Buhari and Ramaphosa vow to end xenophobic violence for good

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Nigeria president Muhammadu Buhari. Picture: Tebogo Letsie/City Press
President Cyril Ramaphosa and Nigeria president Muhammadu Buhari. Picture: Tebogo Letsie/City Press

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Nigeria president Muhammadu Buhari have committed to working towards curbing xenophobic violence.

The two statesmen made remarks at the bi-national talks that took place on Thursday, at the Union Buildings, in Pretoria.

They reviewed a wide range of bilateral, continental and global issues of common interest.

“Our country has agreed to work on people-to-people relations. We need to take concrete measures to avoid such incidents in the future,” Buhari said.

This follows a number of violent attacks against foreigners in Gauteng last month. At least 12 people were killed and hundreds of migrant Nigerian workers were repatriated to the country.

Ramaphosa emphasised the historical and strategic relations that exist between the two countries, and the need to strengthen the ties.

He went on to apologise for the attacks and assured Buhari that there were measures in place to ensure that Nigerians would not be under attack again.

“The events of the past few weeks in our country are regrettable and we would like to see an end to these events. There is a clear indication of commitment to work together and that we are promoting all the best of values. We are totally against the acts that happened.”

Ramaphosa explained that police in South Africa would be going to great lengths to ensure that there was no more violence and added that intelligence sharing between the two nations would also contribute in curbing the problem.

In the same vein, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor and Nigerian foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama signed agreements which were discussed during deliberations at the Ninth Session of the Bi-National Commission.

The ministers have been engaging on the matter since Wednesday and are not at liberty to discuss exactly which partnerships the two nations were entering into.

However, Ramaphosa did mention that discussions covered issues that included trade and investment, energy, mining, defence and security issues, justice, police, immigration, tourism, environment, education, transport as well as science and technology.

Both presidents expressed their satisfaction regarding the economic cooperation between the two republics and welcomed the steps to increase trade volumes as well as private sector investments.

Nigeria remains a key export destination for South Africa, which exported goods valued at R6.4 billion in 2016, while Nigerian exports to South Africa totalled R30.4 billion.

In 2017, South African exports were valued at R5.7 billion against R22.8 billion imports from Nigeria, which is a major supplier of crude oil to Pretoria.

Buhari and Ramaphosa welcomed the important role of the business forum that is due to take place on the margins of the state visit.

The African leaders welcomed the decision to establish a Joint Ministerial Advisory Council on industry, trade and investment and the inaugural meeting of the council is expected to be held in April 2020, in Abuja.

The council is expected to serve as a critical vehicle in facilitating and promoting private sector participation in the economies of both countries.

Queenin Masaubi

Political journalist | City Press

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