BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE/TAPFUMANEI MUCHABAIWA
ZIMBABWEANS have blasted recent comments by South African Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi, who was quoted saying he would resign after all undocumented foreigners had been locked away.
They described Motsoaledi’s utterances as tantamount to endorsing xenophobic attacks on foreigners.
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.”
Analysts described Motsoaledi’s utterances as irresponsible and legalising xenophobia.
“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,” analyst Effie Ncube said.
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: “The government has the primary duty to ensure the safety of all citizens within and beyond its borders. It should do more to engage South Africa to get unequivocal assurances and guarantees of protection of all Zimbabwean migrants.”
Academic Methuseli Moyo said government should push South Africa to condemn and act on the attacks.
“The long-term solution is to create a conducive economic and political environment in Zimbabwe so that our nationals come back from South Africa,” Moyo said.
Foreign Affairs ministry spokesperson Livit Mugejo said government would continue engaging its South Africa counterparts to find solutions to the xenophobic attacks.
“We remain gravely concerned about the increase in the number of incidents of violence against our nationals in various parts of the host country,” he said.
“Consultations with the host government will continue using the established diplomatic channels with a view to finding solutions to this devastating problem.”
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.