As panic heightened amongst marooned Zimbabweans trying to return to South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government noted a spike in attempts to illegally cross the Limpopo River separating the two countries.
To curb this, Pretoria has deployed additional home affairs and military personnel to the border. The South African National Defence Force has helicopters hovering above, while the South African Police Force has boats patrolling the crocodile-infested river.
The South African branch of Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC-A) said Pretoria was attempting to mask its failures in trying to resolve the political problems facing its neighbour.
“Illegal immigration is caused by the total failure by both South Africa and SADC in addressing the political settlement in Zimbabwe,” MDC-A chairman Trust Ndlovu said.
“The government of South Africa is part of the problem in the economic meltdown of Zimbabwe. Their relationship with the ruling party in Zimbabwe, is costing South Africa in terms of its fiscus and immigration controls.”
Ndlovu said economic immigrants from Zimbabwe should not be classified as undesirable persons in South Africa and that those found with fake Covid-19 certificates should be treated leniently.
“These are desperate measures taken by desperate people in a certain context of the pandemic. It is a violation of South Africa’s immigration (laws) under very difficult conditions,” he said.
Zimbabwe first introduced a hard lockdown in March but had gradually eased the restrictions.- ANA