Just over a week ago with sewage flowing in the streets, rubbish piled up in mounds, a broken water supply and the United Nations warning of a cholera catastrophe in Zimbabwe the moron who passes himself off as the country’s Deputy Health Minister Edwin Muguti told the world’s media that there was no need to declare an emergency ; “The situation is under control”.

One week later with cholera running wild the same government suggests : “”The government yesterday [Wednesday] declared the cholera outbreak … and the malfunctioning of central hospitals as national emergencies and appealed to the donor community for assistance to alleviate the situation,” it said. “The emergency appeal will help us reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with the current socio-economic environment,” Health Minister David Parirenyatwa told a meeting of aid groups, the newspaper reported. “Our central hospitals are literally not functioning. Our staff is demotivated and we need your support to ensure that they start coming to work and our health system is revived,” he added. (AFP/Reuters)

As most of you who have been following this debacle will recall, initially Mugabe’s geniuses had tried to conceal the cholera outbreak. This meant that the citizens of that country were not only unaware of the danger which meant they never took steps to avoid it but just as important, were in the dark as to how to deal with a disease that kills its victims within 10-12 hours if not treated.

By concealing the danger Mugabe endangered not only the people of Zimbabwe but the entire region the results of which we are now witnessing in South Africa.

The depth of irresponsibility by Mugabe and his clowns once again simply staggering.

Today we find Health Minister (by his mother maybe) David Parirenyatwa telling the world how desperate the situation is. Where was he a week ago when Muguti was telling us how everything was hunky dory? Where was he when South Africa’s Health Minister Barbara Hogan dismissed Muguti’s nonsense? Where was he when Morgan Tsvangirai claimed that cholera was the biggest crisis in Zimbabwe?

While the collapse of law and order in Somalia is yielding piracy which can be localised, Zimbabwe’s collapse is occasioning a stampede of desperately ill and starving people who have no alternative but to cross our borders bringing with them all that ails what was once a prosperous country.

Mugabe and the Zanu-PF meanwhile have committed all their resources to protecting Mugabe and the Zanu-PF. Printing more money, using elite soldiers to police soldiers who are starting to rebel, crushing protests, seizing land and attending meetings to explain why they will never concede power.

While they are doing this the SADC, U.N and aid agencies have to look after the people of Zimbabwe.

During xenophobia I went into the townships of South Africa and I spoke to residents ad nauseum. Their grievances were real – Millions of refugees, unregulated, pouring into their communities, bribing housing officials so they could get houses before locals, erecting shacks outside their homes overnight, desperados increasing violent crime exponentially, taking their jobs and on and on.

When the government called those who vented their frustations criminals I tore into the president and ministers concerned – criminals may have jumped on the bandwagon but the vast majority of people protesting were our ordinary poorer citizens with real grievances which were not being addressed. I also warned of the dangers of failing to heed their call and addressing their problems.

Polokwane was definitely a result of the grievances of our poorer community not being dealt with.

If the South African government does not take urgent steps to intervene in Zimbabwe then this second, deadly wave of refugees is going to visit upon them a crisis of monumental proportions.

If you think back even Jacob Zuma battled to calm residents during xenophobia while many ministers failed to turn up at meetings rather than face these angry mobs. If Zimbabwe is allowed to continue to export death and hardship unchecked to its neighbours the anger we witnessed during xenophobia and Polokwane is going to be a picnic.

Even our poor have limits to the garbage they will endure.


Michael Trapido

Michael Trapido

Mike Trapido is a criminal attorney and publicist having also worked as an editor and journalist. He was born in Johannesburg and attended HA Jack and Highlands North High Schools. He married Robyn...

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