The Zimbabwe Community in South Africa has condemned as “evil and unwarranted” the murder of Elvis Nyathi by a mob in neighbouring South Africa in the early hours of Thursday under Operation Dudula, meant to flush out foreigners from that country.
Nyathi (43) who hails from Malaba in the Matobo District of Matabeleland South was stoned and burnt to death in Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg while his widow, Nomsa’s life was spared after she showed the mob her passport.
“It is with the deepest sadness that we have learnt of the brutal murder of an innocent Zimbabwean compatriot Elvis Nyathi by a mob who had been going door to door demanding documentation,” said Bongani Mkwananzi, spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa.
“We have learnt that Elvis Nyathi tried to run away from this mob fearing for what might happen to him if he were found without documents. The mob then chased after him and brutally beat him up and demanded R300 from his wife whom they also beat up. At failing to produce this R300 and only managing to give them R50, she was told they would take him away and see what do with him, of which they callously murdered him by pouring petrol on him and burning him alive until his demise.”
Mkwananzi said it was very sore on them that such “barbaric acts by such obvious criminal elements are left to continue.”
“Such attacks on our people are evil and unwarranted,” he bemoaned.
“It is even more shocking that we hear insensitive statements that our people deliberately do not want to be documented, when as the current state of document renewal stands, the extension of the ZEP documentation regime has been revoked and thousands of our people who have been forced by both economic and political circumstances which they hardly have control over suddenly face uncertainty about their futures.”
He said it was also disingenuous for one to claim all undocumented migrants are criminals.
“It’s very unfortunate that some of our nationals are not documented and as an organisation at the forefront of documentation we can boldly say, we know our compatriots want to be documented!” said Mkwananzi
“As an organization which seeks to protect the interests of our fellow compatriots we call upon the South African government to act with haste to protect all the people under its borders and that law enforcement be the only enforcer of law. This vigilantism has cost us a fellow brother who was a hard worker and not involved in any criminal activities. We also call upon the South African community to have compassion and understanding that it’s not very easy to fix our country as some claim. It is not out of lack of trying.”
He added: “The inhuman treatment is very painful to us. Lastly, we demand that all those of our compatriots that are involved in any criminal activities which may be invoking the anger and hate we are receiving from our hosts must cease and desist from this and call on those of our compatriots who may be aware of such criminal activities to inform the police and if they do not trust them to approach our crime-fighting desk which works with Crime Policing Forums we established after the anti-crime summit we held in Hillbrow just before lockdown.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s consul-general to South Africa Melody Chaurura yesterday said her team was on the ground trying to get all the facts and details of the unfortunate incident.