Zimbabweans in South Africa protest against Mugabe

Hundreds of protesters gathered at the Zimbabwean embassy in Pretoria and the consulate in Cape Town today

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A Zimbabwean man waves his country’s flag in the air after singing the national anthem before the start of the protest march at Burgers Park in Pretoria. Photo: Ihsaan Haffejee

By Tariro Washinyira and Ihsaan Haffejee

14 July 2016

On Thursday, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Zimbabwean Embassy in Pretoria and about 70 Zimbabweans marched from the Grand Parade to the Zimbabwean Consulate in Cape Town to demand that President Robert Mugabe step down.

Laswet Savadye, who was protesting, said: “We will make sure that this whole week we are here [outside the consulate] protesting. They must tell their master [Mugabe] to step down. I am working as an auditor and have a decent life here, but I would love to do the same work in Zimbabwe.”

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Hundreds of Zimbabwean protesters made their way through the Pretoria suburb of Arcadia towards the Zimbabwean embassy where they handed over a memorandum of demands. Photo: Ihsaan Haffejee

“We want to go back home and build Zimbabwe, but for that to happen, Mugabe and the system in place should be dismantled,” said Sayade.

He said he is fed up with government corruption, human rights abuses and failed economic policies.

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Zimbabwean protesters hold up placards and sing songs calling for President Robert Mugabe to step down. Photo: Ihsaan Haffejee

A young woman, who did not want to give her name, said: “Living in Cape Town is painful. I am tired of working as a domestic worker. I want to go back home, but what will I do there? There are no jobs, our health delivery system is down, and nothing is functioning well.”

Calls were also made for the Zimbabwean government to address issues of corruption in government ministries and parastatals, to abandon its plans to use bond notes, and to end human rights abuses and police brutality.

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Protesters camped in front of the Zimbabwean embassy where they demonstrated in solidarity with their fellow countrymen back home. Photo: Ihsaan Haffejee

Kayla Phil, 25, joined other South Africans who marched in solidarity. “Just like the way we pushed during fees must fall protests, we can also give the same visibility to the Mugabe must fall protests and bring change if we unite,” she said.

Struggle songs were sung. 

The consulate was shut. Security confirmed that officials were inside. The Zimbabwe consulate did not answer their phones.

Photo of protestersProtesters set fire to ZANU-PF T-shirts outside the embassy in Pretoria. Photo: Ihsaan Haffejee