Hordes flee Zim for South Africa

HARARE - After a period of relative calm and stability that obtained in the country during and just after the government of national unity era, desperate Zimbabweans are once again stampeding out of the country, mainly to South Africa, as the country’s economic decline escalates.

Well-placed sources in Pretoria told the Daily News yesterday that South Africa had become very concerned again about developments in Zimbabwe, after witnessing an upsurge in both legal and illegal migration to the country from its troubled northern neighbour over the past few months.

“We are very worried (about Zimbabwe) because there has been a resurgence of the flood of people coming to our country since towards the end of last year, which we had thought was now a problem of the past.

“The difference this time, of course, is that none of the migrants are citing political violence, with virtually all of them saying they are just looking for opportunities to make a living and also look after their families because of the economic difficulties in Zimbabwe.

“The problem is that our people are also suffering from growing unemployment, particularly among the youths, which could, again, trigger the ugly spectre of xenophobia which we had to deal with a few years ago,” a Home Affairs official said.

Another official said while, traditionally, there were more people from Matabeleland trooping to South Africa, there were now “overwhelmingly more Shona-speaking people” pouring across the border to Mzansi in search of a better life.

“A colleague of mine was in fact making a joke the other day that our government might as well declare Shona the country’s 12th official language given that wherever one goes across the country these days, from Messina to Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, one gets to meet Shona-speaking people everywhere,” he said.

But Zimbabwean border officials say it’s not only South Africa that is bearing the brunt of the country’s deepening economic crisis, as other neighbouring States such as Zambia, Botswana and Namibia are at the receiving end as well.

Immigration officials at Chirundu Border Post (between Zimbabwe and Zambia) and Plumtree (Zimbabwe and Botswana) told the Daily News that they were now dealing with more traffic since the beginning of this year — with many Zimbabweans crossing into the two neighbouring countries to work.

It has also been reported recently that Zimbabwean nurses are flocking to Namibia, whose health sector is said to be on a massive recruitment drive, and where nurses can expect to earn up to R30 000 a month.

This emigration is despite the fact that health watchdog; Citizens Health Watch (CHW), recently revealed that Zimbabwe was facing an acute shortage of specialist nursing skills such as midwives.

Zimbabwe is facing massive food shortages reminiscent of the 2008 hyper-inflationary era, as the country battles a worsening cash crisis that analysts blame on President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF’s poor economic policies.

A survey conducted by the Daily News showed that the prices of many basic foodstuffs had recently risen by at least 20 percent, while supermarkets had begun imposing a limit on the quantity of basic goods that individuals can buy, as Zimbabwe’s economy continues to die.

For example, a two-litre bottle of cooking oil, which was going for an average of $2,99, is now retailing for up to $3,60 — while foreign cooking oil brands have vanished from the country’s supermarket shelves altogether.

United Refineries chief executive, Busisa Moyo, told the Daily News that cooking oil shortages that were being experienced in the country were due to delays in payments to raw material suppliers.

“We are very concerned about the issue because payments are not being prioritised and payments are not going through fast enough despite the fact that we are in the top 10 of the central bank’s Import Priority list,” he said.

Moyo also noted that cooking oil producers were anticipating a 30 percent slump from the current 8 000 to 10 000 metric tonnes being produced, due to the cash shortages.

Oil Expressers Association of Zimbabwe (OEAZ) president, Sylvester Mangani, echoed Moyo’s sentiments at a ministry of Industry meeting last week, saying the situation — if it continued unabated — would lead to a serious shortage of the commodity.

Disgruntled citizens interviewed by the newspaper said they were now resorting to hoarding most basic commodities in preparation for the looming food shortages.

Zimbabwe, which is battling an economic recession after failing to register significant growth since 2013 when Mugabe and Zanu PF romped to a hotly-disputed election victory, is in economic turmoil after the central bank introduced a raft of measures to deal with the cash shortages last month, including limiting daily cash withdrawals.

The May 4, 2016 measures that included a proposal to introduce bond notes have seen depositors embarking on panicky withdrawals, fearing a return of the discredited Zimbabwe dollar.

Analysts who have spoken to the Daily News have said the cash crunch manifested “the sad reality” that Zimbabwe’s economy was continuing on its catastrophic downward spiral — a consequence of the country’s decades-old political crisis that is widely blamed on Mugabe and Zanu PF.

In a surprising recent admission, a Zanu PF politburo member concurred that the country was “in dire straits” — a sentiment that flew in the face of official communiqués by both government and other governing party officials who incredulously continue to claim that all is well in the country despite obvious evidence to the contrary.

The bigwig also said “burying our heads in the sand like ostriches as we are doing” is not helping the country — adding that it “pained” him to see so many Zimbabweans suffering to the extent that they were doing.

“It is a fact that the economy is in a very bad shape, and that the poor are being particularly hard-hit. I think part of the way out of this is for all of us to admit that the country is in dire straits so that we can all sit down as Zimbabweans to find the requisite solutions.

“I feel pained to see so many of our people, particularly the poor in towns and rural areas having to make do with so little or nothing, and they have lived like this for so long.

“In fact, many young people who are under 25 years in our country don’t really know a good, normal life. It’s time for us to stop the denial.

“We need to rise above the culture of petty political fights that is now a permanent feature of Zimbabwean life,” the contrite politburo member said.

Most political and economic observers have warned that 2016 will, in all likelihood, be harder all-round compared to 2015, which was itself generally described as an annus horribilis (horrible year).

They said there was “little hope” that life would get better for most Zimbabweans, and that if anything, the country’s ailing economy would get sicker, while the deadly factional and succession wars ravaging Zanu PF would worsen.

Comments (13)

zenofobhia iri nane pane nhamo iri muno munyika

SIMBOTI - 7 June 2016

this is whats disheartening to see pple leaving the places they call home because its inhabitable! where else shall they find economic shelter with befitting protection that is available form one's gvt. @jojo tambira wana awo shamwari, ndiwe unenge wajaira lyf yepapurazi. meka shuwa kuti wanoyambuka limpopo zviri safe nhayka?! ndaakutotemba iwe!

SaManyika Chaiye - 7 June 2016

Ever wondered why its now easy to get a passport kwaMudede? lts a deliberate policy to make sure as many of you as possible leave this country in your droves to liquidate uprising to their misrule

Nyimo - 7 June 2016

@samaz.kkkkkk.plz jojo dnt take Samaz too deeply.At times yu ned a laugh.

viola gwena - 7 June 2016

@viola gwena; whatz yo tek on this mass exodus that is coming against a background of several weeks of bond-notes stories and a cash drought?

SaManyika Chaiye - 7 June 2016

Why are yu asking a prostitute @samanyika?

viola gwena - 7 June 2016

Behave yoself samanyika.I enmoy viola comments much better than yos.know yo limits.Dailynews survives bcoz of us all,thru sales.its not yos.dont insult our tete again.yu r allowed to disagree bt dont insult.

kilian - 7 June 2016

guys do yu know the meaning of the word 'proverbial' and the context of the phrase 'well mannered prostitute.' even as a kantry thats where we drop the ball because yu jump to forums that are above yo intellect. its not lyk what yu think @kiriyani.

SaManyika Chaiye - 7 June 2016

Just last week they were marching in Harare in solidarity with the government. Now off to another country.

Slim Cat - 7 June 2016

vana vari kutizei? Tiudzeiwo zviri kuitika kune imi vakasara. Isu vanaDonato kunyikadzimu hatinyatsikuvona. Bob vana vari kutizei munyika yechipigwa?

Donato - 8 June 2016

@Donato vanotiza mhere yarira mberengwa nezhara yapfunya rusero mumba yokubikira. zvino voti hatinganhongi svosve nomuromo kana kuseva nenhoko yechironda ivo maoko maranda vainavo. kwahi hwembudzi hwandikangaidza toindavo kunofura n'ombe! ndicho chakawana hama kuseka urema kwosariremi muri mudari rakavhagwa nebwe!

Robati - 8 June 2016

bob and his cronnies should just retire, they a re being an expense, changosora is a major revolt, we have suffered enough, zvakwana amana

chanachatete - 13 June 2016

Proverbs 29 vs 1-2: A man who hardens his neck after much reproof Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy. When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, But when a wicked man rules, people groan.

Mugabe - 14 June 2016

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