SA xenophobia: Zim couple shot

HARARE - A Zimbabwean couple has been shot in the rising tide of xenophobic attacks in South Africa (SA), forcing the South African government to deploy the army in Johannesburg’s sprawling Alexandra township and parts of KwaZulu-Natal.

SA Defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula revealed the brutal attack on the couple at a media conference in Alexandra yesterday where she also announced the deployment of the military to help stretched police to deal with the continuing Afrophobic attacks in which at least seven people have been murdered to date.

Although initial reports had suggested that the Zimbabwean couple had been killed, it was later learnt that they were alive but seriously wounded, and that they were now under heavy police protection in a Johannesburg hospital so that their attackers would not try to come back and finish them off as the couple apparently knew the gunmen.

At the same time, the Zimbabwean Embassy in SA reported that it had repatriated more than 400 of the country’s nationals who wanted to return home because of the xenophobic violence in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

“So far, since Sunday evening, 407 have left. But that is not a final figure as there may be more wishing to go. The process is not complete,” Zimbabwean Embassy diplomat in SA, Tamuka Muranga, said.

He said Harare ambassador to Pretoria, Isaac Moyo, was in Durban talking to Zimbabwean migrants about their concerns in the wake of the attacks which have left at least seven dead and displaced thousands of people in the past three weeks.

“He is in the Durban area, talking to people in the shelters set up to house foreigners displaced by the violence”, Muranga added.

Elaborating on the deployment of the military, Mapisa-Nqakula said soldiers would not be taking over the work of police but would assist them in maintaining peace.

This also followed four men appearing in the Alexandra Magistrate’s Court yesterday for the brutal murder of Mozambican national Emmanuel Sithole at the weekend — whose murder was captured by a news crew from the SA Sunday Times and splashed around the world to the shame of South Africa.

Mapisa-Nqakula said many people on the ground “will appreciate the decision to bring in the defence force,” as there was a perception that South Africa was not doing enough to protect foreign nationals.

She called for peace, saying she was “hurt” when she saw pictures in the Sunday Times of Sithole being killed in Alexandra — but would not say how many soldiers would be deployed in the unfolding operation.

“That’s operational information which we never give out. The deployment will be done jointly with the police. We are not here to take over the work of the police we are simply here to give support of what the police are trying to do,” she said.

SA President Jacob Zuma would go to Parliament within seven days to inform it of this deployment, she added.

She also called on South Africans to remember the support of other African countries during the struggle against apartheid.

“We are where we are today because other people had to sacrifice ... to make sure South Africa got its freedom,” she said, warning people not to take part in a nefarious agenda against the State.

“I want to call on our people, let us not be gullible and vulnerable to manipulation by people who have their own agendas of destroying the State,” she said.

Many Zimbabweans, including firebrand war veteran and former Zanu PF legislator Margaret Dongo, have blamed the gruesome xenophobic attacks on Zimbabweans in South Africa on President Robert Mugabe’s and Zanu PF’s “gross misrule” of the past 35 years.

In an interview with the Daily News last week, Dongo said while xenophobia could never be condoned, the incontrovertible fact was that Zimbabwe’s endless political and economic crises due to Zanu PF’s misrule were “the real reason” why Zimbabweans were living as refugees in South Africa and other countries around the world.

“It is Zanu PF that is to blame for these xenophobic attacks on our own sons and daughters because they have driven people outside because of their poor policies.

“They are the ones who have caused hardships and the high unemployment rate, and they do not care about anyone because they are busy looting and building expensive mansions for themselves,” Dongo said.

Up to three million Zimbabweans, most of them illegal migrants, are estimated to live in South Africa — with South Africans routinely blaming foreigners of not just squeezing them out of scarce job opportunities, but also engaging in crime.

To underscore the dire situation in the country, economists have pointed out the horror fact that average incomes in Zimbabwe are now at their lowest levels in 60 years, with more than 76 percent of the country’s families now having to make do with less than $200 a month, well below the poverty datum line of more than $500.

In addition, it is projected that the economic malaise bedevilling the country will worsen this year and beyond, as Mugabe and his Zanu PF continue to demonstrate their gross incapacity to fix things.

Dongo said her erstwhile comrades in Zanu PF had elected “to bury their heads in the sand” when the ordinary people that they had driven out of the country due to their “disastrous policies” were trapped “between a rock and a hard place across the Limpopo”.

So bad was the situation, she added, that many Zimbabweans “dreaded the prospect” of coming back home because there was “nothing to come back home for” and thus would rather face death, xenophobia and uncertainty in South Africa.

“Those who are investing and building mansions in Zimbabwe and South Africa should be asked to focus on investments and their assets outside should be frozen. They should also be investigated to establish the source of their money kuti vaiona kupi (to establish how they massed their wealth),” Dongo added.

The country has been abuzz over the past few weeks owing to reports that the nouveau riche are building mansions both at home and in neighbouring South Africa as they choose to settle and invest in a more stable country.

Dongo said it was time that the anger of hungry Zimbabweans was turned towards the authors of the present hardships.

“Enough is enough, we cannot watch our children and friends die in this manner while the children of the powerful go to areas or countries where they are protected,” she said.

She said, ruefully, that freedom for the majority of Zimbabweans only existed “in theory and on the lips of rented crowds”.

This was the reason, she said, why the country urgently needed to take stock of why so many young people had chosen to sacrifice their lives and participate in the liberation struggle in the 1970s.

“Ndozvakafira vana kuhondo izvozvi zvekunoita nhapwa munedzimwe nyika (Is this the reason why our children died during the war to be serfs in other countries)?” she asked rhetorically.

Dongo also charged that most of the genuine war veterans who were still alive were wallowing in “abject poverty”, which was unacceptable.

“And we have our anniversary on Saturday. What is there to celebrate, ndikokunonzi kupenga (celebrating independence in this State is madness),” she said.


Comments (22)

why cant our leaders sort our economy by abandoning these toxic policies such as indeginisation and look east so that our economy improves. Our people cant continue to be diasporans where they are inferior citizens. It doesnt take time to develop Zim , a real example being the GNU period.The only thing that delays our progress is this political factor where our leaders think that they should be fighting the Americans and the Europeans (wrong focus ).

Big Meech Larry Hoover - 22 April 2015

These South Africans are now taking us for a ride. Are they aware of the fact that the very province which started the attacks is home to the Ndebele, Shangaan and the Ngoni that are scattered in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania as a result of Mfecane. Do they know that SA is acting as an imperial power that is extorting resources in the rest of Africa? Do they know that Africans can team up against their citizens, companies and trucks that are in other countries? Do they know that SA can be excluded from regional bodies like SADC and AU as in the period of Apartheid? Enough is enough Africans, let us retaliate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Muzezuru - 22 April 2015

So by the stroke of a pen you are exonerating the South Africans and heaping all the blame on Mugabe. Are you not able address issues objectively without unnecessarily politicizing them. Nigerians, Malawians, zambians and Mozambicans are all in South Africa because of Mugabe? If I were your editor this piece would not make in the newspaper.

godfrey gudo - 22 April 2015

Gudo, you are a real baboon!

jojo - 22 April 2015

South Africa has probably the highest murder rate and gun crime in the region so this might not be linked to Xenophobes. The media needs to exercise some sound judgement and not sensationalise everything. It is believed that the victims know the assailants so lets hope they make a full recovery and help the police get to the bottom of this. Coming back to Xenophobia its clear that this is a socio-economic problem with deep roots in failures in the body politic. If Mugabe & his counterparts were half as competent the number of Zimbabweans & other Africans in the diaspora would have been very small. Poverty is the biggest push factor and that to a large extent is due to Mugabe's failed policies & corruption.

Lt General - 22 April 2015

South Africa is at war with Africans from other countries. South Africans like and love anything that is whitish or pinkish!! But ZANU PF and Mugabe are worse than South Africans because Mugabe and his henchmen kill and oppress their own people and only love that which is pinkish.

Garikayi - 22 April 2015

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x company - 22 April 2015

Varume, chimbomirai zve Honda tikurukure nyaya yeXenophobia yanetsa iyi. Lets not dwell panyaya ye Honda Dembare/Platinum match ichinzi replay.

Vexman - 22 April 2015

JOJO you are an intolerant IDIOT just like the xenophobic Zulus.

godfrey gudo - 22 April 2015

Gentlemen its not proper to use abusive words when our brothers and sisters are being killed like this we just need to do this same to those leaving in foreign countries. I agree na Muzezuru, lets retaliate. Mozambique must cut power to SA.

deeds - 22 April 2015

The question remains why zimbabwean are the largest migrant population in SA , ? You can say zulus what what what of which some of us know all south africans are xenophobic only that other tribes are not quick to attack like zulus . But why are our people flocking to SA ?. who is causing that ? To call a spade a spade it is Mugabe and i know that by saying so here his bootlickers will feel very offended but you see i am not a pretender something must be done about this person who has displaced citizens of this country . He must be held responsible for those zimbabweans who were killed in xeno attacks bcoz if he created jobs for them they would not have gone to SA and they would be alive today . Dealing with causer of zimbabweans leaving their country is the permanent solution .

Diibulaanyika - 22 April 2015

All this bravado about retaliation is just blowing hot air. First let me make myself clear, I do not and will not condone violence anywhere and in whatever form. Some of us have actually experienced violence and know first hand how traumatic it is. So for those of us who are clamoring for retaliation, I say why don't you look no further than our own borders. @Diibulaanyika has a point, we are better off confronting our own leadership failures, and the violence which is visited upon the generality of our people on a daily basis in zim. Violence in SA is horrible but surely we would not have been in this situation if zim was being led by pple who care about the majority not the minority. Some will start to shout that we are here because of sanctions, and I say "bs" to that.

tino16 - 22 April 2015

we need to unite as Africans and fight against these attacks and stop blaming each other because the last resort might be war;;;;;

gorgeous - 22 April 2015

The South Africans are complaining that there are over 1 million Zimbabweans working in South Africa, and these jobs belong to South Africans. How many Nigerians are in South Africa, Malawians, Congolese, and Mozambiqans? They are crowding out the South Africans in job and business opportunities. ITS A FACT. People must not get too emotional and worked up for nothing. For along time Zimbabweans have been failing to address their problems, failing to remove an old incompetent Mugabe from power. We have destroyed our farming sector and industries and chased away foreigners (whites) from the country!! And we blame South Africans. Think people.... WE killed over 20 000 of our own citizens during Gukurahundi, and over 200 during 2008 elections!! If we do not solve our economic and political mess, we will continue howling at the South Africans, but they will continue attacking us because we don't know what is good for us!

Phaphamani - 22 April 2015

Phaphamani NDIZVO

Bigboy - 23 April 2015

In short South Africans are defending their territory which is under threat from migrants and they are good at doing that ,

Diibulaanyika - 23 April 2015

This talk of millions of zimbabweans in SA is extreme hog wash peddled by the anti land reform agents, such as the daily lice and the puppet opposition. To blame Mugabe for the criminal acts in SA is idiocracy at its best. Do you expect Mugabe to go about the streets of SA and start arresting those murderous zulu thugs? Those who are in SA are there at their own peril and if they choose to die in the hands of those bastards , that is their own choice. Listening to clueless harlots like Dongo won't save your lives. Either die there or come back home, period. T he population of SA is about 60 million and that of Zimbabwe is about 13 million, those are the official figures of the residents in each country. So where is the 2 million in SA, from, another million in Botswana, and another million in the Uk, rubbish, do not fool us.

reason - 23 April 2015

@godfreygudo The buck stops with Mugabe. there is no getting away from this. Of course we do not condone the South Africans actions but why are our people running away from their own homeland????? Why are they risking limb and life to cross croc infested rivers, leave families for far away lands and everything thing else that comes with being an exile. The responsibility stays with the man at the top. That is how it is with God. He will be held answerable. I would be ashamed if I was president and my own people had to abandon their own home out of fear and or desperate need! Something needs to change and RGM needs to go!

TruthBTold - 23 April 2015

Zwelithini and Zuma should put their Boko Zulu on leash.

machakachaka - 23 April 2015

North Korea, Cuba, Iran are all countries on sanctions but their citizens are living decently. Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) was a country under sanctions during the Smith era and was even on war but it never failed to feed its citizens even during the time when trade corridors were shut. Why then should Robert fail to outwit sanctions on a country blessed with natural resources and good human capital. The guy's policies are rot. We have ministers like Mahofa who threaten companies with closure (the case of Tongaat) and another one threatening to take a poultry farm. Even the Chinese, they wouldnt want to invest in such a country except for these fake exploitative businesses they bring.Before the cabinet reshufle, kasuwere was unleashing threats to companies . how on earth can you threaten international banks with closure on market like Zim where indigenous banks are as corrupt as Zanu pf and its ministers.

Big Meech Larry Hoover - 23 April 2015

@godfrey gudo and reason....just ask yourselves why it's only the 2 of you who have a different opinion as to the real cause of our fellows leaving the country. Both of you sound like you are really educated people and can be better than that....if it were someone who is uneducated and has been made to believe that mugabe is a saint because of propaganda and politicking I would understand. I'm sure deep down both of you know that the real cause of all this is the misrule of mugabe and his gang. You can't have such a number of people leaving the country if all is well. I thank all the people in the diaspora for their bravery in leaving the country to try and fend for their families and relatives, i'm one of them and I know how tough it is to be a foreigner. My condolences to those who have lost their loved ones, I know for sure that they have not only lost their beloved but some have also lost their livelihoods. I pray for Peace in SA and I pray for Zimbabweans to unite for one cause, I pray for you my brothers Godfrey Gudo and Reason as I know you are most likely to also have relatives who migrated to SA. God Bless you all !!

redemption - 23 April 2015

(1) ZIm needs free and fair elections to start up its recovery. (2) We must stop telling the world that we are educated when we have nothing to show for it. We study to pass exams and forget everything soon after

takesure - 24 April 2015

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