Defiant Zuma: Why are your people here?

via Defiant Zuma: Why are your people here? – NewZimbabwe 27 April 2015

OTHER African nations were responsible for the influx of foreign nationals to South Africa and their criticism of the government over the recent wave of deadly xenophobic unrest was misplaced, President Jacob Zuma said on Monday.

“Our brother countries contribute to this. Why are their citizens not in their countries?

“It is not useful to criticise South Africa as if we mushroom these foreign nationals and then ill-treat them. Some (immigrants) said if you raise your voice in country X you disappear,” Zuma told a Freedom Day rally at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

“Everybody criticises South Africa as if we have manufactured the problem. Even if people who are xenophobic are a minority, but what prompts these refugees to be in South Africa? It’s a matter we cannot shy away from discussing.”

His remarks follow Nigeria’s decision to recall its top diplomats from South Africa.

Zuma reiterated his condemnation of the attacks that has claimed at least seven lives and said the hardship many South Africans endure was no excuse for turning on fellow Africans.

He added government had noted locals’ complaints about their living conditions, including unhappiness with the rising number of immigrants in South Africa.

“We have noted the complaints raised by South Africans and these will be attended to. These complaints include that the number of illegal and undocumented migrants is increasing.”

He said locals complained that immigrants were taking their jobs as some employers now prefer foreigners whom they pay lower wages.

“There are also complaints that foreign nationals benefit from free government services and that they run businesses illegally. There is also an accusation that undocumented foreign nationals commit crime in the country,” said Zuma to applause from his audience.

“None of these justify attacks on foreign nationals and the looting of their shops. We condemn the violence strongly. It is important to emphasise that not all foreign nationals are in the country illegally.”

Zuma noted that reports that Emmanuel Sithole, the Mozambican national who was brutally beaten and stabbed to death in Alexandra, had entered the country illegally.

However, he said many immigrants legally entered South Africa and were significantly contributing to the vast economy.

“It is also not true that all foreign nationals are involved in criminal activities. There are some who are involved, but not all of them.”

He said an inter-ministerial committee was examining all the complaints raised during the xenophobic attacks and also to ensure that immigrants observe their host nation’s laws.

“Government has already announced measures to improve security at the border posts including deploying the army in seven provinces recently to patrol border posts.

“We cannot leave our borders open and hope that either angels and ancestors are guarding our borders. They will never.”

He said soldiers would be deployed as immigration officers to improve the home affairs department’s capacity to man the ports of entry.

Report for AU and SADC

Zuma said South Africa was preparing a formal report for the Southern Africa Development Community, the African Union and the United Nations on the migration trends into South Africa and the resultant effects.

He added that representatives of immigrant communities had recently told officials of the deprivation which prompted them to come to South Africa.

“Some of them warned us that there is, with almost certainty, another wave of refugees coming, given the developments in their own countries. They answered the question why they jumped all the countries to come to South Africa.

“They take the trouble to jump all the countries and come to South Africa. They explained why. That will be contained in my report,” said Zuma.

When the crowd called for the president to divulge the stated reason, he responded: “I don’t think we need to appear as being critical to other governments. They all said wherever they are, they know South Africa is a safer country.”

He said the AU must discuss the influx of immigrants into South Africa because fellow African states were contributing to the problem, and all countries had a responsibility to handle their own citizens “with care”.

“We are very happy because we hear there are some murmurs that this matter must be discussed in the AU. We are happy to be given an opportunity to deal with the matter in South Africa and other countries that leads to this situation,” said Zuma.

He said there is a lot of anger in South Africa coupled with a propensity to use violence.

“This results from years of apartheid dehumanisation. We need to do more to promote healing and tolerance amongst all our people. Linked to this is the need to continue efforts to fight racism which continues to be a challenge in our country.”

A diplomatic row is deepening between Nigeria and South Africa after the former recalled it’s acting high commissioner from Pretoria.

At least seven people were killed in xenophobic attacks experienced in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Hundreds of Africans have been repatriated to their countries while thousands more are believed to be returning independently to neighbouring countries.

Zuma hosted a five-hour meeting with representatives of immigrant organisations at his Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria on Friday.


  • comment-avatar
    Dzepfunde 7 years ago

    Start by asking both the chairpersons of AU and SADC what they are doing in their own country that is soooo bad that it has driven so many of its citizens to as far away as Iceland. And those who cannot afford settle in nearby South Africa. Zimbabwe is half empty of its citizenry. The chairpersons should know ….or is it one and the same

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    Tinomunamataishe 7 years ago

    I think Zuma has addressed this well and asked some good questions.

    But he should also have known that in the case of Zimbabwe things would have been so different way back in 2002 when elections were rigged and his country declared them ‘free and fair’ despite the report from the South Africans themselves suggesting otherwise.

    He had another bite with the GNU and there was chronic failure on his part to pressure Mugabe into any action. He had a chance but unfortunately he blew it.

    As a result Zimbabwe is now stuck with a geriatric with no real interest in the goings on in his own country but spends his time either flying or sleeping. Not that he is a pilot but he is so fond of air miles maybe so as to run away from the chaos he has caused on the ground.

    Now what does Zuma expect the ordinary people to do? When they vote the vote is rigged and a very toxic environment is created henceforth.

    So their only alternative is to leave the country and go somewhere and that somewhere else also happens to be South Africa.

    Zuma should know that the neglect by his very country over the last 14 years is now coming to haunt him and his people.

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      Ini Bate-Reke 7 years ago

      Well said Tino. Zuma should first appreciate that we all yearn for the same democratic environment they have in RSA. His and previous SA governments have played a role in preventing democratic development in many African countries, by corruptly and brazenly colluding with dictators in the region, supporting them politically and endorsing their rigged elections.

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    obert 7 years ago

    South Africa got help from fellow Africans to achieve democracy. Instead of being champions in defense of democracy Mbeki and Zuma became instruments of pepertuation of oppression by African dictators especially in Zimbabwe. You declare sham elections free and fair thinking that you owe Mugabe something for helping you during your struggle but it was the people of Zim who helped you. They need your help now to also get democracy. Stop siding with a despot. If there is freedom in Zim, the people won’t come to SA.

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    we should not forget the many able bodied young africans fleeing across the mediterranean to europe.
    african leaders are the biggest cause of the woes of their own citizens.
    kagame has transformed rwanda in 15 years, and botswana is a stable middle income country.
    but so many other african countries, led by misguided and selfish leaders, have made life a hell for their own people.
    yet no voice of condemnation of these bad leaders ever arises from within the au or other continental bodies.

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    R Judd 7 years ago

    Zuma has said it right. It is not his job to force Zimbabwe to be governed decently. Those commentors above who somehow think that South Africa is responsible for getting rid of ZANU are misdirected.

    The fact remains that a substantial portion of the people of Zimbabwe have supported and continue to support the ZANU agenda. Mugabe is a politician who plays to his support base and that is why he is still in power.

    Most Zimbabweans only complain about the consequences of Mugabes policies, not the policies themselves. When a government is run as a criminal syndicate the results are predicable – there will be no happy ending for most people. When government policy is largely based on an agenda of theft there will be a problem when there is nothing left to steal. When you insult those who offer assistance and good advice they will turn away from you. That portion of the Shona people who support the government need to grow up. Nobody owes them anything.

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    Solidarity 7 years ago

    Zuma is right, why are foreigners running away from their countries? All countries with nationals in South Africa must answer that question including Zimbabwe. If all was good at home, We would not see such an influx of people leaving their homes and relatives to stay in a foreign country with strangers.

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    Pieter Isaak 7 years ago

    Pamberi ne ZANU

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    South Africa is guilty of aiding in the destruction of Zimbabwe by propping up the criminal dictatorship not once but many times. Just think about the long struggle to suppress their own investigation into the (2002?) elections.

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      taona 7 years ago

      Zuma is reaping what the South Africans sowed. Mbeki and Zuma have defended undemocratic and rigged elections in Zimbabwe and let Mugabe rule despotically despite Zimbabweans voting otherwise. The mess we are in now would not happened had South Africa stood firmly by demanding free and fair elections. Alas, the comradely brotherhood stood in the way of democracy and good governance and hence the mess we now are in!

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      Election Free and Fair 7 years ago

      One mistake that Mr ZUMA did was to declare ZIMBABWEAN Election results free and fair knowingly they where not So I Blame Mr Zuma and Mr Mbeki for this Zimbabweans could have fixed their problems long back from 2000 when the opposition has been winning elections and South Africa declaring the results free and fair even after election results where anounced after 5 weeks.

      But as I see it South Africa is the next victim of bad governance where South Africans will also run away from their country to other countries

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    Well ,well,well is zuma a pan africanist? He could be some would say since he allowed hoards of africans to take refuge in his country. He could also not be because he is counter revolutionary. All the same you dont help your neighbour so that tommorrow they can help you. You do it because you are concerned and the philanthropism within you renders you restless if you dont. South africa owes african nation nothing, because those non south africans who fought racism in that country did so not for return but they regarded it as the ill that it is. It is with sadness that we note the majority of current african leaders. They dont have the spine to stand up to what they believe in. Or maybe they dont believe in nothing at all. The europeans have strengthened their economies by driving towards one europe. Yet we continue with our spineless gutless leaders. Its mediocrity at its waste. Tell me which african president can stand up and say i stand for africa , i stand for unity, for the improvement of lifes in africa today? That is the problem.
    Giving mugabe the chairmanship of sadc means all is all in zimbabwe and endorses his years of misrule. They just are not those charismatic truth sayers in leadership anymore and we pray for just one single one, not Zuma.

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    Petal 7 years ago

    This guy was just entertaining the geriatric when they were making all the comments about Rhodes Statue feel he is playing double standards does he walk the earth blind

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    Chanisa 7 years ago

    I think all of the commentators above are right. Zuma has raised pertinent issues, and South Africa is also complicit in creating the problem for the reasons stated above, and for apparent inability to contain the situation. There is a sense in which South African leadership actually welcome the progroms as a handy tool to rid their country of an immigrant problem that they failed to tackle as government. The corruption in their institutions allows illegals to enter their borders and obtain permits and IDs. But for Zuma to suggest that illegals come to enjoy free social benefits is underhand and untrue. Many of these people work for these benefits harder than his compatriots do. They certainly benefit his country more than they harm it.

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    Zuma must leave with it..he is one of the causes..what he did is now haunting him..hope he gets a lesson out of it.

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    machakachaka 7 years ago

    When a man who never set foot at a school becomes president of a country, the result is careless speeches, shooting of protesting miners and veiled condoning of the murder of foreigners.

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    and when a so called educated fool with degrees in violence becomes president,the result is 20 000 masacred,world record inflation,loss of jobs,destruction of agriculture,seeking refined diesel from rocks…the list is endless,dear brainless machakachaka!

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    Doctoromy 7 years ago

    Zuma is dead on!! If you governed and took good care of your citizens why should they seek refuge elsewhere?

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    Ater there is action there is always a re-action . The action of bad governance started in 1980 and now we have the re-action.End of story!!!

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    Tjingababili 7 years ago