Afrophobia: Traders threatened

29 05 2009
29 May 2009
Anna Majavu

UP IN ARMS: A year ago, violence flared up in Cape Town and other parts of South Africa as foreigners were targeted by locals . Left: Western Cape Cope leader Mbulelo Ncedane.

FEARS of repeats of last year’s xenophobic attacks are rising among foreign nationals in the Western Cape.

This started after Gugulethu traders allegedly held a series of secret meetings discussing how to remove foreign traders from the area.

A Gugulethu businessman said yesterday that local business people have held several meetings over the past three weeks, planning “what to do against foreigners”. The next meeting will take place on Sunday.

“They are complaining that their business is declining and they are furious. They are talking about foreign businesses being the major problem,” the source said.

The story was confirmed by another independent source in the community.

Now foreign nationals fear a repeat of the xenophobic violence that swept the country last May, leaving more than 150000 displaced, and hundreds more raped or murdered.

Last Sunday in Samora Machel near Nyanga, a group of 25 men identifying themselves as local business people instructed Somali shopkeepers to close shop by today. Read the rest of this entry »

Eviction threat to refugees

18 03 2009
Mar 18 2009 09:20
Source: Mail & Guardian

The Cape Town city council has filed an eviction notice attempting to force about 400 refugees out of the Blue Waters safety camp near Muizenberg, despite rumbling xenophobic violence that has seen nine foreign nationals killed in the past six weeks in the Western Cape.

Last week the city council asked the Western Cape High Court for permission to evict the refugees.

The camp opened in May last year after xenophobic attacks that left more than 100 foreign nationals dead and another 60 000 homeless across South Africa. Although the majority of the country’s refugees have either reintegrated within South Africa or returned to their home countries, hundreds still fear violent retribution.

Peter Cronje of the City of Cape Town says the group at Blue Waters represents a small minority of the initial refugees from the xenophobic attacks. “We had more than 20 000 people [in the Western Cape] in safety sites … and 19 600 of those have now relocated. We are now down to the last [few] people.”

Cronje says that the Blue Waters residents have “refused repeated offers of help by all the agencies involved … We made it clear that this was not a permanent solution. You cannot have refugee camps in the middle of society.”

But according to volunteer Tracey Saunders, who has worked with refugees at the camp since last May, the population of Blue Waters constitutes the “most vulnerable of the vulnerable”. Read the rest of this entry »

Gauteng MEC Mahlangu attacks Zim refugees and Bishop Verryn

16 03 2009

Note on articles: The Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign, Joe Slovo residents and residents of Symphony Way were accomodated by the Central Methodist Church when we travelled up to Joburg for Joe Slovo’s Constitutional Court case last year.  The church is an important resource for poor people everywhere including poor South Africans, foreign nationals and all other vulnerable peoples.

We condemn what Verryn is doing – Mahlangu
14 March 2009, 14:28
By Sheree Bega

Central Methodist Church Bishop Paul Verryn has decried as “absurd” a
statement by Gauteng’s local government MEC that he is endangering the
lives of thousands of Zimbabwean refugees seeking sanctuary at his

“I don’t think that in the midst of this gigantic crisis, where in
fact people have got to work together, that we can point fingers and
try to abdicate responsibility. I think it’s an absurdity,” Verryn
told the Saturday Star.
Read the rest of this entry »

CAX launches Campaign Against Police Xenophobia and Harassment of Immigrants

23 02 2009

CAX Press Release

Coalition Against Xenophobia to picket outside the Hillbrow Magistrates Court this Wednesday 25th February at 09h00 in support of our comrade Pastor Mulumba, being tried on bogus charges laid against him by xenophobic police.
Read the rest of this entry »

Solidarity: Police condemned for firing rubber bullets

27 01 2009

Louise McAuliffe
27 January 2009
Source: Sowetan

Bishop Paul Verryn of the Central Methodist Mission, voiced his deep disappointment at police action of firing rubber bullets into a peaceful protest which resulted in the hospitalisation of seven people.

Members of ‘Save Zimbabwe Now’ initiative had gathered in Pretoria to hand over three documents to the SADC leaders.

Talking about the police action Verryn said: “I realize that formal permission was not achieved and that was certainly not for want of trying.”

“If we are truly going to take into account the full spectrum of what faces Zimbabwe at this time – (then) it is critical that we are serious about hearing all the voices.”

Verryn spoke of the huge amount of manipulation and betrayal over the last twenty years. He stressed that if we are to be serious about a sustainable future for Zimbabwe and South Africa, then it is critical that allowances be made to hear the voices that are normally considered irrelevant.

“I don’t believe that the protest yesterday was about a small voice. It was really the voice of the heart of the matter and so for police to open up fire, with rubber bullets, ultimately that an elderly gentleman ended up in hospital, and that people were harassed in the way that they were yesterday, speaks a serious warning to our democracy.”

“It is a loud voice of intolerance because the people who were protesting are not irresponsible. The people who were protesting were not illegitimate. If one looks at the process of SADC in the light of what happened to innocent people yesterday then I am deeply deeply alarmed.”

Verryn expressed his deep disappointment at the activities and actions of the police against vulnerable people. He said: “Was there absolutely no way in which they could have been approached, in which there could have been reason, in which a door could have been opened, in which the memorandum could have been read, in which the opinion could have been heard, in which peoples voice could have been respected – was it absolutely impossible to do this in any other way except to open fire with rubber bullets.”

Talking about the Save Zimbabwe Now initiative Verryn said: “The fast is a non violent protest against the abuse of humanity right across the board.” He added: “We must begin to start solving our problems in ways other than using the barrel of a gun or a knife or violence. Surely the 21st century cannot be introduced with this paradigm of resolving problems.”

“Until we have consensual agreement – not instruction from SADC – can we imagine that we have begun the process (of saving Zimbabwe).”

Media: Rejecting outsiders

17 01 2009

The authorities are wrong to deny that the recent attacks on foreigners in Durban were xenophobic. Rather, they should be trying to find ways to fight this disease

January 14, 2009 Edition 1
Imraan Buccus
Source: The Mercury

IMAGINE if, in 2009, an armed white mob chanting racist slogans stormed a building known to house mostly black people and proceeded to hurl people to their deaths. Read the rest of this entry »

Solidarity: Demands for the Closure of the Lindela Repatriation Centre

13 11 2008

Coalition Against Xenophobia

The Coalition Against Xenophobia is a broad coalition of civil society organisations, social movements and individuals who are committed to working against xenophobia and towards the improvement and transformation of our society.

We believe that the Lindela Repatriation Centre represents all that is wrong with Governments immigration policies. These policies are premised on the detection, detention and deportation of suspected illegal immigrants. They make the false assumption that immigrants to South Africa are not welcome here. Read the rest of this entry »

Solidarity: City eviction letter for Blue Waters Refugee Camp

6 11 2008

AEC in solidarity with all poor and vulnerable people everywhere!

Below, you will find the City of Cape Town’s official letter to refugees of Blue Waters Camp.  Residents are resisting the eviction because they fear for their lives by moving back into the townships.  The City is doing nothing to ensure that foreign nationals are safe enough to return (see this article by the Mail & Guardian).  The City is also doing nothing to get at the root causes of the xenophobic pogroms.

City of Cape Town eviction letter to refugees of Blue Waters Camp.pdf

Afrophobia: ‘Shut out and sent home’

31 10 2008
Pearlie Joubert
Oct 31 2008 at 13:27
Source: Mail & Guardian

Two foreign nationals were killed and a Congolese woman raped in townships in the Western Cape this week as the authorities prepared to close all the refugee camps on Friday. Services will be cut off to the 600 people who are still living in them.

But frantic last-minute negotiations between civil society groups and city officials, including Western Cape Premier Lynne Brown, were under way to halt the closure of the camps.

At the same time, the city, the Human Rights Commission and the United Nations were putting intensified pressure on foreign nationals to leave the camps and reintegrate themselves into society.

The Mail & Guardian has learned that after leaving the camps this week two foreigners were killed, in Hermanus and Parow, and that Congolese national Claudine Tuatu (not her real name) was raped in Khayelitsha’s Samora Machel settlement. Read the rest of this entry »

Media: ‘Like a concentration camp’

2 10 2008
Oct 02 2008 06:00
Source: Mail & Guardian

The head of the Blue Waters refugee camp outside Muizenberg, Western Cape, accused the government this week of deliberately starving out camp inmates — as the home affairs department prepares to deport most of them.

After speaking to the Mail & Guardian, camp coordinator Marti Weddepohl was also repeatedly harassed by shadowy individuals, who warned her that she and her family would suffer if she continued to speak to the media.

In an interview last week Weddepohl accused government and the city of Cape Town of expecting her to run “a concentration camp”, adding that home affairs was using “sinister methods” to force refugees out of the camps.

“The Blue Waters camp was specifically designed to provide the minimum of facilities to these people. I find [the methods] very cynical given the fact that it’s unsafe for these people to reintegrate into the townships. Read the rest of this entry »