SA deports 7 000 Zimbabweans monthly

zimbabwean_refugeesHARARE More than 314 000 illegal Zimbabwean migrants were assisted at the Beitbridge reception centre run by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) between 2006 and 2009 after being deported from South Africa.

This works out to an average of 7 300 individuals deported from South Africa every month for the 43 months since the inception of the facility.

IOM also revealed last week that another 57 000 Zimbabwean migrantshave been assisted between June 2008 and June last year at a similar centre it operates at the Plumtree border with Botswana.

The figures reveal the stark reality of a nation in motion thousands

of people leaving Zimbabwe daily in search of economic refuge in

neighbouring countries.

The exodus has not relented despite the formation of a government of

national unity by the countrys three main political parties 11 months


The IOM said the change in South African government policy allowing

for visa-free entry into the country resulting in an end to forced

returns has however reduced the number of deportations, forcing the

organisation to shift focus on assistance at Beitbridge to

information-dissemination, developing options for the sustainable

voluntary return of vulnerable migrants from South Africa and

assisting unaccompanied minors.

More than three million Zimbabweans have left the country for

neighbouring and Western countries since 2000 and most of them are

based in South Africa and Botswana.

Most of the migrants have no proper documentation and are often

deported back to Zimbabwe.

The Netherlands government came to the aid of IOM last week when it

unveiled new US$1.5 million funding to support the organisations

humanitarian activities in Zimbabwe for a year.

The new funding would support activities carried out at the Beitbridge

and Plumtree reception and support centres where IOM offers returned

migrants with basic health care and referrals, information on safe

migration and the risks of HIV/AIDS as well as meals and

transportation assistance to final destinations home.

The funds would also support mobile clinics providing free medical

services and access to essential drugs in urban and peri-urban

settlements as well as the rehabilitation of water and sanitation

infrastructure in Zimbabwe which was badly hit by cholera in 2008.

“This new funding from the Dutch government will go a long way to

improving the quality of life for many people in need of assistance,”

said IOM chief of mission in Zimbabwe, Marcelo Pisani.

Post published in: Politics

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