As South African-based Zimbabweans await Pretoria’s final decision on their special residence permits, community leaders are saying the situation has created a crisis. Zimbabwe Community in South Africa Chairman Nqgabutho Mabhena, says as some of the documents have already expired many of their members were in ‘limbo’ and some were now being forced out of their jobs. Zim Migrants International communications director Daniel Muzenda says some of their members have been rounded up by police and detained at Lindela detention center.
Archive for the 'Diaspora Diaries' Category
The delay by the government to realign the laws with the provisions of the new constitution has affected many people, particularly those seeking dual citizenship. The Chairman of the Zim Community in South Africa, Ngqabutho Mabhena, says the delay has caused much anxiety and frustration among people living south of the Limpopo. He says they will be meeting Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, who will be in Pretoria on Wednesday, to discuss the issue because many of their members who have acquired South African citizenship have been denied Zim passports, despite the fact that dual citizenship is now legal.
Joy Mabenge from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition says Zimbabweans who live in Botswana believe that they are better off in that country. He recently led a delegation to Gaborone to ‘raise a red flag’ on the ever deteriorating Zim situation after a Botswana government minister said things had improved and says their meetings with officials and civil society leaders were positive. Economic analyst Masimba Kuchera says if Zim exiles in both Botswana and South Africa are forced to return to their country there could be a devastating effect on the economy.
South African Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has said Zim special permit holders, whose documents are expiring this year, should expect a decision in August. As some of the permits have already expired fears have been growing that Pretoria may not renew them. But the Zim Community in South Africa Chairperson, Ngqabutho Mabhena, says his organisation will continue to negotiate with the government ahead of the decision. He says they are already lobbying the ANC, COSATU and the churches on the issue.
SA legislator Masizole Mnqasela says Zimbabweans whose right to live there under the special dispensation programme has expired, should go to court if the South African government does not renew their permits. He says it would be wrong for Pretoria to force Zimbabweans to return to their country because the situation is getting worse. Lawyer Gabriel Shumba agrees, saying people have legal grounds and valid reasons to approach the courts if they are denied permission to extend their stay.
A month before Mugabe assumes the chairmanship of SADC, the Crisis in Zim Coalition is warning the regional body not to ignore Zimbabwe’s socio-economic and political problems. Dewa Mavhinga, chair of the coalition, says the collapse of service delivery and the continuing arbitrary arrests of civil rights activists and journalists all point to a leadership crisis in the country and SADC must demand reforms, now.
The Zimbabwe Migrants Association says it is positive that the South African government will renew the permits of the exiles who are living and working there. Daniel Muzenda says his organization is currently engaged with Pretoria on the issue and is urging Zimbabweans who were granted permission to live and work there four years ago to remain calm and wait for the outcome of the negotiations.
Alex Bell looks at ZANU PF’s attempts to get a legal ruling that declares the EU’s targeted sanctions ‘illegal’, as part of the regime’s ongoing efforts to seek international legitimacy. Wilbert Mukori, the spokesperson of the UK based Zimbabwe Social Democrats, says while the case has “no merit”, the EU itself is responsible for encouraging ZANU PF by actively re-engaging the party.
Alex Bell speaks to Khumublani Moyo, the Secretary of a new Joburg based organisation that will be leading engagement efforts on behalf of Zimbabweans seeking clarity on their future stay in South Africa. The ‘Zimbabwe Community in South Africa’ group has already started setting up meetings with the ANC party and the COSATU trade union grouping, and are hoping to secure a commitment from the authorities that the special dispensation permits that expire in November, will be renewed.
With the EU and ZANU PF re-engagement efforts gaining momentum, Alex Bell looks at a new social media campaign calling for the restoration of the Diaspora Vote as a precondition that must be met before relations with the Mugabe regime are ‘normalised’. Former diplomat Clifford Mashiri has started the #RestoreZimDiasporaVote campaign on Twitter and he explains that the EU’s engagement efforts are ‘deplorable’ when there is no change in Zimbabwe to warrant this.