Zimbabwe Survives By Exiling People to South Africa

analysis

South Africa parrots Zanu-PF's fiction that all Zimbabwe's ills can be blamed on the West, while doing its northern counterpart a favour by absorbing desperately poor refugees from across the Limpopo.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

Zanu-PF has outsourced the responsibility of looking after its people to South Africa. That is both Zimbabwe's tragedy and South Africa's immense and perennial dilemma.

The question has often been asked over the past two decades: How on earth does Zimbabwe keep going despite a perpetually terminal economy and chronically unstable politics?

And the answer, to a large extent, lies in that pithy observation at the top of this story, made by someone official south of the Limpopo. Zanu-PF has been able to wreck the country with some impunity by unloading much of the consequence of doing so on to its big neighbour.

By absorbing millions of Zimbabwean "economic refugees", South Africa is of course hugely relieving pressure on Zimbabwe's dwindling socioeconomic resources - while piling the pressure on its own scarce resources. In addition, these refugees are remitting considerable volumes of money earned in South Africa to their relatives back home.

Zanu-PF has also in a sense outsourced its...

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