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MHLABUYALINGANA South Africa (Xinhua) -- South African President Jacob Zuma [center] visits local communities of Mhlabuyalingana in northern KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa bordering Mozambique. President Jacob Zuma pledged to combat crime that is causing tension between South African and Mozambican nationals in communities bordering Mozambique.  XINHUA PHOTO: SOC KOPANO TLAPE
Zuma intervenes to defuse tension between
South African and Mozambican nationals

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- President Jacob Zuma pledged on Tuesday to combat crime that is causing tension between South African and Mozambican nationals in communities bordering Mozambique.

The president urged the local communities of Mhlabuyalingana and surrounding municipalities of Mkhanyakude, Hlabisa and Jozini in northern KwaZulu-Natal Province to renew their trust in the police and work together with them to combat cross-border crime especially car hijackings in the area.

Zuma visited the area on Tuesday to meet representatives from the communities and hear their concerns amid tensions between residents and foreign nationals, the presidency said.

The communities have been hit by incidents of stock theft and cross-border hijackings involving Mozambican nationals who allegedly hijack cars from South Africans and drive them across the border.

Mozambican police authorities bluntly refused to return the cars, local South Africans complain to Zuma.

Zuma visited the local police station which he found to be severely under-resourced and also went to inspect the borderline between South Africa and Mozambique.

The president undertook to look into the issues raised by the community, especially the suspicion that some members of the police are alleged to work with the crime syndicates.

Cross-border corruption and bribery involving police are reportedly rife in the area.

Zuma urged the communities to provide information on specific cases of police involvement and avoid generalizations.

The president crossed over the border and greeted the Mozambican police and Mozambican residents living on the borderline and was greeted warmly by the Mozambican nationals, according to the presidency.

Zuma said South African national departments particularly of the Police, Defence, State Security, Home Affairs, Social Development and others would make a strong intervention after his visit, working with the provincial government and municipalities.

Zuma said South Africa enjoys strong and warm historical relations with Mozambique and crime should not be allowed to sour these relations.

The visit was part of the government’s intensified campaign against crime as tension between South Africans and foreign nationals increased.

The campaign is drawing all the spheres of government in unity towards eradicating crime and dealing with serious tension in the area between citizens and migrants or visitors from neighbouring sister countries, presidential spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said.



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