DA Gauteng leader John Moodey said Mbalula’s comments were a consequence of bad leadership. He said the African National Congress government had forgotten its vision for a united Africa.
“We believe that the comments promote hatred based on the grounds of origin, ethnicity and nationality, and infringe on the dignity of Zimbabwean citizens living and working in South Africa,” Moodey said.
He said Mbalula should stop using blanket xenophobia as a justification for crime in South Africa’s streets and instead focus on securing the country’s borders.
“Mbalula needs to work with the security cluster to boost border security so that South Africa can properly regulate immigration.
“He must not blame one nation for crime when it is in his power to properly regulate who comes into South Africa and who doesn’t.”
Mbalula told reporters during a briefing on Tuesday that the five men who robbed a Hyde Park Corner mall jeweller in Johannesburg on April 13 were Zimbabweans.
His spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.
“Yes, they are from Zimbabwe. There are people who come from Zimbabwe, who run away from the military and they come and promote criminality in South Africa.
“That is the truth. Why shouldn’t I tell that truth? There are Zimbabwean ex-soldiers who are in this country, robbing banks, promoting criminality.”
Mbalula said these soldiers were running away from President Robert Mugabe’s military.
“To get out of it, they run to South Africa and rob banks. They are on the payroll of criminals. We can’t trace them. They enter illegally and they just come here and do not promote goodwill.”
He said his remarks were not xenophobic and that there were many Zimbabwean nationals in the country doing good work.
Zimbabwe’s ambassador in SA Isaac Moyo told Africa News Agency that his government did not condone criminality by any of its citizens and said the law should take its course wherever this was the case.
“We, however, cannot accept the many ill-informed elements in the said statement [Mbalula’s remarks] and we deeply regret that they were made without due regard to their accuracy.”
It was not immediately clear whether the SAHRC had indeed received the DA’s complaint.