East London – President Robert Mugabe has arrived in South Africa for the Fort Hare University centenary celebrations, despite threats by Zimbabwean opposition to disrupt the event if he attends, a report said on Friday.
According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, the nonagenarian arrived in SA on Thursday evening.
Mugabe was welcomed at the East London airport by South African Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe.
Mugabe, a graduate of the university, was expected to be amongst the key speakers. He would be joined by President Jacob Zuma and other dignitaries still to be announced.
According to a previous News 24 report, Mugabe's spokesperson George Charamba had earlier refused to confirm or deny his attendance at the centenary celebrations.
Charamba was quoted as saying that only the SA government had to make the final decision on whether to invite the Zimbabwean leader to the country's oldest university.
"There is no invitation... SA government is the one to make that decision," Charamba said.
Two days ago, former Zimbabwean vice president, Joice Mujuru's the Zimbabwe People First party, threatened to demonstrate at the university if Mugabe attended.
The ZPF's interim co-ordinator in South Africa, Builder Lawrence Mavhaire, urged the university to withdraw the invitation to Mugabe.
He said that the veteran leader did not fit into the calibre of notable alumni produced by the university, such as Herbert Chitepo, Oliver Tambo, Julius Nyerere, Robert Sobukwe, Kenneth Kaunda, Chris Hani and Nelson Mandela.
- News 24