The Zimbabwean Embassy in South Africa has begun engaging authorities in Pretoria to immediately address the recent upsurge in xenophobic violence.
South African vigilante gangs have recently unleashed an orgy of violence targeting foreign nationals living mainly in poor neighbourhoods, who they blame for crimes and social ills in their communities.
A Zimbabwean man, Elvis Nyathi, was killed last week in Diepsloot, Johannesburg, when a mob dragged him from his shack while beating him before setting him alight.
Zimbabwe’s Consul-General in South Africa Mrs Melody Chaurura told The Sunday Mail yesterday that they were engaging “the South African government at all levels” to deal with the issue.
“I was able to visit the family of Elvis Nyathi yesterday (Friday) to pass our condolences.
“We have been able to get free repatriation of the body from a Zimbabwean-owned funeral parlour here in South Africa.
“We are very much concerned with this issue and we are talking to the South African government at all levels to see how the issue can be dealt with.”
Mr Godknows Nyathi, brother to the deceased, narrated to The Sunday Mail how his brother met his fate.
“There were people who were going around knocking on doors ordering people to show them their IDs and passports.
“My brother and his wife went out of the shack and hid behind.
“That is when they were found by the mob.
“He tried to run away but he was caught and they started beating him up accusing him of being in possession of a gun.
“They took him back to his shack which they ransacked before ordering his wife to give them 300 Rands in order to secure his release.”
After she failed to surrender the money, he said, the assailants took him away and resumed beating him before setting him alight.
Elvis is survived by his wife and four children.
Meanwhile, Nyathi’s remains will be repatriated later this week after undergoing a post-mortem.
His brother told The Sunday Mail the Zimbabwean Consulate was assisting with facilitating the repatriation process.
“The consulate came and said they are going to assist us with the repatriation of his body to Zimbabwe,” he said.
“We will be waiting for the autopsy then after that we will get the papers and bring the body to Zimbabwe on Thursday or Friday.
In a statement released on Friday, the embassy urged Zimbabweans living in areas affected by violence to remain calm.
“The Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe in Pretoria and the consulates in Johannesburg and Cape Town have learnt with utmost revulsion the wanton and callous killing of a Zimbabwean national in Diepsloot, Johannesburg.
“The victim, positively identified as Elvis Nyathi, met his untimely death on the evening of April 6, 2022.
“Elvis was gruesomely murdered by yet-to-be-identified assailants, who unlawfully demanded cash and travel documents from him before murdering him in cold blood.”
The South African government, adds the statement, has been engaged to find a solution to the resurgence of violence against foreigners.
“The embassy and consulates wish to urge all Zimbabwe nationals, particularly those in Diepsloot, to remain calm in the face of adversity.
“The embassy and the consulates are working with the host government authorities to get to the root of the problem.
“We continue to pin our hopes on the ability of the host government’s justice delivery system to bring the perpetrators to book.
“We reiterate our call to all our nationals to immediately establish contact with the embassy and two consulates in times of distress.”
In a statement, the South African Human Rights Commission said police must swiftly investigate the death of Nyathi and bring his killers to justice.
“The commission calls on the South African Police Service (SAPS) and all other state institutions tasked with law enforcement to provide the necessary resources to affected communities to ensure that they feel safe and can fully enjoy their basic human rights,” it said.
“The commission calls for a thorough investigation into the death of Mr Nyathi, and for those responsible to be charged and prosecuted.
“The commission is also deeply concerned by vulnerable groups, especially foreign nationals, being targeted and scapegoated for the prevalence of social ills within communities.
“Various individuals as community leaders, and groups have emerged recently, stoking flames of xenophobia which places the blame for social ills such as crime, poverty and unemployment solely on migrants within South Africa.”
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