Joint Press Statement (PASSOP and ZEF)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Complaint lodged with the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Home Affairs after Director General Apleni misled Parliament and Civil Society
PASSOP and ZEF are extremely concerned about the lack of transparency of the Director General of Home Affairs in his engagements with both parliament and civil society. We believe that accountability in governance is essential and request that the Portfolio Committee intervene.
We cannot believe that the same week that the Director General briefed the Committee on the Zimbabwean Documentation Project, he failed to mention that he was about to sign a Directive that ordered the resumption of deportations of Zimbabweans. This Directive essentially ended a moratorium on deportations of Zimbabweans and authorized the first sizable deportations of Zimbabweans in over two years.
We expect transparency and honesty from the Department of Home Affairs. After fully reviewing the meeting’s minutes and transcripts, we believe that the Director General has misled parliament and civil society. To this end, we have lodged a complaint and requested to meet the Committee to discuss the matter.
Furthermore, there is an urgent need for the Director General to convene a meeting of stakeholders as soon as possible in order to explain the decision that was taken.
The moratorium on deportation was introduced on the realisation that it was not tenable to forcibly return Zimbabweans to Zimbabwe because of the socio-economic and political environment prevailing there. This environment has since not been adequately resolved; therefore PASSOP and ZEF’s position is that it is ill-advised and premature to recommence deportations at this time. Both civil society organisations and the Zimbabwean government are not in a position to deal with the large human rights and humanitarian costs that the resumption of deportations brings about. Already about 600 Zimbabweans have been deported in the first two days alone last week.
The letter sent to the Portfolio Committee can be downloaded here.
For comment or more information, please contact: Braam Hanekom (0843191764) or Gabriel Shumba ( 0726393795).