Abuja - President Cyril Ramapahosa will later on Wednesday discuss the safety of Nigerians with his counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari.
Speaking on Wednesday morning in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, Ramaphosa, who is on a three nations state visits to Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, condemned xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals, and made an undertaking that one of the issues he will discuss with Buhari is the safety of Nigerians.
Ramaphosa, who is accompanied by Police Minister Bheki Cele and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa Ngcakula, among others, said he wanted to see relations between Nigeria and South - the continent's largest economies - improve "exponentially".
Ramaphosa participated in a panel discussion during the annual meeting of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) at the Hilton hotel.
During the discussion, Ramaphosa had to to field a difficult question from one of the Nigeria's investors, Uju Ifejika, an oil trader, who said she would not invest in South Africa because of attacks on Nigerians.
"The continent is looking at an agreement that will address the movement of people. We (South Africa) have become an oasis that has attracted a lot of people into our country and it gives rise to a number of challenges. One of the challenges that we are having to deal with as a country is safety and security of our people as a whole," Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa said South Africa has had a huge challenge of unemployment and some citizens reacted by expressing their fears and concerns through Xenophobic-type attacks against foreigners.
"Our government has been clear and strong on this. We will act against anyone who seeks to attack anybody on the basis of their race, their origin or the way they look. We are very clear on that...In terms of safety and security, our safety and security institutions are now taking serious action against people who resort to criminality. I have brought with me here ministers who deal with safety and security matters."
Ramaphosa reiterated that relations between the two powerful countries would have improved by the end of the visit.
"Later I am going to see the President (Buhari). I made it a specific issue that I want to see the relations between Nigeria and South Africa improved exponentially, so that my sister (Ifejika) we are able to deal with the problem you talking about. When I meet the president we are going to discuss precisely this issue, the way the number of Nigerians feel fearful in our country. We are going to address it, that is why the Minister of Defence, Minister of Police are here," he said.