IOM Stands Ready to Assist Zimbabweans Returned from South Africa (2011, International Organization for Migration)
IOM and partners have begun to implement a contingency plan to provide humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwean migrants who may be
forcibly returned from South Africa this year following the end of a regularization campaign on 31 December 2010.
Hundreds of thousands of irregular Zimbabwean migrants could face deportation from South Africa as only about a sixth of the
estimated Zimbabwean irregular migrant population applied for legal status.
Nearly 276,000 Zimbabweans in the end registered for regularization through the campaign that began last September. However, there are an estimated 1.5 million Zimbabweans living in South Africa, many of whom migrated as a result of the social and economic unrest in Zimbabwe in recent years.
IOM, together with humanitarian partners and the Zimbabwean and South African governments will provide humanitarian and protection assistance to vulnerable returnees, including unaccompanied minors. Under the plan, IOM with support from local and international organizations has prepositioned non-food items including tents and blankets at Reception and Support Centres at the Beitbridge and Plumtree border crossings in Zimbabwe.
The locations, bordering South Africa and Botswana, are two of the principal points for cross border traffic for Zimbabwean migrants. The IOM Beitbridge and Plumtree centres, which opened in 2006 and 2008, have assisted some 316,000 and 121,000 returnees respectively with protection services, basic medical treatment and health-related referrals, temporary shelter, food, water and
sanitation facilities, psychosocial counselling, information on HIV and AIDS, family tracing and reunification assistance and
In September 2010, agreement was reached between the Zimbabwean and South African governments to register all Zimbabwean nationals currently residing in South Africa. As part of the arrangement, irregular Zimbabwean migrants had to apply for legal residency
status based on employment or business ownership in South Africa by December 31, or risk deportation.
Zimbabwean migrants faced a number of challenges to regularizing their status, including a backlog for processing passport
applications in Zimbabwe itself.
IOM assisted registration efforts by providing material, equipment and staff to support a mobile registration centre as well as working with a farm association in the Limpopo border area to identify communities and facilitate registration of Zimbabwean nationals within the Province.
IOM continues to support community stabilization efforts in some of the most impoverished migrant sending areas of Zimbabwe through
income generation programmes and other livelihoods initiatives.
For more information, please contact:
Tel: + 263 4 333 454