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Twitter Threats Issued to Litigants in Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Court Case

Twitter Threats Issued to Litigants in Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Court Case
A member of the South African Police Services (SAPS) watches as hundreds of foreign nationals queue to listen to South African President Jacob Zuma at a temporary refugee camp in Chatsworth, south of Durban on April 18, 2015 during the South African President's visit marked by hostile reaction of foreign nationals chanting "Go home, go Home" and "too late, too late". Zuma cancelled a state visit to Indonesia on April 18 as officials scrambled to respond to xenophobic violence in Johannesburg and in the eastern port city of Durban that has erupted earlier in the week, claiming at least six lives and forcing more than 5,000 foreigners to seek refuge in makeshift camps. The attacks on immigrant-owned shops and homes in Durban's impoverished townships come three months after a similar spate of attacks on foreign-owned shops in Soweto, near Johannesburg. AFP/ PHOTO RAJESH JANTILAL

Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF), director Nicole Fritz, and her family received threats on Twitter the day before the foundation’s court action to stop the discontinuation of the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) by South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs.

On 10 April, Twitter user one Freeman Bhengu (@zibuseman) warned they would deal with Fritz and her daughter. Wrote Bhengu:

We are watching her and we know where she stays, her daughter, and their closed offices in Parktown, we will deal with her tomorrow @Nicole Fritz.

The HSF, along with the Zimbabwe Immigration Federation and the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Holders, are challenging in court the decision by the Department of Home Affairs to scrap the ZEP.

Around 178 000 ZEP holders will be affected by the decision.

The hearing started in the Pretoria High Court on 11 April.

GroundUp reported Fritz as saying the threats are “enormously disturbing” and that those working in social justice or human rights should not experience such harassment.

She said other litigants were also receiving threats.

Meanwhile, the Global South Against Xenophobia (GSAX) has issued a statement calling on the South African Police Service (SAPS) and South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to act.

GSAX urged SAPS to protect Fritz during the duration of the court hearings or until the perpetrators are arrested and to investigate all the threats.

Fritz said this isn’t the first time she has been threatened. She said the same person has emailed her in the past telling her that she is being watched.

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