ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – South Africa has assured Nigeria that they are mobilising every efforts to ensure the safety of Nigerians and other foreigners who are currently under xenophobic attack from their citizens.
The High Commissioner of South African to Nigeria, Amb. Lulu Mnguni, in a statement on Saturday in Abuja said that the situation is being contained and would soon be brought under control.
According to Mnguni, President Jacob Zuma has deployed the Ministers of Home Affairs, Police and State Security to work with the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Provincial Government to stop the violence that has broken out in some Durban residential areas.
He said: “The KZN Provincial Government has established an Inter-Departmental Task Team to coordinate the response;
“The Minister of Home Affairs met with African Heads of Missions last week and the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation took the discussions forward as well in her engagements with the African Heads of Missions on 17 of April”.
“Members of Parliament are also working with Government, in their constituencies, to improve relations and promote peaceful co-existence between our people and fellow Africans affected by the situation”.
In addition, Mnguni said that the South African government is working closely with the UNHCR, UNICEF as well as non-governmental organizations, religious leaders and other stakeholders to providing humanitarian assistance, food, psycho-social and other support to the displaced people.
He revealed that shelters have been set-up to accommodate displaced foreign nationals and basic amenities such as water, sanitation, and healthcare are being provided.
The High Commissioner said that the government is ” determined to take resolute action against South Africans who attack foreign nationals, and is equally determined to take action against all foreign nationals who commit crime in the country;
“We also want to appeal to the Nigerians and our South African people not to allow their hard won and time tested friendship to be lost as a result of these heinous criminal acts. Let us stand together to defend the interests of our two peoples and our continent. We are one people and together victory is certain”.
“The South African High Commission in the Federal Republic of Nigeria reiterates the assurances given by the President, Cabinet and the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa and wishes to place it on record that; South Africa stands unwaveringly against all intolerance such as racism, xenophobia and sexism”,he noted
He insisted that “no amount of frustration and anger can justify the attacks on fellow African brothers and sisters and the looting of their shops. Therefore, we condemn the violence in the strongest possible terms”.
These attacks, he noted, violate all the values that South Africa embodies, especially the respect for human life, human rights, human dignity and Ubuntu;
Mnguni reiterated the view that “South Africans are generally not xenophobic; if they were we would not have such a high number of foreign nationals who have been successfully integrated into communities all over our country, in towns, cities and villages”
It is on record, he said, that these hideous acts are not happening throughout the country, but only in a few parts of two provinces, out of the nine provinces comprising South Africa-The affected provinces are KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
He acknowledged that many foreign nationals are in South Africa legally and contribute to the economy and social development of the country, with most of them bringing the scarce skills that help to develop South Africa’s economy.
“Foreign nationals help us to develop a cosmopolitan atmosphere and we welcome their presence. We all have a responsibility to promote social cohesion, peaceful co-existence and good relations in the country.
“We want to emphasize that thousands of South Africans have demonstrated their opposition to these acts of violence against fellow Africans”, he noted.
Mnguni once again assured that “the police were assigned to quell the violence and to bring the situation under control and directed to work round the clock to protect both fellow Africans and citizens and to arrest looters and those committing acts of violence.
“Additional law enforcement officers have been mobilized from around the country and deployed to the affected areas to enforce the law and prevent further attacks”.