Minister of Justice Ziyambi Ziyambi was on Thursday asked by senators to explain President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s remarks that the South African government should “use a bit of force” to quell xenophobic attacks against foreign nationals.
Responding to Bulawayo Metropolitan senator Siphiwe Ncube (MDC Alliance) who said that as chairperson of the SADC Organ on Defence and Security, it was improper for Mnangagwa to encourage the use of force against civilians, Ziyambi said:
Indeed, the use of force is there in statutes, but it is the extent of force that is the issue.
Manicaland senator Douglas Mwonzora (MDC Alliance) asked Ziyambi to explain whether Zimbabwe knew that the xenophobic attacks were imminent and what the government did to protect Zimbabwean citizens in South Africa. Said Ziyambi:
There were unsubstantiated reports that South Africans were planning to carry out what they did, and the South African government was against it as indicated by pronouncements by government.
The government relies on the South African government for the protection of people within their territory. We do not have the means to go into South Africa to protect our citizens.
… The unsubstantiated reports pointed to an attack, and we rely on South African officials to ensure there is peace and security in South Africa.
The information we had was that the South African government was going to maintain peace and security within its borders, of which they have since deployed security forces to ensure it happens.