South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has condemned acts of violence perpetrated by citizens against non-nationals, his office said on Friday.
Anti-immigrant violence has flared sporadically in South Africa against a background of near-record unemployment, with foreigners being accused of taking jobs from citizens and getting involved in crime.
Citizens in Pretoria are set to march against foreigners on Friday and domestic media are reporting vandalism and acts of violence in the Atteridgeville area west of the capital.
At least 20 stores in Pretoria owned by foreigners were looted on Tuesday, but police could not confirm that the attacks had deliberately targeted foreigners.
“Many citizens of other countries living in South Africa are law abiding and contribute to the economy of the country positively.
“It is wrong to brandish all non-nationals as drug dealers or human traffickers.
“The threats and counter-threats on social media must stop,” Zuma said in a statement.
Nigerian government on Thursday urged the South African government to put in place measures to end the incessant xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in that country.
Minister of State Foreign Affairs Khadija Abba-Ibrahim, gave the task in Abuja during a second summon to the High Commissioner of South Africa to Nigeria, Mr Lulu Aaron-Mnguni, on the issue.
The Ministry had on Monday, summoned the South Africa High Commissioner over the matter.
Nigerian buildings, properties and places of worship worth millions of dollars were destroyed by South Africans on Feb. 5 and 18.
“The Federal Government strongly urges the South African government to take all necessary measures to protect the lives and foreigners living and working in South Africa.
“Furthermore, the federal government urges the South African Government to bring perpetrators of these deplorable acts of violence to justice.
“The ministry continues to urge Nigerians in South Africa to remain calm and law abiding, and be vigilant at the same time.’’
“The Federal Government of Nigeria will strenuously work towards the protection of Nigerians everywhere, including in South Africa,” she added.
However, the minister said that no Nigerian lost their lives in the attacks contrary to reports in some media.
According to her, the reports that mentioned the killing of Nigerians in the xenophobic attacks are unsubstantiated.
“The ministry has not received the report of any death of Nigerian in the latest incidents of attacks against foreigners.
“The Nigerian High Commission in Pretoria is in constant touch with the Nigerian Union in South Africa, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) of South Africa, as well as the South African police.
“All these agencies have confirmed that no Nigerian life was lost in the recent incident,” she said.