Home Affairs dept surprised by low number of Zimbabweans going home

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The Home Affairs Department is surprised at the low number of Zimbabweans who have gone through the Beitbridge border post in Limpopo in the past three days. There are three million Zimbabweans in South Africa and most of them were expected to go and vote in their country’s historic elections on Monday morning.

Beitbridge is the biggest port of entry after O.R Tambo airport. During its peak, especially during Christmas holidays, over 20 000 travellers are processed daily.

Businessman Clever Dube, who currently stays in South Africa, is stationed at the Beit Bridge border post to see if his fellow countrymen are really going home to vote. He however says people are afraid of losing their jobs in neighbouring states just to go and vote for a government they are not sure will fix its economy.

“People are afraid to leave whatever they are doing in countries rushing for a vote; they might lose whatever they are doing in terms of jobs.”

Meanwhile Dube, a former freedom fighter and soldier in Zimbabwe, says allegations that  former president Robert Mugabe and his supporters formed a new party, the National Patriotic Front and that Mugabe is financially supported MDC campaigns,  makes some Zimbabweans to be despondent to go and vote.

“Those people who were in ZANU PF, the old ZANU PF like President Mugabe and the crew, they formed the party NPF and Mugabe sponsored MDC for the campaign, and we heard most of the people who are in the NPF they said once Chamisa wins the elections some of the people from the NPF are going to be given posts. Most of the people were willingly with the MDC but now they do not have confidence with the MDC and also with ZANU PF the same applies.”

Morris Jones, a shoemaker in Cape Town, wants to vote to bring about change in Zimbabwe. “ Things are tight in Zimbabwe, as you can see that people are running away from Zimbabwe looking for work , looking for money in other countries like South Africa, Zambia. So we are now going for elections people don’t have work,  all the companies are closed there is no money, there is nothing which is good in Zimbabwe.”

Meanwhile, Home Affairs Director for ports of entries Stephen van Neel says they are surprised by the low number of Zimbabweans going home to vote. “We are completely surprised because the number of travellers going through Beitbridge is quite low. I mean when we look at the numbers of people who travelled through the port on Thursday and Friday we had actually less than the number of people we normally get during the week compared with last Wednesday and Tuesday.It is lower numbers. That is the same as any other day that few people move through the port into Zimbabwe to go and vote.”

Eleven thousand polls in Zimbabwe are expected to open at 7am on Monday. Over 70 000 police have been deployed all over Zimbabwe. Click below for more on Zimbabwe’s elections: