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Ramaphosa's endorsement of 'rigged' election will bring more foreigners to SA, say Zimbabweans

by Staff reporter
10 Sep 2023 at 08:56hrs | Views
SOUTH African President Cyril Ramaphosa's public support of Zimbabwe's national election results will lead to more foreign nationals fleeing to South Africa in search of a better life, Zimbabwean nationals living in the country said on Friday.

Ramaphosa was one of three Sadc heads of state who attended the inauguration of re-elected Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa last Monday.

Twelve Sadc heads of state declined the invitation after observers found the elections were conducted irregularly and fraudulently.

Zimbabwean nationals, led by Economic Revolutionary Alliance (ERA) Zimbabwe, marched on Friday to their embassy in Pretoria to protest against the election results. Most had travelled home last month to cast their votes on August 23, with the hope of finally leaving South Africa to return to be with their families under a new government.

Instead, Zanu-PF remained the ruling party, meaning more Zimbabwean nationals are likely to cross the border into South Africa to seek better opportunities, said the protesters.

Charles Dube, a father of three, said the recent developments mean he will have to bring his remaining children from Zimbabwe to attend school.

Dube lives in Thembisa with his wife and one child and works for a solar panel installation company.

"Your leaders are allowing us to overflow your resources. These children will need to go to hospital and it will be ANC government hospitals. All of my children are coming here and they will eventually flood South African schools and also the Eskom electricity grid.

"I will have to take a South African's job while my country is a construction site with minerals," he said.

Thousands of Zimbabwean nationals have until the end of this year to apply for new visas to remain in South Africa as the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit is being terminated.

Another marcher, Brian Chamuronorwa, said he was surprised to see Ramaphosa attending the inauguration since his government planned to deport Zimbabweans with no permits while appealing against the court rulings which found the scrapping of the ZEP unlawful.

"Mr Ramaphosa was the one [who needed] to send a message to Mnangagwa that what he was doing was not right, then the country could move forward — but he didn't do that. He goes to congratulate Mnangagwa instead. But when he comes back to South Africa, he says Zimbabweans must go back to their country. Which country? Because he went to endorse Mnangagwa, meaning he supports the fact that Zimbabweans are living here and will therefore remain here for a while," he said.

Many of the protesters said they had not intended applying for permits to remain in South Africa as they had hoped to return home after the elections. The group called for a fresh election, saying should Zanu-PF be removed from power, they would be happy to return home.

Patricia Chibvongodzi, a mother of three, left her two oldest children in Zimbabwe in 2013 to be a domestic worker in Pretoria. Along with other protesters, she hopes for a fresh poll and the election of the leader of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Nelson Chamisa.

"We are hoping for a re-election that is going to be legit. If they say today that the government has changed, I am going to take the first bus out of Bosman station [Pretoria] to go home to my children and my parents," she said.

"We appreciate the time we worked with South Africans and they looked after us with their limited resources and we appreciate that. But the benefits South Africans are getting, Zimbabweans are also getting and South Africa is already strained.

"We thought Ramaphosa was going to stand up and say they won't tolerate this, but he is the one who went to congratulate Mnangagwa."

The majority of Sadc countries distanced themselves from the inauguration after their preliminary report accused Zimbabwe of falling short when it came to requirements of the Electoral Act, the constitution of Zimbabwe and the Sadc principles and guidelines governing democratic elections.

These concerns were also raised by all other major observers including the AU, EU, Commonwealth and the Carter Centre.

Source - Times Live
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