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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Riots in Harare

Clemence Manyukwe
issue date :2005-May-25

LOOTING of basic commodities reminiscent of the bloody food riots of 1998,
rocked the hotbeds of Glen View and Budiriro high density suburbs in Harare
yesterday, leaving a trail of destruction estimated at millions of dollars,
as angry mobs vandalised property and barricaded roads.
A tense atmosphere gripped the two suburbs as hordes of people swarmed
streets with those interviewed by The Daily Mirror blaming residents'
opposition to the demolition of illegal shacks and removal of vendors from
undesignated public places for sparking the disturbances.
The police, as part of the clean up exercise had gone to the high density
areas to destroy what they called illegal structures, but immediately after
the uniformed forces left, residents went wild and embarked on an orgy of
The main artery leading into the two suburbs, Willowvale Road, was
barricaded by boulders and vehicle wreckages, forcing some residents to
disembark from the few commuter omnibuses and walk the remaining distance
back home.
The situation resembled a war zone with agitated people on roadsides warning
motorists to divert because it was dangerous to proceed.
Robots at the intersection of Willowvale and High Glen roads were not spared
either. This reporter saw destroyed traffic lights, while some telephone
lines in the two areas were pulled down.
Billowing smoke from burnt shacks resembled a war torn area.
At Tichagarika Shopping Centre, looters broke into OK Supermarket and made
off with an assortment of groceries whose value could not immediately be
"The whole of Glen View was here. This is a protest. food and even beer was
looted. Zanu PF, MDC and NAGG supporters were all involved, they are
fighting back. They hit back soon after police had destroyed the vegetable
markets," a resident who requested anonymity said.
"People have been driven to the edge by the destruction of their stalls that
were the
major sources of their livelihood. The campaign (to destroy illegal
structures and activities) is being put to the test," he added.
Other shops in the vicinity were not spared.
In Glen View, incensed crowds attempted to torch the local council offices
after downing the fence and shattered windows. The community hall and a
nearby TelOne station were also stoned.
A security guard at the municipal precinct said a home made "petrol bomb"
was thrown into one of the office blocks, forcing the occupants to fire
warning shots which sent the angry mob scurrying for cover.
In Budiriro, a service station was destroyed and looters grabbed whatever
foodstuffs they could lay their hands on.
According to residents the police started destroying the illegal structures
in Glen View 1 at around 4am yesterday.
"It's unfortunate that the police are now all over this place. From the
previous disturbances we know that they will beat up everyone tonight, but
some of us were not involved," said a citizen who declined to be named.
By about 4pm law enforcement agents in police vehicles could be seen
patrolling the residential areas, force-marching people rounded up to remove
barricades from the roads. About two hours later, police convoys were seen
heading into the troubled areas.
Police spokesperson Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka could not be reached for
comment late last night, while his boss Assistant Commissioner Wayne
Bvudzijena said he was off duty.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Govt, ZCTU lock horns over Geneva

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-May-25

THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the government are at
loggerheads over the composition of delegates to attend the International
Labour Organisation (ILO) conference on June 1 in Geneva, Switzerland.
The labour body is alleging government, through the Ministry of Public
Service, Labour and Social Welfare, had selected its own delegates and not
the usual ZCTU bosses.
The labour body says: "It has come to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU)'s attention that the government of Zimbabwe in its attempt to muzzle
trade unionism in Zimbabwe and in particular the ZCTU, have through the
Ministry of labour, selected their own people from the ZCTU to represent
labour at the forth coming ILO conference.
"The Ministry of labour is trying to coerce the ZCTU second vice president,
Elias Mlotshwa to attend the Conference as a delegate and Edmund Ruzive, the
third vice president as the adviser against the usual labour delegation
which normally consists of Lovemore Matombo, the ZCTU President and
Wellington Chibebe the Secretary General."
The labour body vowed to fight the government over the issue.
"The ZCTU would therefore not agree to such trickery from government
especially the exertion of Mlotshwa to immense pressure to agree to go
against the resolutions of the ZCTU General Council that Matombo and Chibebe
attend the conference on behalf of the organisation," the ZCU said.
It claimed the government move smacked of sinister motives to get an
opportunity for a public relations platform at the conference without any
major input from the labour delegation from Zimbabwe.
"This can happen if Matombo and Chibebe are not accredited as delegates to
the Conference," declared the labour body.
The permanent Secretary in the Labour Ministry, Lancaster Musaka said it was
impossible for Matombo and Chibebe to attend the said conference.
"As you are aware they are fighting among themselves with some members of
the ZCTU calling for Chibebe and Matombo to step down. How can they then go
when some members are saying they no longer hold office?" Musaka questioned.
He stressed it was impossible for Matombo and Chibebe to now represent the
ZCTU at the conference.
"It is impossible for them to represent the ZCTU. The General Council of the
labour body met and resolved that a body of inquiry be set to investigate
Matombo and Chibebe.
"Mtlotshwa is the second vice president in the ZCTU. Logically he is the one
who is supposed to go there because of his non involvement in what is
currently taking place in the union," Musaka said.
All has not been well between the ZCTU and some of its affiliates, a dispute
that has since spilled into the courts.
Early this month, the ZCTU led by Matombo and Chibebe obtained a peace order
from the magistrates' court against two rebelling affiliates, the Zimbabwe
Leather Shoes and Allied Workers Union and the Construction and Allied
Workers Union of Zimbabwe.
The ZCTU alleged some members from the two affiliates had disrupted its
meeting and assaulted Chibebe, Mativenga among other members aligned to the
Matombo leadership.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Bennett sues VP Mujuru, Mnangagwa

Constantine Chimakure
issue date :2005-May-25

VICE President Joyce Mujuru has been dragged to the Supreme Court for the
first time since her inauguration last year, among other parliamentarians,
by jailed former MDC Chimanimani legislator Roy Bennett.
Bennet's constitutional challenge is expected to be heard in the superior
court today.
Mujuru was cited as a respondent alongside former Parliamentary Speaker
Emmerson Mnangagwa, Minister Paul Mangwana, Chief Jonathan Mangwende, MDC
secretary general Welshman Ncube, the opposition shadow finance minister
Tendai Biti and the Attorney General in the constitutional challenge. The
seven were members of a Parliamentary Privileges Committee, that found
Bennett guilty of contempt of the august House after he floored Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa during a heated debate on the Stock Theft Bill on
May 18 last year.
Bennett was on October 28 2004 sentenced to 15 months in jail, of which
three months were suspended by Parliament.
According to court papers filed by Bennett with the Supreme Court, the
former parliamentarian argues that the proceedings of the privileges
committee are inconsistent with provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
The court papers read in part: "This matter concerns the constitutional
validity of the proceedings in terms of which the applicant was convicted by
Parliament and sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment arising from a
decision by the majority of Parliament that one of its members, the
applicant, was guilty of contempt. The majority of Parliament thereupon
sentenced the applicant to 15 months' imprisonment with hard labour, three
months of which were suspended to certain conditions."The provisions of the
Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act ("the Act") in terms of
which the proceedings purported to take place."
Bennett's argument is premised on the grounds that the composition of the
committee that recommended his incarceration was improper.
He is arguing that the composition and the attitude of the committee
vic+iated its decision because it gave rise to reasonable apprehension of
bias and interest in the cause and alternatively a violation of the his
fundamental right not to be discriminated against by virtue of his race and
political affiliation.
"The composition and proceedings of the committee and parliament were not in
accordance with the principles of natural justice and did not amount to the
required fair hearing before an impartial tribunal," read Bennett's heads of
"A majority of the committee members were from the majority party (Zanu
PF), meaning that it was biased, or at the very least reasonably perceived
as biased against applicant.
"A reasonable perception of bias, of course, suffice to invalidate. He
claimed that Parliament convicted and sentenced him on party lines. "The
majority party was the complainant in this matter and yet controlled the
charging, investigating, conviction and sentencing process. "The members of
the majority party who sentenced and convicted the applicant had a direct
and substantial interest in the matter.
"In each of these respects, the committee and/or Parliament breached the
applicant's right to fair hearing," read the court papers.
Bennett further argues that the sentence imposed on him was grossly
unreasonable and amounted to cruelty and inhuman punishment.
Read the court papers: ". the applicant was convicted of, essentially,
common assault. In most circumstances, a prison term of 15 months with
labour would be grossly excessive for such a crime. Indeed the severity of
the sentence strongly suggests that it was retributive - indeed,
vindictive - in
"We must of course recognise that common assault within the walls of
Parliament is of course more serious than outside
Parliament. Parliament's dignity must be protected. However, it ought to
have been borne in mind by the sentencing bodies that, to paraphrase the
Musa dicta (supra), "Parliament dignity is not enhanced, let alone
preserved, by an apparently over reactive drive to punish the contemptor".
Further, Bennett argues that the sentence did not take into consideration
that he acted in "the heat of the moment" and in response to severe
". the imprisonment of the applicant did not only result in his loss of
freedom. It also resulted in the members of his constituency losing their
lawfully and democratically elected representative in Parliament.
Imprisoning a member of Parliament for contempt is in conflict with the
principles of representative democracy because it is a punishment which is
calculated to penalise not only the member in contempt, but also his or her
party and the member of the electorate who voted for the member and who are
entitled to be represented," the papers said.
Bennett wants the Supreme Court to declare with cost the proceedings of the
parliamentary committee to be inconsistent with the Constitution of Zimbabwe
and invalid.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Inter-ministerial committee on indigenisation formed

issue date :2005-May-25

The Zimbabwe government has established an Inter-ministerial Committee on
Indigenous Empowerment to spearhead implementation of indigenisation of all
sectors of the economy, an official said on Wednesday.
Indigenisation and Empowerment Ministry permanent secretary, Ozias Hove said
the Committee was established last month and comprises six ministers
assisted by a working party of officials.
Hove said members of the Committee included Small and Medium Enterprises
Development Minister, Sithembiso Nyoni, Finance Minister, Hebert Murerwa,
Economic Development Minister, Rugare Gumbo, Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, and Policy Implementation
Minister, Webster Shamu with Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister,
retired Air Marshall Josiah Tungamirai chairing the body.
"The minister has since written to other ministers in government advising
them of the Committee and requesting them to report on the status of
indigenisation in their sectors," said Hove.
He said his ministry wanted to know the extent of indigenisation in the
various sectors of the economy to assist in the implementation of the
Indigenisation Policy.
The government approved the Indigenisation Policy in October last year and
launched it in November the same year, he said.
Hove said although Zimbabwe had large amounts of empowerment funds in place,
the desired result had not been achieved because of lack of coordination.
Organisations such as the Small and Medium Enterprises Development
Corporation, National Investment Trust, Zimbabwe Development Bank,
Agricultural Bank were created to assist indigenous people enter the
mainstream economy, he said.
Others like the Affirmative Action Group, Women in Business, Zimbabwe Taxi
Operators Association, Small Scale Miners Association, Hospitality
Association of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Farmers Union and the Zimbabwe
Micro-Lenders Association catered for particular groups of people.
"Establishment of a National Empowerment Fund is part and parcel of the
thrust of the Indigenisation Policy to expand the pool of funds," said Hove.
An Empowerment Bill had since been drafted and was expected to be presented
before the first session of the Sixth Parliament of Zimbabwe due to start
sitting on June 28 this year, he said.
The Bill would enable the ministry to enforce the requirement for a 50
percent indigenous shareholding in every business.
Indigenisation of the Zimbabwean economy has been achieved in a number of
sectors including agriculture, finance, telecommunications, construction,
sports and culture while much still needs to be done in mining, energy,
tourism and manufacturing.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Widow lives in bush after politically motivated eviction

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-May-25

A WIDOW from Sebatwe Resettlement area in Manicaland, Gaudencia Nyahotsi,
was reportedly evicted from her A1 farm in February this year by suspected
Zanu PF supporters after her son was seen in MDC regalia during the
countdown to the March general elections.
The MDC losing candidate for Mutasa North where the resettlement area falls
under, Evelyn Masaiti, said suspected Zanu PF supporters forcibly removed
Nyahotsi and her family from their home.
She said Nyahotsi and her siblings have been living in the open since the
eviction as punishment that her son Munyaradzi Mafondokoto sympathised with
the opposition party.
"I went there myself and saw her at a bushy area. Her property was destroyed
during the rain season and since then they (Zanu PF supporters) have been
threatening her son with death. She is living in conditions unsuitable for
human habitation," she said.
According to Nyahotsi, the ruling party supporters led by a councillor (name
supplied) met twice on February 4 and agreed to evict the poor family
because Munyaradzi was putting on MDC T-shirts.
A woman who attended the "meetings" but asked to remain anonymous said: "Two
meetings took place in the area and it was agreed that Nyahotsi should be
evicted from the area. As we are speaking, her property has been destroyed
by rain since she was evicted during the rain season."
Although Zanu PF Manicaland province acting chairperson Shadreck Chipanga
said he was unaware of the incident, he quickly pointed out that Nyahotsi's
case might be peddled by people out to tarnish the image of the ruling
"I am not aware of such an incident and for your own information there are
people who want to tarnish the ruling party's image for their selfish gains.
However, we will take the matter seriously and I will send people to the
area because Zanu PF is not associated with such deeds," he said.
Since their eviction in February, the Nyahotsi family settled at a bushy
area in Mangosho farm near London Stores before Masaiti found them
accommodation in Mutare.
The former MP, who played the role of a philanthropist, declined to give the
exact place where the family now resided citing security concerns.
Masaiti said the ruling party was now on a "retribution exercise to root
out" suspected MDC supporters.
"We found accommodation for the family somewhere in Mutare, but I can't give
you the location because of her safety. It's a fact that the ruling party is
intimidating our supporters and punishing them out for voting for the
opposition," she said.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

US ready to assist Zimbabwe with food

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-May-25

The United States' Ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell has said his
country was prepared to assist Zimbabwe with food aid to alleviate food
shortages in the country caused by drought.
Speaking to journalists soon after meeting Vice President Joyce Mujuru at
her Munhumutapa offices, Dell said the US would assist Zimbabwe if requested
to do so.
"My government is prepared to provide food aid to Zimbabwe to alleviate the
food shortages, should the Zimbabwean government make the request," Dell
He said the US had pledged not to politicise food aid not only in Zimbabwe
but also in any other country.
On another issue, Dell said the US looked forward to continued cooperation
with Zimbabwe in the social services sector, particularly in the area of HIV
and Aids.
"We have played a very big role in the fight against HIV and Aids in
Zimbabwe, and it is one area which will continue to see greater co-operation
between our governments," he said.
Meanwhile, three other envoys from China, Kuwait and India also paid
courtesy calls on Vice President Mujuru during which they reviewed bilateral
relations with Zimbabwe.
"We talked about our relations with Zimbabwe," Kuwait Ambassador to
Zimbabwe, Saud Faisal Al-Daweesh said.
India's Ambassador, Ajit Kumar, congratulated VP Mujuru on her appointment
as the country's first female Vice President.
He said they discussed bilateral relations and how the two countries could
further enhance the relations under the spirit of the South-South
Kumar said India enjoyed good economic ties with Zimbabwe and had a number
of investments in the country, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry.
"We want to continue to be partners in development as we are both developing
countries," he said.
China's Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Zhiang Xianyi, said his country and Zimbabwe
co-operated in various fields, including the water sector.
Mujuru was Minister of Water and Rural Resources before she was elected to
the presidium and President Mugabe appointed her his vice in government.
Her elevation saw the ruling party almost torn apart as other senior members
jostled for the same
The campaign to occupy positions in the presidium saw party stalwarts
clandestinely meeting to map
the way forward, but eventually Mujuru ruled the roost while six provincial
chairpersons were booted out of Zanu PF for undermining
Xianyi said China would continue to assist Zimbabwe in the construction of
dams and boreholes to promote irrigation and boost agricultural production.
-New Ziana/Mirror Reporter

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Food security worsens

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-May-25

THE food security situation in Zimbabwe's urban areas has worsened, the
Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) has said in a recent report.
The network attributed the situation to failed yields, shortages of basic
commodities, escalating costs of goods available and foreign currency
It said at this time of the year, parallel market prices of staple grain
commodity normally decline in response to improved supply from the harvest,
but this year the expected fall in prices has not occurred, and instead
prices continue to increase throughout the country.
"Food security in urban areas continues to worsen. Price increases have
been recorded for a number of basic commodities on both the formal and
informal markets during the month of April 2005.
"A shortage of basic commodities, such as cooking oil, sugar, milk, wheat
flour and cheaper-grade maize meal, re-emerged at the beginning of April
2005. Consumers may be able to get some of these commodities on the
parallel markets, but only at exorbitant prices.
The price increases have continuously drained the meagre disposable income
of the poor urban households," said the report.
The report added that according to figures monitored by the Consumer Council
of Zimbabwe (CCZ) for March, the cost of the monthly basket for a low income
urban household of six increased by nine percent from $1 945 080 the
previous month to $2 123 121.
It added that rural households in parts of Mashonaland provinces, Manicaland
and Midlands provinces will harvest some food crops, but in a majority of
cases the harvested crops will only last for a few months.
The report also said in the country's southern provinces, the majority of
farming households will harvest nothing from their fields and their
situation will be worsened by the fact that mopani worms (Madora), which
provide an important source of protein as well as cash (from sales) did not
come as expected around March and April this year.
"The food security problem facing Zimbabwe is of such a magnitude that
Zimbabwe will need to import substantial amounts of cereals during the April
2005 - March 2006 consumption year in order to ensure sufficient food is
available for all Zimbabweans.
"It will be critical for the government, private sector and the humanitarian
community to create effective partnerships to ensure adequate in-country
distribution of this food," the report
Although the chairman of the ministerial committee on food security, Didymus
Mutasa could not be reached to comment on the latest report, President
Robert Mugabe is on record saying no one would starve in Zimbabwe.
The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) had since started importing grain to improve
food security.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Governor Samkange in $4 bn tobacco row

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-May-25

MASHONALAND West governor Nelson Samkange has been taken to the High Court
on allegations that he confiscated 250 000 killogrammes of tobacco worth
more than $4 billion and farming equipment from Zitac Chief Executive
Officer William Nyabonda.
In an urgent chamber application (case No 2341/05) filed with the court
through Honey and Blackenberg law firm, Nyabonda said sometime last year,
Samkange asked him to utilise his Rukoba Farm in Banket saying he did not
have any skills or resources to do so himself.
Nyabonda added that the governor, who is the sole respondent, told him he
did not want anything in return as the farm's utilisation was payment in
itself, as it would have saved him embarrassment.
The farmer, who is also the secretary general of the Indigenous Commercial
Farmers Union (ICFU), said he agreed to the governor's request and
thereafter he engaged labourers and moved farming equipment and chemicals
onto the property in a project that saw him yielding 250 000 kgs of tobacco.
After the yields, he added, Samkange took the crop, in a development that
saw a number of his workers being threatened and security guards being
chased away. Said Nyabonda in the court papers: " Needless to say, I was
shattered by the complete reversal in the respondent's attitude. It was
clear that he had deceived me into growing the crop, which he had intended
from the onset to expropriate.
"He had cleverly and deviously led me along to the point where the tobacco
was ready for sale. the tobacco is worth in excess of $4,3 billion and it is
astounding that a person of the respondent's standing should attempt to
commit an injustice of this magnitude."
The ICFU secretary general added that in the process he was also "
dispossessed" of a number of equipment he moved into the farm.
The equipment included three electric motors, two water bourses and one
tobacco trolley.
Nyabonda added that he was now in a precarious situation as he had borrowed
$1,4 billion from Barclays Bank to finance the project he must repay by May
In the application, the farmer said he was seeking an order declaring him:
"the owner absolutely of the tobacco crop grown by him upon Rukoba Farm
estimated to be 250 000kgs in weight."
In an interview yesterday, Samkange's lawyer Johannes Tomana said Tomana,
Muzangaza and Mandaza law firm would respond to the application 'first
thing" today in the morning.
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Business Report

Zimbabweans bear full brunt of paralysing energy crisis
May 26, 2005

By Susan Njanji

Harare - Zimbabweans are spending hours in queues for petrol or waiting for
transport to return home, sometimes trekking huge distances as a fuel crisis
worsens in the wake of food shortages and blackouts during a bleak winter.

Commuters in Harare, though more privileged than their counterparts
elsewhere, had been stranded for hours at a time since the fuel crisis
intensified over the past two weeks.

Meanwhile, a police crackdown on private bus operators in Harare during a
sweeping operation to clean up the city and on car drivers offering lifts
for a fee has made life difficult for residents of a city once rated among
the best places to live in Africa.

Many petrol pumps have not received supplies for two weeks, while the lucky
few that have managed to get some are forced to ration supplies to a maximum
of 20 litres per vehicle.

The shortages worsened once President Robert Mugabe's party had won a
crushing victory in March, and deepened this week after the central bank
devalued the already wilting local currency by 45 percent.

Zimbabwe imports all its fuel mainly from neighbouring South Africa and
Kuwait. Drivers have to queue for hours unless they can afford to buy on the
black market, where it sells for 16 times the normal price.

Only state-run buses seem to have regular supplies, while private
mini-buses, which transport the vast majority of commuters in Harare, have
ceased running because their tanks are dry, or as many as 500 have
reportedly been impounded by police for allegedly being unroadworthy.

Some commuters are forced to trek to and from work for distances of up to
25km. "I had to walk home the other day after waiting for five hours," said
John Bunhu, a worker at a plastics factory.

A woman travelling from Zimbabwe's second major city, Bulawayo, to Harare
said she boarded a bus that ran out of diesel halfway through the journey.

"We had to hike to Harare," Millie Nyirenda said, after she had completed
the rest of the 500km trip by private car.

Zimbabwe has experienced serious fuel shortages since 1999, which were
initially blamed on corruption and incompetence at the state-owned oil
company, Noczim, and later attributed to a scarcity of foreign exchange.

Last week, Gideon Gono, the governor of Zimbabwe's central bank, accused
some petroleum importers of abusing foreign exchange they had been allocated
by the central bank to buy fuel.

The energy ministry said yesterday that fuel supplies would improve after
the state oil firm was given $18.5 million (R121.92 million) to import
fuel. - Sapa-AFP
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South Africa grapples with immigrant influx
Thu May 26, 2005 02:22 AM BST
By Gershwin Wanneburg
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Wonder Mashayamombe admits he broke the law by
coming to South Africa from Zimbabwe without a permit last year, but says he
had no choice.

"We come from Zimbabwe because there's no money, there's no jobs. Even if
you work, you work for nothing. You get a lot of money but you can't buy
anything," said Mashayamombe, a 26-year-old inmate at the Lindela detention
centre for illegal immigrants outside Johannesburg.

Mashayamombe was fleeing Zimbabwe's worst recession in history but many
Africans in less dire circumstances flock to South Africa daily looking to
seek their fortunes in the continent's wealthiest nation.

But they are often disappointed by the cold welcome.

Despite its reputation as one of Africa's most tolerant democracies,
foreigners from the continent are not always welcomed with the open arms
they expect -- a remnant of the apartheid policy of "protecting the

Widespread poverty, unemployment and crime make South Africa fertile ground
for xenophobia and analysts say officials have often exploited this, using
newcomers as scapegoats for their failure to solve these problems.

"If you hear the mayor of Johannesburg saying ... there are 30 Nigerians on
every street corner, they're selling drugs, involved in prostitution,
trafficking, violence, gun running... ... you're going to believe it," said
Loren Landau, director of the Forced Migration Studies programme at the
University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

This is a bitter pill to swallow for those whose countries suffered the
brutality of the apartheid regime almost as much as South Africans.

Civilians were often caught in the crossfire in the 1980s when apartheid
forces launched frequent attacks into neighbouring countries to destroy
bases of the armed wings of the now-ruling African National Congress.

In a country where more than one in four is officially unemployed and where
the United Nations says around half the people live on less than 354 rand a
month, promoting a more tolerant policy is a political risk, analysts say.

"I think the government ... (has to) answer to voters. If its voters tend
towards xenophobia then the government can't really go wildly more
welcoming," said Antony Altbeker, a crime and justice researcher at the
Institute for Security Studies.

"I think if you tried to explain to an unemployed South African why you are
allowing immigrants to come into the country -- I think politically that's a
hard sell."


Analysts say foreigners are denied access to bank accounts, housing and are
frequently harassed by police for bribes.

A recent study in Johannesburg found that 17 percent were denied medical
care, often even life-saving emergency attention.

"You're (African foreigners) laughed at, you're excluded. This for a country
trying to build a society on tolerance and human rights," said Landau, who
is an American.

South Africa last year passed new immigration laws aimed at speeding up
notoriously slow paperwork and luring much-needed skilled foreigners, but
analysts say they do little to help the majority who come knocking at its
door -- poor Africans.

Official figures show that cumulative immigrant numbers have risen from over
5.8 million in 2001 to around 6.5 million in 2003. This compares with a
population of around 45 million.

Most come from Mozambique -- historically a source of cheap labour for South
African mines. But Zimbabwe's economic meltdown has seen immigrant numbers
from that country soar.

New laws have also failed to cool tensions between locals and newcomers,
which have often spilled over into violence.

Lindela itself -- a brown brick building outside Johannesburg resembling an
army barracks, with strict schedules for meals and lockdowns -- has
frequently made headlines over accusations of inmate mistreatment.

In November last year, at a conference organised by South Africa's Human
Rights Commission, rights activists accused the Department of Home Affairs,
which oversees immigration, of widespread abuse of immigrants.

Lindela officials were accused of keeping detainees in unacceptable
conditions, resulting in the death of several in one instance. Authorities
denied responsibility for the deaths.

Others say people caught while entering the country illegally at the
Zimbabwe border were detained for hours and even days outdoors.

The Human Rights Commission has also accused officials of randomly arresting
people based on their looks.

Barry Gilder, director-general of the Department of Home Affairs said such
cases are not common and where they are found disciplinary action is taken.

"We certainly don't tolerate any mistreatment of people ... The concern ...
is sometimes the means of checking whether they are South African or not: do
you speak Zulu, where's your vaccination mark, how dark is your skin?"
Gilder told Reuters.

Gilder said Lindela -- boasting sporting facilities and a clinic -- is one
of the best centres of its kind in the world.

For those like Mashayamombe, however, this offers little comfort. He does
not think he should ever have been sent there.

"I remember during apartheid, the South Africans, they were coming to
Zimbabwe, they were going to Nigeria to seek refuge," Mashayamombe said.

"But now this is their way of saying thank you to us. We are neighbours but
they treat us as if we are criminals."

Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.
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UN Officials Call for More Action As Southern African Crisis Enters 'Acute

UN News Service (New York)

May 25, 2005
Posted to the web May 25, 2005

With an unprecedented crisis "triple threat" stalking southern Africa -
HIV/AIDS, food insecurity and a massively depleted skilled labour force -
senior United Nations relief officials today called for the world to refocus
its attention on the chronic problems and humanitarian needs of millions of
desperate people in the region.

"Emergencies come and go, but we are now in an acute phase of a chronic
problem and the effects of this are going to be with us for generations to
come," said James Morris, the UN Special Envoy for Humanitarian Needs in
Southern Africa, who is in the region on an 11-day, four-nation assessment
mission along with Ann Veneman, Executive Director of the UN Children's Fund

"This is not about one issue or one country. Many factors are converging to
undermine livelihoods of millions of people in southern Africa," said Mr.
Morris, adding: "The complexity of the situation demands that we must do all
we can to help Governments in the region."

The HIV/AIDS-driven aspects of the crisis are now considered so grave that
Mr. Morris called 10 UN country representatives in the region to
Johannesburg, South Africa, for a special review meeting today to examine
current interventions, joint programming, UN reform, and the strategies to
address the multiple impacts of the triple threat.

"It's crucial that we reverse the downward spiral on child survival in this
region. There are remarkable local initiatives across the region to prevent
the spread of AIDS from mother to child," said Ms. Veneman. "By expanding
these successful models we can reduce the number of infants contracting
HIV." She added that treatment for HIV-positive children and adults is a
critical element of the regional response. "Keeping more parents alive means
fewer children orphaned by AIDS," she said.

Ms. Veneman is the first UNICEF chief to visit Swaziland, the tiny African
nation that suffers from of one of the world's highest HIV prevalence rates,
with about 38 per cent of the adult population carrying the virus. After
visiting yesterday with children orphaned by the virus - many now caring for
frail grandparents or older relatives and unable to attend school - she
emphasized the need to focus attention on children, for the benefit of all

Joining the UN leaders in their call for action was Peter Piot, Executive
Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), who said that over
the 20-year span of the AIDS epidemic, it had become clear that an
exceptional response is required. "We need to make sure that HIV prevention,
food security and HIV treatment are integrated into a comprehensive
response. This is the only way to get ahead of the epidemic. We must aim for
universal access to HIV prevention and treatment."

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