BY TAPFUMANEI MUCHABAIWA
ZIMBABWEANS in neighbouring South Africa are living in fear of xenophobic attacks following a wave of violence targeting foreign nationals in that country.
There have been reports of violence against foreign nationals in areas such as Diepkloof, Rosebank and Turfontein amid fear that it might spread.
Videos have been circulating on social media showing South Africans co-ordinating the attacks under the hashtag #Operation Dudula targeting Zimbabwean nationals living in rented houses, and surviving on informal trading.
Zimbabwe Community in South Africa spokesperson Bongani Mkhwananzi urged the South African government to intervene to save lives and property.
“This is really shocking, and we need to engage the South African government on this crackdown on Zimbabweans,” Mkwananzi said.
This came at a time when South Africa has tightened screws on illegal migrants. The neighbouring country has also announced that it would not renew permits for Zimbabweans which expired last month.
Xenophobic attacks are a recurrent phenomenon in South Africa.
In 2019, several shops and property belonging to African migrants were burnt or looted by locals during the violence that claimed at least a dozen lives.
Nigeria was outspoken in its condemnation of the violence.
In 2015, Zimbabwe had to repatriate thousands of its nationals in the aftermath of the xenophobic attacks.
At least 62 people died in xenophobic attacks that rocked South Africa in 2008.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition chairperson Peter Mutasa said the majority of Zimbabweans illegally crossing into South Africa were running away from economic collapse back home.