ZIMBABWEANS based in South Africa have applauded the move by Johannesburg residents to flush out all known drug dealers and human traffickers from their community, but blasted Johannesburg mayor, Herman Mashaba, for trying to use the incident to incite public anger against foreigners.
Ian Beddowes, leader of the Zimbabwe Communist League, said as communists, they were in full support of "the most ruthless forms of action against drug dealers and human traffickers, as these are people involved in destroying the very fabric of society".
"We would like to remind people that in socialist-oriented countries like Cuba and China, such people, regardless of their position in society, receive the death penalty," he said.
Beddowes, however, described as "opportunistic" statements by Mashaba on SABC Morning Live on Tuesday blaming foreigners for drug dealing and human trafficking.
"These statements are obviously deliberately aimed at twisting the justified anger of the South African people against vicious organised crime into xenophobic hatred. We must ask: 'Whose interests does Mashaba represent?'" he said.
Zimbabwe Community in South Africa (ZCSA) leader, Ngqabutho Mabhena described Mashaba's anti-foreigner stance as retrogressive.
"The liberation of South Africa was a result of the pan-Africanist stance of the rest of the continent," he said.
"This frequently led to the impoverishment of nearby countries, in particular Mozambique, Angola and Zambia, who dared support South African freedom.
"They paid a huge price. South Africa has a duty to work for the upliftment of these countries. In fact, if South Africa wants to limit immigration into its territory, it can better be served through assisting the development of other African countries rather than vainly trying to build a wall across the border in the style of (US president) Donald Trump."
Mabhena said, they were working with an ANC-led alliance in seeking a solution to the migration challenge.
"We have strong links throughout the Zimbabwean community here and are willing to work with South African Home Affairs department and its minister, Malusi Gigaba in documenting Zimbabweans, as we have done in the past," he said.
"Most Zimbabweans in South Africa are known to be hard working and skilled; we are already working together with our South African brothers and sisters and are willing to start new projects which can assist in skills transfer."
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