South African minister`s comments on foreigners unfortunate – Nigeria Union

The Nigeria Union in South Africa says the recent comments by that country`s Deputy Police Minister insinuating an influx of foreigners in Johannesburg are unfortunate.

The Minister, Bongani Mkongi, was quoted to have said: “How can a city in South Africa be 80 per cent foreign national? That is dangerous. South Africans have surrendered their own city to the foreigners.”

He made the comments while reacting to the problem of hijacked buildings in Johannesburg.

But Ikechukwu Anyene, the President of the union, told the News Agency of Nigeria on telephone from Pretoria, South Africa, on Monday that such comments could cause another round of xenophobic attacks.

He said though the minister did not specify the particular foreign nationals, Nigerians had suffered from previous attacks in that country.

“It is unfortunate that a minister and indeed a top government official could make such utterances, especially in this period of heightened tension, a time we have been having challenges caused by xenophobic attack.

“These are the kind of utterances that goad people to burn properties.

“We, however, believe that this is not the official position of the South African government. We believe that it is his personal opinion,” he said.

Mr. Anyene urged the federal government to engage its South African counterpart to call its top officials to order and refrain from making such comments.

He also said that the Early Warning Unit (EWU) agreed on by the governments of the two countries had not taken off.

Mr. Anyene said an agreement to set up the unit was reached during the visit of Nigeria`s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, to South Africa in February.

In its reaction, the South African Human Rights Commission, SAHRC, condemned the comments made by Mr. Mkongi.

“As a figure of authority in the Department of Police – and by extension across society – the Deputy Minister is expected to exercise a great deal of circumspection in his public utterances,” the commission said in a statement in Pretoria.

The commission said the Department of Police was expected to play a leading role in combating and preventing xenophobia as well as the effective detection thereof‚ and in crime prevention and law enforcement.

“Therefore‚ the deputy minister was expected not to utter inflammatory statements,” the commission added.



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  • omo56

    somehow, we always manage to wear out welcoming mart most places we go

  • Rumournaire

    “We, however, believe that this is not the official position of the South African government. We believe that it is his personal opinion,”

    Really? The deputy Police Minister says he does not want foreigners in his country and you say it is his personal opinion? You are deluded. Does that not tell you what the Police would do when foreigners are attacked?

    Nigerians in South Africa need to understand that South Africa cannot be home to them. The wise ones among them would be finding their way back to Nigeria. You targets for attacks in South Africa, and we back home are tired of your cries over the attacks. Come back home and build honest businesses that can contribute to your country’s economy.

  • Owejah

    Inciting statements from foreign government officials can only stop when we must have learnt the rules of decorum among ourselves first. Highly arrogant behaviour right on the soil belonging to our hosts and the resultant quit notices to our guests within the same country are enough indications that we have serious human relations problem. Since we have been so unable to mix with ourselves at home, we must expect foreigners to treat us with disdain. In our case, instead of charity, selfish arrogance and daredevil criminality are what begin at home!