Sadc grills Mugabe


PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday came short of blaming Zimbabweans for the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa, describing them as thieves.


His taunts came just after Sadc deputy chairperson and Botswana President Seretse Ian Khama had left before the summit ended after he reportedly ganged up with South African President Jacob Zuma and told Mugabe point-blank that most Zimbabweans were fleeing to Botswana and South Africa over his misrule.

Mugabe told journalists in Harare on the sidelines of the Sadc Extraordinary Summit that Zuma should not shoulder blame alone for the attacks that left seven people dead.

Despite vicious attacks targeted at Zuma by several people across the region for the xenophobic attacks in his country, Mugabe blamed locals for the chaos.

Though unconfirmed reports were that Zuma was grilled by fellow Sadc leaders in closed-door meetings, Mugabe said it was shocking that thousands of Zimbabweans were flocking to South Africa.

He said many Zimbabweans, mainly men, affected by xenophobia were vowing that they would go back to South Africa despite the brutal attacks.

“We are sorry for South Africa, the people who are described as an influx in South Africa are not pushed by their governments, (and) they are people who voluntarily go to South Africa,” the 91-year-old Mugabe said.

“They think South Africa is heaven in southern Africa. It’s developed, true, but
go there and see that the Africans in the country are still low.
“The lives of the people are very elementary and then there are people from out here who think there is heaven in South Africa and decide to go there and make the situation of Africans there worse.”

Mugabe said although South Africa needed skilled labour in the form of engineers, doctors and teachers among other professionals, criminals had taken advantage of that country’s open-door policy.
“Yes, those are employed, but the majority are those who just jump the border and say ‘SiyeJoni’ (We are going to Johannesburg),” he said.

Mugabe, who is also Sadc chairperson, said he was briefed by colleagues that most of the foreigners, Zimbabweans included, were involved in illegal activities in South Africa.

He singled out Kalangas and others from Matabeleland South, saying they were not educated enough to acquire jobs.

“For our province of Matabeleland South, the men there and boys, if you have not been to South Africa, you would haven’t been to a place of good life and it doesn’t matter what you do there, each and everyone wants to have some method of escaping from home and get to South Africa somehow,” Mugabe said.

He said most Zimbabweans were illegally entering South Africa and acquired new names and identities, pretending to be Zulus or Xhosas.
“It’s not for South Africa to resolve alone. It’s for us the neighbouring countries,” he said.

“Our people shouldn’t have the instinct of rushing to South Africa. Even those who went to universities, they want to remain there and I suppose it’s the life which attracts them.”

He said during the summit, Zuma explained what had happened and spelt out steps that his government was taking to encourage South Africans to be tolerant.

“There are people who think there is heaven in South Africa. Those people make the reality of South Africa worse,” Mugabe added.
However, the President disputed claims by South Africa that pictures of people being burnt alive during the xenophobic attacks were from the 1980s.

In 2008, Mozambican national 35-year-old Ernesto Alfabeto Nhamuave was set alight and burnt to death at an informal settlement in eastern Johannesburg.

Mugabe said he and other African leaders were convinced the pictures, including one of another Mozambican national, Emmanuel Sithole, who was stabbed to death, were recent.

During the question-and-answer session, Mugabe’s long, winding answers seemed to have unsettled delegates with his chief of protocol, Munyaradzi Kajese, attempting without success to signal him to wind up.

Zuma this week said 4 000 Zimbabweans were in South African prisons for various crimes.


  1. So today we are now the uneducated, thieves and unwanted elements of society, a society which is reeling with a high rate of unemployment, poverty, political victimization and all social ills. Yet uncle Bob is forgetting that it is his misrule and murderous political so journey that has driven us out. We cannot attain irrelevant degrees and expect us to be sitting ducks to be consumed by his demonic political party.

    • lf it was not for mbeki all these xenophobic problems wouldnt be 2008 zimbabweans voted out mugabe nicely but mbeki forced him back in fearing the mdc taking over could inspire cosatu to do the same.a little pressure could have sent mugabe to retirement and solved all our now tsvangirai could be serving his last term.

  2. It would be a pure miracle to hear our president apologising & accepting responsibility for the misery of his people, even when the truth stares him right in the face

  3. Mugabe is a shameless old man ,who lacks judgement and sound advice .The problem is ZANU pf and its leaders has no social base and do not seem to realize the rot in the economy.He blames people for crossing into South Africa (heaven on earth) ,to day Messina’ s economy is big than of Bulawayo and Plumtree and opportunities even in farms are there .Mugabe systemically reduced and disenfranchised the province and the people,he blames today.I challenge Mugabe to send his spooks to either beitbridge and count how many busses pass the boarder to and fro South Africa ,and count how many per each province in zimbabwe . Buses from Mbare and eRenkini that ply the local routes are now fewer that cross boarder busses ,why Mr President not even in the 1990s did we have such.
    A failed President blaming his people shame on you Matibili and your bunch of thieves.
    Police and zimbabwean soldiers you beat your Sisters and Brothers why can’t you look at the causes , I think it’s time we had a Soldier challenge the powers that be like what happened in Lesotho .Zuma and ANC should not blame Mugabe too ,cause he has been losing elections and they recognize his rigging that’s taking part in de economizing it’s neighbour.Shame shame on Matibili and his zanu stogies and Zuma and his ANC which is fast becoming another zanu in the region

  4. Listening to this old fart is very disappointing. 35yrs after the so-called we still hev a backward Tribe? The Dinosaur knows about this all along yet he has did nothing. The fact sill stands citizens are fleeing misrule which cozed economical meltdown. Where now is this best literate nation thing leadings us into…..

    • Very true what has he done to improve education to the people of southern matabelelend
      Its not the people but his misrule and trbalism

  5. Mugabe is a tired and ancient goblin whose time will soon be up. He can rig elections, but he can’t rig age, time and biology. And he knows it….

  6. we are in trouble. we have to stay and sit pamagate tisina zvatoita coz we are becoming criminals in SA. there is nothing for the common zimbabwean. everything is being stolen by the big boys. nyika ino ine peace asi ine KUTAMBURA KUKURU.

  7. this man is delusional honestly. Blame everyone else for his own foibles. Zimbabwe is in trouble there is no hope as long as we have a leadership that is focussed on self preservation and not the interest of the country.

  8. Zimbabwe, unfortunately, is a classic case of a lost victory. Its is a tragedy with a deliberately cultivated invasive political culture…a bull & matador type of culture. The peace we talk of is counterfeit peace & we all know it. Peace is not necessarily the absence of war… Very hard choices are needed if we are to reset our country on a progressive trajectory and not this selfish dog eat dog one. We need a Marshall Plan, spearheaded by competent all inclusive leadership…. Our current ways are a threat to our own state security & regional stability.

  9. lf it was not for mbeki all these xenophobic problems wouldnt be 2008 zimbabweans voted out mugabe nicely but mbeki forced him back in fearing the mdc taking over could inspire cosatu to do the same.a little pressure could have sent mugabe to retirement and solved all our now tsvangirai could be serving his last term.

    • Tik tak you are correct but Zuma is also to blame: endorsing a rigged 2013. And now he is chirping about all the zimbo’s streaming into SA. These politicians are clueless and ungodly. let is pray for godly men and women and refuse to vote in these destructive forces. We are too easily deceived come election time. ZPF and the general Zim population must be penga to have allowed Bob to rule for 35 years.

  10. This old man is from hell sent to punish us for being weak minded. why cant we stand up and fight like what other Africans do for their well being and rights,Mugabe has withered and is finished.He has failed to do his job, he knows he is dying soon why then should he worry about us.look at him blaming suffering souls calling them thieves and uneducated ,yet he is the one who subjected the people to such.

  11. What a shameful attitude from a stupid old fool. No wonder people think South Africa is a heaven compared to the hell on earth made by Bob where your own people can kill your dreams.

  12. Mr PRESIDENT, what tangible thiungs are you doing for your Zimbabwe so that the millions of your people do not view South Africa as heaven? Or rather what are you doing so that your country is also viewed as heaven?

  13. Then u continue to insult other tribes of being uneducated when most of them are like that because of your policies. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. kunzima. God help us.

  14. to think Zimbabwe was second after S.A is a thorn in the flesh. At least you admitted that S.A is developed. What then are you doing in order to develop our country such that it would be viewed in the same way people view S.A. Don’t blame the people for flocking S.A. Blame your policies and misrule.

  15. I heard a certain political flip flop Professor is Kalanga and they all flock to him for his intelligence.

  16. all Africans should be credited for the economic development of SA, so why not enjoying what we have sweated for. however, Mr President is correct, our constitution allows freedom of opinion and expression for all the citizens including him. given the statistics of illegal emigration to SA, the males from the western side of Zimba dominates, but when it comes to literacy i was shocked with recent publications that females from the west are highly literate than their male counterparts. i guess what they understand much is the long journey of Mzlikazi and their long ago rivalry with the Masvina, that’s why they often massacres other fellow Zimbabweans once on the other side of Limpopo, zvaburana

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