Plight of Zims in SA worsens

paul_verreynJOHANNESBURG - Amnesty International, a worldwide human rights watch dog organisation, has raised concern over South Africa's failure to grant refugees status to Zimbabweans fleeing from political persecution. This follows a meeting they had with the South Africa Methodist Church Bishop, Paul Verreyn, held recently in America.

“South Africa is dragging its feet in assisting the fleeing Zimbabweans. It is surprising that foreigners are still being sent to Lindela concentration camp when a number of people have died there. Even though the United Nations has ruled that the situation at Lindela has improved, it is not true,” said Bishop Verreyn. Over three million Zimbabweans are estimated to be in South Africa, more than half are illegal immigrants. To date only 86 Zimbabweans have granted asylum status by the SA authorities, which grants only three-month asylum permits, recently reduced to one month. Although the South Africa High court has ruled that the Johannesburg Braamfontein refugees’ office be opened to the public daily, the office is only open on Saturdays and processes only 60 people per day. Last weekend, more than 1000 people waited in vain outside these offices, as the officials were not keen in serving them. – Magugu Nyathi

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