Leaders slam Nigeria’s decision to end relations with SA

2015-04-27 09:47

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Nigeria’s decision to recall diplomats in the wake of the xenophobic attacks has been widely criticised by political parties, with calls for action to ensure the decision is reversed.

“It is disappointing, a sad day,” said the Democratic Alliance spokesperson for international relations, Stevens Mokgalapa, yesterday.

“We understand it comes in the wake of the xenophobic attacks, but that doesn’t justify ending relations. We have all condemned xenophobia. Sanity should prevail and we call on Nigeria to reverse its decision and come up with a viable way forward.”

Relations between “Africa’s two biggest economies” had been strained for some time and had “snowballed” following the collapse of a church building last September that left 84 South Africans dead, he said. There was hope that relations would be restored under the new administration of General Muhammadu Buhari, who will be sworn in at the end of May.

“But now this will further strain relations,” he said.

Mokgalapa will write to the chair of the international relations portfolio committee to request that Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane is summoned to Parliament to explain what efforts were being made to restore dialogue and remedy relations.

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said it was “unfortunate and regrettable” but cautioned that there was a lot of speculation and the government was trying to ascertain specific reasons for the recall.

The government had taken “serious steps” to restore relative calm to South Africa and the violence carried out by a few South Africans had been widely condemned.

“It will take years to regain the status we had internationally because of the actions of a few,” said Kodwa.

Congress of the People spokesperson Dennis Bloem called on President Jacob Zuma to send his personal envoy to Nigeria to meet the president elect of the country “to explain to him what efforts this government is taking” to address the xenophobic problem.

“President Zuma needs to do more than appear on television and radio. He needs to get personally involved. This is the only situation that will help, not only with regards to Nigeria but all African countries.”

Bloem warned that if this didn’t happen, other African countries could follow Nigeria’s “alarming” decision.

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa described it as “cheap politicking”.

“The two countries need each other. It is not going to do anything to recall. They will have to [take another look] at their decision. It is not taking this continent anywhere.”

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