South Africa's main opposition Democratic Alliance took the Pretoria government to task over its handling of the widening flood of Zimbabwean refugees pouring across the border due to the accelerating collapse of the economy at home.
The opposition dismissed a decision by the Department of Home Affairs not to set up refugee camps, saying it showed a lack of understanding of the 1998 Refugees Act.
Democratic Alliance said Thursday in a statement that the ministry’s “stubborn refusal to open their eyes to the crisis” compelled it to organize a fact-finding mission to the Beitbridge border post July 23 to investigate how Zimbabweans are entering the country and how South African authorities are addressing that movement.
The Democratic Alliance said some 600 Zimbabweans are crossing into South Africa illegally every day, adding to the estimated 3 million Zimbabweans already there.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has rejected the Alliance's call for the establishment of refugee camps, saying its intervention is not warranted.
Project lawyer Anna Yvonne Moyo of the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that her organization does not support the opposition's proposal for the establishment of camps.
Methodist Bishop Paul Veryn, whose Central District Church accommodates about 900 Zimbabwean refugees, also disagreed with the Democratic Alliance.
Bishop Veryn acknowledged that the influx of Zimbabweans is at critical levels, but told VOA that he did not believe setting up camps was a viable solution.