International Relations and Cooperation Minister Dr Naledi Pandor has shut down calls for compensation for victims of the recent spate of xenophobic unrest.
Pandor was speaking to SABC News on Sunday in New York, where he is attending the 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
A number of shops, both local and foreign-owned, were looted and damaged during the unrest in parts of Gauteng.
12 people lost their lives, two of them foreign nationals, according to the South African Police Service (SAPS).
Hundreds of foreign nationals subsequently decided to return to their countries of origin.
Calls have since been made in certain quarters for compensation.
‘Compensation from whom?’
However, Pandor is having none of that. She wondered who exactly should pay this compensation.
It was African people and it was South African blacks as well as black people from other African countries. All of it was wrong.
So I’m not sure from whom we would seek this compensation because we have arrested 794 people; they are still to appear in court – would it be from them?Naledi Pandor
She said most of those arrested are “probably poor, unemployed blacks” while others are foreign nationals.
In this regard, it would be difficult to talk about compensation, she said.
Pandor argued it would be better to unite people of various nationalities living in South African local communities instead.
She added that this isn’t just South Africa’s responsibility, but also of all African countries.
Pandor’s inaugural UNGA
This is Pandor’s inaugural participation in UNGA.
She’s representing President Cyril Ramaphosa, who chose to skip the annual meeting to focus on domestic matters.
In her address to the world body later this week, she is expected to outline South Africa’s domestic and foreign policy goals.
The minister will also participate in several high-level meetings, summits and side events.
South Africa is currently a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.