by AKANI CHAUKE
PRETORIA, (CAJ News) – THE Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) warned the ongoing anti-migrant sentiment could degenerate into crimes against humanity.
This warning follows a video featuring Limpopo Health Member of the Executive Committee (MEC), Phophi Ramathuba, verbally abusing a Zimbabwean national in a South African hospital, going viral.
Gabriel Shumba, ZEF Chairperson, denounced Ramathuba’s conduct as dehumanising, abusive and eroding the dignity of a bedridden woman, thus could not be justified.
“We caution against the behaviour of politicians in fueling an already volatile xenophobic environment while sacrificing Zimbabweans on the altar of political expedience. This is extremely dangerous and inexcusable and can easily lead to crimes against humanity,” Shumba said.
He earlier denied ZEF backed the beleaguered health official.
The rebuttal follows social media and other posts suggesting the exiles forum supported her stance.
“Firstly, ZEF does not endorse the harassment and ill-treatment of Zimbabwean nationals, let alone women, anywhere in the world,” said Shumba.
“Such a stance would be diametrically opposed to our mandate and conscience as an organization championing the rights of Zimbabweans, and our pedigree in that regard is self-evident,” Shumba said.
He explained the supposed endorsement of the MEC derived from an interview carried out by ZEF Coordinator, Tino Mambeu, who made the observation that he personally could not say whether the MEC’s conduct at this juncture amounts to xenophobia.
“It will be recalled that this statement was guardedly made in the context of ongoing threats against Zimbabweans in South Africa, and ZEF in particular,” Shumba clarified.
“It cannot be gain said that what happened violates the Hippocratic Oath among many other principles and standards as enshrined in national and international instruments.”
Millions of Zimbabweans are resident in South Africa after fleeing political and economic crises in their country.
– CAJ News