BY SILAS NKALA
A South African-based Zimbabwean human rights activist Nobuhle Ajiti has assisted in the repatriation of at least 22 desperate Zimbabweans who were living on the streets.
Her intervention comes at a time when Zimbabwean immigrants in that country are under increasing pressure to leave South Africa amid fears of another round of xenophobic attacks.
There are reports that some vigilante groups in that country are visiting companies to investigate their employment ratios to make sure no foreigners are employed.
Ajiti said she felt duty bound to help fellow Zimbabweans struggling to make ends meet, with many having suffered job losses due to the Covid-19 economic shocks.
“I help vulnerable groups. I cook and feed homeless people at least once a week. I cook and feed about 600 of them and some confide in me that they want to reunite with their families and we facilitate that. We buy them goods and bus tickets for them to go back home,” Ajiti said.
“So far I have managed to help repatriate about 22 Zimbabwe nationals who were living on the streets and eating from dustbins. I have also managed to help reunite families of even South Africa natives, some of whom I transported back to their homes in Free State, North West and Kwazulu Natal.”
Ajiti said she also intervened in labour disputes where fellow Zimbabweans were being treated unfairly by their employers taking advantage of their immigration status.
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Ajiti blamed the attacks on foreign nationals on politicians who issue inflammatory statements that influence xenophobic behaviour against fellow African.
“I was on the ground and I did a follow up on what was happening to those that were directly affected by the xenophobic attacks in the past week
“Those from Zimbabwe whom I met told me that they were in a desperate situation. Some were in tears and confided in me that they have zero source of income. Others were saying that they have been given up to January 22 to vacate their homes,” she said.
She said South Africans were taking foreigners’ property and leaving them without anything.
“We have given immediate relief to the affected such as food and transport,” she said.
In 2015, the late Goodwill Zwelithini, King of the Zulu nation was accused of inciting xenophobic attacks which left scores of people dead, and over 5000 displaced.
United Kingdom based former Ntabazinduna Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni said the SA government was partly responsible for the mass exodus of citizens from Zimbabwe because of supporting the Zimbabwe government that violated people’s rights.