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not welcome: Mangwana
February 02, 2005
"fact-finding" mission to Zimbabwe by the Congress of South African
Trade Unions (Cosatu) will not be tolerated, the Minister of Public
Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Cde Paul Mangwana, said yesterday.
The minister said the delegation was supposed to seek clearance
with the Zimbabwean authorities through the South African Labour
Minister before proceeding to Zimbabwe.
"Until they comply with that requirement, which we have already
communicated to them, their coming is not welcome," said Cde Mangwana.
Cde Mangwana said the fact that Cosatu had indicated that this time
around its delegation would hold talks with the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions (ZCTU) only, unlike in their initial visit last
year, was neither here nor there as they still had to follow procedure.
"They should approach their labour minister who will, in turn, write
to us on their behalf and we will then make arrangements from there
and not to bulldoze their way as what they are trying to do."
Cde Mangwana said Zimbabwe and South Africa still enjoyed good relations.
ZCTU president Mr Lovemore Matombo said they were still expecting
a Cosatu delegation which, he said, was scheduled to jet into the
country aboard a South African Airways afternoon flight today.
"We are still preparing their itinerary and we will complete it
by tomorrow morning," said Mr Matombo yesterday.
The ZCTU had indicated that in light of the Government’s stance
on the delegation, they would not insist on them meeting with Government
and other civic society officials, but restrict the activities to
holding discussions with the ZCTU solely.
The Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU) said the Cosatu visit
was unacceptable because the purpose behind it was tantamount to
interference in the political affairs of Zimbabwe.
In a statement, ZFTU secretary for information and publicity Cde
Kennias Shamuyarira said the visit by Cosatu was aimed at tarnishing
the image of the country.
Cde Shamuyarira said if the South African labour body was genuinely
concerned about the plight of Zimbabwean workers, it should have
consulted all relevant labour bodies in the country instead of holding
talks with the ZCTU alone.
He said Cosatu’s actions were meant to divide the country’s labour
force along political lines and an attempt to meddle in the country’s
South Africa Minister of Labour Mr Membathisi Mdladlana has since
condemned the planned visit by Cosatu, saying the visit could harm
the good relations between the two countries.
Briefing journalists in Victoria Falls on Monday where he met Cde
Mangwana, Mr Mdladlana said it should be clear to Cosatu that Zimbabwe
was not a province of South Africa and that Zimbabwe was a sovereign
He warned Cosatu not to visit Zimbabwe without the required clearance,
saying when he arrived in Victoria Falls, like all passengers aboard
the plane, he was instructed to fill entry forms stating the purpose
of his visit.
Government has warned Cosatu members before, who have threatened
to bulldoze their way into the country to protest against alleged
human rights violations, that they would face the full wrath of
Home Affairs Minister Cde Kembo Mohadi has already said Zimbabwe
is a sovereign state and, therefore, foreigners could not come and
do as they pleased in the country without the consent of the relevant
"Zimbabwe is not a banana republic. We are a sovereign nation. They
should not come here to break the laws of this country. The laws
of this country will apply to them if they come," he said shortly
after Cosatu indicated that they would come to Zimbabwe even if
the Government forbade them.
Last October, a 13-member Cosatu delegation was deported from Zimbabwe
after it sneaked into the country without proper clearance to meet
groups believed to be working with the British-backed opposition
MDC to effect regime change in Zimbabwe.
After their deportation, the Cosatu members threatened to block
the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa at Beitbridge as part
of efforts to taint the image of Zimbabwe, whose economy is on a
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