South Africa, home to millions of African immigrants, have been hit by two spates of Xenophobic attacks, the first one in 2008 which left more than 60 people dead.
The latest spate of violence have resulted in the death of seven people including three South Africans. Thousands others have been displaced and some had their business premises broken into and their wares looted.
The residents led by civic society organisations marched from the populous Basch Street commuter omnibus terminus popularly known in the city as Egodini through the city centre ending at the St John’s Cathedral Anglican church where a mass prayer was held for the xenophobia victims.
The march was organised by the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO).
Addressing the gathering, Ibhetshu LikaZulu Secretary General Mbuso Fuzwayo laid the blame for the attack of Zimbabwean immigrants in South Africa on the Zanu-PF led government.
“The main problem is our government which failed to provide for its citizens forcing them to seek refuge in other countries. The Zimbabwean and South African governments must sit down and find a lasting solution to this problem, the continued loss of life over menial jobs is uncalled for,” said Fuzwayo.
Bulawayo Progressive Resident’s Association (BPRA) official, Patricia Tshabalala said the government must fix the economy so that millions of Zimbabweans working and living outside the country, some in deplorable conditions, can come back home.
“The bad economy is the root cause of the reason why millions of Zimbabweans are migrating to other countries. That should be fixed,” said Tshabalala.
The Bulawayo march comes on the backdrop of a recent march to the South African embassy in Harare.
Debate on the causes of Xenophobia has refused to die down and South African President Jacob Zuma appeared to have stoked the fire after he blamed his neighbours for the influx of their citizens to Africa’s land of “milk and honey”.
“As much as we have a problem that is alleged to be xenophobic, our sister countries contribute to this. Why are their citizens not in their countries and in South Africa?” Zuma said.
Zimbabweans on social media interpreted Zuma’s statement as a subtle dig on his Zimbabwean counterpart, President Robert Mugabe, who has been accused of ruling the country with an iron fist and subjugating the rights of his people.
In response Zimbabwe government spokesperson, Professor Jonathan Moyo said “If SA wants an agreement on how its economy was built & by whom it will get it,” on his official twitter account.