Rutendo Ngara and Brandon Josphat
THE government is engaging South Africa over increasing reports of violence against foreign nationals in the neighbouring country, including Zimbabweans.
This comes as local opposition parties have come out guns blazing, accusing Pretoria of not taking decisive action to end the barbaric attacks.
Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, Foreign Affairs spokesperson Levit Mugejo said the government was concerned about the increase in xenophobic attacks against its nationals, hence the need “to reach a consensus as the two nations enjoy cordial relations”.
“We are gravely concerned about the increase in the number of incidents of violence against our nationals in various parts of the host country.
“We are having consultations with the host country and we will continue using the established diplomatic channels to engage each other.
“The approach to the diplomatic channels is aimed at finding lasting solutions on this devastating problem,” Mugejo said.
Meanwhile, local political parties have added their voices to the criticism of Pretoria, with Zanu PF director of information Tafadzwa Mugwadi saying the former liberation movement was hurt by the developments in South Africa.
“As an organisation we frown on that because it is inhuman, barbaric, unAfrican and uncivilised behaviour which the responsible government and parties in South Africa may need to be called upon to deal with decisively.
“The importance of human lives must be respected at all levels,” Mugwadi told the Daily News yesterday.
On its part, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) said Nyathi’s murder was an affront to the spirit of Ubuntu, and a violation of the African charter on human rights and people’s rights.
MDC spokesperson Witness Dube described the murder of a Zimbabwean in Johannesburg two days ago as unfortunate, saying the deceased was an innocent soul who was fending for his family.
Zapu spokesperson Msongelwa Ndlovu, while critical of the killing, blamed the government’s alleged failure to address the country’s economic challenges which have forced millions of Zimbabweans to become economic refugees.
Earlier this year, the government urged Zimbabweans residing in South Africa to be vigilant in the face of escalating xenophobic attacks in that country.
This came after the South African government announced last year that it would not be renewing the special permits issued to Zimbabwean nationals under the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) programme.
Since this announcement, many Zimbabweans across the Limpopo have been living in fear of attacks and forced evictions.