Zimbabwe’s deepening post-election political crisis has exacerbated the plight of the country's children, according to relief workers who say the political impasse and rising violence are blocking the provision of aid to the country's most vulnerable citizens.
Reporter Wilma Consul of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reports that children, many of whom have been orphaned by the country's HIV-AIDS pandemic, are jeopardized by tightening food supplies and increased risk of HIV infection amid social dislocation.
Zimbabwe’s child issues are spilling over borders: the South African Home Affairs Department said it is worried about the rising number of Zimbabwean children begging for food and money in Musina, near the Beitbridge border crossing.
Department spokesman Ngoako Moremi told the South African Broadcasting Corporation that the problem has been complicated by laws obliging authorities to locate children's parents in their home country before deporting them.
In most cases, Moremi said, the Zimbabwean children refuse to cooperate.
Jacob Matakanye, director of the Musina Legal Advice Office, which is working with authorities to shelter the children, told reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga of VOA's Studio that they flee shelters in order to bring the money they have begged to their families inside Zimbabwe, then recross the border to resume begging in Musina.