Former cabinet member Jeff Radebe. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)
Former cabinet member Jeff Radebe. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Ramaphosa envoys, African heads of state discuss xenophobia

By Mel Frykberg Time of article published Sep 30, 2019

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Johannesburg – President Cyril Ramaphosa’s team of special envoys, which was sent to various African capitals in the wake of the xenophobic attacks on African nationals in South Africa, resulting in a number of deaths and destruction of property, has returned with recommendations on how to tackle the root causes of the violence as the president tries to mend fences with the continent.

The team - comprising former cabinet member Jeff Radebe and the president’s Special Advisor on International Relations Dr Khulu Mbatha - provided Ramaphosa with a preliminary report after they delivered messages of solidarity and public apologies to a number of heads of state following their visit to a number of West African states from September 14.

Ramaphosa’s envoys told the heads of state that such acts of criminality and violence represented neither South Africa’s values systems, nor the sentiments of South Africans, particularly against foreign nationals living in the country. 

A number of the countries agreed on the need to adopt a common approach to deal with criminality, iprerrespective of the national origins of the perpetrators and to this end, cooperation between law enforcement and intelligence agencies across the continent to deal with the various challenges was proposed.

In Nigeria, for instance, the point was emphasised that in addition to the law enforcement operations that the South African state has been implementing, it was necessary to strengthen systems in prison facilities to deal with challenges arising from some of the prisoners conducting their illegal activities from the prisons, even beyond the borders of SA. 

The heads of state and thee envoys also discussed the irresponsible use of social media by certain individuals to exacerbate tensions and confusion.

Due to the overwhelmingly positive response to the president's initiative from the countries visited, the envoys will be dispatched to more countries over the next couple of weeks, as well as to the African Union. 

African News Agency/ANA

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