Cape Town – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has reportedly said that only white people are “living better lives” in South Africa while black Africans are "still very low".
According to The Herald, Mugabe, 91, said this during a media briefing at the end of a one day extraordinary Southern African Development Committee (SADC) summit in Harare on Wednesday.
The nonagenarian was answering questions relating to recent xenophobic attacks which killed at least seven people in South Africa.
Mugabe urged SADC member states to come up with mechanisms that would encourage citizens to take up opportunities at home and stop flocking to South Africa.
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"They are people who voluntarily go to South Africa..... They think South Africa is the heaven... Yes, it's more highly developed. True. But go there and you will see that the Africans in the country are still very low. It's the whites who are living better lives. More advanced," Mugabe was quoted as saying.
Mugabe, who is the current chair of SADC, made reference to people living in Soweto, saying their lives were "very elementary", adding that immigrants made the "the situation of the Africans more worse".
AFP reported on Thursday that the SADC meeting was meant to discuss industrial growth, but attention focused on recent xenophobic violence in Johannesburg and Durban.
Thousands of immigrants in South Africa were displaced by the unrest this month as local mobs targeted workers from countries such as Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi.
Mugabe and President Jacob Zuma briefed delegates on the attacks and measures taken to prevent them from reoccurring.