Perils and Pitfalls – Migrants and Deportation in South Africa

Relatives pray outside after visiting detainees inside Lindela Detention Centre, Krugersdorp, South Africa

Relatives pray outside after visiting detainees inside Lindela Detention Centre, Krugersdorp, South Africa

In association with PASSOP

This report brings to light the discrepancies between the legal requirements around deportation of migrants and the anomalies in its practical application. It is clear from the findings that South Africa is falling short of its lofty legal standards in the manner that the various government agencies are dealing with this huge challenge. The overall picture of abuse, corruption, lack of capacity, and the neglect of the rule of law in this area is a cause of great concern.

In this matter Zimbabwe represents a particular challenge, with Zimbabweans making up the largest number of migrants in South Africa in the context of the crisis that has engulfed that country for over a decade. The hope that the SADC mediated Global Political Agreement would provide the basis for a long-term stabilization in the country is yet to be fulfilled, and South African leadership in this process remains critical.

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Tue, June 5 2012 » Diaspora, Human rights, Reports » 2 Comments

Perils and Pitfalls – a film by Sydelle Willow Smith

Tue, June 5 2012 » Diaspora, Human rights » Leave a comment

The Solidarity Peace Trust urges humane treatment of Zimbabwean Refugees

Solidarity Peace trust LogoThe Solidarity Peace Trust condemns the relentless harassment of Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa at a time when Zanu PF is once again terrorising Zimbabweans in some parts of their country.

We draw South Africa’s attention to the fact that Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) members and supporters are once again being abducted or arrested – in some cases after being attacked by marauding gangs. In some rural areas, it is alleged that homes are being burnt down, crops destroyed and food aid withheld. Soldiers are alleged to be taking part in the harassment and threats.

South Africans need to be aware of the escalating destabilization that is preventing asylum seekers, refugees and economic migrants from going home. The majority of Zimbabwean exiles would prefer to return to their families and rebuild their lives but they continue to perceive that it is unsafe to do so.

The Trust acknowledges that the South African government has consulted widely with refugee organisations and NGOs and is taking steps to improve the situation. We commend the Department of Home Affairs for becoming more proactive and setting up mechanisms to fast-track the documentation processes.

However, there are still worrying issues that need to be addressed. Members of the South African Police continue to harass, arrest and assault asylum seekers and economic migrants, threatening them...Read more

Mon, February 21 2011 » Diaspora, Human rights, Press Releases, Zimbabwe Update » Leave a comment

A Fractured Nation: Operation Murambatsvina – five years on

Killarney children - July 2010

In Bulawayo’s informal settlement of Killarney, some families have been evicted again, in July 2010. These children contemplate an uncertain future.

In May 2005, the Zimbabwean government embarked on a massive, highly systematic programme of demolitions of all informal housing in urban and peri-urban areas across Zimbabwe. Combined with a total clampdown on the informal trading sector, including the destruction of official vending areas and confiscation of all wares, Operation Murambatsvina (OM), or “Drive out the Filth” caused direct havoc in the lives of millions. The sheer scale and thoroughness of OM set it apart from previous demolitions, not just in Zimbabwe, but in Africa.

1. 2005: immediate losses of dwellings and livelihoods

Three million people countrywide directly and indirectly suffered, as a result of the demolitions; an estimated 100,000 vendors were arrested – many of them legally licensed and selling from legal vendors’ markets; 560,000 people lost their shelter countrywide, with some small centres losing as much as 60% of their housing. A further 2,4 million lost markets for their goods, and/or remittances from the urban areas. Most of the demolished shelters were of good quality with access to electricity, water and sewerage, and many had been legitimated...Read more

Fri, July 30 2010 » Diaspora, Operation Murambatsvina, Reports » Leave a comment

The Solidarity Peace Trust urges action to avoid xenophobic violence

The Solidarity Peace Trust condemns escalating threats of violence against foreigners in South Africa as the country’s successful hosting of the FIFA Soccer World Cup draws to a close.

The Trust supports a number of initiatives in Johannesburg, KwaZulu-Natal and Cape Town and is concerned that, if South African authorities fail to take the renewed threats of violence seriously, the tragic events of 2008 may be repeated.

That shocking wave of anti-foreigner attacks left 62 people dead and nearly 100 000 displaced. It created terror among the refugee community and generated negative publicity for South Africa worldwide.

Reports have already been brought to The Trust’s attention of foreigners being attacked and robbed of their meagre possessions as they leave areas where their safety is under threat.

The Trust therefore urges the authorities, notably the police, to respond decisively to the widespread threats and to act immediately against people or organisations which are fomenting violence, as well as against all perpetrators of attacks on foreigners.

The Trust calls on churches and community leaders to unite against xenophobic attacks and to demand that foreigners are given the protection they deserve. We support the view of the South African Council of Churches that the threats of xenophobic violence are not based on unfounded rumours, as is claimed by certain government departments.

While the lack of political leadership needs to be addressed, it is also vital that communication between township residents and foreign nationals is initiated immediately to build understanding and prevent violent xenophobic incidents.

The Trust appreciates South African government spokesman...Read more

Sun, July 11 2010 » Diaspora, Press Releases » Leave a comment

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  • Refugee Exhibition

    ‘Burning wounds” ´- children’s drawings about their traumatizing experiences. (Photo credit: Laurin Berger) Celebrating cultural diversity (Photo credit: Laurin Berger) Dancers of Albert Street School (Photo credit: Laurin Berger) Bishop Paul Verryn at the launch of the Refugee Exhibition. (Photo credit: Laurin Berger) Entering the first part of the Exhibition. (Photo credit: Laurin Berger) Guide explaining the ‘sleeping-conditions’ at CMC. (Photo credit: Laurin Berger)
  • Exhibition opening times:
    Monday to Friday: 8am – 4pm

    More details here

  • Central Methodist Church

    Wilmot James of the DA visited the Central Methodist Church in downtown Johannesburg in early April 2009. Bishop Paul Verryn explained the issues surrounding the church.