Friday, May 18, 2007

South Africa braced for big Zimbabwe influx


SA braced for big Zimbabwe influx South African President Thabo Mbeki has said his country will "have to live with" an influx of illegal immigrants from neighbouring Zimbabwe.

The South African authorities regularly deport Zimbabwean illegal immigrants, but many make repeated attempts to enter South Africa, in the hope of finding refuge and employment.

President Mbeki has been appointed by Southern African leaders to mediate between Zimbabwe's governing Zanu-PF party, and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, in the hope that free and fair elections can be held next year.

Mr Mbeki said on Thursday the discussions were going "very well" but he gave no details.

It is understood however that the government and the opposition in Zimbabwe have yet to hold a face-to-face meeting.

Mr Mbeki has always preferred "quiet diplomacy" to public criticism of President Robert Mugabe's government.

But recently, senior ANC official Toxyo Sexwale said he feared that the Zimbabwe government was not listening and the "volume may have to be turned up".


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