Reitumetse Makwea

By Reitumetse Makwea

Journalist


Matabeleland party campaigns for safety of Zimbabweans in SA

Zimbabweans living in Diepsloot say it's dangerous and they can't help when people scream as they can be attacked too.


Zimbabwe’s Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP), which is lobbying for great recognition of the Matabeleland area of that country, has urged the ANC to intervene amid the uproar between South Africans and illegal migrants.

This follows the death of one of its members, 43-year-old Elvis Nyathi, who was killed in a mob attack in Diepsloot last Wednesday.

According its spokesperson Velile Moyo, the MRP was currently lobbying migrants in SA to ensure they were properly documented and came to South Africa legally.

However, it had previously reached out to the ANC a couple of times without a solid response. “After the incident, we thought it was very imperative to come here and assess the situation, to see how our people are living and to also pay our respects to one of our own,” Moyo said.

“As well as figure out if we could have solutions for our people who are living in Diepsloot and SA, some that are legal and also those who are illegal.” He said the challenges in Matabeleland were different from the rest of Zimbabwe, as the people had been going to SA since the early 1980s following independence in Zimbabwe.

At that time genocide had left at least 40 000 people dead.

Nyathi’s wife, Nomusa Tshuma, who was taken to a safe location following the mob attack, said it was painful her husband had died in that manner, especially because SA was not his land.

ALSO READ: Zimbabweans living in SA told to ‘cease and desist’ criminal activities which may invoke anger

“It’s hard because he died for something he did not know. I’m left here with the children. It’s very painful. I regret living in a world that is not ours, now I have to live alone,” she said.

A neighbour who refused to be named due to fear of being attacked as well, said she vividly remembered Nyathi begging and explaining he did not know what they were accusing him of. “Diepsloot is dangerous. You can’t even go outside and help when you hear someone screaming out for help,” the neighbour said.

“If we went out, I’m sure we would have been attacked, too. These people usually carry four-pound hammers they use to rob people.”

Meanwhile the Economic Freedom Fighter’s Johannesburg regional leader Sepetlele Raseruthe warned against vigilantism and said such behaviour was what they were warning the country against as it could place the country on the verge of war.

Raseruthe said Tshuma had detailed the entire ordeal, where the vigilante group which had made itself the enforcers of a dompass (domestic passport) system, had raided several houses in the early hours of Wednesday.

“His inability to provide a passport meant his death.” “There are occasions as a political party where you make predictions and determine what would happen politically just reading the situation,” he said.

“We did say if this is not stopped it can end in the loss of life, and this is one of those unfortunate occasions where we wish we were wrong.

“The message we must be able to send out not only to South Africans but the continent is that what happened to Elvis Nyathi is not a representation of who South Africans are.”

Read more on these topics

Diepsloot Zimbabwe