South African Home Affairs (Interior) Minister Malusi Gigaba says there is no indication that South Africa will see an influx of Zimbabwean migrants in the wake of tensions in that neighbouring country.

His remarks Thursday came as trade experts warned that Zimbabwe’s restrictions on imports were a setback for regional trade and integration.

Zimbabwe’s government is running out of cash and is seeking to encourage the manufacture of goods in its own backyard.

With more than 700 million US dollars’ worth of goods going into Zimbabwe yearly, South Africa is the largest source of imports for that country.

Analysts say curbing those imports will have severe consequences for both businesses on sides and the region as a whole.

Sinethemba Zonke of Africa Practice says there will be a sharp drop in business activity in border towns, adversely affecting businesses and threatening jobs. “There is also a possible influx of Zimbabweans fleeing their country.”

However, Home Affairs Minister Gigaba said that so far there had been no discussions scheduled with his Zimbabwean counterpart. He said the situation was unlikely to result in an influx of migrants into South Africa.

“The cross border numbers appear to be stabilising. We have had no talk with the Zimbabwean counterparts but DIRCO (Department of International Relations and Co-operation) has. We understand there are talks on the trade front. We don’t think we will see an influx of migrants from what we gather.”

Local retailers with operations in Zimbabwe say they’ve taken a knock as a result of the import restrictions.

Source: Nam News Network