Africa Moyo andKudakwashe Mugari
Pressure is mounting on South Africa to decisively tackle the spate of xenophobic attacks on African citizens living in that country, with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari set to visit Pretoria next month to engage the government.
Xenophobic attacks, which engulfed Gauteng Province last week, had markedly declined since Friday last week, but resurfaced in Cape Town and Johannesburg on Sunday.
Two people died in the Johannesburg clashes, which escalated in Malvern, resulting in car dealer and grocery shops being torched by protesters. Overall, the xenophobic attacks have led to 12 deaths. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Ms Khusela Diko confirmed in a statement that President Buhari will make a State visit to Pretoria.
“His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari will undertake a State visit to South Africa in October 2019 to reinforce the strong bonds between the two countries and jointly develop responses to challenges affecting people and businesses in South Africa and Nigeria.
“In the wake of public violence in South Africa and developments in Nigeria around South African businesses based in the West African country, President Cyril Ramaphosa held discussions yesterday on Friday 2019, with Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, Special envoy of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari,” said Ms Diko.
The Special envoy conveyed President Buhari’s concern at the xenophobic attacks against African citizens based in South Africa.
This saw Nigerians engaging in retaliatory violence targeting businesses owned by South African businesspeople, including mobile phone giant MTN. The Nigerian senate is understood to have threatened to expel other South African firms such as Shoprite and DStv.
United States of America President Donald Trump also voiced concern on his Twitter handle yesterday that the “barbaric attacks” by South Africans are “very disappointing” and threatened to put the country “under strong economic sanction”.
Yesterday morning, Police Minister Bheki Cele met businesspeople in Randburg, some of whom have temporarily shut their firms in West Africa fearing retaliatory violence, and promised to deal with xenophobia.