EU fears SA to deport thousands to Zimbabwe


South Africa Home Affairs Minister, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – SOUTH Africa is feared to deport thousands of Zimbabweans, amid tightened immigration laws and possible xenophobic attacks, in 2024.

It is an election year and some parties have been using deportation as their trump card. Authorities have in recent weeks been rounding up undocumented Zimbabweans.

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) fears the impact of this, saying this might force 250 000 Zimbabweans back to their country.

ECHO said this would add pressure on Zimbabwean communities already suffering from unemployment and strained social services and have left to South Africa and neighbouring countries in droves.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe also hosts about 24 000 refugees, the majority of whom urgently need food, shelter, education and protection.

But the worst migration crisis has been from Zimbabwe to South Africa.

There have been intermittent xenophobic attacks as South Africans, searing under high unemployment, rising poverty, blame Zimbabweans for high crime and taking their jobs.

Local Home Affairs Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, has lost battles in the courts following the cancellation of the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit, through which thousands of Zimbabweans regulated their stay over the past decade-and-a-half.

He has incurred the wrath of the Zimbabwean and South African divide of the permits saga and this week revealed a hitman had allegedly been sent to assassinate him.

ECHO meanwhile noted in Zimbabwe, recurrent climatic shocks, including floods and drought worsened by El Niño events, a protracted and deteriorating economic environment as well as regular disease outbreaks including typhoid, cholera and measles have left an estimated 2,6 million people, including 1,7 million children, in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in 2024.

An escalating cholera outbreak has seen a total of 28, 556 cholera cases and 589 deaths across all ten provinces of the country since February 2023.

– CAJ News

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