Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
A Zimbabwean man was brutally killed in South Africa’s Diepsloot area, north of Johannesburg on Wednesday night in ongoing Afrophobic attacks that are mainly targeting Zimbabweans.
Mbondazwe Elvis Nyathi (43), who is originally from Chief Malaba area under Matobo District, was stoned to death and burnt by a vigilante group claiming to be implementing Operation Dudula, Zulu word meaning “drive back”, under which they want all foreigners from African countries to go back to their countries.
But community leaders in Diepsloot said Operation Dudula leader, Nhlanhla “Lux” Mohlauli, was trying to hijack their protest, which they said was against high crime rates in the area.
It is reported that Nyathi, a father of four was killed when he tried to escape from the crowd soon after getting home from work.
The man and his family were attacked by the gang that was checking documents for people in the area when tragedy struck.
Nyathi’s brother Godknows, said: “My brother, his wife, and others hid behind their shack and the group found them and started chasing them because they thought they were criminals.”
He said the group later caught up with Nyathi whom they tied up, stoned, and set alight.
Zimbabwe’s consul-general to South Africa, Mrs Melody Chaurura, said they were on the ground with security officials to get more details about the matter.
She said they were gravely concerned about the increase in the number of incidences of violence against Zimbabweans in most parts of South Africa.
“The consulate woke up to the devastating news relating to the death by stoning, and burning of a Zimbabwean in Diepsloot,” she said.
“Our team is on the ground together with the host government’s authorities to establish facts on the ground.
“We are making efforts to visit the family with a view to console them and offer assistance where possible.”
Mrs Chaurura said they will continue consulting the South African government on the matter.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said his government would take action against those linked to the mob killing.
Zimbabwe Community in South Africa (ZimComSA) spokesperson, Mr Bongani Mkwananzi, said they were engaging South African security officials to reign on vigilantism.
“There is too much vigilantism and we are working with all stakeholders in South Africa to ensure our fellow countrymen are safe,” he said.
There are concerns that Zimbabweans were at risk in South Africa as there seems to be a well-orchestrated plan to blame them for anything that goes wrong, even it would have been committed by other nationalities.
It is said the plan was to ratchet up pressure on that country’s government to expel all Zimbabweans.