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Zimbabwe, South Africa increase collaboration on migration

by Staff reporter
22 Mar 2019 at 07:18hrs | Views
ZIMBABWE and South Africa have increased collaboration on the management of migration and repartition of children across their border through the Cross-border Coordination Committee for Unaccompanied and Separated Migrant Children, an official has said. The committee was established in 2015.

In an interview following a CBCCUSMC meeting held in Musina on Wednesday, Zimbabwe Consul General to Johannesburg Mr Henry Mukonoweshuro said the forum was made up of various stakeholders immigration officials, social services, the police and other line ministries.

"This is a crucial forum in terms of bringing together the stakeholders from both South Africa and Zimbabwe, especially those who are concerned with deportations and issues to do with border efficiency management" he said.

"In fact, the meeting was the last one to complete the 2018/2019 cycle to do with unaccompanied children. It fell just a few days after the Bi-National Commission that was held in Harare.

"The issue (child migration) was quiet topical and that there is a lot of assistance and synergies being created between the Department of Social Development (South Africa) and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (Zimbabwe) and also the stake-holders that include border agencies among them Home Affairs and Immigration and the Consulate of identification and issuance of repatriation certificates.

"The whole idea is to enhance and improve efficiency and cooperation in various activities, so that both countries' systems are harmonised."

"It is more important for us to start working together with a common goal and purpose as we move towards the implementation of the envisaged one-stop border post concept at Beitbridge.

"This is the busiest ports in the north to south corridor and hence we have agreed to move together in confronting challenges as a team".

He said at they had also discussed delays that were being faced by the Child and Youth Care Centres in South Africa (CYCCS) in repatriating children to Zimbabwe after the identification of shelters in Bulawayo which was done early last year.

"We agreed on the need to move the children timeously and we hope there will be action in that regard," said Mr Mukonoweshuro.

He said they had also set up a task team to regularise the step-by step documentation of people who have been identified and making sure that the repatriation from either country is seamless.

He added that the children who were being held up in Rustenburg in December last year had since been repatriated to Zimbabwe and that the department of social services was seized with the task of re-uniting them with their families and guardians.

"We are happy with the good rapport and coordination between authorities from our two countries and I think we can do more.

"In fact since the formation of this forum, the time taken by the two social services departments to process documents once a person has been identified and traced, has shortened. "They are now using each other's contacts to make sure that the children are re-united with the parents within the shortest possible time," he said.

He added that relations between the border agencies in South Africa and Zimbabwe had improved following the establishment of the stakeholders' forum.

He also said prior to the setting up of the committee, there was a lot of misinformation on the capacities of both authorities to efficiently handle migration and re-partition issues, especially where vulnerable children were involved.

"We reiterate the need for parents to ensure that children are documented before travelling through the country's borders; said Mr Mukonoweshuro.

Source - the herald