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THE Government has engaged South Africa over remarks by its Police Minister Fikile Mbalula alleging that the Zimbabwean ex-soldiers were responsible for violent crimes in the neighbouring country.

In an interview yesterday, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South Africa Mr Isaac Moyo said the embassy was shocked by Mr Mbalula’s claims, which he described as baseless and likely to strain bilateral relations between the two countries.

He said the two governments have engaged over the matter, but could not reveal details of the engagement.

“We’ve many structures in our bilateral cooperation arrangements that are specifically there to assist one another and this includes the police and the defence forces. The South African government has not approached us to even tell us about what we saw being flighted in the media,” he said.

“In fact, we got surprised by the inclusion of certain elements in the South African Police Minister’s statements claiming that people in the Zimbabwe National Army don’t retire, and that they are running away from uncle Bob. We think this is casting unnecessary assertions and we know that retirements and resignations in the ZNA are as ordinary and normal as anything.”

Mr Mbalula while addressing the media at the South African Police Services (SAPS) training centre in Pretoria on Tuesday said Zimbabwean ex-soldiers were robbing banks in the neighbouring country.

“There are people who come from Zimbabwe and cross the line here. They run away from the military in Zimbabwe and they come and promote criminality here in South Africa. That is the truth, where should I tell that truth?” Mr Mbalula was quoted as saying.

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