Monday 27 January 2020


A critical shortage of maids has hit Zimbabwe as thousands of jobless youth migrate to South Africa for greener pastures.

The crisis is so dire that working mothers are being forced to leave three-months-old babies at crèches or to wean them off before recommended ages.

Other working mothers leave their babies with women in the neighbourhood whom they pay in Rands at the end of the month. Children of school-going age return home in the afternoon from schools to eat cold food prepared the previous day because few homes now have maids.

Mothers teaching in rural schools leave their babies with women in the villages and collect them after school.

An analyst who declined to be named said that the phenomenon is very true but the tragedy with the Zimbabwe Government is that it has no statics on population movements and the crisis is growing  without any notice.

“Migration to South Africa has reached a crescendo so much that anyone who gets a passport and bus fare is anxious to leave Zimbabwe. One hard hit area is that of domestic workers.

“Zimbabweans are struggling to get maids and if you are lucky to get one, she will just stay for a few months as she raises bus fare and then leave for South Africa,” said Locadia Gurajena, a housewife.

The few maids who are serious about jobs are demanding an average of US$30 per month. They don’t accept payment in RTGS$, said Patience Munengiwa.

In 2010, Chiredzi South MP, Ret General Calisto Gwanetsa said it was difficult to find men and women of military-going age in Chiredzi as all youth illegally cross to South Africa where they work as labourers. He warned that Zimbabwe would soon find itself with a serious shortage of labour that will make any meaningful economic development impossible.
The Mirror also established that there is a serious shortage of farm labourers.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Peter Mutasa said the shortage of general labour is artificial. He said the local currency has lost value so much that maids have found it pointless to work for RTGS$100 which is only US$5.

He blamed the situation on the Government which he accused of destroying the economy.
“This is a precursor of what is coming. All workers are going to stay home.  There is no one who will be willing to work as a slave in any sector,” said Mutasa.

It is believed that there are hundreds of unemployed Zimbabweans who cross the border everyday as economic refugees.

Efforts to get migration figures from the South African Central Statistics Office have for the past six months hit a brick wall.

An analyst said that it was a waste of time to try and get any statistics from Government because there are none.

“It is important for Government to monitor large movement of its populace in and out of the country as this has crucial implications on skills, labour and the economy. I however don’t think that this is information that this Government has. They just don’t care about what is happening to their people,” said the analyst. Masvingo Mirror


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