Home Affairs monitoring borders in wake of Zim political tension

Speaking at Parliament on Wednesday, Deputy Minister Fatima Chohan says the government is not anticipating a huge amount of movement of people at this time.

A Department of Home Affairs office. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Home Affairs Department says it's on high alert on the country's northern borders in the wake of political instability in Zimbabwe.

Speaking at Parliament on Wednesday, Deputy Minister Fatima Chohan says the government is not anticipating a huge amount of movement of people at this time.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Southern Africa says it's in constant contact with counterparts in Zimbabwe, who report that the situation is calm.

Deputy Minister Chohan has launched a new, machine-readable travel document for refugees in South Africa, that complies with international aviation and UNHCR guidelines.

She says her department is monitoring the situation on the border with Zimbabwe.

“We are preparing for any eventuality and we hope that things return to normal as soon as possible. That's all we can say at this stage.”

The UNHCR's regional representative Sharon Cooper says the commission is doing its best to stay abreast of the situation.

“We are with the government of South Africa monitoring the situation both from within Zimbabwe from the UNHCR perspective but also within South Africa. We are monitoring what's happening on the border with the government.”

Home Affairs says its new travel documents will aid the safe and regular movement of refugees.