Following the attack on South African businesses in Nigeria by Nigerians in a bid to dish retribution after the xenophobic attack that occurred during the weekend in Johannesburg, South Africa has announced a halt in its diplomatic missions in Lagos and Abuja respectively.
South Africa’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Naledi Pandor, disclosed to Reuters the halt at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa currently being held in Cape Town, adding that it was imperative knowing that the attack that occurred in both countries, South Africa and Nigeria, stirred a diplomatic spat.
Pandor also told Reuters that the South African government was in communication with Nigerian authorities to restore peace in both countries.
Speaking as regards the uproar, South Africa’s police minister Bheki Cele maintained that the destruction of foreign businesses in Johannesburg was not an act of ‘xenophobia’ but “criminality”.
But the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa attested to anti-foreigner sentiments in the country, urging that they should be nipped in the bud.
“We are a country that is completely committed against xenophobia, We do not allow and cannot tolerate attacks on people from other African countries.”
Also at the World Economic Forum, Pandor described the attack in both countries as ‘Afrophobia’ – fear or dislike of Africans.
“There is an Afrophobia we are sensing that exists, there is resentment and we need to address that.
“There is a targeting of Africans from other parts of Africa, we can’t deny that. But, there is also criminality because a lot of this is accompanied by theft.” Pandor said.