By Leopold Munhende – Chief Reporter
AN INTENSIFIED clampdown on Zimbabwean border jumpers by the South African government at the Beit Bridge border post reveals some senior Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) officers are aware their juniors are receiving bribes from the offenders.
However, the senior army commanders are reported not to have acted on the information they received from their colleagues in South Africa on the corruption done by their juniors.
This has led to an influx of undocumented Zimbabweans who are illegally crossing back into South Africa after spending the festive season home.
Junior soldiers patrolling the border receiving bribes of an unspecified amount to allow illegal passage to Zimbabweans.
South Africa Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi who was touring the border post this week heard this development from that country’s military command-in-charge of operations.
“So you are saying the military command in Zimbabwe knows that their soldiers are taking bribes to let people in and you have told them that but nothing has been done?,” Motsoaledi asked.
In response, the South African military said: “They pay Zimbabwean soldiers to cross the border.”
Over 600 Zimbabweans have been arrested in the festive season blitz, which has kept South Africa’s border control department busy with deportations.
Motsoaledi added: “What we have learnt is that these people come by car from Zimbabwe and it stops on the Zimbabwean side. Whoever does not have documents moves out of the car and the car, then passes through as the driver has got requisite documents.
“After passing through the border they then meet the people who crossed illegally in South Africa. It does not happen very far from the border because they cannot walk a very long distance.”
Zimbabweans have for over two decades been crossing the border in search of greener pastures in South Africa as a result of their government’s poor administration back home and a worsening economic and political climate.
Over two million are reported to be living and working illegally in South Africa.
A R37 million security fence erected to shut Zimbabweans out in 2020 was vandalised.