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South Africans speak out on Zim political crisis

Ordinary and prominent South African citizens, including the former public protector Thuli Madonsela, have expressed concern with the deteriorating political situation in Zimbabwe.

In the past week, the government of Zimbabwe cracked down on the planned 31 July anti-corruption protests with several activists, politicians and journalists hunted down by state security agents.

Some of the arrested citizens were reportedly tortured.

Over the weekend, Prof. Madonsela, who now chairs a Social Justice Research Institute at Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape, called on South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, to act on the situation in Zimbabwe.

“We used to sing ‘Oliver Tambo tell  Botha to release Mandela,'” she tweeted on Saturday. 

“South African democrats are asking you (as African Union chairperson), President Cyril Ramaphosa to tell President Emmerson Mnangagwa to release Hopewell Chinono, Tsitsi Dangaremba and other journalists and activists.”

Prof Madonsela has been consistent since the arrest of journalist Chinono and politician, Jacob Ngavarumbe, in pushing for their release.

Award-winning writer Dangaremba was arrested in Borrowdale with a friend Julie Barnes and were charged with incitement to commit violence and breaching anti-coronavirus health regulations. 

Both were granted bail.

Others who were arrested included MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere while investigative journalist Mduduzi Mathuthu had his home raided and four relatives rounded up by police in a bid to lure him out of hiding.

One of his nephews, Tawanda Muchehiwa was allegedly abducted and went missing for 48 hours and was only released on Sunday morning with injuries synonymous with torture.

Former leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) opposition party, Mmusi Maimane, on Monday morning joined pro-democracy forces in tweeting on the #ZimbabweLivesMatter hashtag.

“Eita (hi) Trevor Noah can we find a way to bring global attention to the human rights abuses in Africa,” he wrote on his Twitter wall. 

“The attacks on black lives in our neighbourhood (which) need global solidarity. A burning topic right now is the arrest of journalists and activists in Zimbabwe #ZimbabweanLivesMatter.”

Many Zimbabweans expressed gratitude to a number of South African personalities including musicians who spoke out against the deteriorating political situation in the neighbouring country.

These included former Mayor of Johannesburg Herman Mashaba, Dj Tira, AKA, Prince Kaybee, Boity, among others.

The ANC has remained mum on the issue choosing to publicly discuss its internal battles and a possible fallout over corruption in its own ranks linked to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) tenders.

Political activists have lamented the alleged abduction of opposition political party members and activists describing it as an attempt to close the democratic space and clamp down on dissent.

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