Zimbabwe finally clears donated food for distribution
By Tererai Karimakwenda
02 September 2005
The tonnes of food donated by The South African Council
of Churches (SACC) to help victims of operation Murambatsvina were
finally cleared by Zimbabwean authorities on Friday, a month after
the package was put together for the desperate families.
Speaking for the churches, Ron Steele confirmed the
final duty-free permits had been granted and the trucks would be
leaving Johannesburg for Zimbabwe. Blankets that were released from
a bonded warehouse in Harare earlier this week are already being
distributed by Christian Care, the local NGO working with the SACC
and Zimbabwe's Council of Churches.
The month delay was caused by the Zimbabwe side which
first demanded certificates showing the maize was not genetically
modified, then insisted on charging duty on the donated goods even
though it was the Zimbabwe government that created the crisis. Despite
all the difficulties, the SACC said they are still willing to help.
They are meeting on Monday to decide the next step.