THE government is worried about the safety of Zimbabweans in South Africa following threats of fresh xenophobic attacks by some nationals of that country.
By Rex Mphisa
Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa, David Hamadziripi, in a letter dated August 29 this year addressed to the Transport and Infrastructural Development permanent secretary Amos Marawa said he was concerned about the safety of Zimbabwean drivers in that country.
“We are equally deeply concerned about the safety of our truck drivers in light of the reported attacks directed at them and other foreigners in that industry,” Hamadziripi said.
He said the Department of International Relations and Co-operation had invited them to bring them up to speed with preparations the South African government was doing to counter the proposed attacks.
South Africans have set today (2 September) as the day they will rise up against foreigners at workplaces and industries to violently smoke them out.
South Africans accuse foreigners of taking up their jobs in the country where up to 15 million of the country’s population are unemployed.
Hamadziripi, whose response to Marawa’s letter to a chief executive of SA’s Cross Border Road Transport Agency has gone viral on social media, asked about the results of the government response to previous attacks.
Last week, there was a fresh wave of xenophobic attacks, with foreigners filmed challenging South Africans to attack them.
Some Nigerians, in retaliation to attacks and threats, have ordered South African nationals and companies to leave the populous African country.
The chairperson of the Zimbabwe Cross-Border Transport Association, Dennis Juru, has throughout last week been releasing bulletins advising Zimbabweans working in SA to take the threats seriously.
He also warned that in retaliation to the threats, other countries would ban all South African drivers from their territories.
“Due to threats by South African nationals that on September 2, 2019 they are embarking on an attack to foreign national drivers, the International Cross-Border Traders Association executive hase resolved that if this plan succeeds, we are going to stop all South Africa-registered trucks, buses and flights to cross borders to any African nation,” Juru said in a statement.
“Foreign truck drivers have work permits to work in South Africa. The government of South Africa found it necessary to give foreign nationals work permits, allowing them to take employment in South Africa.
“No one has monopoly of violence. If they turn to be violent to foreign nationals, our organisation shall respond accordingly.”
He asked the South African government to protect foreign nationals in their country.
“We have previously witnessed foreign nationals killed, assaulted and threatened without a single person being arrested or prosecuted,” he said.
Yesterday, traffic between South Africa and Zimbabwe was smooth, with people arriving from the neighbouring country saying they had not seen anything sinister.
A bus driver who plies the Bulawayo-Johannesburg route said everything seemed normal.