OUTSPOKEN top South African trade unionist, Zwelinzima Vavi has urged that country’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa to take a firm stance and bar President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his cabinet ministers from seeking medical treatment in the neighbouring state.
Addressing the media Tuesday, Vavi, who is secretary general of the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), said Ramaphosa should call Mnangagwa and inform him that he and his senior government officials were no longer welcome to receive medical treatment in South Africa, following recent allegations of human rights violations.
He also accused Mnangagwa of running down Zimbabwe health sector after years of neglect with nurses, doctors and other workers in public hospitals currently on strike over poor salaries and working conditions.
“The SA government has been treating the regime with friendliness, but it is time for the President to pick up the phone and say to Mnangagwa, ‘we will not allow your ministers to come here and get treatment when you have destroyed your health system there, and when Zimbabweans are trapped in a situation where the hospitals have no doctors or nurses’.”
Mnangagwa and his ministers are well-known of chartering flights to South Africa for medical treatment.
At the height of the ruling Zanu PF’s factional fights in 2017, Mnangagwa was airlifted to South Africa, following reports that he was “poisoned” at the ruling party’s rally in Gwanda.
Last year, Vice President and newly appointed Health Minister Constantino Chiwenga, was admitted at a private South African hospital for treatment. The VP is battling chronic ailment that has seen him in an out of hospital.
Similarly, VP Kembo Mohadi and Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri were also airlifted to the neighbouring country to receive treatment for injuries sustained during a bomb blast at a rally in Bulawayo in June 2018.
“Until the South African government stands firmly for the democratisation of that country, for the opening of the political space, the freedom of the media and ordinary people to lead a normal life and to organise themselves, we will go nowhere,” Vavi said.
Mnangagwa’s administration has received widespread criticism after still and video images have circulated, showing State security agents brutalising citizens.
On Monday, Ramaphosa’s special envoys to Zimbabwe met Mnangagwa at State House.
However, for strange reasons, the envoys did not manage to meet opposition MDC leaders despite earlier indications of such engagement.