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Page last updated at 14:04 GMT, Thursday, 1 May 2008 15:04 UK

S Africa 'must fight xenophobia'

Jacob Zuma (archive picture)
The ANC leader said South African's must not their backs on Zimbabweans

South Africa's ruling party leader has urged people to work together to fight xenophobia and any ill-treatment of Zimbabweans and other foreigners.

During a Workers' Day rally, Jacob Zuma said the country had to find a way of dealing with the scores of Zimbabwean refugees in the country.

He said that said South Africans could not turn their backs on Zimbabwe's socio-economic crisis.

Some 3,000 Zimbabweans cross into South Africa daily looking for jobs.

Zimbabwe, which has an annual inflation rate of 165,000%, has been plunged into political turmoil in the past five weeks.

The results of March's disputed presidential election are currently being verified, but there is still no word of when an announcement will be made.

The African National Congress (ANC) leader made his comments to thousands of workers at a rally near Klerksdorp in North West Province.

Correspondents say Zimbabweans often face resentment for taking jobs at a time when South Africa's economy is coming under strain.

South Africa has been appointed the region's mediator in trying to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe.

But President Thabo Mbeki has refused to criticise his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe.

The ANC and South African trade unions have urged him to take a stronger line.

An estimated 3m Zimbabweans are now believed to be living in South Africa.




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