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Sugar industry says price freeze hurting business

Zim Online

Saturday 20 January 2007

HARARE - Zimbabwe's sugar industry says the viability of the sector was
under serious threat because of a government ban on price increases imposed
last year.

In a statement to the media yesterday, the Zimbabwe Sugar Association that
represents sugarcane farmers, millers and refineries, said the government
must immediately review the price freeze if they are to avert imminent

"The industry has not been cushioned against the hyperinflationary
environment which has resulted in significant cost increases across the
board without corresponding adjustment to selling price," the statement

"(The) viability of the Sugarcane Farmers, Sugar Millers and Sugar Refiners
is therefore under serious threat. As a result the sugar producers are
unable to provide normal services to their valued customers.

"This issue has been brought to the attention of the relevant authorities,
as is the normal practice, and the sugar industry hopes that matter will
receive urgent attention," it added.

Senior executives in the sugar industry told ZimOnline yesterday that they
were pushing the government to allow them to hike prices by at least 300
percent citing the surge in inflation which stands at 1 281 percent.

The government gazetted price for a 2kg packet of sugar stands at Z$550, a
price the industry says is unviable.

Industry and International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu said government was
aware of the problems in the sugar industry.

"They are not the only ones seeking a price hike. There are many other
sectors. We are looking into the issue but we don't want people who just
increase prices unilaterally," said Mpofu.

Mpofu has in the past threatened to crack down on businesses that
unilaterally increase prices without permission from the government.

Last year, several managers were arrested for allegedly hiking prices
without approval from the government.

President Robert Mugabe's government, battling to keep a lid on rising
prices and runaway inflation, has banned business from hiking prices of
selected basic goods without prior permission from the state.

Skyrocketing prices are just one on a long list of problems bedevilling
Zimbabwe in its seventh year of an economic meltdown described by the World
Bank as the worst in the world outside a war zone. - ZimOnline

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Foreign currency parallel market rates shoot up

Zim Online

Saturday 20 January 2007

BULAWAYO - Rates on Zimbabwe's illegal but thriving  foreign currency market
shot up by more than 20 percent yesterday ahead of a key central bank
monetary policy review statement next week.

Banking industry sources say Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon
Gono is expected to announce a new long promised currency for the
economically troubled southern African country.

Gono, who was tasked by President Robert Mugabe to reverse a debilitating
seven-year old economic crisis, last year said he would give Zimbabweans 24
hours' notice before implementing drastic changes in the country's monetary

The pending announcement has seen most foreign currency dealers in Zimbabwe's
second biggest city of Bulawayo holding on to their hard currency as they
would not want to be caught unawares with huge amounts of the near worthless
Zimbabwe dollar.

This has however pushed demand for hard cash resulting in the surge in rates
on the parallel market.

On Thursday, for example, the Botswana Pula was selling for Z$540, up from
$450 the previous day while the South African rand was trading at $500 up
from $400.

The dealers were buying the United States dollar for $3 700, up from $3 000
and selling the greenback for $4 000, up from $3 200.

"The rates will continue rising until after Gono has presented his monetary
policy. People are not sure what will happen so they are holding on to their
foreign currency," said an illegal foreign currency trader who only
identified himself as Mpofu.

The Zimbabwe dollar, which was stronger than the British pound at
independence from Britain in 1980, is at present shedding value at a rate
faster than any other currency in the world. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe Labor Minister Goche and Union On Collision Course


      By Blessing Zulu
      19 January 2007

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the country's main labor federation,
has accused Labor Minister Nicholas Goche of blocking its efforts to be
represented on the board of the National Social Security Authority as it
says is its right.

Goche has refused to appoint three ZCTU nominees, saying the law empowers
him to appoint whoever he wants. He adds that the ZCTU is not Zimbabwe's
only union.

The ZCTU in 2004 withdrew its representatives from the NSSA board to protest
what it said was a lack of transparency. The authority had operated for many
years without producing audited financial statements, which prompted the
ZCTU to raise its concerns. But its rank-and-file urged ZCTU leaders to

The ZCTU subsequently nominated board members drawn from the Zimbabwe Urban
Council Workers Union, the Zimbabwe Electricity and Energy Workers Union and
the Civil Service Employees Association.

Goche, in a letter obtained by VOA, complained that the ZCTU had sent copies
of its correspondence with the minister to the International Labor
Organization in Geneva.

Stated Goche: "I urge you to desist from the practice of copying to the
International Labor Organisation Office matters of national interest." He
said such communications did not raise any legal issues that were not
addressed by Zimbabwean law.

"One would want to enquire as to what ILO has to do with the composition of
NSSA Board when it is clear that they are not the authority to whom you
report," he wrote. "Let us uphold national pride and interest added to
respecting the national law." He suggested that the union had some
"pecuniary interest" in copying to the ILO.

ZCTU Secretary General Wellington Chibebe hit back, saying that "copying
correspondences to the International Labor a matter of
choice that does not have any pecuniary interest and is not illegal in terms
of our law."

Chibebe further responded that, "any democratic and transparent government
will not be skeptical" of unions which keep the ILO informed on discussions.
However, he acknowledged, it "enhances the undisputed supervisory role of
the ILO."

Commenting, National Constitutional Assembly Chairman Lovemore Madhuku said
Goche seemed to be more concerned with political expediency than with the
respective rights and duties of trade unions and government agencies.

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Ahead Of By-Elections, Zimbabwe Ruling Party Takes Rural Wards By Default


      By Carole Gombakomba
      19 January 2007

One month before a round of 21 rural council by-elections, the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission has announced that the country's ruling party has
already locked up 15 rural wards due to the failure of the political
opposition to present candidates.

But a spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change faction led by Morgan
Tsvangirai said the MDC grouping filed nomination papers in all 21 of the
wards to be contested, but that those nominations were thrown out by
nomination judges in a replay of what happened in the run-up to last October's
rural elections.

The electoral commission said elections will be held Feb. 17 in just six
wards in the Chikomba, Rusape, Umguza, Bulilima and Redcliffe councils,
where the Tsvangirai MDC faction managed to secure nomination papers for its

Tsvangirai faction spokesman Nelson Chamisa told reporter Carole Gombakomba
of  VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the news came as a surprise because the
faction expected to contest in all 21 wards where seats were not filled in

The ruling ZANU-PF, whose base of support is heavily rural, took 1,247 of
the 1,340 seats filled then. The MDC only won 89 seats in the October 28

Speaking for the rival Arthur Mutambara faction of the opposition,Gabriel
Chaibva said his party did not field candidates because the wards are
ZANU-PF strongholds.

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Deductions Devour Wages Of Zimbabwe Phone Company Workers


      By Jonga Kandemiiri
      19 January 2007

Most workers at Zimbabwe's state-controlled fixed-line telephone monopoly
received scant wages or no pay at all for the work they did in December, due
to the doubling in late 2006 of health care charges and other deductions
from their pay.

Labor sources said Tel-One's board refused to open discussions with the
union that represents phone company workers on the outsized paycheck

Phone company workers turned down an offer from management of a Christmas
party, saying they did not want to go home full only to see their families

Phone company management invited workers to borrow a month's salary at an
interest rate of 7%. Most of the workers earn some Z$64,000 a month, or
about US$18 at the parallel market exchange rate which reflects the cost of
food and other essentials.

One company official confirmed that Tel-One made loans to its workers, but
refused to provide more details.

Some employees of Zimpapers, publisher of the state-controlled Herald
newspaper and other titles, also saw their paychecks depleted when the
company doubled rents for workers, mostly Herald and Sunday Mail employees,
living in company flats.

The Communications and Allied Services Workers Union, which represents
workers at Tel-One, said making loans to employees doesn't address the
underlying problem.

Union chief Lovemore Matombo, also president of the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions, told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe
that from now on the union will not settle in negotiations for amounts under
the poverty line.

The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe said earlier this month that a family of
six needs more than Z$350,000 a month to purchase food and other essentials.
Zimbabweans regard the financial result of the council's monthly survey as
the national poverty line, but with inflation raging at 1,181% even many
professionals live beneath it.

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Striking Zimbabwe doctors reject government pay offer

Yahoo News

Fri Jan 19, 5:41 AM ET

HARARE (AFP) - Doctors at Zimbabwe's state hospitals have rejected a
government offer to hike their salaries and vowed to press on with a
crippling strike.

"As the situation stands now, we are still on strike," Kudakwashe
Nyamutukwa, president of the Hospital Doctors' Association told AFP Friday.
"Our grievances still stand and waiting for the government to address them.
The minister (for health and child welfare David Parirenyatwa) met senior
doctors and said government had increased doctors' salaries with effect from
this month but he did no say by what percentage."

Junior doctors stopped work three weeks ago, demanding their pay be
increased from 56,000 Zimbabwean dollars (224 US dollars/172 euros) to five
million Zimbabwean dollars a month, Nyamutukwa said.

They also want the government to raise a car allowance loan from 700,000
Zimbabwean dollars to 2.5 million dollars.

Zimbabwe is in the throes of a severe economic recession with four-digit
inflation, massive unemployment and chronic shortages of food and essential

State health institutions have been hit by an exodus of key staff who have
left for greener pastures abroad. Medicines are in short supply and most of
the equipment is either malfunctioning or obsolete.

Junior Health Minister Edwin Muguti told AFP government would hike salaries
but did not give figures.

"We are going to meet them half way and give them a salary increase. All I
can say at this stage is that it is a handsome package and it is for all
health workers.

"We are now urging the doctors to return to work and we will only give
salaries to those who return to work.

The junior doctors first began a work boycott three weeks ago when they
limited the number of patients they would attend but soon stepped up their
protest into an all-out strike.

Patients are bearing the brunt of the crisis as nurses, senior state health
consultants and foreign doctors grapple to attend to overwhelming numbers of

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Government says striking Zimbabwe doctors have "resigned"

The Raw Story

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Friday January 19, 2007

Harare- President Robert Mugabe's government says it would fire striking
junior doctors who did not return to work as ordered this week, it was
reported Friday. In the latest instalment of a bitter battle between
struggling health workers and the cash-strapped Zimbabwe authorities, Deputy
Health Minister Edwin Muguti told the private Independent newspaper that the
doctors had been ordered back to work by Wednesday.

Those who did not heed the ultimatum to return to work on Wednesday were
considered to have resigned and they should vacate government accommodation,
Muguti was quoted as saying.

Reports say many of the doctors had ignored the ultimatum because the
authorities would not tell them what salary hike they are prepared to offer.

There are at least 145 junior doctors operating in Zimbabwe's hospitals. The
strike by junior and some senior doctors is now in its fourth week,
crippling the country's main hospitals in Harare and the second city,
Bulawayo. Some nurses have also stopped working.

The doctors want a near-hundred fold pay increase. They currently earn
56,000 Zimbabwe dollars (224 US dollars at the official exchange rate, less
than 20 dollars at the parallel rate).

They are demanding a salary of 5 million Zimbabwe dollars.

Muguti told the Independent that the doctors had been offered a good package
though he did not say what figure the government was offering.

It also appeared that the doctors themselves had not been told what the new
pay offer is.

The deputy minister said that it was a "good package" and that there was no
reason for doctors to remain away from work.

"The package is good and they have to wait to see when their payslips come.
For now they should go back to work," he added.

Car loans for doctors, one of their key demands, were increased last week
from 700,000 Zimbabwe dollars to 4 million.

Doctors' unions would not comment on the reports.

Discontent is rising among professionals in Zimbabwe, who are getting
increasingly frustrated with their lack of buying power as the local dollar
continues to lose value.

Doctors are not the only ones to strike. Electricity workers in Harare and
council workers from the southern town of Gwanda have also downed tools this

Reports say that eachers from the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe
(PTUZ) have also threatened work stoppages in two weeks' time.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency

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More Power Cuts Looming

The Herald (Harare)

January 19, 2007
Posted to the web January 19, 2007

Jeffrey Gogo

ZIMBABWEANS should brace for the continuance of power cuts this year as
power utility Zesa Holdings Ltd has yet to gain sufficient investment
capital to rapidly expand current power generation capacity needed most in
guarding against the anticipated power crunch in 2007.

Zesa sources said this week although expansion work at Kariba South Power
Station and Hwange Power Station, among others, was ongoing, essentially
"consumers can expect no change from last year's supply position".

Contracts with external suppliers from the region may be renewed, meaning
the country could still import 35 percent of its electricity requirements,
but nothing concrete has yet come up so far.

What this means is that unless key capital for the upgrade of Zimbabwe's
power supply lines is made available, load-shedding would continue, a source

This would dim hopes that the expected power crisis to hit the region this
year and beyond would be mitigated any time soon.

Zesa, however, remained strongly positioned in offsetting the projected
power crunch given the vast coal and methane gas deposits at the group's
disposal, which, if developed sufficiently, would be the kiss of life for
the country's energy sector.

"We have presented a paper to our parent ministry (Energy and Power
Development) updating them on the current electricity situation," explained
the source that cannot be named for professional reasons. "The paper does
not show any much difference from the 2006 supply situation.

"However, the minister is due to make a public announcement soon as regards
the power situation and we are not going to pre-empt this."

Secretary for Energy and Power Development Mr Justin Mupamhanga had by the
time of going to print not yet responded to questions sent to him. No
comment could be obtained from Zesa officials.

Zimbabwe -- which is at the centre of power development within the Southern
Africa Power Pool -- has announced that it requires over US$2 billion to
undertake power-generating projects until 2010. SAPP alone has said US$5,2
billion is needed to avert the 2007 power crunch.

As at 2006, Zesa was pursuing a dedicated refurbishment and upgrading of
existing generators, which were expected to yield an additional 180
megawatts before the year came to a close.

The utility was also in talks with its foreign suppliers for the renewal of
contracts. With HCB of Mozambique, Zesa had been negotiating for up to
300MW; a further 300MW between 2006 and 2007 with Zesco of Zambia; and then
for 2008-2009 about 150MW from SNEL of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Expansion work at Hwange Power Station is expected to yield a further 600MW
by 2009, while undertakings at Kariba South, also under expansion, should
see output up by 300MW, which would be available by mid-2010.

By 2010, Zesa expects to have expanded energy supplies to 12 974 gigawatts,
up from 10 199 gigawatts two years ago. In 1987, Zesa Holdings supplied 7
932GWh of power.

Recent research suggests that the ongoing trend towards higher discount
rates in electricity implies that thermal power, be it coal or gas-fired,
will probably dominate future electric power investments here.

Zimbabwe has the largest coal reserves in Africa outside South Africa and
the largest methane gas reserves in east and southern Africa.

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Debtors Plunge Hwange Into Viability Woes

The Herald (Harare)

January 19, 2007
Posted to the web January 19, 2007

Peter Matambanadzo

HWANGE Colliery Company Limited is experiencing viability constraints owing
to lack of funds amid revelations that the coal mining company is owed
almost $3 billion by Zesa Holdings and the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company.

Zesa Holdings and Ziscosteel owe Hwange $2 billion and $800 million

Hwange public relations manager Mr Clifford Nkomo yesterday confirmed that
the power utility and the Redcliff-based steelmaker had been struggling to
settle their debts since October last year.

"This debt has been accumulating since October last year and as a result, we
have been failing to viably operate owing to intermittent breakdowns of our
machinery and we cannot respond quickly to breakdowns due to lack of funds,"
Mr Nkomo said.

The revelations came to light this week during a tour of Hwange Colliery by
the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Cde Amos Midzi.

The minister travelled to Hwange to assess first-hand the situation at the
colliery following reports of breakdowns in the secondary crushing plant and
conveyor belting systems.

"It (the debt) has affected our cash flow. We buy a lot of spares and other
various inputs such as oils and equipment required in mining, some of which
we have to import," said Mr Nkomo.

The debt notwithstanding, Hwange continued to supply the two parastatals
with their coal needs.

"We have not stopped supplies but there might have been delays in coal
deliveries as a result of the breakdown of our secondary crushing plant and
conveyor belting systems," he said, dispelling fears that business at the
two parastatals might be grounded.

Contacted for comment, Zisco spokesperson Mr Augustine Timbe said management
had barred company officials from issuing statements to the Press.

"The current corporate arrangement is that management is not talking to the
Press about operational issues," Mr Timbe said.

A Zesa Holdings official who declined to be named said the debt was under
discussion and a statement would be released in due course.

Zesa Holdings has in the past attributed its debt problems to inadequate
working capital as a result of "sub-economic tariffs".

In June last year, Hwange was engaged in a war of words with Zesa Holdings
and Zisco over unpaid dues amounting to $1 trillion.

At the time, Zesa Holdings and Zisco owed Hwange $500 billion each, forcing
Hwange to cut supplies.

Coal deliveries to Zesa Holdings declined by 40 percent, resulting in three
power generating units at Hwange Power Station suspending operations.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe saved the day by settling the arrears on behalf
of the two loss-making parastatals.

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Population explosion in Beitbridge due to border jumpers

By Tichaona Sibanda
19 January 2007

The border town of Beitbridge faces a massive population explosion as
authorities struggle to relocate border jumpers deported from South Africa.
The high number of people in the town is also choking and stretching the
district council's service delivery to the limit.

Investigations by Newsreel this week reveal that since the beginning of the
year South African immigration officials have been deporting at least ten
bus-loads of border jumpers to Zimbabwe each day.

A source at the border town said once immigrants are 'dumped' in the
country, authorities face a daunting task of providing accomodation, food
and transport back to their home areas.

'In many of the cases the deportees refuse to go back to their hommes in the
hope of trying their luck again to cross the crocodile infested Limpopo
river. In the end, they end up loitering around the town doing all sorts of
things in search of food, money and shelter,' said our source.

This week alone our source said he has seen a huge influx of deportees from
South Africa.

Over a 100 Zimbabweans are illegally crossing into South Africa daily in
search of jobs despite intensified police patrols along the Limpopo River
and the dangers of drowning, possible arrest and deportation. Recently the
Ministers of Labour from Zimbabwe and South Africa, Nicholas Goche and
Membathisi Mdladlana met in Beitbridge over the issue.

South Africa is now deporting an average of 500 Zimbabweans every day, with
about 1000 being sent home every Thursday when the biggest holding camp
Lindela is cleared for new arrivals.

But it is the number of new deportees who hang around the border town that
is worrying authorities. In recent press articles police in Beitbridge have
accused the deportees of fanning crime in the border town.

'Cases of robberies, house breaking and violence have risen sharply in the
last six months and we suspect the authorities are failing to cope because
they are overwhelmed by the sheer number of new arrivals in the town,' said
our source.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Sugar mills and bakers withhold supplies

By Tererai Karimakwenda
19 January 2007

A serious shortage of sugar and wheat flour for bread has hit Zimbabwe
because the Ministry of Industry and International Trade continues to ignore
new price increases approved by government structures. Without final
approval from the ministry, sugar mills and bakers say they will not sell
any product because they stand to lose money. The same issue applies to
suppliers of cooking oil and other basic commodities.

The core of the problem is the extremely high inflation rate which recently
hit more than 1200% and the ministry which keeps delaying approvals. When
suppliers apply for increases to make up for inflation they need approvals
within a reasonable time otherwise the new price becomes outdated and profit
margins change. In the past six weeks alone prices have doubled.

To make the point our correspondent Simon Muchemwa has monitored prices of
some commodities since December. He said there were price increases of
between 100% - 400% during this one month period depending on the product.
In December a 2kg bag of rice cost Z$5000. This week it cost Z$11,200. A
whole chicken was also Z$5000 in December. Now it costs Z$14,400. And an
orange drink that was Z$2,800 a month ago now goes for Z$7000.

Muchemwa said there is no sugar, maize meal and self raising flour in the
shops. But on the black market these products can be found at extremely high
prices. As the mills, refineries and bakers continue to hold on to their
supplies while waiting for government approval on prices, shortages are
bound to become more critical and prices on the black market will soar even

As it stands the mills and refineries are currently still not selling sugar.
Our sources say they applied to the Ministry of Industry and International
Trade for a price increase back December. Although the price adjustment was
approved by the appropriate structures set up by government, to date the
Minister still refuses to sign the approval and allow price increases.
Bakers requested a price increase in February, 2006. It was eventually
granted 10 months later on December 21, 2006. On the same day, the
government approved a price increase for wheat flour from Z$150 000 a tonne
to Z$610 000 a tonne. This meant the bakers had to go back to the Ministry
to seek a new price. Yeast and salt prices also doubled since the price
adjustment. It is clear to see why this situation is not sustainable.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Photos catch the hardships of cross-border traders

Zimbabweans working in South Africa often use informal haulers to ferry goods and food back home

Zimbabweans working in South Africa often use informal haulers to ferry goods and food back home


Art Galleries
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Cross-border traders oil the wheels of the informal economy across southern Africa. Their hard lives are documented in a photo exhibition now on at the Market Photo Workshop Gallery.

January 19, 2007

By Ndaba Dlamini

TWO men lug a heavy refrigerator to a cross-border bus amid the bustle of a bus rank in Braamfontein. Focus shifts to a busy border post between Mozambique and South Africa, with the chaos of travellers jostling for a place in a long, snaking queue.

These are some of the images of informal cross-border traders taken by students at the Market Photo Workshop, a training institution for photographers in Newtown, and commissioned photographers from neighbouring countries.

The exhibition, Back and Forth: Informal Cross-Border Traders in Southern Africa, is the result of a photo documentary project of the International Organisation for Migration's Partnership on HIV and Mobility in Southern Africa (Phamsa) programme and the Market Photo Workshop's year-long photojournalism and documentary photography programme.

The exhibition is running at the Workshop Gallery and along its outside fence until 28 February.

"The objective of the project is to highlight the activities of informal traders in southern Africa, particularly the socio-economic factors that increase their vulnerability to diseases like HIV," says Kirsten Doermann, the workshop's project manager.

Sculptures are among the most common items sold by informal cross-border traders from Zimbabwe

Sculptures are among the most common items sold by informal cross-border traders from Zimbabwe

Although informal cross-border traders contribute immensely to the southern African region, particularly in terms of employment creation, economic upliftment of women, regional economic trade and social integration, and food security, they are often invisible - unrecognised at home and harassed in the host country.

No country has a specific permit or visa for these entrepreneurs, and they do not benefit from preferential tariffs, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

The project wanted to capture the plight of cross-border traders, so raising public awareness of their lives, particularly their vulnerability in terms of gender inequality, poor living conditions, separation from families, exploitation and discrimination, and lack of access to health services.

The photographers – six students from the Market Photo Workshop and five photographers from Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe – spent six months documenting the lives of informal traders, travelling with them from country to country.

The project was not only about capturing images, but about getting to know more about the personal lives of these people, according to Doermann.

In an image by Lerato Maduna, a young girl sits on a bag of supplies; in the background are buses waiting to ferry her and fellow travellers to Zimbabwe. The caption reads: "This young girl regularly travels to Johannesburg with her mother to buy supplies for their small shop in Harare. Here they wait for the goods to be loaded on to a bus. Waiting is no stranger for traders, since it happens a lot at bus stations and at the border."

In another image by Moshe Sekete, a woman struggles with her belongings outside Musina train station. She has just placed her luggage on the ground to rest when a voice emanating from the platform announces, "Hurry up Mama, the train is about to leave!" according to the accompanying caption.

The wretched lives of the traders are starkly revealed in an image by Maduna, taken in Durban. A woman wearily carries aluminium pots strung together to form a centipede. Metro Rail has just evicted her from where she was selling her goods.

Studies have shown that contrary to perceptions that migrants, like informal cross-border traders, carry diseases to places they visit, it is rather the circumstances and events related to the migration that put them at increased risk of contracting various infections. In other words, being mobile in itself is not a risk factor for HIV, it is the situations encountered and the behaviours possibly engaged in during mobility or migration that increase vulnerability and risk regarding HIV.

Women constitute about 80 percent of the informal traders, a factor that brings a sense of empowerment as well as challenges.

"These women are on the road most of the time and some, particularly those from Zimbabwe, sacrifice sleeping on pavements for 24 hours in order to get a waiver in paying import and export duties at the border," Doermann says.

A shot by Maduna accentuates this point: two women, exhaustion etched on their faces, sleep deeply in a bus, oblivious to the commotion around them as they return home after spending days peddling goods in Johannesburg.

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Foreign powers cannot 'impose' solutions on Zim


January 19, 2007, 20:15

Foreign powers cannot "impose" political or economic solutions on Zimbabwe
even though the deepening crisis in the African nation threatens to
destabilise its neighbours, a senior Mozambique official said today. "Each
time you try to impose a solution from the outside, the results most of the
time are not what we like," Henrique Banze, the Mozambique's deputy foreign
minister, said.

"We cannot define a plan for them although we are indirectly affected. They
have to design it and come to us." Banze said Mozambique was frustrated with
its inability to get Mugabe's government to embrace negotiations with
political opponents, but he added that the former Portuguese colony would
continue to apply diplomatic pressure on Harare.

In 2004 Mugabe rejected a United Nations proposal that would have seen
Joaqim Chissano, the ex-Mozambican President, mediate between Zimbabwe's
ruling Zanu (PF) party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
Zimbabwe's economy, once one of the most promising in Africa, is suffering
from a lengthy recession marked by high unemployment, chronic shortages of
fuel and food and an inflation rate of 1 281%, the world's highest.

Some Zimbabweans moved to SA in search of work
The crisis, which critics blame on mismanagement by government of Robert
Mugabe, the president, has disrupted trade links in southern Africa and led
many Zimbabweans to move to Mozambique, South Africa and other countries in
search of work.

Zimbabwe is Mozambique's second largest trading partner in Africa after
South Africa. - Reuters

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Zim editors condemn govt action


19/01/2007 08:19  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe's refusal to renew a newspaper publisher's passport is an
assault on his freedom of expression and movement, says the Zimbabwe
National Editors' Forum (Zinef).

It said: "The latest move by the authorities in Harare to restrict Trevor
Ncube's capacity to operate as a newspaper publisher represents a form of
punishment that must not be allowed to escape international notice."

Ncube was born and raised in Zimbabwe and was the publisher of the privately
owned Zimbabwe Independent and Zimbabwe Standard, as well as South Africa's
Mail and Guardian.

The forum said: "His newspapers in Zimbabwe and South Africa have taken a
lead in exposing corruption and misrule."

According to Zinef, Ncube was seeking a high court order, compelling
registrar-general Tobaiwa Mudede to renew his passport after his application
for Zimbabwean citizenship.

Zinef had called on colleagues at home and abroad to "make it clear to the
regime that any interference with the freedom of the press in Zimbabwe is

Ncube was arguing that the withdrawal of his citizenship was unlawful, as he
had never been a citizen of any other country other than Zimbabwe.

He contended that his father, who was born in Zambia, was a Zimbabwean
citizen. Immigration officials in Bulawayo seized Ncube's passport on
December 08 2005 on his arrival from South Africa.

Zinef said no reasons were given for "the unlawful action, other than that
Ncube was on a list of citizens whose passports were to be withdrawn".

His passport was released after the attorney-general's office conceded that
the seizure was unlawful. Mudede's refusal to renew Ncube's passport came
almost a year after the high court ruled that the seizure of Ncube's travel
document in December 2006 was unlawful. - Sapa

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Zim blood diamonds spark concern


January 19 2007 at 10:24AM

      By Eric Onstad

      The World Diamond Council (WDC) is worried that gems from Zimbabwe may
be finding their way onto the black market, a violation of rules established
to curb the trade in "conflict diamonds" that fuel civil wars.

      The diamond sector is making extra efforts to police itself amid fears
that jewellery sales will be hit by the release of the film Blood Diamond

      The film is set in Sierra Leone's civil war and reflects atrocities
financed by blood diamonds.

      Brooks Spector, a former US diplomat and co-author of a report on the
role of diamond mining in southern Africa, warned that the movie could hit
diamond sales as badly as fur sales were hit by a similar association with

      The WDC was still receiving reports that diamonds in Zimbabwe were
being smuggled into South Africa, where they were being certified as
legitimate and exported, council chairperson Eli Izhakoff said.

      Izhakoff said he sent a letter last month to the incoming chairperson
of the Kimberley Process, a watchdog body set up to stamp out trade in
conflict diamonds.

      "Such illegal exportation presents a clear threat to the integrity of
the legitimate export process," Izhakoff said.

      The council said that it had reports that rough diamonds from
Zimbabwe's River Ranch mine and from the Marange district were being
smuggled out of the country.

      A legal consultant for River Ranch, which restarted mining in June
last year under new ownership after going into voluntary liquidation in
1999, has denied this.

      Illegal mining is rising in Zimbabwe as people grapple with an
economic crisis that has seen inflation rise to more than 1000 percent, the
highest in the world, and poverty levels soar.

      A statement released by Abbey Chikane, founding chairman of the
Kimberley Process and current chairman of the South African Diamond Board,
stresses the importance of the Kimberley Process in reducing illicit diamond

      "Seventy-one governments have enshrined into their national law the
Kimberly Process Certification Scheme and more than 99,8 percent of the
world's supply of diamonds is from sources free of conflict," Chikane said.

      "Sierra Leone, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo are at
peace and are using the revenues from their diamond trade to reconstruct
their economies."

      The only diamond-producing nations in Africa that are not signatories
are Ivory Coast, where rebels control a small portion of the diamond fields,
and Liberia, which is under UN sanctions.

      Diamonds are one of Africa's major natural resources. An estimated
$13-billion (R91-billion) worth of rough diamonds are produced per year, of
which about $8,4-billion - about 65 percent - are from Africa. This global
industry employs about 10million people across a wide spectrum of roles,
from mining to retail.

      "It is crucial that we recognise the role diamonds and other mineral
resources can play in addressing the economic ills of Africa.

      "This is especially important in countries that were previously at
war. These countries need to reinvest all revenues generated from the
diamond trade in education, health, water and sanitation and infrastructure
development. Only this ... can guarantee that diamonds are 'Africa's best
friend'," Chikane said.

      This article was originally published on page 6 of Pretoria News on
January 19, 2007

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