A reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, sent us this letter about the treatment of Zimbabweans at the Zim/SA Beit Bridge border post:
That Zim/SA border is dehumanising! Imagine this:
You have been sitting in the bus for hours, you get to the border, there are at least seven buses that got there before yours and none have been served.
It is now 6 am (if you are lucky) and the last time you had a shower was the day before. The loo is so dirty you beg your bladder not to betray you and you munch down bananas because apparently they help to keep your pee at bay.
The staff keeps coming and shouting at everyone to get into some pointless long queue and you see everyone, including old men and women, quickly scurry over to that queue, no questions asked, even though you were standing in the previous one for four hours.
Babies are crying, everyone smells like a well "cooked" human. Every time the queue moves one inch, the 80 people behind you huddle so close to each other trying to quicken the agony of dealing with passport clearance ordeal and all it does is make you feel like an overripened tomato in a soggy sandwich.
After spending hours in the queue, you go up to the counter and this is how the border post people treat you: After your passport is finally stamped, the person boringly holds on to it for an extra 10 seconds then, when you cannot take any more, disinterestedly throws it at you. You even say thank you hoping these people will treat the next person better.
God forbid you request a certain number of days to stay in South Africa. You: "Please can I have 14 days?" Agent: Looks at you for two seconds and says nothing and when you get outside, you realise the agent stamped three days! Almost like a final go to hell moment from them to you.
We are less than human to these people.
I found this video on Facebook and thank God someone has finally documented what we all typically are subjected to by the staff there.
I was this morning informed about the video circulating on social media platforms, and have asked the Department of @HomeAffairsSA to investigate this matter and take swift action against the official. pic.twitter.com/ZwllSemEyZ
UPDATE: The Home Affairs Department says it is investigating this official who is seen spending time on Facebook while assisting a traveller. Spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete says the incident might have taken place at OR Tambo International Airport. More details coming soon.