was pulled under the surf and dragged
out to sea off Fish Hoek beach in Cape Town. They described seeing the shark
carrying the man’s body in his mouth, turning the sea the colour of blood as
it did so.

One witness, Gregg Coppen, posted the following message on Twitter: "Holy
s***. We just saw a gigantic shark eat what looked like a person in front of
our house. That shark was huge. Like dinosaur huge."

The attack happened on Wednesday afternoon following an increase in shark
sightings. Lloyd Skinner, 37, a Zimbabwean who lived in the Democratic
Republic of Congo, was standing chest-deep 100 metres from the shore and
adjusting his goggles when he was attacked.

Cape Town's disaster management services had issued a warning hours earlier
that sharks had been spotted in the water, but the shark flag was not
flying. Mr Coppen told the Cape Times newspaper the shark was "longer than a

He said: "It was this giant shadow heading to something colourful. Then it
sort of came out the water and took this colourful lump and went off with
it. You could see its whole jaw wrap around the thing which turned out to be
a person."

British visitor Phyllis McCartain told the same paper: "We saw the shark
come back twice. It had the man's body in its mouth, and his arm was in the
air. Then the sea was full of blood."

Kyle Johnston said: "We were swimming only about 15 metres away from the
guy. We were at about chest depth and he was a little deeper. We looked at
the walkway and saw people waving towels at us, then we looked further out
to sea and saw what looked like blood, and a man's leg come up."

His friend Dane Leo added: "I was floating and I thought the people waving
at us were joking, but then I looked back and saw a fin and blood."

Mr Skinner was reportedly on holiday in Cape Town for the month to attend
the wedding of his partner's daughter. His partner was at the beach with

His body has not yet been found. Ian Klopper, a spokesman for the National
Sea Rescue Institute, said: "You can rule out any chance of finding him
alive. Whether we find body parts, it's very unlikely. We think the shark
took everything."

Alison Kock, a shark scientist, said it was probably a great white, the most
commonly spotted shark in the area. "More than 70 per cent of recorded great
white attacks on humans result in just the shark biting and then leaving,"
she said. "There is that 30 per cent where the shark behaves like it did in
this case, where it came back and killed the person."

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