South Africa dismisses Nigeria call

South Africa dismisses Nigeria call

The South African government yesterday dismissed Nigeria’s call for the AU to intervene and protect its nationals.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) spokesperson Clayson Monyela yesterday dismissed the move by Nigeria saying what happened in Pretoria West at the weekend and Rosettenville recently were “sporadic criminal incidents”.

“It was just sporadic criminal incidents, the residents were clear that they were unhappy about drugs and prostitution.

You can deduce from that there are no nationalities targeted. South Africans are not xenophobic.” Nigeria’s senior presidential aide on foreign affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said there was a need for the continental body to step in.

She claimed 116 Nigerians had been killed in South Africa in the past two years. “This is unacceptable to the people and government of Nigeria,” DabiriErewa said.

Meanwhile, the African Diaspora Forum (ADM) chairperson, Marc Gbaffou, yesterday blamed the slow pace in implementing past recommendations to stop attacks on foreign nationals.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe led a committee in 2015 to probe violence against foreign nationals and came up with 12 recommendations.

Gbaffou said the recommendations by Radebe had not been implemented.

Some of the recommendations were that the Department of Small Business Development assists small businesses in financial and non-financial needs, and social cohesion was to be promoted through the use of intercultural sport.

The premier of Gauteng was also to ensure mechanisms were put in place to better ensure implementation of government policy of 30% procurement from small, medium and micro enterprises and 70% local procurement.

Gbaffou said Nigerian calls for the AU to step in needed to be taken seriously.

“We are waiting to see the response from the South African government. We hope they will not come out in denial that there is no xenophobia,” he said.

Mametlwe Sebei from Lawyers For Human Rights yesterday blamed Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba for the attacks.

In his speech for his 100 days in office, Mashaba said foreign nationals in Johannesburg without documentation were linked to criminal activity.

“Some people like Mashaba can make this kind of hate speech inciting violence against innocent people, such as happened with king Zwelithini,” Sebei said.

However, Mashaba’s spokesperson, Tony Taverna-Turisan, questioned the motive of linking the mayor’s insistence on the rule of law being respected and the xenophobic attacks taking place.

The ADF is organising a prayer session tomorrow for Friday’s march against foreign nationals, organised by “concerned Mamelodi residents”.

The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation has condemned the march.

The chairperson of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference Justice and Peace Commission, bishop Abel Gabuza, called for calm and restraint amid fears that the Pretoria march could spark xenophobic attacks.

One of the organisers, Makgoka Lekganyane, said they wanted to address relevant issues with the departments of Labour, Home Affairs and metro police.

“They must stop giving asylum to Nigerians because there is no war in their country. We are tired of them.” Department of Home Affairs spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete said: “They have a right to march peacefully, we spoke to them.”

MTHOKOZISI DUBE AND KUTULLO MADISHA

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Femi Oshin
Femi Oshin 185 posts

Femi Oshin is a publisher at Nigeriansinsouthafrica.ca.za and Producer /Presenter of Agogo Ayo on Africa Magic Yoruba.

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