The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CORMSA) — which works to promote and defend rights of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants — said the tide of Zimbabweans flocking to neighbouring countries was likely to continue at full flood over the next two-to-five years despite the Harare coalition governments work to improve economic and living conditions in Zimbabwe.
CORMSA spokesperson, Sicel’mpilo Shange-Buthane, told CAJ News in an interview that member-organisations and other observers were still reporting hundreds of Zimbabweans that were continuing to crossing into South Africa daily.
She said the introduction of the 90-day visa free entry for Zimbabweans, among other immigration reforms by South African authorities had also facilitated easier movement for Zimbabwean nationals wishing to come to South Africa.
“Even though a lot of people acknowledge the changes that are taking place at a political level in Zimbabwe, the big question is whether that has had any direct positive influence on ordinary people’s lives in the immediate short-term,” said Shange-Buthane.
But Shange-Buthane said Zimbabweans continued to face difficulties in South Africa despite the new visa arrangement that Pretoria authorities had hoped could easy the plight of immigrants from their poorer northern neighbour.
“Without collaborative efforts of the various government departments to address the plight of refugees, no matter what the department of home affairs (in South Africa) tries to implement, there will always be problems,” she said.
She called on all stakeholders, government and civic society groups to address the current refugee situation and plethora of challenges facing some not only Zimbabwean but also all immigrants in South Africa.
Shange-Buthane applauded former South African home affairs minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who introduced a number of positive immigration policies, shortly before she was re-deployed to a different ministerial portfolio by President Jacob Zuma.
The new Harare government has called on the estimated three million Zimbabweans or a quarter of the countrys total population living in South Africa and other countries to return home to help rebuild their once prosperous nation.
But many exiled Zimbabweans are postponing returning home unsure whether the unity government of President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara will be able to transform the economy and carryout political reforms necessary to ensure the freedoms and rights of citizens.Post published in: Politics