A VERY low turnout on Thursday last week scuttled plans to shutdown the Beitbridge border, as a South African court cancelled at the eleventh hour the protest by some Zimbabweans domiciled in that country.
The South African court cited security concerns in cancelling the demonstration following leaked information that Zimbabwean intelligence and security operatives had crossed into South Africa to crush the protests.
The protesters under the social movement Progressive Zimbabweans in SA had previously been granted permission to stage protest at the border against Zimbabwe’s flawed August 23-24 polls in which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission declared President Emmerson Mnangagwa winner. The protesters also wanted to echo the call for a fresh election supervised by the Southern African Development Community.
In a letter dated October 23, the Head of Court at Musina in the department of Justice and Constitutional Development T J Davhana wrote: “My letter of permission to have a peaceful protest march at Beitbridge Border Post dated October 3 refers, kindly take notice that permission to have a peaceful protest march on October 26 at Beitbridge Border Post starting from 10am to 2pm is hereby withdrawn with immediate effect. You are, therefore, no longer allowed to have this protest march at the Beitbridge Border Post in the South African side.”
Chairperson of the social movement, one Q Nyoni confirmed the cancellation saying: “It was not President Cyril Ramaphosa or Mnangagwa who stopped the protest, but he decided himself for our safety after noticing that we will be shot at or abducted.
“We knew that the march had been cancelled, and we went there to find out why, to which we got the answer. While we were under the protection of the SA security officers,intelligence officers arrived from Zimbabwe. The police even showed us their cars and counted six vehicles from Zimbabwe with some of them having tinted windows.”