Beitbridge gears up for Zim repatriates

2015-04-18 10:14
(Joe Stolley, News24)

(Joe Stolley, News24)

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Harare - Beitbridge border post is gearing up to receive the first contingent of more than 1 500 Zimbabweans who want to return home because of the xenophobic violence in South Africa, state media reported on Saturday.

Madzudzo Pawadyira, the director of Zimbabwe's Civil Protection Unit, said they were expecting returning Zimbabweans to start arriving at the busy border post on Sunday, the official Chronicle newspaper said.

More than 1 500 Zimbabweans have now indicated they wish to return home in the wake of the attacks on foreigners in and around Durban and Johannesburg in the past week. It does not appear as if they will all pass through Beitbridge on Sunday.

Two Zimbabweans, a woman and a child, are believed to have been killed in the violence and hundreds displaced.

Facilities for voluntary repatriates at Beitbridge can only cater for 1 000 people per day.

Overnight accommodation is limited to 600 people and just 40 children, the newspaper said.

Pawadyira told the newspaper: "We've had initial arrangements to facilitate arrival and ferrying of people from Beitbridge to their respective places."

"We're working under the guidance of the ministry of foreign affairs and have already sent a team to Beitbridge to resuscitate the facilities where these people will be assisted."

Beitbridge usually dealt with forced deportations of Zimbabwean staying illegally in South Africa. Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans have fled south across the border since 2000 to escape economic hardship and political tensions back home.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  xenophobia  |  crime  |  southern africa

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