South Africa: provincial councilor challenges health care in Zimbabwe town and foments wave of xenophobia - Africa Express: news from the forgotten continent

South Africa: provincial councilor challenges health care in Zimbabwe town and foments wave of xenophobia – Africa Express: news from the forgotten continent

Special for Africa ExPress
Cornelia I. Toelgyes
August 29, 2022

The wave of xenophobia against migrants from other countries of the continent continues unabated in South Africa. Many immigrants without a regular residence permit are accused of “stealing” low-skilled jobs from South Africans and of being responsible for criminal activities.

Now also Phophi Ramathuba, councilor from the South African province of Limpopo, attacked a patient from Zimbabwe, hospitalized in the Bela-Bela hospital, awaiting surgery.

Phophi Ramathuba, Head of Health for Limpopo Province, South Africa

The patient was the victim of a serious accident in Zimbabwe, A country bordering the province of Limpopo. Now the woman, considered a person illegally present on South African territory, was verbally attacked by Ramathuba, provincial health councilor, for daring to go to the Bela-Bela hospital for necessary treatment.

In a video posted on the Facebook page of the Health of the province, Ramathuba is seen bowing over the bed of the unfortunate patient, as she loudly exclaims that Emmerson Mnangagwa, president of Zimbabwe, is not contributing in any way to the financing of South Africa’s health system. Finally, you pointed out that the Pretoria dicastery is not a charitable institution.

“You have to stay at Mnangagwa, he doesn’t give me the money to treat you and my budget is already limited ”. Comments really inappropriate, given that in the country the tension towards African foreigners is already skyrocketing.

Ramathuba’s utterances, a doctor now in politics, have sparked an avalanche of controversy. While some have sided with him, others have labeled Ramathuba as xenophobic, immoral and insensitive.

According to Angelique Coetzee of the Organization Solidarity Doctors Network, the patient in question was, in spite of herself, a victim of political tensions between Zimbabwe and South Africa and added: “The head of the health department of the province should have addressed the authorities in Harare directly instead of publicly humiliating the patient”.

Now two South African opposition parties, Democratic Alliance And Economic Freedom Fighters, demanded the immediate resignation of Ramathuba. The Constitution of South Africa states that everyone has the right to access health services.

Foreign citizens can also receive for free basic health care in public hospitals, they have to pay only if they need specific care not fully covered by the health system.

Indeed, agreements of the Southern African Development Community provide that foreign nationals of the Member States can also receive the same care as South Africans. Put simply, they will pay a ticket based on their income.

Meanwhile, Nick Mangwanaa spokesman for the Harare government, did not comment on the statements made by the head of health of the province of Limpopo, but instead guaranteed the necessary assistance to the patient in question.

The Pretoria government is trying to reduce the presence of foreigners in the countryand, a number of residence permits will not be renewed, including those for Zimbabweans.

Many Angolans have already had to leave the state of southern Africa, as their documents, which expired in 2021, have not been renewed. The same fate will befall the migrants of the kingdom of Lesotho in 2023, an enclave completely surrounded by South Africa.

Krugersdorp, South Africa, crowds attack “illegal” migrants

Meanwhile in many areas of the country the hunt for foreigners continues, present on the territory in an “illegal” way, without a residence permit. Especially now, after the rape and violence suffered by 8 women in Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg.

The fact caused dismay across the country and has reignited the wave of xenophobia, as those allegedly responsible are illegal immigrants, mostly from neighboring Lesotho.

In Krugersdorp, the possessed crowd it burned the shacks that housed people from other parts of Africa, some migrants were violently attacked and paraded through the streets without clothes, while they were beaten with sticks. The police finally arrested 22 men, victims of the beating, perhaps also to prevent them from being lynched.

Following the rape, 130 people were arrestedmany of them not because they are directly involved, but because of their status as immigrants or because they are in possession of firearms and explosives.

Cornelia I. Toelgyes
[email protected]

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Video Courtesy: SABC News

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