South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa has described the killings of Nigerians in his country as an act of criminality.
LEADERSHIP recalls that no fewer than 116 Nigerians have been killed in South Africa through extra-judicial means in the last two years.
However, in a joint press briefing with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa yesterday, Ramaphosa reiterated that South Africans do not have any form of negative disposition or hatred towards Nigerians.
He said the actions of criminal elements should not be misconstrued as a general attitude of south Africans to Nigerians.
When asked what his government was doing specifically to stop frequent killings of Nigerians in his country, he replied, “There has been quite a number of incidence in our country where foreign nationals some of whom are Nigerians have lost their lives and are being attacked.
I will like to say here and how that, that has been as a result of criminal activity among our own people which we are focusing on from a criminal element point of view.
“I want to state here and now that South Africans do not have any form of negative disposition or hatred towards Nigerians and in the main Nigerians in South Africa and a number of places of our country live side by side, they corporate very well and some our in the corporate structures of our various companies and some are traders and some are into a number of things.
“So, I want to dispel this notion that when a Nigerian looses his or her life in South Africa, it is as a result of an intentional action by South Africans against Nigerians. That is simply not true.
He further explained that South Africa has a number of challenges, one of which is criminality which is all pervasive.
The South African President,who noted that his country had over the years been bringing down the crime rate ,stated that they are working on a concerted basis to ensure that crime does come down.
Attributing the criminality to a number of factors, one of which is unemployment among people, he disclosed that 27 percent of South Africans are unemployed which amounts to about 9 million and most of these are young people.
He said poverty is still all pervasive in South Africa even as he noted that this emanated from their very sad history of apartheid misrule.
“And on top of everything else, people in various parts of the country who get engulfed in acts of criminality, majority of them are South Africans and some of them will be foreign nationals and will either be Nigerians and other people from other countries.
“It is an act of criminality and our government is determined to bring the levels of criminality down and also to go after those who perpetrate these acts of criminality. So that anyone who attacks anyone in South Africa will be pursued with the might of the law to make sure they are brought to justice,” he stated .
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