PRETORIA - International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor on Monday held a closed door meeting with ambassadors and high commissioners, mainly from African countries, in the wake of rampant attacks and looting of businesses owned by African immigrants in South Africa.
"We thought it necessary for us to meet all the ambassadors of countries that have representation in South Africa, in order to have a discussion on the recent events of violence against foreign nationals in South Africa.
"[The meeting was for] both to reassure them that the government is taking all the measures that it can in order to ensure that we return stability and calm to our country, and also to discuss with them steps that we need to take in order to proactively prevent such occurrences in future," Pandor told journalists as she emerged from the meeting in Pretoria.
"We felt it vital that we create a platform and basis for our ongoing collaboration between ourselves and the embassies because they best know their nationals who are in South Africa, and can therefore assist us in reaching out to them and building what I've called bridges."
Violence flared up again in Johannesburg on Sunday and the South African Police Service quickly cautioned church-goers, shoppers and commuters to stay away from the area around the MTN taxi rank and Johannesburg CBD following the latest incidents of attacks on businesses.
Gauteng SAPS said that one person died after being stabbed and five people were injured. Sixteen people have been arrested .
The attacks have caused a diplomatic tiff, with several African countries issuing travel advisories for their citizens heading to South Africa. Other counties went beyond the travel advisories, urging Pretoria to take clear measures to protect foreign nationals. In some African countries, South African businesses were affected by retaliatory attacks.
On Monday, Pandor said despite their unhappiness, the foreign envoys emphasized their commitment to the the relationship with South Africa.
"I got a sense that there is a commitment to South Africa by the ambassadors and their countries. They would like to work with our country, to assist us in addressing what I indicated is a very complex set of socio-economic issues which relate to migration, immigration, economic opportunity, and effective administration."
She said there was a s need to actively build greater cohesion between South Africans and the millions of foreign nationals.
African News Agency (ANA)