Speaking at a meeting of the South African Communist Party, an ally of his ruling African National Congress, Mbeki contrasted Zimbabwe's situation with the instability that kills 1000 people daily in the Democratic Republic of Congo, mostly from hunger and disease, on top of the 3.8 million people who have died since the war began in 1998.

"You get reports that something like three million people have died in the Congo over the last few years because of the wars that are going on," he said.

"But the amount of noise that you will hear about Zimbabwe, and no noise about the Congo, must surely raise questions as to why," he said at the meeting in Durban on Saturday.

"... the amount of noise that you will hear about Zimbabwe, and no noise about the Congo, must surely raise questions as to why"

South African President 
Thabo Mbeki

"Why is it so easy to ignore the death of 3 million people and make extraordinary volumes of noise about another country where only a few people have died? There is something not right about it," he said.

Mbeki also questioned why the killing of 300,000 people in Burundi's civil war was "also not spoken about".