Nkulumane MP, Kucaca Phulu, has appealed to the government to make ‘serious’ diplomatic interventions to protect Zimbabweans in South Africa as xenophobic violence fears intensify.
Making a public statement in Parliament recently, Phulu urged the state to intervene and asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Frederick Shava, to give a Ministerial Statement on the State of Affairs in South Africa concerning Zimbabweans who were under grave threat in that country.
His sentiments were motivated by the ‘gruesome’ murder of Zimbabwean Elvis Nyathi in Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg in South Africa by an anti-immigrant mob who demanded R300 from him after they discovered he had no passport.
During Nyathi’s funeral last month in Bulawayo, Phulu announced he would issue a statement of public importance regarding the conduct of South Africa’s ruling party – the ANC, which has not outrightly condemned xenophobic attacks after Nyathi’s death.
The Nkulumane legislator raised concerns that Zimbabwean young men and women were dying in neighbouring countries.
“I am from Nkulumane Constituency and on April 6, this year, one of our young men from Zimbabwe was mugged and burnt alive in Johannesburg, South Africa. His name is Elvis Nyathi. This House recognises that this happened. I stand here after having attended his burial on April 16, 2022, in Bulawayo where his remains were interred at Imvutsha Cemetery,” Phulu said.
Nyathi was given a state-assisted funeral and Phulu expressed gratitude on behalf of the family and the Bulawayo community.
“The elders of the family, the community of Nkulumane and the people of Bulawayo have asked me to come and thank the State for the State-assisted funeral that he received and all the other assistance including transport. I was told not to come back if I do not do this. I hereby extend that gratitude to the State, particularly the Minister of State for Bulawayo Metropolitan, Mrs. Judith Mkwanda, diplomats’ resident in South Africa who did everything they could to make sure that Elvis Nyathi’s remains were brought home,” he said.
Having said that, Phulu turned to the xenophobic attacks happening in South Africa.
“I was also asked to raise a concern on the fact that our young men and women are dying abroad. I have seen recent incidents of a group of people who may be our nationals who were stoned to death. They are doing rounds on social media,” said the Nkulumane legislator.
“The request was for the State to intervene strongly and for the Minister of Foreign Affairs to give a Ministerial Statement on the State of Affairs in South Africa vis-a-vis our people who are under grave threat.”
The Nkulumane legislator emphasised that ‘serious’ diplomatic interventions were necessary to secure lives of Zimbabweans who were abroad and to make sure they were not abused.
“Elvis Nyathi earned R200 a month. When the people who murdered him talked to him, they wanted to be paid R300. In fact, that is the amount (his killers demanded to let him go). The amount they earn is not even enough to purchase a phone or to get a passport. This is how grave the situation is.”
In response, the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda noted the Foreign Affairs and International Trade minister would be requested to make a ministerial statement next week.