Zimbabwe Human Rights Campaigner in Danger of Repatriation

Zimbabwean human rights campaigner, Collen Makumbirofa, the Head of The Foundation for Reason and Justice, has been interned in the notorious Lindela Detention Camp and is in danger of being repatriated to Zimbabwe this Wednesday 22 March.

The South African Ministry of Home Affairs has confirmed that Collen was arrested on the grounds of an expired refugee permit, and that he is to be repatriated to Zimbabwe. Considering the bold stand that Collen has made in exposing the atrocities and human rights abuses of Mugabe’s ZANU regime, this is akin to a death sentence.

Makumbirofa had refugee status in South Africa, but had experienced problems getting his refugee status permit renewed, as he was not prepared to pay a bribe. He desperately needed to get money to his family in Zimbabwe and therefore decided to risk crossing the border. In returning to South Africa he was arrested.

In a recent article in a Christian magazine about the human rights atrocities in Zimbabwe, Makumbirofa reported that over 2 million Zimbabweans have fled to South Africa to escape political oppression and religious persecution. Mukumbirofa said, “The South African Department of Home Affairs deny them [Zimbabweans] asylum permits and refugee status…the go slow tactics of…the Department of Home Affairs is characterized by unprecedented corruption over asylum seekers and refugees. The Home Affairs officials demand bribes from poor asylum seekers…even the holders of asylum permits are required to pay bribes by the police…permit holders who fail to pay bribes end up in the notorious Lindela Detention Camp…I think there is a secret agreement between South African and Zimbabwean ruling politicians to inconvenience or cause sufferings to Zimbabweans seeking asylum. Most of the people deported to Zimbabwe will be harassed, tortured and beaten by the Zimbabwean authorities.”

Makumbirofa believes that the South African government “does not care about the oppressed people of Zimbabwe.”

Please do intercede urgently for Collen’s safety, and contact the closest South African Embassy or Home Affairs office to protest this mistreatment of Zimbabwean refugees and the endangering of a human rights campaigner’s life.

The Minister of Home Affairs is Mrs. N. Mapisa-Nqakula, Private Bag X114, Pretoria, 0001; Tel.: +27-12-810-8099; Fax: +27-12-323-3716.

The South African Embassy in London : South African House, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DP, England; Tel.: 0870-005-6974; Fax: 020-7451-7284.

The South African Embassy in Washington DC : 3051 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20008; Tel.: 202-232-4400; Fax: 202-265-1607; E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; After hours: (Emergency) 202-413-1953.

The Zimbabwean High Commission (in London) : Zimbabwe House, 429 Strand, London WC2R 0QE, England; Tel.: 0870-005-6710; Fax: 0207-379-1167.