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Opinion / Columnist

Come help fix Zimbabwe

10 Sep 2022 at 19:51hrs | Views
Political violence, an appalling assault on human rights and a collapsing economy have forced thousands of Zimbabweans to try and make a living elsewhere in the world. This outward migration has been rampant over the past two decades. The experience of being forced to leave one's country of birth by circumstances beyond one's control and trying to make a living in a foreign country can be traumatic. It is not every emigrant or economic refugee who prospers in foreign lands.

The precarious fortunes of Zimbabweans living in South Africa are a constant and painful reminder of the uncertainties of living in a foreign country. The South African government's decision earlier this year to end a special dispensation that allowed about 178 000 Zimbabweans to live and work in that country brought into sharp focus the transient nature of living in a foreign country. The Zimbabwe Exemption Permits have since been extended to 30 June next year. This is a postponement of the inevitable – Zimbabweans must get ready to come back home.

Limpopo Province Health Executive Dr Phophi Ramathuba's comments to a Zimbabwean patient at a hospital in Bela-Bela represented the hardening attitude of South Africans towards foreigners in general and Zimbabweans in particular. We could debate the professionalism and appropriateness of Dr Ramathuba's comments to a patient but we can't dispute the fact that Zimbabweans have become a burden on a struggling South African social and economic system.

Dr Ramathuba's comments and the uncertainty around the exemption permits point to the urgent need for sound and consistent economic policies that will see a robust economic recovery in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe government must prioritise investment in the health and education sectors. Instead of demanding to be treated humanely in a foreign country, Zimbabweans should now fix their attention on a permanent solution to their predicament; they should help fix whatever caused them to leave their motherland in the first place.

There is a general election in Zimbabwe next year which is an opportunity to have a say in the direction the country takes. And that process starts with registering to vote, voting and defending the vote. This is clearly easier said than done but it is a start in taking the future into their hands. The solution to our problems is in Zimbabwe and not in South Africa.
Instead of focusing on the exemption permits, Zimbabweans in South Africa must turn their energies on helping to fix their country by electing the right politicians to fix the mess the country finds itself in. The outrage and anger against Dr Ramathuma will not fix Zimbabwe's broken health system.

Source - newsday zimbabwe
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