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Brief update on Refugees who were at Hope Farm

KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) writes regular reports updating its leaders, constituencies, fellow civil society organisations and public at large about the latest in relation to the xenophobic related issues in our province and what it has been doing. This is such an update with the latest in relation to refugees who were at Hope Farm and those who had remained.

The KZN Premier’s initiative

The Premier of KZN the Honourable Senzo Mchunu has been concerned about the situation of refugees both in Hope Farm and those that had occupied Becker Street in Durban. He had a series of meetings with the different government departments including the national Deputy Minister of Home Affairs as well as senior representatives of United Nation High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) to try and find remedial intervention. The Premier through MEC of Community Safety and Liaison (Honourable Willies Mchunu) as well as MEC for Social Development (Honourable Weziwe Thusi) invited KZNCC and other civil society organisations involved in migration and anti-xenophobia work for a briefing. The briefing included what the organisations had been doing and what they think the solution should be.

The Premier then convened a meeting with all stakeholders which included government officials, civil society organisations, church leaders and UNHCR to present a solution. The meeting took place on the 29 April 2016 in Diakonia Council of Churches. The Premier announced that together with the national Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, they have come up with a solution on how the problem of refugees would be resolved. They have persuaded the UNHCR to reopen the financial packages aimed at supporting refugees to either integrate to communities, be repatriated or assessed with a possibility to be resettled if they qualify. The head of UNHCR South Africa office (Mr. George Kuchio) confirmed this and gave details. A refugee family is going to be given R7000.00 and single refugee receiving R3000.00.

This was presented to refugees firstly in the Hall in Diakonia and later to the refugees who were still remaining at Hope Farm.

The latest on Refugees who were outside Becker Shelter

The majority of refugees who were outside the shelter at Backer Street have reported not to have taken packages. At the time this report was written, only one family had taken the package from those who were at the street. It is not clear why the refugees are not taken these packages. We spoke to the few who had said that it is extremely small and is next to nothing.

In an unexpected development, the refugees have moved from the street and they are now inside the shelter. They reporting that this is their own initiative where they have negotiated with the owner of the shelter and they are paying on daily basis. Some have reported that they busy looking for jobs. They said they will remain in the shelter until UNHCR come back to interview them for resettlement purposes.

The situation at Hope Farm

Out of 31 refugees who were still remaining at Hope Farm, 17 have left leaving about 14 (1 family and 7 singles). Those who have left have are taking packages and are situated at the temporal shelter in Durban not far from the Workshop. Those that are remaining at Hope Farm are saying that they are not safe to leave the farm and would prefer to leave after the interview with UNHCR.

The farmer has started an eviction process and they were (refugees) due to appear in Court on the 9 May 2016. They had approached KZNCC for help with transport to go to court as well continuing with supplying them with food. Representatives from KZNCC visited them on the 8th May 2016 to listen to their request and their future plans. After some discussions, KZNCC came to the conclusion that it cannot justify assisting them whilst the government as well as UNHCR have reintroduce packages. KZNCC has since suspended its support to the group which is remaining at Hope Farm.

It is our suspicion that the reason why some of the refugees are not taking the package is that they are under the impression that if they do, it will jeopardise their possibility for resettlement. There are those who have raised the issues of the packages being small since it has no start-ups in case someone wants to start a business.

Narrative therapy

KZNCC together with Diakonia Council of Churches has organised a narrative therapy to help refugees to deal with their situation and help them to reorganise their lives. This service is available every Thursday at Diakonia between 9h00-12h00.

On behalf of KZNCC, we would like to thank government for taking this issue upon itself, UNHCR and its partners for the role it is playing towards find a solution and continuous support to refugees.

For any form of assistance and, or further clarification, please contact the following:

Musa Zakwe; Cell no 0839833524, 033-3454819

Email musazakwe@kzncc.org.za

50 Langalibalele Street. Kwa-Zulu Natal Christian Council. Pietermaritzburg

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Anti-xenophobia Update

Introduction

This is to update all the stakeholders and the role-players about the recent spate of xenophobic related attacks and situation in shelters in the province of KwaZulu-Natal and off late the Eastern Cape.

Howick Shelter

About twelve (12) adult refugees remain in this shelter after some have voluntarily left for the reintegration. The situation remains tense between these refugees and their host Sharon. It should be remembered that the misunderstandings erupted between the two after series of allegations from each side. Both KZNCC and the police intervened but no solution was found. Sharon has a restraining order (they are barred from coming near Sharon) against the refugees. She’s also working on the plan to evict all the refugees from the farm claiming that the relationship is unrepairable.

KZNCC had some discussions with United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) as well as Refugee Social Services (RSS) about the situation in Howick and what could be done. The two agents are of the view that they have done everything possible to persuade the refugees to consider reintegrated back to communities where they were or to new communities. They feel that there’s nothing more that they can do. They said the refugees know where to find them if they have changed their minds. Their conclusion is that in case refugees turn violent and break the law, the law should take its course. KZNCC will continue to engage relevant stakeholders and authorities to find the long-term solution.

Cato-Ridge Shelter

It is reported that the refugees in Cato Ridge are now divided into two camps following some disagreements. The source of the disagreement is yet to be confirmed however the rumour has it that one group would like to move out of the shelter whilst the other still would like to stay. The farm owner has reacted by moving the one group to the top.

KZNCC was approached by the farm owner checking if an alternative accommodation could be found for the group willing to move. The KZNCC’s position is that a plan could be drawn if the group wants to be integrated to communities but not when they want to create another shelter. The farm owner is speaking with the group about this.

Grahamstown (Eastern Cape)

We received a report that there were xenophobic attacks which took place in a certain township of Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape. We read from the report that these attacks emanate from the recent crime incidents that took place in Grahamstown, where people’s body parts were removed.

The report continue to say that the local NGO Masifunde Education and Development Project Trust sensitized the police of the possibilities of these xenophobic attacks and asked them to convene meetings in the township and inform the communities that this crime was not committed by our brothers and sisters who are from other parts of the continent. They say the police refused to do so.

It is reported that some community member had to stand between the bricks and the shops that were being attacked whilst our brothers were inside the shops. The said NGO condemned the police for not taking an action during and after these incidents.

For more information on this particular story please contact: Nomonde Waka Kalipa Masifunde Education and Development Project Trust at 078 7355 269

Georgedale (Hammersdale)

We also received another report that xenophobic attacks broke in the Georgedale (area within Hammersdale near Mpumalanga Township) after a young man (aged 22) was stabbed to death. It is alleged that this matriculant of Phezulu High School was killed by a foreign national who resides in the area after alleging that the deceased had robbed him.

It is reported that some local community members looted the shops of the foreign nationals in the incident interpreted and ‘revenge’.

KZNCC spoke to the Ward Councillor (Mr. Sosibo) in an attempt to get more clarity on the ground. However the Councillor did not know anything except what he read on the newspaper. KZNCC also spoke to the local Police (Merger Ndlovu) who confirmed the incident but denied that there was looting which took place.

KZNCC will visit the area before the end of the day to find out facts about the situation. We undertake to give more information in our next update.

In the meantime we are requesting everybody to be calm and those with power and authority to work with one another in finding solutions. We specifically calling our faith-based organisations, Church Leaders and the ecumenical movement as a whole to support us in this fight against this unnecessary scourge through prayers and their presence where possible.

For more information please contact the KZNCC Offices in Pietermaritzburg through Musa Zakwe 033 345 4819 / 083 983 3524.

Kzncc Update on xenophobia: 3 november 2015

 

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STOP XENOPHOBIA NOW!

The Church Speaks: STOP XENOPHOBIA NOW!

The KZNCC through its work and in-depth analysis following the recent spate of gruesome attacks and killings directed to the Foreign Nationals in KwaZulu-Natal, have identified the Department of Home Affairs as a key department in the fight against the scourge.

It seems as if the lack of information and knowledge about types of migrants found is South Africa is another source of the problem. Most civil servants lack information and knowledge about the different types of migrants, their identity documents as well as rights that entail these migrants.

The type of document for each category and the rights goes along with that type of identity document seem to be private information reserved for the Home Affairs Officials. Most police have been reported to be uninformed about this and being ignorant of this and display their frustrated through shoddy treatment and often unlawful detentions and arrests of foreign nationals.

Consequently, Government institutions such as hospitals, schools and Department of Labor, prisons and Judiciary’s civil servants are uninformed about types of identity documents and rights for the different types of migrants.

Given these set of facts, the KZNCC, KZN Church Leaders as well as Ecumenical Movements at large have asked an audience with the Minister of Home Affairs, Honourable Malusi Gigaba to address these issues and concerns. In this conversation, the Minister will answer specific questions that will be raised by the Church Leaders and well as hear testimonies from the victims of Xenophobia and related intolerances.

Date:                    27 August 2015

Venue:        St, Philomena’s Conference Centre, Durban

Time:          9:00 – 13h00

For more Information please contact Dr. Lucas Ngoetjana 076 29 3686

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Anti Xenophobia Action

 

Anti Xenophobia Action

THE REFUGEE KING

Welcome to Africa, young refugee,
fleeing from Herod’s murderous decree.
Here you’re secure, protected in our land,
safe from the massacre that Herod planned.

We need the peace & goodwill You can bring,
we need a just and gracious, godly King.
Stay here and heal our continent’s sad mess,
rescue our poor from their enslaved distress.

 

Why are you leaving, going north again?
Why are You leaving us still in our pain?
Your answer’s in the stars that shine above:
Southern Cross tells of Your sin-bearing love.

 

Your precious life is one lone mealie seed ~
only in death will it revive and breed,
yielding a copious harvest of new  grain
bringing more glory to the Saviour’s name.

Words:  Hugh G Wetmore (c)1995, 2006
Based on Matt  2:13 ,14,19-23   Is 9:6,7   1Pet  2:24    Jn  12:24 ,31,32
Metre: 10.10.10.10
Tune: Refugee King by H Hudson  or  Eventide (Abide with me, fast falls the
eventide)  CD 4.9
or Maori (Now is the hour, the time to say goodbye… also used to sing
Search me O God, and know my heart today)   CD 12.9
or Highland Cathedral

36t  BRING THEM BACK HOME  -m-

We are heirs of the Father,
we are joint-heirs with the Son,
we are children of the Kingdom,
we are family, we are one.

There are still unreached people
for whom Jesus Christ has died,
they are foreign to the Kingdom
and the family ~ they’re outside.

Let us go as God’s messengers
let us bring them back home,
back into the Kingdom
and the family ~ to be one.

Words: v1 Jimmy & Carol Owens   Rom. 8:15-17
(c) 1974 Lexicon Music  Box 2222 Newbury Park Ca 91320
v2,3 Hugh G Wetmore   based on John  10:16
Tune: Heirs of the Father(Scripture in Song 165)
Under Copyright law, the tune may be named and sung but not reproduced
In association with any words other than the original words.

36u   CARE FOR THE ALIEN

Lonely the foreigner, far from his family
speaking a language that sets her apart.
Often a refugee, fleeing from trouble,
needing a friend with compassionate heart.

Welcome the ostracised, outcast and alien,
Show Christ’s compassion as Saviour of all.

Care for the alien, stranger among us,
Show Jesus’ love to outcast and poor.
Heal the Samaritan, welcome the migrant,
Ostracised people must feel they’re secure.

Fear in his haunted eyes, as xenophobia
drives local people to drive them to hell.
Show them by word and deed, that Jesus loves them;
bring them to Jesus, the Saviour of all.

Unlike the world around, where selfish int’rests
deaden ubuntu*, and mad dog eats dog,
foll’wers of Jesus Christ must be distinctive,
showing an attitude like that of God.

Words: Hugh G Wetmore C May 2008 prompted by a request from Rev Kenneth
at a time when xenophobic riots spread through South Africa.
Metre: 11.10.11.10   11.10
Tune: Rescue the perishing, care for the dying (W H Doane) Alexanders’ Hymns
#73, or Great Hymns of the Faith #432     CD 5.5
*  ‘Ubuntu’ is the Zulu word for ‘humaneness’ caring for others because they
are human,
claimed by many to be an intrinsic African value.
The words “all kindness” may be substituted for “ubuntu” if so desired.
Promoted by World Evangelical Alliance for U.N. World Refugee Day 2013

Both the above songs emphasise God’s love and concern for the outcasts.  See
Exodus 23:9. Xenophobia is anti-Christian. Spiritually, Gentiles were
aliens, separate from Christ and excluded from Israel. Ephesians  2:11 ,12
Jesus came to call locals and foreigners to Himself and to one another. Jn
10:16