Zimbabweans living in South Africa have been urged to cooperate with the neighbouring country’s authorities during the 21-day lockdown, which began on Friday.
As part of measures to contain the spread of the deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19), which has surpassed the 1000 mark and has claimed two lives, South Africa took the tough decision to shut down the country for three weeks.
During the shutdown period, most businesses will remain closed, with the exemption of pharmacies, laboratories, banks, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, supermarkets, petrol stations and healthcare providers.
Health workers, emergency personnel and security services will be allowed to work and soldiers were deployed yesterday to patrol the streets in support of the police.
In a statement this morning, spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa, Bongani Mkwananzi, said the association welcomed the move taken by the South African government, urging his fellows to compile with the regulations of the shutdown.
“The Zimbabwe Community in South Africa welcomes the measures taken by the South African government to protect against too rapid a spread of the disease and the likely loss of life that may accompany such,” said Mkwananzi.
“We call on all our compatriots to fully cooperate with the South African state officials and as always our desk remains open to address any issues that may affect Zimbabweans in South Africa. We urge our compatriots to understand that the lock-down must have been a very hard decision to take and all our combined efforts at mitigating the wild spread of the disease will make for less casualties.”
Mkwananzi said they were alive to the challenges that would come with the lockdown, including lack of means for survival for many.
“Most of our compatriots work in the service industry and unfortunately may find themselves without any savings and thus means of survival,” he said.
“We call on all society to consider our kith with survival means and also call on a sense of compassion and concern for one another. Do consider the plight of others both on humanitarian and social levels and use tools like FaceTime and Skype or WhatsApp to help relieve some of the short-term un-pleasantries of isolation to help maintain social connections without potentially putting yourselves at risk of being exposed to the virus.”
Mkwananzi further encouraged Zimbabweans to maintain social distancing during the lockdown while remaining close communication with one another through technological tools