Former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki has said that the recent xenophobic attacks against foreign nationals in the country were targeted at criminals and not Nigerians.
Nigerians and other foreign (African) nationals early this month had been the targets of xenophobic attacks in South Africa, after a taxi driver was killed by an alleged drug dealer in Pretoria.
Businesses of foreign nationals in suburbs of Johannesburg and surrounding areas were looted and burnt.
Mbeki reacting to the incident in a now viral two minute video published on social media by Africa Facts Zone on September 7, 2019 said the recent violent demonstration was targeted at criminals.
South Africa's former President, Thabo Mbeki says xenophobic attacks in South Africa aren't targeted at legitimate Nigerian Workers or Businessmen, but 'Nigerian criminals.' pic.twitter.com/FdpnT7w8dR
— Africa Facts Zone (@AfricaFactsZone) September 7, 2019
He also said no South Africans will go looking for Nigerians to attack in the former apartheid country.
“The truth of the matter is that there are Nigerian criminals, who are involved in drug dealing, and that’s true. There are Nigerian criminals who are involved in prostitution and that’s true, ” Mbeki said.
“And you will find, like in this incident now in this area of Johannesburg, it was against criminals not Nigerians.
“There is no South African that goes around chasing Nigerians because they are Nigerians, it doesn’t exist.”
“They act against any person our children with drugs and destroying lives whether South Africans or Nigerians. When they report to the police and the police don’t act, the community take the law into it hands.”
“It is incorrect to read that there’s been an offensive against Nigerians in South Africa, that is not true. So, I am saying when you talk about xenophobia and afrophobia we need to be very careful about it.”
Naledi Pandor, South African International Relations and Corporate Minister had earlier said “many Nigerians in South Africa are into drug peddling, human trafficking and other vices that hurt her nation.”
Pandor while granting an interview to a South African news platform, eNCA, said needed the help of the Federal Government of Nigeria to curb crimes in their country.
The Minister said, “Help us address the belief and the reality that our people have that there are many persons from Nigeria, who are dealing in drugs in our country, who are harming our young people by making drugs easily available to them.
“There is a belief that Nigerian nationals are involved in human trafficking and other abusive practices. This kind of assistance in ensuring that such people don’t come to our country would be of great assistance to our nation.”