Thursday, 30 April 2015

President Mugabe says South Africa is not heaven.

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday called on countries in the region to put mechanisms in place to ensure their citizens flocking to South Africa return to take up opportunities at home.Speaking at a press conference in Harare on the sidelines of a Sadc summit, President Mugabe offered his opinion on a wave of xenophobic attacks which swept through South Africa this month.

South African President Jacob Zuma had earlier briefed regional leaders chaired by President Mugabe about the attacks in his country that left at least seven people dead, by the government’s count.

President Mugabe, who is also the African Union chairperson, said most of the people who flocked to South Africa were not being pushed by their governments.
President Mugabe says South Africa is not heaven.
“They’re people who voluntarily go to South Africa,” he said as he fielded questions from journalists. “They think South Africa is the heaven. Our heaven in Southern Africa. Yes, South Africa is more highly developed, true. But go there and you’ll see that the Africans in the country are still very low. It’s the whites who’re living better lives, more advanced life. In Soweto, the lives of people are very elementary.

“Then there’re people from out here who think there’s heaven in South Africa and decide to go to South Africa. They make the situation of the Africans there worse.”

He said while South Africa had no problems employing professionals, the majority of immigrants were border jumpers.

President Mugabe cited Matabeleland South as one area where there was widespread emigration to South Africa, mostly by men who instinctively cross the Limpopo. This group used clever means to acquire South African identity documents.

President Mugabe said the Zimbabwe government had repatriated about 800 citizens from South Africa following the xenophobic attacks. Some of the repatriated people, he said, had indicated that they would still return to South Africa regardless of the violence against foreigners there.

“Even after that incident which we saw of people being burnt, the South Africans say ‘no, this was not a true incident of the day. It happened in the 1980s, long ago. It did not happen just recently’.

“Anyway, we thought it happened recently and we’re still convinced it happened recently,” said President Mugabe, drawing laughter from the delegates.

He said some of the emigrants to South Africa engaged in robberies, making it the duty of all the countries in Sadc to help in stopping the influx.

“It’s one for us, we the neighbouring countries, to resolve,” said President Mugabe. “Our people should not have the instinct of rushing into South Africa. Even those who go to university, they want to remain there. I don’t know what is attractive. They get there, they don’t want to come back home. They want to work in South Africa.

“I suppose it’s the life that attracts one, the big shops and so on. But what do those things mean at all if you don’t have a real income and you are in danger of losing your life? Everyday you must take care that the tsotsis will not find you alone and then deal with you.”
President Mugabe said President Zuma briefed the summit on the measures his government put in place to stop xenophobia.

The interventions include educating citizens on the need for a good reputation as a country and having teams in place to detect any possible xenophobic attacks. Herald

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