SA Vs Nigeria: Recent Xenophobic Attack Could Severe Diplomatic Ties

SA Xenophobic Attack– As South Africa moves to apprehend undocumented immigrants, Nigerian Lawmakers react to the xenophobic attack on Nigerians, requesting that Nigeria’s ambassador to South Africa be recalled.

Likewise Nigerian students are warming up to vandalize SA business properties in Nigeria.

After the Sunday attack on Nigerian nationals in South Africa, both countries have been in some sort of clash over the justification to destroy homes and businesses of foreigners in SA.

While some South Africans blame the attack on the level of dirty businesses run by Nigerians in their country, some Nigerians believe the excuse was just a front to repeat the 2008 and 2015 xenophobic attacks.

The Nigerian government registered their utter dismay at the treatment meted to Nigerians in South Africa. 34 foreign-owned shops were looted and destroyed in parts of Pretoria during the attack on Sunday.


According to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri, about 20 Nigerians have been killed in the past one year. She calls on SA government to investigate the recent incident and ensure the protection of Nigerian immigrant.

See Also: Xenophobia: Nigerian Homes And Businesses Burnt Down In South Africa

On a general note, immigration has become a sensitive issue since the global economic melt down, refugee crisis and terrorist attacks.

Before the attack, S.A had announced that Zimbabwean immigrants may have to start applying for visas before legally entering the country. Thus the programme that granted them temporal but renewable permits to reside and do businesses in the country will be coming to an end by the end of the year.

SA immigration has set out to fish out illegal immigrants in the country and repatriate them back to their countries.

Malusi Gigaba of the Home Affairs department had earlier stated that to avoid cases like the recent xenophobic attack, the country will employ an indigenization policy that demands various sectors to employ 60% of native South Africans.


This is to avert a violent situation which could be from natives who often accuse foreigners of “taking their jobs”.

The Home Affairs Minister, Gigaba, says that it has come to the ministry’s notice that most firms were employing undocumented foreigners.

Some businesses hire illegal immigrants for the mischief of acquiring cheap labour. Thereby avoiding to comply with government policy of fair pay.

He warned that firms that are involved in this will be penalized. Already, about 60 undocumented workers at Spar retail stores have been arrested.

Making reference to the Sunday attack, SA Foreign Affairs department says Nigerians were not targets of xenophobic violence.

See Also: Xenophobic Attacks In SA: Nigeria Wants AU To Step In

From BBC reports, Spokesperson Clayson Monyela said “the attacks were nothing more than sporadic criminal incidents”. SA government has also called the social media face off between the country and foreign nationals, “unnecessary”.


Still fuming over Sunday violence, The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has given a 48 hour ultimatum to all South African companies in Nigeria to relocate.

The student association represented by Kadiri Aruna says that failure to do so will result to the destruction of their business premises in Nigeria.

“We are saying that enough is enough as South Africans have openly attacked and bullied Nigerians,”

“All the South African business empires in Nigeria and their collaborators in Nigeria will be affected.”

“I don’t want to say we will be barbaric but we will not be lawful in our actions, we will do it and face the consequences, enough of this rubbish,”

He sadly recalled Nigeria’s contribution to the present day freedom in SA and called on the government to take diplomatic measures to put an end to these xenophobic attacks.

“Nigeria contributed 80 percent of the freedom the South Africans are enjoying today because we saved them from the jaws of apartheid,”

“Government should take extra-diplomatic measures in dealing with the latest deadly assaults because if nothing drastic is done it will become a regular occurrence.”

Some prominent SA businesses in Nigeria include DSTV, MTN and Shoprite.