African National Congress (ANC) chairperson, Gwede Mantashe, has urged South Africans not to identify criminals by their nationality.
Speaking to News24 in Victoria Falls on Saturday, Mantashe, who is also South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, said crime knows no nationality. He said:
I always make the point at home and I will make it here: if a national from Zimbabwe commits a crime, he’s not a Zimbabwean, he’s a criminal. You must deal with criminals, not Zimbabweans, that’s my attitude.
… We have Zimbabweans from all walks of life in South Africa, they are in universities, they are in various institutions, they are CEOs of companies.
When people commit crimes in South Africa, they are not Zimbabweans, they are criminals.
When South Africans commit crimes in Zimbabwe, they are criminals.
On 6 April 2022, a Zimbabwean, Elvis Nyathi, was killed by vigilantes in Diepsloot, Johannesburg, for not having a passport.
Some South Africans blame foreigners for criminal conduct in their communities.
Mantashe admitted that his compatriots have a penchant for taking the law into their own hands. He said:
If you commit a crime in a community, the anger of the community would be informed by the extent of the crime.
Everybody who is doing the right thing in South Africa is safe.
Mantashe was in Zimbabwe to attend a meeting about the revival of the Pan African Minerals Development Corporation, a mining entity that brings together the governments of SA, Zimbabwe, and Malawi.