South Africa’s government “is doing all it can to return calm to the country”.
This was the message from Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Dr Naledi Pandor, while meeting with foreign ambassadors yesterday, as sporadic violence continued to hit parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
“We held discussions on the recent events against foreign nationals in South Africa to reassure them that government is taking all the measures it can in order to ensure that we return stability and calm to our country,” said the minister in a media briefing following her meeting.
She said she and the ambassadors also discussed steps to “prevent such occurrences” in the future.
“We felt it vital that we create a platform for ongoing collaboration between ourselves and the embassies because they know their nationals in South Africa the best.
“[They] can assist us in reaching out to them and in building what I call bridges that we must walk across in order to interact with each other as South Africans and nationals from other countries, particularly of Africa but broadly the world as well,” said Pandor.
She added that the ambassadors were keen to work with the government to address the “very complex fact of socio-economic issues” related to migration, immigration, economic opportunities and effective administration.
Pandor confirmed that Nigeria had sent a special envoy to South Africa in the wake of the violence. “I think our leaders recognise that there’s been some fuelling of tensions somewhat through social media and also commentary. This point was made by some of the ambassadors that even we, as leaders, sometimes make inflammatory comments that exacerbate the situation rather than helping to reduce tension.”
The South African High Commission in Abuja and the Consulate in Lagos closed their doors on Tuesday and would remain closed until further notice, said Pandor.
Both offices were closed on Tuesday following concerns reported to the minister by officials at these missions.