By Darlington Gatsi
THE Zimbabwean consulate in South Africa has finally broken its silence on the immigration debacle and xenophobic attacks by Limpopo Health Member of Executive Committee (MEC), Phophi Ramathuba, against a Zimbabwean national.
Ramathuba sparked controversy last week after a video emerged of her chiding a Zimbabwean patient at a Limpopo hospital that immigrants were straining the provincial healthcare system.
The comments received widespread criticism accusing the MEC of sowing seeds of xenophobia with Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema calling for her to be axed.
In response, the Zimbabwean embassy in SA expressed concern over the incident, saying engagements with South African authorities were in progress.
“The embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe in Pretoria watched with shock and disbelief the video (images) in which the Member of Executive Council (MEC) of Health Limpopo province spoke to a Zimbabwean national who happened to be a patient in a hospital in the province.
“The embassy has been in contact with the Government of South Africa through the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to who it has conveyed the concerns of the Government of Zimbabwe on the concerns made by the MEC,” read the statement.
We're concerned by the way the MEC for Health in Limpopo addressed a Zimbabwean patient in Bela Bela. We believe platforms exist for engagement and we subscribe to full utilization of appropriate channels and platforms for the good of our two countries @DIRCO_ZA @MoFA_ZW pic.twitter.com/vb9Txzcer2
— The Embassy of Zimbabwe in South Africa (@zimpretoria) August 29, 2022
While the embassy says it is engaging the South African Government, the Africa National Congress (ANC) has buried its head in the sand as they have not publicly condemned the incident.
ANC has in the past been accused of baby sitting and cuddling Zanu PF in its failures pursuing quiet diplomacy.
With polls coming 2024, ANC has adopted a populist stance over the Zimbabwe situation to win the electorate, which has lost faith in its leadership.
Leader of main opposition, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Nelson Chamisa said the immigration crisis has been a result of the failure by Zanu PF.
“We note with concern that the economy continues to fail many Zimbabweans. Look at how Zimbabweans are treated in the neighbouring country like people without identity, without a heritage, without a nation and land,” said Chamisa.
“The immigration crisis as it is called in the Southern African Development Community is not an immigration crisis. It is indeed a governance crisis in Zimbabwe.
“People are running from this country on account of a deficit of good governance, the economic circumstances that they find themselves in and if we don’t resolve them we will not be able to move forward.”