Ramaphosa and ANC must prepare to accommodate more Zimbabweans

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Aaron Ufumeli/EPA

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Aaron Ufumeli/EPA

Published Sep 3, 2023


Zimbabwean opposition parties have warned President Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC that they might have to accommodate their compatriots who will flock into the country following the re-election of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

They said Ramaphosa and the ANC might have to prepare to squeeze in more of their compatriots in the South African economy if they supported the “stolen and shambolic” elections because Zimbabweans will continue to suffer from abject poverty under Mnangagwa.

They said this is because the country has not resolved its tension with investors to grow the economy.

The number will add to an estimated 1.5 million Zimbabweans living in South Africa, many of whom migrated as a result of social and economic unrest in the country in recent years.

This comes after Ramaphosa this week congratulated Mnangagwa for his second term after he was re-elected.

Ramaphosa said in a statement on Monday that the recent polls were conducted in a smooth manner in spite of the sanctions that have crippled the country’s economy.

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula this week also praised Zanu-PF and celebrated Mnangagwa’s victory.

This after Mbalula shared pictures of the Zimbabwean ruling party’s victory rally, calling the gathering a “sea of people” and celebrating Mnangagwa’s re-election - writing “viva President Emmerson Mnangagwa”.

However, Mnangagwa’s victory has been rejected by the opposition and questioned by observers.

He won 52.6% of the vote compared with 44% for challenger Nelson Chamisa.

However, Chamisa said the results are fraught with fraud, voter intimidation, and corruption, while observers from the Southern Development Community (SADC) region also released a preliminary report stating the elections fell short of the required standards to be deemed free and fair.

Citizens Coalition for Change chairperson in South Africa, Trust Ndlovu, said Ramaphosa and the ANC must prepare to welcome and take care of another quarter of the Zimbabwean population into the fiscus of the South African economy.

“Unfortunately, if Ramaphosa and the ANC bless these stolen, shambolic elections, they must be prepared to welcome and take care of another 1/4 population of Zimbabweans into the fiscus of the SA economy.

“They must be prepared to prevent more acts of Xenophobia violence in SA, because SA will feel have a more strained economy,” Ndlovu said.

Ndlovu said the future of the country was doom and gloom. He said he believed the majority of the voters snubbed Mnangagwa and he faked the election results through “his proxy”, Justice Priscilla Makanyara Chigumba, the chairperson of the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission (ZEC).

He said ZEC was also staffed with conflicted people who support Mnangagwa and Zanu PF.

“It cannot be independent because Kembo Mohadi, one of the deputy president’s, has a daughter working for ZEC as a commissioner and a presiding officer. Paul Mnangwa has a child in the same ZEC.

“The commission is constituted of secretariats from the military army, intelligence and other secret state security.

“Ms Chigumba is a very close associate of Mnangagwa, and therefore, there is no way we can expect free and fair elections in Zimbabwe and as long as they are run by Zanu PF die-hard supporters,” Ndlovu said.

Asked to comment on this, ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri did not comment.

Department of Home Affairs spokesperson Siya Qoza said: “The department is ready to welcome Zimbabweans or any foreign nationals wanting to visit the country legally.

“The department is equally ready to deal with those who seek to enter the country without valid papers or meeting the immigration requirements in full.”

The Patriotic Front's Mxolisi Ncube said there won't be any change as long as Zanu-PF is in charge.

‘’It will always be the same - minimal developments, unaccounted for expenditure, lack of national planning, a liquidity crunch, high inflation, looting with impunity, infringements of human rights and personal freedoms, continued sanctions from the West, and continued blame-games while the economy continues to falter for the next five years,’’ he said.

Ngqabutho Mabhena, secretary-general of the Zimbabwean Communist Party, said the country’s future is bleak under Mnangagwa.

He said this is because Zanu-PF has failed to build the economy. Mabhena said the situation has worsened under Mnangagwa.

Another Zimbabwean Communist Party member, Bongani Mkhwanazi, said Mnangagwa’s re-election has raised a lot of questions. He said it was surprising that Mnangagwa was re-elected despite the economic challenges facing the country.

He said he does not see the prospects of an economic turn-around under Mnangagwa.

“The problem with Mnangagwa and his team is that they even believe that their own propaganda is enough that they would claim they have done this and that. But in reality, the situation on the ground does not reflect what they always claim.”

However, he said the allegations of rigging are difficult to prove.

“For example, intimidation where there is no violence is big tricky to prove because if someone winks at you that you are going to vote, it is hard to prove as an intimidation,” he said.

The Southern Development Community, which sent 68 observers on election day, said the elections were riddled with intimidation from a “quasi-security intelligence organisation” called Forever Associations Zimbabwe (FAZ).

A report by the Commonwealth Election Observer mission found that the de-limitation process was conducted without a final census report, media accreditation was a challenge, the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act was used to ban opposition rallies, and state media was biased against the opposition.

Zimbabwe Anti-Sanctions Movement chairperson Rutendo Matinyarare said Zanu-PF had limited opportunity to rig elections in Zimbabwe.

He said this is because V11s are generated at polling stations with oversight from the party agents, international observers, and the media.

“This illustrates that only the opposition in Zimbabwe manipulates elections through illegal sanctions that punish and persecute Zimbabweans to force the electorate to vote for the opposition.”