President Robert Mugabe has lashed out at Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini for allegedly sparking xenophobic attacks in South Africa that have left several people dead, saying the violence is unacceptable.
In an audio obtained by Studio 7, President Mugabe, who was addressing Zimbabweans at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on Saturday to mark the country’s 35 years of independence, said the violence must stop.
“… We abhor the incidents that happened in Durban where some five or six Africans were burnt to death deliberately by some members of the South African Zulu community. We understand it was a protest against the influx into South Africa by citizens of neighbouring countries.
“The act of treating other Africans in that horrible way can never be condoned by anyone and whether these are followers of Zulu king Zwelithini or the followers of some other misled members of the South African community, we say on our own behalf and on behalf of SADC as indeed the African Union, that must never happen again, never happen again in South Africa or any other country.”
Mr. Mugabe, who is the chairman of the African Union and Southern African Development Community (SADC), said Africans must be treated with dignity and “if there is any issue arising from the influx of Africans into any country, surely that can be discussed and measures can be taken and taken amicably to deal and address situation."
He praised President Jacob Zuma for calling upon South Africans to stop the violence, saying xenophobia was not that country’s way of life but the way of wayward people.
Mr. Mugabe noted that Zimbabwe has made stringent measures to evacuate stranded citizens who will be provided with free transport to their homes.
“These measures have been taken by a group of ministers working together and transport has been provided to bring them to the border and from the border our own buses will take them to their homes,” he said.
An estimated 800 Zimbabweans have been displaced by the violence that started a few days ago in Durban following alleged remarks by Zwelithini for South Africans to forcibly remove foreigners from the country for grabbing all local jobs and related issues.
The king says he was misquoted though his remarks resonated well with President Zuma’s son, Edward, who said foreigners are posing a great threat to South Africa as they have a potential of unseating a democratically-elected government in the near future.
Foreign-owned businesses have been looted and demolished with indications that the disgruntled South Africans are unhappy that local people are not owning such businesses.
Meanwhile, Zimbabweans have been urged to embrace some of the country’s programs designed to empower local people.
Zanu PF deputy director of information Psychology Maziwisa told Studio 7 despite some serious challenges faced the nation, the country has every reason to commemorate black majority rule.
He said there have been a lot of achievements since Zimbabwe attained independence.
President Robert Mugabe has ruled the nation since independence from British rule in 1980.