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SA deports over 28,000 Zimbabweans

The figure is nearly 60 percent higher than for the same period in 2012.

FILE: Beitbridge: Zimbabwean shoppers return to their home town Beitbridge after Christmas shopping in South African border town of Musina. Picture: AFP

HARARE - The latest figures of Zimbabwean deportees from South Africa have been released, showing the country has deported nearly 60 percent more so far this year than over the same period last year.

Reports say more than 28,000 people been deported back over the Limpopo River since January.

The state-run Chronicle says those deported are mainly people working illegally on farms in the Limpopo province.

Zimbabwe's immigration manager in Beitbridge, Charles Gwede, told the paper that 28,315 people were deported between January and June this year, far higher than the approximate 17,000 over the same period last year.

Zimbabweans have feared South Africans reinstating visas for locals since the election.

So persistent were the rumours that Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi has had to issue a statement denying that South Africa had changed its immigration requirements for Zimbabweans since the polls.

Last year, officials warned that a drop in water levels on the Limpopo River was helping border jumpers cross back to South Africa.

Authorities had to step up patrols in the region.

Officials said the deportations in 2012 fueled a surge in crime in the Beitbridge area.

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