South Africa’s International Relations Minister, Naledi Pandor says the recent attacks mostly on foreign nationals must not become a defining moment for South Africa.
She says: “One of the things I have been trying to communicate is that this must not be seen as some sort of defining moment for South Africa. I have a bit of a problem with that notion, and thus making this the sum total of the communication that we have on international relations it’s very important because the action of a few doesn’t define the entire nation.”
Speaking in New York upon her arrival for the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Pandor says South Africa has a very clear policy, clear commitment to the continent.
“Now what we must do as a country is ensure that as a nation we both understand and share that commitment. This doesn’t in anyway detract from the responsibility all of us have as countries, as governments to provide opportunity for our people to manage immigration properly but also to ensure that when people do come and live in our country they know that they can live there in safety and without fear.”
Pandor also responded to calls in some quarters for compensation to be paid to the victims of the Xenophobic attacks in the country.
“We need to really have a full assessment of what happened and assess where the particular harm was directed. An impression has been created that primarily the focus of the mob was businesses that were owned by Nigerians, this is not the case. Many South African owned small businesses were the subject of the looting so I’m a bit concerned at the focus that is being promoted, that there is some form of focus and attack on nationals from Nigeria.”
“It was African people and it was South African blacks as well as black people from other African countries. All of it was wrong. So I’m not sure from whom we would seek this compensation because we have arrested 794 people, they are still to appear in court, would it be from them. I would assume a lot of them are probably poor, unemployed blacks, some may very well be nationals of other countries, how would this be achieved. What we must do is find a way of drawing all our communities together and it’s the responsibility – not just South Africa has but which all of us have.”