In early February, attacks against foreigners started once again, after repeated flare-ups in recent years in different parts of South Africa.
While houses burn and foreigners flee, there’s a blame game going on between the mayor and Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba. Mashaba is accused of being the spark, of being naïve and reckless, or simply Afrophobic, and failing to understand how his comments could lead to burning and looting. He’s accused of ignorance, of failing to see that the first flares would spark hotspots like Jeppestown
The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Diaspora Affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has slammed the South African Minister of home affairs, Malusi Gigaba over his comments on the killing of Nigerians.
According to reports, Gigaba said that the issue of the Xenophobic attacks will be settled at a diplomatic level.
In her response, Dabiri-Erewa said that xenophobia has become a social disease which some South Africans need to be cured of.
According to Vanguard, she also said that the Nigerian government will no longer sit and fold its arms while its citizens are being killed.
The presidential aide said “It appears that Mr. Gigaba would rather dwell on and entertain himself with diplomatic niceties when the welfare of Nigerians resident in South Africa are at stake now more than any time in recent history.
“His response to the xenophobic attacks, which has now become a recurring decimal on Africans, most especially Nigerians living peacefully in their host country of South Africa was, indeed, unfortunate.
“While it’s no longer news that law-abiding Nigerians in that country have borne the major brunt of these attacks, the news by the Home Affairs Minister that his country is trying to get rid of criminals in his country at the time when indiscriminate mayhem and looting of law-abiding Nigerians is very suspicious, to say the least.”
“Nigeria and South Africa have a long-standing diplomatic relationship in which the former played a critical, if not a pivotal role that culminated in ending apartheid, among so many of her positive interventions.
“Indiscriminate killings, in which 116 deaths have been recorded of her people MUST not be how Nigeria should be paid back. Xenophobia is such a debilitating social disease, based mostly on ignorance, in which its carrier also suffers. I therefore suggest that the home affairs minister should engage in the mass education of the South African people about the debilitating effects of this disease with immediate effect.
“It’s apt to mention at this juncture that the home affairs minister only met with African consulates forum, an association of African consuls general, based in South Africa recently , despite the fact that this meeting was long overdue.
“Mr. Gigaba’s response to the mayhem that a segment of the South African people perpetrated on law-abiding Nigerians in South Africa smirks of insensitivity, and it’s therefore very reprehensible, if not unacceptable. In view of this unfortunate statement, I am therefore restating my earlier call on the African Union (AU) to take up the South Africa’s xenophobic issue as a matter of urgency.
The mayor has condemned the attacks and said they should not be conducted in his name. But he has not withdrawn his comments or apologized.