THE world is, indeed, a stage upon which everyone is an actor. The only sad thing is that more often than not, we do not dictate the direction the transcript takes. Growing up, I used to go to our neighbours’ place to watch television, little did I know that in the next episode of life, I would be knocking at my neighbours’ house again, but this time to beg for social justice and economic opportunities
By Boniface Manjeya, Our Reader
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced a R500 billion stimulus package meant to combat the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This is in a move to cushion the socio-economic impact on the general population resulting from the decline in economic activities emanating from the lockdown regulations.
So many questions are being raised as to how this will affect the foreign nationals. Some have even gone further critically analysing the terminology and phrases that Ramaphosa uses in his addresses to his “fellow South Africans, and fellow compatriots”, asking if these phrases include those that are not South Africans. I personally think that this is a bit unfair by Ramaphosa.
The question that we should be asking ourselves is, given the chance to be in his shoes, what can one do to balance the scale? It is not an easy task, especially if the basket does not even have enough for your own immediate family and I do agree with SA’s Finance minister Tito Mboweni when he stated that his country’s economy should benefit locals, not because the policymakers are “xenophobic or hateful”, but they are simply trying to take care of their own, which is the natural thing to do.
The SA government can only do so much and, unfortunately, as it is human nature, you always start with your own. If the situation permits, then you extend the helping hand to your neighbours, no wonder why Mboweni states that the South African economy should benefit South Africans. This is just the sad truth that we need to accept.
This situation is not peculiar to SA. There is so much at stake, political careers as well as diplomatic relations to consider, especially during these trying times when the global national anthem is human solidarity, hence we have seen Cuba sending more than a thousand doctors across the African continent to help the vulnerable countries.
The sad and unfortunate reality, especially for our beloved Zimbabwe, is the fact that we are completely incapacitated. We heavily rely on our neighbours for almost everything. Our productive capacity is next to nothing. As a result, the fall of our neighbours is an almost sure guarantee of our own final demise. Many households rely on those abroad for survival and if all these people are negatively impacted the consequences are not only dire for those that depend on them.
Zimbabweans and other foreign nationals alike in SA are just caught between a rock and a hard surface. The road back home spells doom and gloom for many. The systems that people will be returning to failed them before and this explains why they have deserted their homes in the first place.
All we can do is be patient and silently pray that this phase passes and a remedy is discovered quickly, just be grateful that we were offered sanctuary when we needed it the most to escape the wrath of our own government’s failures.