THE International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says 1 230 people per day were crossing into South Africa illegally during the eighth months when the Beitbridge border post was closed due to lockdown measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 between Zimbabwe and South Africa.
In a survey conducted in Beitbridge in support of the government of Zimbabwe’s national preparedness and response plan for Covid-19, IOM said the number of border jumpers was almost the same as before lockdown restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
IOM Zimbabwe communications specialist Fadzai Nyamande-Pangeti said the report was compiled after a population mobility mapping (PMM) exercise that was launched in Beitbridge in October by the UN agency and various other stakeholders, among them government.
“The findings of the PMM proved that both Beitbridge rural and urban districts are high mobility districts, with Beitbridge border post as the main official point of entry into Zimbabwe from South Africa and more than 22 unofficial points of entry, indicative of high irregular migration,” the IOM report said.
The report revealed that the Beitbridge official entry point used to record 15 000 people crossing the border every day but this fell to 800 during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
Others porous points were recorded as Lamidzi, Gates and Maroyi.
Most of the citizens, who entered the country from South Africa through illegal entry points were evading the 21-day quarantine protocol.
IOM said the specific objectives of the PMM were to identify the points of entry and congregation areas within Beitbridge and at borders with neighbouring countries to prioritise for public health interventions in times of public health emergency, among others.
Zimbabweans, especially from Matabeleland, continue to flock to South Africa escaping from poverty and lack of opportunities at home.