By Alex Bell
13 August 2010
A South African civil rights initiative has raised concerns about ongoing human rights violations in Zimbabwe, which it said are continuing.
A delegation from AfriForum which returned from a weeklong fact-finding mission in Zimbabwe this week, found that human rights violations “are continuing unabatedly under the Mugabe regime, in spite of the implementation of a unity government in this country.” AfriForum’s delegation said it also found that the South African government “does not lift a finger to assist South African citizens who fall victim to the Zimbabwe regime’s human rights violations.”
According to Kallie Kriel, the executive director of AfriForum who was part of the delegation that went to Zimbabwe, discussions were held with people who fell victim to violent attacks and theft in Zimbabwe and who did not receive any assistance from the Zimbabwean police. Kriel said that the victims of human rights violations are afraid the police will arrest them if they dare to protect themselves and their property.
Kriel further said that AfriForum’s delegation obtained a great deal of information from South Africans in Zimbabwe, regarding the South African government’s unwillingness to offer them protection. According to Kriel, the South African government stands by idly while its citizens’ farms and possessions are stolen in Zimbabwe and while some South Africans are jailed.
South African farmers who are facing ongoing intimidation and persecution in Zimbabwe have made several appeals to the South African authorities to intervene, but the pleas have fallen on deaf ears. This includes Philip and Ellen Hapelt from Grasslands Farm in Somabhula who have been fighting for several months against worsening threats by land invaders. Their property has caught the eye of MP Jabulani Mangena, who has openly threatened the Hapelts for remaining on the property. Mangena insists he has an offer letter for the farm, which is meant to be protected by two court orders allowing the Hapelts to live there peacefully.
Philip Hapelt is a South African citizen and entitled to protection by the South African government. But all attempts to get the authorities to intervene have been unsuccessful.
AfriForum said the information that has been obtained from their fact finding mission will be useful in its two planned court cases against the South African government. The court actions will see the South African government taken to task over its failure to fulfil its duty towards its citizens living in Zimbabwe. AfriForum is compiling a report that will set out the details of several human rights violations against South African citizens in Zimbabwe.