Randburg resident’s Zimbabwean mother can’t meet her first grandson.
Crowds of people entering South Africa from Zimbabwe before going through customs at the Beit Bridge border post, 4 January 2021, Limpopo. Picture: Jacques Nelles
Foreign nationals are frustrated about the closure of South Africa’s land borders following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s “family meeting” updating government’s strategy to combat the spread of Covid-19.
Many foreign nationals with South African work permits will not be able to return to the country after going home for the festive season following the extension of adjusted Level 3 lockdown restrictions, including the closure until 15 February of all ports of entry into the republic.
Randburg resident Mthokozisi Dube said because of the border restrictions, his Zimbabwean mother cannot meet her first grandson.
“In our culture, when we have a child we want our parents around to help,” he said.
Dube’s son was born in November and the family planned to bring his grandmother to SA this month to meet her grandson.
She was still working last year at the time of his birth.
“She is stuck in Zimbabwe. She calls me every day. She just feels like she is missing out on time with her grandson,”
Dube said the situation in Zimbabwe was very tricky as the country was in lockdown and there was no work and no food.
“My mom gets groceries from me. I send her food by bus. Since the lockdown regulations, I haven’t been able to send her food.”
Stewart Kuzovamuhu, a Zimbabwean who is stuck in lockdown in Zimbabwe, doesn’t know what to do. He has a working permit to sell his wire art in Johannesburg.
“We were placed under a 30-day lockdown last Tuesday,” Kuzovamuhu said. “Now I am stuck here, I am not productive and I have kids to send to school.”
Economist Mike Schussler said the closing of the border put a lot of strain on industries.
“We’ve got a serious problem if we look at the economy; we had a slow start to the year, especially considering the strain on the economy, tourism and retail industry following the lockdown regulations over the festive season.”
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said the closing of the borders was a desperate measure.
“It has had an impact on those people wanting to come back for work, but the closure is one of the last resorts,” Mathekga said.
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