Saturday 15 June 2024


The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) at Beit Bridge Border Post has revealed shocking statistics of Zimbabweans who die in neighboring South Africa, with the port of entry recording an average of 100 deceased people per week which translates to 400 per month.

The revelation was made during a tour of the upgraded border post by journalists from Masvingo, Chiredzi, Zvishavane and Beit-Bridge following a customs and exercise training for journalists held at Flamboyant Hotel on June 10 and 11.

Addressing journalists, Port Health Officer Silibaziso Nkala said causes of death on the bodies they inspect varied from chronic illnesses, accidents, gunshots and knife stabs, among others.

“Here we clear bodies’ of people who die in South Africa. So when they get here we verify to make sure they are carrying bodies because people can do anything in the name of smuggling.

“On average we record plus or minus 100 per week so on average we process 100 deceased people passing through here into the country, locally and we have very few who will be in transit. The causes of deaths vary with some dying from chronic illnesses, accidents, stab wounds and gunshots,” said Nkala.

She said they were however worried about people who try to smuggle other goods together with their dead relatives and said they had trouble oftentimes trying to educate mourners-cum-smugglers.

“We also have a duty to make sure that people are not mixing dead bodies with other goods, we have mourners who try to smuggle goods like fuel which they hide in coffins and hearses, but in most cases, we bust them because we do a thorough search before they are allowed to pass.

“We then educate them about the dangers of smuggling goods and that they cannot pass without being detected here,” said Nkala.

She further said the port also processed several dead people entering South Africa from Zimbabwe saying most of them would be truck drivers or their spouses.

“We do record some dead bodies who cross to South Africa from Zimbabwe but mainly they are truck drivers or their spouses who would have died in Zimbabwe or other countries and pass through here to South Africa,” said Nkala

She said the facility was open every day but people preferred weekends especially Fridays to pass so that they bury their loved ones during the weekend.

“We are open 24/7 but people mainly come on Fridays since they will be at work during the week and would want to bury their relatives during the weekend,” she said

She also said there were children who were born in South Africa who will be going back home for the first time.

ZIMRA BeitBridge Regional Manager for Customs and Exercise Lonto Ndlovu lamented the porousness of the border saying people could smuggle a lot of things since the border area stretches for more than 100km and they could not be everywhere to monitor.

This then means that the number of people who cross into the country could be bigger than the recorded one, as other people use illegal entry points.

“The border area is so porous and we cannot be everywhere to monitor all entry points, people use these illegal routes to smuggle goods in and out of the country,” said Ndlovu.

The tax collector is now using the aid of drones to monitor the entry points, and the drones can monitor the border area for 10km radius.

Data from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) shows that more than a million Zimbabweans are living in South Africa and most of them have entered the country illegally.

The number of deaths recorded from the neighboring country has resulted in the proliferation of funeral insurance companies that transport the deceased back home. TellZimNews


Post a Comment