The president said this was triggered by the bombarding of Libya by Nato forces and the subsequent killing of president Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Zuma said there was stability in the region until the Arab Spring, saying it was the "actions taken in the bombarding of Libya and killing of its leader that opened the floodgates ... today those who were part of destabilising that part of the world, they do not want to accept the refugees. It is their responsibility. They caused it, they must address it."
Speaking in Pretoria yesterday, the president said European countries' interference in Libya and the ignoring of Africa's road map to restore stability in that region had triggered the influx.
Zuma failed to mention that South Africa voted in favour of the UN Security Council resolution authorising a no-fly zone in Libya.
Resolution 1973 was passed by the Security Council shortly after Gaddafi ordered ground and air strikes to quell a popular uprising.
South Africa later claimed it had been kept in the dark about the intensity of the bombardment required to enforce the no-fly zone.
Responding to Zuma, Roeland van der Geer, African Union ambassador to South Africa, said causes of the security crises in North Africa was the lack of democracy and the rule of governance.
"We lay the responsibility for what is happening in the countries of the Maghreb clearly in the hands of the leaders who were dictators and did not respect democracy," he said.
Zuma said questions had been asked about whether South Africa would invite Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir to the second summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Johannesburg. South Africa was lambasted for failing to enforce the International Criminal Court warrant for the arrest of Bashir on war crimes charges at the AU summit in Sandton in June.