Humanitarian Crisis Obtains At Beitbridge

BY REX MPHISA

A humanitarian crisis unfolds at Beitbridge where several large groups of people, mostly from Matabeleland and Zimbabwe’s south eastern districts working illegally in South Africa are stranded in Beitbridge facing challenges returning to that country.

South Africa and Zimbabwe have stepped up security patrols on their common border against all illegal cross-border travel.

At least 11 of those who have attempted the swollen Limpopo River are known to have been swept away and about three bodies have to date been recovered from the river forming the boundary between the two countries.

Beitbridge chairperson of the civil protection unit who is also the district development coordinator Sikhangezile Mafu did not respond to questions senf to her.

The officer commanding Beitbridge Police District Chief Superintendent Tichaona Nyongo also did not respond to questions.

From Monday last week hundreds of SA based Zimbabweans who have settled there illegally have been arriving in Beitbridge hoping to sneak into that country.

Women with children, men with satchels and hand held bags, youths in jeans and caps and hats synonymous with South African fashion have swamped the border town in the fast deteriorating crisis.

“I was meant to start work on Wednesday but we are facing challenges and the river is a no go area.

“We are running out of cash because we have to buy food,” said a woman who works in a restaurant in Sandton.

“Usually we pay our way across the river and hike into Johannesburg but some friends were arrested in Polokwane when they managed past the border,” she said.

Most of those planning illegal crossings rely on scores of human traffickers who avoid the official crossing points or bribe their way through.

A lot have however been robbed of their cash while some have been abused by the himan traffickers who turn criminal..

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