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Zimbabweans in SA rally behind Julius Malema’s 500 free bus plan to send them home to vote

Zimbabweans are being encouraged to return home to vote in the coming elections. File Picture: Matthews Baloyi/African News Agency (ANA)

Zimbabweans are being encouraged to return home to vote in the coming elections. File Picture: Matthews Baloyi/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 27, 2023


Go home and vote! That is the clarion call of Zimbabweans in South Africa and the EFF which is organising 500 buses to facilitate voting in the upcoming elections.

With just weeks away to go before Zimbabweans go to the polls in a crucial vote that could end the 43 year reign of Zanu-PF, an initiative to mobilise Zimbabweans living in South Africa to exercise their right to vote has gained momentum.

Spearheaded by the presidential aspirant Saviour Kasukuwere and South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the initiative aims to provide free buses to transport registered voters to travel back to Zimbabwe.

Speaking on Newzroom Afrika on Thursday, Victor Mpofu, one of the organisers of this effort, said the ambitious campaign was spearheaded by EFF leader Julius Malema who has committed to providing 500 buses to transport eligible Zimbabwean citizens to and from Zimbabwe at no cost to the voters.

The enthusiasm on the ground is high, he said, with many Zimbabweans in South Africa expressing a willingness to return home and exercise their democratic right.

“A lot of people are coming forward and they're ready to go back home ... People are willing to just go back and exercise their democratic right,” he said.

Despite challenges to the legitimacy of Saviour Kasukuwere's candidacy due to a court case, Mpofu said they remain determined to encourage participation in the elections.

They believe that every eligible voter should have the opportunity to cast their ballot, regardless of the uncertainty surrounding the candidate's status.

The logistics of the initiative appear to be well-organised, with the buses scheduled to depart from major cities across South Africa.

While the EFF is providing financial support for the initiative, it was not explicitly stated who would be covering the expenses for the buses' operation.

However, Mpofu emphasised the importance of voting and urged Zimbabweans to take advantage of the opportunity to return home, even if they face challenges with their immigration status upon re-entry to South Africa.

The court case regarding Saviour Kasukuwere's candidacy was scheduled to be heard at the highest court in Zimbabwe, the Supreme Court this week. The outcome of the case could potentially impact the campaign, but Mpofu said organisers remained focused on encouraging voting turnout regardless of the result.

Earlier this month, Malema, speaking at a press conference said: “We call on all Zimbabweans who are here in South Africa to go back home and vote. If it means coming back, they can come back, they are more than welcome, but they must do the right thing and go and vote.

“No-one is going to fight for these Zimbabweans who are loitering the streets here. They are their own liberators. For once, they must take responsibility and get into buses and go home and vote.”

With just a few weeks remaining until the elections, the initiative to provide 500 buses demonstrates the commitment of Zimbabweans in the South African diaspora to participate in shaping the future of their home country.

The efforts made by the organisers, in collaboration with the EFF, underscore the significance of voter engagement and democratic participation.

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