Skip to comments.Zim influx crisis
Posted on 09/18/2005 8:46:41 AM PDT by Clive
Johannesburg - The anticipated influx of Zimbabwean economic refugees has already started and rural areas in Limpopo are being overwhelmed by hordes of immigrants seeking work and food.
A City Press investigation has revealed that villagers in many parts of the province have opened up their hearts and homes to the refugees, but now fear that they are being swamped.
Refugee numbers are a major concern for the security services and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has commissioned an audit to establish the extent of the problem.
NIA boss Billy Masetla said the flooding of the Limpopo border by Zimbabwean immigrants was a "huge concern". He said it was difficult to estimate the number of immigrants, a factor which had necessitated the survey.
Masetla said instead of a security problem, the influx constituted "a crisis of the human element".
Police in the area told City Press that at least 100 immigrants were arrested daily in the Vhembe district alone. At Matangari village, villagers called in the police to move out immigrants after complaints that they were about to outnumber locals.
At Tshivhilwi, where we found groups of men living in plastic hovels in bushes near the village, there were concerns that about 200 people had arrived on two consecutive days. Villagers also called a meeting in Madombidzha, near Makhado, where a resolution was taken to expel Zimbabweans.
Masetla said he did not believe the immigrants posed a national security risk at the moment although a few did get involved in criminal activities.
"We are not facing a situation where you see huge numbers crossing together and wanting refugee status," he said.
"These are people looking for piece jobs and you can see they hope to return home when things get better. They actually migrate and the number of trucks, taxis and buses ferrying people here to buy basic things increases daily.
"We hope the political intervention will give rise to the possibility of halting the economic meltdown."
He said the intelligence community reported regularly to home affairs and the police about its observations.
While the problem is not confined to a specific area in Limpopo, Musina and areas closer to Thohoyandou appear to be most affected by the influx.
Police spokesperson superintendent Ailwei Mushavhanamadi said the influx was a "very serious problem" in the Thohoyandou area.
"On average we arrest about 100 a day," he said, adding that the problem was more serious in Musina.
He said illegal immigrants were deported 48 hours after arrest.
Residents of Tshivhilwi village, about 30km east of Thohoyandou, said there were about 2 000 Zimbabweans there.
Humbulani Rasilingwani, chairperson of water and electricity of the local civic association, said: "It is a crisis. Recently the issue of Zimbabweans was discussed at the headman's kraal. One resident said he saw about 80 of them crossing the river into our village in one instance. A day before, he had seen about the same number.
"It appears there are people who are not aware of the seriousness of this matter. It is extremely serious. It is actually threatening."
In a bid to legalise the entry of Zimbabweans into South Africa, Lesley Mashokwe, spokespserson for the department of home affairs, said negotiations were under way with Zimbabwe to scrap visa requirements.
Africa is a huge mess. Maybe they should sell the Continent to a private enterprise to see if they can do any better.
may his life be shortened for he has done enough damage.
how about restoring the euro socio economic philosophies similar to what smith tried to work with??
obviously the destruction of this "whitemans" infrastructure sewered the nation.
oh wait...... marxism was supposed to deliver something better
the greasy green Limpopo River....
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