SA’s Cosatu in BeitBridge border shutdown over Zimbabwe rights abuses

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By Kingston Ndabatei

POWERFUL South African labour federation COSATU will Wednesday stage a demonstration at the busy BeitBridge Border Post in protest over human rights violations by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

Cosatu has been angered by Mnangagwa’s government reaction to violent protests organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) over a 150% increase in fuel prices.

The protests turned violent forcing Mnangagwa to deploy the army. Live ammunition was used leaving at least 12 people including one police officer dead.

COSATU’s Limpopo branch used social media to announce the protests in solidarity with “ZCTU in Zimbabwe following the crackdown on its leaders by the Zimbabwe government.”

In the message of the COSATU Twitter handle the labour federation said:

“#Trade unions in #SouthAfrica, #Nigeria and #Botswana are standing in solidarity with Workers and Trade Unionists in #Zimbabwe who are being persecuted, incarcerated, beaten and tortured by the State.”

There have already been protests at the Zimbabwean embassy in Nigeria as well as several other countries across the world over the crackdown.

Last week, the South African government said that the response by the government of Zimbabwe to protests had been heavy-handed and that “South Africa was concerned.”

An ANC delegation that visited Zimbabwe last week, however, has said that it was satisfied with the explanation given by the Harare government that the protests were caused by elements of regime change and that an appropriate response was required.

In a communique issued at the end of the visit that the ANC and Zanu PF agreed to close ranks against “a neo-imperialist agenda fronted by opposition parties and civil society in the region.”

ZCTU president Peter Mutasa and secretary general Japhet Moyo were granted bail this week after their arrest in mid-January over the protests.