Media: Zim refugees take to streets

13 03 2010

2010-03-13 05:31:26 – Voice of the Cape

“We demand compensation for Zimbabwean refugees who were deprived of property. Detained trade union leaders must be released immediately. We demand a speedy land reform process.” These were some of the posters seen on the streets of Cape Town on Friday afternoon as about 30 women from the trade union Sikhula Sonke took to the streets in solidarity with the Zimbabwean refugees who where displaced in De Doorns late last year.
The secretary general of the farm worker union, Wendy Pekeur, handed over a memorandum to an official from the department of International Relations and Cooperation highlighting their demands. Pekeur said that while they were quite inspired by the Polokowane resolution on xenophobia adopted at the 52nd Conference of the ANC, the movement must take a lead in fighting xenophobic practices and ensure the integration of refugees in society and that the security of women, children and the elderly are protect.

“The ANC must facilitate the process of establishing local committees to assist with the promotion of cooperation, mutual understanding, monitoring and integration to build solidarity between South Africans, refuges and immigrant communities. The incident that occurred in Stofland was a huge contradiction to the Polokwane resolutions. Despite our attempts to get the National leadership of the ANC to accompany is to Stofland nothing has happened,” said Pekeur.


She said that the Speaker of Parliament, the Mayor of the Breede River Municipality as well as other locals in the area had visited the refugee camp on the past two weeks in the hope of bringing the name of Sikhula Sonke into disrepute, claiming that the organization is lying about everything and that the Stofland residents are open to welcoming the Zimbabwean refugees back to Stofland.

She said the residents of the area had indicated to a local newspaper that there will be war if the refugees return. “This is basically setting people up for more violations of their rights without really dealing with the root cause of the problem. The ANC’s denial has to do with the fact that they did not deliver proper housing for the residents of Stofland.

“Government and the African Union’s failure to intervene in the current Zimababwe situation, where trade unionist have been arrested, the torture of farm workers and the violation of all human rights is a disgrace in the light that we believe another world is possible,” Pekeur said.

The trade union has called on the human rights commission to investigate the illegal evictions of two shareholders in Ceres, to facilitate a national dialogue between agriculture unions and to support organizations and the national departments of Agriculture, Rural Development, Justice, Local Government and the Municipalities. They also called on the Human Rights Commission to compel the government to compensate the Zimbabwean refuges for their losses when they were deprived of property. VOC (Dorianne Arendse)




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