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ANC cannot continue treating Zanu-PF with kid gloves

by Staff reporter
27 Aug 2022 at 20:49hrs | Views
SOUTH Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC) should once again confront its sister revolutionary party Zanu-PF over the escalating immigration crisis across the Limpopo, with analysts saying the solution lies in Zimbabwe's ability to hold a credible election to usher in a new economic dispensation.

Soured relations between Zimbabwe and South Africa were this week brought into sharp focus when the Limpopo provincial head of Health, Dr Phophi Ramathuba, scolded a Zimbabwean patient seeking treatment at Bela Bela Hospital.

The video that has gone viral has stimulated debate over the growing immigration crisis which has seen an estimated three million Zimbabweans reportedly living in South Africa, with the bulk of them staying in the country illegally.

Ramathuba's sentiments have also divided opinion over growing anti-Zimbabwean rhetoric largely championed by pressure group Operation Dudula.

It also comes on the back of the imminent deportation of over 200 000 Zimbabweans whose special permits expire in December.

Early August, thousands of angry residents in the South African city of Krugersdorp attacked a group of illegal miners, among them Zimbabweans, with machetes, golf clubs and hammers after a gang rape last week shocked the nation.

Some were stripped of their clothes and whipped by residents, while others were chased out of their camps and beaten up before being handed over to the authorities.

The attacks came after a Zimbabwean immigrant, Elvis Nyathi, was set alight in Diesploot by suspected Operation Dudula militia in April, stoking fears of xenophobic attacks.

Zimbabweans fleeing economic decline have been subjected to inhumane treatement at the hands of South Africans who accuse foreigners for crowding them out of the job market.

Ramathuba's sentiments are just a tip of the iceberg of how ordinary South Africans feel about foreigners. It however had to take a respected official to lash out at a helpless patient.

According to Ramathuba, foreigners seeking free treatment are burdening South Africa's health care system.

"I am going to tell you something that is truthful and painful," she says.

"You know Stats SA goes to count people during census and tell that in Limpopo you have 5.7 million people, and tell me that out of 5.7 million 91% do not have medical aid.

"They are dependent on the state and only 9% depend on private doctors."

She continued: "Now I'm here, instead of using the budget for what it's meant for I'm operating for what Mnangagwa is supposed to do.

"That is why when my people of Limpopo want health services, they can't get it and that is angering the community.

"… you are not even registered anyway; you are not counted. You are even illegal and you are abusing me. This is unfair."

Political analyst Rashweat Mukundu said the ANC and Zanu-PF should have a "no-holds-barred" conversation on the growing crisis.

"While the statement by the Limpopo MEC for Health reflects a growing anti-Zimbabwe sentiment in South Africa, the influx of foreigners is having negative effects on public service delivery in the country. The MEC was wrong in targeting a suffering person. What the minister should have done is to take the issues to the ANC and government discussions, with regards to the situation," Mukundu said.

Seeing growing crisis in Zimbabwe, the ANC in 2020 sent a delegation led by former secretary-general Ace Magashule to engage Zanu-PF on the Zimbabwean situation. The delegation went back home empty handed after failing to agree with the Zanu-PF leadership on the terms of reference and the South Africans were blocked from meeting the opposition.

South Africa's International Relations and Cooperation minister Naledi Pandor early this month acknowledged to Zimbabwe's Foreign Affairs and International Trade minister Frederick Shava that there is an immigration crisis unfolding between the two countries.

Shava, who has largely been a mute foreign minister since taking over the reigns following the death of Sibusiso Moyo last year, did not proffer solutions for the crisis.

This speaks to the cluelessness of the state in solving the unfolding immigrant crisis.

The Zimbabwean government has chosen to remain mute in the face of epic national embarrassment.

Analysts say Zimbabwe is in a catch 22 situation and helpless,  considering the government is presiding over a declining economy.

Mukundu said a concerted approach by Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and African Union (AU) is needed to come up with a solution for Zimbabwe.

"What South Africa needs to do is to acknowledge that there is a crisis in Zimbabwe and engage their counterparts in Zanu-PF in a no-holds-barred discussion over the crisis. They should work with other Sadc countries, AU and the international community to find a lasting solution," Mukundu said. Central to this approach is holding free and fair elections, which are largely seen as a precursor to better economic fortunes.

"This lies in holding free and fair elections and set up a government that is accountable. There is no short cut or short-term measures than going to the drawing board in terms of addressing the governance deficiencies," he said.

University of London Professor Stephen Chan said the anti-immigrant sentiments in South Africa are a result of shrinking economic opportunities for locals.

"South Africa has become a very unequal society. Very poor government under Jacob Zuma and major economic upheaval caused by Covid and the war in Ukraine have led to huge price rises. But there has been no increase in employment or salary levels. In this context, foreigners — especially those who seem to have achieved some economic benefit — are regarded with envy and hostility. When foreigners go on to break the law, like gang-raping young women, antipathy towards all foreigners increases," Chan said.

"In the case of Zimbabweans, the truth is a simple one. They are in South Africa because there is no work for them back home. The solution is economic progress in Zimbabwe, but that is not happening."

He said there is no solution in the short term, but pointed out that what is unfolding could have political ramifications for the governing ANC, which should be seen to support the general populace.

Already, opposition parties like the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have adopted an inclusive approach when dealing with foreigners, while the ANC has chosen to take a hardline stance.

"As for what can be done within South Africa itself, it is clear the government has lost a huge amount of political support because of its own economic incompetence. If regaining support means expelling foreigners, it will do that," Chan said.

What is however clear is that Mnangagwa should fix the economy and make it attractive for Zimbabweans seeking refuge elsewhere to come back home.

Source - thenewshawks
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