Still no word from SA govt amid growing reports of alleged human rights violations in Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwean novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga holds a placard during an anti-corruption protest march along Borrowdale road, on July 31, 2020 in Harare.
Zimbabwean novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga holds a placard during an anti-corruption protest march along Borrowdale road, on July 31, 2020 in Harare.
  • There is no word from the SA government yet about alleged human rights violations in Zimbabwe.
  • Journalists and activists who have been critical of Zimbabwe's government have been arrested.
  • Among those arrested was prominent journalist, Hopewell Chin'ono, and writer, Tsitsi Dangarembga.

There is still no word from the South African government on the growing number of reports of alleged human rights violations in Zimbabwe.

News24 understands that the matter is being discussed by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco).

Department spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele told News24 on Tuesday morning that consultations were still under way. A statement is expected to be released soon.

This comes amid growing reports of alleged human rights violations in the country, prompting the #ZimbabweanLivesMatter social movement, which aims to bring the issue to the forefront.

Several Zimbabwean journalists and activists have been arrested, allegedly abducted or beaten in recent weeks after they either spoke out against alleged corruption, or were critical of the ZanuPF-led government.

Among those targeted was prominent Zimbabwean investigative journalist Hopewell Chin'ono (49), who is still in police custody after his recent arrest in his home country's capital of Harare on 20 July. He is accused of inciting Zimbabweans to join a planned anti-government protest during the coronavirus outbreak, News24 previously reported.

READ | Zimbabwe journalist in court, charged for inciting violence

The African Editors' Forum (TAEF) and the Southern African Editors' Forum (SAEF) have expressed concern about "the continued harassment and arrest of journalists in Zimbabwe by the government".

Both bodies also called on the immediate release of Chin'ono and reminded the Zimbabwean government that journalism was not a crime.

"The Zimbabwean government should allow journalists to do their work freely without any hindrance and we demand a guarantee for the safety of all media personnel in the country," TAEF chairperson Jovial Rantao and SAEF chairperson Willie Mponda said in a statement on Monday.

"This should not be happening in a democracy which Zimbabwe has declared to Africa and the rest of the world that it is," the duo added.

In addition, Zimbabwean renowned author Tsitsi Dangarembga (61) was recently arrested during anti-government protests and was released on bail on Saturday. News24 earlier reported that the writer was charged with incitement to commit violence and breaching anti-coronavirus health regulations after staging a two-women demonstration in Harare.

ALSO READ | Arrested Zimbabwean author, Booker nominee Tsitsi Dangarembga freed

Speaking to journalists shortly after bail was granted, Dangarembga said: "I feel that probably, all Zimbabweans want a better life for all Zimbabweans and the people who live here. I think that is bright motive to have, it is good thing to live by and to work for."

Dirco comment will be added once received.

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