MDC leader Welshman Ncube yesterday said Zimbabwe needs to self-introspect in the wake of the xenophobic attacks instead of heaping all the blame on South Africa.
BY STAFF REPORTER
Ncube was reacting to South African President Jacob Zuma’s Freedom Day speech where he asked a rhetorical question on why illegal immigrants were running away from their countries.
Information minister Jonathan Moyo accused Zuma of trying to justify the xenophobic attacks that left seven foreign nationals dead and displaced thousands of people.
However, Ncube in a statement criticising Zuma’s remarks as “all wrong, coming at the wrong time from the wrong person,” said undue pressure should not be put on the South African government by “failed states
“The truth hurts, but in all honesty, we as a nation are an embarrassing lot purely because of lack of self-introspection and hence must admit that the unacceptable and tragic xenophobic violence in South Africa calls for some moment of truth on our part as a country and for all of us as Africans,” he said.
“It is a fact that Zimbabweans living in South Africa are there because of the misrule and philosophy of hatred that (President Robert) Mugabe and his regime unleash on citizens who have fled the country for both political and economic reasons and some remain afraid of coming back home.”
Zanu PF officials have attacked Zuma for his response to the attacks that displaced thousands of foreigners.
Zimbabwe repatriated over 1 000 of its nationals that were caught up in the attacks.
“Zanu PF and its plethora of megaphones has been the loudest in apportioning blame on the South African government and coming up with the most ridiculous conspiracies, which are informed by the primitive belief that diesel can ooze from a mountain ready for use,” Ncube said.
“This is the same regime that has failed to deliver on its promise to create two million jobs before elections, yet they want to be the first and sinless persons to cast the first stone on the supposed offender.”
But the former Industry minister said South Africa, despite the failure by its neighbours to provide for their citizens, should be tolerant of immigrants.
“We would like to caution Zuma, the South African government and the general South African public against viewing the influx of foreigners to their country in an all negative light,” Ncube said.
“It is our humble submission that most of the populations in top global economies are made up of immigrants who provide much needed skills.
“Barring the complexities of the situation and composition of our nationals resident in South Africa, we still believe that we provide the country with the best human capital.
“South Africa needs to reflect and think very hard on its trade policies and its commitment to the industrialisation of the Sadc region as a whole, which continues to suffer huge trade deficits as against South Africa.”
The number of Zimbabweans in South Africa is not known, but some estimates put them at over three million. South Africa in 2009 granted 250 000 Zimbabweans special work permits, but it is believed that the majority remain undocumented.