Harare – President Jacob Zuma‘s comments on the number of Zimbabweans currently in South African jails were “inappropriate” given the wave of xenophobic violence that has hit Durban and Johannesburg, Zimbabwe’s home affairs minister was quoted as saying on Friday.

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Kembo Mohadi said that he objected to the South African leader “singling out” Zimbabwean inmates at South African jails “when it was apparent that other nationals in that country also commit crimes,” the Chronicle newspaper reported from Bulawayo.

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Zuma said on Wednesday that there were more than 4 000 Zimbabweans currently in prison in South Africa, in comments that immediately irked Zimbabweans on social media.

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Analyst Glen Mpani tweeted: “So what if there are 4 000 Zim in prison?”

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Repatriation

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Zimbabwe this week repatriated hundreds of its citizens from Durban in the wake of the attacks, which have left at least one Zimbabwean man dead. More than 100 of the returnees have had to undergo trauma counselling. A number of them are also suffering from pneumonia, officials at Beitbridge border post say.

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Mohadi told the Chronicle: “I personally didn’t hear those comments but if [Zuma] said them then it’s most unfortunate and we really wonder why he had to single out Zimbabwe when it’s apparent that other nationals in that country also commit crimes.”

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“His comments were inappropriate,” Mohadi said.

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The number of Zimbabweans wanting to come home appears to be less than was initially thought, reports suggest.

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The Chronicle said that a total of 737 Zimbabweans had boarded buses in Durban for home since last Sunday. Earlier reports said up to 2 000 Zimbabweans wanted to leave Durban.

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Meanwhile, the state-controlled Herald newspaper reports that the number of Zimbabwean passengers wanting to travel from Harare to Johannesburg picked up on Wednesday after a lull a few days earlier likely due to the violence.

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Show

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South African hip-hop star Cassper Nyovest has confirmed in a tweet that he will perform in Bulawayo on Saturday.

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Nyovest last week said he’d been threatened if he went ahead with the show at a sports club in Zimbabwe’s second-largest city. However he appears to have won over many fans by tweeting in Shona and by promising to donate gate takings to xenophobia victims.

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Show promoter Dee Nosh told the Chronicle there would be a “heavy police presence” at the show.  – News24