Source: Siyabulela Duda, GCIS

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) unequivocally condemns and is totally disgusted by President Cyril Ramaphosa attending the inauguration of Emmerson Mnangagwa as the president of Zimbabwe, following the unfair and sham national elections that took place last week. 

It is hypocrisy for President Ramaphosa to lament against undocumented regional immigrants, but endorse the regional leaders and their political parties whose deeds are the cause of that migration. Zimbabweans do not leave their homes to be cursed and blamed for every crime in South Africa out of choice, they leave because the economic and political climate has become so dire and unbearable. 

President Ramaphosa attending the inauguration of Emmerson Mnangagwa as the President of Zimbabwe, is an act of endorsing the flawed elections that produced this presidency and sustains Zanu PF in power. From the assessments of different observer groups, we can conclude that the elections were not free and fair. These assessments, were based on just observations from the day of elections and the misconducts that took place on that day. The reports did not factor in the developments towards the national elections, which included intimidation and harassment of opposition, and the general exclusion of Zimbabweans living abroad. 

SAFTU came out unfazed before the elections, to assert that given these factors, there was no possibility of “free and fair” elections. The reports from SADC Observation Electoral Mission, AU and every other country that sent an observer mission have vindicated our prediction. For the first time all observer missions are in agreement that the elections did not meet the SADC and AU standards. 

Furthermore, by attending the inauguration, President Ramaphosa is endorsing a regime which politically thrives on persecution and (in spite of the sanctions) the economic mismanagement of Zimbabwe’s resources for the benefit of the political and economic 

elite. The intimidation and harassment of the opposition, and the rigging of elections is part of the political oppression that Zanu PF has unleashed on the Zimbabwean working class. 

Previously, we noted that their chokehold on the political system including the rigging of elections was not only obsession with power for power’s sake, but that it is for a grapple hold on the Zimbabwe’s economy. The class of cronies in Zimbabwe lives lifestyles on par with the richest people in the world, while the overwhelming majority of the population lives on crumbs and wallows in poverty. It is this opulence, at the expense of ordinary Zimbabweans, that President Ramaphosa is going to endorse. 

President Ramaphosa and his government continuously lament regional immigration and blame migrants from across Southern Africa for putting pressure on the social service system. The MEC of Health in Limpopo, Popi Ramathuba, berated a patient of Zimbabwean descend. Likewise, the Health MEC in Gauteng blamed the influx of Zimbabwean pregnant women as the cause for under-capacity in Gauteng’s midwifery wards that caused certain women to sleep in corridors. Reviewing the 2019 Election Manifesto on 03 September 2023, President Ramaphosa came out against undocumented migrants, saying “Better know that from now on, if you are not documented, you will be arrested.” 

It is contradictory and hypocritical to lament ordinary working class migrants who run away from political persecution and economic hardships in their own countries, but endorse the political regime by whose action, these migrants are forced to flee from their homes into South Africa. Immigration can only be resolved if we remove the neoliberal authoritarian regimes that starve their people whilst suppressing them from revolting, pushing them into undesired exile. 

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