Thousands of migrants and refugees existing on the margins in South Africa lack access to proper health care and shelter. They face physical and verbal abuse, police harassment and xenophobic attacks. Proper legal status is often difficult to obtain, if not impossible. Gangs prey on them when they cross the border into South Africa and in the derelict buildings where they find temporary housing. As a result, many face further threats living in dangerous conditions, particularly in Johannesburg. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is providing health care to these vulnerable people in Musina, a town on the border with Zimbabwe, and in Johannesburg.
Zimbabweans have been crossing the border seeking refuge in South Africa for years. They are fleeing an economic and humanitarian crisis, trying to survive. But many risk their lives by making the journey; on both sides of the border they are preyed upon by violent gangs and others.