Harare - Pretoria has told Zimbabwe that "acts of a xenophobic nature" will be dealt with decisively amid fresh fears of attacks on foreigners, a Zimbabwe government minister was quoted as saying Sunday.
Deputy Home Affairs Minister Obedingwa Mguni told the Bulawayo-based Sunday News that Zimbabwe's government had been assured that South Africa is "on top of the situation" in the wake of a call for an anti-foreigner protest next month from a group calling itself the "Mamelodi Concerned Residents".
"The government has guaranteed the safety of our nationals. There is no way they will allow another episode of xenophobic attacks. I'm quite assured," Mguni told the paper.
Xenophobic attacks mainly in Kwa-Zulu Natal between March and May 2015 left seven foreigners dead and displaced around 5 000. There is a sizeable number of Zimbabweans living in South Africa, both illegally and legally, though the exact figure is not known. Fact-checkers @AfricaCheck have previously said that estimates of between one and three million Zimbabweans based across the Limpopo cannot be substantiated.
There are fears that Zimbabwe's latest economic crisis - which has seen the authorities regularly failing to pay civil servants on time - may lead to a surge in the number of locals heading south.