via Job cuts cause fresh exodus – DailyNews Live 24 August 2015
CAPE TOWN – “I always thought I would be the last one to leave Zimbabwe. But with the current situation, I had no choice but to come down here to fend for my family,” said 42-year-old Calvin Kavara.
The skilled engineer and father of three feels betrayed by his Zanu PF party which has failed to deliver its election promises of 2,2 million jobs and has presided over more job losses since 2013 due to mismanagement of the economy.
“I had hoped against hope that things would get better soon, but after I was laid off about a month ago, I had to make some tough decisions,” he said with a sad smile on his face.
Kavara — a casualty of the recent Supreme Court Labour ruling which saw an estimated 20 000 people losing their jobs in less than a month — joins thousands of people who are crossing Zimbabwe’s borders daily in search of greener pastures.
Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States, among other countries, have for more than a decade become a sanctuary for Zimbabwe’s economic refugees and the trend is rising again — after a reprieve during the coalition government era between 2009 and 2013 — due to a resurgent economic meltdown.
Economist Eddie Cross estimates that up to 5 000 people a day are now crossing the country’s southern border into South Africa, a number he said could translate to more than 40 000 a week or two million people by the end of this year.
“Some will return but the majority will stay and seek new lives. Can South Africa take such an additional burden at this time? I think not,” he said.
The Bulawayo South legislator blamed the mass exodus into South Africa — where only a few months ago Zimbabweans were fleeing from xenophobia attacks — on Zimbabwe’s deteriorating economic situation.
“Every aspect of life is affected by the economy and how it is performing. Despite the statements by the pundits, our economy has resumed the downwards slide that characterised the economy from 1997 to 2008.
“Inflows to State coffers have shrunk and suddenly there is no money in the market. Companies are retrenching staff or simply winding up their affairs. Human flight has resumed with a vengeance into any country that will have our economic refugees,” he said.
Political analyst Blessing Vava says President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF have failed the majority of Zimbabweans and cannot claim to be their saviour by rushing labour law amendments through Parliament.
“The collapse of Zimbabwe’s economy originated from ‘market fundamentalism’, but the recent crisis has been due to a total collapse of the nationalist interventionist paradigm, itself a creature of the Third Chimurenga — the chaotic land reform — and ZimAsset policies,” he said.
Vava noted that government recently indicated plans to cut the public sector wage bill to 40 percent of total revenue from the current 80 percent.
“Therefore, the Supreme Court ruling is not surprising: it had been planned already. And it is clear that Harare is succumbing to pressure from institutions like the IMF and World Bank, and of course the East, which are prescribing these austerity measures as pre-conditions for a financial bailout.
“It is shocking why the international community is quiet while all this is happening in Zimbabwe. Their only loud cries were when Cecil the Lion was killed. It boggles the mind,” he added.
MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora said Zimbabwe can revive its economic fortunes under Morgan Tsvangirai, who proved his mettle during the inclusive government era when live improved significantly for the majority of Zimbabweans.
“Tsvangirai is an astute visionary. He went into the inclusive government to improve the economy, reduce State-sponsored violence and delivered a new people driven democratic Constitution. Tsvangirai and the MDC achieved just that,” he said.
Mwonzora said the MDC leader — who has controversially lost elections to his political nemesis Mugabe, albeit under controversial circumstances since 2002 — remains the best bet for the ailing country.
“Though famous and enjoying mass support, Tsvangirai remains down to earth and approachable. Resultantly, the masses love and trust him. That is why he remains the face of the struggle and Zimbabwe’s best foot forward in the long and arduous fight against tyranny, repression and deprivation,” he said.