Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) member of parliament (MP), Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has been highly criticised by South Africans on social media after calling on the South African government to open the Beitbridge border post.
Ndlozi’s call came after videos from the border circulated on social media of people trying to get into South Africa before Zimbabwe’s hard lockdown came into effect on Tuesday.
Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa announced this week that the country was entering a second lockdown to stop the spread of Covid-19.
“Please, for the sake of your family and loved ones, avoid large gatherings and non-essential travel. This is the final push – let’s defeat this virus for good,” Mnangagwa said despite large crowds allegedly having gathered at the border.
The hashtag #CloseBeitbridgeBorder has been trending on social media with people calling on government to close the border until it has dealt with the rising cases and deaths.
However, Ndlozi says closing the border would be inhumane.
We must buy exactly one vaccine; copy it and reproduce it in bulk for ourselves in South Africa. Medical patents during such a deadly pandemic are completely wrong, inhuman & must be rejected by all of humanity!
No patent on any vaccine – put lives before profit!
— Mbuyiseni Ndlozi (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) January 3, 2021
He said, in part: “During Lockdown Level 5 last year we were with our bothers and sisters from Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Botswana & Mozambique. We flattened Covid curve together! It’s lockdowns, social distancing, masks and sanitisers that help us reduce Covid-19 infections. Not abuse of foreign nationals!
“Our humanity is measured not by how we treat our friends and loved ones. Our humanity is measured by how we treat strangers/foreigners. The SA border crisis during this pandemic is the true test of our humanity. Don’t be inhuman. Open the borders: Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique is us!
“SADC is breeding a big humanitarian crisis on South African borders. How can these governments look at masses of African people, body to body, flocking into SA required to give Covid-19 certificates they know well no single country on the continent has capacity to produce?”
Ndlozi further lashed out at Mnangagwa, telling him to stop “grandstanding” on social media.
He said: “Take mobile test stations to your borders with South Africa. This is the most urgent problem now. The border is presenting a big super spreader event. Oh, and are you actually tweeting from a holiday or from work?”
The Department of Home Affairs said it would deploy an additional 160 officials at six of the busiest land ports of entry, including Beitbridge and Lebombo, with another 60 additional immigration law enforcement officers will be deployed to support the SA National Defence Force at identified high-risk areas along the border, where people have a tendency to cross illegally into South Africa.