South Africa and Zimbabwean authorities linked to refugees attacks
CAPE TOWN – South African and Zimbabwean governments are behind the latest attacks on Zimbabwean asylum seekers on farms as part of a security plan to drive them out before the 2010 FIFA World Cup, our source revealed.
The plan is coordinated by the South African and Zimbabwean governments and it was drafted by both countries’ military and security organs that are providing logistical support to bands of ANC hooligans and thugs driving out Zimbabweans from farms.
Sources said the Zimbabwean government has ropped-in its members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and War Veterans to assist South African authorities on identifying Zimbabweans.
South African government has made it a pre-condition to finacially support Zimbabwean unity government, that Zimbabwe has to assist in the repatriation of refugees before the 2010 World Cup.
In the last 24 hours, there have been scenes similar to the war torn Great Lakes regions where huge numbers of refugees are seen on TV fleeing war between Hutu rebels fighting DRC forces.
On highway roads there have been long lines of desparate Zimbabwean men and women on foot, clutching at anything from babies, big luggages, cooking utensils. Traumatised and starving young children crying and forced to walk long distances to safety.
Yesterday, a reporter for The Zimbabwe Mail based in South Africa drove to the troubled area and witnessed unusual activities at a police camp where hooligans in private vehicles were chanting war-cry slogans and signing the Jacob Zuma’s trademark song, Mshina wami.
A white farmer and his wife who had come to report violence on his foreign labourers was roundly booed by hooligans, and warned he would be the next target after the 2010 FIFA World cup.
A member of COPE, an opposition party in South Africa told our reporter of a secret plan by the ruling party, ANC and coordinated by its Senior leaders and it will be implemented by ANC Youth Wing, together with the country’s security forces to drive out foreigners from all levels of employment and Springboks Rugby player Tendai Mutawarira is the high profile victim of the plan.
The plan also coincides with the Zimbabwean State media trying to distablise MDC-T South African branch.
The source said Zimbabwe’s ruling party Zanu PF and the country’s security and intelligentsia are aware of the South African plan.
On Thursday, 13 November, 2009, in Harare, Zimbabwe Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa met with his South African counter-part, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu who was leading a delegation of Ministers from his country for the fourth session of the Zimbabwe-South Africa Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security.
The Permanent Commission evaluated progress made by both countries since the third meeting held in South Africa in November 2007.
The Commission looked at common issues of Defence and Security, among them progress on de-mining the Great Limpopo Transfonteir Park, coordinated patrols along the border, preparation and launch of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Standby Brigade, exchange programmes and cooperation during the 2010 World Cup and efficient border management.
The Commission also looked at counter drug trafficking measures, prevention of stock theft, joint operations to stop armed robberies, management of deportation and Beitbridge border post efficiency.
The South Africa delegation also included the Ministers of Correctional Services Nosiviwe Maphisa Nqakula, Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of State Security Dr Siyabonga Cwele, Deputy Minister of Justice A Nel and Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Thabang Makwetla.
Emmerson Mnangagwa led the Zimbabwean delegation and he was joined by Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Didymus Mutasa and Security forces Generals.
Senior officials and Military Generals from both countries had met prior to the Ministerial session which was held under high security.
South African government of former President Thabo Mbeki, over the years, refused to declare Zimbabwean asylum seekers as refugees, rather calling them economic migrants, in order to keep out United Nations involvement in the affairs of Zimbabwe, and hence own up to the situation whenever the matter came up for discussion in the Security Council.
Up to 2,700 Zimbabwean asylum seekers have set up a temporary "safety camp" at a rural South African town following xenophobic attacks on their shacks, a human rights group said on Wednesday.
South African police fired rubber bullets on Tuesday to disperse a mob that attacked shacks belonging to hundreds of migrants following several days of simmering tension over jobs.
The attacks in De Doorns, a town 150 km (90 miles) from Cape Town, was reminiscent of 2008 xenophobic riots in which at least 42 people died and tens of thousands were displaced across South Africa.
"At the moment between 1,300 and 2,700 people, mostly Zimbabwean asylum seekers, have set up an internally displaced persons camp site or safety site, at De Doorns sports ground," Braam Hanekom, co-ordinator of People Against Suffering Suppression Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP) told Reuters.
Hanekom said the asylum seekers were housed in two large tents. There was limited water, poor security and a few portable toilets, he added.
"Today all the displaced asylum seekers refused to go to work for fear of being attacked," Hanekom said.
The attacks flared over competition for seasonal jobs at farms in the area, with the community arguing that Zimbabweans were "stealing jobs" by agreeing to work longer hours for less pay than locals were prepared to do.
De Doorns police station commander, Superintendent Desmond van der Westhuizen, told Reuters the displaced migrants would probably be held in tents for the next week, as discussions about their future continued with authorities.
"The were no new incidents reported over the last 24 hours," he said, adding that "there were… in the last 24 hours," he said, adding he estimated some 3,000 were affected by Tuesday’s attacks.
In 2008, a wave of xenophobic attacks in and around Johannesburg led to 15,000 migrants, most of them Zimbabweans, being forced into settlement camps.
The violence also spread to Cape Town, swelling the overall numbers of displaced, and was aimed mainly at the millions of Zimbabweans who fled their homeland in search of work and a better future.
A global economic downturn and the first recession in two decades have caused massive job losses in Africa’s largest economy. Unemployment is officially close to a quarter of the country’s population of 49 million.