The former president Thabo Mbeki says South Africans must not buy into the narrative that foreigners are the only ones who commit crime in the country.
Mbeki was engaging with students and diplomats at the University of South Africa (Unisa) in Pretoria on Wednesday.
He says in many cases, locals also commit crime, adding that any suspected criminals should be arrested, regardless of their nationality.
Mbeki says, ” We need to walk away from the false notion that the bulk of crime in this country is caused by foreigners. It is not correct. The bulk of crime in this country is caused is committed by South Africans. There are foreigners who commit crimes. You should arrest them and charge them this is what we should do and avoid labelling other people.”
VIDEO: Former President Mbeki engages students and diplomats at Unisa:
In February, Defence Minister, Thandi Modise said most criminal syndicates in the country are not operated by South Africans.
She was responding to an incident, where a 25-member gang including Zimbabwean and Botswana nationals engaged in a shoot-out with police in Rosettenville, south of Johannesburg.
They were accosted while allegedly planning to carry out a cash-in-transit robbery in Johannesburg. Eight of the suspects were killed and 12 others have since been arrested.
She says government sometimes does not have the courage to call out foreign nationals who engage in criminal activities, for fear of being labelled xenophobic.
VIDEO: Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster briefing post-SONA 2022: