ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe urged South Africans not to identify criminals by their nationality.
Crime, he says, knows no nationality.
Speaking in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe on Saturday, he said: “I always make the point at home and I will make it here: if a national from Zimbabwe commits a crime, he’s not a Zimbabwean, he’s a criminal. You must deal with criminals, not Zimbabweans, that’s my attitude.”
On 6 April, a Zimbabwean, Elvis Nyathi, was killed by a mob in Diepsloot, Johannesburg, for not having a passport.
It is alleged that those behind his death were members of Operation Dudula, a movement that seeks the expulsion of foreigners in South Africa.
In some cases, locals blame foreigners for criminal conduct in their communities.
However, Mantashe said crime should not be linked to Zimbabwe.
“We have Zimbabweans in all walks of life in South Africa, they are in universities, they are in various institutions, they are CEOs of companies. When people commit crimes in South Africa, they are not Zimbabweans, they are criminals. When South Africans commit crimes in Zimbabwe, they are criminals,” he said.
He said problems arise when locals decide to take the law into their own hands.
“If you commit a crime in a community, the anger of the community would be informed by the extent of the crime. Everybody who is doing the right thing in South Africa is safe,” he said.
Mantashe was in Zimbabwe, in his capacity as SA’s minister in charge of mineral resources, to attend a meeting about the revival of the Pan African Minerals Development Corporation, a mining entity that brings together the governments of SA, Zimbabwe, and Malawi.