The Consulate of Zimbabwe in Joburg has dismissed reports alleging that transport has been offered for Zimbabweans seeking to travel back home to vote in the August 23 general elections.
Consul General Eria Phiri clarified that the government of Zimbabwe has only chipped in to assist its citizens affected by the Boksburg gas leak tragedy, which left at least 17 people dead earlier this month.
Phiri said the article circulating on social media, purporting that Zimbabweans have been offered transport to travel home to vote is untrue.
“This serves to put the record straight regarding an article circulating on social media purporting that the Zimbabwe embassy in South Africa will provide transport to Zimbabwe nationals who wish to go and cast their votes during the 23 August 2023,” said Phiri.
“At no point during any media interview did the Consul General of the Republic of Zimbabwe in Johannesburg made a commitment that the government of Zimbabwe will provide transport to potential voters.
“The public may wish to be informed that the media wanted to know how the government of Zimbabwe was going to assist the victims of the Boksburg gas leak disaster where four members of the same family perished,” he said.
The diplomat said he highlighted that Zimbabwe would provide support to the bereaved family, including transportation and repatriation facilitation.
“The gesture was provided to the bereaved family and the deceased were laid to rest with dignity on July 15, 2023 in Zimbabwe.
“It is very unfortunate that the reporter twisted such goodwill extended to the bereaved family to mean the government of Zimbabwe will meet the costs of transporting voters to Zimbabwe,” said Phiri.
He emphasised: “The government of Zimbabwe is not going to provide anyone with transport to Zimbabwe to cast their vote. The article should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves”.
In June, IOL reported that Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is also leader of the ruling Zanu PF party, launched his party's election campaign in preparation for the August 23 elections.
Mnangagwa, who rose to power in 2017, is seeking a second five-year term as president of the landlocked neighbouring country.
Mnangagwa will square off against Zimbabwe's main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa who leads the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party.