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Zimbabwe Central ID and Passport production centre gutted by mysterious fire
The co-Minister of Home Affairs Theresa Makone could not confirm to the fire outbreak.

Harare, - The Identification production centre for passports based at KG Six Army Headquarters in Harare was on Friday gutted down by fire shattering hopes of many Zimbabweans who were hoping to get passports so that they could beat South Africa's deadline to regularise their stay in that country.

The deadline was on Friday. The SA government said on Friday it had received about 230 000 applications from Zimbabweans who are avoiding deportations.

The gutting of the identification centre in Harare forced suspension of business. This came at a time when Zimbabwe turned down an offer for a passport making machine by South Africa.

"The production centre is on fire we were nearly burnt inside the building," a source told Radio VOP.

The centre is used to verification of applicants and production of passport books.

Radio VOP could not immediately ascertain the cause of the fire and if there were any people injured or how much damage was done to the building.

The co-Minister of Home Affairs Theresa Makone could not confirm to the fire outbreak. She promised to come back with a confirmation after ascertaining but had not done so by the time of writing.

“I am on holiday and not aware about that but let me find out and I will come back to you,” said Makone.

Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede was not available for comment either.

Meanwhile the Zimbabwean civic society organisations in South Africa have urged the South African government to extend the deadline to document Zimbabweans.

The South African government said several times that it was not going to extend the December 31, 2010 deadline.

The organisation is arguing that the deadline which was announced three months ago was never realistic. It also slammed the government of Zimbabwe for dithering when offered a passport making machine by the South African government.

“South Africa's December 31 deadline was never realistic, and we warned them from the onset of the urgent need to extend that deadline for a meaningful regularisation process. The processing of applications took too long, way beyond their promise of a ten day turn around period per application,” said Dewa Mavhinga, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) coordinator in South Africa in an interview with Radio VOP.

CiZC is a coalition of Zimbabwean organisations in and outside the country working to solve the political and economic crisis facing the country.

Thousands of Zimbabweans face deportation from South Africa if they don’t register themselves with the Home Affairs department in South Africa.

The Zimbabwean government has been battling to register millions of Zimbabweans in that country. It sent a total of 47 officers to process passports, birth certificates and identity documents. However, it has been failing to cope.

The South African government offered the country a passport printing machine to ease the problem. The machine which has a capacity to produce 4000 passports in an hour was turned down by the government on “security grounds.” This is despite the fact that the single machine being used only has a capacity to print 500 passports a day.

“The Zimbabwe government has certainly been most unhelpful and insensitive to the plight of Zimbabweans in South Africa. It is sheer indifference and lack of care for the people, not mere bureaucratic bungling that explains failure by the Zimbabwe government to confirm and accept SA's offer to assist with the making of passports. The Zimbabwe Consulate in South Africa is clearly out of touch with the needs of Zimbabweans here,” said Mavhinga.

Gabriel Shumba, the Director of the Pretoria-based Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) also weighed in with the call for an extension of the deadline.

“If the programme is being done sincerely then the deadline should be extended,” said Shumba.

ZEF is an organisation that takes care of Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora. The South African Home Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Zuma has reiterated that the deadline will not be extended and urged Zimbabweans to register themselves or else face immediate deportation from South Africa.


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South African Official Declares Success in Zimbabwean Documentation Effort

Many Zimbabweans in South Africa praised authorities there for showing
efficiency and flexibility in the documentation process - and had harsh
words for their own government’s lackluster response

Benedict Nhlapo & Jonga Kandemiiri | Johannesburg/Washington 31 December

A top official of South Africa's Department of Home Affairs on Friday
declared success in a months-long program to document the estimated two
million Zimbabweans living in the country as a registration deadline at
midnight December 31 loomed hours away.

Home Affairs Department Director General Mkuseli Apleni said authorities did
everything they could to accommodate every Zimbabwean prepared to legalize
his or her residency status, VOA Studio 7 correspondent Benedict Nhlapho
reported from Johannesburg.

Though Zimbabweans were still lining up at Home Affairs offices around the
country on Friday, most queues had disappeared by afternoon as staff
accepted applications. Many Zimbabweans will complete their applications
with missing documentation in early 2011, though Apleni said most
applications should be processed by April or so.

Many Zimbabweans in South Africa praised authorities there for showing
efficiency and flexibility in the documentation process - and had harsh
words for their own government’s lackluster response, especially its refusal
of technical assistance from Pretoria.

Zimbabwean Co-Minister of Home Affairs Theresa Makone confirmed that Harare
refused an offer of access to advanced printing and binding equipment to
make passports, which thousands of Zimbabweans need to complete their
residency applications.

Makone said Harare cited security issues in its decision not to accept
Pretoria's offer - but added that she did not know what security risks were
perceived by Harare.

She told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that she personally regreted the s
decision because using the South African equipment would have helped many

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Programs Manager Pedzisai Ruhanya said he
believes the decision not to accept South Africa's offer of assistance
making passports came not from the government but President Robert Mugabe's
ZANU-PF, which fears the consequences if Zimbabweans in South Africa can
readily travel home to vote in elections.

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Axe falls on Zimbabwe an illegals

Thousands now fear humiliation of deportation after failing to register by
December 31 cut-off
Jan 1, 2011 8:21 PM | By PREGA GOVENDER

Time's up for illegal Zimbabweans in South Africa. As thousands queued
outside Department of Home Affairs offices countrywide this week in a
last-minute scramble to legalise their stay in South Africa, the department
was adamant that there would be no extension of the deadline, which ended on

With barely hours to go before the cut-off, only 250633 Zimbabweans had
applied to home affairs to legalise their stay, sparking fears of mass
deportations of those who had failed to apply in time.

However, home affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa, would not comment on when
deportations would start, saying they were "focusing on mobilising people to
regularise their stay in South Africa".

But Zimbabweans such as Roselyn Sithole are determined to avoid the
humiliation of being herded into police vans and deported.

Despite being booted out of the long queue that snaked around the block at
the home affairs offices in Harrison Street, Johannesburg, on Thursday
morning, the heavily pregnant woman was determined to remain there until her
application to legalise her stay in the country had been completed.

Sithole, 28, who is expecting her first child in a month's time, had been
waiting in the queue since 5am after walking two kilometres from her tiny
apartment in Braamfontein.

Around 9am the hairdresser was ordered to move to the back of the queue by
an unsympathetic policeman who thought she had jumped the queue.

Despite her aching and swollen legs, she took her place at the back and
bided her time.

Ironically, home affairs officials and policemen stationed at the gates of
the offices told the Sunday Times that preference to be at the head of the
queue was given to pregnant women.

"If I go to the cops, they will embarrass me in front of the others," said

She pointed to a policeman, saying: "He embarrassed me. He pushed me

She added: "I don't want to be deported like an animal. That's why I am

She expressed the hope that the deadline for applications for work, business
and study permits would be extended.

"As you can see, we are too many here."

Later in the day, as the rain pelted down, Sithole, who had come armed with
an umbrella, was still several hundred metres from the entrance.

Up until December 21 last year, home affairs had received 127564
applications for permits.

Another Zimbabwean waiting patiently in the queue, Patricia Vundhla, 43, a
domestic worker living in Doornfontein, had been to the Harrison Street
offices on three days this week in the hope of completing her application
for a permit.

Although home affairs had relaxed the requirements for applying for permits,
she, like many of her compatriots, was not aware of the changes.

"My employer, for whom I have been working for seven years, has refused to
give me a letter confirming I am employed by her," she said.

This was one of the requirements that were relaxed by home affairs.

As the Sunday Times listened to her story, a warrant officer shoved and
pushed a group of queue-jumpers, hitting one of them with his baton.

Scenes of chaos at the Zimbabwean consulate in Edenvale earlier this week,
where queues were as long as 7km, had quiet-ened down by Thursday afternoon.

Themba Twala, 26, a waiter formerly from Bulawayo, arrived at the consulate
at midnight on Wednesday to apply for his passport.

He had hoped to be first in the queue on Thursday morning, but ended up
being number 50.

Twala, whose family live in the UK, said it was his dream to return to
Zimbabwe one day, but he would go back only once circumstances had changed.

"I am tired. I just want to go home and sleep," he said, barely two hours
before he was due back at work.

The long queues, however, provided ample business opportunities for taxi
drivers and vendors stationed outside the Zimbabwean consulate.

Among those who made a killing was Zimbabwean-born Emmanuel Mabeza, an

Mabeza was selling between 80 and 100 plates of pap and steak daily at R25

"We are not taking advantage of the situation or exploiting the people. It's
just a good business opportunity," he said.

Other vendors were selling a plate of food for between R30 and R35.

Taxi drivers were charging passengers R8 a trip between Edenvale and the
Johannesburg CBD.

Mamoepa said: "We are happy at the large numbers of people who have turned
up at our offices in an attempt to regularise their stay."

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Air Zimbabwe to buy 4 new planes with US$ 500 million

Harare, Zimbabwe - Air Zimbabwe said Friday it had requested US$ 500 million
from the government, its sole shareholder, to buy four new planes to improve
operations. Airline chairman Jonathan Kadzura said the carrier wanted to buy
two regional jets and two long-haul aircraft to beef up its current fleet
made up of 30-year-old planes.

He said the existing fleet was not viable to operate in terms of fuel
consumption and costly regular servicing.

"We have taken our request for capital to the shareholder and we are still
awaiting a response. We need to get two regional planes and two long-haul
planes," he said.

"That could cost half a billion dollars," said Kadzura.

Air Zimbabwe flies to many regional routes in southern Africa, and
internationally to United Arab Emirates, China and the United Kingdom.

But it is severely cash-strapped and unable to even pay its staff.

Last week, its pilots went on strike over pay, the latest in a series.

Pana 01/01/ 2011

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Mugabe Can Be Sued - Tsvangirai

Written by Radio VOP
Saturday, 01 January 2011 12:22

Harare - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai  has rubbished assertions by
President Robert Mugabe’s lawyers that the 86-year old leader cannot be sued
arguing he can be taken to court on constitutional matters.
President Mugabe’s lawyer, Maxwell Ranga, in opposing an application by
Tsvangirai seeking the annulment of the re-appointment of provincial
governors by the President, the lawyer said in terms of Rule 18 of the High
Court Rules, RGN1047/1971, it was not possible to sue a sitting President.
The Rule 18 reads: “No summons or other civil process of the court may be
sued out against the President or against any of the judges of the High
Court without the leave of the court granted on court application being made
for that purpose.”
Ranga said it was clear from the said Rule that leave to institute
proceedings against the President was required before an application could
be instituted against him.
“The Applicant (Tsvangirai) has neither alleged that he obtained such leave,
nor has he attached to this application proof of such leave. It is
respectfully submitted that no such leave has been obtained in terms of the
Rules of this Honourable Court,” said Ranga. But Tsvangirai, in an answering
affidavit said the simplistic interpretation placed on the Rule 18 by
respondents leads to absurdities which were not intended when the rule was
made. It does not make sense to argue that one must ‘sue the President for
authority to sue the President’.”
“I am advised and respectfully believe that the context of Rule 18 of the
administrative rules of this Honourable Court is inapplicable in the
circumstances of this case generally and in constitutional cases in
particular. The answering affidavit filed on 21 December 2010. “It appears
to me, that Rule 18 came about during the pre and post colonial era of a
ceremonial, non executive Head of State such as the Queen of England,
Governors of Southern Rhodesia, Presidents of Rhodesia and the first
President of independent Zimbabwe,” Tsvangirai said.
“This is no longer the position in Zimbabwe’s constitutional democracy. Rule
18 was not designed to and cannot be used to defeat or delay superior rights
and obligations enshrined in the constitution especially where the issues
are of importance as the case here.” Last month Tsvangirai petitioned the
High Court to annul the reappointments of provincial governors and resident
ministers by President Mugabe arguing they were unconstitutional.
Tsvangirai said he was surprised President Mugabe and the other respondents
had taken a “so simplistic a view of the otherwise serious” constitutional
issue in his application before the High Court. The Prime Minister cited
President Mugabe as the first respondent. The other respondents are David
Karimanzira, Cain Matema, Martin Dinha, Aeneas Chigwedere, Farber
Chidarikire, Jaison Machaya, Christopher Mushowe, Angeline Masuku, Thokozile
Mathuthu, Titus Malukele and Ignatious Chombo, the local government

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Political interference a major problem to Zim farming

By Gerald Chateta

Published: January 1, 2011

Harare  -  The Commercial Farmers Union says because of political
interference and disturbances which characterised the commercial farming
sector in 2010 Zimbabwe will once again this season rely on food aid.

“The rains have been fine, even the small scale farmers were assisted with
inputs, so there might be a slight improvement but once again I am 100%
convinced that we will be unable to feed ourselves which is unfortunate
given the fact that we have the potential to feed ourselves and we can
export and earn foreign currency, but this won’t happen again this season
unfortunately. As long as politics remain at play the country’s agric sector
will not fully recover,”CFU President Dion Theron said in an interview.

Zimbabwe has been depending on food aid from the donor community since the
year 2000 when it embarked on the controversial land reform program which
was engineered by war veterans.

The chaotic land reform program which ZANU-PF justified as a correction of
land imbalance between the blacks and former colonial masters has been
blamed by observers as the root cause of famine despite good rain seasons.

The international community whose citizens were the most victims of the land
reform described it as racial as it targeted white farmers only.

Theron said it was disappointing to note that land invasions continued in
2010 despite the new political dispensation.

“Its the production that gets affected, investors might move on and engage
into something else but production suffers. We had farmers getting harassed
and taken to court and these are highly productive farmers we are talking
about, and this has affected the full recovery of the agric sector, “he

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Zimbabwe bans SA poultry imports

Harare, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe Friday banned chicken imports from a major South
African supplier after press reports said the company was exporting expired
products which posed a health risk. The media last week accused Supreme
Poultry, the biggest supplier of chicken to Zimbabwe, of re-packaging
expired meat for export.

Authorities said an investigation had been ordered into the reports, and in
the meantime banned chicken imports from the company.

William Shereni, a livestock and veterinary director in the Ministry of
Agriculture in Zimbabwe, said the ban would not affect two other South
African chicken exporters.

"The suspension is a precautionary measure to allow for investigations on
compliance with veterinary health standards following press reports of
malpractice by Supreme Poultry Botshabelo plant in Bloemfontain," he said.

Zimbabwe traditionally is a poultry exporter, but became a net chicken
importer after controversial land reforms which drove thousands of whites
off their farms for black resettlement.

Pana 01/01/ 2011

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