via Zim border crossings double since disputed polls | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell on Thursday, October 17, 2013
The number of Zimbabwean nationals crossing the border into South Africa is said to have doubled, since the disputed elections in July.
According to the Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency, who spoke to a South African border official, an increased influx of Zimbabweans has been recorded in recent months.
Before the elections, an estimated 400 Zimbabwean nationals legally crossed the border daily. But IPS quoted the anonymous official as saying that the number has almost doubled since July.
“Our government commended the election outcome in Zimbabwe, but surprisingly more than two months after those polls we are now recording over 700 Zimbabweans daily passing through the border into South Africa,” the official reportedly said.
The IPS also spoke to Edwin Gandari, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Cross Borders Transporters’ Association, an association that transports undocumented emigrants. He said that business has peaked since the elections.
“We were not sure about our business soon after the polls here until more than a month later when people travelling to seek better opportunities in neighbouring countries began seeking our services in their numbers,” he said.
“On average, our association now records about 1,200 undocumented migrants a day crossing over to neighbouring countries like South Africa, Mozambique and Botswana after the polls,” added Gandari.
Political uncertainty and economic collapse has for over a decade forced hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans to seek better fortunes across the border. In South Africa alone, it’s believed that there are between two and three million Zimbabweans living and working.
Diana Zimbudzana, an official with the South Africa based Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, said the organisation has also witnessed a significant increase in the numbers of Zim nationals seeking their assistance since the elections. She told SW Radio Africa that high unemployment and safety fears are the key factors forcing people to leave their homes.
“People would rather find work in South Africa, even though it’s really not easy here. Plus, there’s still uncertainty about the political situation and that all drives people away,” Zimbudzana said.