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A special message to Zimbabweans in South Africa

by Zimbabwe Community in SA
10 Apr 2020 at 11:36hrs | Views
The Zimbabwe Community in South Africa takes note and advises fellow Zimbabweans that the South African government has announced an extension of the lock-down to fight the corona virus pandemic by a further fourteen days. The president took this hard decision after consultations with multiple stakeholders and after noting that since the start of the lock-down, the average daily increase in infection rates has been around 4%. The president also recognized the need to expand testing to gain a better picture of the infection rate and the need not to relax and be complacent.

We would like to acknowledge the efforts and actions taken by the South African government. While many of our compatriots are heavily affected by these measures, we urge them to stay at home and comply with the lock-down regulations.

Many issues have been raised by our fellow compatriots; From loss of income from the "no work, no pay" employers' principle, restrictions on the remittance of goods back home where they have families heavily dependent on them, prospects of failing to meet their rental obligations, inability to secure vending permits, inability and difficulty on issues related to repatriation of their deceased during this lock-down, to issues of failing to put a meal on their tables since many live from month to month earnings and hardly can manage to save income gained from the meagre wages/salaries they make from mostly menial service industry jobs. We have some who had visited the Republic and their allowed number of days to stay have expired while locked down.

We call upon our compatriots to hang in there! Please continue to stay at home and remain in the republic. The same lock-down measures are being taken in Zimbabwe and the president of the Republic of South Africa has reiterated that joint efforts to fight the virus are being made with all other African countries. The less movement the better the chances of not spreading the virus or getting infected by it. We call on the government not to declare those who have overstayed as undesirable.

The Zimbabwe Community in South Africa calls upon all employers to facilitate the applications to the unemployment insurance fund (UIF) to assist those of our compatriots who have been and should have been making their contributions to this fund, to get their benefits. We support the statement by COSATU affiliate SACTWU (Southern African Clothing Textile Worker's Union) calling for employers to be compelled to lodge UIF applications on behalf of employees.

We call upon business leaders and other well-wishers to support an initiative to assist our most vulnerable with food parcels and/or other essential necessities during this lock-down. The Zimbabwe Community in SA will be in liaison with all stakeholders who can assist our fellow compatriots to ease their circumstances so as to manage their stay at their homes during this difficult and unexpected situation. We therefore call on any other organisations which represent the interests of Zimbabweans to join hands and channel any initiatives to aid our fellow countrymen into a combined effort to maximise its impact and reach the breath of our Community.

We further call upon our fellow countrymen as well as our hosts to continue to adhere to preventative measures and constantly wash their hands, avoid physical contact and where possible ready their immune systems with healthy foods and home remedies (we have posted a flyer with well known home remedies that include Garlic, Cinnamon, Ginger & Turmeric as well as any other immune system supplements that are easily accessible). They must take care of their bodies so that in case of infection, they can withstand the diseases they may face.

We call upon you to keep physical distancing but to use technology (WhatsApp, Facetime, Skype etc.) to maintain social interactions and keep each other comforted and in communication and reduce anxiety and isolation. Check on each other's welfare and assist each other past this time. And as Winston Churchill once put it;

 "We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival."

Source - Zimbabwe Community in SA

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