Welcome to South Africa

In her weekly newsletter, Cathy Buckle describes the disgusting way Zimbabweans are treated by the officials at South Africa’s Beitbridge border post:

Rude, aggressive, sullen and surly South African officials made it quite plain how they felt about us Zimbabweans. If we dared to even sit down on the ground in the painfully slow border queue, large chested South African police women barked: ” Get up! No sitting allowed here.”

A couple of brazen touts constantly patrolled the line looking for
business and watched by the Police women:

“You want to go fast?” they ask. For 200 Rand per person (20 US dollars) they will bribe the officials and take you to the front of the queue. For another 200 Rand per person they will get you right into the passport control building.

Without bribes it took 4 hours to get to the front of the line and
when you get to the few counters that are staffed, the South African
immigration officials do not look at you or greet you but they chew gum and talk to each other as if you weren’t even there. Its a very grim welcome to South Africa and an exhausting exit from Zimbabwe.

Shortly before midnight the queue waiting to get into South Africa
was still at least seven or eight hundred strong.

It’s an embarassing, shameful way to treat our beleagured neighbours. The least we could do is welcome them to the “Rainbow Nation” with a smile.

Sorry, Cathy, we’re not all like that.


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