Xenophobic persecution has scared many Zimbabweans, prompting them to repatriate their valuables, furniture and appliances.
Recent attacks in South Africa on immigrants by members of groups such as Operation Dudula, Dudula Movement and PutSouthAfricaFirst have resulted in the murder of a Zimbabwean national, Elvis Nyathi, who was beaten and set alight outside his home in Diepsloot.
Nyathi was buried last week in Bulawayo with the assistance of the government of Zimbabwe.
Groundup.org.za reports that more than five bus companies that operate cross-border trips to Zimbabwe every week say they have seen a huge increase in luggage being sent home.
Samson Chanetsa, the owner of Red Lion Bus Company, said he had seen an increase in goods being sent to Zimbabwe. He said:
We are carrying more luggage than passengers because people are afraid of falling victim to xenophobic violence. We used to travel with not more than 40 passengers per trip. We are now having a small number of travellers to Zimbabwe as people are spending more money on sending their luggage.
We are charging the same prices on luggage we charged last year. A double-door fridge remains at R1,500. This is the same price we have been charging in the festive season.
A driver, who did not want his employer to be named or to be named himself, said they were sometimes transporting less than 20 passengers while they were experiencing an unprecedented volume of luggage. He added, “That is where we are making our profit.”
Farisai Nyamadzawo, a domestic worker who has lived in Gqeberha for 15 years with her husband and their two children says they sent their household furniture and appliances to Zimbabwe by bus as they feared they could end up losing everything.
She added that they were not planning to relocate to Zimbabwe anytime soon because they are holders of the Zimbabwe Exemption Permits.
Kuda Munyoro, a general worker at a smallholding in Sea View, and has been in South Africa for three years, joined hands with four Zimbabwean colleagues and paid R12 000 for their furniture and goods to be loaded on a bus from Gqeberha train station to Zimbabwe.
He said he was yet to decide on whether to go home for good or to remain in South Africa adding that he will apply for an asylum permit.