President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday waded into a tribal controversy when he claimed the Kalanga, from Matabeleland South, were uneducated and responsible for petty crime in neighbouring South Africa.
Speaking at the end of a Sadc extraordinary summit in Harare, Mugabe said he did not understand why Zimbabweans were flocking to South Africa, where they engaged in petty crime.
“And they are not the only ones, crooks, stealing, beating people. The Kalangas were/are very notorious in South Africa, they are known to be crooks because they are not educated enough to get (descent) jobs,” he said at a press conference broadcast live on South Africa’s SABC.
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Mugabe’s statements come barely a week after a state media columnist, Nathaniel Manheru, seemed to celebrate that people from Matabeleland were also being attacked in the xenophobic violence that gripped South Africa in the past few weeks.
The President said foreigners should leave South Africa, expressing bewilderment that most Zimbabwean male victims of the xenophobic violence were determined to return to the neighbouring country.