The Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce has said xenophobic attacks on foreigners and their businesses in South Africa might affect bilateral trade on the continent.
Folusho Phillips, President of the chamber, said in Lagos that the attacks were unfortunate and a setback to Africa’s business growth.
“It is a rather unacceptable situation; a sad one that at this stage, South Africans still feel insecure locally when we know for a fact that foreigners contribute to expanding their economy and lifestyle.
“It shows to me that the South African Government has failed to make its nationals realise that they are part of an African Community and a global world.
“They cannot have the rather myopic attitude that they are showing which is able to hinder success and growth to most nations.
“We are sure that a lot of value has been added to the South African economy even at the lower level of the Small Medium Enterprises (SME) and in foreign investments,” Mr. Phillips said.
He urged the South African government to put in a lot of effort in educating its people and making them appreciate that they are part of a global community.
Mr. Phillips said that African nations including Nigeria supported and stood by South Africans in their quest for liberation.
“They should consider that their people go out throughout the world; all the South African companies and investments we see around in African countries are made possible because other countries accepted and welcome them.
“It is not a one way thing; it should be a two way thing and the South African government has to be a lot more aggressive, positive and focused in dealing with this issue,” he said.
The Nigerian Consul-General in South Africa, Uche Ajulu-Okeke, said Nigerians living in South Africa have suffered a lot of property damage and losses. He said their shops were looted while their cars were either burned or stolen.
“Nigerians have compiled damage to their property and it is totalling about 1.2 million rand or N21 million, which will be sent to the Federal Government for further action,” Mr. Ajulu-Okeke said.