Right2Know calls for Zim sol­i­dar­ity

Po­lice bru­tal­ity must end, SA min­is­ter told

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - SHEREE BEGA

THE Right2Know Cam­paign has called on South Africa’s In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions and Co-op­er­a­tion Min­is­ter Maite Nkoana- Masha­bane to con­demn anti-demo­cratic abuses in Zim­babwe.

Yes­ter­day the cam­paign’s na­tional work­ing group sent an open let­ter to Nkoana-Masha­bane in sol­i­dar­ity with Zim­bab­weans ex­press­ing its “deep con­cern” at re­cent events, in­clud­ing po­lice bru­tal­ity against pro­test­ers, po­lice ha­rass­ment and the ar­rest of pro­test­ers and jour­nal­ists record­ing po­lice abuses.

This, said R2K, fol­lowed protests and stay­aways in Zim­babwe, prompted “in part by high lev­els of poverty, wage dis­putes, cor­rup­tion, and the heavy per­sonal costs of the in­tro­duc­tion of an im­ports and ex­ports ban im­posed by the Zim­bab­wean Rev­enue Au­thor­ity”.

Other hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions in­cluded an ap­par­ent lo­calised shut­down of the What­sApp mes­sag­ing ser­vice on Wed­nes­day.

“We call on you… to take all pos­si­ble mea­sures to pres­sure the Zim­bab­wean gov­ern­ment to end th­ese abuses and pro­tect Zim­bab­weans’ right to po­lit­i­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion, protest and dis­sent, in par­tic­u­lar.”

Nkoana-Masha­bane should use all pos­si­ble mea­sures to help shield Zim­bab­weans from po­lice bru­tal­ity, and take “puni­tive ac­tion against those po­lice of­fi­cers who have been bru­tal­is­ing pro­test­ers; pro­tect ac­tivists and protest lead­ers from sur­veil­lance and of­fer pro­tec­tion from in­ter­net shut­downs and pro­tec­tion for cit­i­zens’ right to com­mu­ni­cate”.

R2K cited a pub­lic no­tice is­sued this week by the Zim­bab­wean telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions reg­u­la­tor PO­TRAZ, to the ef­fect that so­cial me­dia users sus­pected of dis­tribut­ing “sub­ver­sive” mes­sages would be iden­ti­fied, dis­con­nected and “dealt with ac­cord­ing to the na­tional interest”.

Po­lice in Zim­babwe were ha­rass­ing and ex­tort­ing money from taxi drivers, they added.

They have asked for a re­sponse from Nkoana-Masha­bane by July 14.

De­part­ment of Home Af­fairs spokesman May­ihlome Tsh­wete said the de­part­ment was notic­ing slight changes in the travel pat­terns be­tween the South Africa and Zim­babwe bor­ders.

“There

‘It is time that

is no in­flux of

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

Pas­tor Evan Mawarire launched #ThisFlag, to get Zim­bab­weans to rally round the na­tional flag and speak out against Mu­gabe poli­cies.

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