By MacDonald Dzirutwe
A wave of anti-immigrant violence in South Africa has claimed seven lives in Durban and Johannesburg over the past four weeks. The South African government has deployed troops to stop the fighting.
After a summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) called to discuss industrialisation in southern Africa, Mugabe told reporters that South African President Jacob Zuma had briefed regional leaders on the violence.
Zuma told the meeting that his government would educate its citizens to be tolerant of foreigners and would keep its security forces on alert to prevent future attacks.
“I was suggesting that we, the neighbours, must do what we can to prevent more people going into South Africa. If we can do it, we can then try to get those in South Africa home,” said Mugabe, the current SADC chairman.
“So people should get back to their own countries. It’s not just one for South Africa to resolve but for us, we the neighbouring countries, to resolve. Our people should not have the instinct of rushing into South Africa.”
An estimated one million Zimbabweans live in South Africa, after fleeing economic crisis and political violence at home over the last 15 years.
Mugabe said his government had brought 800 of its citizens back from Durban, but most of them had indicated they planned to return to South Africa, Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner.