Concern over escalating targeted attacks against foreign nationals in SA

Elvis Nyathi

ON April 7, we woke up to the horrific images of a pile of ashes, the remains of Elvis Nyathi (43), a Zimbabwean man, who was brutally murdered after a violent mob stoned and burnt him to death in Diepsloot, northern Johannesburg in South Africa. His only crime was “failing to produce a passport”.

No one deserves to die merely for being undocumented and certainly not for merely being an immigrant.

We would like to offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

The scale of brutality that has broken out in parts of South Africa, mainly low-income, poor localities in Gauteng, has led to extreme terrorisation of foreign residents as locals target “illegal” immigrants whom they demand must be deported from South Africa.

The anti-immigrant sentiment singularly blames foreigners for displacing South Africans from spheres of economic life including but not limited to, jobs and housing while also squarely blaming them for the ever-rising crime rate, falling wages, stretching public health facilities, drug and human trafficking and squeezing social grants, among other charges.

As is to be expected where vigilante groups such as Operation Dudula, All Truck Drivers Foundation (ATDF) and the South Africa First Party are involved, the violence has already led to a tragic loss of life.

Section 11 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, like Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that the country is party to, guarantees and protects the sanctity of life.

While the locals may have legitimate grounds to raise socioeconomic issues impacting their daily lives on account of the immigrant influx, the killing of a fellow humans cannot be tolerated.

Zimbabwe’s political, economic and social crises continue to cause intense misery among its inter-generational population.

Its oldest population is wasting away, many with hardly any personal savings and pensions after years of economic turmoil and inflation. The working middle-aged population faces the daily consequences of an underperforming and badly managed economy that essentially exists to enrich the ruling elite and the politically connected.

By far one of the starkest indicators of the hopelessness and helplessness that pervades the Zimbabwe situation has been mass migration, into neighbouring South Africa, with the rest scattered elsewhere, including mainly in Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, United Kingdom, United States, Australia and Canada.

Zimbabweans escaping the political and economic turmoil across the Limpopo arrive in South Africa without proper documentation, in some cases through no fault of their own.

People in Matabeleland and some parts of Midlands, for example, were affected by the Gukurahundi massacres in the dark 1983-1987 period.

For children whose parents were killed or disappeared, obtaining national identity documents necessary to acquire a passport has been a three-decade nightmare.

While we acknowledge reports that the Zimbabwe’s Consul General in South Africa has begun “engaging the South African government at all levels”, we remain concerned by the government of Zimbabwe’s shocking lack of concern for the generality of Zimbabweans caught in the crosshairs of deepening socio-political and economic crises. –Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition

Govt must pay attention to Long COVID-19 sufferers

NOTING Zimbabwe’s documented 240 923 recoveries thus far, we are concerned regarding the quality of life and health of Long COVID-19 sufferers.

We continue to highlight this phenomenon experienced by both severe and mild COVID-19 patients, who continue to endure negative health experiences weeks and months after they have been marked as recovered.

We highlight ongoing research findings, which indicate that Long COVID-19 sufferers must receive support and increase the training of the healthcare workers on the phenomenon.

Medical sector reports indicate that Long COVID-19 has been found in persons who had not been tested or recorded as positive for COVID-19 initially and also in persons who had not been hospitalised at all.

We reiterate our call for the Health and Child Care ministry, through the COVID-19 treatment and management committee, to update the nation on the tracing and treatment of patients with Long COVID-19 in Zimbabwe.

We continue to call for support for the development of rehabilitation programmes for those experiencing Long COVID-19.

We support calls for direct support to the development of community-based responses or programmes for Long COVID-19, especially as the pandemic has become a largely home-based care illness in the country with devastating consequences for communities.

We support calls for the expansion of access of marginalised or impoverished populations to health services for Long COVID-19.

We amplify calls for clear announcements on contemporary research in management and treatment practices for Long COVID-19 in the discipline of general medicine, psychiatry, psychology and physiotherapy. –Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe

Planned ‘Operation Clean-up Harare’ condemned

THE Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (Viset) is outraged over a memo currently in circulation allegedly emanating from the office of the acting town clerk of the City of Harare titled “Operation Clean-up Harare.”

Over successive years, we as informal traders have been subjected to numerous versions of these clean-up operations, starting with the most brutal and inhumane of them all, Operation Murambatsvina in 2005.

What we find mindboggling as an association is how the city continues to do the same thing over and over expecting different results. We hope it is not indicative of an affliction that affects duty bearers whenever they enter Town House.

The contents of the memo should be shameful to the authors in that in this day and age when we have a new Constitution, we have office bearers unashamedly quoting 1979 statutory instruments. All this when we are celebrating 42 years of independence.

Secondly, the memo instructs the transport manager to avail fuel to the district officer for the implementation of the exercise, yet we are informed ad nauseam that the city does not have enough fuel to undertake regular refuse collection.

We cannot overstate our position that these operations will never yield the desired outcomes and are a mere waste of time and resources, while posing significant danger for traders and potential loss of wares unnecessarily.

Viset believes the answer to the issue lies in a proper devolution that grants power to local authorities to be able to fully allocate marketplaces. This will take care of the evil of space barons.

The other remedy is that there is need for an overhaul of the municipal by-laws currently in existence and the accompanying statutory instruments.

The nature of the economy has long transformed, which is why government is now pursuing formalisation. It is from the realisation that the informal economy generates over 68% of the gross domestic product and that over 87% of jobs are in the sector.

We call on the city, Local Government ministry and, indeed, the entire government to review and analyse the past actions undertaken against the informal economy and see whether this has resulted in any positive changes.

As an organisation, along with other stakeholders in the informal economy, we have been a part of the formalisation process by government, believing this to signify a new way of relating with each other, but this latest move by the City of Harare leaves us asking many questions. –Viset

IN response to ‘840 000 children drop out of school, MAI SHUMBA says: The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the poor hard. They are vulnerable and cannot protect themselves from harsh conditions in life. It becomes a huge challenge as civic society organisations could step in and assist some of the children get back into class, but since government has crafted a Private Voluntary Organisations Bill to stifle their operations, it means those children who dropped out of school will have no one to assist them.

IAN TAVARERA says: This is where the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) should chip in, but the problem is that government is making late payment to schools which have students on the BEAM programme. The Emmerson Mnangagwa administration should make sure that it creates a war chest for vulnerable communities and creates buffers around it so that it is not abused by some powerful politically-connected people, as happened with the COVID-19 funds.

IN response to Growing concerns as Operation Dudula spreads, HUORI JECHA says: Operation Dudula in South Africa is based on hate of foreigners. I now support the idea of nationalising all South Africa-owned companies if that country’s leader Cyril Ramaphosa does not stop Herman Mashaba and his side-kick project, Operation Dudula.

IN response to Govt justifies hefty varsity fees hike, TAFADZWA MAKUWAZA says: The continuous hiking of university fees shows government has failed on the education front. It also shows that the economy has failed and is in a comatose. In a functional economy, we cannot be constantly adjusting fees, fares and prices.

IN response to CCC threatens to sue Zec, PIKIRAYI says: Citizens Coalition for Change should move away from making threats to actioning the threats. We thought making of threats had ended with the death of the MDC Alliance.

IN response to Ziyambi defends PVOs Bill, GWIZHIKITI says: Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi should learn from other former Zanu PF bigwigs, who are now campaigning for a free and democratic Zimbabwe. The Private Voluntary Organisations Bill should never see the light of day. It’s wrong and will always be wrong as it stifles democracy and freedom of expression.