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[LISTEN] The Africa Report: Hundreds of Thousands of Zimbabweans to be Affected by Expiring Permits

Jun 28, 2022

Umm Muhammed Umar

On The Africa Report, Radio Islam spoke to the Head of Programs at Media Monitoring Africa, Thandi Smith.

Commonwealth leaders met in Kigali on Friday, June 24th, and amongst other things, discussed the relevance of the Commonwealth. Smith said that there seemed to be a number of issues being raised around the questioning of the relevance of the Commonwealth in relation to succession of the leaders of the Commonwealth. She said, “And what we see are member countries starting to unpack how succession should work – whether member countries are happy with the sort of traditional British monarch taking over once again.” Smith added, “Again, what was the relevance of the way that the Commonwealth was structured in terms of member states?” in addition, Prince Charles in one of his recent addresses at the Commonwealth leaders meeting had addressed slavery and colonialism. However, reactions to his addressing the topic were mixed due to the briefness of his address.

Smith said that connections needed to be made between the recent refugee asylum agreement between the UK and Rwanda, and the Commonwealth meeting being held in Kigali.

Meanwhile, Kenya has rejected the proposed controversial Information Communication Technology Practitioner’s Bill.  Smith said that conversations on internet governance on ICT policy, and on data protection, were increasingly being held across the continent. Kenya is looking at several different policies in relation to internet governance, with one in relation to the ICT Practitioners Bill. She said, “(the ICT) seems to be a very controversial, unconstitutional, Bill, which was passed by the parliament, but then rejected at the level of the President signing the bill into force. So that Bill has now returned to Parliament, and there seems to be a quite a bit of uncertainty around what will happen with amendments. But at the same time as that Bill is being passed, the ICT Ministry is calling for developments around cybersecurity and data protection.” According to Smith, Kenya is one of the most progressive countries in ICT development, on the continent. She said that the MMA, as an organization, hoped the policies would follow a human right based public interest approach and would pass the constitutional mandate, which would set a precedent for the continent.

Lastly, the Helen Suzman Foundation is taking the Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, to court, to set aside government’s decision to terminate the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit at the end of the year. Smith said, “Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans would be affected by the issue of the permits expiring, and having to reapply through the normal permit process which will ultimately exclude thousands of Zimbabweans who have been living in South Africa, running businesses, being employed, supporting families.” She said that the development was chilling especially in light of the narrative around foreign nationals living in South Africa, Operation Dudula, and xenophobic flare-ups. She added, “this is an issue that needs to be reconsidered……… it’s (only) in the spotlight now because of the Helen Suzman Foundation taking the matter to court.”

 

 

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