Zimbabweans living in South Africa have urged their relatives back home, who are planning to return to South Africa by using illegal entry points along the Limpopo River, to stop risking their lives.
This follows reports police reports in Limpopo province in South Africa that some Zimbabweans have died and several others rescued while trying to cross the flooded river, which is also full of crocodiles.
South African authorities are believed to have retrieved several bodies from the river and rescued some individuals that were later handed over to the Immigration Department for deportation.
Limpopo provincial spokesperson, Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo, told journalists that some of the people who drowned have been positively identified as Zimbabwean citizens.
Brigadier Mojalifa said they drowned while attempting to cross the Limpopo River after visiting their families and friends in Zimbabwe during the festive season.
He said there is an increase in the number of people who are drowning along the river while trying to illegally cross the border.
Zimbabweans living in South Africa, including artiste Nombeko Khahlela, have urged their colleagues to stop crossing the flooded Limpopo River saying many people are losing their lives in an attempt to sneak into South Africa.
“It’s so painful to parents back home to be told that their son or daughter has drowned while attempting to cross the Limpopo. Many lives are being lost and some bodies are never found. I wish to advise my fellow citizens to stop this. Try to get some proper documents and use the normal channels if you want to come to South Africa.”
Her sentiments were echoed by Nomaqhawe Moyo and Carnicious Nkala, who noted that it is now a bit easy to get a Zimbabwean passport and therefore those people intending to work in South Africa should get proper documents instead of crossing the flooded Limpopo River.
Zimbabwe’s ailing economy is forcing thousands of locals, especially young people, to leave the country in search of green pastures.
The Zimbabwean government says the country’s unemployment rate stands at 10.7% but independent economists have put the figure at just over 90%, noting that vending doesn’t qualify to be some kind of full-time work.