Mass exodus into SA


“Can South Africa take such an additional burden at this time?”

ECONOMIST Eddie Cross has claimed that the tightening economic situation in Zimbabwe has triggered a mass exodus of Zimbabweans into South Africa.

In an article titled The deepening crisis in Zimbabwe, Cross has estimated that up to 5 000 people a day are now crossing the country’s southern border into South Africa, a number he said could translate to more than 40 000 a week or two million people by the end of this year.

“Some will return but the majority will stay and seek new lives. Can South Africa take such an additional burden at this time? I think not,” said Cross.

Cross, who is also the Movement for Democratic Change Member of Parliament for Bulawayo South, has blamed the mass exodus into South Africa, from where only months ago Zimbabwean were fleeing from xenophobia attacks, on Zimbabwe’s worsening economic situation.

“Every aspect of life is affected by the economy and how it is performing. Despite the statements by the pundits, our economy has resumed the downwards slide that characterised the economy from 1997 to 2008. Inflows to State coffers have shrunk and suddenly there is no money in the markets. Companies are retrenching staff or simply winding up their affairs. Human flight has resumed with a vengeance into any country that will have our economic refugees.

“The agricultural sector is in dire straits and will contract again this year – reflecting a continuous and rapid decline in output and activity since the farm invasions began in 2000. This year the situation is compounded by a very poor season and a nationwide shortage of spending power. Unlike 2008, the shops are full of everything you might desire or need. But this time people simply do not have the money to buy what they see in the stores. Real hunger and deprivation is now common in all rural districts,” said cross.

Cross warned that “company closures will accelerate”, while investor sentiment will continue to influence incoming investment.

“The consequences will be fully established by year end – hospitals unable to function except as mortuaries and schools becoming day care centres for young people who will not get an education. The Diaspora will strive to keep their extended families fed but there will be little money left over for anything else,” noted Cross.