- For some South Africans, essential goods are easily accessible.
- For Zimbabweans, these groceries are bought in South Africa where it is cheaper and sent back home to loved ones.
- Zimbabweans living in South Africa share these norms amid reports of alleged human rights violations in Zimbabwe.
For some South Africans, access to basic commodities is just a few minutes away, but for Zimbabweans living in South Africa and with their relatives back home, the process is not so simple.
Every day, the Powerhouse bus and taxi rank in Braamfontein, Johannesburg sees scores of Zimbabweans arriving to post essential goods – such as flour, oil, sanitary pads, sugar, toothpaste – home to their loved ones.
The goods can take up to five days to reach their family members and friends.
“It is difficult in Zimbabwe to get basic goods. It’s too exorbitant but they cannot leave their family starved, so they opt for this instead,” Boniface Maigurira told News24 on Thursday.
For many Zimbabweans living in South Africa, they believed the ousting of former president Robert Mugabe would lead to a brighter future that would see them returning home to their country of birth.
“If I had the opportunity to live back home, I would. Being in a foreign country is tough,” said Watson Macheza.
“We all thought things would be better. The problem in our country [is that] we do not have the freedom to protest even for decent service, for basic goods. My fellow Zimbabweans are being victimised in a way when they fight for a basic right,” he further explained.
Another Zimbabwean man – who wanted to remain anonymous – told News24 he left his home nation in 2016 because living there was proving too difficult.
“Life was very difficult. There was no employment, and even if you do have something, the prices of the goods would go up every day.
“You look at the political situation, it was very frustrating, and you could see there was no tomorrow. Life is better in South Africa,” he said.
Another Zimbabwean who also declined to be named, said she had not been home for three years, as much of her income went towards sending basic groceries to her family every month.
“It is better to just send the goods than to give money. It is becoming worse everyday in Zim, it is too much now – I hope SADC can help us,” she said.
This comes amid growing reports of human rights violations in the country, allegations the Zimbabwean government denies.
In recent weeks, journalists and activists have been arrested, allegedly abducted or beaten, after they either spoke out against alleged corruption or were critical of the Zanu-PF led government.Among those targeted was prominent Zimbabwean investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, 49 – still in police custody after his recent arrest in his home country’s capital of Harare on 20 July.
He’s accused of inciting Zimbabweans to join a planned anti-government protest during the coronavirus outbreak, News24 previously reported.
Following numerous calls for the South African government’s intervention, President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed former speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete and former safety and security minister Sydney Mufamadi as special envoys to Zimbabwe. Their job will be to see how South Africa can assist its neighbour, News24 reported.
The South African government was criticised for much of this week, with citizens calling for Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration to comment on the abuses in Zimbabwe.
Ramaphosa’s government finally broke its silence on Thursday.
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