Nigeria and SA patch up differences
Publish date: 03 October 2019
Issue Number: 680
Diary: Legalbrief Forensic
Nigeria and SA yesterday patched up their major fallout over recent xenophobic violence against Nigerians and have agreed on a range of steps to avoid a repetition and to increase co-operation between the two nations. This was confirmed by delegates at a meeting of the Binational Commission at ministerial level in Pretoria where International Relations and Co-operation Minister Naledi Pandor and her Nigerian counterpart Geoffrey Onyeama held talks. Legalbrief reports that the meeting was a curtain-raiser for today’s high-profile visit by President Muhammadu Buhari who sharply rebuked Pretoria after days of widespread violence that began in Gauteng and spread to Nigeria and other parts of the continent. The Daily Maverick reports that Pandor and Onyeama both apologised for the attacks against each other’s nationals and interests in recent weeks and agreed on steps to try to avoid repetitions. ‘We like to think of these as challenges members of a family have to deal with. We appreciate the steps you have taken, personally reaching out to me and expressing regret,’ Onyeama said. The commission has not met since 2012, a sign of the long-strained relations between the two continental heavyweights.
Nigerians living in SA have welcomed Buhari’s state visit, saying they want him and President Cyril Ramaphosa to address SA’s immigration laws and the criminalisation of foreigners by South African immigration officials and police. The Citizen reports that they blamed civil servants and police for fuelling xenophobia through alleged anti-foreigner attitudes. SJ Uba, secretary-general of the Nigerian Citizens Association SA (Nicasa), said the immigration laws criminalised foreigners because it took too long to process documents. African Diaspora Forum chair, Vusimuzi Sibanda, said he believes the envoys sent to West Africa by Ramaphosa had eased tensions. ‘They might have fought in-camera and resolved things,’ he said.