Outrage over Mbalula remarks escalates

HARARE - Scores of Zimbabweans have reacted angrily to South Africa (SA)’s Police minister Fikile Mbalula’s statement that Zimbabwean soldiers were the ones perpetrating most crimes in his country.

Politicians and the generality of the people fear Mbalula’s remarks could trigger xenophobic attacks against fellow citizens living in the neighbouring country.

Early this week, Mbalula claimed soldiers leave the military in Zimbabwe and find their way to SA where they commit crimes, rob, terrorise and kill.

“Yes, they are from Zimbabwe. There are people who come from Zimbabwe, who run away from the military and they come and promote criminality in South Africa,” he said.

“That is the truth. Why shouldn’t I tell that truth? There are Zimbabwean ex-soldiers who are in this country, robbing banks, promoting criminality,” he went on.

“They come into this country — they rob, they terrorise, and they kill. That’s what they do. So we arrest them. We have got them.” Mbalula said, urging members of the South African Police Service to toughen their stance against criminals in the country.

He further said: “They (soldiers) are running away from uncle Bob (Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe) there”.

“Zimbabweans are working for us in this country. Very good Zimbabweans. They are working in our kitchens, they are everything, highly educated people. If there is anything that . . . Mugabe did was to educate his people. The people working in your kitchens are doctors. They are more educated than you. They are from Zimbabwe.”

This has since sparked a diplomatic row. In reaction, Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo described Mbalula’s statement as disturbing.“Quite concerning, to say the least. Sadly, the unhelpful language used smacks of pub talk with all the tragic trappings of afrophobia!” Moyo wrote on his Twitter account.

Opposition People’s Democratic Party leader and former Finance minister Tendai Biti said the blame falls squarely on Mugabe’s shoulders and his Zanu PF government, which he accused of ruining the lives of Zimbabweans.

“It is Zanu and not SA that has created the mess in Zim. Collective anger must thus be directed at #Mugabe and the predatory State he has created,” Biti — a lawyer by profession — said on Twitter.

Zimbabwe Congress of Teachers Union Raymond Majongwe weighed in saying: “Comrade Fikile Mbalula. Hau baba. Ummm is that fact or fiction?”

Respected civil society leader Brian Kagoro said Mbalula’s statement were reckless.

“Every country in the world has criminal elements. Statistically, it is not correct that the majority of robbers in SA jails are Zimbabweans,” he said.

Another citizen Tamara Mutowa said: “Collective anger of any sensible Zimbabwean must be directed at @fikilembalula right now, ndookufarisa chaiko uku (that’s unacceptable)”.

Lawyer Munyaradzi Bwanya also took to Facebook saying Mbalula’s statements lacked objective interrogation.

“Once the tantrums are over, Mbalula’s position deserves objective interrogation. I am of the view that every Zimbabwean knows at least one person who is legally in SA and lawfully plying a trade in SA.

“Every Zimbabwean also knows at least one person who is in SA illegally and cannot account for their survival in that country; that relative or friend who cannot come home for funerals or Xmas because ‘mapepa haana kumira mushe (the papers are not in order) Is Mbalula the problem . . .?”

The South African government, through its Twitter account said it was wrong to assume the foreign nationals were responsible for the crimes in SA.

“The stereotype that foreign nationals perpetrate crime is not only wrong but also dangerous as it only inflames tensions,” the South African government wrote.

Comments (10)

The President has said similar statements before about Kalangas, he has also said some ontoward about Nigerians...Mbalula is expressing personal sentiments which are not completely distanced from the truth. If Zimbabwe feels offended sort out your economic woes and stop the brain drain - Doctors becoming gardern boys in RSA.

Sinyo - 28 April 2017

Mbalula is right in all bank robberies or cash heist that happen in SA if they is a Zimbabwean among the robbers check his back ground and chances of being a soldier are 99 p . That is a fact They normally run to SA after helping Mugabe win elections by intimidating pple in reserves and that happens nearly after every election .They is no need to deny the truth said by Mbalula mhlekazi spot on His crime is why did he mention it that is all .

Diibulaanyika - 28 April 2017

Why rob SA banks wen Zim banks have much more cash stashed in there and clients are failing to access?

liki.wiki@roacketmail.com - 28 April 2017

Maybe Mbalula has done his research since he is on the ground with first hand information. Have you also done yours so that you can with a strong point.

Regalia - 28 April 2017

Mbalula said the truth. nothing we can add or subtract

chahototo - 28 April 2017

There is elements of truths in the statement made by Fikile. He just said what is already in the public domain. A recent jail break in that country was led by ex-zim soldier. The presence of these criminals have given upper hand to the criminal world in that country. Their behavior is doing more harm to the large good foreign population in the host country. Criminals should be denounced irrespective of their nationality. The outdated african notion of sweeping dirty things beneath carpets will take us nowhere. This should be a wake up call to ZDF. Are we making disciplined armed forces or the end product is militia. A lot of things must be flawed from recruiting , criminals, slogans, brain washed and patronage groups. Is our ZDF still in the same standard to the one that took UN mission in Somalia in early 90s. I think South africa and its people have done extremely well in hosting and living side by side with zimbabweans during these hard times. If Mr Fikile have footage or pictures of these purported zim criminals he must make them public, chances are very high a zimbabwean will raise his hand and identify that criminal. the rest will be history.

X-MAN IV - 28 April 2017

This is one of the problems for us Africans (in general), we tend to ignore the truth and attack someone if they air our dirty laundry in public. What Mbalula said is largely true, although not every Zimbabwean in SA is not a crimial (which he clearly did say), there are sizable number of Zimbabweans that cross the border for criminal activities. We can not on one hand be critical of SA for refusing to extend visas to good and law abiding Zimbabweans but then criticize them when they make a reasonable and largely an accurate observation about criminality. These soldiers have been getting away with crimes in Zimbabwe and ZANU-PF enables them to do so. Now they feel like they are above the law or anyone else. Get on board "Wanya Tsotsi" or perish!

gudo - 29 April 2017

Sad but true, our brothers are even stealing from us. If you get mugged at parkstation in joburg , chances are it's my Zimbabwean brothers. Personal experience, a few rotten apples.

Den - 1 May 2017

If riot police and rogue soldiers can beat you up (for nothing) in Zimbabwe why should they fail to rob you anywhere else (for money) if they are armed? If you support criminality then there is a problem with you as an individual.

Sagitarr - 2 May 2017

No secrete about some Zimbabweans carrying out criminal activities in SA. Lots of them

Dakarai - 2 May 2017

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