President Cyril Ramaphosa has told Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari that the recent xenophobic incidents were not targeted at Nigerian nationals.
The two Presidents met on Thursday on the occasion of Buhari’s state visit to South Africa.
According to a joint communiqué issued after their meeting, Ramaphosa said the recent incidents affected other foreign nationals and South Africans as well.
President Ramaphosa also dispelled the notion that incidents of violence affecting foreign nationals were targeted at Nigerian nationals, as other foreign nationals and indeed South Africans were affected as well.South Africa – Nigeria joint communiqué
‘South Africa fully in control’
Ramaphosa also assured Buhari that the government is “fully in control” of the situation through various interventions such as security operations.
They both condemned the recent unrest, including retaliatory incidents that took place in Nigeria, and pledged to take measures to prevent future recurrences.
The two Presidents also announced the establishment of an “early warning mechanism” to alert authorities in time to prevent future escalations.
President Buhari’s visit comes just weeks after Ramaphosa dispatched his Special Envoy Jeff Radebe to Nigeria.
Radebe met Buhari and conveyed Ramaphosa’s apologies for the now-infamous xenophobic unrest in parts of Gauteng.
Ramaphosa similarly apologised to African states during the funeral service of the late Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in September.
During his meeting with Buhari, he reiterated that South Africa “advocates for a peaceful, vibrant and sustainable Africa.”
Reciprocal state visit
Ramaphosa’s diplomatic endeavours seem to have assuaged Nigeria and its leaders.
This is because Buhari has invited him to visit Nigeria on a reciprocal state visit on a date to be agreed upon.
Ramaphosa was in Nigeria in July 2018 on a working visit, whose diplomatic status is below a state visit.