Mbalula’s “Xenophobic” Comment: Zim’s Opposition Say SA Is Paying The Price For Backing Mugabe


Zimbabwe opposition parties say South Africa’s political state and increased crime rate are as a result of karma playing because the country supported Robert Mugabe and his “corrupt and unrealistic government.

In its reply to comments made by Police Minister Fikile Mbalula – who accused Zimbabwean ex-soldiers of adding to the crimes in South Africa – the Zimbabwe opposition parties said the ANC government, adopted a policy of appeasement by failing to take firmer actions against Mugabe’s political excesses.

Minister Mbalula, during a press conference in Pretoria on Tuesday, sparked uproar in South Africa and Zimbabwe when he labeled most run-away Zimbabwean soldiers are the main people committing armed robbery and other violent crimes in South Africa.

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The minister, who though, denied being xenophobic in his statement, said: “There are people who come here from Zimbabwe, and they cross the line here.”

He also said the runaway soldiers enter into South Africa to promote criminality with their guns and strong ammunitions, robbing banks and promoting criminality.

“They are running away from uncle Bob (President Mugabe) there,” Mbalula told journalists at the media briefing, explaining

“In Zimbabwe once you are a soldier, you are a soldier for life. You can’t get out of it. So to get out of it, they run to South Africa, then they come here and rob banks. They are on the payroll of criminals, and we can’t trace them.”

Minister Mbalula, however, vowed to use the police service to fish them out of their hiding places using the Wanya, Wafa Tsotsi’ campaign

Through the Wanya, Wafa Tsotsi’ program, all criminals who are on the run must be found and be locked up by the South African Police Service, he said

Reacting to this, Gorden Moyo, secretary-general of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), said Mbalula’s comments confirm that a number of Zimbabwean soldiers are fleeing the country following Mugabe’s strict and cruel attitude towards them.

“This reveals a terrible truth about Zimbabwe that a legion of our servicemen desert the army because Mugabe’s government has failed to look after them,” Moyo said.

“It also sends a clear message that the problems (in Zimbabwe) have a direct impact on the domestic affairs.”

“Instead of (President) Zuma popping champagne, celebrating useless bilateral agreements with Mugabe, South Africa should be behaving like Nigeria in west Africa that is forcing dictators to abide by the principles of democracy.”

Moyo, however, stated that though such acts by the country’s military won’t be condoned, both Zuma and Mugabe will be blamed for these acts.

He said Zuma and ruling ANC will be blamed because it brokered a coalition government which rescued Mugabe in the 2008 general election after he (Mugabe) and the Zanu-PF allegedly murdered thousands of Zimbabweans during the election.

Zimbabwe opposition parties accusations echo some critics who also believed that South Africa’s silence in Zimbabwe’s illegitimate elections and rights violations helped Mugabe to dig in his heels, even as over three million Zimbabweans fled to South Africa where they are subject to “harassment and xenophobic attacks”.

The Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai, who became prime minister in the “government of national unity” from 2009 to 2013, says Mugabe’s Zanu-PF killed more than 200 of its supporters in that election campaign.

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Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean ambassador to South Africa, Isaac Moyo also reacted to Mbalula’s “xenophobic” comments, saying the Zimbabwean government will not accept any ill-informed elements by the minister.

“We deeply regret that they were made without due regard to their accuracy,” he said, pointing out that Zimbabwean government does not condone criminality by any of its citizens and the law must take its course wherever this is the case.

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