SA, Botswana to blame for Zim immigrant crisis

By Tanonoka Joseph Whande



TWO articles that appeared in two papers from the Southern Africa Development Community recently caught my attention.



ustify>Botswana’s Sunday Standard (July 23-29 2006) proclaimed, in its front-page headline, that Botswana’s Communications minister, Pelonomi Venson, is “losing the Zim propaganda war”.


The Sunday Times of South Africa (July 23 2006) screamed “Zim exodus overwhelms SA: deportations soar as thousands fleeing economic meltdown pour south”.


What both these two newspaper lamentations showed is the impotence and cowardice of regional governments in dealing with Zimbabwe.


The Sunday Times offered depressing statistics. In 2004, South Africa deported 72 112 Zimbabweans compared to a staggering 97 433 Zimbabweans in 2005. But this year, between January and May alone, police had already recorded 35 000 deportees.


South Africa is now spending a whopping R75 per day per illegal immigrant and the country is reported to have spent a total of R218 million on immigration control last year.


Now deporting more than 265 Zimbabweans a day, the South African government is considering building a second detention centre in Limpopo “to cope with the dramatic increase in illegal immigration from Zimbabwe”. What a solution!


Botswana shares an “unpatrollable” b