More Zim illegals now entering SA

THE number of Zimbabweans entering South Africa illegally is increasing and many of them need health care, Medicines Sans Frontiers has said.

THE number of Zimbabweans entering South Africa illegally is increasing and many of them need health care, Medicines Sans Frontiers has said.

"We do an average of 2000 consultations per month. It's not getting any better. It's been like this for quite some time. I would say it's actually increasing. Zimbabweans are still coming," MSF Musina official Tonderai Mazanihi said at the release of a report on Zimbabweans seeking refuge in South Africa.

"People are coming legally, but there hasn't been a decrease in the number of illegals," said Dr Eric Goemaere, MSF medical coordinator for South Africa.

In April, the Department of Home Affairs announced that Zimbabweans with government-issued identification could apply for special permits.

"The permit confers on them the right to stay in South Africa for six months. It confers on them the right to schooling or education. It confers on them the right to work and access to basic healthcare," said Home Affairs director-general of immigration Jackie MacKay at the time.

MacKay had also said that if Zimbabwean applicants did not have identification they would be given a test by the UN High Commission for Refugees to determine their country of origin.

Goemaere said many Zimbabweans were not taking up the offer because they did not have proper identification or because the offices issuing the permits were inconveniently located. - Sapa-AFP

X