The South African government has reacted to the call by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) for the expulsion of South Africans during protests at South Africa-owned businesses in Nigeria.
The student body on Saturday shut down the South African own grocery line, Shoprite, in Ota, Ogun State, to protest what they described as unrestrained xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.
However, the Counsellor in charge of Political Affairs at the South African High Commission in Abuja, Anna-Maria Jojozi, in a statement on Sunday said the allegations of killings of Nigerians by South Africans are untrue.
Jojozi quoted Naledi Pandor (MP), Minister, International Relations and Cooperation, to have made this reaction at the South African Development Community (SADC) meeting held in South Africa on Sunday.
She said, “I wish to express my department’s concern regarding statements said to emanate from student organisation in Nigeria, calling for expulsion of South Africans and protests at South African owned businesses.
“The protests are said to be in response to alleged killings of Nigerians by South Africans; as you are aware these allegations are devoid of truth, reckless and unwarranted.
“We find these statements most unfortunate as they do not reflect the strong relations that exist between the people and the Government of South Africa and Nigeria.
“The two countries enjoy strong bilateral relations, which were forged over many years during our struggle for liberation in South Africa; also, in this democratic era supported by the people and Government of Nigeria.”
Jojozi said South Africa’s Acting High Commissioner to Nigeria, Bobby Moroe, had held several meetings with the police and other senior government officials in Nigeria.
She said South Africa had established contact from the highest level of the Nigerian Government and received assurances that authorities in Nigeria were taking the calls for protests seriously.
“They have also assured us that South African citizens and their property in Nigeria will be protected.
“South Africa values the strong ties it has established with Nigeria and will continue to enhance these even further,” Jojozi noted.
The counsellor said the statements referred to the unfortunate death of Mrs Elizabeth Ndubuisi-Chukwu, Deputy Director-General of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, in June.
She said that the South African Police Service was still investigating the incident.
“We believe no one should abuse this unfortunate tragedy to generate negative sentiments about South Africa and we express our condolences to Mrs Ndubuisi-Chukwu’s family; friends and the people of Nigeria.”
She said the Minister of Police in South Africa, Mr Bheki Cele, had addressed the Diplomatic Corps early in the year and said there was no targeting of any group of Africans in South Africa.
Jojozi said that the law enforcement agencies were making effort to fight crime and arrest all criminals.
“It is worth mentioning that daily, Nigerian nationals travel to South Africa for multiplicity of reasons ranging from business, tourism and academic purposes.
“Similarly, South Africans have chosen Nigeria as preferred destination for investment and other activities of interest.
“Nigeria is home to approximately 120 South African companies, amongst which are MTN, Shoprite, Multichoice, South Africa Airways and Game – to mention but a few.
“All these companies have over the years contributed towards job creation and social responsibility programmes for Nigerian nationals, both young and old.
“We are very pleased that our strong relations were able to place South African business on firm footing in Nigeria, and pave way for investments by Nigerian business in South Africa,” she added.
Jojozi expressed the hope that the High Commission in Nigeria would invite some stakeholders of the student organisations leading the calls for protests against South African businesses in Nigeria to South Africa.
“I will also ask my colleague, the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces of our Parliament to invite his counterpart, the Senate President of Nigeria and delegation to visit South Africa.
“To see that many Nigerians live in peace and harmony among South Africans, we would also ensure that delegation of members of the executive visit Nigeria to further strengthen our relations.
“I hope their visit will help them to develop a different view from that which they have about South Africa,” she said.
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.
If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.
SPECIAL REPORT: Lack of legal provisions, cultural sentiments fueling marital r*pe in Nigeria
By Arinze Chijioke In the early days of Sandra Izuckukwu’s marriage in 2019, her husband, Sunday Izuchukwu, did everything she...
INVESTIGATION… LIVES ON THE LINE (IV): Surviving in a dangerous media environment
This investigation is on the unresolved killing of three Nigerian journalists while on assignments between 2019 and 2020. For six...
INVESTIGATION… LIVES ON THE LINE (III): Precious Owolabi was killed covering a protest
This investigation is on the unresolved killing of three Nigerian journalists while on assignments between 2019-2020. For six months, Nigerian...
INVESTIGATION… LIVES ON THE LINE (II): Alex Ogbu was telling a story but became the story
This four-part series investigation is on the unresolved killing of three Nigerian journalists while on assignments between 2019 and 2020....
SPECIAL REPORT… TELECOMS BLACKOUT: Nigeria’s latest tactic against banditry grounds businesses, forcing residents beyond borders
The fight against notorious bandits raining terror and kidnapping students in Northwest Nigeria took a new dimension in September as...