South African Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula has backtracked on the comments he made last week concerning ex-Zimbabwean soldiers whom he accused of illegally entering South Africa to rob and kill. The minister claims his statement was taken out of context.
Mbalula raised fears of igniting xenophobic attacks after informing SA journalists that Zimbabwean army deserters were responsible for violent crimes in South Africa.The statements drew widespread condemnation.
But in an about-turn, Mbalula’s spokesperson Mr Vuyo Muhanga told The Sunday Mail last night that the minister’s statements were taken out of context. “The statement was taken completely out of context,” said Mr Muhanga.“When the minister was speaking he was speaking to two specific issues.
“The first being about the crime in an incident involving the five men who were responsible for robbing a jeweller in Johannesburg that happened recently and this was only an isolated incident.
“The other issue he touched on was that of the many educated Zimbabweans we have contributing to South African development, which is one of the attributes the Zimbabwean Government is praised for.
“Basically, it was not a blanket statement and needs to be properly qualified in its proper context.“He was simply referring to one isolated incident.
“We have many Zimbabweans living here in peace whom the minister said are more educated than some South Africans.”Mbalula was widely quoted in the media last week after claiming that “Zimbabweans enter the country illegally and they just come here not to promote goodwill”.
The Democratic Alliance wants to report Police Minister Fikile Mbalula to the SA Human Rights Commission for the comments he made about former Zimbabwean soldiers illegally entering the country to rob and kill.
DA Gauteng leader John Moodey said Mbalula’s comments were a consequence of bad leadership. He said the African National Congress government had forgotten its vision for a united Africa.
“We believe that the comments promote hatred based on the grounds of origin, ethnicity and nationality, and infringe on the dignity of Zimbabwean citizens living and working in South Africa,” Moodey said.
He said Mbalula should stop using blanket xenophobia as a justification for crime in South Africa’s streets and instead focus on securing the country’s borders.
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