Johannesburg - The African Diaspora Forum (ADF) has called on Zimbabweans to make a conscious decision when they vote for a new government in the next round of national elections.
A spokesperson for the ADF, Ngqabutho Mabhena, said the forum remained apolitical, but appealed to all those who were eligible to vote to make a conscious decision.
The economically embattled country is expected to go to the polls on August 23.
“The ADF in Zimbabwe wants elections that are held under the guidelines of SADC on holding free and fair elections. The ADF is apolitical and does not support any of the contesting parties, but it wants an environment that is conducive to holding free and fair elections,” Mabhena said.
Zimbabweans in South Africa have had spells of xenophobic tension with locals for years, which flared up now and again. The discontinuation of the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) also sparked some brutal comments on social media from some South Africans who felt Zimbabweans were taking their jobs.
But the ADF said the Zimbabwean situation was so critical that it had led to many leaving Zimbabwe to look for greener pastures in South Africa.
“The challenge is unemployment; this is why you have thousands of Zimbabweans in South Africa. There are no greener pastures in South Africa, which is why you find people crossing the border to look for jobs,” Mabhena said.
Mabhena was critical of comments made by some ANC officials who blamed Zimbabwe’s problems on the Americans and Europe.
He said the problems in Zimbabwe were more complex than the interference of the West.
“The ANC must understand the duality of the Zimbabwean struggle. The struggle in Zimbabwe is located in the looting of the state by Zanu-PF and the imperialists. (It is inappropriate) to blame the West alone and not the ruling party for the conditions that have been created to the extent that the economy has collapsed because it is the government of Zimbabwe that created neo-liberal policies. The ANC must understand the impact of neo-liberal policies,” Mabhena said.