Category Archives: PASSOP

Passop: Concern over Deportation of Zimbabweans

Press Statement for Immediate release



Despite no formal confirmation, public admission or statement from the Department of Home Affairs, PASSOP regrets to inform media, the public and Zimbabweans that we are now convinced that the Department of Home Affairs has lifted South Africa’s moratorium on deporting Zimbabweans.

The deportation of Zimbabweans resumes at a very sensitive time, with revelations in recent months of abuse of asylum seekers at refugee reception centers compromising their right to apply for refugee status. It also begins in direct contradiction to the recent undertakings made by the Department of Home Affair’s Director General, Mr Apleni, while addressing the Parliamentary Portfolio committee for Home Affairs, not to embark on deportations of Zimbabweans until the Zimbabwean Documentation Project has been completed, appeals reviewed and the minister approved deportations.

We are also extremely concerned that efforts to get clarity around the number of people in South Africa through the upcoming Census are being undermined by this latest move by Department of Home Affairs. Despite PASSOP being reassured by South Africa’s Statistician-General, Mr Pali Lehohla, that it will be safe for all immigrants to participate in the Census, the Department of Home Affairs has taken a seemingly unilateral decision. Fear and paranoia have begun among immigrants. It is obvious that sadly many immigrants in South Africa will ‘go underground’ into hiding and be unwilling to open doors to officials conducting the census.

Despite PASSOP having undertaken to encourage all immigrants, documented and undocumented, to participate and be counted, we can no longer do so as deportations are increasing at this very important time.

PASSOP believes that the positive and genuine reassurances from the S.G. cannot reassure immigrants that they will not be arrested and deported during the census, because Home Affairs will not only continue deporting immigrants, but will also begin deportations of all undocumented Zimbabweans for the first time in two years.

The number of immigrants living in South Africa has been subject to much speculation. In particular the number of Zimbabweans has been a hotly contested: while the Department has claimed that the vast majority had been documented in the recent Zimbabwean Documentation Project, many civil society organizations, including the IOM, IDASA House and Human Rights Watch have claimed that there could be as many as 1.5 million Zimbabweans in South Africa.

This latest move will continue to obscure the actual number of Zimbabweans living in South Africa. South Africa will have to keep depending on deportation numbers and estimates hence forth, as surely undocumented Zimbabweans will not answer doors to be counted and will do everything they can to avoid arrest and deportation.

We were overjoyed with news of the Departments’ recent and successful audit. The Department made South Africa proud, but sadly while we were enjoying the good news, and the Department getting its hard-earned positive publicity, the Department quietly put into motion the processes for Zimbabwean deportations.

PASSOP believes that increased deportations threaten stability in South African communities, with increased xenophobic and “Afrophobic” tensions a predictable result and the possibility of communities “witch hunting”, with neighbors turning on their neighbors, South Africans turning on fellow Africans.

We believe that deportation is an Apartheid tendency and that deportations of fellow Africans is un-African.

We also believe that the situation in Zimbabwe is not resolved and this move will put immense pressure on Zimbabwe.

For comment, please contact: Langton Miriyoga (0840269658) or Braam Hanekom (0843191764).

Passop statement on De Doorns camp closure

Passop statement on De Doorns camp closure

“We are shocked and appalled that government officials have told displaced Zimbabweans they need to leave the camp by the 17th of May. This is extremely reckless in light of the evidently high frustration levels in the community. The displaced have suffered great emotional distress and much financial loss, thus many lack the confidence to reintegrate and the ability, means and resources to relocate or repatriate. It is unacceptable and an attempt by government to intimidate them into leaving.”

Cost of eviction: Even after an expensive and protracted legal battle, the City of Cape Town was only able to force eviction of the displaced in Blue Waters on condition that the City provided R1000 per person. The blue water’s camp residents were displaced in 2008 and had refused several offers of assistance to reintegrate, relocate or repatriate. The De Doorns camp has just over 1000 residents. We believe that by offering financial assistance to the displaced to leave, government will save much money. Currently the government is wasting R250000 a month on unclean and badly maintained toilets and a security company that has failed to protect people.

–Every four months costs the equivalent as offering R1000 incentive.

Unfair treatment of De Doorns displaced: In contrast the displaced in De Doorns (who were displaced in November) have been offered no assistance and are rudely told by officials that they are not refugees. (Only the Department of Home Affair’s refugee status determination officers can identify who is or is not a refugee).

Current climate: This week SANCO held protests and demanded the removal of a local councillor accused of inciting xenophobic violence. These protests clearly show the dangers against the displaced are still very real. While threats against foreigners were made as recently as last week, government has now announced that they intend on shutting the camp on the 17th of May.

Our opinion: Closing the camps without financial assistance neglects human rights and neglects the safety of the displaced. Provincial government should take responsibility to ensure the safety of the displaced and ensure that they are provided with basic assistance before any closure is considered. We further believe that only the courts can order an eviction and that any legal battle will waste government money and prolong the process of reintegration.

For comment from PASSOP: Mr Everisto Kamera 0713664660, Mrs Tendai Bhiza 0767103543.

PASSOP Appeal to Premier Lynn Brown to take action against human rights violations at the Cape Town Refugee Centre

2nd October

Press Statement for Immediate Release

PASSOP Appeal to Premier Lynn Brown to take action against human rights violations at the Cape Town Refugee Centre

Following our brief meeting with the Premier, we desperately request her intervention in the current crisis in the Western Cape. We were encouraged by her serious concern in the meeting and now ask of her to take actions towards solving the crisis. We believe that images of women and children being shot with rubber bullets in Western Cape are an embarrassment to all. Incidents like that witnessed on Monday the 29th of September at the Cape Town refugee centre are be becoming part of our image as a province. Such incidents occur because home affairs have failed to serve or even respect the human rights of immigrants.

The department is the most corrupt department in the province. They create disasters and the police are forced to intervene frequently. It is unfortunate that the police end up having to behave like the home affairs mafia, a government department demands that they use force to disperse immigrants who complain about corruption. The department should not be forcing police to disperse people who are awaiting services that are only performed at its office in Nyanga.

Last year we even witnessed the death of a Zimbabwean asylum seeker, from starvation, while waiting weeks day and night in the queue. The Nyanga refugee centre is not an adequate premises, it is located in at township that has the highest murder rate in the province and has a recent history of xenophobic violence. There is need to up hold the image of the Western Cape, further deaths can be avoided.

This is not acceptable and we believe that Mrs Lynn Brown, as Premier has a responsibility and the authority to demand that the refugee centre fulfil its basic functions without daily violations of human rights. We ask her to selflessly give extra attention to the most desperate, to champion the rights of immigrants who have no vote.

Braam Hanekom- 0832561140

Cosmos Lerato – 0742293127

Tendai Bhiza – 0767103543

PASSOP: We fear war in Johannesburg

Press-Statement for immediate Release

We fear war in Johannesburg

Zimbabweans will rush into Johannesburg in large numbers

South Africa is faced with an on going migration crisis, with over 3 million immigrants from Zimbabwe alone. This crisis is a result of hardships faced by Zimbabweans in Zimbabwe. This crisis has led to frustrations among the South African poor who have been forced to compete with the immigrant populations for basic resources and employment. In the recent past we have seen the ugly face of xenophobia, resulting in many deaths, massive displacement of the immigrant population and a large reverse migration of immigrants back into there poverty and war stricken countries. The South African police were unable to deal with the violence and the army had to be called in.

Zimbabwe’s June 27th runoff elections were the only hope of a peaceful presidential succession. The numbers of Zimbabweans migrating into South Africa had slowed down in the hope of a new president. There had been a reverse migration by a number of Zimbabweans who had hoped to see the economy improve under new leadership. In light of the withdrawal of Morgan Tsvangirai from the elections, we appeal to Thabo Mbeki to intervene immediately and to plan the return of the opposition leader into the presidential race. It is clear that violence has made free and fair elections impossible.

We fear that Zimbabweans will flood into South Africa, like never before, resulting in further frustrations among the poor South Africans. The numbers we can expect, if the Zimbabwean people have no chance of changing their president, will result in massive bloodshed. It is the worst possible time for a drastic increase in migration into South Africa, it will be war.

If we don’t intervene we will pay for our lack of intervention on our own soil by shooting South Africans who fight the consequences of Mbeki’s tolerance of Mugabe. It would be better to fight a war in Zimbabwe.

Braam Hanekom 0832561140

Cosmos Mjoma 0742293127

Solidarity: COSATU, PASSOP & CECA to march against xenophobia and the regime in Zimbabwe, Saturday 17 May 2008

PASSOP (People Against Suffering Suppression Oppression and Poverty) is appalled by the reports of recent xenophobic attacks in Alexandria and Diepsloot. We are appealing to all political parties and social movements within South Africa to address and clarify their stances towards the important issue of xenophobia. Foreigners in townships across South Africa live in fear, much like the Jews during the Nazi Regime. Their homes are vandalized, their stores looted and even their lives are taken. This inhumanity cannot be allowed to continue.

The DHA (Department of Home Affairs) and the police must immediately stop claiming ignorance as to the situation in which immigrants are forced to live in, they are undocumented no illegal by choice. They are being treated like criminals in townships across South Africa. The South African government has failed to document refugees in a timely manner. The refugees should not be punished for governmental shortcomings.

Following the post election violence in Zimbabwe, the number of refugees has only increased while the number of refugees documented by the government is marginal. This is deplorable. We implore the political parties of South Africa to engage in a dialogue about xenophobia and to add this issue to their branch agendas. We demand a quick, efficient police response. Townships where violence and looting has already occurred must be labeled “red zones” by the government, extra police and security be provided to ensure the safety and security of the immigrants living there. These red zone must include Danoon, Worcester, Masipumelela and any other areas which have a history of xenophobic attacks. We demand protection be provided to all refugees, asylum seekers and foreigners living in townships. We also demand that African leaders stop supporting the Mugabe regime.

We are protesting!! PASSOP, COSATU, the SACP, the ANC, C.E.C.A and other organizations will unite in protest on Saturday the 17th of May 2008 to show disapproval of the attacks, and our anger with the Zimbabwean regime which is forcing a mass migration into South Africa.

Marching from Kaisergracht (opposite Cape Technikon) to parliament.

12-00 – 14-00

For comment

PASSOP-Braam Hanekom 0832561140

C.E.C.A (Angolan Community)- Pedro Seke 0825129096
COSATU- Mike Louw 0844777104