The Southern African Migration Project produces some great research and data on migration flows and development—the most relevant and country specific policy papers I have come across in my own research. Most recently I reread their current policy series 22 on South African Government and Civil Society Responses to Zimbabwean Migration. (December 2008, Tara Polzer; Series Editors: Prof Jonathan Crush and Vincent Williams.)

The thesis of the enquiry is that while Zimbabwean migration since 2000 has been the largest concentrated flow in South African history, South Africa’s reaction to this movement has been characterized by the attempt to continue with ‘business as usual’ and ‘no crisis’ responses. Clearly, this “non-response” to over a million immigrants requires explanation.

Because of the lack of government response and comprehensive support, the SAMP concludes that in practice, addressing migrant needs and migration impacts is left to social networks among Zimbabweans, (often poor) South African citizens and local level public service providers such as local clinics.

As a result of this fragmented and inadequate set of responses there are two major gaps:

  • Between the needs of Zimbabwean migrants and the formal institutional frameworks and services provided to them
  • Between the impacts of Zimbabwean migration on South African society and its ability to manage these impacts.

These inadequacies need to be met on several levels addressing the political, civil and rights-based needs of Zimbabweans in South Africa, but also taking a more migrant-focused approach. In particular, the need of most Zimbabweans in South Africa to earn and remit money and goods to family and friends in Zimbabwe: “A key developmental issue but not one clearly defined as a right in either domestic or international law.”

Zimbabweans are therefore, key actors in formal and informal associations and structures within governmental and non-governmental spheres.  For more information on these and to read the SAMP paper yourself I would recommend going to their website.

Should remitting money back home be considered a right in domestic or international law?

Make sure you’re informed about how to send money home from South Africa to Zimbabwe. Ask your friends and family and check out this Zimbabwean-run company helping send cash from South Africa to Zimbabwe, without a bank account. also offers the cheapest way to send money home to Zimbabwe or South Africa.

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