from NDEBENI MLOTSHWA in Beitbridge, Zimbabwe
BEITBRIDGE – SOUTH Africa is set to be in the global spotlight for the wrong reasons after the xenophobic attacks against fellow African nationals in recent weeks.
It is expected to top the agenda at the ongoing United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at the organisation’s headquarters in New York, the United States.
Ironically, President Cyril Ramaphosa has skipped the event to focus on solving the recent gender and xenophobic violence rocking his country.
Coincidentally, Nigerian envoy, Bande Tijjani, has assumed the presidency of the 74th United Nations General Assembly session, which runs until September 30.
Nigeria has been the country most critical of South Africa following the recent spate of anti-migrant violence.
The West African country has evacuated hundreds of its nationals from South Africa in the wake of the unprovoked attacks.
Meanwhile, Ramaphosa’s African National Congress (ANC) led government is pouring vast amounts of scarce financial resources to dispatch envoys across Africa and the world to revive the soured relations.
The move came after he was booed in Harare, Zimbabwe, at the funeral of the neighbouring country’s founding president, Robert Mugabe. Ramaphosa offered an apology as some mourners heckled him.
Besides Nigeria, Zimbabwe has also evacuated some of its citizens.
Zimbabwe Ambassador to South Africa, David Hamadziripi said a total of 171 Zimbabweans were evacuated.
He said the first batch of 29 children, 25 women and 23 men arrived via Beitbridge aboard two buses on Thursday last week.
“They will be assisted further by the Government to get to their respective homes,” Hamadziripi said.
In 2015, Zimbabwe evacuated 1 500 of its citizens from the city of Durban when xenophobia reared its ugly head again.
Some Congolese, Ethiopians, Malawians, Mozambicans, Somalis and Zambians also voluntarily left South Africa.
“As soon as we get back to our countries, we should encourage fellow citizens to target South African companies and citizens in retaliation,” said a vengeful Nigerian, Adaku Okwonkwo.
Her shop in Johannesburg was looted.
The worst xenophobic violence in 2008 left 62 foreign nationals dead.
Over 200 000 others were displaced.
– CAJ News