The Zimbabwe embassy in South Africa is monitoring the situation in Gauteng province, mainly Johannesburg, where police in that country have been rounding up foreign immigrants in the wake of clashes with vendors recently.
It is understood that over 560 undocumented immigrants, the majority of them believed to be Ethiopians and other people from the SADC region, were rounded up during a joint intelligence operation dubbed “Operation Okae Molao”.
Some of the agencies implementing the operation comprise of the Gauteng provincial traffic police and Saturation Unit, the Immigration Officers (Home Affairs), SARS Customs, the Johannesburg Metro Police Department, and clothing brand owners.
ZTN understands that tensions were in the last two days simmering between South Africans and immigrants over the recent clashes between police and vendors.
Zimbabwe’s Envoy to Pretoria, Ambassador David Hamadziripi said they have been in touch with a number of Zimbabweans in that country to ascertain their safety and ensure that their welfare and interests are safe guarded.
“I don’t have much information at the moment but the embassy and the consulate are monitoring events on the ground to ascertain the nature of the problem.
“So far we have reached out to many Zimbabweans around Gauteng and we are collecting information to make informed decisions on the way forward,” the Ambassador said.
Another source in Johannesburg said the situation was gradually calming down although the plight of the rounded up immigrants, some of whom are documented, was a cause for concern.
According to SAPS some of the immigrants will be released, pending verification of their status with Home Affairs and the police.