A WAR of words has erupted between a political columnists in Zimbabwe’s state-owned media stable, Nathaniel Manheru and former SA Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni’s proposal to set up a fund to help Zimbabwean beggars and vendors in the country as a case of “misbehaviour” and an act of “telescopic philanthrophy”.
The Herald columnist known by the pen-name of “Nathaniel Manheru”, a widely believed to be presidential spokesman George Charamba, said Mboweni would better help South Africans as 40 per cent of that country’s population was wallowing in unemployment and poverty.
“It is a fact that there are many Zimbabweans in South Africa, including those who beg and sell wares on the streets. But is also a fact that there are many South Africans who beg and sell wares on the streets. Above all, there are many vendors and beggars from other neighbouring states and beyond, which makes poverty mapping such an intricate process in South Africa,” says Manheru said in a column published by all state-owned dailies recently.
“But to suggest setting up a fund for ‘poor’ Zimbabweans in a country where there is upward of 40 percent black unemployment … is surely to be at odds with facts on the ground. To see begging and vending as exclusively Zimbabwean is to indulge in deceitful displeasure. It is – Dickensian and Mrs Jellyby-like – to indulge in telescopic philanthropy.”
Mboweni then hit back at the criticism saying on his twitter page: “Lord: open Nathaniel Manheru’s eyes and ears so that he can see and hear the cries of our destitute Zimbabweans on South Africa’s streets.” – Patience Rusere