South Africa’s special envoy met President Buhari, apologies over xenophobic attacks

President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa on Monday sent a special envoy to tender a formal apology to President Muhammadu Buhari over the recent xenophobic attacks on black Africans in his country.

Ramaphosa’s envoy, Jeff Radebe, delivered the apology to Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday.  

Here’s what the SA special envoy told journalists after meeting President Buhari;

“We met with President Buhari to convey President Ramaphosa’s sincerest apologies about the incidents that have recently transpired in South Africa.

“The incidents do not represent what we stand for as a constitutional democracy in South Africa and the President has apologised for these incidents.

“He has also instructed law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned to bring those involved to book.

“He also conveyed his resolve of ensuring that both Nigeria and South Africa continued to play a critical role in the rebuilding of Africa to attend the agenda 2063; the Africa that we want.

“We also recalled with fun memories the historical times that exit between Nigeria and South Africa. During the dark days of apartheid, we knew that the Nigerian people and their government stood behind our leaders, who were fighting against the obnoxious system of apartheid.”

The SA envoy while answering question on whether the SA authority would pay compensation to Nigerians whose properties were looted and destroyed, said; “during President Buhari’s state visit to South Africa, there will be discussions there. I do understand that the issue of compensation and restitution is part of the agenda.

“We should wait until October 3 to see how that unfolds. But, I can indicate that as a lawyer, the South African laws require that all registered companies must have public insurance in terms of things of this nature.”

Speaking on why it took the country a long time to address the xenophobic attack; he said; “these incidents have been happening from time to time. As you know, we are still emerging from the system of apartheid, where according to statistics, the last unemployment rate was around 29 per cent.

“Some of these incidents occur in areas where there is poverty, unemployment and fight for scarce resources. But no amount of hunger, hardship, justifies the looting of property, killings of people, whether they are South Africans or foreigners. We regard that as an act of criminality.”

He also noted that 50 suspects had been arrested in connection with the xenophobic attack in the country.

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