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By Editorial staff

Journalist


Border controls must be tightened

Over 400 unaccompanied Zimbabwean children are found at South African border, sparking investigation into possible trafficking.


It would be simple to dismiss – as many Zimbabweans on both sides of our border do – as exaggerated the announcement that South African border officials found 443 unaccompanied Zimbabwean children and believe they may have been part of a trafficking operation. It does seem increasingly unlikely that the trafficking explanation will stand up to close scrutiny. ALSO READ: ‘Unacceptable’ that 443 Zimbabwean children were not with their parents – Motsoaledi Zimbabweans are claiming that the kids were merely being brought to South Africa to spend the Christmas holidays with their parents or other relatives – and that they would…

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It would be simple to dismiss – as many Zimbabweans on both sides of our border do – as exaggerated the announcement that South African border officials found 443 unaccompanied Zimbabwean children and believe they may have been part of a trafficking operation.

It does seem increasingly unlikely that the trafficking explanation will stand up to close scrutiny.

ALSO READ: ‘Unacceptable’ that 443 Zimbabwean children were not with their parents – Motsoaledi

Zimbabweans are claiming that the kids were merely being brought to South Africa to spend the Christmas holidays with their parents or other relatives – and that they would have headed back to Zimbabwe.

While that does sound plausible – and is certainly much less horrifying than the thought of young people being sold into slavery in our country – it is still nevertheless an incident which should never have happened.

South African law – and the law of most other countries – states that minors must be accompanied by an adult and must be in possession of the correct documentation.

ALSO READ: More than 30 human trafficking victims rescued in Boksburg

That includes birth certificates, as well as affidavits from parents or legal guardians that the child is under the lawful care of someone else, who must also be clearly identified.

There can be few people in either country who are unaware of these requirements – so the arrival of these children seems to have been done deliberately to sneak them into the country.

That shows contempt for South Africa’s laws and those responsible must be brought to book and dealt with harshly. If the culprits are unable to be traced because they are in Zimbabwe, then Harare must also do its utmost to ensure they are charged.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa: illegal immigration ‘exacerbated many of SA’s social and economic problems’

Another aspect which the Zimbabwean authorities must look at closely is how these children managed to exit Zimbabwe and cross to the South African border post at Beitbridge.

Let’s hope, however, that this case, whatever the truth, indicates a general tightening of our border controls.

Read more on these topics

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