A statement by a high ranking official
of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) that Zimbabweans living in South Africa are causing a strain on
economy is generating intense criticism.
Thandi Modise, ANC
deputy secretary-general said Zimbabweans in South Africa are placing an
enormous strain on healthcare, education and housing resources.
in South Africa say they fear that Modise's statement could trigger xenophobic
attacks against them.
More than three million Zimbabweans have crossed into
neighboring South Africa for better living conditions following their country's
George Mkwananzi, a Zimbabweans political analyst said that Modise's statement sets a dangerous precedent.
think it was ill-timed coming as it does in the wake of xenophobic attacks that
were done last year on foreigners mainly from Zimbabwe… when those xenophobic
attacks were done, the ordinary people did not have such an acknowledgment
coming from a senior government official. So it was their perception,"
said Modise's statement could enable more attacks on Zimbabweans.
that there has been such an admission on the part of a high ranking government
official, then it gives credence to such an impression. And there might be an
activated and motivated… to engage in hate attacks and so on," he said.
said Zimbabweans welcome moves to resuscitate the economy.
"Obviously every effort that
is directed at activating as well as fast tracking the situation in Zimbabwe so
that it returns to normality would be welcomed," Mkwananzi said.
He said there are no reasons
to believe that Harare will condemn Modise's pronouncement.
"For them (ZANU-PF) it
doesn't bother them because most of the people that left the country are
possibly those that would vote against them should there be an electoral
process so for them they are a good riddance…now that they are in foreign lands
and are perhaps sending back some foreign currency to them is an icing on the
cake," he said.
Meanwhile, a delegation of
United States lawmakers has urged Harare to ensure success of the coalition
government. The lawmakers ended their visit to Zimbabwe Thursday after holding
discussions with long-time embattled President Robert Mugabe as well as other