SA churches dispatch aid to Zimbabwe clean-up victims

News and Press Release
Originally published
JOHANNESBURG -- The South African Council of Churches (SACC) will today dispatch several trucks carrying aid for thousands of Zimbabweans displaced by President Robert Mugabe's controversial clean-up exercise.
The churches say they will send about 6 000 blankets and 37 tonnes of food all worth about R350 000 for the most vulnerable groups in crisis-hit Zimbabwe as part of "Operation Hope for Zimbabwe".

SACC secretary general Molefe Tsele, said the relief campaign was being organised and co-ordinated by South African churches, international humanitarian groups and some Zimbabwean churches.

Earlier last month, two South African church delegations that visited Zimbabwe expressed shock at the scale of the disaster and urged Mugabe to halt the exercise.

The church leaders immediately announced after their fact-finding mission that they were planning a massive relief campaign to assist thousands of families evicted during the exercise that has been criticised by Western governments and church groups as a violation of the rights of the poor.

But Mugabe has defended the controversial campaign saying it was necessary to restore the beauty of cities and towns and smash a thriving parallel market in foreign currency and basic commodities.

The United Nations special envoy Anna Tibaijuka two weeks ago issued a damning report on the Zimbabwe government's demolition of houses and called on Harare to stop the controversial campaign.

The UN said at least 700 000 people were rendered homeless by the demolitions and another 2.4 million directly affected by the campaign.

But the Zimbabwe government has rejected Tibaijuka's report alleging bias. - ZimOnline