NAN: South Africa is irked over Nigeria’s call on the Africa Union (AU) to intervene in the renewed xenophobic attacks in the southern African country.
South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, spoke tough against Nigeria’s call and said that such issues were better discussed at the diplomatic level.
According to Africa Review, Gigaba is reacting to the statement credited this week to Nigeria’s senior presidential aide on foreign affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa.
The presidential aide had said there was need for the AU to step in. She claimed 116 Nigerians had been killed in South Africa in the last two years.
“This is unacceptable to the people and government of Nigeria,” said Dabiri-Erewa in an e-mailed statement.
Mr Gigaba Thursday said South Africa would ensure they take the issue up at a diplomatic level with Nigeria.
He is set to meet with AU ambassadors in Pretoria on Friday.
“We should desist as countries from pointing fingers at one another in regard to issues we may not have sufficient levels of information about,” he said.
Mr Gigaba was referring to the figures quoted by Ms Dabiri-Erewa that 20 Nigerian nationals were killed by South Africans last year and 116 in the last two years.
“I’m not privy to the figures from the Nigerian government and how they collected them. I don’t think it’s a discussion we should get into.
“I don’t think it’s a discussion we need to get into because it will turn out very bad should we start counting how many South Africans have died at the hands of Nigerian nationals in South Africa,” Mr Gigaba said.
The minister had recently visited Rosettenville in Johannesburg where several houses belonging to foreign nationals had been burnt down.
He said his engagement with the community showed that the people were only acting against immigrants perpetrating crimes in the area.
“The people of Rosettenville where clear that they were not acting against foreign nationals but against immigrants involved in crime as they would act against South Africans involved in crime.
“There is nobody in South Africa who has attacked someone purely on the basis that they are from another country. Whenever there have been incidents, they were sparked by something and they then blew up,” he said.
Mr Gigaba said he expected the AU ambassadors to support South Africa’s efforts to fight crime.