Rescuers abandon search


Zimbabwean families were this week making efforts to trace the whereabouts of their relatives who skipped to South Africa looking for greener pastures early this year after as yet unconfirmed reports circulated saying 60 people had drowned in the Limpopo River last week trying to cr

oss to South Africa. Panic-stricken families have been flooding to Beitbridge to ascertain the fate of their relatives. The disaster has been compounded by the fact that rescue teams deployed by both South Africa and Zimbabwe failed to retrieve any bodies during three days of searching. Rescuers doubted that the figure was as high as 60, saying they would certainly have found some bodies if that had been the case. There are fears that the border jumpers might have fallen prey to marauding crocodiles or been swept away by the flooding river. Esther Ndlovu, a young woman from Gwanda, seemed to be sure about the fate that had befallen her new husband. “He had planned to work in the farms and he had no money to pay bribes to cross through the official entry point. I think he might be one of the people drowned. The situation at home was difficult and there was no way he could have stayed at home earning Z$2 million and survive.” Many civil society organisations are laying the blame on President Thabo Mbeki for failing to take drastic actions against the errant Mugabe regime. “The recent deaths are an indication of a wider disaster taking place in the country. Southern Africa Development Community leaders should act swiftly to avert another tragedy,” said one human rights activist. – Zakeus Chibaya

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