By Johan Viljoen, Reabetswe Tloubatla, Jeanette Lesisa: Denis Hurley Peace Institute- Pretoria, South Africa
1. Mozambique Slams “Deplorable” Treatment of Its Citizens In South Africa
The President of the National Human Rights Commission of Mozambique (CNDH) said Wednesday 13 July that the
treatment given by South African authorities to Mozambican illegal immigrants was deplorable, criticising the “disproportionality” of the state agents’ actions. “The way in which Mozambicans and African foreigners in general have been treated in the current campaign to identify and expel illegal immigrants in South Africa is deplorable,” said Luís Bitone. He said Mozambican immigrants who have been living in South Africa for decades have not even had time to collect their belongings or get the wages corresponding to the days they have worked, when they are caught by the authorities. “We do not question South Africa’s sovereign right to enforce the country’s migration laws, but we demand that this is done with the necessary dignity,” the CNDH president said. Luís Bitone considered the expulsion of Mozambicans and other citizens from southern Africa by the South African authorities counterproductive, given that the region has taken steps to create a zone of free movement of people and goods.
“Being foreign citizens of a region that is moving towards a zone of free circulation of people and goods, it would be understandable that the authorities create conditions for legalising illegal immigrants and that they are not thrown to the other side of the border with only the clothes on their bodies,” he noted. Luís Bitone, a lecturer and specialist in private international law, called on the Mozambican government to intercede with its South African counterpart to give “dignified treatment to the immigrants”.
Comments on #OperationDudula are swarming across Twitter, giving an ugly insight into the generalized hatred and violent intentions of average South Africans:
Thulas Nxesi #PutSouthAfricanFirst #OperationDudula https://t.co/Pa1HCNgiUb
— Mbango Mulalo J.Nyts (@JozyNyts) March 1, 2022
To all Zimbabweans, Nigerians, Mozambicans, Somalians & all Africans migrants DO NOT COME TO SA 🇿🇦 Your safety cannot be guaranteed, We are ANGRY & No human rights policy will protect you Please Pack your sh!? & leave!#PutSouthAficansFirst #OperationDudula
— Sunshine � (@Bikofiles) February 28, 2022 Foreigners are burden to South Africans. Most specially Zimbabweans, Nigerians, Somalians, Ethiopians and Mozambicans. #PutSouthAfricansFirst #PutSouthAfricansFirst #OperationDudula #OperationDudula #OperationDudula #OperationDudula #OperationDudula #OperationDudula #SkeemSaam
— Hosana (@Khadijahhosana) February 24, 2022
We are going to clean Germiston CBD of illegal immigrants who have turned the town into a dumping site. These people bring their lawlessness to our country. How will investors come if a town is dirty like this ? #PutSouthAfricansFirst #OperationDudula
2. President Nyusi Changes Track On Return Of IDP’s
The President of the Republic, Filipe Nyusi, last week reiterated that there is still no official authorization for families displaced due to terrorism in Cabo Delgado to return to their areas of origin. Speaking to journalists in Pemba on Thursday 14 July 2022, Filipe Nyusi clarified that, at the moment, the Government is committed to creating security conditions and basic services, to ensure a gradual, safe and voluntary return of the displaced.
3. Land Rights And DUAT System Under Review: Poor Likely To Lose Out
All land in Mozambique belongs to the state. Those occupying it are granted a “permission to occupy” by the state (known by the Portuguese acronym “DUAT”). The DUAT can be cancelled at any time, without giving reasons, and given to another person or entity. The land tenure system is often cited as an indirect cause of the war in Cabo Delgado, with local people still saying that the war is being fuelled by those who want to drive them off their land, to give the DUAT to multinational corporations for prospecting and extraction. There have been moves recently to revise the system, and to allow private sale of land. At face value this seems like a positive development. But human rights activists in Mozambique have warned that such a move will only benefit the elite – they have the money to buy land, which will result in more landlessness and displacement.
www.cartamz.com reported on 19 July 2022: “According to an investigation report by the Center for Public Integrity (CIP), released this Monday, in a document called “National Land Policy 2021”, the Government says it intends to use the land to protect the most vulnerable population. poor, but there is no evidence that such a law will benefit the most deprived citizens.
Further on, the same document explains that talking about the transmission of land is the same as talking about the transferability of the Land Use and Benefit Right (DUAT). However, the legal system in force in the country shows that transmission only occurs “by purchase-and-sale, mortgage, pledge, donation, rights that affect the thing and not the thing itself (car, house, land, etc. )”. However, transmissibility encounters a barrier in the constitutional impediment that stipulates that land in Mozambique is state property and cannot be sold, mortgaged, pledged or otherwise disposed of. Thus, the Land Policy Review Commission is proposing that, although it is state property, there is nothing to prevent this property from being used for mortgages and transactions in the future.
“The World Bank, the Confederation of Economic Associations (CTA) and the Government argue that it is necessary to allow land transferability as a way of acquiring substantial commercial value, which will allow the citizen who holds the DUAT to use it as exchange currency to improve their condition, that is, if a peasant has 100 or 1000 hectares he can transfer them to a private person without any conflict. However, the possible problems that could arise in the State, such as the greater demand for land by the rich and multinationals, on the one hand, and the temptation of poor citizens to sell their land, on the other, are ignored.
According to the study, with the revision of the Land Law underway, another risk is that it may benefit international corporations and the national business sector with greater financial capacity to entice, manipulate and acquire, for their investments, lands of communities with little knowledge of its value, at low prices while the State is expecting to obtain gains through taxes and fees resulting from DUAT title transactions and also from revenues from land exploitation.
The CIP document also says that, if the Land Law does not provide for the limits of access to land, the political business elite will have greater facilities to participate in the hoarding of land to later transact at higher prices to foreign business and international corporations.
The Government of Mozambique has been trying to formally review the National Land Policy (PNT) since November 2017, in the last term of President Joaquim Chissano. At the time, the initiative had the support of the World Bank and USAID. During the term of Armando Guebuza, there was also an attempt to return to the subject with the holding, in 2008, of the Conference to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Land Law, in which the legal framework was analyzed/completed and the need for adjustments to some provisions identified. President Filipe Nyusi, also supported by the World Bank, took up the idea with force. However, in all this it became clear that the Government’s intention is to formalize the sale of Land Use and Benefit Rights (DUAT) titles in response to the growing demand for this resource by international corporations combined with the appetites of the political-economic elites desirous of to take advantage of foreign capital”.