Zimbabweans have criticised South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, over his recent remarks on unregistered foreign immigrants resident in that country.
Addressing an African National Congress (ANC) regional conference in the Eastern Cape province this week, Motsoaledi said:
Why is the ANC keeping quiet and believing [this problem] will go away? It is not going to go away. I am in Home Affairs. I know what I am talking about. We are the only country that accepts rascals. That is not the meaning of democracy. We are not going to allow that. I am coming for them. When all of them are in jail, locked in and the keys have been thrown away, then I will step down — only then.
His remarks are being interpreted as an endorsement of violence perpetrated by vigilante groups such as operation Dudula and some say such utterances only have the effect of worsening tensions between local citizens and foreign nationals. Analyst Effie Ncube said:
He should be extremely careful because he is likely to be taken by the Operation Dudula gangsters to be giving an official recognition of their criminal activities.
He said there was no evidence supporting that foreigners in South Africa were engaging in criminal activities.
Political analyst Dumisani Nkomo said:
These are shocking statements apparently from an ignorant minister, who is not even aware that it was foreigners who helped South Africa to attain independence. It was Zambia that harboured Umkhonto Wesizwe, while Zimbabwe harboured the ANC.
Political analyst Vivid Gwede said urged the Zimbabwean government to engage South Africa to get unequivocal assurances and guarantees of protection of all Zimbabwean migrants.
Gwede’s remarks were echoed by academic Methuseli Moyo who said the government should push South Africa to condemn and act on the attacks.
Foreign Affairs ministry spokesperson Livit Mugejo said the government would continue engaging its South African counterparts to find solutions to the xenophobic attacks.
Recently, a Zimbabwean Elvis Nyathi was burnt to death in South Africa by a mob from Operation Dudula after he failed to produce a passport.
More: NewsDay Zimbabwe