Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Refugees in S.A Speak 2

We continue to share our findings with you . the views of the individuals are not influenced by our peer educators or by the the work that we do in the community . We allow people to express themselves. WWWA ,OR its partners CAN not be held responsible for any of the comments made by our clients .

From S
“Getting work’ permits: waiting in queue does not help.
Finding accommodation becomes a problem because the landlord does not consider the asylum paper
To get a permanent work becomes a problem because you cannot sign a contract for 5 years while you have a permit which will expire in 3 months.
Some employers do not consider asylum seekers.
To be a refugee is always a disadvantage.
Some companies do not consider our education qualifications
The transfer of documents is very slow”

From S M

Being a refugee in South Africa

“It is good to be in South Africa because it is a free country compared to ours. The good part of it is that there are a lot of organizations open to all asylum seekers especially if you are interested. For example if it is your first time, they can help get accommodation, food and further studying.

For you to be a registered refugee you must have papers. Our cry now is that our papers are being rejected and if you go for an extension they just give you thirty days to leave the country. Why should I go back to my country where I ran away from because of politics and I know I am a wanted person? I rescued myself and escaped death to a nice South Africa. Now, why do they want me back to that place where my brothers and sisters died then severe torture?

I was also a victim during the xenophobic violence and I was beaten and my property was destroyed. Since then I have not recovered such a nose.

You can have a chance of getting a job but expired papers are affecting us much. Another embarrassing thing is opening a bank account with a three month valid paper. They accept but after three months the account will be blocked. Now I cannot withdraw. We need help or to be compensated especially us the victims of xenophobia. It is very painful to lose something from sweat worth over R 2,000 just in minutes. South Africa is a good country to all nations and please do not forget to help us. Do not send us away until Zimbabwe is fine. God bless you.”

From Jef”

“To whom it may concern.
I think being a refugee is a problem because we are having problems in getting asylum papers. I have been at Home Affairs in Cape Town to get a permit. Now they say they have cancelled the permit. You have to go to Nyanga. It is very unfair because there are corrupt security guards who are working in hand with guns and are demanding money from us. So how are we going to get these refugee statuses? There is a situation when the Home Affairs staff only serves ten people. Is there any other place where we can go to as far as asylum papers are concerned? You cannot even open a bank account without an asylum paper, and you cannot find work.

Can the Minister of Home Affairs do something before the situation goes out of hand? The Zimbabwean people are mostly affected. It is very easy to catch these corrupt security guards. You can even put on plain clothes to assess what is taking place.”

Looking forward to a positive response.

From P. N

How I am finding things to be a refugee in South Africa.

“We want to live legally here in South Africa but the situation at Nyanga Refugee Home Affairs is pathetic.

Why do people have to sleep outside Home Affairs and not get assistance? Let alone there is no help desk where you can ask for the service you need.

People are being killed by the foot-bridge as well as being mugged of cell phones.

Zimbabweans are not being treated equally here in South Africa in respect of jobs, education and accommodation.

Why are they accepting us as refugees when they are not helping us? Yet we understand they get funds from UN and NGOs.

I strongly feel we are being treated like animals here in SA. South Africans should know that one day it is going to be them with problems and they will need refuge somewhere else.”

From N S
“We are here in South Africa for seven years. We are still using asylum. Please South Africa we are told we are not refugees. Just beeze Zim is not at war. He got a virus so you are not a refugee. So what can we do? Please UNHCR help us. Can you help us remove that group of Zim people then you can start work a new system.

On Monday 15 June we were attacked by a South African from whom we rent our house. We pay everything but were thrown out in the street, by that man my brother’s cupboards his wife and children and every thing they had . . This happened something past midnight. Now we still stay here in a camp .some times there is no thing not even water to drink , if I had a choice I will go back but it is just too far without money . So help us. I am a refugee now. My paper has expired, I am not working and I am supposed to renew in PE. I do not have money to go there. So what can I do?

From M
Being a refugee in South Africa

“The major problem is on the definition of the refugee. Being in S.A. firstly on its own means that one is running away from something which is life threatening, Being economically disadvantaged is not looked at as a life threatening issue here in South Africa. If one is economically disadvantaged it means automatically you are being disadvantaged of viable source of living. To go for a year or two without work is worse than living without access to drinking water. The South African government would consider me a refugee if there is someone holding a knife towards me in my country. If I am threatened by having no access to drinking water they do not consider me a refugee. Do they not realize that life is so short and being denied of good economic life is worse than apartheid to my life and even more life threatening to me? Since then in this century did they ever experience such multitude of immigrants and yet do not realize we are also refugees. I hate the word opportunity seekers as the people of Home Affairs call us. I think that they should help us .if we go into full fledge war and kill and burn down our nation , then they agree , we are refugees , must all of Africa go up in flames ? l ask the UN what is it that they want from us another genocide ? please wake up from your slubers, go find some where else for your genocide , Zim, will not be didtroyed by your deceptions ”

At Home Affairs, Nyanga

Nom: YK
Adresse: 5 Geneva Portland, Mitchells’ Plain

« Moi, en tant que réfugie, je demande l’aide au gouvernement, qu’ils m’aident dans ceci:

J’aimerais avoir une formation, une spécialité de métier que je dois exercer et j’ai envie de continuer mes études, mais je ne connais pas encore bien la langue. Mon soutien majeur est de trouver un pour avoir de petits moyens.

Auparavant, j’ai suivi les cours d’anglais à Cape Town. Je payais le train et après quelques jours, je n’avais plus la possibilité de prendre le transport. Présentement, je n’ai pas les moyens de me rendre dans les cours, réunions ainsi que la ou on peut faire un petit plus pour nous réfugies car j’habite a Mitchells Plain ».


Monday, July 6, 2009

refugees in S.A. speak

This morning on the news we watched as scores of people were being man handled and arrested by the police in down town Johannesburg. We also listened to the reporters saying South Africa has became one of the top ten no go countries for refugees , this information brought with it mixed massages of sadness, anger and frustration .
As an organization that works in trying to make life easier for the less fortunate members of our community, one begins to wonder if this is going to be all in vain, as more and more refugees as well as the less fortunate South African who find themselves in this situation are treated like sub humans by the very same people who are meant to protect them. “If you are poor you do not deserve respect, you have no dignity, and most of all you are not human at all”. Is this the world we want to live in?
How did the poor became SO very poor any way?
In the days leading up to world refugee day celebrations on June 20, WWWA peer educators did information sharing with member of the refugee community in different service offices, like the DHA, Scalabrini Refugee Services and at the Cape Town refugee centre in wynbery, people were asked to share their feelings about what it means to be a refugee in the Republic of South Africa,
We wish to share with our partners and friends in the next coming weeks some of these feelings. Comments and suggestions are welcome.

From M

"Even the government itself does not take us as human beings here in South Africa, especially on the police side. If you are a foreigner and you are treated badly, the police do not treat you seriously when you report to them.

As an example, my brother was shot dead in Philippi on 23 /05 2009, and the police were notified. They came to the scene to take a statement and some pictures and some bullets ., but what surprised me is that on 10 / 6 / 2009 we tried to get help to bury my brother, the police said that they had no such case reported to them. I thought that they did not take this case seriously because he was a foreigner."

From T

"The problem that I have as a refugee is that when I entered South Africa in April last year, I tried to apply for asylum. I managed to get one month stay then my asylum was rejected and I was supposed to leave the country within 30 days or to appeal before 14 days. I tried to go for appeal but they kept postponing until the given days were over.
I was told to get a letter from a lawyer or to come with one, but the lawyers said that they needed R 2,500 to go and stand for me. Because I was not working, I could not get that money and this problem is still blocking the situation: I am a code 14 drivers but everywhere I go they ask for a valid paper and a bank account. I cannot have a bank account if I do not have a refugee status. I have been struggling since September last year. I do not know if you can help to have a status."

From Ph8

"People in South Africa select refugees according to their country of origin. Usually, those from Zimbabwe are disliked everywhere.

Sometimes South Africans take chances to do whatever pleases them to the refugees. Here are some of the things which are done by South African citizens who are given authority:
- they put the law into their hands
- they are not saving people as the government has tasked them to do
- Even the police are not doing their job properly: they select to handle problems according to your place of origin. I am saying this because my brother Tinashe was shot and killed in his room in Philippi, but the police did not take it seriously. They did not even try to investigate the story because they knew that the deceased was a foreigner and a refugee. One week after the tragedy, they located three guys in the room where the deceased was killed, but they did not give time to trace the story. They just let them go. We are still breathing fire because we do not have any document from the police so that we can seek assistance to bury the deceased. This tragedy happened at house no 16020, Tshatshu road, Philippi. The police came but they could not produce any written document for the murder until we contacted the Scalabrini Refugee Service for help. This is how they deal with foreigners.
- I suppose they should clearly state that they cannot assist refugees or foreigners so that we know that there is no one to protect us."

to be continued