Mugabe 'shocked, disgusted' by SA's xenophobic violence

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe says all Africans in South Africa should be treated with dignity.

Thousands join the peace march in Durban on 16 April 2015. Police keeping close watch at the hotspots. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

HARARE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Saturday expressed shock and disgust at attacks on immigrants in neighbouring South Africa and said his government was working to bring back home affected Zimbabwean citizens.

At least six people have been killed in a wave of anti-immigrant violence in South Africa that started two weeks ago in the port city of Durban and spread to Johannesburg.

Mugabe said during a speech at a football stadium in the capital Harare to mark 35 years of Zimbabwe's independence that all Africans in South Africa should be treated with dignity.

"I would want now to express our sense of shock, disgust as we abhor the incidences which happened in Durban," Mugabe said.

"The act of treating other Africans in that horrible way can never be condoned by anyone," said the 91-year-old, speaking on behalf of the regional Southern African Development Community and African Union, both of which he currently chairs.

An estimated one million Zimbabweans live in South Africa having escaped an economic crisis and political violence at home over the last 15 years.

Periodic outbreaks of anti-immigrant violence in South Africa have been blamed on high unemployment, widespread poverty and glaring income disparities.

The Malawian government has hired buses to repatriate 500 of its nationals, Information Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa said on Friday.

He urged South Africa to provide greater protection for immigrants, echoing demands from China and the African Union.

Mugabe said his government had put in place measures to bring back its citizens but did not give details.

The state-owned _Herald _newspaper reported that Zimbabwe planned to repatriate 1,000 citizens and was setting up a receiving centre at Beitbridge, the biggest border post with South Africa.

COPS ON HIGH ALERT IN JHB CBD

Police are on high alert in the Johannesburg CBD after two consecutive nights of rubber bullets, looting and violence in Jeppestown, Malvern and surrounding areas, forcing a shutdown of the M2 Highway.

Locals protested into the early hours of this morning, demanding foreigners leave the area.

They tried to barricade the N2-West highway with rocks but police retaliated with rubber bullets.

The police's Lungelo Dlamini said, "At this stage we believe this group of people start the attacks during the night. But we're going to increase our deployments when the night falls."

Meanwhile, a Malvern business owner says although police are doing their best to quell the violence, they seem to be overwhelmed.

All pictures by EWN.

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