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Zimbabweans respond to SA skirmishes

by Staff Reporter
09 Mar 2017 at 15:49hrs | Views
Zimbabweans have expressed disappointment with South African authorities over recent xenophobic attacks.
There were renewed attacks on foreigners in Johannesburg's Rossetenville suburb and west of Pretoria with property worth hundreds of thousands of Rands destroyed in the skirmishes.

Speaking to the Bulawayo Bulletin the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa (ZCSA), an organisation representing Zimbabweans in South Africa, said although they welcome that the Zimbabwe Special Permits (ZSP) are going to expire, they are disillusioned with what the Johannesburg Mayor has done.

"The Mayor of Johannesburg Mr Herman Mashaba reversed the gains we have achieved since the first xenophobia attacks in 2008. Over the years we have managed to bring communities together through what we call social cohesion," said ZCSA chairperson Ngqabutho Mabhena.

"In 2015, the Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba introduced the ‘Migrants Mkhaya Awards' which seek to unite Africans. Unfortunately the Mayor of Johannesburg is taking us back to 2008. We are all committed in fighting crime irrespective of nationality. We must isolate criminals from our communities by reporting them to the police," Mabhena added.

ZCSA added that despite what is happening, the organisation is prepared to help fellow Zimbabweans who might find themselves affected by xenophobic attacks.

"We are going forward with our social cohesion programmes. Part of what we do is to encourage migrants to join trade unions, participate in community initiatives and embark on skills transfer programmes as part of uniting Black people in communities," the organisation's chairperson said.

In terms of Zimbabweans' future in South Africa, ZCSA indicated that they will continue to live in the country and more are expected to migrate if the country's economic and political problems are not resolved.

Mr Mabhena said the challenges will remain as the migration issue in South Africa is now being used as a political tool.

"The issue of documentation is a huge challenge. We are likely to see more deportations in the next few months as we move closer to the 2019 elections (South Africa). It is clear to us that the Democratic Alliance wants to use the question of immigrants as an election issue," Mr Mabhena said.

Since its establishment, ZCSA has been involved in trials to create a conducive environment for Zimbabweans living in South Africa.

Zimbabweans and other foreign nationals have been continuously attacked under claims that they promote prostitution, deal in drugs and take South African jobs.

Recently Mamelodi and Rosettenville residents took to the streets to say foreigners must go back to their homelands.

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Source - Online