Zimbos risk life and limb to cross border

MUSINA - The festive holidays are over, but for Zimbabweans who are illegal immigrants in South Africa their woes have just began. The Limpopo River is full, but this does not deter the hopes of the suffering Zimbabweans. The skyrocketing fees required to obtain the South African visa is making it

even worse they have no option but to bend the laws. More than three quarters of the Zimbabwean population based in South Africa who went down to Zimbabwe over the holidays have no proper papers.

“I have been in the cross border transportation for 10 years now and but the difficulties at the border post are new to me. We survive on the transportation of the illegal immigrants because they pay a lot of money compared to those with passports. This year is another year. The members of the South African Defence forces(SANDF) manning the road blocks in and around Musina are new and they are not keen in taking any bribes we were used to offer the old staff they replaced,” said Cosmas Dube a Kombi driver, in an interview with The Zimbabwean this week.

“It is now useless to even ferry border jumpers from their homes because even if they manage to cross the crocodile infested river they would deported as soon as they get to the other side of the border. The soldiers are always alert, with or without cash there is no difference.”

Some Zimbabweans have been trying to border jump since the beginning of the year but with no success.

“I don’t care how long I’m going to be deported; this is the eighth time I have been deported but I’m still raring to go. If I give up what will I do in Zimbabwe? I would rather play hide and seek with South African authorities than being the economic victim of Robert Mugabe and his cronies,” fumed Tholakele Ndlovu from Tsholotsho.

Ruvarashe Mkwazho, who has been attempting to cross to the other side of the border with her family for the past week, said: “I had gone to collect my children hoping that we will be in South Africa by now since I was supposed to have returned to work on Monday where I work as a maid but here I am stuck with no hope or livelihood to support my family. If I fail to cross to reach my intended destination then I will have to die here because there is nothing left for me back home.”

Sihle Ncube said she blamed the South African Government for her failure to have proper papers.

“I have been in South Africa for over five years, but all the government does is to deport us. If it has the budget for deporting the illegal immigrants why doesn’t it legalise our stay there? The asylum papers they are issuing to us are useless they don’t allow us to work or go to our country, who will employ you with a three month permit and in reality we do not go South Africa to stay forever we need to go back home so we need papers that will allow us to do so.”

More 6 000 illegal immigrants have been deported to Zimbabwe since the beginning of this year. They range from infants to adults all with one mission of running away from the dictator and the collapse of the economic crisis back home. – Magugu Nyathi (Freelance Journalist)

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