PRESS STATEMENT: Mass Deportation and the threat to Xenophobic Tensions

Press Statement for immediate release

PASSOP concerned by APPS report and worried about the impact of the deportation debate on the safety of immigrants

PASSOP would like to express its concern following the release of the (Africa Project for a Participatory Society)  APPS report last week regarding South African residents’ perceptions around deportation after the end of the Zimbabwe Documentation Project (ZDP). We are worried that the government’s plan to lift the moratorium on deportation of Zimbabweans may intensify xenophobic tensions in communities. We strongly urge the South African government and civil society to exercise extreme caution in their public statements on the subject matter, as they can have serious ramifications to social stability in the country. Any increased deportation of immigrants has always been and will be a costly move, both in financial terms and in human suffering. PASSOP further believes that the likely violence that will follow a return to deporting larger numbers (of undocumented immigrants and or rejected refugee applicants) will project a negative image of South Africa’s human rights image across the African continent and the world at large. South Africa still suffers from the irreparable damage done by the May, 2008 xenophobic violence. For these and other reasons, it is our firm believe that to embark any substantial deportation of Zimbabweans, and/or other foreigners would be a very dangerous move by South African government to do. We trust that the stability and safety of all who live in South Africa will be the top priority as the Zimbabwean Documentation Project continues. 

For Comment please contact:
Braam Hanekom on 0843191764 or Arafat Bion Matovu 0721554147 or email arafat@passop.co.za

PRESS STATEMENT: Western Cape Fights Famine Fundraiser Event

Press Statement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PASSOP and the Gift of the Givers urges the general public in the Western Cape to attend a cultural event this Saturday to raise money for the victims of the devastating famine in the Horn of Africa. The event, Western Cape Fights Famine – Horn of Africa Relief, is being organised by a broad range of civil society organizations, including PASSOP, the Institute for Healing of Memories, the Muslim Judicial Council, the Scalabrini Centre, Frontline Africa and the Somalia Refugee Aid Association (SORAA).

The event will include music and dance performances, poetry readings, a short documentary screening, speeches from political leaders and a special video message from Archbishop Desmond Tutu. All money raised at this event will go to the humanitarian efforts of the non-profit Gift of the Givers Foundation.

We encourage the general public to take action against the famine and join us to show that the Western Cape cares.  The event will be held this Saturday, 27th of August, from 2-5pm at St. Joseph’s Marist College (Belmont Road) in Rondebosch, Cape Town.

Tickets: General R100/Students R80. Tickets can be bought at the door.

For more information visit www.passop.org or our event page on Facebook.

For comment, please contact David (PASSOP) @ 074 660-2583 or Gawa (Gift of the Givers) @ 083 661-3035.

BACKGROUND:

The Horn of Africa is in crisis. In the last 90 days, over 29,000 children under the age of five have died of starvation. According to the latest United Nations report, this epidemic is threatening more lives every day as it rapidly spreads to new regions. It is now affecting up to 12 million people, and has developed into the worst famine in the region in over two decades.

PRESS STATEMENT: PASSOP and APPS concerned about potential impact of mass deportation on xenophobic tensions

Press Statement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Africa Project for Participatory Society (APPS), in partnership with PASSOP, will launch a monitoring report entitled “Enquiry concerning South African residents’ perceptions of deportation and the Zimbabwean Documentation Project” at IDASA today, August 25th, at 13:00 o’clock. The findings of the report make clear that there could be xenophobic violence if there is a return to mass deportations of foreign nationals. Additionally APPS believes continued pronouncements regarding the return to deportation of Zimbabweans are creating tensions. 

APPS is concerned that there has already been a lack of communication from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and in order to avoid further stoking tensions, there must be clarity and mass-deportation must be avoided at all cost. The strong correlation between mass-deportation raids and xenophobic violence, as was witnessed in 2008, compels us to urge the government for a more inclusive and carefully designed policy that strictly excludes the possibility of mass deportations.

Although the official statements from the DHA have stated that mass deportation will not commence upon revoking the moratorium on Zimbabweans, due to the vague and unclear future plan of action, the possibility of mass deportation still exists. This lack of communication from the DHA is confusing and creates anxiety within the Zimbabwean community.

The research outlined in the report shows that South African’s perception on the ZDP and deportations was rather evenly divided. While 47% of respondents confirmed the generally negative and xenophobic opinion most South Africans hold about foreigners (for reasons such as, overcrowding, consuming limited resources and jobs, etc) a significant number of respondents, 51%, believed that mass deportation would result in a violent backlash and view deportation as ineffective.

Hence, the research concludes that the majority of respondents believe that mass deportation is not only inhumane but ineffective and see that the community would most likely respond with violence, which is made into a concern for the South African community as well. The most feasible solution to fight off xenophobic attacks is to grant long-term residents with permanent resident status.

Please contact Mandisi Majavu on 0723544088 or Siddiq Khan 0833915752

Western Cape Fights Famine: Horn of Africa Relief

The Horn of Africa is in crisis. In the last 90 days, over 29,000 children under the age of five have died of starvation. According to the latest United Nations report, this epidemic is threatening more lives every day as it rapidly spreads to new regions. It is now affecting up to 12 million people, and has developed into the worst famine in the region in over two decades.

PASSOP, in partnership with several other organisations, is hosting a fundraiser to benefit victims of the devastating famine in the Horn of Africa. The cultural event, Western Cape Fights Famine: Horn of Africa Relief, will include music and dance performances, poetry readings, speeches from political leaders, and a special message from Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Every Rand raised will go to Somalia’s starving children. All proceeds will go to humanitarian efforts of the non-profit Gift of the Givers Foundation, the largest disaster relief organisation on the African continent.

To view a special message by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in support of the event, please click here.

Take action against the famine and join us to show that the Western Cape cares.

Saturday, 27 of August, 2-5pm at St. Joseph’s Marist College (Belmont Road), Rondebosch, Cape Town.

Tickets: General R100/Students R80

If you cannot attend and still want to assist, donations can be made to the following account. Please make the reference of any transfer “Famine Relief”.

Account Name: PASSOP

Bank: Nedbank

Account Type: Current

Account #: 1048074730

Branch Code: 104809

For more information, email office@passop.co.za or call 021 762-0322.

July Newsletter Available

The July issue covers the latest information on the moratorium on deportations and the ZDP, as well as telling of a recent hostage case that PASSOP resolved. It also includes opinion pieces on the struggles of LGBTI refugees in South Africa and on the need to encourage the free movement of labour within SADC’s borders. To view the newsletter, click here.

(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: Seeking Clarification from the Department of Home Affairs

(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

In light of a lack of clarity following recent announcements by the Department of Home Affairs concerning the Zimbabwean Dispensation Project and the moratorium on deportations, PASSOP and ZEF have prepared an information document on the key issues, for media and for Home Affairs to clarify.

In the interests of concerned Zimbabweans who have been contacting us in large numbers trying to understand the latest developments, we have prepared the below document outlining our understanding of the latest information. We encourage the media to ask the department to publicly correct any errors- as they have made numerous changes, confusing the media, the public & civil society. Although the department has engaged stakeholders of late, on Tuesday they failed to utilize their stakeholder’s forum and instead made announcements in the media. This left NGOs, the departments own stakeholders’ forum and the broader civil society conveying mixed messages, thus confusing the message that the department wants to convey.

As stakeholders we feel strongly that the stakeholder’s forum should be utilized to debate and discuss decisions before media announcements are made. We are hereby humbly seeking clarity as we have been left uninformed by the department and ministry, and were instead informed of the new developments after Tuesday’s press conference. We thank the media for their coverage of the issue and for their continued interest in human rights issues, such as the protection of vulnerable people and the need for honest governance.

Having studied the transcript of their latest press conference we found the department’s indirect answers to several questions capable of paving the way to more uncertainty. As such we outlined our understanding of the current situation below. We encourage media to engage them on this so they may reject or accept any of our claims below- hopefully their response brings further clarity to the broader community of those concerned.

We state openly the following:

1. The department has not lifted the moratorium on deportations of Zimbabwean nationals.
2. We are relieved by the departments’ consistent and continued stance that there will be no mass deportations.
3. The department has now “added a grace period” to the Zimbabwean Dispensation Project- allowing the month of August for the collection/distribution of permits. *This is a new development, as the month of August was not mentioned in the following two transcripts from previous press conferences, including the one referred to during this week’s press conference. In the transcripts it can be seen the department said it would close the process at the end of July. For transcripts of the 22nd of February 2011 press conference please click here and the transcript of the 30th of June 2011 please click here.
4. The department will keep in place the moratorium on deportations of Zimbabwean nationals until the end of this project, *as previously promised- but the deadline was previously set at the 31st of July.
5. All Zimbabweans who are seeking asylum and who are undocumented will have until and beyond the completion of the Zimbabwean Dispensation Project to regularise their stay in South Africa, through applying for refugee status at any refugee reception centre. If they are caught without documents they cannot be deported if they declare their intension to apply for refugee status- in accordance with the recent judgment in the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum versus Home Affairs case.
6. All applicants of the Zimbabwean Dispensation Permits will be allowed to work, study or run businesses until they are called upon to collect their permits, through smses.
7. The department will review all rejections this month.
8. To appeal applicants must send their appeals to either the director general or the chief director of the Zimbabwean Documentation Project. Appeals that not been successful should ultimately be lodged with the minister.

For comment contact:

Gabriel Shumba-Zimbabwe Exiles Forum on 0726393795 or gabmrech@gmail.com

Braam Hanekom- 0832561140 or braam@passop.co.za