A total of 273 more Zimbabweans- who include 129 ex-convicts- are currently being deported from neighbouring South Africa after they were arrested for violating immigration laws, a diplomat has said.

Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South Africa, David Hamadziripi confirmed the development to state media late Thursday and said the first batch of 169 arrived today in police vans.

Another batch of 106 more Zimbabweans are expected in the country this Friday.

“I can confirm that the South African authorities will be deporting a total of 273 Zimbabwean nationals from 2 to 3 July 2020. The majority of them had been arrested for violation of South Africa’s immigration laws,” said Ambassador Hamadziripi.

The move is part of South Africa’s mitigatory measures to curb the novel coronavirus in that country.

South Africa is home to millions of Zimbabweans who skipped the landlocked southern African country in search of greener pastures.

Zimbabwe’s economic environment took a dramatic nosedive during the dawn of the 21st century when then president Robert Mugabe, who died last year, introduced a populist agrarian programme which saw war veterans grabbing the formerly productive white-owned commercial farms.

Mugabe’s infamous land reform programme, as it is still euphemistically called by Zimbabwean authorities to this day, was followed by decades of economic woes typified by hyperinflation, a literally impotent local currency, civil service unrest and rampant corruption widely blamed on the ruling Zanu PF.

Since taking over from his long-ruling dictatorial predecessor in a November 2017 coup, incumbent Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa has apparently failed to bring sanity to the economy.

state media
Additional Reporting: Zwnews