Zimbabweans living in South Africa will most likely be the sacrificial lamb as the race to succeed Jacob Zuma in the ANC begins. Most work permits for Zimbabweans are expiring on the 31st of December 2017, a few months after South Africa’s ANC would have held their elective congress.
With growing concern over the unstoppable trickling in of foreigners, a sound policy on the matter would reconnect the ruling party with its now distant followers. Action, especially on illegal migrants would appease the electorate. This would leave many Zimbabweans exposed as they top the number of foreigners in the country.
What makes Zimbabweans more vulnerable is the fact that in 2018 their home country holds elections and they would be asked to sort their “problems in the ballot box”.
This would not be the first time, as in 2013, it took then Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi to take a flight to Pretoria to ease tensions as Zimbabweans were being deported towards the elections.
It would be a miscarriage of judgement for ANC to ignore this matter and renew the permits as it is at the heart of many locals. Since the turn of the millennium, over 3 million Zimbabweans have crossed the Limpopo River to seek refuge as the country’s economy breaks down.
Half of them are illegal immigrants scattered across the country, presenting an administration and service delivery headache.
Some of them pose a health hazard as they are living in squalid conditions. Others are lucky as they are getting better jobs, owing to the strong education system of their home country.
However, none of this is good news to locals who have always felt that Zimbabweans were either getting better deals on employment or giving them a raw deal as some of them have turned to be criminals.
Symptoms of resentment have been expressed by recurrent xenophobic attacks in the past decade and have claimed thousands of lives. The underlying current will be reinvigorated as both countries enter into election mode next year. Zuma visited Harare early this month for the Bi-National Commission that seeks to promote investment between the two countries but the issue of renewal of work permits was not part of the agenda, an indication the matter is a hot potato.
As ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe announced that at least six top officials had shown interest in the party’s top job, there is no doubt the issue of foreigners is going to be used by at least two of the contenders as a trump card. Zimbabweans provide an easy pitch because logistically they are cheaper to deport than Somalians and Nigerians who are also in large numbers.
The law of average will also play to disadvantage Zimbabweans as 3 in every 5 foreigners are Zimbabweans. In any case there is no loss in sending them back home as they do not participate in the elections. Although Mantashe refused to name the contenders for the top post, there are high suspicions Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize and speaker Baleka Mbete are interested.
As always, succession in the ANC grips the nation with a lot of anxiety as it always a fight to death leaving only one man standing.
Former acting president Kgalema Monthlante’s, Ramaphosa, Matthews Posa and Gabriel “Tokyo” Sexwale are testimonials of how aggressive the race is.
While South Africans watch and participate in the drama to the last minute, Zimbabweans are most likely going to be victims.
Source : Talkpoint zim