Most Zimbabweans In SA Living In Squalid Conditions

The report entitled ‘Desperate lives, twilight worlds – how a million Zimbabweans live without sanction or sanctuary in South Africa’, looks at the dire situation the immigrants face after having fled their country.

“I think that one of our major concerns is the fact that Zimbabwean’s continue to be in South Africa without any special dispensation. The vast majority of them do not have the legal documentation to be in the country – they enter the country without passports,” says the director of Solidarity Peace Trust, Shari Eppel.

“The South African government did promise a special dispensation over a year ago but that did not happen which means it is not a comfortable situation for South Africans either.”

Two years ago, a series of riots started in the township of Alexandra in the North-Eastern part of Johannesburg when locals attacked migrants mainly from Zimbabwe, killing them and injuring many others.

Earlier this month, the Congress of South African Trade Unions’ general-secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, said competition for jobs between migrants and locals is creating a lot of problems for South Africa. Vavi said competition for resources is what led to the xenophobic attacks last year.

“That catastrophe is compounded by the fact that there is so much movement of workers from everywhere in South Africa so we have competition. It is that competition that leads to those xenophobic attacks that we have seen,” says Vavi.