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Zimbabwe: Deportations of Zimbabweans a Political Move

“Mwana washe muranda kumwe” is an old Zimbabwean saying which means that when one is a foreigners they are a nobody in the eyes of the host country and this rings true today as thousands of Zimbabweans face deportation from South Africa back to Zimbabwe.

The South African government has decided to lift a moratorium on deportations of undocumented Zimbabweans who did not apply for legal status through the Zimbabwe Documentation Process (ZDP).

Zimbabweans queue to apply for work permits last year. Photo courtesy of newzimbabwe.com

People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP) is extremely concerned about deportation of Zimbabwe. The organisation believes that deportation is an Apartheid tendency:

 

We believe that deportation is an Apartheid tendency and that deportations of fellow Africans is un-African.

We also believe that the situation in Zimbabwe is not resolved and this move will put immense pressure on Zimbabwe.

Commenting at TalkZimbabwe.com following the revelations that the government deported 261 Zimbabweans on 11 October 2011, Firebird said:

Recently Malema [the president of the African National Congress Youth League] demanded that all the whites leave. (Yes, of course that includes the Investors.) Now its the Zimbabweans. What about the Nigerians and the Somalians?
The fact is that anyone in that country without a work permit is depriving every unemployed South African of a job…
Yet these foreign people are just like those Mexicans risking their lives to jump borders in the USA, prepared to do those awful menial jobs that no red-blooded American would dream of doing.
Did you hear about that female cop in SA who patrols the border into Zimbabwe and does not hesitate to shoot anyone crawling under the barbed wire-whether that person has a child on their back or not.

Alex Bell of SW Radio reported:

A Zimbabwean rights group in South Africa has slammed the country’s apparently clandestine decision to resume deporting Zim nationals, after hundreds were forcibly removed from the country this week.

More than 500 nationals had been taken across the border and handed over to immigration officials at Beitbridge by Thursday evening [13 October 2011]…

He continued:

A Zimbabwean rights group in South Africa has slammed the country’s apparently clandestine decision to resume deporting Zim nationals, after hundreds were forcibly removed from the country this week. The Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) has previously warned that arrests and detentions of Zim nationals have been underway for several weeks, despite the documentation project that was launched last year. The group’s Director, Gabriel Shumba, told SW Radio Africa on Friday that the return to deportations now is ‘alarming’.

Zimbabwean passport. Image courtesy of sokwanele.com

Responding to the SW Radio report, Dumbu said:

Let`s go home and prepare to vote out Mugabage.

Wildfire left this comment:

Its sad what is happening to my fellow bothers and sisters in SA, but one thing I. Can tell u is that 2day most people were arrested in the morning in one area and by night fall they had been released, having paid R50 to R100 to police officers

Lillian Mhosva argued that the move is politically motivated:

One has to look at these deportations from the point of view of the South African government. The voice of discontent amongst the poor and working class in South Africa is rising and the ANC government must be seen to sympathize with the needs of the electorate. As ANC Youth Leader Julius Malema continues to voice discontent among the poor and workers go on strike there is a need for the government to be seen on the side of the poor and working class to quiet the discontent looming in the townships. This is a class act by the South African government to silence the voice of discontent in the midst of the global recession and Zimbabweans unfortunately are just caught in the middle of politics.

Why is President Robert Mugabe wary of the deportations:

President Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF) are understood to be jittery over the resumption of the deportation of undocumented Zimbabweans from South Africa.

There are fears the deportees might tilt the scales in favour of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in the fresh presidential and harmonised elections President Mugabe wants held in March 2012.

Whether these people will be safe upon returning home remains to be seen.

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