Cape Town - About 40 buses carrying Zimbabwean voters were stopped and passengers detained at the Beit Bridge Zimbabwe-South Africa border on the eve of Zimbabwe’s general election, according to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and passengers.
MDC SA information and publicity secretary Kumbirai Muchemwa said the political party had organised buses to transport Zimbabwean refugees from South Africa to voting stations in Harare.
“Publicly we said we were not going to organise buses for security reasons. But then on July 30 people were arrested and our buses were detained at the border.”
He said a spokesperson for the Zimbabwean police force said the passengers were coming to create disorder during the election proceedings taking place the next day.
A Zimbabwean refugee, Shepherd, who asked that his surname not be revealed, said he was on one of the buses and was detained from 10pm on July 30 to 7am the next day. “It was stressful, when people start treating you like that, like a terrorist.
“I was given a coupon by the MDC but ended up using my own money when they said the bus isn’t going anywhere. It cost another R300.”
Shepherd said he and some others were released in time to vote, but many were not able to. He said he saw about 40 buses stopped by police, and separate reports have stated that 111 people were arrested.
“We want to go back home but with this government we can’t. Most people, even after voting (before the results), were starting to run away again.”
Zimbabwean citizen Kelly Marandy, who works on Greenmarket Square, said her sister was one of the passengers prevented from voting. - Cape Times