One month ZDP Extension Granted

(NEW IMPORTANT NOTICE: for all Zimbabweans in the Western Cape still waiting on their ZDP permits: the Home Affairs office processing these is moving from Wynberg to BELLVILLE (Boston House, Voortrekker Road) starting from Monday, 22 August.)

PRESS STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PASSOP welcomes the one month extension to allow for the completion of the ZDP

The Department of Home Affairs Deputy Director-General, Jackie McKay, today announced that the Zimbabwe Dispensation Project will be concluded at the end of August 2011, rather than the end of July. We welcome this one month extension, as we had previously been under the impression that the deadline would certainly be at the end of July. This is evident in the following two transcripts: dated 22nd of February 2011 click here and the 30th of June 2011 click here.  We therefore wish to advise all Zimbabwean nationals that, although not termed an extension, they have essentially been given an extra month to collect their permits. It is our concern, however, that one month may be ambitious considering the delay by the Zimbabwean Government to issue passports, and the time consuming process of distributing the permits.

We view this extension as a positive move and recognize that the department has once again exercised diligence in ensuring the smooth and thorough completion of the entire process.

For comment please contact: Langton Miriyoga: 084 026 9658 or Doug Leresche 079 712 7341.

PASSOP Appeals to Minister for Extension of Zimbabwean Dispensation Project Deadline

Press Statement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PASSOP Appeals to the South African Minister of Home Affairs for the Zimbabwean Dispensation Project deadline to be extended by at least 2 months and for her to put pressure on Zimbabwean Consulate

PASSOP has today written and sent a letter to the South African Home Affairs Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, appealing for an extension of at least 2 months to the July the 31st deadline and for her to take up Zimbabweans’ concern that the Zimbabwean Consulate is undermining the Z.D.P. process through failing to deliver passports.

To read the letter please click the following link.

LATEST UPDATE: The Department of Home Affairs has just stated that the deadline for the ZDP would be moved back by one month, until the end of August. To read our new press statement on this development, click here.

For comment please contact :

Langton Miriyoga: 084 026 9658

Braam Hanekom: 084 319 1764

PASSOP Appeals for an Extension of the Zimbabwean Dispensation Project Deadline

37 Church Street, Wynberg, Cape Town

Office: 021 820 4664, Fax: 086 517 6812

Attention: The Honourable Minister of Home Affairs

CC:  Honourable Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs,

Director General of Home Affairs

17 July 2011

Att: Honourable Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

CC: Director General of Home Affairs, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs

Re: PASSOP appeals for an extension to the Zimbabwean Dispensation Project Deadline

Dear Honourable Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

Firstly we would like to reiterate our belief that the Zimbabwean Dispensation Project (Z.D.P.) was a progressive and positive move towards the documenting of undocumented Zimbabwean nationals in South Africa. Since its inception we have been monitoring the Zimbabwean Dispensation Project in the Western Cape. We have a notable presence, with 2 monitors stationed 5 days a week at your Wynberg office for the last 6 months (in the Western Cape), and thus feel that we are well positioned to have an opinion on the progress of the Z.D.P. After also monitoring the delivery of passports from the Zimbabwean Consulate and working with Z.D.P. clients with specific cases, we are very concerned that the process will not be completed by the 31st of July.

We acknowledge that in the final stages of the application process –the last weeks of December 2010– the department went out of its way to accommodate applicants and enabled tens of thousands of applications, through provisions which included allowing applicants without passports to apply and postponing the taking of fingerprints by making them part of the collection process. We also commend the department both for its efficient adjudication process as well as its consistency in adjudication outcomes. We feel, however, that the distribution of permits and collection of outstanding documents, including passports and fingerprints etc., is not only time -consuming, but also less flexible and sometimes even beyond the control of both the department and applicants.

This assessment is based both on the large backlog of uncollected fingerprints, permits and the inability of the Zimbabwean Consulate , which has been both uncooperative and inefficient in delivering passports to applicants. Thus, while we recognize that there is a need for projects to have deadlines. Guided by our monitoring observations, it is our view that given the proximity of the Zimbabwean Dispensation Project deadline and the large amount of permits yet to be issued, there is a need to extend the current deadline. PASSOP therefore appeals to you both for an extension of at least 2 months and for you to take up our concern with the Zimbabwean Consulate, which, in our view, is undermining the Z.D.P. process through failing to deliver passports.

We hope that you consider our appeal, as we see this as urgent and necessary to ensure that Z.D.P. completes its objectives.

Yours truly,

Braam Hanekom

Director of PASSOP

Press Release: Swaziland Democracy Campaign Cape Town Chapter Launch

Launch of Cape Town Chapter

Swaziland Democracy Campaign

PRESS STATEMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11/07/2011

In the wake of the worsening crisis in Swaziland, civil society organizations from the Western Cape officially launched the Cape Town chapter of the Swaziland Democracy Campaign. The Swaziland Democracy Campaign is a coalition united around the demand for democracy, peace, and security in Swaziland. The chapter was officially launched on 9 July in Salt River and the meeting was attended by 31 people representing various organisations including PASSOP, COSATU, COSATU Young Workers Forum, SACTWU, SACCAWU, DENOSA, BHASO, CECAngola, Workers World Media Productions as well as members from the local DRC, Angolan, and Ugandan communities.

Those in attendance addressed the influence that the South African Government has, based on Swaziland’s reliance on South Africa for aid and trade. Moreover, the Swaziland state income is dependent upon the revenue received from the South African government through its share of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) funds. Approximately half of its annual R11billion budget is dependent on the SACU. This affords our government tremendous power and influence for pushing for a democratic dispensation in Swaziland in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the Swazi people. Recently we’ve also learnt of the approaches to the South African government by the Swazi king for a loan of over R1billion. We call on the South African government to refuse this loan and to stop SACU payments to the government of Swaziland and push the king and his regime to step down and enable a process towards a democratic Swaziland.

The SDC of Cape Town plans to meet regularly to ensure effective communication and strategizing. In addition, the representatives expressed priority in strengthening the capacity of the SDC, which is imperative in steering union and political leadership to bring about better conditions in Swaziland. It was agreed that the Cape Town Chapter will be hosting a protest outside parliament, the details of which will be discussed at our next meeting.

The next meeting will be held on 13 August at 9h30 at Community House in Salt River. The political economy of Swaziland will be highlighted and discussed in the upcoming meeting. The media is invited to be part of this educational session.

For comments, please contact the SDC Western Cape representatives: Martin Jansen 0828702025; Mike Louw 082 339 5443/ 021 448 0045/6/7;  Braam Hanekom 0843191764.

Opinion Piece: World Refugee Day and what it means to be a “Refugee”

On 20 June, nations across the globe celebrated World Refugee Day, a holiday created by the United Nations in an attempt to bring awareness to those forced to flee their countries as a result of war, oppression, persecution and other human rights violations that threaten their safety. The UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees defines refugees as those “unable to return to their native land due to fears of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality and/or membership of a particular social group or political opinion.” According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, over 42 million people were displaced in 2010, an increase from 17 million displaced people in 2009. This massive increase is mainly due to the impact of “mega-disasters” such as the massive floods in China and Pakistan and earthquakes in Chile and Haiti. Even today, the long-standing debate continues over the definition of refugee, and therefore, who qualifies as a refugee.

It is unfortunate that this reality hampers the humanitarian efforts aimed at protecting and defending the rights of displaced peoples around the world. Additionally if an asylum seeker fails in his/her “refugee status determination”, he/she can be refused refugee status and be deported. In today’s world, one can be forced to flee for a multitude of reasons; economic and climate factors are beginning to dominate the “push” factors that result in the mass migration trends we are seeing around the world. Climate plays a central role in all of this. With droughts come increased food prices and economic strains on a country; drought and poverty can lead people to face starvation if they don’t migrate. In some countries there are corrupt leaders, there is a lack of political stability and elections are not free or fair, which leads people to flee from the resulting extreme poverty and hardship.

Sadly according to many countries, these forced migrants do not meet the UN definition of the term refugee and thus the UNHCR have no obligation to assist them. Their need for refuge is questioned–merely because of an absence of war—and their refugee status denied, which deportation becomes a veritable reality. PASSOP advocates for all people and, while we appreciate and support World Refugee Day, we do so with the entire global community of displaced peoples and forced migrants in mind, not just those lucky enough to be termed “refugee”.  If governments continue to deny forced migrants the right to refuge and thus deny them refugee status, perhaps we need to enact a “World Forced Migrants Day” in order to globally conscientise their undeniable hardships.