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SA not heaven: Mugabe

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Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said South Africa isn’t the “heaven” that would-be migrants think it is and countries in the region should do more to curb their citizens from flocking there.

“Yes, it’s highly developed, but go there and see that the Africans in the country are still very low,” Mugabe, 91, told reporters in, Harare, following a regional heads-of-state summit. “It’s the whites that are living better lives, more advanced lives.”

A surge of attacks on immigrants in Johannesburg and the eastern port city of Durban this month has left at least seven people dead and thousands displaced. South Africa deployed the army into townships to help quell the violence.

“People must get back to their own country,” Mugabe said. “We, the neighbors, should do whatever we can to prevent more people going into South Africa and try to get those who are in South Africa to get back home.”

The 15-nation Southern African Development Community, which Mugabe is chairing this year, hasn’t taken any specific steps to curb migration to South Africa, he said.

Zimbabwe’s economic slump since 2000 has driven many citizens to seek jobs in neighboring South Africa. The University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg estimates there are about 1.5 million Zimbabweans living in South Africa. – Bloomberg

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