Experts say between two and three thousand people are crossing the border every night, as a result of the price cuts crisis that began a couple of weeks ago. Although the influx of Zimbabweans has been growing steadily over the last few years, South Africa has seen a marked jump in recent weeks.
In the past many of the people who fled the country were political refugees but observers say now it’s almost entirely economic refugees. Hunger, combined with years of difficulties, has finally pushed people over the edge.
Journalist Geoff Hill said: “Whereas people used to cross just by the Beit Bridge area, people are now going across the entire length of the South Africa border with Zimbabwe – which is almost 200km – and they are using the whole river to come into South Africa.”
Hill added: “To show concern for that there was a huge South Africa police conference in Messina today.”
South Africa Home Affairs officers and border police working the Limpopo River district also told reporters on Thursday that the flow of economic and political refugees crossing South Africa's northern border has become "a tsunami."