New Theba: South Africans weigh in on Malawi’s lucrative Israel deal

Young Malawians

South Africans have weighed in on Malawi’s labour export program of sending youths to Israel to work in farms, saying Malawians have been doing such jobs in Southern Africa and are now taking this beyond the region.

Malawi Government has started exporting young Malawians to Israel, a move condemned by critics as akin to human trafficking.

However, the government says that Malawians will be safe in Israel and government is anticipated to yield over US$180 million (exceeding 350 billion Malawi Kwacha) in foreign exchange earnings.

On social media, the labour deal has gained international attention with social media influencers from Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa posting about it.

South African X user, Man’s NOT Barry Roux, also posted about the deal saying:  “Malawi has declared that it is sending unemployed youths to Israel to work on farms as part of President Lazarus Chakwera’s commitment to job creation.”

Some South Africans commenting on the post described the labour export program as modern slavery.

“They gonna get there and become slaves. Just like the Ethiopians, Somalis and West Africans that go to Libya and other Arab countries,” one commenter said.

@samnyakudya commented: “These young people will be subjected to the most horrific racism and exploitation.”

While @Palare274 said: “African leaders for you. They are very good in promoting modern slavery in the name of job creation. They can’t think outside their colonial masters. They are not independent in mind and execution.”

Other commenters, however, supported the labour export deal saying working in farms in Israel is better for youths than being unemployed in their countries.

“I can hear some people saying it’s modern slavery but it’s better then letting your youth unemployed and resorting to crime. Atleast what they can make in Israel can help them to come back home with some money and start businesses,” wrote @Kzn_Bhutiza.

Another commenter said: “There the average pay is USD1500 a month for general farm work. Thats ZAR27,800. Before you think its a bad idea, compare that with what you are earning in most Southern African countries.”

According to Malawi Congress Party secretary general, Eisenhower Mkaka, Malawi is anticipated to yield over US$180 million (exceeding 350 billion Malawi Kwacha) in foreign exchange earnings from the export deal.

“These people will be getting at least $1,500 a month and this will be sent to their accounts here in Malawi (in $) as per agreement. For 5,000 youths (there is a possibility the figure might go up to 10,000) that’s no less than $90, 000, 000 ($180,000,000 if 10,000 are sent) direct dollar injection into the economy annually for five years,” said Mkaka.