Death threats against advocate representing Zimbabweans in high court

Advocate Simba Chitando has received death threats after it was publicised that he had applied to the high court for Zimbabweans to receive permanent residence in SA.
SA has been reported to the International Criminal Court over xenophobic attacks against foreign truck drivers, more than 200 of whom have been murdered in recent years. Image: Siyabonga Sishi/Reuters

Advocate Simba Chitando, who is representing some 250 000 Zimbabweans in the Gauteng High Court in their quest to become permanent residents of SA, has received multiple death threats since Moneyweb first broke the story.

Chitando told Moneyweb his Twitter account has been lit up with hateful comments about Zimbabweans, but some of the more disturbing threats came from anonymous callers.

“I’ve had several death threats, and one person said he wanted to strangle me. It’s disconcerting and is not a good look for SA, particularly given its history of xenophobic attacks in the not so distant past.”

Chitando says he has had to confront taking on private security to ensure his safety, something he never imagined would happen. “It’s the nature of the business we are in as legal counsel and advocates. We’re often representing people or groups who may pose a threat to some perceived interest.

“It’s not the first time I have received threats as an advocate, but this is certainly the most alarming.”

SA has been reported to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague in the Netherlands over xenophobic attacks against foreign truck drivers, more than 200 of whom have been murdered in recent years. The ICC says it is monitoring the situation of foreign drivers in SA, though so far has declined to open an investigation.

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The Legal Practice Council (LPC) issued a statement on Tuesday noting “with concern the xenophobic attacks on Advocate Simba Chitando who is involved in a court case regarding the issue of Zimbabwean Special Dispensation permits issued by the Department of Home Affairs. The LPC does not condone any xenophobic statements against any of our members.

“Legal practitioners should be allowed to fulfil their mandate of providing professional, principled inter-alia impartial, legal representation to the public without fear or favour.”

The LPC says the country is still reeling from the effect of xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals that took place in the recent past. These attacks have resulted in the loss of lives, displacement, destruction of property, loss of the source of livelihoods, and insecurity.

Legal process ‘must be allowed’

While acknowledging the sensitive nature of the issue, the LPC says the court process must be allowed to run its course in a transparent and impartial way. It also urges members of the public to report any instances of xenophobic attacks to the South African Police Service (SAPS).

The Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Holders Association has asked the high court to direct the Minister of Home Affairs to issue its members with SA ID documents on the grounds that they are permanent residents of SA in terms of the Immigration Act read together with the Identification Act.

Black Pharoah responded on Twitter: “We are not saying every Zimbabwean should leave but at least 10 at a time not 5 million that’s practically moving in and taking away from locals. I’d understand if most weren’t criminals but unfortunately they are.”

“All illegal immigrants must go home,” reads another.

Repercussions

Human rights advocates have warned that xenophobic attacks against foreign truck drivers and others in SA could incite tit-for-tat responses in other countries against South Africans.

Upwards of three million Zimbabweans are reckoned to reside in SA.

The SA Department of Home Affairs introduced various permit schemes to regularise the residence of status of Zimbabweans illegally in SA as a result of economic or political turmoil at home.

The court case brought by the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Holders Association says the latest permit scheme, the Zimbabwean Exemption Permits, or ZEPs, expires in December 2021 and has not been renewed by Home Affairs.

The court papers argue that the affected Zimbabweans have been in SA for 10 years or more and know no other home.

The law provides for the issue of SA permanent residence to those affected.

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He should go to the nearest police station and open a case with the SAPS. As an advocate he’d be familiar with the law.

I believe that we should help Zimbabwean’s as they’re economic refugees, due to the collective sanctions unfairly imposed by the west.

However, these 250,000 are in SA on Zimbabwean Exemption Permits (ZEP), and they’re not entitled to apply for permanent residence or citizenship. The law must be followed.

They should renew their ZEP permits and are welcome to continue living in SA. Once conditions improve in Zimbabwe, they will obviously go back to rebuild their country.

They already occupy houses that was built for locals and are even getting grants, free schooling and free electricity.

The locals are paying for them.

Many of them will vote as well.

Your understanding of politics, economic and tax is shallow, very shallow

When the EFF rule SA, we will all be economic refugees. We might even seek shelter in Zimbabwe

I can see by your spelling and grammar you’re not EFF. The joke is on all who comment on your trolling but ultimately on you

If you met me, you’d realize that, I also “speak so well”.

@EFF I you are as articulate and unencumbered in person, as you claim to be, why not share your little secret with Julie Ass, your half witted presumptuous leader?

He’s in desperate need for some coaching

Go to the nearest police station? Have you interacted with the constable at the local SAPS recently? So nice that you have an internet link to this galaxy from the one you live in. Sigh ….

This is one of the good reasons why I’ll never vote for EFF. You’re making South Africans suffer bcz the very same Zimbabweans are taking jobs here, Accepting R2 instead of R8. This is wrong

There you go – little pat on the head for trying.
So endearing to see people putting faith in police upholding law and order.
Like watching your child tie his shoelaces for the first time.
But do tell; how and when is Zim going to improve? Don’t keep this to yourself. Are they going to give the land back and start farming again?
Do they plan to send the money in Singapore Dubai Switzerland and other parts back to Zim. What? We should be told.

…many of the EFF (and ANC) supporters made themselves guilty of xenophobia. Them thousands of good, hard-working African foreigners run for the borders to exist.

The EFF CommieSar welcomes Zimbabweans, while within your own supporters’ ranks, they cause Zimbabweans to flee SA *lol*

The solution to this is simple. Let all illegal aliens return to Zimbabwe and other countries from which they overrun SA, and apply for SA citizenship from there. If you want to be a citizen of a country, you will want to obey its laws.

Fair comment in general. However, these Zimbabweans represented by Adv Chitando are in SA legally on the so-called Zimbabwe Exemption Permit issued by the SA Dept of Home Affairs. So, DHA knows who they are and issued extended permits to them every three years. Some have been in SA for more than ten years.

How do foreign truck drivers get South African truck driver licenses?
I assume they also cannot be registered with SARS?
What happens with UIF, Workmans Comp, cargo and truck insurance, etc?

As nice as most Zimbabweans one meets are, our country is in an economic crisis and cannot carry what is estimated as 6 million ‘refugees’. I sort of understand Zim, but Somalia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, DRC, Ivory Coast?

update: we have a recognition system that all driving licenses are valid across Angola, Namibia, SA, Lesotho, Swaziland, Moz, Zim, Bots and I think Zambia maybe as well.

In the world of economic development, it is all about managing risk, getting efficacy on resources and developmental spend and managing outcomes.

Why do you think that the world’s developed nations have sever systems in place to management the movement of people, immigration and the flow of goods and services? To maintain and keep sustainable the level of development that they have achieved.

But in SA, we have, mostly due to ANC policy and corruption, an unsustainably high level of immigration and presence of illegal immigrants. The problem is that the authorities do not know the numbers but they know that they are high, unsustainably high. Like closer to 10 million.

This is seismic for a nation where, due to apartheid, the genuine South Africans, who have been marginalized are now getting re-marginalized and having to pay the burden of dealing with these numbers of illegal immigrants.

Not is this unfair on the legitimate South African citizens, it is preventing any traction on economic growth.

Darkest Africa, if you don’t like some one or what they doing you just kill them.

Been going on here for years, especially KZN.

A similar scenario is being played out in the UK where there are not enough heavy-duty truck drivers, resulting in economic chaos. Why? Because the Brits don’t want to do the job: too low paid, too monitored, too much stress on efficiency and time schedules to fit in with “just in time” manufacturing.

So what have they done? Given Polish and EU drivers visas and work permits. Of course the Poms are a lazy lot, supported by the welfare state and so now have to rely on foreign labour to do the basic stuff like driving and picking fruit to keep the economy going.

Does this sound familiar? No tradesman I have used, used local labour as ‘handlangers’, all from Zimbabwe or Malawi.

I appreciate you sharing your perspective on the situation in the UK as well as locally.

Sigh …”moderted” again for explaining the current economic chaos in the UK?

One man’s trash, is another man’s treasure.

This advocate Simba Chitando is a Zimbabwean earning his living here, while he is a ZANU-PF supporter, that caused the downfall of Zimbabwe.

Go figure? It is up to Zimbabweans to get rid of ZANU-PF.

End of comments.

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