Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Zim refugees in South Africa

A state-controlled Zimbabwean newspaper, the Herald, reported last week that more than 3 000 Zimbabweans had been deported from South Africa last month for flouting immigration regulations and had been transported back to Zimbabwe by road and air during the Christmas week. A total of 97 433 illegal Zimbabwean immigrants were deported last year. Limpopo police said yesterday that pregnant Zimbabwean women were entering South Africa illegally to give birth, so that they could qualify for child support grants.


t is estimated that there are close to two million Zimbabweans in South Africa, most of them illegal immigrants.

Zimbabweans have been fleeing a slumped economy in Zimbabwe with inflation topping 500%.

Last week, it was revealed that more than 3000 Zimbabweans were deported during the Christmas holidays.

South Africa even took the unusual step of flying some of the illegal immigrants to Zimbabwe, sparking a confused reaction in Harare where the government briefly detained the deportees for yet unexplained reasons.

A total of 97 433 illegal Zimbabwean immigrants were deported last year.

Sibuyi said illegal immigrants were not targeted by country or continent and said that those deported last year were from many different countries throughout the world.

He said a total of 77 868 illegal immigrants from Mozambique were deported last year, 9 225 from Lesotho, 4 296 from Malawi and 193 from Nigeria. Smaller numbers from Australia, China, India, Pakistan and Peru were also deported in 2005.


HARARE, Zimbabwe, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- To address an increasing flow of illegal migrants from Zimbabwe to South Africa, the countries announced plans Tuesday for a joint border migration office.

With support from the International Organization for Migration, officials will assist Zimbabweans with obtaining valid work permits, and also offer counseling on HIV and AIDS, the BBC reported.

"Deportees and other people in need of legal documents will be served food and other basic amenities while their papers are being sorted," South African government spokesman Page Boikanyo said.

The exodus is being driven by economic collapse and a government housing demolition program.

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