Medard Xwelamira Research report no. Reflections on Botswana, Lesotho

Medard  Xwelamira Research report no. Reflections on Botswana, Lesotho
Research report no. 88
Medard Xwelamira
Reflections on Botswana, Lesotho
and Swaziland Refugee Policies
The Scandinavian Institute of African Studies, Uppsala 1990
Research report no. 88
Medard Rwelamira
Refugees in a Chess Game:
Reflections on Botswana, Lesotho
and Swaziland Refugee Policies
The Scandinavian Institute of African Studies
Uppsala 1990
ISSN 0080-6714
ISBN 91-7106-306-4
Typesetting: Sonia Chac6n
O The author & the Scandinavian Institute of African Studies, 1990
Printed in Sweden by
Motala Grafiska
Motala 1990
This report is part of a broader study that was funded by the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, on the problems of asylum in Southern Africa. A preliminary version of this report was
discussed at the Silver Jubilee Conference of the African Studies Association of the UK, at Cambridge University in 1988. In the process of
preparing the report I benefited from comments and discussions from
many colleagues interested in refugee problems. In this regard, I would
like to single out Dr Lawrence G. Buberwa, Senior Lecturer, National
University of Lesotho, a friend and CO-researcher on the Asylum Project. His sharp criticism and meticulous attention to detail and
precision went a long way to improving this report. While he,
however, should be given credit for the positive aspects of the report, I
remain solely responsible for its shortcomings.
Medard R. Rwelamira,
LL.B (Dar) LL.M, JSD (Yale)
Associate Professor of Law
University of Swaziland
African National Congress
Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland
Basutoland National Party
Gross Domestic Product
International Conference on Assistance to Refugees in
Mozambique National Resistance
Organization of African Unity
Pan-Africanist Congress
Rand Monetary Area
South Africa
Southern Africa Custom Union
Southern Africa Development Coordination
Special Air Services (U.K.)
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations
Refugees within the Political Economy of Southern Africa
The Geopolitical Factors as Determinants of BLS Refugee Policies
Infrastructural Linkages as Constraints on Refugee Policy
The Impact of South Africa's Strategy on BLS Domestic
Refugee Policies
Nature and magnitude of Refugee Problem in Swaziland
Swaziland Refugee Policy: Nature and Scope
Refugee Policy: Crisis and Dilemma
Magnitude of Refugee Problem in Lesotho
Lesotho Refugee policy: A Model for Altruim
Internal Constraints to Refugee Policy
Nature of Refugee Problem in Botswana
Refugee Policy in Botswana
Future and Prospects for Meaningful Refugee Policies
in the BLS Countries
Appendix I
Appendix I1
Appendix I11
Appendix IV
Refugee flows in Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland (BLS) have increased dramatically over the last twenty years. In 1967 the refugee
population in Lesotho and Swaziland was estimated at 100 and 200 respectively. Botswana had the largest number of refugees, totalling 220,
of which 70 were from South Africa, 130 from Namibia and the rest
from Southern Rhodesia. The total refugee population in BLS countries was therefore no more than 500 refugees.
However, by 1977 events in Southern Africa notably in South Africa
and Southern Rhodesia, drastically changed the refugee picture in the
sub-region. The events in South Africa in 1976 including the Soweto
students demonstrations against apartheid, resulted in massive flows
into neighbouring countries in search of asylum. It is estimated that in
1976, 4,500 refugees from Namibia, South Africa and Southern
Rhodesia crossed to Botswana. A similar upsurge is noticeable in
Lesotho and Swaziland where estimates of refugee flows were put at
200 and 300 respectively.
Already at this time the continuing influx of refugees was causing
scarce resources in the BLS countries to be directed from essential development needs into facilities to receive and accommodate refugees
or alternatively to augment their national capacities to resist external
aggression from their countries of origin.
In a report of a UN Mission to Botswana to assess the ways in which
the international community could assist Botswana, it was estimated
that some $27.98 million would be diverted to unplanned and unbudgeted security needs to provide protection, transport and supervision
for refugees and to meet part of the current costs of emergency projects
during the first three years of the 1976-1981 plan period. The Mission
further noted that this would amount to 70% of the domestic resources
which it had budgeted for normal development. In addition, some
$25.6 million would have to be spent on emergency projects during the
following two to three years with corresponding increase in current
expenditure. Similar observations have been made with regard to
Lesotho following the South African attack on Maseru on 9th December 1982. Not only did these developments increase the number of
refugees, but more importantly, they gave a new dimension to the
refugee situation and its social, economic and educational characteristics.
By 1981 when the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees convened the First International Conference on
Assistance to Refugees in Africa (ICARA I), the number of refugees in
the BLS countries had soared to 23,400-a fifty-fold increase compared
to 1967. The number had not reduced significantly at the time of
ICARA I1 in 1984.1 On the contrary, the refugee population in the region is now estimated to be in the region of 50,000 with all the possibilities of an upsurge in view of the continued civil war in Mozambique
and the deterioration of the political situation in South Africa.
Refugees within the Political Economy
of Southern Africa
The refugee problem in the BLS countries is an intricate and perplexing one. It can best be understood through an analysis of not only the
geopolitical forces that are operative in the region but also of the infrastructural linkages which have deepened the dependency relationship
between the BLS countries on the one hand and South Africa on the
other. While the former have taken concrete form in the nature of
destabilization, the latter have provided economic and political leverages which South Africa has often manipulated to her advantage. It is
against the scope and nature of interaction of these forces that one can
meaningfully analyze the BLS refugee policies.
The Geopolitical Factors as Determinants of BLS Refugee Policies
The refugee problem in the BLS countries must primarily be viewed in
the broader context of the political economy of the subregion and particularly in the context of South Africa's regional and domestic
policies. One must take cognizance of South Africa's regional strategy
to control the tide of liberation, reduce economic and political isolation
as well as to protect the broader economic interest of western
For instance, according to a recent study of the US Bureau of Mines,
a ban on imports of strategic metals from South Africa would cost the
U.S. economy well over 1 billion dollars a year and lead to shortages of
a key component of auto pollution equipment. About 94 per cent of
the costs would result from a cut-off of South African shipments of
platinum and rhodium with the rest spread among other metals including palladium, manganese, chromium, titanium and vanadium.
For all the metals concerned, South Africa is either the largest or
second largest producer in the world. The study pointed out that such
costs would be incurred in the form of higher prices for alternative
supplies, for expanding US production and recycling and for switching
to substit~tes.~
This regional strategy of South Africa must also be analyzed against
the developments that have taken place in the seventies and eighties.
Up to the beginning of the seventies, South Africa's policy was es-
sentially outward in nature. Before 1975 South Africa's regional policy
was geared towards some measure of regional cooperation with her
neighbours. This manifested itself in a number of economic overtures
made to neighbouring countries as well as a series of diplomatic initiatives to win sympathy from conservative and moderate African governments. The objective of this policy, as succinctly summarized by
Henry Kissinger, was to induce African countries largely through economic incentives to enter into some degree of cooperation with South
Africa thus breaking South Africa's isolation and eventually reducing
liberation p r e ~ s u r eHowever,
whatever gains may have been achieved by South Africa through these initiatives, they were soon to be
overtaken by the regional developments in the second half of the
seventies and beginning of the eighties.
Firstly, the independence of Mozambique, Angola and later
Zimbabwe did fundamentally affect South Africa's internal and external policies. Their victory through armed struggle gave renewed
vigour and inspiration to the oppressed peoples of South Africa and
provided a timely reassurance that white minority regimes were not,
after all, invincible.
But more importantly, these developments upset in a profound way
the balance of forces in the sub-region. South Africa, with its considerable resources, had hitherto been regarded by western countries as a
moderating if not a stabilizing force, indeed a bulwark against communist penetration. It was against this context, for instance, that Kissinger
in the late 1960s recommended a more positive "tilt" towards South
Africa, a policy still much at the centre of U.S. constructive engagement policy. In return, South Africa had slowly but systematically
embarked on policies which ensured her control over major economic
and political decisions affecting the subregion by providing active
support to the adoption of "open-door policies" by her neighbouring
black states.5 The independence of these colonies therefore introduced
a new dimension and upset the geopolitical equilibrium. Besides, their
positive disposition towards radical development strategies as well as
their commitment to support national liberation movements enkindled fears of communist advance, thus providing South Africa with an
excuse to interfere with their internal affairs.
The second important development was the radicalization of the
South African domestic situation. The 1976 Soweto uprising was
almost immediately followed by the increased militancy amongst
Africa's black population, thus dealing a fatal blow to Voster's earlier
initiatives for peaceful CO-existence. The continued outflow of young
South African militants into neighbouring countries marked, in a
significant way, the demise of the dialogue policy. Its impact was not
confined to the internal situation and immediately neighbouring
countries, but could also be felt in western metropolitan cities as busi-
nessmen withdrew their assets and capital from the Republic. These
developments, coupled with a costly war in Namibia as well as the
intensified radicalization of the internal situation as a result of the
activities of the ANC, prompted South Africa's economic and political
military strategists to think of new options. In the ensuing search,
South Africa has adopted the so-called "total strategy"6 designed to
ensure her control over the subregion and insulate it against the "total
onslaught ' posed by what are regarded as communist forces. Thanks to
the emergence of conservative western governments who are willing
to view the world in terms of the East/West politics, South Africa has
increasingly come to view her role, more now than ever, as that of a
protector of western values and civilization in Southern Africa. It is
indeed this perception which underlies the analogy that South Africa
has made to the Monroe Doctrine in her effort to justify interventionist activities in the neighbouring countries.
The post-1976 era is, however, more significant for its confrontation
and destabilization by South Africa of its neighbours. This phenomenon was well captured by Callaghy when he observed that:
By early 1983 there was little accommodation and much more confrontation than a
decade earlier. South Africa has changed its mode of operation, its rules of the
game. It is pursuing a sort of 'lebanonization' of southern Africa. South African
officials appear to have the Israel example constantly in mind over a wide range of
tactical, strategic and diplomatic issues. This increased use of military and military
based economic and political destabilization as well as the support of surrogate
groups has been made possible by a substantial military build u p and a more
general militarization of South African society since 1976. A total strategy has been
devised to meet a "total onslaught".'
This trend received an additional back-up from the Reagan Administration's policy of "constructive engagement" which saw regional
stability and development primarily in terms of supporting South
Africa's evolutionary and piece-meal initiatives as well as maintaining
its neighbours infrastructural links. The constructive engagement
policy perceives South Africa as a major and crucial regional power, a
partner in the defence of western strategic and economic as well as
western democratic values.8 This renewed support on the part of the
Reagan administration indeed gave South Africa a new lease of life at
a time when she was increasingly being relegated to the position of a
prodigal son by the rest of the international community.
The immediate paradoxical consequence of these developments has
been that South Africa has once again felt reassured and has since embarked on destabilization crusades towards her neighbours. Through a
combination of military and economic interventions South Africa has
tried to curb for itself a greater role in the subregional politics. More
specifically this strategy has manifested itself in four major approaches.
Firstly there has been a renewed South African determination to
flush out militants of the African National Congress from neighbour1
ing countries through military intervention. This was tragically dramatized by South African raids into Lesotho in 1982 in which 42
people were killed (30 South African refugees); 1985, 9 people
including 6 South African refugees and in early 1988 a South African
refugee was killed in cold-blood on his bed at the country's Queen
Elizabeth 11 Hospital in Maseru. Similar raids were made in Botswana
and Swaziland causing loss of life and extensive damage to p r ~ p e r t y . ~
Secondly, South Africa has applied or threatened to apply selective
economic sanctions on countries unsympathetic to South African policies with the view to beat these countries into political and economic
submission and eventually to stop them from supporting or giving
refuge to South African exiles. This latter approach has been dramatically pursued in the case of Lesotho where in early 1982 South Africa
withheld millions of rands in revenue due from South African Customs Union as well as helicopter spare parts to encourage Lesotho to
renegotiate the Customs Union to include the homelands of Transkei
and Bophuthatswana. This would have implied recognition of the
Bantustans. Again in January 1986, South Africa imposed an economic
blockade which finally led to the ousting of Chief Leabua Jonathan.
This followed a speech by Chief Leabua Jonathan in which he vowed
to continue giving support and asylum to the victims of apartheid at
the funeral of ANC activists killed by South African agents in Maseru
on 20th December 1985. It is on the same consideration that South
Africa threatened to cut grain sale to and expel migrant workers from
neighbouring countries if they voted against South Africa at the
United Nations.lo
Thirdly, South Africa has given extensive support to local groups
who to challenge the internal structures of those neighbouring countries which help members of the national liberation movements, particularly the ANC. Mozambique has been the greatest victim of this
strategy with South Africa's continued support of the MNR.
The long-term effects of this destabilization policy remain to be felt.
In the short-term however, it is clear that the policy represents an
attack on the independence of the BLS states. Also, the signing of the
non-aggression treaties in the region have put the burden of policing
the groups struggling for liberation in Southern Africa, particularly
ANC, into the neighbouring states. In the process not only has the
policy wrecked the national economies of the countries concerned, e.g.
Mozambique, but has induced within the BLS countries the adoption
of policies which have inhibited the granting of asylum to refugees,
particularly if the latter have any connections with the liberation
movements. At the same time, the ruthless implementation of the
destabilization policy by South Africa in Mozambique has precipitated
massive flows of refugees into neighbouring Swaziland where the
influx is estimated to be in the region of 200 Mozambicans per month.
Infrastructural Linkages as Constraints on Refugee Policy
The BLS ability to evolve meaningful refugee policies has also been
hampered by the fact that their economies are deeply integrated with
the South African economy. Besides sharing a common colonial
heritage as High Commissioner's territoriesN they are all landlocked
countries with relatively small populations.12 Historically they were
conceived as native reserves whose economic and to some extent
social destinies were umbilically linked to the economic system of
their powerful neighbour, the Republic of South Africa. Secondly, the
BLS economies are heavily dependent on migrant labour13. Migration
of able-bodied males and females seeking employment in South Africa
still remains a major feature of their economies. Those severely
affected by the migrant labour system are Lesotho and Botswana where
one-third and one-fifth of the labour force respectively are working
abroad at any given moment and mainly in South African mines and
farms. This has, in turn, reinforced these countries' dependency on
South Africa. In Lesotho for instance, employment of Basotho in the
Republic is over six times the total employment in Lesotho and over
40 per cent of Lesothols national income comes from earnings of
migrant workers in South Africa. Termination of this system without
compensatory financial transfer from other sources would pauperize
the great majority of Basotho households. Besides, migrant labour
remittances play a significant role in the financing of balance of
payments deficits.
Finally, the BLS countries are linked to the South African economy
through the Customs Union. In the early 1970s, revenue from the
Customs Union amounted to 50 per cent of the total revenue of the
BLS countries.14 In addition, they were, until the mid-1970s in a d e
f a c t o monetary union with South Africa and their financial
institutions are still closely integrated to South African banking and
finance houses through the Rand Monetary Area and the Customs
Union. Besides these legal, economic links there are also strong
commercial, institutional and infrastructural links. Almost invariably
all the large, modern-sector commercial and industrial enterprises in
the three countries have their origins in South Africa and in most
cases function as subsidiaries of South African companies.
It will therefore be realized that the economies of the BLS are deeply
integrated with the South African economy. To a large measure the
latitude of the BLS countries to adopt and pursue consistent positive
refugee policies is largely predicated on the extent to which South
Africa is willing to manipulate this organic linkage. Consequently, the
economic subsystem presently dominated by South Africa has been
constructed, enlarged and vigorously defended because it enables the
Republic to enrich itself at the expense of its neighbours. This would
explain why the economy has been a major factor in South African
foreign policy and is bound to be resorted to frequently in future to
provide "stability" for the region in the Republic's effort to protect
domestic and international capital working for the perpetuation of
white domination in the region.15 Given this outlook, it is inevitable
that refugees in the BLS countries will and indeed have become a
critical element in both South Africa and BLS countries' equation for
political and economic survival. In the process many refugees may
continue to be victims of South African military arrogance or convenient pawns in the SA-BLS power game.
The Impact of South Africa's Strategy
on BLS Domestic Refugee Policies
We have endeavoured to argue that the refugee policies in the BLS
cannot be properly understood outside the macro South African strategy for the region. They are indeed largely a product of regional politics,
particularly South Africa's policy of destabilization. In the following
discussion we shall look more closely at the nature and extent of its
impact on each of the BLS state's refugee policies.
Swaziland is one of the smallest countries in Africa with an area of
17,000 square kilometers and a population of 720,000. The country is
landlocked, bounded on the north, west and south by the Republic of
South Africa and on the east by the Republic of Mozambique. Its climate is predominantly sub-tropical. The country part of the Swaziland
plateau has an interesting topography, with four regions of nearly
equal width, but with varied climate, natural resource distribution and
development potential. These regions can be conveniently classified
into four agro-ecological zones consisting of the Highveld, the Middleveld, the Lowveld and the Lubombo Range.
The Highveld, in the west is mainly mountainous and has relatively
higher rainfall than the others. Although it contains valuable forests
and asbestos, the region is largely unsuitable for agricultural crop production. The area is seriously overgrazed and soil erosion has emerged
as a major problem. Adjacent to it is the Middleveld. Unlike the Highveld, its climate and soils are amenable to mixed farming of maize,
citrus fruits, cotton, tobacco, and rice under irrigation. Maize, fruit and
cotton are the most important crops grown on freehold farms. The
Lowveld is a savannah type region endowed with large coal deposits
and fertile soil. A hot climate and erratic rainfall make this part of the
country particularly vulnerable to drought. Ranching, large-scale
production of sugar and citrus fruits on irrigated land, and to a lesser
extent, cultivation of cotton and rice are the foremost activities in this
region, the non-irrigated areas being used for animal husbandry.
However, overstocking has led to severe land depletion and in a
succession of dry years the threat of soil erosion becomes pronounced.
On Swaziland's eastern border with Mozambique the land rises to an
altitude of 600m. This region, referred to as the Lubombo Plateau
covers 8 per cent of the land area. It is climatically similar to the
Middleveld, but it is thinly populated.
Although the country has less than one million people, its population is growing very rapidly. The provisional results of the 1986
census indicated a total population of 706,137 against an approximately
500,000 from the 1976 census. The average growth period over the
period 1976-1986 was thus an annual 3.5 per cent, one of the highest in
Africa. The existing unemployment will be exacerbated by the speed of
population growth, by the few job opportunities in South Africa, and
by the likelihood of slow economic growth. In turn the present growth
rate is bound to exert considerable strain on government resources and
infrastructure, particularly health and education. The fertility rate of 6.9
births per women in 1976 is high and Swaziland's population is young
with about 48 per cent of the total population under the age of 15. It is
estimated that by the year 2000 it would have reached 4 million. The
population growth projection are summarized in Table 1.
Table 1. Projected Size, and Growth of Population in Swaziland
Population size
Average annual rate
of growth (%)
A. No fertility
B. Gradual ferti-
C. Accelerated
fertility decline
lity decline
Source: Economic Memorandum on Swaziland, Report No. 5666-SW, World Bank
1985; C o u n t y Profile, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland, The Economist
Intelligence Unit 1988-89.
Despite its small and landlocked location, Swaziland is a relatively
prosperous country. Its estimated per capita income of $800 in 1984 was
among the highest in sub-Saharan Africa and placed it among the
middle-income developing countries overall. The key to its relative
prosperity has been its ability to overcome geographical limitations by
specializing the economy to a high degree in areas where it has compa-
rative advantage, particularly agricultural and forestry based industries.
The structure of the GDP is therefore dominated by agriculture and industry (Table 2).
Table 2. Structure of Swaziland's GDP at Constant 1980 Prices by
Industrial Origin
E mm
Agriculture & Forestry
Mining & Quarrying
Wholesale & Retail
Finance & Real Estate
Hotels & Restaurants
Transport & Telecommunications 20.6
Government Services
GDP at Factor Cost
Source: Central Statistical Office, Mbabane.
However, given a high population growth rate and a depressed national economy whose annual real growth rate was 2.3 per cent per
annum over the 1982/84 period, unemployment is likely to be a serious problem in the future. Part of the solution lies in bringing the
majority of the land into productive use. Focusing on this particular
problem, the Prime Minister, in his 1987 New Year message, emphasized the need to find ways to raise substantially the productivity of
peasant production on Swazi Nation Land which covers over 50 per
cent of the country's total land area, but which currently makes an
insignificant contribution to the GNP.
Although Swaziland's major commodities-sugar, wood pulp,
asbestos, canned fruits and coal showed an overall increase in value of
4.4 per cent in 1985, customs receipts remain a major source of government revenue. As a member of the Southern African Customs Union,
Swaziland receives considerable annual compensation for customs
duties by South Africa. A renegotiation of and subsequent amendment
of revenue-sharing formula in 1976 saw customs receipts climbing to
67 per cent of total government revenue in 1982/83 (Table 3).
Table 3. Swaziland: Significance of Customs Receipts in Government
Revenue and Expenditure, 1982183 - 1987188 (E million)
Customs Union
Total Revenue
As % of total
Total expenditure
& net lending
As % of total
& net lending
1. This figure excludes grants which were 5.4; 5.7; 3.2; 12.5; 11.8; and 12.8 respectively.
2. This was the figure forecast for 1988/89.
Source: Compiled from economic review and outlook, Dept. of Economic Planning
and Statistics, Prime Minister's Office, Mbabane.
In the second quarter of 1984 the Customs Union revenue constituted
71 per cent of the total revenue. This was much higher than projected
in the Third National Development Plan which had forecast 55 per
cent for 1982/83. The introduction of Sales Tax in the 1985/86 fiscal
year has obviously reduced the proportion of Customs Union receipts
in total revenue, but its impact is still disproportionately higher than
any other source of revenue. The abolition of the import surcharge by
the South African Government and the closure of a number of
manufacturing enterprises in 1983/84 (which slowed down the growth
of imports) led to the decline in the receipts from the Customs Union
in the year 1986/87 (see Table 1). However, receipts from the Union
increased by 12.6 per cent in the 1987/88 fiscal year to almost E135m.17
Although the receipts were still slightly below their 1985/86 level, and
in real terms these receipts have continued to decline, they still are the
most important single revenue source and in the 1988/89 fiscal year
their contribution is forecast to be in the region of 42.0 per cent.
Similar dependency patterns are discernible in the energy and
foreign trade sector. Sixty per cent of Swaziland electricity needs are
imported from South Africa while over 90 per cent of her total imports
come from South Africa. At the same time the external value of the
Swazi currency (the Lilangeni) continues to be pegged to the South
African Rand. Thus movements in the exchange rate of the rand have
often affected adversely Swaziland's trade and balance of payments and
have been major factors influencing Swaziland's economic perform-
ance. It should, however, be noted that membership in the Rand
Monetary Area (RMA) and Customs Union have so far been economically advantageous to Swaziland. Interest and exchange rate policies
are adequate and Swaziland receives substantial revenues, equivalent
to about 18 per cent of GDP per year, from the Customs Union without
incurring any major collection costs. The economic and political risks
of such membership are nevertheless, considerable. Foremost among
them is the fact that about 75 per cent of Swaziland exchange reserves
are held with the South African Reserve Bank, as well as the country's
high dependency on the Customs Union for its revenue. Any major
crisis in South Africa's economy has therefore tended to have an
amplified impact on Swaziland as well as other on members of the
Nature and Magnitude of Refugee Problem in Swaziland
Swaziland has a long tradition of giving refuge to genuine asylum
seekers. During the 1960's hundreds of refugees from white-controlled
neighbouring countries in Southern Africa either passed through or
sought refuge in Swaziland. A majority of these were South Africans
and normally regarded Swaziland as a stop-over on their long journey
to independent countries further north. However, a few decided to stay
and normally took up employment in urban centres. This picture of a
seemingly peaceful transition continued uninterrupted until the 1970s.
In the aftermath of the Soweto riots in 1976, many South Africans
were forced to leave the Republic of South Africa. Often Swaziland was
the first country of refuge and by 1981 when ICARA I was held the
refugee population in Swaziland was estimated to be in the region of
10,000 refugees. Of these over 8,000 are of South African origin and
6,600 live at and around Ndzevane Refugee Settlement in SouthEastern Swaziland, while another 350 registered refugees live among
nationals in urban areas.
There are also about 2,000 refugees in the same area but spontaneously settled with the local population. Most of the refugees at
Ndzevane Refugee Settlement are ethnic Swazis from South Africa,
mainly of the Matsenjwas and Mngomezulu clans who came to
Swaziland between 1974-1977. All these clansmen are agriculturalists
and although not registered as refugees, they are obviously in a
refugee-like situation. Since they are subsistence farmers the government has made available to them some 6,000 hectares of land on
which cotton as well as drought-resistant crops like sorghum and
beans are currently tested. Some of these refugees are employed in the
neighbouring sugar plantations. Both the refugees in the settlement as
well as those who are spontaneously settled have equal access to the
social services in the settlement. These service are also extended to
nationals living in the neighbourhood as part of an attempt to
facilitate closer contact between the refugee community and the local
While the refugee population in Swaziland has for a long time been
characterized by South Africans, the picture is changing drastically. As
the war in neighbouring Mozambique continues unabated greater
numbers of Mozambican refugees find refuge in Swaziland. The number has increased dramatically in the last five years from a couple of
hundred Mozambicans in 1983 to thousands in 1985. By 1985 the
Ndzevane Refugee Settlement accommodated 4,000 Mozambican refugees and according to the latest UNHCR report this has brought the
total refugee population in the settlement to well over 13,000 refugees.
According to the report, Mozambican refugees in Ndzevane exceed
5,000. This represents an increase of over 100 per cent in the
population of refugees at Ndzevane. The number of Mozambican
refugees flocking into Swaziland fluctuates between 100-200 a month.
In March 1988 the registered Mozambican refugee population in
Swaziland totalled 8,200, mainly of rural background.18 Consequently
the need for alternative land to accommodate the continuing influx of
Mozambican refugees is now urgent. This would ease the pressure on
Ndzevane Settlement which is at present overcrowded- a situation
which has often given rise to tension among South African and
Mozambican refugees. In the outlaying border area of Lomahasha
Shewula a number of Mozambicans have spontaneously settled along
the Swazi-Mozambique border. This number, which has not yet been
registered, is estimated to be in the region of 12,000 persons.
Since the bulk of refugee population in Swaziland is rural the critical
problem has been the inadequacy of land which limits the scope for
productive agricultural activities. The Ndzevane Rural Settlement
occupies a land area of 6,000 hectares, 1,200 - 2,000 hectares of which
are considered arable. Its establishment was geared towards the needs
of the initial group of ethnic Swazis who came from South Africa in
1977. The settlement of Mozambicans in Ndzevane has therefore
resulted in congestion and increased pressure on the land as well as
infrastructural facilities and services. On the other hand, inadequacy of
land limits any attempts at agricultural self-reliance for the
Mozambicans who must increasingly depend on relief assistance.
The situation at the Malindza Centre is not markedly different from
that obtaining at Ndzevane. The Centre was originally built for 112 refugees, but due to a continuous inflow of Mozambicans the centre now
accommodates over 2,800. The Centre occupies 4 hectares of land and
only limited land is available for small garden plots. As a result of this
congestion, tensions have developed between the local communities
and refugees. The problem is more acute in the case of spontaneously
settled refugees. The homesteads have complained that the situation is
increasingly becoming unbearable since they have to look after refugees in addition to their own families. Acquisition of additional land
to accommodate the ever-increasing number of Mozambican refugees
would certainly ameliorate the situation quite significantly. The long
term solution, however, lies in the internal political stability of
Mozambique itself. So far close to 100.000 people have been killed, 5.5
million have been internally displaced, while over 1.5 million peasants have sought refuge in the neighbouring countries.19 In addition,
banditry has affected the network of essential services with well over
600 health centres and 35 per cent of primary schools now out of
operation. Similarly, there are serious nutritional problems, particularly among children in the most war affected areas. It is believed that
as many as 1.5 million children now show nutritional problems and
an estimated 200,000 children have been orphaned, abandoned or have
otherwise lost contact with their parents during the process of displacement.20 There is little doubt that the picture is a gloomy one and
probably the worst is still to come unless the internal situation is
brought under military control. To a large extent this will depend on
South Africa's willingness to withdraw support for the MNR as well as
the pace of meaningful democratic change in South Africa itself.
Swaziland Refugee Policy: Nature and Scope
For a long period of time Swaziland pursued a liberal policy towards
asylum seekers. Refugees were given asylum and since the influx
usually was small they neither posed a real danger to Swaziland's
internal security nor were they a real burden on her national
resources. Besides, in the early sixties and seventies the internal
situation in South Africa was relatively insulated by the cordon of
colonial states around the Republic.
In so far as Swaziland has any refugee policy, it can be inferred from
the Refugee Control Order 1978 which was passed to regulate better
control of refugees in Swaziland.21 The legislation is quite brief
containing no more than eighteen provisions. It vests considerable
discretion in the Minister as to admission or 1and characterization of
asylum seekers. At the time it was passed the refugee problem in
Swaziland had not assumed its present day intensity, not to mention
complexity. The prevalent view was that refugees constituted a
temporary and certainly not a serious problem. In that context only
measures designed to establish an orderly handling of refugee flows
were given preeminence. Similarly, the Order anticipated by and large
non-political refugees and this is clear from the fact the legislation goes
to considerable length to set out provisions primarily regulating
refugee settlements. Section 12 provides that the Minister may:
a. require any refugee to reside within a reception area or refugee
b. require any person within a reception area to move to and reside
in some other place being a reception area or refugee settlement.
The same provision makes it an offence to fail to comply with such an
order or having arrived at a reception area or refugee settlement in
pursuance of the Order to leave such area or settlement without a
permit issued by the Permanent Secretary.
The Minister is also empowered to make rules for the control of
refugee settlements including organization, safety, discipline and administration of such settlements; reception; treatment of health and
well-being of refugees; and powers of refugee officers in respect of such
settlement. Under the Order, refugee officers are given extensive powers and their major functions include ensuring orderly and efficient
administration of settlements, performance of any work or duty necessary for the maintenance of essential services in the settlement, and
the preservation of health and well-being of refugees in the settlement.22
The Order was passed in the aftermath of the Mngomezulu and
Matsenjwas mass exodus into Swaziland in 1977, and understandably
the legislation was reacting to that influx of rural communities. The
primary concern of the government was to set up structures which
would ensure the continuation of their existing cultural and rural life
patterns. Moreover, since strictu sensu their exodus was not politically
induced, the Order did not concern itself with security issues except in
a general way. Except for Section 7 which sets out general rules restricting possession of firearms, weapons and ammunition, the legislation
is inadequate as an instrument to contain the present refugee climate
characterized by a small but significant group of South African refugee
militants committed to change the internal structures of the Republic.
The radicalization of the South African domestic situation has generated refugees whose presence in Swaziland can no longer be taken for
granted or ignored.
Indeed, the irony of the BLS refugee policies is that although South
African militant refugees constitute a small per centage of the total
refugee population in each country, yet they have played a pivotal role
in the evolution of their domestic policies. In a way they do provide a
matrix within which refugee policies in the BLS in general and
Swaziland in particular have to be analysed.
Refugee Policy: Crisis and Dile
Of late, Swaziland has been under considerable pressure from South
Africa to expel South African refugees, particularly those who have
political connections with militant groups inside South Africa. South
Africa has in this regard pursued a two-pronged approach, diplomatic
cum economic, and military.
In a diplomatic offensive South Africa pushed for a conclusion of a
non-aggression pact.= This pact was signed in 1982 although it was
officially acknowledged in 1984 after the Nkomati Accord between
Mozambique and South Africa.Z4 Under the agreement, the
Contracting Parties undertake to combat terrorism, insurgency and
subversion individually and collectively as well as to call upon each
other whenever possible for assistance. The Agreement further
emphasizes the need to develop and maintain friendly relations with
each other. In that context the Parties agree not to allow any activities
within their respective territories directed towards the committing of
any act which involves a threat or use of force against each other's
territorial integrity. They undertake, further, not to allow within their
respective territories the installation or maintenance of foreign
military bases or the presence of foreign military units except in
accordance with their right to self-defence in the event of armed
attacks as provided for in the Charter of the United Nations and only
after notification of the other party.Z5 The inclusion of the latter
provisions could only have been influenced by South African
experience with Angola, and the need to forestall any possible
intervention by third parties.
The Agreement is probably more significant for South Africa than it
is for Swaziland. Firstly, it marks a significant diplomatic victory for
South Africa in as much as it symbolizes some form of recognition by
an independent African state. Secondly, it clouds South Africa's status
as an aggressor in the region by depicting her as a peacemaker little interested in the escalation of armed confrontation in the region.
At the same time South Africa announced its intention to cede to
Swaziland the KaNgwane and Ingwavuma bantustans. This was seen
as a reward for Swaziland commitment to clamp down on South
African liberation movements, particularly the ANC, and was also a
cunning attempt to slip in recognition of the bantustan policy via the
backdoor. Broadly viewed, the land deal also fell well into South
Africa's foreign and strategic interests. Firstly, the plan was an attempt
to lure Swaziland into a constellation of states. Had it succeeded this
would have had the advantage both of rejuvenating the constellation
plan as well as of weakening Southern Africa Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) to which Swaziland is committed, but
which is viewed by South Africa as a counter-constellation strategy
which threatens the country's traditionally firm economic grip on the
sub-continent. Secondly, viewed from the "total strategy" perspective
the plan could be viewed as a means of persuading Swaziland to take
action against the ANC so as to close off its use of Swaziland as a base.26
Despite these concessions by Swaziland, South Africa, has continued
to pursue military options against Swaziland, at times with utmost
callousness and ruthlessness. As noted earlier, the geopolitical changes
in the 1980s and the increased radicalization of the South African
domestic scene, has led South Africa to view the entire region as an
operational area. The struggle for change in South Africa has become a
regional war. Given the alteration of balance of political forces in the
region, South Africa could no longer rely exclusively on its economic
power or even its diplomatic leverage, and has had to resort to military
means to protect the apartheid system. The immediate manifestation
of this campaign is to punish those who give assistance to the ANC
and to dissuade those governments who might be tempted to do so.
However, the ultimate objective seems to be the recreation of the pre1974 "Cordon Sanitaire" by pressuring the governments of the region
or so cripple their economies that their survival would require the expulsion of the ANC refugees. Consequently, since 1981 South African
military and security operatives have undertaken acts of aggression in
a number of neighbouring countries including Swaziland.
While relations between South Africa and Swaziland warmed up,
there has been a steady crackdown on South African refugees, particularly those belonging to the ANC. In the meantime, Swaziland went
through a rather turbulent political phase in the days immediately following the death of King Sobhuza I1 in 1982.27 King Sobhuzals death
made a difference. He had a long historical association with ANC and
is known to have accepted its top leadership. As such he was prepared
to allow a limited presence in the country, provided Swaziland was
not used as a springboard for attacks on South Africa. However, as the
tempo and effectiveness of ANC operations increased and evidence
mounted that Swaziland was being used as a transit route for ANC
guerrillas, Pretoria increased the pressure on Swazi authorities. This
development, together with feuds within the Swazi aristocracy, have
had the effect of compounding the already desperate refugee situation
in Swaziland. It is against this background that one has to analyze the
various measures that have been taken against refugees, particularly
those with militant leanings.
The ANC1s relations with the Swazi government began to deteriorate after the death of King Sobhuza 11. Then, after Prime Minister
Bhekimpi announced that Swaziland has signed with South Africa an
"anti-terrorist" pact two years before Nkomati, the relation-ship turned
to open hostility. But even before that there were indications of a
strained relationship. In early 1982 the ANC representative in Swazi-
land was expelled and six months later his deputy and his wife were
assassinated and no replacements were authorized by the Swazi
government. At the same time laws regarding arms and ammunition
were more strictly enforced. After the signing of the Nkomati Accord,
the Swaziland operations against the ANC became far more systematic
and assumed a dimension of a small-scale war. In the aftermath of the
Accord many ANC cadres crossed into Swaziland from Mozambique to
evade expulsion northwards because of the Accord.28 This led to a
number of bitter confrontations between the ANC and security forces
which left five dead including a Swazi soldier and police officer. A
total of 91 ANC members were subsequently detained and some of
these complained of being assaulted during their captivity.Z9
As relations deteriorated, in April 1984 Prime Minister Bhekimpi
made a speech in which he outlined a major shift in policy towards the
ANC. He accused members of the ANC, some 300 of whom had
resided in Swaziland for long periods, of violating their conditions of
asylum and declared that the government would consider expelling
the ANC members particularly where the latter constituted a threat to
Swazi lives and property. He called upon the Swazis to report to the
police any strangers acting suspiciously. The bitterness grew worse as
four ANC detainees disappeared from Swazi police cells in Bhunya.
The Swazi authorities claimed they had been freed by their comrades;
the ANC claimed that they had been kidnapped by South African
agents. Shortly after this, South African Minister of Law and Order,
Louis le Grange announced the arrest of four ANC men "on the Reef'.
Eventually, in August 1984 following intensive behind the scenes
negotiations, approximately 100 ANC members were deported from
Swaziland. Following talks hosted by President Kaunda in Lusaka, the
ANC and Swaziland were able to reach some kind of modus vivendi.
However, these attempts to normalize the situation suffered yet
another setback in December 1984 following the killing of the deputy
security police Chief, Superintendent Petros Shiba, who was gunned
down near the Mbabane Police Officers' mess after attending an annual
police officers' Christmas party. The Swazi authorities attributed the
crime to the ANC, and within a week an alleged ANC "hitman" was
cornered and shot by the Swazi police. Within a few days the Swazi
authorities ordered 23 ANC members still in the country to surrender
immediately to the police or face deportation to South Africa. It was
also announced that the ANC representative in Swaziland, Bafana
Duma, had been ordered to leave the country thus ending his twenty
years' stay in the Kingdom.30
Shortly after this, South Africa's Foreign Minister, Pik Botha and his
Swazi counterpart Mhambi Mnisi, signed an agreement for the exchange of trade representatives between the two countries. Botha said
that the trade representatives would "enjoy the same rights and privi-
leges as diplomats do". According to the agreement the governments
of South Africa and Swaziland were convinced that the exchange of
representatives would significantly contribute towards the strengthening of the friendly relations between them and the maintenance and
promotion of peace, stability and cooperation in the region of
Southern Africa. This optimism was given further impetus by
President Botha's invitation to King Mswati's coronation in 1986
together with President Samora Machel and President Kaunda of
Zambia. However, just before the coronation a number of
Mozambican and South African refugees were arrested. Police
mounted extensive roadblocks around the country and later
announced that about 306 Mozambicans and 14 alleged members of the
ANC had been arrested.
Despite this semblance of a rapprochement, South Africa has continued to apply pressure on ANC supporters and sympathisers in
Swaziland. In December 1986 South African agents kidnapped four
people including two Swiss citizens, and murdered two, including a 15
year old boy. The Swazi government strongly condemned the actions
of "South African government forces". A statement issued by the
Prime Minister, Mr. Sotsha Dlamini, referred to the raids as "illegal
acts of aggression" and urged the South African government to "desist
from violating our sovereignty and respect Swaziland's commitment
to peace".
The protests went unheeded as two days after the first attacks, South
African agents kidnapped a South African man. It was later confirmed
by the Times of Swaziland, that he was in fact in South Africa and was
being held under Section 29 of South Africa's Internal Security Act,
which provides for indefinite detention without trial.31
Although the intensity of South African incursions into Swaziland
then subsided there were still occasional incidents of kidnapping and
attacks on refugee residences. At the same time, authorities are becoming increasingly uneasy about the ANC presence. The latter is partly
prompted by an increase in armed robberies in the country involving
the use of AK 47 rifles. In January 1987 it was reported that four members of the ANC had been arrested in Mbabane. According to the
report, police also seized a large cache of explosives and other weapons.
In early January 1988 Sipho Ngema, a South African refugee known to
have strong connections with ANC was shot dead in front of stunned
diners in a Manzini restaurant. Besides, the government has recently
deported about six ANC refugees including one who was involved in a
shoot-out with a South African soldier.
Swaziland is still committed to giving asylum to genuine asylum
seekers. However, its ability to provide durable solutions is largely
constrained by the Realpolitik of the region in which South Africa is a
major actor. As far as militant South African refugees are concerned
Swaziland can only be regarded as a temporary refuge. Swaziland neither has the military capacity to protect them from South Africa's
attacks nor would it be in furtherance of her long-term national interests to antagonize South Africa. Since South Africa has considerable
economic and military leverage over Swaziland, the latter's refugee
policy is increasingly becoming a function of the extent to which she is
able to withstand that pressure.
For politically neutral refugees such as Mozambicans, security may
not be such an important consideration as the infrastructural ability to
sustain the flows. However, even with regard to this category of
refugees one cannot underestimate the impact of ANC experience on
the overall official attitudes. At the beginning of September 1987,
police began a systematic clamp down on aliens from neighbouring
countries "illegally" resident in Swaziland.32 The move is believed to
have been prompted by the crime rate which has shot up and has
involved a spate of armed robberies, some of which are alleged to have
been planned and executed by Mozambican refugees. The police
attributes the rise in armed robberies to the pressure of Mozambican
refugees and seriously believe that there is an increasing amount of
gun running between Mozambique and Swaziland. Besides, given the
size of the population and country, the inflow of large numbers of
refugees is increasingly becoming an issue of political concern.
Lesotho is a small landlocked country completely surrounded by the
Republic of South Africa. Lesotho's socio-economic problems are largely a result of the country's geographical position. Bordering wholly on
an economically more advanced and dominant neighbour, the Republic of South Africa, Lesotho is a country with a limited national
market. These factors together with a restricted resource base, have led
to chronic dependence on migrant labour and to the emergence of
strong negative economic policies in the whole Southern African
region.3 In addition, South Africa's socio-political policies scare away
potential investors. On the whole, therefore, these factors operate
collectively and in a complex manner to render Lesotho vulnerable tc
external economic and political pressure.
Lesotho has the least developed economy of the BLS countries. Twothirds of the land area consists of almost impenetrable rugged mountain ranges so that only 9 per cent of the land is suitable for cultivations. It is considered to be one of the least developed countries witlthe GNP per capita of $530. This figure, however, does not reflect
economic conditions at household level as the majority of the people
are poor. Agriculture is the most important economic sector in
Lesotho in terms of its size and as generator of domestic employment.
This sector, together with mining employment in South Africa,
provide the main sources of income for about 90 per cent of the
population. In Lesotho it is estimated that some 60% of the rural
families have direct access to migrant worker's earnings and according
to the 1976 census these earnings contributed 71% of rural household
incomes .34 There are very few domes tic employment opportunities,
which accounts for the fact that 60 per cent of its adult population (2040 years) is employed in South Africa's mining sector.35 Consequently,
in the foreseeable future the economy will continue to be dominated
by the agricultural sector.
Lesotho's inability to provide employment for its population has
resulted in a growing dependency on earnings remitted by migrant
workers. The number of Basotho employed in the mines and collieries
rose steadily from 1967 to 1977 at an average rate of 5.5 per cent.
Basotho migrants constituted about 20 per cent of the total mine labour
force of the Republic in 1978 compared to 13 per cent 10 years earlier.
Rural economic conditions, including population pressure on the land
and low agricultural productivity, together with lack of adequate work
opportunities in the modern sector, augment and encourage migration, which is reinforced by the presence of more lucrative employment options in RSA. Lesotho's total labour force in 1980 was estimated as 611,000 of whom 171,000 were employed as migrant workers
in South Africa and only 40,000 were employed in the modern sector
in Lesotho. While South Africa has progressively been reducing its
dependency on foreign migrant labour since the 1970s this has not had
a strong impact on the level of Basotho migrant employment. The
employment of mining migrants, 80 per cent of whom work in skilled
jobs in the gold mines where they are not readily replaceable, fell from
a peak of 130.000 in 1977/78 to 115,397 in 1985, at which it has since
been stabilized.36 However, in order to understand the vital role that
migrant labour plays in Lesotho's economy, the earnings of migrants
and the share they repatriate to Lesotho has to be assessed.
As will be observed from Table 4, remittances and deferred payments
play a proportionately crucial role in generating government revenue
as well as financing the balance of payments. Recent changes in wage
structure and small increase in the number of Basotho gold mine
workers led to a 12 per cent increase in total migrant payments to M108
mn for the first six months of 1986. Deferred payments were M59 mn
compared with M55 mn in the corresponding period of 1985. The fully
revised IMF figures for 1980-86 indicate that in dollar terms both
exports and imports rose about 13 per cent in 1986 with the trade deficit
widening to $318mn. This was partly compensated by a 10 per cent increase in exports, largely workers remittances, which was however
insufficient to prevent the current account recording a small deficit.
Table 4. Basotho Miners in South Africa1 and the Deferred and
Remittance Payments 1975-1 985
'000 Maloti
% change
over a
year ago
'000 Maloti
% change
over a
year ago
Source: Central Bank: Annual Statistical Bulletin; Lesotho Country Economic
Memorandum, World Bank 1984; Quarterly Reviezu, Vo1.14 No.3, September
1985, Maseru Central Bank.
1. Covers all mines, with gold having by far the biggest share.
2. Sixty per cent of wages are transferred by mining companies directly to Lesotho;
miners draw on these deferred pay deposits when they come home.
3. These are part of disposable wages (the remaining 40 per cent) transferred by
mining companies to Lesotho as requested by the miners. The latter also bring into
the country significant amounts of cash and goods when visiting home.
4. The marked rise in deferred pay and remittances which began in the 2nd quarter of
1981 may be attributed partly to an improved coverage of the deferred pay scheme,
increased re-engagement bonuses paid to miners who return to work within a
specified period, and a greater need for miners families to receive remittances in
recent months during drought.
One may also hasten to add in this regard, that while migrant remittances are beneficial as a major element in the financing of Lesotho's
trade deficit, the loss of skilled manpower is a disadvantage for the
economy, particularly in the agriculture sector. However, with
progress being made on the massive Lesotho Highland Water Scheme,
there is reason for optimism that there will be an upswing in the net
official transfers through royalties of water and SACU compensation
payments. Lesotho as a member of the South African Customs Union
also receives significant revenue from duties collected on imports and
exports to Lesotho. Such receipts increased from 2.3 million rands in
FY 1972/73 to 21.1 million rands in 1979/80. Lesotho's share of M160
mn in 1985/86 was equivalent to 70 per cent of all recurrent revenue
for the government. Apart from this heavy domination by the South
African economy, Lesotho has a poor resource base and large areas in
the lowlands suffer from an acute soil erosion due to population pressure and overgrazing. It is against this depressing socioeconomic background that Lesotho's ability to adequately sustain refugee flows has to
be analyzed.
Magnitude of Rehgee Problem in Leso&o
Refugees began arriving in Lesotho in the 1960s. They consisted
mainly of South Africans running away from the system of apartheid,
particularly after the Sharpville Massacre in 1960. Most of these
refugees numbered less than one hundred at any one time and
normally made their own arrangements for accommodation. In 1974
there were close to 180 refugees and by 1976 the number had increased
to 200, a large portion consisting of the aged and the sick. In 1977 the
number of registered refugees totalled 135, of which 125 were from
South Africa, 5 from Zimbabwe and 5 from Uganda, although
according to the Government a large number of South African
refugees were not formally registered and occupied 1,000 places in
secondary schools and a still larger number in primary schools. This
sudden upsurge in the refugee population was largely due to the
exodus caused by the Soweto riots in South Africa. The refugee
population was estimated as 187 at the end of 1987 and 250 by mid-1979,
all from South Africa, most of whom were students. By the end of 1979
there were 503 refugees: 456 were South Africans, 30 Zimbabweans, 11
Ugandans, 3 Mozambicans, 2 Angolans and 1 Swazi.37 The government
estimate of refugees in the country in 1981 raised the number to 11,000,
98 per cent of whom were considered to be students. It was then
reported that refugees were arriving at the rate of 40 a month and at
least 2500 were believed to have been given zsylum.38 Thus at the time
of the Second International Conference on Assistance to Refugees in
Africa, held in 1984, the refugee population in Lesotho was estimated
to be 11,500. Of these, 1,300 were registered with the government and
in need of assistance from the international community. The rest,
though not officially registered with the government or the UNHCR,
were nevertheless people living in "refugee-like" situations. This
category of asylum seekers include those who decided to leave South
Africa for reasons such as unemployment, ethnic or familial ties and
those who for some security reasons or otherwise would prefer not to
have their presence in the country officially known. The majority of
the refugees in Lesotho remain predominantly South African and
close to 70 per cent are of school-going age, mainly between ages of 16
and 26. However, the numbers have decreased due partly to the
resultant insecurity on the part of South African refugees. In 1986 there
were 294 refugees officially registered with UNHCR and 152 in 1987.
Children still constitute a high proportion of refugee population and
this can be explained in terms of student unrest which has
characterized the South African political landscape since the mid1970s.
Lesotho Refugee Policy: A Model for Altruism
Despite the economic and security vulnerability, Lesotho has generally
adopted liberal policies towards genuine asylum-seekers and refugees,
and indeed tried to treat them with a modicum of human dignity.
Such a commitment is traceable to the early postindependence era. In
1970, while addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Chief
Leabua Jonathan, then Prime Minister of Lesotho said:
Having stated the limitations of our situation, we cannot ignore the moral
responsibility towards our brothers and sisters who are still denied their basic
rights, and we shall continue to make our modest and practical contributions
towards the solution of their problems. We have already made contributions in
the past in several ways, including providing refugee support and opening doors of
our schools and colleges to students from those areas. We are however not able to
contribute to the use of violence."39
In pursuance of this stance, Lesotho acceded to the United Nations
1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees as well as
the 1967 Protocol without reservation. In addition, Lesotho is a party to
the 1969 Convention governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee
Problem in Africa. By these actions, the government of Lesotho has
endorsed the fundamental principles relating to the conditions
governing the treatment of refugees and asylum-seekers generally.
Recently, Lesotho also enacted a fairly comprehensive refugee
legislation with the view to strengthening the determination of
refugee status procedures. Although the Refugee Act was passed in
198340it did not come into force until 1986.
The delay in its enforcement was partly attributed to pressure from
South Africa, which suspected Lesotho's intention in passing such a
law. It may also be worth noting in this regard that the law was introduced in Parliament within a year of the Maseru raid by South African
Defence Forces in which forty-two people were killed.
The Lesotho domestic legislation is based on both the United Nations 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and
OAU Refugee Convention, and as such it caters for basic humanitarian
considerations. At the same time, its definitional scope is sufficiently
wide to include not only the traditional categories under the UN
Convention but also the enlarged focus of the OAU Convention. It
defines a refugee as:
.. "a person who, owing to a well founded fear of being persecuted for
reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion
i. is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or owing to
such fear is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that
country; or
ii. not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former residence and is unable or owing to such fear is unwilling to
return to it; or
b. Owing to external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or
events seriously disturbing public order in either the whole or part
of his country of origin or nationality, is expelled to leave his place
of habitual residence in order to seek refuge in another place outside
his country of origin or nationality; or
c. belongs to a class of persons declared by the Minister to be refugees
for reasons set out in paragraph (a) or (b)."41
In essence the legislation has reproduced the provisions of the two
major refugee instruments. Moreover, by adopting the OAU definition, Lesotho has taken a major stride ahead of its neighbours. The
OAU Convention affords protection to a much larger group of persons
than envisaged under the 1951 UN Convention.
Firstly, under the OAU Convention, the term "refugee" has been
extended to include persons who are obliged to leave their countries of
nationality or habitual residence as a result of or under the pressure of
an illegal act such as aggression by another state or as a result of partial
or full scale invasion. This would seem to be implicit in "events seriously disturbing public order." The significance of such an approach
cannot be overemphasized in a region torn by civil strife and characterized by public emergencies.
Secondly, the definition is sufficiently wide to include members of
the liberation movements whose sole objective is to free their countries from social and political [email protected] legislation has also to be
lauded for its elaborate provisions of eligibility procedures, more significantly the incorporation of a strong appellate and consultative mechanism. The UNHCR is given a noticeable role at all major levels for
determination of refugee status and the organisation's protective role
is given due recognition. One hopes that both Botswana and
Swaziland will emulate the example of Lesotho, or at least adopt
legislation which reflects the major humanitarian concerns in refugee
Internal Constraints to Refugee Policy
We have tried to argue that refugee policies in the BLS countries have
been largely a product of regional politics, particularly South Africa's
policy of destabilization. However, it would be naive to ignore the
contributions of domestic policies towards the predicament of refugees
in Lesotho. In this regard three major developments on the socio economic and political scene in Lesotho have played a significant role
since the seventies.
Firstly, Lesotho had its first election since independence in 1970. The
elections were nullified by the Prime Minister, Chief Leabua Jonathan,
when he realized that his Basutoland National Party was losing the
elections. He suspended the Constitution and declared a state of emergency.43 In order to consolidate his position he enlisted the support of
the South African government for financial and other logistical
support. It was the expectation of Chief Leabua Jonathan that South
Africa would be a convenient partner in Lesotho's economic development efforts. It soon transpired however, that South Africa's economic
support, if forthcoming, would be limited in nature and scope. Paradoxically, it was Lesotho's reliance on South Africa's economic support
that led her to a relentless search for new economic allies and strategies.
As the economic benefits of association with South Africa dwindled
or stagnated, Lesotho became faced with mounting internal economic
crisis, and began looking for new partners to meet the shortfall,
particularly amongst the donor community. By dramatizing its vulnerability as a small country completely surrounded by South Africa,
Lesotho was able to win considerable financial assistance from the donor community. With time it is also became clear to Lesotho's political
elite that such sympathy could only be sustained if they adopted a militant stand towards South Africa's policy of apartheid. Concretely, this
manifested itself in liberal asylum policies towards South African
refugees who were now flowing into Lesotho in large numbers. In this
sense, refugees became a critical element in Lesotho's domestic as well
as foreign policy.
The diplomatic shifts in the early eighties must also be seen in this
light. In 1984 Lesotho decided to open diplomatic relations with Soviet
Union, People's Democratic Republic of Korea, People's Republic of
China and Cuba. The significance of these moves in economic and
political sense were that firstly, they exposed Lesotho as a nation in
search of its own identity and a respectable place in the community of
nations. Viewed that way they represented an affront to the South
African policy of homelands as well as its life-time ambition to form a
constellation of Southern African States. The second significance of
these moves was that they exposed Lesotho as an ally with communism, thereby endangering the development of "civilized and democratic" values in Southern Africa. Her position further provided South
Africa with a good excuse for agitating and attacking refugees and refugee residences in Maseru as a way of curbing the so-called communist
onslaught on Southern Africa. In this sense, attack on South African
refugees came to be a crucial factor in the diplomatic offensive and
provided her with a plausible justification for violating the territorial
sovereignty of Lesotho.
Lastly, the internal instability due to the volatile political situation
within Lesotho has gone a long way to influence refugee policy. In this
connection two major elements have played a singularly crucial role.
Following the diplomatic shift in favour of communist countries, the
traditional elements within Lesotho society, mainly consisting of the
Catholic Church and rightist elements within the ruling Basutoland
National Party (BNP), accused the government of communist flirtation. They also viewed refugees, particularly those belonging to the
African National Congress, as conduits for communism, thereby providing support to forces in favour of expulsion of refugees.
It is also important to note that this view was being orchestrated
shortly after the 1982 Maseru raid in which forty-two people including
twelve Basotho nationals were killed. This general animosity reflected
itself in a number of incidents of refugee harassment as well as calls for
their expulsion by certain leading members of opposition parties.
Secondly, the presence in South Africa of the Lesotho Liberation
Army, a dissident group committed to overthrow the government of
Chief Jonathan, provided South Africa with an additional diplomatic
leverage. As a quid pro quo for withholding support for the Lesotho
Liberation Army's dissidents, South Africa was demanding expulsion
of South African refugees from Lesotho. South Africa insisted on concluding a non-aggression pact as a sure way of curbing ANC
infiltration into South African territory. These pressures were resisted
by Chief Leabua Jonathanls government which was now being accused
of being insensitive to South Africa's security needs. In retaliation,
South Africa decided to withdraw from certain joint economic
understandings and threatened to cut down the number of Basotho
migrant workers in South African mines and industry.
Faced with relentless intransigence of Chief Jonathan, Pretoria
finally decided to impose a quasi-total economic blockade in January
lst, 1986. She was now determined to influence fundamentally the internal policies of Lesotho. The measure was meant to bring the
government in line with South Africa's terms and, if need, be generate
the necessary domestic momentum to oust Chief Jonathan. In the
latter, South Africa was generously vindicated. Within two weeks of
the blockade, Lesotho had run out of essential goods. The country was
virtually brought to a total standstill and petrol rationing was introduced. On 20th January, Jonathan's government finally succumbed to
the crippling economic siege and members of the military forces took
over power on 20th January 1986.44This marked a new era of uncertainty and one characterized at least initially by an ambivalent refugee
South Africa's mood after the coup was one of jubilation and optimism and she wasted no time in making this known to the new rulers
in Maseru. Within a few hours of the coup d'etat, South Africa had
opened the border and trains carrying essential goods started arriving
in Maseru. While the events dramatized in a peculiar way Lesotho's
vulnerability to South Africa's manoeuvres, Pretoria came out of the
whole saga as the greatest beneficiary. The blockade had achieved at
least three objectives. Firstly, it demonstrated to the West that sanctions, when sanctions are finally imposed, would hurt more the neighbouring countries than South Africa. Secondly, it elicited Lesotho's
support against economic sanctions. The new government has categorically stated that it would not support any sanctions initiative against
South Africa. Lastly, it is reliably known that South Africa has come to
some understanding with the military government in Maseru regarding the presence in Lesotho of members of the ANC.
However, shortly after the coup the government came under heavy
pressure from South Africa for the total expulsion of members of the
ANC. Seven refugees, including four men high on South Africa's list,
left for Zambia in late April. In early June, a further 63 refugees were
expelled, following which all remaining ANC and Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) refugees were required to register with the Ministry of
Interior, or face expulsion by the end of April 1987. Lesotho signed an
agreement with South Africa for the exchange of trade representatives.
Besides trade and investment promotion, they perform consular
functions previously exercised through labour representatives. The
significance of this agreement however, lies in the fact that they have
created structures for permanent relations from which Lesotho may
increasingly find it difficult to disengage, and which in the main auger
well for the evolution of full diplomatic relations.
Quite predictably, these initiatives have earned the military government a lot of criticism from both the Basotho elites as well as the larger
international community. Increasingly, Lesotho has come to be relegated to a status of a bantustan. In a move aimed at deflecting this criticism, Major General Lekanya gave two interviews in late 1987 in
which he defended the government's position. He insisted that improved relations were being sought in the interests of peaceful co-
existence and in recognition of the strong economic interdependence
between the two countries. This was followed by another interview by
the Minister of Information, in which he underlined that Lesotho
would not be used as a springboard for attacks against South Africa.
Genuine refugees would continue to be welcome, although in the
interests of their own safety and of Lesotho's own security he admitted
that most could be expected to be moved to third countries. This policy
has effectively ended any significant presence of the ANC in Lesotho
since 1986.
In the meantime, Lesotho has experienced several South African
raids on refugee homes during 1987 and 1988. In August 1987 attacks
were launched by unknown assailants against the homes of ANC refugees resident in Lesotho. In September the PAC official representative
M. Mpondwane, was arrested and later released without explanation.
In early 1988 a South African refugee was shot dead in Queen I1
Maseru Hospital while convalescing from earlier attacks.
These attacks have given rise to accusations that the government
was permitting organized South African "hit squads" to operate fully
in the
These allegations remain to be substantiated. What is
clear, however, is that the conditions are becoming increasingly difficult for political refugee of any affiliation to remain in the country.
Botswana, like other BLS countries, is a landlocked country and shares
borders with Namibia and the Republic of South Africa. It has only a
limited border with Zambia near the Caprivi strip. The country occupies a total area of 582,000 square kilometers. Its population was estimated in 1986 at 1.1 million and its population growth rate is
estimated at 3.4 per cent per year.
Botswana is one of the few independent countries which have made
spectacular economic strides. For a long time since independence,
Botswana's economy was dominated by beef production. Overall the
economy remained undiversified with agriculture and mining playing
the crucial roles. However, the discovery in the mid 1970s of extensive
mineral resources led to the transformation of the country's economy
and a shift, in relative importance among exports, from beef to minerals namely diamonds, copper, nickel and coal. Due largely to increased
diamond export revenues, the government has been able to finance
major infrastructural projects as well as substantial improvements in
educational and health provision. It is again one of the few subsaharan African countries to have enjoyed a sizeable real per capita
growth rate in recent years while sustaining an average growth rate of
13 per cent per annurn in real terms over the entire post-independence
The country's external economic position has also improved significantly in recent years. With the opening of the new diamond mine at
Jwaneng, coupled with the rise in world prices for diamonds,
Botswana has been experiencing a rise in foreign exchange reserves. In
1985, foreign exchange reserves were equivalent to 14 months'
imports, and according the preliminary figures for 1986/87 financial
year, released by the Bank of Botswana, there was a surplus on both the
current account and balance of payments.
Despite this spectacular economic performance, Botswana still has a
number of problems to face. More than two-thirds of the country's
land mass lies in the Kalahari Desert and less than 5 per cent of its total
land area is estimated to be arable. Drought with its usual negative
impact on crops and livestock, has plagued the country during the
1980s. It poses the most serious threat to the country's economic
prospects, making a significant contribution to the government's most
serious political and social problems-the growing rural exodus and
rising urban unemployment, which began to accelerate in the early
1970s in line with the expansion of the formal economic sector and
more attractive urban wages. As has been aptly observed, this process
has further accelerated with the deepening impact of the drought on
the rural population and the failure of job opportunities to keep pace
with population growth.
Then there is the challenge of its vulnerability to events outside its
control. This is partly due to its geographical position as a landlocked
country but also to its historical links with South Africa. South Africa
is still the major trading partner, while the agricultural and mineral
productions which form the basis of its economic prosperity are largely
marketed as an integral part of South African production. In addition,
Botswana still has strong institutional and infrastructural links with
South Africa. It is a member of the South African Customs Union and
until 1978 the Union was the largest single source of revenue for the
Botswana government. In fact, the data shows that revenue from the
Customs Union has always been on the increase. It constituted 20 per
cent in 1976, 35 per cent in 1977, and 30 per cent in 1978 of the total
government revenue. At the same time the Union's free trade provisions have played a major role in reinforcing dependency on South
Lastly, one has to take cognizance of the fact that existing formal
employment, which totalled 110,000 in 1984 provides opportunities for
only 20 per cent of the population aged 15 and over. The National
Development Plan VI employment forecast envisages 21,000 entering
the labour market in each year of the plan, while projected employment growth over the period 1985/86-1990/91 is only 7,600 a year, to
about 160,000. It is clear therefore that a large number of Botswana will
remain unemployed. It is in this context that employment opportunities available for Botswana nationals in South Africa remain a critical factor. Although the number of Batswana working as migrants in
South Africa has declined over the past decade:'
their threatened repatriation would exacerbate the unemployment problem. From a peak
of 25,500 in 1976, the number of migrants fell to 17,500 by 1981 but rose
again to 19,500 in 1984, reflecting the contraction in local employment
opportunities, especially in rural areas due to drought. Indeed, much
as the new mining ventures have revolutionalized the sources of revenue and increased the overall GNP, Botswana's dependency on South
Africa is still quite considerable and will remain a factor in their
bilateral relations.
Nature of Refugee Problem in Botswana
Since independence Botswana has adopted an open door policy towards asylum seekers, particularly those fleeing from the racist
regimes of South Africa, Namibia and Southern Rhodesia. Such a
disposition is no better captured than by the speech of Botswana's first
President, Sir Seretse Khama. In 1969, while addressing the General
Assembly, he publicly declared Botswana's intention to provide
asylum and assistance to genuine refugees. In his lucid statement he
"Botswana recognizes a responsibility to those victims of political circumstances
and we are trying to discharge that responsibility as well as our resources permit.
On our part, we have granted refugees recognition of their status, we have allowed
them to settle in various parts of our country and find jobs or open their own
businesses as where possible, we educate them as well as our limited educational
and training facilities permit. Equally important, we issue United Nations Travel
Documents with a return clause to those refugees who wish to travel to other
countries where suitable training establishments are able to accept them."
In pursuance of this commitment, Botswana has in the past twenty
years given asylum to refugees from Namibia, Southern Rhodesia/
Zimbabwe and South Africa. Despite this liberal policy, the flow of
refugees in to Botswana remained relatively small until the mid 1970s.
The 1960s witnessed a few asylum seekers, particularly following the
Sharpville Massacre in 1960, so that by 1967 Botswana had in all only
207 refugees. This number was to go up thirty times ten years later in
1976. As the war for national liberation gathered momentum in the
then Southern Rhodesia in the 1970s, Botswana felt an increasing yressure from refugee influxes estimated to be 30,000 persons at the time of
Zimbabwean independence. Although the number dropped sharply
following the repatriation of most Zimbabweans after independence,
the inflow of asylum seekers into Botswana has remained continuous.
The escalation of the war in Namibia, the 1976 Soweto uprising together with eruption of civil unrest in the southern part of Zimbabwe in
1982 have all engendered significant flows of refugees. At the time of
ICARA I1 in 1984 the refugee population in Botswana was in the
region of 5,000 persons. The number has not changed significantly ever
since, although the inflow of South African refugees tend to change
with the radicalization of the internal situation. As for Namibian
refugees, the implementation of UN Resolution 435 remains a critical
factor. The prospects for repatriation, as well as future influxes, will
largely depend on the extent to which the parties to the pact on the
implementation of Namibian independence, particularly South Africa,
are committed to its success. At the end of 1987 the refugee population
in Botswana totalled 5,225 registered refugees. Of these, some 4,225 live
in a multinational settlement at Dukwe located approximately 570
kilometers from Gaborone. The remaining refugees, estimated to
about 1,000, are concentrated largely in the urban areas of Gaborone,
Francistown, Serowe and Lobatse. About 3,800 or 89% of the refugees at
Dukwe are Zimbabweans. In addition there are 157 South Africans, 138
Angolans, 117 Namibians and about forty refugees from other African
The presence of such large numbers of refugees, apart from
political and security concerns, imposes a heavy burden on the social
infrastructure. Although refugees constitute only 0.48% of the
Botswana population, the impact of their presence is felt particularly in
areas where service, resources and opportunities are already
inadequate to meet the needs of nationals.
Refugee Policy in Botswana
Botswana is a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention and its 1967
Protocol relating to the status of refugees. It has, as yet, not ratified the
1969 OAU Refugee Convention but necessary consultations are taking
place. In addition Botswana has a domestic legislation. It is a bit outdated and not geared towards the refugee complexities in Botswana.
With the assistance of the UNHCR it is now considering adopting a
more comprehensive legislation on refugee protection.
Despite Botswana's outward policy on refugees, its efforts to grant
asylum have largely been constrained by security concerns. The South
African regime has, in the recent past, attacked specific targets in
Botswana on the pretext that these locations are "training bases" for
what it describes as "terrorists" or used to facilitate infiltration into and
subversion against South Africa by the national liberation
movements. During 1984-85 Botswana was pressurized by South
Africa to sign a mutual security pact, which South Africa claimed was
necessary to curb cross-border attacks by members of the ANC.49
President Masire refused to sign a formal pact but reiterated Botswana's
commitment to its existing policy of not allowing its territory to be
used for launching of armed attacks. However, as the struggle against
apartheid continues to escalate so do South Africa's accusations.
Botswana is increasingly being accused of insensitivity to South
Africa's security needs and its ability to control the activities of the
ANC. Quite predictably this has provided South Africa with a
justification for mounting incursions into Botswana under either the
pretext of "hot pursuits" or "anticipatory self-defence".
February and March 1985 witnessed several raids on South African
refugee homes in Gaborone, to be followed in mid June by a commando raid against alleged ANC military targets in Gaborone in which
eleven including several Botswana nationals, were killed. The raid got
worldwide condemnation and in September the UN Security Council
unanimously based a resolution calling on South Africa to pay full
compensation for the loss of life, injury and damage to property
(estimated to $20mn) and recommended a $14mn emergency aid programme to assist Botswana improve its security capabilities and refugee facilities.
After the coup in Lesotho in 1986 (following the South African border blockade), South Africa repeated its warning to Botswana to stop
giving assistance to members of the ANC. After consultations between
the two countries and the diplomatic intervention of the British
Government, South Africa seemed to have agreed not to carry out further attacks in return for government action to curb the ANC. In the
meantime the Botswana police had already stepped up action against
"illegal immigrants", including ANC members; at the end of February
eleven ANC members were arrested as "illegal immigrants" while in
mid-January a further 18 were detained following police raids on
houses in several towns, including Gaborone. In early March, the
Office of the President announced that the ANC top leadership had
agreed to withdraw from Botswana the ANC representative since his
security could no longer be guarantied.50 This ended weeks of speculation and rumour that the government had changed course in favour
of exclusion of any political or military presence of the ANC in the
country. In the same month a new Bill, the National Security Act, was
gazetted. Its provisions provided inter alia for extensive police powers,
including arrest without warrant and imprisonment up to 30 years to
combat "acts of terrorism and sabotage".51 The purpose and timing of
the bill appeared calculated to reassure South Africa that the government was faithful to its pledges to tighten security and provide it with
a more effective means of controlling ANC infiltrations across the border. This is evident from the bill provisions which provided for maximum penalties for those found guilty of passing over, being near or
entering any defence establishment and those hindering or interfering
with any necessary service.
A brief lull of peace then ensued, but certainly a short-lived one. In
1987 South Africa resumed its campaign against Botswana. Early in the
year the South African homeland of Bophuthatswana imposed visa
requirements on Botswana nationals, obviously as part of Pretoria's
strategy to curb ANC infiltrations and also force Botswana into recognizing the homeland through direct negotiations. This move was followed by a bomb blast in Gaborone in April in which three people
were killed. Although South Africa vehemently denied any
connection with the incident, evidence tendered at a subsequent trial
involving a former member of the UK's Special Air Services (SAS)
regiment clearly implicated South African sec~rity.~2
The move seems
to have been promoted by South Africa as a way of putting more
pressure on Botswana to sign a non-aggression treaty. It seems quite
obvious that South Africa is now determined to keep pressure on
Botswana through continuous military raids. In 1988 alone there were
not less than four such incursions, the most serious one being in
March 1988 in which five civilians were killed in Gaborone. In the
long run this state of tension can only have serious implications both
for Botswana's security and its economic resources. Already Botswana
has been forced to spend a sizeable amount to upgrade its military
capability. After the 1985 Commando raid several helicopters were
delivered by USA under its $10 mn military aid programme for the
1986 fiscal year. In the same year it was disclosed that 90 members of
UK's Special Air Services regiment were to carry out a six week
training exercise, including techniques to resist future South African
raids. The government has also increased spending on the armed
forces, with an appropriation of P46mn in 1987/88 up from P17 mn in
the previous year. In 1988/89 it has allocated an even bigger sum of P63
mn within the expanded development budget. These are certainly in
addition the other resource dislocations Botswana has had to endure to
accommodate refugees.
Future and Prospects for Meaningful
Refugee Policies in the BLS Countries
It has been argued that the refugee phenomenon in the BLS countries
is bedeviled by rather unique and peculiar characteristics. Unlike other
parts of Africa where the refuge problem is discernible, the refugee
population in Southern Africa is primarily a by-product of racist policy
whose main purpose is to maintain white supremacy as a sure way of
guaranteeing western interests.
The significance of this observation lies in the fact that among the
refugees there are members of liberation movements committed to the
pursuit of a more equitable socio-economic and political dispensation
in South Africa and Namibia. This peculiar characteristic poses specific
problems for the countries of refuge. These have manifested themselves in various forms such as economic sanctions for countries harbouring such refugees and frequently full-scale military attacks on
refugee homes in the countries of asylum under the guise of "hot pursuit" or self-defence. Where possible South Africa has supported surrogate groups in the countries of refuge with a view to weakening their
economies and forcing them into withdrawing support for liberation
Indeed, as South Africa braces itself to face the advancing tide of liberation, its attitude towards neighbouring countries is bound to have
profound implications for their refugee policies. Since the South
African internal situation is increasingly being radicalized, the regime
is bound to be more repressive in its response to political discontent.
At the same time one can anticipate a more aggressive and vicious
policy towards its neighbours who are seemingly sympathetic to
"terrorists" aspirations. This is already quite evident from a variety of
measures taken under the state of emergency. Similarly, the destabilization strategies for Mozambique and Zimbabwe are likely to continue,
at least as long as the revolutionary fervour in South Africa is still
significant. This will inevitably precipitate more refugees in the region
to a proportion hitherto unknown. For instance, the situation is already depressing with regard to Mozambican refugees spread out amongst Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania and Swaziland. Malawi
has the largest number of Mozambican refugees, estimated to be in the
region of 500,000 persons or 7 per cent of the Malawi population. It is
against this scenario that one should try to predict the future refugee
policies of the region.
The long-term solutions to refugee problems in the context of the
BLS countries are very difficult to conceive outside the dismantling of
the system of apartheid in South Africa. Short of that, the BLS countries are unable to adopt long-term policies which would ensure protection of asylum seekers, particularly where the latter are members of
the liberation movements. One notices, however, a significant number
of refugees whose plight cannot, sensu strictu, be characterized as political. These are persons essentially running away from a war situation.
This is certainly the case with the majority of Mozambican refugees as
well as Zimbabwean refugees in Botswana. For the latter category of
refugees the most viable solution would seem to be repatriation. A
number of Zimbabwean refugees have already been repatriated from
Botswana. In 1987 a total of 277 refugees were repatriated under the
auspices of the UNHCR. Of these 256 were Zimbabweans, bringing to
972 the number of Zimbabwean repatriants between 1985 and 1987.
Further, such movements are likely to occur in view of the recent
moves made in Zimbabwe to strengthen national unity. Also, as a result of the declaration of amnesty in Lesotho in 1986, some 75 Basotho
refugees were repatriated by the end of 1987. One can also hope that as
UN Resolution 435 for the independence of Namibia assumes a more
concrete form, Namibian refugees will also be going back in large
As for the Mozambican refugees in Swaziland, the prospects for repatriation are rather bleak, unless South Africa decides to halt support for
the MNR in Mozambique.
Swaziland is not in a position to exert any significant leverage over
Pretoria on this issue and despite the Nkomati Accord the situation
seems poised for escalation.
The alternative solution could be integration into the local communities in their countries of asylum. Indeed in each of the BLS countries
a number of opportunities are available under UNHCR programmes
to promote integration and self-reliance of refugees within the local society and decrease their dependency on relief aid. But then one should
not lose sight of the size of these countries and strengths of their
economies. Swaziland is certainly unable to sustain heavy refugee
flows without a major injection of external aid. Currently, the major
problem seems to be getting additional land for the soaring
Mozambican refugee population. It remains a fairly sensitive issue
since land is quite central to the Swazi social and political fabric. Besides, the land tenure system which vests a large proportion of the
country's land under Swazi nation land, makes it difficult for nonSwazis to have access to this resource.
The situation would be different if there were enough alternative
employment opportunities. It is a shared characteristic of the BLS
countries that employment demands far exceed the opportunities annually generated by their economies. Moreover, given the fact that
refugees are confined to organized settlements, integration within the
local society is bound to remain a constrained alternative.
Ultimately, for urban refugees, the majority of whom are members
of the liberation movements, resettlement remains the more realistic
option. It also blends well with the BLS declared policy that they regard
themselves as places of temporary refuge. An additional factor is that
most urban refugees normally would have attained a reasonable level
of education to enable them to cope in the new environments in the
countries of resettlement.
As for rural refugees, slightly different considerations would have to
be taken into account. Their rural/peasant background makes them
less amenable to this solution. Very few countries if any are likely to
accept them. Consequently, solutions would have either to be found in
the context of their countries of origin or their present countries of asylum. For the former, international pressure may go a long way to remove the causes of flight, while for the latter, international solidarity
and burden sharing could go a long way to ameliorate the situation in
the present countries of refuge.
Lastly, the regional factors as well as the economic dependency of the
BLS countries will continue to be major determinants of refugee policies. So long as South Africa is able to exercise military and economic
leverage on the BLS countries, the position of refugees will remain
quite precarious and at times unpredictable. However, one should also
not lose sight of the internal contradictions in the BLS. As their economies increasingly get integrated with the South African economy,
one can expect more reluctance to antagonize South African capital. In
the long-run, their ability to generate sound economic strategies may
be crucial in the evolution of meaningful and stable refugee policies.
Short of that, the BLS will remain vulnerable to South African pressure with disastrous consequences for asylum-seekers.
Appendix I1
Sources: Compiled from statistics of the Labour Bureau of Republic of South Africa,
Department of Cooperation and Development, Pretoria, 1982-1985. For statistics for 1965-1977 I have drawn on First, R and R Davies, Migrant Labour to
South Afrrca: a Sanctions Programme Africa Bureau London 1981 pp. 12-13
The figure 1982 includes black mine labour from South Africa, and its Bantustans,
Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi but excludes black commuters.
The figures for 1983,1984, and 1985 refer to all foreign workers generally.
Appendix 111
The Government of the People's Republic of Mozambique and the
Government of the Republic of South Africa, hereinafter referred to as
the High Contracting Parties:
RECOGNISING the principles of strict respect for sovereignty and
territorial integrity, sovereign equality, political independence and the
inviolability of the borders of all states;
REAFFIRMING the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs
of other states;
CONSIDERING the internationally recognised principle of the right of
peoples to self-determination and independence and the principle of
equal rights of all peoples;
CONSIDERING the obligation of all states to refrain, in their international relations, from the threat or use of force against the territorial
integrity or political independence of any state;
CONSIDERING the obligation of states to settle conflicts by peaceful
means, and thus safeguard international peace and security and justice;
RECOGNISING the responsibility of states not to allow their territory
to be used for acts of war, aggression or violence against other states;
CONSCIOUS of the need to promote relations of good neighbourliness
based on the principles of equality of rights and mutual advantage;
CONVINCED that relations of good neighbourliness between the High
Contracting Parties will contribute to peace, security, stability and
progress in Southern Africa, the Continent and the World;
Have solemnly agreed to the following:
The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect each other's sovereignty and independence and, in fulfilment of this fundamental obligation, to refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of the other.
1. The High Contracting Parties shall resolve differences and disputes
that may arise between them and that may or are likely to endanger
mutual peace and security or peace and security in the region, by
means of negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration
or other peaceful means, and undertake not to resort, individually
or collectively, to the threat or use of force against each other's
sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence.
2. For the purpose of this article, the use of force shall include inter
aliaa. attacks by land, air or sea forces;
b. sabotage;
c. unwarranted concentration of such forces at or near the
international boundaries of the High Contracting Parties;
d. violation of the international land, air or sea boundaries of
either of the High Contracting Parties.
3. The High Contracting Parties shall not in any way assist the armed
forces of any state or group of states deployed against the territorial
sovereignty or political independence of the other.
1. The High Contracting Parties shall not allow respective territories,
territorial waters or air space to be used as a base, thoroughfare, or
in any other way by another state, government, foreign military
forces, organisations or individuals which plan or prepare to commit acts of violence, terrorism or aggression against the territorial
integrity or political independence of the other or may threaten the
security of is inhabitants.
2. The High Contracting Parties, in order to prevent or eliminate the
acts or the preparation of acts mentioned in paragraph (1) of this
article, undertake in particular toa. forbid and prevent in their respective territories the organisation of irregular forces or armed bands, including mercenaries,
whose objective is to carry out the acts contemplated in paragraph (1)of this article;
b. eliminate from their respective territories bases, training centres, places of shelter, accommodation and transit for elements
who intend to carry out acts contemplated in paragraph (1) of
this article;
c. eliminate from their respective territories centres or depots
containing armaments of whatever nature, destined to be used
by the elements contemplated in paragraph (1)of this article;
d. eliminate from their respective territories command posts or
other places for the command, direction and coordination of
the elements contemplated in paragraph (1) of this article;
e. eliminate from the irrespective territories communication and
tele-communication facilities between the command and the
elements contemplated in paragraph (1)of this article;
f. eliminate and prohibit the installation in their respective
territories of radio broadcasting stations, including unofficial or
clandestine broadcasts, for the elements that carry out the acts
contemplated in paragraph (1)of this article;
g. exercise strict control, in their respective territories, over elements which intend to carry out or plan the acts contemplated
in paragraph (1)of this article;
h. prevent the transit of elements who intend to plan to commit
the acts contemplated in paragraph (1) of this article, from a
place in the territory of either to a place in the territory of the
other or to a place in the territory of any third state which has a
common boundary with the High Contracting Party against
which such elements intend or plan to commit the said acts;
i. ake appropriate steps in their respective territories to prevent
the recruitment of elements of whatever nationality for the
purpose of carrying out the acts contemplated in paragraph (1)
of this article;
j. prevent the elements contemplated in paragraph (1) of this
article from carrying out from their respective territories by any
means, acts of abduction or other acts, aimed at taking citizens
of any nationality hostage in the territory of the other High
Contracting Party; and
k. prohibit the provision on their respective territories of any
logistic facilities for carrying out the acts contemplated in
paragraph 1 of this article
The High Contracting Parties will not use the territory of third
states to carry out or support the acts contemplated in paragraphs 1
and 2 of this article.
The High Contracting Parties shall take steps, individually and collectively, to ensure that the international boundary between their respective territories is effectively patrolled and that the border posts are efficiently administered to prevent illegal crossings from the territory of a
High Contracting Party to the territory of the other, and in particular, by
elements contemplated in Article Three of this Agreement.
The High Contracting Parties shall prohibit within their territory acts of
propaganda that incite a war of aggression against the other High Contracting Party and shall also prohibit acts of propaganda aimed at
inciting acts of terrorism and civil war in the territory of the other High
Contracting Party.
The High Contracting Parties declare that there is no conflict between
their commitments in treaties and international obligations and the
commitment undertaken in this Agreement.
The High Contracting Parties are committed to interpreting this Agreement in good faith and will maintain periodic contact to ensure the
effective application of what has been agreed.
Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed as detracting from the
High Contracting Parties' right to self-defence in the event of armed
attacks, as provided for in the Charter of the United Nations.
I. Each of the High Contracting Parties shall appoint highranking
representatives to serve on a Joint Security Commission with the
aim of supervising and monitoring the application of this Agreemen t.
2. The Commission shall determine its own working procedure.
3. The Commission shall meet on a regular basis and may be specially
convened whenever circumstances so require.
4. The Commission shalla. Consider all allegations of infringements of the provisions of
this Agreement;
b. Advise the High Contracting Parties of its conclusions; and
c. Make recommendations to the High Contracting Parties concerning measures for the effective application of this Agreement and the settlement of disputes over infringements or
alleged infringements.
5. The High Contracting Parties shall determine the mandate of their
respective representatives in order to enable interim measures to
be taken in cases of duly recognised emergency.
6 . The High Contracting Parties shall make available all the facilities
necessary for the effective functioning of the Commission and will
jointly consider its conclusions and recommendations.
This Agreement will also be known as "The Accord of Nkomati".
1. This Agreement shall enter into force on the date of the signature
Any amendment to this Agreement agreed to by the High Contracting Parties shall be effected by the Exchange of Notes between them.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the signatories, in the name of their respective governments, have signed and sealed this Agreement, in
quadruplicate in the Portuguese and English languages, both texts
being equally authentic.
THUS DONE AND SIGNED AT the common border on the banks
of the Nkomati River, on this the sixteenth day of March 1984.
Appendix IV
12 February 1982
His Majesty
King Sobhuza I1 of Swaziland
Your Majesty
I have the honour to refer to various discussions and correspondence
between the Foreign Ministers of the Kingdom of Swaziland and the
Republic of South Africa which resulted in mutual agreement
between our respective Governments to the effect that both
Governments are aware of the fact that international terrorism, in all
its manifestations, poses a real threat to international peace and
security and that our respective Governments should take steps to
protect our respective states and nationals against this threat.
Therefore, I now have the honour to inform you that the
Government of the Republic of South African proposes the following
Agreement between our respective Governments:
The Contracting Parties undertake to combat terrorism, insurgency
and subversion individually and collectively and shall call upon each
other wherever possible for such assistance and steps as may be
deemed necessary or expedient to eliminate this evil.
In the conduct of their mutual relations the Contracting Parties shall
furthermore respect each others independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and shall refrain from the unlawful threat or use of
force and from any other act which is inconsistent with the purposes
and principles of good neighbourliness.
The Contracting Parties shall live in peace and further develop and
maintain friendly relations with each other and shall therefore not allow any activities within their respective territories directed towards
the commission of any act which involves a threat or use of force
against each other's territorial integrity.
The Contracting Parties shall not allow within their respective territories the installation or maintenance of foreign military bases or the
presence of foreign military units except in accordance with their right
of self-defence in the event of armed attacks as provided for in the
Charter of the United Nations and only after due notification to the
Should the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland agree with
the abovementioned provisions, this letter and your affirmative reply
thereto shall constitute an Agreement between our two Governments.
Please accept, Your Majesty, the renewed assurance of my highest
P.W. Botha
Prime Minister of the Republic of South Africa
17th February, 1982
My Dear Prime Minister,
You are hereby authorized to sign on behalf of Swaziland the Letter of
Understanding on Security Matters between the Kingdom of
Swaziland and the Republic of South Africa in reply to the letter dated
12th February, 1982 from the Prime Minister of the Republic of South
Sobhuza I1
Ingwenyama, King of Swaziland
17th February, 1982
Honourable Prime Minister
"I have the honour to refer to various discussions and correspondence
between the Foreign Ministers of the Kingdom of Swaziland and the
Republic of South Africa which resulted in mutual agreement
between our respective Governments to the effect that both
Governments are aware of the fact that international terrorism, in all
its manifestations, poses a real threat to international peace and
security and that our respective Governments should take steps to
protects our respective states and nationals against this threat.
Therefore, I now have the honour to inform you that the Government of the Republic of South Africa proposes the following Agreement between our respective Governments:"
The contracting Parties undertake to combat terrorism, insurgency and
subversion individually and collectively and shall call upon each
other wherever possible for such assistance and steps as may be
deemed necessary or expedient to eliminate this evil.
In the conduct of their mutual relations the Contracting Parties shall
furthermore respect each other's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and shall refrain from the unlawful threat or use of
force and from any other act which is inconsistent with the purposes
and principles of good neighbourliness.
The Contracting Parties shall live in peace and further develop and
maintain friendly relations with each other and shall therefore not allow any activities within their respective territories directed towards
the commission of any act which involves a threat or use of force
against each other's territorial integrity.
The Contracting Parties shall not allow within their respective territories the installation or maintenance of foreign military bases or the
presence of foreign military units except in accordance with their right
of self-defence in the event of armed attacks as provided for in the
Charter of the United Nations and only after due notification to the
Should the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland agree with
the abovementioned provisions, this letter and your affirmative reply
thereto shall constitute an Agreement between our two Governments.
Please accept, Your Majesty, the renewed assurance of my highest
Duly authorized by His Majesty King Sobhuza 11, I have the honour
to inform you, Mr Prime Minister, that the Government of the
Kingdom of Swaziland agree to the abovementioned provisions and
regard our letter and this reply as constituting an agreement between
our two Governments.
Please accept, Mr Prime Minister, the assurance of my highest consideration
Mabandla Fred Dlamini
Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Swaziland
The Honourable P. W. Botha
Prime Minister of the Republic of South Africa
Cape Town
Agreement between the Government of the Republic of South
Africa and the Government of the Kingdom of Swziland relating to
Security Matters
Joint Statement by the Honourable R F Botha, Minister of Foreign
Affairs of the Republic of South Africa, and the Honourable R V
Dlamini, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Swaziland:
31 March 1984.
During discussions between the Honourable R F Botha, Minister of
Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Africa, and the Honourable R
V Dlamini, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Swaziland,
in Pretoria today, it was decided to make public, on behalf of their respective Governments, the existence and contents of an Agreement relating to Security Matters.
After having been granted full powers by the South African State
President in Council and His Majesty the late King Sobhuza I1 of
Swaziland, respectively the Honourable P W Botha, Prime Minister of
the Republic of South Africa, and the Honourable H F Dlamini,
former Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Swaziland, concluded the
Agreement, which came into force on 17 February 1982, on behalf of
the two Governments.
The introductory paragraph of the Agreement expresses the awareness of the two States that international terrorism, in all its manifestations, poses a real threat to international peace and security as well as
their agreement that they s h ~ u l dtake steps to protect their respective
States and nationals against this threat. The Agreement accordingly
records the undertaking of the Parties to combat terrorism, insurgency
and subversion individually and collectively as well as their right to
call upon each other for such assistance and steps as may be deemed
necessary or expedient to eliminate this evil.
The parties are required to respect each other's independence,
sovereignty and territorial integrity in the conduct of their mutual relations and to refrain from the threat or use of force as well as any
other act which would be inconsistent with the purposes and principles of good neighbourliness.
In order to facilitate the maintenance and development of peace and
friendly relations between the two States, they are required not to allow any activities within their respective territories which are directed
towards the commission of any act which involves a threat or use of
force against each other's territorial integrity.
The Parties are also required not to allow the installation or maintenance of foreign military bases or the presence of foreign military units
within their respective territories except in accordance with their right
of self-defence in the event of armed attacks and only after due notification to the other.
31 March 1984
Report of the Second Internafional Conference on Assistance to Refugees in
Africa, Geneva 9-11 July 1984 A/CONF.125/2. For further reading on the African
refugee problem see Brooks, H & Y El-Ayouty, (eds), Refugees South of the
Sahara: An African Dilemma, Westport Ct. 1970; Worronoff, J. "Refugees", "The
Million Person Report", African Report (1973) 29-33; Touval "Africa's Frontiers:
Reactions to Colonial legacy", International Affairs XXLII (1967) 641-654; Aiboni,
S.A. Protection of Refugees in Africa, Uppsala 1967; Chatrand, P.E. "The OAU
and African Refugees: A Progress Report", World Affairs 137 (1975) 265-287;
Bedjaoui, Mohamed "Asylum in Africa" REF/AR/CONF/BD.I; and "The
Refugee Situation in Africa: Assistance Measures Prospect", paper submitted by
the UNHCR to ICARA I, Geneva 9-10, April 1981 A/CONF. 106/1 NY; Ba, M.L.
"Le probleme des refugies en Afrique" AWR-Bulletin, Vol. D( No. I 1971; Betts,
T.F. "Conference on the Legal, Economist and Social Aspects of African Refugee
Problems", Journal of Modern African Studies; Eriksson, L G, G Melander, & P
Nobel, (eds), An Analysing Account of the Conference on the African Refugee
Problem, Arusha, May 1979, The Scandinavian Institute of African Studies,
Uppsala 1981; Gould, W.T.S. "Refugee in Tropical Africa", Internafional
Migration Review Vol. V111 No. 3 1974; Kostinko, Refugees in Southern Africa
Sadex Vol. I1 No. 2 1980; Mathews "Refugees and Stability in Africa,
International Organisations, Vol. XXVI No. 1 1972; Melander G & P Nobel, (eds)
African Refugees and the Law, Scandinavian Institute of African Studies,
Uppsala 1978; Rogge, J.R. "A Geography of Refugees: Some Illustrations from
Africa", The Professional Geographer Vol. XXIV No. 2 1977; Rubin, N. "Africa
and Refugees ', African Affairs Vol. XIV No. 73 (1974); Rwelamira, M. "Some
Reflections on the OAU Convention on Refugees: Some Pending Issues", The
Comparative and Infernational Law Journal of Southern Africa Vol. XVI No. 2
(1983); Weis, P. "The Convention of the OAU governing the specific aspects of
refugee problems in Africa", Revue du droit de I'homme Vol. I11 No. 3 (1970).
For documentationen of UN concern over victims of apartheid see resolutions
2022(xx) of 5th November 1965; 2054(XX) of 15th December 1965; 2074(XX) of 17th
December 1965; 2105(XX) of 20th December 1965 and 210'7(XX) of 21 December
1965; GA Resolution 1978 B(XVIV) of 1963; GA Resolution 2908(XXVII) of 1972;
GA Resolution 2923E(XXVII) of 1972; GA Resolution 2980(XXVII) of 1972; GA
Resolution 3031(XXVII) of 1972; GA Resolution 2962 (XXVII) of December 1972;
Resolution 2955 (XXVII) of 1972; Security Council Resolution 269 (1969) of 12
August 1969; Resolution 271 (1970) of March 1970; SC Resolution 311 (1972) of
February 1972, and 312 (1972) of February 1972; Declaration on Policies of
Apartheid of the Government of South Africa, General Assembly, Security
Council A/39/428, S/16709 of August 1984.
See Clarke, S. Financial Aspects of Economist Sanctions on South Africa, Africa
Bureau 1981; Ann & Neva Seidman, U.S. Multinationals in Southern Africa
1977; Widstrand C (ed) Multinational Firms in Africa Uppsala 1975; Chester,
Crocker "S.A. Strategy for Change" Foreign Affairs Vol. 59 No.1 1980/81; Kenneth
W. Grundy "Regional Relations in Southern Africa and the Global Political
Economy" in Mark W. DeLancey (ed) Aspects of International Relations in
Africa 1979; see also an excellent contribution by Timothy Shaw "South Africa,
Southern Africa and the World System", in South Africa in Southern Afrzca:
The Intensijijing Vortex of Violence, Callaghy (ed), pp. 45-67 (1983).
The Report of the US Bureau of Mines has referred to in The Times of
Swaziland, Tuesday, May 17 1988 p. 7.
National Security Study Memorandum 39, 1969. reprinted in Mohamed, A. ElKhawas and Barry Cohen (eds), The Kissinger Study of Southern Africa, New
York 1976, p. 86.
Peter Vale, "The Botha Doctrine: Pretoria's Responses to the West and to its
neighbours", South African Review Two, Capetown 1984 pp. 188-1986; see also
an article by the same author, "Pretoria and Southern Africa: From
Manipulation to Intervention", South African Review One (1983).
Davies, Robert, and Dan O'Meara "Total Strategy in Southern Africa" Conference
Paper 1 ROAPE, University of Keele 29/30 Se tember 1984; "The State of
Analysis of Southern African Strategy", Review o f ~ ~ r i c aPolitical
Economy, 29
July 1984.
Callaghy op, cif.,p. 5.
Bryan, Bench "Constructive Engagement: The Confused Art of Regional Policy",
South African Review Two pp. 197-210; Crocker "South Africa: Strategy for
change" op. cit., pp. 323-351.
For an incisive study of these incidents see Ajulu & Cammack, "Lesotho,
Botswana and Swaziland, captive States" in Destructive Engagement: Southern
Africa at War, Phyllis Johnson & David Martin (eds), pp. 139-170 (1986).
The Times, March 11 1981; Henderson, "The food weapon in Southern Africa", a
paper presented at Southern African Development Research Association
(SADRA) Workshop on Development and Destabilization, National University
of Lesotho, Roma, Lesotho 17-20 October 1983.
Stevens, R. Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland, London 1967; Srnit, P & E Van Der
Merwe; Economist Cooperation in Southern Africa (Pretoria); Peter Robson
"Economist Integration in Southern Africa", The Journal of Modern African
Studies, Vol. 5 1967; J. Cobbe "Integration among Unequals: The Southern
African Customs Union and Development", World Development 8(4) 1981 pp.
For the predicament of BLS as landlocked states, see Z Cervenka, Landlocked
countries of Afnca, Scandinavian Institute of African Studies, Uppsala 1973 pp.
Many studies have been made on the migrant labour system in the BLS countries and its impact on their respective economies. For some of these, see Walter
Elkan, "Labour Migration from Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland, African
Perspective Vol. 1 (1978) pp. 45-157; Baffoe, "Manpower and Employment in
Southern Africa with special reference to Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland,
"Labour and Society" Vol. 3 (1)(1978) pp. 21-24; "Sanctions against South Africa
in Regional Perspective", All Bulletin, Africa Institute of South Africa, Vol. 25
No. 5 (1985) p. 54; Cobbe "Emigration and Development in Southern Africa with
special reference to Lesotho", Internatio~lMigration Review, Vol. 16 (1982). pp.
14. D.A. Collings et. al. "The Rand and the Monetary System of BLS", Journal of
Modern African Studies Vol. 16 (1978).
15. Ray Bush & S. Kibble Destabilization i n Southern Afnca: an overview, Current
African Issues No.4, The Scandinavian Institute of African Studies 1985 pp. 1012.
16. See Economist Review and Outlook 1986, 1987, 1988, Economist Planning Office,
Dept. of Economist Planning and Statistics, Prime Minister's Office, Mbabane,
17. Quarterly Economist Review of Southern Africa, Economist Intelligence Unit
18. Country Profiles on Refugees, Resources and Displaced Persons in Southern
Africa, paper presented to SARRED, International Conference on Southern
Africa Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons in Southern Africa Region,
Oslo, August 22-24,1988.
19. The exact statistics of refugees in neighbouring countries are not available due to
the continuous inflow. However, at the time of the above mentioned SARRED
conference in Aug. 1988 the distribution of Mozambican refugees among the
neighbouring countries was as follows:
452,000 (recent estimates: 750,000)
7,800 (current estimates: 15,000)
66,000 (December1988: 166,000)
Many thousands of refugees have sought refuge in South Africa but accurate
statistics are not available.
Source: SARRED paper, excerpts reproduced in Refugee Magazine, No.55 JulyAugust 1988.
20. Children on the frontline: The impact of apartheid destabilization and warfare on
children in Southern and South Africa. A Report for UNICEF 1988.
21. Order No. 5 of 1978.
22. Ibid, Section 13.
23. For a fuller discussion of this view, see, Phyllis Johnson & D. Martin, op. cit. pp.
24. Appendix IV.
25. Articles 1, 3,4. The then Prime Minister, Mr. Mabandla Dlaminis, was authorised
to sign on 17th February 1982.
26. For a good reflection on this see Johnson & Martin, op. cit., "Swaziland: South
Africa's willing captive", Work in Progress SAB 1983; see also John Daniel, "The
Nkomati Accord and Swaziland", Politique Africain 19th Sept. 1985, Paul
Goodison & Rickard Levin, The Nkomati Accord: The Illusion of Peace in
Southern Africa, Working paper No. 11, Department of Political Theory and
Institutions, University of Liverpool 1984.
27. For a discussion of the impact of Sobhuza II's death see, "The Legacy of Sobhuza
11", Afnca Insight Vol. 14 No. 1 1984 pp. 51-54; Vieceli Swaziland after Sobhuza:
Stability or Crisis, Dept. of Political Science, Indiana University 1983 (unpublished).
28. Appendix 111.
29. C o u n t y Report, Economist Intelligence Unit 1984.
30. Ibid, p. 53.
31. C o u n t y Report: Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland, Economic Intelligence
Unit, No. 1.1987 p. 42.
32. Ibid, No. 1.1988 p. 41.
33. Johnson & Martin, op. cif. pp. 152-159.
34. Quarterly Economic Rm' W..., op. cit., footnote 29 supra p. 54.
35. Appendix 11.
36. C o u n t y Report, Economist Intelligence Unit No.11987 pp. 24-25.
37. Executive Committee Report, UNHCR for 1978/79 (A/AC 96/564) and 1980/81
38. Executive Committee Report, UNHCR 1981/82 A/AC/96/606.
39. General Assembly XXV,Official Records 19th October 1970 p. 6.
40. Act No. 18/1983.
41. Ibid, section 3.
42. For an elaborate discussion of the importance and significance of 1969 OAU
Convention Governing Specific Aspects of African Refugees see: M. Rwelamira,
"Some Reflections on the OAU Convention on Refugees" in The Comparative
and International Law Journal of Southern Africa Vol. XVI No.2 1983 pp. 155178; Weis "The Convention of OAU governing specific aspects of Refugee
Problems in Africa" in Revue des Droits de 1'Hornme Vol. I11 3-70 (1970);
Khaketla, Bennett M, Lesotho, 1970- An African Coup Under a Microscope
43. This gave rise to a constitutional crisis which necessitated the court's intervention. For an interesting legal and political analysis see: Stein Michael H. & Eileen
M. Stein, "Legal Aspects of the Lesotho Constitutional Crisis", East African Law
Journal, Vol.VI, No.3 (1970) p. 210.
44. For a general analysis of the January Coup, see Special Report on Lesotho, Africa
Events, February 1986, particularly articles by Yusuf Hassan and Rok Ajulu.
45. C o u n t y Reports, Economist Intelligence Unit 1987.
46. Ibid. 1987. For a general economist analysis of Botswana see, Hartland-Penelope
Thumberg, Botswana: An African Growth Economy; Westview Press, Colorado
1978, C Harvey, Papers on the Economy of Botswana, 1981.
47. Appendix U.
48. C o u n t y Profiles on Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons, SARRED op. cit.
p. 27.
49. C o u n t y Reports, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland, Economist Intelligence Unit, 1985/86.
50. In fact it was reported that the President of the ANC in exile, Mr. Oliver Tambo,
had agreed to this arrangement.
51. In a memorandum released with the Bill, four terrorist incidents during 1985
were cited as reasons for introducing legislation. These were the bomb explosion
at a house in the Gaborone suburb of Jinja in February, the death of a South
African refugee in a car bomb attack in April, the South african raid in June in
which twelve people including several Botswana nationals were killed and a
bomb blast at Mochudi 40 km north of Gaborone in October.
52. C o u n t y Report, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland, Economist Intelligence Unit, 1987.
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Research Reports available for purchase h:om the Institute
8. Hllgg, Ingemund. Some State-controlled Industrial
Conwanies in Tanzania. A case studv. 18 m.
*. Umsala
197i. SEK 45.-.
10. L h 6 . Olga, An Evaluation of Kenya Science
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Uppsala 1972. SEK 45,-.
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Kenyan Government Positions. 26 pp. Uppsala 1974.
SEK 45.-. ISBN 91-7106-079-0.
25. Francke, Anita, Kibaha Farmers' Training Centre.
Impact Study 1965-1968. 106 pp. Uppsala 1974.
SEK 45,-. ISBN 91-7106-081-2.
26. Aasland Tertif On the move-to-the-Left in Uganda
1969-1971. 71 pp. Uppsala 1974. SEK 45.-.
ISBN 91-7106-083-9.
27. Kirk-Greene. A.H.M.. The Genesis of the Nigerian
Civil War and the Theory of Fear. 32 pp. Uppsala
1975. SEK 45.-. ISBN 91-7106-085-5.
28. Okereke. Okom. Agrarian Development Programmes
of African Countries. 20 pp. Uppsala 1975. SEK 45.-.
ISBN 91-7106-086-3.
29. Kjekshus, Helge, The Elected Elite. A Socio-Economic
Profile of Candidates in Tanzania's Parliamentary
Election, 1970. 40 pp. Uppsala 1975. SEK 45,-.
ISBN 91-7106-087-1.
37. Carlsson. Jerker, Transnational Companies in Liberia.
The Role of TranmotioturlCompanies in the
Economic Development of Liberia. 51 pp. Uppsala
1977. SEK 45,-. ISBN 91-7106-107-X.
40. StW, Michael New Seeds in Old Soil. A study of the
land reform process in Western Wollega, Ethiopia
1975-76. 90 pp. Uppsala 1977. SEK 45,-.
ISBN 91-7106-112-6.
46. Abdel-Rahim, Muddathir, Changing Panerns of
Civilian-Military Relations in the Sudan. 32 pp.
Uppsala 1978. SEK 45,-. ISBN 91-7106-137-1.
47. 16mson. Lars, La Rkvolution Agraire en Algkrie.
Historique, contenu et problimes. 84 pp. Uppsala
1978. SEK 45,-. ISBN 91-7106-145-2.
48. Bhagavan. M.R., A Critique of "Appropriate"
Technology for Underdeveloped Countries. 56 pp.
Uppsala 1979. SEK 45;. ISBN 91-7106-150-9.
49. Bhagavan, M.R., Inter-relations Between
Technological Choices and Industrial Sfrategies in
Third World Countries. 79 pp. Uppsala 1979.
SEK 45.-. ISBN 91-7106-151-7.
52. Egero, Bertil, Colonization and Migration. A
summary of border-crossing movements in Tanzania
before 1967. 45 pp. Uppsala 1979. SEK 45,-.
ISBN 91-7106-159-2.
56. Melander, G(iran Refugees in Somalia. 48 pp.
Uppsala 1980. SEK 45.-. ISBN 91-7106-169-X.
58. Green. Reginald H., From Siidwestafrikato Namibia.
The political economy of transition. 45 pp. Uppsala
1981. SEK 45.-. ISBN 91-7106-188-6.
59. Isaksen. J q Macro-Economic Managemenf and
Bureaucracy: The Case of Botswana. 53 pp. Uppsala
1981, SEK 45,-. ISBN 91-7106-192-4.
60. O d h , Bertil, The Macroeconomic Position of
Borswana. 84 pp. Uppsala 1981. SEK 45,-.
ISBN 91-7106-193-2.
61. Westerlund, David, From Socialism to Islam? Notes on
Islam as a Polirical Factor in Contemporary Africa.
62 pp. Uppsala 1982. SEK 45,-. ISBN 91-7106-203-3.
M. Nobel, Peter, Refugee Law in the Sudan. With The
Refugee Conventions and The Regulation of Asylum
Act of 1974. 56 pp. Uppsala 1982. SEK 45,-.
ISBN 91-7106-209-2.
66. Kjmby. Finn.Problems and Contradictions in the
Development of Ox-Cultivation in Tanzania. 164 pp.
Uppsala 1983. SEK 50,-. ISBN 91-7106-211-4.
68. HaarlBv, Jens, Labour Regulation and Black Workers'
Struggles in South Africa. 80 pp. Uppsala 1983.
SEK 45,-. ISBN 91-7106-213-0.
69. Matshazi. Meshack Jongilanga & Tillfors. Christina,
A Survey of Workers' Education Activities in
Zimbabwe, 1980-1981. 85 pp. Uppsala 1983.
SEK 45.-. ISBN 91-7106-217-3.
70. Hedlund, Hans & Lundahl, Mats, Migration and Social
Change in Rural Znmbia. 107 pp. Uppsala 1983.
SEK 50,-. ISBN 91-7106-220-3.
71. Gasarasi. Charles P,. The Trioartite Aooroach to the
~esertlementand ~ i e ~ r a r i oofn '~ u r o~i e f u ~ ein
Tanzania. 76 pp. Uppsala 1984. SEK 45.-.
ISBN 91-7106-222-X.
72. Kameir, El-Wathig & Kursany, Ibrahim, Corruption as
a "Fijih" Factor of Production in the Sudan. 33 pp.
Umsala 1985. SEK 45.-. ISBN 91-7106-223-8
73. ~ a i i e s Rohnt,
South African Strategy Towards
Mozambioue in the Post-Nkomari Period. A Critical
Amlysis bf Effects and Implications. 71 pp. Uppsala
1985. SEK 45,-. ISBN 91-7106-238-6.
74. Bhagavan, M.R. The Energy Sector in SADCC
Countries. Policies. Priorities and Options in the
Context of the African Crisis. 41 pp. Uppsala 1985.
SEK 45,-. ISBN 91-7106-240-8.
75. Bhagavan, M. R. Angola's Political Economy 19751985. 89 pp. Uppsala 1986. SEK 45,-.
ISBN 91-7106-248-3.
77. Fadahunsi, A k h The Development Process and
Technology. A case for a resources based development
strategy in Nigeria. 41 pp. Uppsala 1986. SEK 45,-.
ISBN 91-7106-265-3.
78. Suliman. Hassan Sayed, The Nationalist Movements
in the Maghrib. A comparative approach. 87 pp.
Uppsala 1987. SEK 45,-. ISBN 91-7106-266-1.
79. Saasa. Oliver S.. Zambia's Policies towards Foreign
Invatment. The Case of the Mining and Non-Mining
Sectors. 65 pp. Uppsala 1987. SEK 45,-.
ISBN 91-7106-271-8.
80. Andrm, Gunilla and Beckman, Bjom, Industry Goes
Farming. The Nigerian Raw Material Crisis and the
Case of Textiles and Cotton. 68 pp. Uppsala 1987.
SEK 50,-. ISBN 91-7106-273-4.
81. Lopes. Carlos and Rudebeck, Lars. The Socialist Ideal
in Africa.A debate. 27 pp. Uppsala 1988. SEK 45,-.
ISBN 91-7106-280-7.
82. Hermele, Kenneth, Land Struggles and Social
Differentiation in Southern Mozambique. A case Study
of Chokwe, Limpopo 1950-1987. 68 pp. Uppsala
1988. SEK 50.- ISBN 91-7106-282-3.
83. Smith, Charles David, Did Colonialism Capture the
Peasan!ry? A Case Study of the Kagera Disrrict,
Tanzania 34 pp. Uppsala 1989. SEK 45.-.
ISBN 91-7106-289-0.
84. Hedlund, Stefan & Lundahl, Mats, Ideology as a
Determinant of Economic System: Nyerere and
Ujamaa in Tanzania. 54 pp. Uppsala 1989. SEK 50,-.
ISBN 91-7106-291-2.
85. Lindskog, Per & Lundqvist, Jan. Why Poor Children
Stay Sick. The Human Ecology of Child Health and
Welfnre in Rural Malawi. 111 pp. Uppsala 1989.
SEK 60,-. ISBN 91-7106-284.X.
86. Hohn&n,Hans. State, Cooperatives and Development
in Africa. 87 pp. Uppsala 1990. SEK 60,-.
ISBN 91-7106-300-5.
87. Zetterqvist, Jenny. Refugees in Botswana in the Light
of I n t e r ~ t i o Law.
~ l 83 pp. Uppsala 1990. SEK 60.-.
ISBN 91-7106-304-8.
88. Rwelamira, Medard. Refugees in a Chess Game:
Reffections on Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland
Refugee Policies. 63 pp. Uppsala 1990. SEK 60;.
ISBN 91-7106-306-4.
In 1967 there were less than 500 refugees in the three southern African
states of Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Twenty years later the figure
had soared to more than 50,000. To analyse the complex refugee policies
which evolved Medard Rwelamira places these countries in the broader
context of the political economy of the subregion.
Apartheid South Africa has been able to destabilize through the infrastructure links between the BLS states and South Africa, and also to
manipulate the various forms of dependence to her advantage. All this has
reduced the ability of these states to evolve meaningful refugee policies.
After giving the general background the author proceeds to analyse
each of the three countries in terms of how South African policies have affected their refugee policies. The study is of interest well beyond the regional setting-as a contribution to knowledge on how political and economic contingencies override humanitarian and even political ambitions on
the part of weaker neighbours to a powerful oppressive state.
Medard R. Rwelamira is a Tanzanian national. He earned his first Law degree at the University of Dar es Salaam, and his LL.M. and J.S.D. from Yale
Law School in Connecticut, USA. He has taught at the universities of Dar es
Salaam, the National University of Lesotho, and is currently Associate
Professor at the University of Swaziland.
The Scandinavian Institute of
African Studies
P 0 Box 1703
S751 47 UPPSALA, Sweden
ISSN 0080-6714
ISBN 91-7106-306-4
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