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Zimbabwean Refugee Expires Outside S. African Refugee Center

Relatives of a Zimbabwean refugee who was said to have starved to death last week on the doorstep of a South African refugee center in Cape Town identified his body at a morgue Monday and started raising money to repatriate his body to Zimbabwe.

Cape Town sources said Adonis Musati of Chiredzi, Masvingo Province, quit his job with Zimbabwe Republic Police in September to seek better-paid work in South Africa, but died last week after spending more than a month outside a Home Affairs Department refugee center without food while trying to get a work permit.

A South African human rights group, People Against Suppression, Suffering, Oppression, and Poverty, said Musati was sleeping in a cardboard box and that his death was due to starvation as the refugee center’s staff refused to feed him.

Musati's cousin, Ivy Dliwayo, who identified the body Monday, told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that the family needs more than 20,000 rand, around US$3,000, to repatriate his body, but said that as of late Monday had managed to collect just 1,000 rand.

Spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepe of South Africa's Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed Musati died at the refugee center. but he declined to elaborate or confirm that Musati died of hunger, adding that a police investigation was in progress. Mamoepe declined to respond to charges that the Home Affairs Department mistreats asylum seekers.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...