The South African government has arrested hundreds of Zimbabweans jumping the country’s border illegally in search of jobs as the economic situation worsens in the neighboring nation.
Home Affairs Minister, Pakishe Aaron Motsoaledi, said thousands of Zimbabweans are being sent back home after attempting to cross the border illegally or being found with fraudulent COVID-19 free certificates.
“They catch 500 people turn them back. They are people who are being helped to cross by Zimbabwean soldiers. I saw it with my own eyes and police and they pay something like R100 … Now because we know that we are putting a lot of firewalls.”
He said many people are presenting fake COVID-19 free certificate at the country’s border post. “We check COVID-19, we check the passports, we search the buses, the police boats in the water are chasing them.”
Speaking on VOA Studio 7 Livetalk, human rights lawyer, Dewa Mavhinga, described South Africa’s clampdown on Zimbabweans as xenophobic.
Millions of Zimbabweans are living and working in South Africa without proper immigration documents.
Zimbabwe Community in South Africa chairperson, Ngqabutho Mabhena, said President Cyril Ramaphosa should openly discuss problems affecting Zimbabweans in order to create a conducive economic environment in the neighboring nation.
“It’s clear that the economic crisis in Zimbabwe is due to bad economic policies and corruption. This is forcing thousands of people, especially youth, to leave the country for South Africa to look for jobs.”
Zanu PF spokesperson for the local branch, Kennedy Mandaza, urged South Africa to treat Zimbabweans fairly at all border posts.
“We would want to advice and urge the South African government to make sure that those who seek to enter legally are allowed to do so and we would also want to urge our fellow brothers and sisters that want to go to South Africa to make sure that they do so legally and they also carry the right document is expected in any country.”
Thuso Khumalo also contributed to this article