Xenophobia: South Africa explains why two Nigerians were killed recently, speaks on relationship with Nigeria
The Government of South Africa has reacted to the reports of the killing of two Nigerians in the country.
We had quoted the Assistant Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Union in South Africa, NUSA, Odefa Ikele, as confirming the killings from Johannesburg on Monday.
Ikele had told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, that, ”The Nigerian community lost two citizens to gruesome murders over the weekend.
”Mr Bonny Iwuoha, 48, from Ihitte/Uboma in Imo state, was stabbed to death at about 11:45 p.m. on April 6, 2019 in Johannesburg South.
”We gathered that his assailants followed him from 152 Hay Street Turffontein, and thereafter, stabbed and killed him in front of his gate at Turf Road, Turffontein.
”The killing was witnessed by Mr Izochukwu Nwokocha, also known as, Nwa Father.”
However, in a statement to us on Thursday by Ms Phumla Williams, the Acting Director General and the South Africa’s Cabinet Spokesperson, the country explained the circumstances that led to the death of the Nigerians.
Williams said, “Your newspaper reported recently two incidents of the killing of two Nigerians in South Africa. Such incidences should never define our relationships with our fellow Africans. We remain steadfast in that our country continues to welcome our fellow brothers and sisters who, contribute to growing our economy and the economy of their respective countries.
“The preliminary facts from our law enforcement agencies informs us that one Nigerian was killed in Johannesburg and circumstances of his death is linked to pure robbery and the other incident that happened in Cape Town is believed to be a drug related fight that unfortunately resulted in death.
“We can, however, assure the Nigerian citizens residing in South Africa and in your country, that both these cases are acts of criminality that must be fully investigated. A case docket has been opened on both incidences and investigation are underway to arrest the perpetrators of these crimes.
“As government, we have zero tolerance for crime and those who are guilty will face the full might of the law. We also remain steadfast in our commitment to serve and protect all within our borders, South Africans and foreign nationals alike.
“Our government remains committed in the belief enshrined in our constitution, that South Africa belongs to all who live in it. The Constitution provides protection to all within our borders, and South Africa is a multicultural society that promotes interaction among people of different backgrounds.
“Our nation is a cultural melting pot which encompasses citizens of many nations. Our acclaimed Constitution protects the rights of all people living in the country, South Africans and foreigners alike.
“At the same time our criminal justice system is geared to be responsive to the safety and security needs of all who live in South Africa. Incidents of crime or criminality are treated with urgency; they are investigated and those who are found guilty by a court of law are appropriately punished.
“There are of course times when individual incidents of crime could impact foreign nationals living in South Africa. These incidents like all others are fully investigated, and alleged perpetrators are arrested and face the full might of the law.
“Our criminal justice system is integrated. The South African Police Service is responsible for investigating reported criminal offences. In the process of investigating a crime the police will speak to witnesses and interrogate any available evidence. However, it must be noted that fighting crime is a shared responsibility between the police and the community. We rely on the cooperation of the community to prosecute criminals.
“Once the police have investigated the matter is handed over to the National Prosecuting Authority who ensures that perpetrators of crime are charged and held responsible for their criminal actions.
“Since 1994 all visitors to our shores have been welcomed with open arms, and as an integral part of the African continent, we continue to advocate for a peaceful, vibrant and sustainable Africa. As Africans we all have a shared commitment to foster peace and greater continental unity. Our mantra has always been that we can build a better South Africa and Africa by working together.
“We are also ever mindful of the role fellow African nations played in ensuring our liberation and freedom. During apartheid African nations welcomed our people with open arms and provided support and refuge to our freedom fighters.
“We have steadfastly built on these relations since 1994, and most recently South Africa assisted our neighbours in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe following the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai.
“As a nation we will never allow the actions of criminals to undo our work in building a cohesive nation. Therefore we will continue to work with communities, business, labour, faith-based and civil society organisations to ensure that all who live in our country are safe.
“Building a better tomorrow however, requires the help and assistance of all who live within our borders. Our democracy provides space for all who reside in South Africa to make a difference in our communities. The Constitution and Bill of Rights guarantees our humanity, and affirms the democratic values of dignity, equality and freedom.
“Our government will continue to build the many ties that bind us as Africans. In the year that we celebrate 25 years of freedom and democracy we will do more to build a truly united and cohesive nation.”