Over 40 000 Zimbabweans deported

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Zimbabwe has revealed that over 40000 Zimbabweans have been deported from South Africa and Botswana from January to October 2013.

IOM Zimbabwe Chief of Mission, Mr Martin Ocaga, revealed that the number of deportees at Plumtree Border Post increased in the course of 2013 by 30 percent while Beitbridge Border Post had fewer deportations that took place during the course of the year.

\r\n

 

\r\n

A total number of returned Zimbabwean nationals from South Africa was recorded at 24 305 and those from Botswana at 35 313 while last year Beitbridge Border Post recorded 35 313 and Plumtree 15 919.

\r\n

 

\r\n

“These are the numbers that were recorded by IOM hence there could be more but the numbers have reduced significantly at the Beitbridge Border Post but we are concerned with the increase at the Plumtree border,” Mr Ocaga said.

\r\n

 

\r\n

He said in the case of deportations from South Africa, females constituted 3 297, about 13,57 percent of the total received at the reception centre between January and October 2013. In the case of deportations from Botswana, females totalled 4 916, constituting 30,70 percent of the total received at the centre.

\r\n

 

\r\n

He said the largest total of deportations on a single day was recorded on 5 December 2011 when 672 Zimbabweans were found in Limpopo and Gauteng provinces.

\r\n

 

\r\n

He further said IOM noted that the forced return of irregular and undocumented migrants needed to adhere to human rights standards and obligations set out in the relevant international human rights laws and conventions.

\r\n

 

\r\n

Mr Ocaga said post-return humanitarian assistance is given to deported migrants once they were officially admitted in the country and had cleared all procedures related to their forced return.

\r\n

 

\r\n

“The humanitarian assistance is given to ensure that the deported migrants, who are often stranded, do not fall into immediate vulnerability by providing food, medical assistance, safe migration information and free same-day transport home. For migrants that return sick, immediate medical assistance is provided, with IOM paying all the bills necessary at the Beitbridge Hospital until someone is fit enough to be discharged and travel home,” he said.

\r\n

 

\r\n

He, however, said most of them resorted to crossing back to South Africa illegally through undesignated entry points along the crocodile-infested Limpopo.

\r\n

 

\r\n

The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Mr Melusi Matshiya, said the reasons of deportation differed from country to country hence the cases were situational.

\r\n

 

\r\n

“We have joined forces with the permanent commissions and we are resolving the issue but we are happy that they have decreased at the Beitbridge border but the Plumtree increase is a cause for concern which will be looked at with urgency,” he said.

\r\n

Police in Matabeleland South said most people who were deported were taking advantage of the drop in water levels in Limpopo River to cross the border through unlawful entry points and urged people to desist from using undesignated entry points as they risked being attacked by criminals along the border.

\r\n

 

\r\n

They said that the increase of the illegal immigrants in Botswana was because of the economic boom that the country was experiencing and that its border had a fence which was easier to cross than that at Beitbridge. Botswana also recorded a lower crime rates as compared to South Africa which attracted many border jumpers.