Thousands deported from South Africa

By Nokhutula Khumalo
More than 165 000 so&nbs

p;called illegal imigrants were picked up and deported from South Africa in the past year and the number of Zimbabweans seeking asylum in South Africa has increased dramatically since Robert Mugabe’s police assaulted the country’s opposition leaders on March 11 this year, according to figures released by the International Organisation of Migration (IOM).

South Africa has not officially recognized the human rights abuses of Mugabe’s regime. As a result those seeking refugee status face a difficult time at refugee reception centres.
They are being turned back and the process slowed.

The flow of Zimbabweans fleeing the country, both legally and illegally, because of political persecutions increases on the face of galloping inflation now at around 5000 percent and is predicted to hit a staggering 1, 5-million percent by year-end.

Thousands of Zimbabweans are jumping the border into South Africa every week and many are falling quarry to robbers who prowl the border zone. It is Africa ‘s most extraordinary exodus from a country not at war, according to experts.

South Africa ‘s President, Thabo Mbeki, accepted in May that the enormous human influx “is something we have to live with”.

Last week the Consortium for Refugees and Migration in South Africa (CRMSA) urged South Africa to seriously consider issuing Zimbabweans fleeing from political persecution in their own country with a special document recognized by the police in order to avoid unnecessary deportation back home.

South Africa deports between 600 and 6 000 Zimbabweans every week from the Lindela repatriation centre, with the country being the destination of choice for illegal Zimbabwean who number over three million, according to unofficial estimates.

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