Where are the Zimbabweans?


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Results of the South African national census released yesterday could open up a Pandora’s Box. The results say there are only 605 416 Zimbabweans in the country.

The census figures seem to tally which the figures released under the Zimbabwe Documentation exercises which showed that 275 762 Zimbabweans applied for work permits.

The South African census was carried out last year although there results were only released last year.

Non-governmental organisations including the International Office on Migration have argued for years that there are about three million Zimbabweans in South Africa.

Even after the documentation exercise they insisted that about 1.2 million Zimbabweans had been left out.

If there were three million Zimbabweans in South Africa this would mean that more than 2.4 million Zimbabweans were excluded from the census.

Or did they declare themselves as South Africans? The population of South Africa was estimated at 49 million but ended up at 52 million.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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