South Africa will build a 40km fence along its border with Zimbabwe to prevent undocumented migrants from entering and spreading coronavirus – even though the neighboring country has no confirmed cases.
The planned fence is to be erected on either side of the Beitbridge Land Port of Entry to “ensure that no undocumented or infected persons cross into the country,” Patricia de Lille, the public works minister, said in a statement.
“We are certainly not xenophobic. We have had thorough consultations with all the countries that are our neighbors. What is important for South Africa is to protect our own citizens and people coming into our country because at the border post now, you’ve got health inspectors and you’ve got environmental professionals and they are doing the testing and screening at the border. But if somebody just walks over the border, there are no such facilities,” she added.
It is important to notice that South Africa, the continent’s most industrialized country, has long sought to reduce irregular migration from Zimbabwe, which it sees as a threat to local jobs in a country with unemployment of around 30 percent. The current situation comes like a golden opportunity to fulfill such a long time desire.