Xenophobia: Mnangagwa finally reacts, warns citizens against travel to neighbour

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By Costa Nkomo

GOVERNMENT has finally reacted to the current wave of violence rocking neighbouring South Africa describing it as barbaric and warning citizens travelling to that country to take necessary precautions.

On Tuesday Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told a post-Cabinet media briefing that Cabinet had not discussed the issues and President Emmerson Mnangagwa travelled to South Africa to attend the African leg of the World Economic Forum despite other leaders from Malawi, Rwanda and the DRC pulling out in protests.

In a statement Wednesday, Mutsvangwa said the senseless orgy of violence that is obtaining in South Africa threatens the unity of African member states that date back to the 1960s.

“The government and the people of Zimbabwe condemn the barbaric acts, which clearly offends the spirit of African unity and solidarity as espoused by the African Union Founding Fathers in Addis Ababa in 1963,” Mutsvangwa said.

She added: “The despicable attacks came at an opportune time when African leaders have just launched a continent-wide Africa Free Trade Area which has opened exciting economic opportunities that facilitate free movement of capital, labour, goods and services.”

The government further warned its citizens staying in South Africa and those intending to travel to South Africa to exercise caution.

“All Zimbabweans living in South Africa and those travelling to the country are urged to take necessary precaution to ensure their safety,” the Information Minister said.

South Africa is facing diplomatic backlash after a fresh spate of attacks by the locals on foreign nationals and their businesses.

Lynch mobs Sunday besieged South Africa’s business prime city of Johannesburg, burnt and vandalised foreign owned business premises including cars with at least five people killed.

Social media reports have been awash to the effect that the most targeted nationals are Nigerians.

According to various media reports, Tuesday, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari dispatched a Special Envoy to South Africa to meet South African President Cyril Ramaposa on the issue.

South Africa has emerged as an economic powerhouse in Southern Africa thereby attracting foreign nationals from all over the continent, although Zimbabweans are arguably the dominating foreign nationals.

There have been reports of retaliatory attacks in Nigeria, Zambia and Mozambique. A group of students in Nigeria has given South Africa owned businesses in the continent’s second largest economy to leave within a week.

A supermarket belonging to a South African chain was torched in Lagos, Tuesday according to reports while truckers of South African origin were being turned back in Zambia and Mozambique. In Zimbabwe Afro-pop group Mafikizolo’s show scheduled for Friday was cancelled after a social media campaign.