Mhambi has been redeployed.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Adonis Musati's death a blot on SA's name

Adonis Musati, a Zimbawean familiar with the Department of Home Affairs was found dead, presumably from hunger, meters away from the Departments office in Cape Town.

Bennett Hodi, the last to see Musati alive, said he came zigzagging across the road towards the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Friday morning and asked a construction worker for money to buy a loaf of bread.

Hodi, a guard at a nearby construction site, said although none of the workers had money, a colleague decided to buy the bread as they could see Musati was hungry and weak.

"He told us he hadn't eaten in two weeks," said Hodi. "We gave him the bread and he finished half a loaf in seconds.

"He then asked for water and swallowed a few sips before lying down under a tree on the island opposite the Convention Centre.

"A few minutes later we noticed he was lying on his back with his legs and arms stretched out. That's when we rushed over and saw he wasn't breathing. We immediately called the police."

Braam Hanekom, chairperson of People Against Suffering, Suppression, Oppression and Poverty (Passop), was greeted by a crowd of people standing around Musati's body after being released from the holding cells at Cape Town Central police station on Friday afternoon.

Braam Hanekom was arrested the previous day when asylum seekers fought the South African police.

...a group of about 40 refugees had refused to leave the department's premises after waiting for more than seven hours to be served.

One irate Zimbabwean refugee said he had arrived at the department at 2am, hoping to be one of the 100 firstcomers that the department recently agreed to serve.

"After waiting for seven hours, they told me I needed to fill in a form with my details and they would phone me on Wednesday to be helped. I can't wait until Wednesday because I may be picked up by police who will arrest me and deport me," the emotional man said.

Despite being informed that they might be arrested for trespassing, the angry group staged a sit-in at the offices, refusing to leave until they were served.

Helpless officials then called the police who explained to the group that they could not sleep in the centre because the department was not liable for their safety.

After 30 minutes of negotiating, the police called for back-up.

A Cape Argus team witnessed a group of about 15 police officers disperse the group using pepper spray.

A Zimbabwean refugee, who reiterated that he could not leave because he would miss his turn in the queue this morning, curled into a ball and started crying.

Attempts at asking him to leave failed and about seven policemen started kicking him.

Passop chairperson Braam Hanekom then pleaded with the police to stop and requested that they remove the man without force.

Upon exiting the building, police taunted the crowd by laughing at the injured Zimbabwean and a scuffle ensued between Hanekom, another Passop member and the police.

Police again sprayed the crowd with pepper spray and chased the group from the premises, warning that they would be beaten with batons and arrested.

Hanekom and a Passop member known only as Ben were handcuffed and shoved into a police van. The two are to face charges of riotous behaviour.

Braam Hanekom said to the BBC: "It is a disgrace that someone should die of hunger in one of South Africa's richest cities"

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