HARARE – AN estimated 400 bodies of dead Zimbabweans are repatriated into the country every month from South Africa, with most of the deaths being a result of murder, the Financial Gazette has reported.
Although Zimbabweans also die in many parts of the Diaspora, deaths south of the Limpopo River are way more than in other countries.
Horror stories are told of Zimbabweans dying in gruesome deaths in neighbouring South Africa, a situation government said was a cause for concern.
Last month, a Zimbabwean woman from Bikita was shot and killed after being caught in a cross fire as armed robbers led a heist at a Standard Bank branch in Musina.
Deaths by knife stabbings and shootings are routinely reported, particularly of Zimbabweans staying in South African townshipsIn March last year, 23 Zimbabweans died at a disused South African mine after inhaling high levels of carbon monoxide underground.
HIV-related deaths are also quite common as are suicides (jumping off high rise buildings), shootings and other causes.
There are also a few murders by burning, particularly in xenophobic inflamed incidences.
Although the Zimbabwean government could not provide an overall figure of repatriated bodies, sources said Beitbridge, which is the largest border into Zimbabwe from South Africa, processed the repatriation of 100 bodies a week, which translates to 400 a month.
Funeral parlours across the country confirmed handling the repatriation and burials of about 400 Zimbabweans who are dying in South Africa every month.
Kings and Queens funeral parlour, headquartered in Bulawayo, said they were handling the repatriation of at least 120 bodies monthly, at an average of 30 bodies per week through the Beitbridge border post.
Reuben Phiri, chief executive of Kings and Queens, said the bulk of its clientele were Zimbabweans, although they now provided services to Mozambican and Nigerian nationals.
â€œThe bulk of the corpses which we handle according to distribution; nearly 70 percent are going to the Mashonaland provinces, while the rest are destined for the Matabeleland provinces,â€ said Phiri.
Auxillia Dzenga, the public relations and marketing manager at Moonlight Funeral Services head office in Harare said most of the repatriations they handled were from South Africa, with murder topping the list for the cause of death. – Financial Gazette