Saturday, October 18, 2003

The BBC on illegal Zimbabwean immigrants in South Africa. This make for depressing reading. This particular sentence stands out:

'But the [train] guards can't stop dramatic getaways, such as the men prepared to leap from a moving train, risking their lives not to go back to Zimbabwe.'

What kind of desperation drives people to do something like this?

I confess to something of an ambivalence over this issue. Given that South Africa is now a contributing factor in the decline of Zimbabwe, through the moral and other forms of suasion it offers Mugabe, I think we have an obligation to those people who've chosen to flee the repression and the chaos in order to make new lives. Besides, deporting them, in addition to being expensive, is unlikely to work. The numbers are too great and the border is too porous.

The BBC is also reporting that the Zimbabwean govt has admitted that the land reform process is in chaos, with less than half the number of supposed beneficiaries receiving land. The report doesn't mention (or the Beeb hasn't reported) who the half are that have been given land, but you can bet your bottom dollar that they aren't from the poverty stricken classes. My bet is that the choicest bits of land have gone to Bob's cronies with the rest being parceled out to political supporters. Given that Bob was trying to use UN food aid as a political weapon a few months ago (those who supported the MDC found it much harder to receive food), I think its a pretty safe bet to say that MDC members haven't benefited from land reform either.

Reading about Zimbabwe makes my blood boil whilst Mbeki's unwillingness to do a damn thing about it makes me embarrassed to be a South African!

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