Latest South African press releases

Sunday, 18 February 2018 10:40

Zimbabwean children held in Rustenberg for three months apart from their parents


The recent articles regarding this matter, bring to public attention the plight of foreigners, in this case a group of minor children and their parents, some of whom have official documents for South Africa and others who are without legal documentation. Many have family members and friends in the same position.This small group is a representation of approximately 1,5 m people from SADEC countries, the majority from Zimbabwe, who have lived here for the best part of 15 years and have studied, married and had children here. The fineries of the oratory regarding the legal difference between political asylum and persecution related asylum status and pure economic migration become irrelevant when an economy collapses and people have a choice between starvation and a possible migration to the south, where things may be better. Borders are meaningless in such situations. In the words of the renowned South African born scholar, Dr IanGoldin, " a principle, human beings migrate towards circumstances where things are better."

I hope we don't still reside in the dark ages where have to argue about simple observable truths, but sometimes I wonder when I hear about the inhumane treatment of people in our society. Without engaging in convoluted and technical legal arguments, I believe that it cannot be Constitutionally acceptable in South Africa for people to be treated in this way, even if they are foreigners who find themselves outside of the protection of our immigration laws. Having been peripherally involved with this issue after being contacted by the employer of one mother who was caught in the same vehicle with her child, it became clear to me that Home Affairs, the Police and Social Development are not equipped to handle these matters.

The driver has been apprehended and charged with human trafficking but is probably only guilty of transporting people without checking documentation. The children are being transported between parents and guardians between South Africa and Zimbabwe and it was clear to me that despite their efforts, they have never been allowed to obtain documents to make their stay legal.In this case we are talking about children between the ages of two and twelve years old whose parents travelled to Rustenburg in November 2017 and met with the officials from Social Development at their offices.

While the investigation was pending, it would have been humane to return the children to their parents and deal with whatever issues were outstanding. The values of the Constitution, while encapsulated in words on a document, should embody in us a basic humanity, common sense and practicality where there is human inconvenience and distress, such as in this case.

I hope that the new political era in South Africa which we heard about at SONA on 16 February, and the values uttered by the new President of our country, are overtly detectable in the way people are treated in our society by ordinary citizens and government officials alike.

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Written by Leon Isaacson MD of Global Migration Group
tel: 0824994535

Global Migration SA

Our Company provides advisory services for companies and individuals wanting to obtain work, investment, study visa for South Africa and African countries, the UK, US and Australia. We have offices in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Cairo, Egypt

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