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Buthelezi Warns Zim
Refugees Threaten SA Food

By Adriana Stuijt
Exclusive to Rense.com
CAPE TOWN -- The many tens of thousands of Zimbabwean refugees streaming south across the border every month now, are 'a threat to South Africa's stability, warns Inkatha Freedom Party leader Dr Mangosuthu Buthelezi. An estimated 3-million of Zimbabwe's 11-mllion people have already fled to South Africa over the past three years, migration experts are claiming.
Dr Buthelezi warned that "the flood of refugees is... having an impact on South Africa's economic and social stability. Economists believe we have already shed three percent of our annual gross domestic product because of the cost of taking care of [the Zimbabwean refugees]," he said.
At the Musina border crossing, police conservatively estimated that Zimbabwean refugees were now crossing at a rate of 3,000 a day. "They manage to intercept less than 200 of them," said Buthelezi, who is a former minister of home affairs.
He said South Africa 'had a moral obligation to help the refugees, but Zimbabwe's crisis should not divert attention from those back home (in SA) who needed help in the face of acute poverty.' South Africa has many millions of people, often desperately ill from the combined epidemics of TB+Aids, who are living well below the breadline due to massive unemployment. Criminality has soared out of control as a result.
On Thursday, SA Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad did admit -- after earlier denials by other government officials --  that 'the influx of Zimbabwean refugees was a "serious problem" requiring action.
Earlier, SA government officials had still claimed that there 'was no Zimbabwean refugee problem and that no action was required to help them."
Many of these refugees, referred to as 'migrants' by the SA authorities, are given temporary tourism visas - thus also artifically inflating the South African tourism statistics. The regime has set itself a target of 10-million tourists by the Year 2010, when the World Soccer Cup tournaments are planned to be held in the country.
Source of quotes: DR Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Inkatha Freedom Party website.



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