Xenophobic treatment against migrant Zim workers rife in SA

ZIMBABWEAN migrant workers in South Africa suffer extortion by the police and are sometimes deported without due procedures, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says.

A report by the international rights organisation says farmers who emplo

y migrants in the border province of Limpopo often ignore labour laws.

An economic crisis in Zimbabwe in recent years has resulted in increased migration to South Africa.

At least one million Zimbabweans are estimated to be in South Africa.

“South African police often mistreat undocumented workers when they arrest them,” Georgette Gagnon, HRW’s deputy Africa director, said.

“While awaiting deportation at police stations, undocumented migrants are given inadequate shelter and food, and some are detained beyond the 30-day legal limit.”

HRW argues that South African officials’ treatment of migrants violates South African law as well as the country’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

HRW’s research found that Zimbabweans who seek work on fruit farms close to the border are made vulnerable by their lack of legal status in South Africa.

“Farmers often simply ignore the minimum wage and openly admit that they pay even the documented workers lower wages than are legally required,” Gagnon said.

“Many farmers also make unlawful deductions from workers’ wages, including for housing, which violate government regulations,” she said. — BBC News.