Terrified Zimbabweans based in South Africa are reportedly sending their possessions back home in huge numbers as they fear for their futures in the country.
The Zimbabweans are worried about attacks by South African vigilante groups pushing anti-foreigner sentiments. There has also been a notable increase in nationalist and anti-foreigner rhetoric by mainstream politicians and political parties.
Cross-border buses that move between Zimbabwe and South Africa have seen a huge surge in the amount of luggage transported to ZImbabwe in the last few weeks.
Samson Chanetsa, the owner of Red Lion Bus Company, confirmed the surge in luggage being transported to Zimbabwe.
Chanetsa told Ground Up,
“We are carrying more luggage than passengers because people are afraid of falling victim to xenophobic violence. We used to travel with not more than 40 passengers per trip. We are now having a small number of travellers to Zimbabwe as people are spending more money on sending their luggage.
“We are charging the same prices on luggage we charged last year. A double-door fridge remains at R1,500. This is the same price we have been charging in the festive season.”
Another driver who chose to speak on condition of anonymity said,
“Most of the time we go with less than 20 passengers … We are experiencing an unprecedented volume of luggage. That is where we are making our profit. However, due to stiff competition, we can’t increase the prices of luggage. We had to buy a larger trailer to accommodate more luggage.”
Some of the Zimbabweans interviewed by the publication said they are not yet sure whether to remain in South Africa or not but have decided to err on the side of caution by repatriating their possessions.
Farisai Nyamadzawo, a domestic worker who has lived in Gqeberha for 15 years with her husband and their two children, said,
“I was afraid that I would end up losing everything. I paid R6,000 to transport two refrigerators, a four-plate stove, a set of couches and a washing machine.
- “My children will go in December after schools close and they will not return. I and my husband will not relocate to Zimbabwe anytime soon because we are holders of the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit.”