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Zhuwao faces SA deportation if he joins Julius Malema’s EFF

By South African Correspondent 

EXILED former cabinet minister Patrick Zhuwao’s ambitions to become a member of Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has been dealt a blow by a new South African law that forbids any engagement in political activities by refugees.

Zhuwao, who was forced to skip the country when the military seized power from his maternal uncle and late President Robert Mugabe November 2017, revealed last month he was applying to join the radical South African opposition as an ordinary card-carrying member in a branch within Gauteng province.

But his ambitions are sure to hit a brick wall after South Africa’s Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi has gazetted tough new regulations to control the movements and activities of refugees and asylum seekers.

These include a ban on political activity and immediate detention on grounds of national security.

The regulations under the Refugees Act, which took effect from January 1, stipulate that “no refugee or asylum seeker may participate in any political activity or campaign in furtherance of any political party or political interests in the Republic”.

According to the law, the refugee status of any person who engages in such activity can be withdrawn by the standing committee for refugee affairs, and they will be dealt with as an illegal foreigner in terms of the Immigration Act.

Under the law, a refugee or asylum seeker can be deported for posing a threat to national security in South Africa.

The regulations allow for their immediate detention under these circumstances.

When Zhuwao announced plans to join EFF, he said the move was going to help him and other Zimbabweans based outside the country to dislodge President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime.

“I do not seek elected office; as a refugee I am not eligible,” Zhuwao said then.

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