Today a delegation from the DA visited the Beit Bridge border post and surrounds, and met with a variety of individuals, ranging from refugees, the South African Police Service, farmers, businessmen, taxi operators and farm workers.

What is abundantly clear is that there has been

a dramatic increase in people coming to South Africa illegally and legally. Around 6000 legal immigrants have been streaming through Beit Bridge a day which is a 100 percent increase since July 1st. On one farm, directly adjacent to Beit Bridge, a farm supervisor told us that 1000 brutalised, terrorised and hungry refugees are coming across their farm illegally everyday.

Farmers and residents say SAPS are unable and often unwilling to catch all the illegal immigrants. We were told that the police have completely lost control of the situation. Apparently, their morale is very low and the large influx of illegal immigrants is having a negative effect on the local tourism industry, property prices, and of course local South Africans who fear they will lose their jobs to desperate and often more hard-working Zimbabweans.

At the same time instead of fighting crime, SAPS are wasting time chasing, rounding up and returning illegal immigrants, who are generally coming across the border to get a meal, shelter and safety.

The Minister of Home Affairs and the ANC government have failed to acknowledge the growing disaster on our border. To do so would be to acknowledge the breakdown of President Mbeki’s policy of silent diplomacy. However, the utter failure of government to address the political problems in Zimbabwe has created a serious humanitarian crisis.

Neither government, nor Home Affairs can continue to pretend that the looming catastrophe does not exist.

I challenge the Minister to visit Beit Bridge and see for herself, if she did so she may change her stance on the matter.


Mark Lowe – 082 555 2929

Marike Groenewald – 082 952 0522

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