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Zimbabwe Opposition's Bennett Confident of Asylum in South Africa

A former Zimbabwean opposition politician is confident he will be granted asylum in South Africa, despite his initial rejection from that country. Roy Bennett, a senior member of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change, is appealing the South African Home Affairs Department ruling that he not be granted political asylum.

Zimbabwean national Roy Bennett says he fears for his life in his home country and is constantly being persecuted by the police and intelligence agencies. He says if he returns to Zimbabwe he will either be imprisoned or eliminated by the country's Central Intelligence Agency under political orders, and it is on these grounds he applied for asylum in South Africa.

But the South African Home Affairs Department refused Bennett's application, saying he could not provide enough proof of persecution to justify granting asylum.

Bennett was not surprised that his case was rejected. He says there was too much political pressure on the South African government from neighboring countries to allow asylum.

"If you think of the pressure that the South African government has come up against from the SADC region there is no way they could have openly come out give me asylum," he said.

Despite the rejection, Bennett says he has plenty of evidence to support his case and is confident his appeal will succeed.

"I think that they would most probably look at the aspect of referring the asylum to the other process, knowing that those processes would grant me asylum and then they could says that we declined it but our system made it go forward and taking the heat off Mbeki from the other African leaders," he said.

Bennett says if the appeal fails, he will consider applying for asylum in other countries.