JOHANNESBURG – Despite his recent criticism of South Africa, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has offered heartfelt gratitude to President Jacob Zuma, saying the country has welcomed and given Zimbabwean nationals employment opportunities.
Mugabe recently insisted that South Africa is not as free as other countries in the region, suggesting that the ANC fought only to remove apartheid and not for freedom and independence as Zimbabwe did.
Mugabe’s remarks about South Africa didn’t please ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe, who said Mugabe must be grateful as there are millions of Zimbabwean citizens in the country.
The Zimbabwean President now says he is grateful to South Africa.
“Here is where many of our people have found incomes through employment.”
He acknowledged that some Zimbabweans are in the country illegally, while others do bad things.
“The good and the bad, and we have given you the trouble to sort out, others don’t mean well and need to be punished or sent back.”
He called on President Zuma to work together with him as they have done before.
ONE STOP BORDER
Meanwhile, Zuma has called for the urgent establishment of a one-stop border post between South Africa and Zimbabwe to avoid unnecessary delays.
The establishment of a “Beitbridge one-stop border post” is expected to ease congestion at the busiest port of entry into South Africa.
Zuma said the process needs to start soon given the volume of people and goods through the border.
“We cannot afford to continue to have unnecessary delays at that border. It is therefore important and urgent that we start in earnest the process.”
MUGABE CAUTIONS ANC
President Mugabe has warned against the African National Congress (ANC) being torn apart as it approaches its elective conference in December.
With divisions at the party’s top leadership, countless court cases disputing the legitimacy of the party’s gatherings as well as political killings and violence amongst members, some analysts believe the ANC is imploding.
Mugabe also seems to be concerned about the party.
“I don’t know what we would be if all that future is rendered into nothingness, torn apart.”
He’s wished the party well as it heads towards the conference in December, saying it must continue into the future renewed and strengthened.
(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)
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