A Zimbabwean immigrant, Immanuel Zinja, who was allegedly attacked two weeks ago by South Africans in Capetown’s Breadasdorp settlement, says he wants to go back home as his property was looted, leaving him and his pregnant wife almost destitute.
Zinja told VOA Zimbabwe Service that he was attacked by protesters armed with axes and machetes, who claimed that foreigners are grabbing all jobs in South Africa.
He is now living in fear of being attacked again by locals.
“I want to return home. I’m a wood cutter and I have three children in Zimbabwe. Another one is on the way. I would rather go and suffer there than stay here where it is now unsafe.”
The traumatized Zimbabwean, who suffered deep cuts on his head after he was attacked and then hospitalized, said he is leaving South Africa empty-handed.
“All our property was looted while I was in hospital. When my wife Letwin (Mupfugami) went to check on some baby clothing she had bought for the child she is expecting, she found the house empty. We have been living in South Africa since 2014. So, all the property we were buying to take back home was stolen. We have nothing except the clothes on our backs.”
She learnt about her husband’s attack on a local WhatsApp group in which she is a member.
“I nearly passed out when I read a message on the WhatsApp group concerning my husband whose name was mentioned. Indications were that he was either dead or still alive. I tried to call him but he was not responding to my calls. I ended up calling his boss who informed me that he had been badly hurt and had some deep cuts from an axe on his head but was still alive and had been taken to a local hospital. When I got to the hospital, he could not recognize me and had to be taken for surgery at a hospital that specializes in serious injuries,” she said.
Letwin, who is a farm laborer, has abandoned her job to look after her ailing husband.
She said Zimbabweans should watch out for assailants claiming that foreigners are grabbing all jobs in South Africa.
“I advise Zimbabweans who are in unsafe areas to send all their property home as you risk losing everything like us. We have nothing but worked in South Africa for a long time. We must now rely on well-wishers so that we can return home. This is a sad situation and has stripped us of all our dignity. Those interested in assisting us can contact my husband on WhatsApp number +27642173467.”
A Zimbabwean immigrant, Elvis Nyathi, was allegedly burnt to death last week by South Africans in the politically-volatile Diepsloot township.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged South Africans to stop attacking foreigners, saying they should instead focus on containing crime and not killing immigrants.