Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: South Africa’s Harare Embassy Feels the Heat

The South African Embassy in Harare has their work cut out again as hundreds of Zimbabweans look to escape the country’s worsening economic crisis. As early at 6.30am, long queues steadily form outside their Belgravia offices. The security guards are in charge until 7.30am when the embassy officially opens. Two South African nationals drive into the carpark and start work immediately even before they switch on their computers. Their task is to sort out the scores of people lined up outside. Just a year ago, the embassy was relatively quiet, but today is it a different story. Whenever there is an economic crisis in Zimbabwe, neighbouring South Africa directly feels the heat. In the recent weeks, Zimbabwe has been rocked by massive job cuts after the Supreme Court ruled that employers can, in fact, terminate employee contracts by giving just three months’ notice. Furthermore, employers are not obliged to pay out a retrenchment package. This has seen over 20,000 people losing their jobs in a space of two weeks, further dragging the already crippled economy deeper in the mire.



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