This has seen thousands of Zimbabweans being deported back home on a weekly basis, but many still found their way back to SA. According to high-ranking sources within the MDC-T, the party’s leadership stood to gain if the Zimbabweans returned home to vote, yet they could not be seen to be encouraging the deportations.
“Yes for the party, it will be good if these Zimbabweans come home and vote for us. “However, we know that life is hard for them and they need to work and take care of their families, so we can’t be seen openly supporting their deportation,” a party official said.
However, the party’s deputy national spokesperson Tabitha Khumalo denied that her party was caught between a rock and a hard place. “Most of those people who are being deported are from Matabeleland, a region that has been de-industrialised, companies have been closed and if these people are deported, there is no source of income for them,” said Khumalo.
“Another challenge for these people is that they are without citizenship because of Gukurahundi that has left many with no proper documentation.
She added: “Now is the time for the MDC-T to push for the documentation or registration of these people. So we are not caught in between anything.
“This is time for the MDC-T to correct this registration anomaly, where these people have been denied registration for so many years.”
South Africa is deporting an average of 500 Zimbabweans weekly. Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans have made their way into South Africa in recent years to escape the country’s political turmoil and an economy crisis.
It is estimated that there are more than one million Zimbabweans in South Africa with most of them living there illegally.