Zim Community In South Africa Spokesman Had Come to Condemn Criminality Among Our Compatriots
Own Correspondent and Sowetan Live
The Zimbabwe Community in South Africa was this week invited to a stakeholders meeting at the Youth Centre in Diepsloot.
The invite came from the Diepsloot community leaders whom we have worked with the Zimbabwe Community In SA to establish crime policing forums.
Readers of the Sunday Express will remember that the Zim Community in SA was at the forefront of quelling tensions between local communities in Diepsloot about two years ago – after a rise in crime and shooting activities in the area.
It has been a sombre and defining week as far as relations between Zimbabwean migrants in South Africa are concerned, and their South African hosts.
In the meeting we wanted to raise the issues that are affecting the community and to give our support to the community on how Zimbabweans could help in the fight against crime which was the core topic being raised, and Zimbabwean nationals being pointed as the ones committing such crimes.
We also wished to raise the issue of vigilantism and its deadly effect as it has even caused the death of our innocent compatriot Elvis Nyathi who was burnt to death.
Unfortunately when the Spokesperson of the Zim Community in SA went forward to speak – the people in the hall erupted as soon as he mentioned he is the spokesperson of the Zimbabwean Community in South Africa.
The meeting immediately degenerated into chaos with many Diepsloot residents threatening, confronting and shouting that they don’t want Zimbabweans.
The police then shielded the spokesperson and escorted him out via a side entrance where the Minister of Home Affairs came to understand who the spokesman for the Zimbabweans was, and advised that he rather leave the venue since the meeting was volatile and had been meant for community members.
In the videos that are now circulating across social media – the Spokesman – who was wearing his red colours, said he was also representing the Zimbabwean Communist party representative.
The Minister said that those who had invited him this time around had erred, and the invite was ill-timed.
The minister further arranged that safety precautions and evacuation be made so the
Spokesperson could leave safely.
The Minister did not chase the Spokesperson out of the meeting, he infact – by himself, followed the spokesman outside – to understand how he got to the meeting and his phrasing must not be lost out of context.
The Zim Community in SA further disassociates itself from any criminal elements among our compatriots and continues to work with all law enforcement stakeholders to build safe communities with sound social cohesion.
However we implore the government to protect those of our compatriots who are earning their leaving earnestly and honestly and plead they are not left to the discretion of angry mobs who merely attack them for being Zimbabweans just as was done to our Spokesperson.
Law enforcement is the only arm of government which should request documents.
News Reports On Friday
The media is awash this week with reports that that Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Minister of Police Bheki Cele were in Diepsloot – north of Johannesburg, to find a lasting solution to the challenges that resulted in violent protests this week and the killing of Zimbabwean national Elvis Nyathi.
As reported by Sowetan Live, the Zimbabwean man was reportedly led out of the meeting by the police and followed by Motsoaledi, who explained to him why he could not be part of the meeting.
The man told Motsoaledi outside that he was from Fourways and that he was invited to the gathering. The Minister said: ” This is a community meeting of people who stay here only… People are angry. We ask you to leave because this is a meeting of the community.
“Now we are unable to continue with the meeting because they are very angry.”
“I’m just asking you to leave very peacefully. Tell whoever has invited you that they invited you to the wrong meeting.”
Residents of Diesploot blame foreign nationals for the high levels of armed robberies and murders in the area.
Meanwhile, addressing journalists in Diepsloot on Friday, Thabang Molefe a convener of ANCYL structures demanded that all Zimbabweans should leave the area once and for all. He said: “I represent young people in this community. It is the young people that are asking why are you allowing these Zimbabweans to kill us.”
“We are not joking here. We have invited the minister here. Zimbabweans must leave once and for all.”
“We are saying that South Africans must start walking around with ID documents.”
“We are calling for operation stop, search and arrest. Police must randomly search [and ask] who are you, where are you from, where is your documentation…That is how we want it in Diepsloot.”
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