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SOUTH AFRICA: THE NEW APARTHEID
The series began... (more)
Added: December 12, 2007
SOUTH AFRICA: THE NEW APARTHEID
The series began in South Africa where a huge rise in illegal immigration from Zimbabwe and other African states is behind an increase in racism and xenophobic violence. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy journeys from the Zimbabwean border to one of Johannesburg's most dangerous quarters to investigate.
Friday 13 October 2006 7.35pm
Sunday 15 October 2006 4.35am (R)
Reporter Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Director Robin Barnwell begin their film on the Zimbabwean border with a group of Zimbabweans as they begin a long journey to Johannesburg. The South African police stop them but let them go in exchange it is claimed, for a bribe, which the people smugglers claim is routine.
The Zimbabweans say they are fleeing a collapsing state, where President Mugabe's policies have driven the economy into crisis and where earning enough to feed their families is impossible. However, the South Africans blame them for a crime wave and accuse them of causing unemployment.
White farmers in the Limpopo border region tell Unreported World that the immigrants are perpetrating brutal farm murders and poaching their game. The team films several farmers taking the law into their own hands by rounding them up, tying them together and handing them over to the police.
It's not just the farmers who believe these migrants are fuelling a crime wave. The team moves on to Johannesburg and films with police in one of the city's most dangerous areas. They accompany officers who routinely use plastic bullets to round up suspected illegal immigrants.
Those they catch are sent to the Lindela detention centre. The team interview a group of Congolese men who accuse the guards of severely beating them. Another inmate laments that South Africans have forgotten the support that their "African brothers" gave them during the days of Apartheid and accuses black South Africans of being the "biggest racists in the world".
The team then travel to the suburb of Diepsloot where the local South African business community has written an extraordinary letter to Somalian shopkeepers asking them to leave. The shopkeepers - who say they're asylum seekers rather than illegal immigrants - fear they will suffer similar violent attacks to those suffered by other immigrant communities.
A group of protestors gathers, demanding that South Africa should be for South Africans only. One woman tells Unreported World that black South Africans fought long and hard to gain their freedom that these benefits are now being stolen by illegal immigrants.
The team are then allowed to film on board a train returning 400 Zimbabwean illegal immigrants back to the border. Some are so desperate to remain, that they throw themselves from the moving train during the night. Almost all say they will be back in the country within a few days. Given the ever-worsening economic environment in Zimbabwe they say they have no other choice.
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