As the economic meltdown continues in neighboring countries, some people are resorting to hook and crook to make ends meet. It was revealed that some business people in neighboring Zimbabwe have started operating illegal border crossing points into South Africa and other lucrative countries like Botswana. In addition, some foreign nationals will be deported after they were caught with fake passports.
While police in Zimbabwe have admitted to knowing about the illegal entry points, they say that they lack the resources to monitor them and the activities that are happening around these. An employee of the government parastatal that runs the border activities and collects revenue on behalf of the government, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, ZIMRA, confirmed to the government controlled media that local businesspersons were behind these illegal activities.
The Beitbridge border along the Limpopo river has, for many years been used by countless Zimbabweans to enter South Africa illegally. This has led to the proliferation of other illegal activities such as the smuggling of cigarettes and other banned goods and minerals like gold, diamonds and ivory. As the dry season beckons, there will most likely be an increase in the volume of traffic across these points. A worrying trend according to several sources is the increase in the trafficking of children, which has led to the recent tightening of policies regarding travelling with children.
In a related development, several foreign nationals were arrested after they were caught with fake passports as well as passports and travel documents that did not belong to them. According to the national broadcaster, SABC, a police spokesperson said the foreigners would be held at Lindela before they could be deported back to their countries of origin. The spokesperson, according to the report, further confirmed that most of those arrested were from northern and eastern parts of Africa.
It is expected that as the new regime of immigration policies set up and implemented by the department of Home Affairs start to kick in, more and more of these incidents will start to be encountered. It is hoped that the police will anticipate this and be in a position to deal with them effectively. Furthermore, there will be a need to deal at diplomatic level with allegations of foreign business people who encourage illegal crossing into the country.