- CAPE TOWN -- The many tens
of thousands of Zimbabwean refugees streaming south across the border every
month now, are 'a threat to South Africa's stability, warns Inkatha
Freedom Party leader Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi. An estimated 3-million of
Zimbabwe's 11-mllion people have already fled to South Africa over the
past three years, migration experts are claiming.
- Dr Buthelezi warned that "the flood of refugees
is... having an impact on South Africa's economic and social stability.
Economists believe we have already shed three percent of our annual gross
domestic product because of the cost of taking care of [the Zimbabwean
refugees]," he said.
- At the Musina border crossing, police conservatively
estimated that Zimbabwean refugees were now crossing at a rate of 3,000
a day. "They manage to intercept less than 200 of them," said
Buthelezi, who is a former minister of home affairs.
- He said South Africa 'had a moral obligation to help
the refugees, but Zimbabwe's crisis should not divert attention from those
back home (in SA) who needed help in the face of acute poverty.' South
Africa has many millions of people, often desperately ill from the combined
epidemics of TB+Aids, who are living well below the breadline due to massive
unemployment. Criminality has soared out of control as a result.
- On Thursday, SA Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad did
admit -- after earlier denials by other government officials -- that
'the influx of Zimbabwean refugees was a "serious problem" requiring
- Earlier, SA government officials had still claimed that
there 'was no Zimbabwean refugee problem and that no action was required
to help them."
- Many of these refugees, referred to as 'migrants' by
the SA authorities, are given temporary tourism visas - thus also artifically
inflating the South African tourism statistics. The regime has set itself
a target of 10-million tourists by the Year 2010, when the World Soccer
Cup tournaments are planned to be held in the country.
- Source of quotes: DR Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Inkatha Freedom