At least 26 Zimbabweans died in an illegal search for gold in a disused mine in Roodepoort, west of Johannesburg, last week. The number is only for confirmed bodies of Zimbabweans who were removed during a week-long search.
There are also reports that scores of locals and other African immigrants from Lesotho and Mozambique were also killed in the mine.
While some opposition political parties and a Ndebele cultural group showed their solidarity by visiting the mine, where they helped some search teams, addressed people and gave humanitarian assistance, nothing came from the Zimbabwean embassy.
That caused the ire of Zimbabweans.
“For a caring government, this would have been declared a national disaster and families of those who perished would have been given state assistance, but our own government has shown that it does not care,” said Melusi Nkomo, who also lost a relative.
“That is what happens when you have an embassy representing a government that was not chosen by the people. It shows that all they care about is lining their pockets and nothing else. They are only there to represent Zanu (PF) interests and nothing else.”
Fanuel Ndlovu said he did not expect any Zanu (PF) visit to the disaster site.
“We have a Zimbabwean embassy here and Zanu (PF) has its own offices in Johannesburg, but both those were conspicuous by both their silence and absence from the site,” said Ndlovu.
“To me, it was not surprising because the illegal regime knows that coming anywhere close to that angry group of mourners would have attracted people’s wrath. Those people lost their lives in that manner because of the economic disaster that Robert Mugabe and his people caused in our country and they know it themselves.”
The opposition Zapu party’s SA Province led the solidarity, which saw at least six of its members camp at the site, where they helped in the search and gave humanitarian assistance to families of the victims.
The party’s national Secretary General, Ralph Mguni, also asked party members to give financial assistance to the affected families. The party also fundraised for body bags, torches, batteries, food, water, gloves, nose masks and odour repellent sprays.
“Such disasters precede political party affiliation. We are Zimbabweans before we can be this or that political party and that calls for us to always stick together, especially when some of our own get trapped in such difficult situations,” said Zapu Youth Secretary for Mobilisation, Godknows Sibanda.
“That was a humanitarian crisis and we had to jump and do something. We do not have all the resources, but our promise is that we will always be there whenever we are needed by fellow Zimbabweans. An injury to one of us is an injury to all.”
Among the bodies recovered, the identified victims were said to be mostly from Gokwe, Kezi and Nkayi, where seven brothers from one family lost their lives in the disaster.
Paramedics said the miners could have died from toxic gases they used in their trade.
A Matabeleland cultural group, Inqama, also made a number of trips and contributed money towards the cause. Its leader, Albert Gumede, also pledged transport to repatriate the bodies for burial in Zimbabwe.Post published in: Africa News