Protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe

Join us in protesting against the unjust detention and torture of 45 activists in Harare last week. The group of community leaders and activists were watching a video on the recent revolutions in North Africa when they were arrested, charged with treason and tortured. They are still being detained and denied access to medical treatment.  It seems that Mugabe is nervous that Zimbabweans will be inspired by the toppling of the regimes in Cairo, Tunis and (hopefully) Tripoli. But this is just the most recent of a rapidly increasing number of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe in the run-up to elections later this year.

We are demanding that the South African government should act now and take a public and firm stance against such human rights violations. To this end, we will submit a memorandum to members of Parliament at the protest.

The protest will take place from 10:30 to 1 pm tomorrow (on Tuesday, March 1st) outside Parliament on Plein Street in downtown Cape Town. It will coincide and be in solidarity with the planned ‘Million Citizens March’ that will take place in Harare at the same time tomorrow. The situation in Harare is tense at the moment, as Zanu-PF is mobilizing to intimidate and constrain the movements of people who want to attend the protest tomorrow.

For the press statement, please click here: Protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe

Press Statement: Zimbabwean authorities ignore passport concerns

Press Statement

ZIMBABWEAN AUTHORITIES STILL IGNORE THE CONCERNS OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT, CIVIL SOCIETY AND THE PLIGHT OF DESPERATE PASSPORT APPLICANTS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thousands of Zimbabweans have been “robbed” as the Zimbabwean Consulate turns the passport application process into a sham. The consulate continues to shun both its Diaspora and civil society when asked about when and how they will deliver the passports.  This crisis has forced the South African Home Affairs Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to arrange an official visit to Zimbabwe in search of “political intervention”, this visit may be the only way through the current Zimbabwean documentation impasse.

The Zimbabwean government continues to shamefully fail its Diaspora in South Africa by not delivering desperately needed passports to over 100,000 Zimbabwean migrants. These passports are needed to collect the South African permits offered under the Zimbabwean Dispensation Project.

PASSOP is appalled by the Zimbabwean government’s utter failure and the Consulate General’s blatant contempt in fulfilling their obligations. The complete information blackout has created anxiety and desperation among thousands of Zimbabweans still waiting to get passports, many who have paid the required R750 fee. It has also spread fear and hopelessness amongst the many thousands who were denied the opportunity to apply for passports when the Zimbabwean Consulate offices around South Africa shut unexpectedly three weeks ago without any notice.

The Zimbabwean Consulate has shown total disregard and downright contempt for these concerns by repeatedly canceling meetings with civil society, claiming that the “Consul General’s schedule is overcommitted for the whole duration of the documentation exercise”.  It also appears that the meeting between the South African Director General of Home Affairs, Mr Mkuseli Apleni, and the disputed Zimbabwean Ambassador two weeks ago, has been fruitless and filled with more empty promises. The Zimbabwean  Consulate was meant to get back to the South African Department of Home Affairs outlining their action plan to deliver all the needed passports before June 30, 2011.  This hasn’t happened and we had hoped more light would be shed on what exactly is going on, a sentiment that is very likely to be shared by the South African Department of Home Affairs.

The process is now dependent on the South African minister of Home Affairs, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is planning to visit her Zimbabwean counterparts, Co-ministers Mr Kembo Mohadi and Mrs Theresa Makone, in the next two weeks in an attempt to get the political “buy-in” needed to get out of the current deadlock.  We think it is insulting that a South African Minister should be required to go to Zimbabwe to encourage the Zimbabwean government to do their job and deliver on their promises.

We wish her well and are extremely thankful to her for her humble and tireless approach towards the matter.  Perhaps when she returns we will be able to give the many dozens of worried Zimbabwean applicants who phone us every single day an informative and positive response.

For comment, please contact Anthony Muteti at 0843510388 or David Burgsdorff at 0746602583.