Zimbabweans denied refugee status in SA amid fears of policy change

via Zimbabweans denied refugee status in SA amid fears of policy change | SW Radio Africa  by Alex Bell

A growing number of Zimbabwean asylum seekers in South Africa are reporting being refused refugee protection, amid fears that the decision to endorse the Zim elections has resulted in a change of immigration policy across the border.

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma was one of the first regional leaders to openly congratulate Robert Mugabe’s highly contested electoral ‘victory’ last month. This show of support paved the way for the rest of the SADC region to also embrace Mugabe and endorse the elections.

In the weeks since the elections, an influx of Zimbabweans have been crossing the border into South Africa, with many said to be fleeing retribution for voting against Mugabe’s ZANU PF. Others have said they are fleeing a potential economic meltdown, such as the one witnessed during the last ZANU PF government, before the coalition that was formed in 2009 with the MDC.

In South Africa, there are concerns that an unofficial change of policy regarding Zimbabwean asylum seekers is being implemented. The refugee rights group PASSOP has said it is receiving more and more reports about Zim refugees whose statuses have been reviewed and rejected by the South Africa Department of Home Affairs. New asylum seekers are also being turned away.

Langton Miriyoga of PASSOP told SW Radio Africa that they have had “very high volumes’ of people contacting the organisation, after being told that their applications for refugee status would not be considered, on the basis that “there is no crisis in Zimbabwe.”

“We have also been told by people who have previously been granted refugee status that they are now being told to come in for a review of their status, in light of the political development in Zimbabwe,” Miriyoga said.

Miriyoga added: “We see it as unlawful in terms of the Refugees Act in South Africa and in terms of international law. South Africa can’t unilaterally revoke refugee protection without consulting the UN refugee agency.”

He said there are “very serious anxieties” among Zimbabweans in South Africa, mainly because of concern that mass deportations will be the next step.

“Zimbabweans are in a state of limbo now because they don’t know what is going to happen next,” Miriyoga said.



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    Tjingababili 11 years ago


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    Not one promise has been kept since 1980. Not one ordinary Zimbabweans life has improved since 1980. The infrastructure is falling to bits and the days of empty shelves are coming back. The number of Zimbabweans that someone else will have to feed this year will break previous records. This from the country that could once feed the region. No wonder Zuma wants Zimbabweans to return home so they can celebrate the free and fair elections Zimbabwe has just concluded and live with their chosen government.!

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    As South African I think we have manage to accommodate our fellow Zimbabwean in our society than any other country in Africa Zimbabwe is not at war the must go back no asylum no refugee must be given to this people some of them did not want to go home and vote but they are very much vocal u are the masters of your on destiny not us we don’t choose your leaders but U

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    shumba liverpool 11 years ago

    Well said Jabu but me think you need English teachers from Zim..

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      @Shumba Liverpool: Woow, and for sure your leaders speak fluent english wena. But lets face it, their well spoken words are full of poverty and regression. How do you feel proud to be an excellent speaker, but what comes out of your mouth is begging, pillaging, dictatorship, underdeveolpment, poverty, cholera etc. Better you keep your english to yourself. The Chinese and Japanese do not speak good english. But they are very prosperous. Mugabe, keep your English…we keep our Zulu and Xhosa!

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      Nziradzemasoja 11 years ago

      Kikiki Shumba Liverpool, you have cracked me..I agree with you, Mr needs English Teachers from Zimbabwe to teach him English…You know what, your comment is the best so far..kikikikiki

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        I’m a Zulu I don’t need your english sir U must teach your leaders how to manage their economy I will salute you if you can do that and in my country I never bought a bread for R10 billion like in your country but you want to teach me english for what?

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    Jah32 11 years ago

    People have to come home you need not to stretch the petience of the south africans. even here in zim we deported malawians. They is nothing new here they did not vote all they do is blame.

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      We tried to help you and you voted to a free and fair election you have a new constitution what more else must we do for you?

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    Morgs 11 years ago

    @Jabu you must read history correctly, where were you the time of apartheid? You’ve less to lecture & more of tribalism, in simple terms you still need to acknowledge lesions of politics b4 you open your mouth to public

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      Zimbabwe is not a Province of South Africa but why more Zimbabwean in Hillbrow?Why no South African at Mbare or at Luveve?Will you allow us as South African to invade your Cities as you does to our country now is the time for our government to draw the line and say enough is enough

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    Kalusha 11 years ago

    Zimbos claim to be intelligent yet you fail to do simple economics,you were also helped soon after independence.english is a language not a means of gauging intelligence

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    y are we so divided and quarrelling regarding the issue of nationalty,we are all africans and we dont have to fear and hate each other.GOD created the world so everyone has to enjoy it.move freely,settle wherever suits u.i dont think it was GOD’s idea to create borders and regulate the movement of people.we just have to stay where its easy to survive.we might be differrent in terms of language,colour and race,but we are one people.

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    adalandoinda 11 years ago

    For my South African cousins and brothers,be cautious what you say about the situation in Zim.30yrs ago, we in ZIM said the same about Zambia.
    All I ask i that we appreciate each other and work together in finding solutions to issues such as poverty,hunger and social justice.