Zimbabwe is not ready to receive thousands of immigrants facing deportations from South Africa, civic society groups in that country have said.
People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty (Passop) and Zimbabwe Exiles’ Forum (Zef) last week said they were concerned the Home Affairs Department had “essentially ended a moratorium on deportations of Zimbabweans and authorised the first sizeable deportations of Zimbabweans in over two years”.
“The moratorium on deportation was introduced on the realisation that it was not tenable to forcibly return Zimbabweans to Zimbabwe because of the socio-economic and political environment prevailing there,” the NGOs said.
“This (Zimbabwean) environment has since not been adequately resolved therefore Passop and Zef’s position is that it is ill-advised and premature to commence deportations at this time.”
The moratorium on deportations was introduced in April 2009 and regularisation of Zimbabweans through the Zimbabwe Documentation Project put in place in September of the same year.
Last week, the moratorium was lifted and about 600 Zimbabweans were deported in the first two days of last week’s deportations. On Wednesday, residents of Alexandria, Johannesburg in neighbouring South Africa warned of an uprising over foreigners living in Reconstruction and Development Programme houses.
This has rekindled fears of fresh xenophobic attacks similar to the violent scenes that rocked the sprawling township a few years ago, which left several Zimbabweans dead.
“Both civil society organisations and the Zimbabwean government are not in a position to deal with the large human rights and humanitarian costs that the resumption of deportations brings about. Already about 600 Zimbabweans have been deported in the first two days alone last week,” the organisations said in statement.