One of the biggest trade organizations, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), on Wednesday protested outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in Pretoria demanding an immediate end of alleged human rights abuses in the country, two weeks after the ruling African National Congress sent envoys to assess the situation in the troubled nation.
The protesters, singing revolutionary songs, handed over a petition to a man identified as Mr. E. Shumba, an administrator and finance officer, and urged him to hand it over to President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The protesters told the embassy staff that they had lost confidence in Mnangagwa, who ousted the late former President Robert Mugabe in 2017 in a defacto military coup.
NUMSA president, Andrew Phiri, said, “People of Zimbabwe with the aide of the British they removed Mugabe from the throne … And we were all hoping that things will be different, we were all hoping that the mandate that they claimed Mugabe was not executing he (Mnangagwa) was going to execute. But Mnangagwa became worse than Mugabe. He became 10 times worse than Mugabe … Hence we are here today. He (Mnangagwa) eroded everything, human rights for Zimbabweans and as NUMSA, as SAFTU, as Socialist Revolutionary Party we cannot fold our arms and pretend as if nothing is happening to the people of Zimbabwe.”
Receiving the petition on behalf of the government, Shumba said, “We will look into what is contained in this document and hand it over to where it’s supposed to go.”
Unhappy NUMSA members pressed him to mention Mnangagwa’s name but Shumba kept on saying they are expected to hand it over “to the Zimbabwean government.”
A NUMSA member chipped in saying, “This is the fear we are talking about. He can’t even mention the name Mnangagwa.”
Mnangagwa, who is expected to address the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, has already indicated that there is no crisis in Zimbabwe.
President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ruling African National Congress recently sent envoys to Zimbabwe to assess the volatile political situation in the country following the arrest and alleged brutalization of some people, who wanted to state an anti-corruption march on July 31.
The envoys went back home telling the public that they would go back to Zimbabwe in a few weeks even though the ruling Zanu PF party says it does not want any interference in the country’s internal affairs.