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Mohadi, Makone ignorant of xenophobia


Co-Home Affairs ministers Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Makone yesterday made stunning revelations that they were oblivious of Zimbabweans fleeing xenophobic attacks from South Africa soon after the curtain came down on the World Cup.
Despite the ministers’ purported ignorance of the situation, there was a hive of activity at Road Port, the international bus terminus in Harare, with fear-stricken Zimbabweans arriving in droves.
Mohadi and Makone told journalists that Pretoria had not yet officially informed them about possible xenophobic violence, hence they could not rely on media reports on the mass movement of Zimbabweans.
“Where are you getting this from? This has not been officially communicated to us,” Mohadi said.
Mohadi and Makone had just come out of a brief meeting with South African Foreign Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, at a local hotel in Harare when they professed ignorance of the attacks.
Speculation swirled that the ministers discussed the ongoing threats of xenophobic violence. But Mohadi and Makone said their South African counterpart was in Zimbabwe on a private visit. “She was just paying a courtesy call on us and informing us that she is here on private business,” the ministers said.
Mohadi and Makone spoke to reporters after Dlamini-Zuma had left. Dlamini-Zuma was in Zimbabwe together with her former husband, South African President Jacob Zuma, to console the family of Industry and International Trade Minister Welshman Ncube, whose father died recently. Their daughter Gugulethu is married to Ncube’s son, Wesley.
President Zuma — who was coming from State House where he met President Mugabe — arrived at the hotel in his motorcade.
He did not disembark but only waited for his former wife to get into her own car before he waved to reporters and took off.
The South African government has acknowledged the threats of xenophobic violence and has responded by deploying solders in volatile townships.
Mohadi said if the South African government had problems they “will communicate to us”. Makone weighed in saying: “Our citizens have not yet communicated with us. We cannot rely on media reports.”
Those retuning told Newsday in interviews that they fled South Africa fearing possible attacks.
“I decided to come home because I am afraid, I do not want to be a victim because I have three children here,” said Delia Mataure, who had come from Polokwane, adding, “So for me I can’t afford to die and leave my children.” A Zimbabwean man, who was a truck driver in South Africa for five years, said he came back after he saw a neighbour being thrown out of a window from a flat in Durban.
“I came back because I saw one of our flat mates being thrown out of the window from the fourth floor. That is when I thought I should come home,” he said. The influx of Zimbabweans was welcome news to metered taxi drivers who said they were making brisk business. “We are paid in cash and in kind,” said one taxi driver who operates from the Road Port. “The other day I was hired by someone who didn’t have cash and I was given a blanket,” he said.
Tafadzwa Muranda (23), who is based in Cape Town, said it had now become dangerous to work in South Africa. While Mohadi and Makone were professing ignorance about the possible danger, Zimbabwean immigrants returning from South Africa said the police were on high alert in the neighbouring country – patrolling volatile townships.
Chairperson of the South African inter-ministerial committee on xenophobia, police minister, Nathi Mthethwa, said they had the “capacity” to deal with any possible outbreak of violence.
Mthethwa said SA was not a “banana republic” and had the capacity to deal with the threats of violence.

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